Physical Therapy Specialists

Alie Larson, DPT

Alie Larson, DPT

Physical Therapist

About Alie

What are your areas of expertise?

  • I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
  • I worked in a skilled nursing facility for five years where I was able to treat individuals with neurological disorders, stroke, total joint replacements and dementia/Alzheimer’s.
  • I am also a certified lymphedema therapist.

What are your areas of special interest?

I feel that living in a more rural community allows me the chance to be a better therapist and expand my skill set. It is one of the things I like most about my job. Every day is different. It can be challenging when we as a team of therapists see a diagnosis that is not very common, but at the same time it is very rewarding to see the impact that we can have on someone’s life. I like the fact that I can be working with a 12 year old girl who injured her ankle during one treatment session and in the next session I can be working with an elderly gentleman with dementia and balance issues.


What is your approach to patient care?

My mantra is “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.” I think it is important to be a good listener, to make therapy fun and meaningful to my patients and to make teamwork between my patients and myself the basis of my treatment.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

I was born and raised in the Chisago Lakes area and love all the outdoor activities. My parents were raised in this area too and the majority of my family lives in and around this community. Family and family values are important to me and the St. Croix Valley gives me the opportunity to raise my children close to what matters most to me.

Janelle Evens, DPT

Janelle Evens, DPT

Physical Therapist

About Janelle

What are your areas of expertise?

  • I graduated from Mayo Clinic’s Doctoral of Physical Therapy program.
  • I am a general therapist treating anything from neurological conditions to your general orthopedic conditions.
  • LSVT BIG certification for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

What are your areas of special interest?

I especially enjoy working with neurological conditions including post stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and general balance impairments. In addition, I enjoy working with post surgical patients.


What is your approach to patient care?

Teamwork between the patient and me will ultimately lead to greater outcomes. I am here to teach, guide and treat conditions, but it is ultimately up to the patient to continue on their own to achieve success.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

The small, slower-paced community drew me to the area. I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota where the atmosphere was easy-going and laid back which is apparent here in the Valley. The scenery here also drew me in. My family and I love to partake in outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking and many others.

Liisa Mayo, PT

Liisa Mayo, PT

Physical Therapist

About Liisa

What are your areas of expertise?

  • I consider myself a generalist with the ability to address broad rehabilitation needs of patients from orthopedic and post surgical rehab to soft tissue and neurologic problems.
  • I am certified in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Compression Wrapping. These techniques and skills help those with edema manage their swollen limbs.
  • I have taken certification course work in techniques to manage soft tissue injury and restriction.
  • I have also taken training in Trigger Point Dry Needling. This is a myofascial technique that can have a profound effect on pain that generates from the muscles.

What are your areas of special interest?

The beauty of physical therapy is the variety and challenge that different diagnoses present. I enjoy connecting with my patient to help them recover as much comfort, mobility and function as they can.


What is your approach to patient care?

Listening to my patient is one of the most important and valuable tools I have as a physical therapist. Developing an effective care plan with my patient and their care team that maximizes independence and function is important to me. A large part of my role is to be nimble and have the ability to know when part of a plan isn’t working and help find the right direction.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

Family brought me here. My brothers, both physicians, settled in western Wisconsin. When I made the decision to leave upstate New York, the St. Croix Valley seemed like the perfect place.

Chris Wahlstrom, PT

Physical Therapist

About Chris

What are your areas of expertise?

  • Throughout my career, I have worked in settings with older people, such as in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, providing care in the nursing home, as well as home care.
  • I’ve worked in the areas of balance and vestibular rehabilitation, post-surgical rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation and with people who have dementia.
  • My focus is on acute care and outpatient rehabilitation including vertigo and dizziness.

What are your areas of special interest?

I am interested in working with older people to help them keep a good quality of life during the aging process. Improving balance, walking ability and functional strength can go a long way toward living safely in your own home and participating in family and recreational activities.


What is your approach to patient care?

I like to take time to listen and develop a plan of care together with my patients to meet their goals for increasing function and reducing pain.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

I have lived in the St. Croix Valley for over 20 years and love feeling like I am “up north” with all the opportunities for skiing, hiking and being in a natural environment. I’ve enjoyed working in the community and being involved in small town life.

Nancy Hoppe, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

About Nancy

What are your areas of expertise?

  • I have a background in mental health and social work, which lends itself to my work with patients dealing with chronic pain and musculoskeletal dysfunction.
  • I am a certified instructor for Stepping On, an evidence-based falls prevention program for seniors, designed to build confidence, strength, and balance, helping people to stay independent longer.
  • I have certification in basic CranialSacral Therapy. I am working toward furthering my knowledge and skills in this are of manual therapy.

What are your areas of special interest?

I consider myself a generalist, which gives me the opportunity to treat patients from young children to older adults. My clinical interests include pediatrics, geriatrics, balance and mobility and treatment strategies to increase function for those with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. I also enjoy the opportunity to reach out into the community with prevention and wellness programs.


What is your approach to patient care?

Our bodies and brains are strong healers. I believe that patients have the power to heal themselves if they have the right tools and resources. The role of our healthcare system is to partner with patients, encouraging them to lead the discussion and the setting of goals. I believe we need to educate, provide resources and empower patients to take charge of their journey to better health and function.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

I came to this area several years ago to direct the YMCA camp on Lake Wapogasset. Having grown up on the outskirts of Chicago, I appreciate the beautiful open space, lakes and forests of northwest Wisconsin. I also enjoy daily sightings of the abundant wildlife. Mostly, I appreciate knowing and serving my neighbors.

Robyn M. Formanek, PT

Physical Therapist

About Robyn

What are your areas of expertise?

  • Graduate of the physical therapy program at the College of St. Scholastica
  • I have worked in rural health clinic/hospital settings for 20+ years.
  • I have worked with a wide range of diagnoses.
  • I have worked in settings that include everything from pediatric and school based therapy to extended care and geriatrics.
  • I would say the majority of my practice has been orthopedic, post-surgical and spine care. I also have a good deal of training and clinical experience in sports injury rehabilitation, vestibular and balance, neurologic rehabilitation and wound care.

What are your areas of special interest?

I have a lot of friends and family members who are avid runners and I have a special interest in running gait analysis and functional running and conditioning programs.


What is your approach to patient care?

I believe that working together with people to help them achieve the best quality of life possible is the role I play in this community. It is important to me both in and out of the office.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

I grew up in the Webster area and most of my family still lives locally. My husband and I feel blessed to be able to live, work and raise our three children in this beautiful area. It will always be home.

Chona Hanson, PT

Chona Hanson, PT

Physical Therapist

About Chona

What are your areas of expertise?

  • Much of my career has been spent working in pediatric therapy.
  • This is my eighth year providing care in multiple school districts helping kids to maximize their functional and learning abilities.
  • I have also specialized in wound care, lymphedema management and incontinence.

What are your areas of special interest?

I am interested in all areas to help patients reach their health and life goals. I’ve always been drawn to women’s health issues and pediatrics. I love to make a difference in a child’s life.


What is your approach to patient care?

Listening is a big thing for me. I think letting your patients know that they are important and heard makes a big difference. This is the foundation of any therapeutic relationship. Patients need to know that they are the most important part of their recovery. They need to be an active participant to maximize their rehabilitation. I also believe that humor and laughter help with healing.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

When my husband and I had our first child, we lived in Florida. My husband wanted to return to the Midwest to be closer to family. We chose Dresser, Wisconsin and fell in love with the area. It is a small town with friendly people and a great environment to raise kids.

Frank Johnson, PT, OCS

Frank Johnson, PT, OCS

Physical Therapist

About Frank

What are your areas of expertise?

  • I am a board certified orthopedic specialist.
  • My credential of clinical expertise includes orthopedic and sports injury rehabilitation, post operative care and maximization of function for wear and tear issues.
  • I have a Certification of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (COMT) of the spine from the International Academy of Orthopedic Medicine–U.S. This has been fundamental to my work as a physical therapist.
  • I feel I also excel at treating patients with vertigo and balance difficulties.

What are your areas of special interest?

I am very interested in progression of surgical and regenerative procedures. I enjoy following the rehabilitation implications of new procedures and approaches. This feeds into my belief that we can care for patients better if we in the medical community are a team. We need to collaborate across disciplines on behalf of our patients.


What is your approach to patient care?

I believe the most important starting point in patient care is to be sure to listen to our patients. You need to clearly understand what the issues are, what the barriers are to improvement and the patient’s idea of success. If you start here you can set out on a journey of healing together. I also believe that the patient should be an active driver in their recovery. The body is going to do the actual healing—our job is to set the right environment and provide the right stimulations to maximize the rate of healing.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

When I completed my training at the Mayo Physical Therapy School, one of my classmates suggested that I apply in her hometown of St. Croix Falls. I love the area and did want to begin my career in a rural setting. Since then I have fallen in love with the beauty and outdoor opportunities of the area.

Krista Bellrichard, PTA

Krista Bellrichard, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

About Krista

What are your areas of expertise?

  • I consider myself a generalist. I work with a wide variety of patients from pediatrics, sports injury rehab, surgical rehab, wound care and people with strength and balance issues.

What are your areas of special interest?

I have a background in Pilates and integrate this approach into core strengthening and balance training. This approach is helpful for patients with back and neck pain. It is also a good starting point for strengthening of the limbs. I also use guided imagery when explaining and teaching exercises to most of my patients.


What is your approach to patient care?

I believe that my patient and I are a team. This fits well into the framework of the Kinisi care model. I expect each of us to play an equal part in the rehabilitation process. I give my patients “tools,” encouragement and guidance, but it is up to them to use what they have learned.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

Since most of my family and friends remain in southern Minnesota where I grew up, I wanted to stay nearby, but felt the need to move and start a life with my husband. We enjoy taking walks with our dog, cross country skiing and my passion, the equestrian sport of dressage.

Molli Noel, DPT

Molli Noel, DPT

Physical Therapist

About Molli

What are your areas of expertise?

  • Being a collegiate athlete myself, I believe I excel at treating post-operative and acute injuries in athletes.
  • I am certified to perform Functional Capacity Evaluations which is testing to determine what level of work someone is able to perform safely.
  • I also have taken a variety of courses geared toward a multi-faceted approach to treating chronic pain.

What are your areas of special interest?

I have a special interest in running mechanics, evaluations and corrective exercise instruction. I also enjoy working with individuals after surgery, such as total hip, knee and shoulder replacement, ACL reconstruction and rotator cuff repair. I enjoy the variety of working with all age groups from infants to older adults.


What is your approach to patient care?

I view myself as an educator and facilitator. My approach includes collaborating with the patient or family to figure out the source of pain, weakness or deficit and developing a plan together to give the patient the tools needed to reach their goals. I believe in hands-on treatment and modalities that are evidence based. These treatments can create an enhanced healing environment. I also believe in the importance of treating the whole person—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

After graduating, I wanted to be in a rural setting close to the Twin Cities. So, when I met my husband, who was living and working in the area, it was a perfect fit to stay here. We enjoy the variety of outdoor activities and beauty the St. Croix Valley has to offer.

Nicole Kielsa, DPT

Nicole Kielsa, DPT

Physical Therapist

About Nicole

What are your areas of expertise?

  • I graduated from St. Catherine’s University in 2010 with a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
  • I have extended experience in wound care, orthopedic and sport related injuries (knee and shoulder have been my main focus) and the management of chronic pain.
  • I am certified in LSVT BIG. This is a powerful treatment approach for patients who have Parkinson’s disease.
  • I also have my certification for Trigger Point Dry Needling. This has been an effective tool to achieve pain relief and rebalancing of a common, sometimes chronic muscle dysfunction.

What are your areas of special interest?

I enjoy working with patients of all ages, but have a special interest in sports rehabilitation and orthopedics, as well as neurological diagnoses (Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, stroke, etc.).


What is your approach to patient care?

I believe that in order to best treat patients, you need to listen and get to know the patient, so that we are working toward a common goal. Patients need to take an active role in their recovery and find exercises that are helpful and meaningful to them in order to have better carry-over into daily life and a healthier future.


What drew you to the St. Croix Valley?

When I came to interview for the position at St. Croix Regional Medical Center, I fell in love with the beauty of the area and have stayed because of the great coworkers and patients I have encountered during my time here.