Get to Know Our LA Therapists: Ruben Gonzalez, PT, DPT
See how Luna is reimagining physical therapy with a behind-the-scenes look at our team of physical therapists.
By Lily Beltran
Where are you located?
I’m in San Fernando Valley, close to the Encino and Sherman Oaks neighborhoods.
Why do you love LA?
LA has a great food scene, and I’m a big foodie. When I’m not working out at the gym, treating patients, or reading about PT, I like finding new places to eat. If you want a little taste of everything, check out Smorgasburg LA. It’s a food fair every Sunday in downtown LA where all the small, independent food trucks and vendors come out and serve everything you can imagine—seafood, vegan tacos, oversized mozzarella sticks. I could go on. It’s amazing.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I got my B.A. in Biology at the University of Redlands in 2013. Then I went to PT school and graduated from the University of St. Augustine in San Diego in 2017. I was lucky enough to get a really good job right out of school where I saw one patient an hour which is pretty much unheard of in the PT world. It was a small outpatient out-of-network clinic, so they weren’t being constrained by low reimbursements. I’m working in home health right now, but I’m excited to get started with Luna.
What made you become a physical therapist?
Two big reasons. One is that I remember watching my mom go through PT after suffering a back injury at work. I was so intrigued by everything the PT was doing to help my mom recover and get back to work. I was also pretty into athletics in high school—mostly football and track and field. I knew I wanted to stay connected to sports after high school. I thought about becoming an athletic trainer but realized PT has more career opportunities.
What’s the greatest reward of your work?
Being able to see my patients get back to doing what they love after they thought they never would. A lot of times, you have people come in who have gone through many failed attempts of healing an injury with no luck. It’s always amazing to help guide them towards healing and equip them with the right tools to get back to their activities.
And the greatest challenge?
Getting all of my patients to buy into physical therapy as a practice. A lot of patients have gone through PT before and didn’t get the results they wanted. Coming in with preconceived thoughts about what physical therapy will be like sets things back even before treatment begins. A lot of patients are expecting an old school approach to physical therapy—coming in, warming up on a bike, receiving a quick hands-on treatment from their PT, going through a few exercises with an aid, doing that a few times over a four to six week period, and only getting 20% better. Physical therapy is evolving. That style of treatment is going away, and a lot of PTs are realizing that every patient needs an individualized program rather than a simple, cookie cutter protocol in order to heal.
Do you have any advice for other physical therapists who might be struggling?
I was so lucky to find a great job after PT school, but I know that’s not super common. In this current state of physical therapy, feeling burnt out and tired right out of school is the norm. It doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for a way out, I’d recommend checking out Luna. It’s not just another home health job. It’s like owning your own independent PT practice without the backend work. If you’re miserable working all day and writing up documentation all night, just know that there are other options out there. Luna is a way to make the same income that you would at a clinic in half the time.