top of page

Penelope Van Osten


I grew up Wauwatosa and am a graduate of Wauwatosa East. I then attended UW-Madison and graduated in 1998 with a BS in Zoology. I returned to UW two years later to my her physical therapy education, and graduated with a Master of Physical Therapy in 2002.

After graduation, I moved to San Diego and spent the first 10 years of my career treating very diverse populations in outpatient clinics, hospitals, rehab care facilities, and performing rehab care for the city’s law enforcement, SWAT teams, and lifeguards. This diversity cultivated a great library of reference for many different levels of function and care for different populations. Missing the Midwest and family, I moved back to Wauwatosa in 2013 with my husband and toddler. Back in Wisconsin, our family expanded to include one more child, and we now raise our two children in my childhood community.

With over 20 years of experience and extensive continuing education on optimizing body function through manual therapy techniques, I work to help patients with many different diagnoses and conditions. An important element of my practice is the collaboration with other providers; be that providers that are already a part of the your care team, or, need be, seeking out any that may be beneficial to add for care. I believe patients do best when surrounded by a comprehensive support system. I feel I have a gentle and holistic approach to healing utilizing dry needling, hands on methods to improve motor control, neuromuscular re-education, and restorative exercises to help patients regain their function. My goal is always to promote the body’s ability to heal while fostering independence in giving her patients tools to help maintain their function.

See me for: General orthopedic, acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries, sports-specific injuries, post-surgical, TMJ/D, male/female pelvic health, prenatal/pregnancy/postpartum, Ehlers-Danlos/hypermobility conditions, osteopathic visceral manipulation

Why I chose to become a PT: I chose to become a PT and change my track from medical school when I was referred to PT for my own shoulder injury at age 19. I was fascinated by what a great PT could assess, discover, and treat with only their hands as tools. 

Worst injury I ever suffered: I broke my femur at age 16 months with full leg cast. Very weird and not common, but don’t remember that one, so I’ll add my worst as an adult.  This isn’t an injury in the traditional sense, but it was a significant physical event for me…the birth of my first child led to some debilitating function that I had to work very hard to recover from. Looking back, it was really a helpful experience I can now draw from in treating my pelvic health population. 

Craziest injury I have treated: That’s a hard one because I’ve seen many complex health cases over the years…but, I can tell you a collection of the most memorable: it was during one of my student clinical rotations in a traumatic brain injury rehab department. I will never quite forget many of the circumstances that led those patients there. It was a humbling and powerful experience. 

My favorite food to cook/bake: Really any of the traditional Greek dishes passed down from my grandmother and my dad. The smell brings back the memories of them making those same dishes in our home, with the added bonus of having my own family now enjoy them. 

If I could visit anywhere in the world: I would probably always go back to Greece. Again, reminds me of family. 

When I am not at work, I am (hobbies, interests, volunteering, etc.): I spend my time with my husband, two kids, and our dog. We love any all things about traveling. I am also very active in our great neighborhood and school communities, as well as in our Greek church community (I guess there’s a theme here!). 

Bucket List Confession: This is simply to be able to continue to spend more time with my family as my kids get older. 

Best advice I’ve ever received: I wish I had a nice one-liner to sum this up, but the real truth is that I have been fortunate to have many brilliant people on my path along the way, all of whom have contributed to my ethos. Essentially put, it would summarize as this: do the best you can do for those in your care with what you have, and never stop trying to do better. 

(262) 375-1075

Penelope Van Osten
bottom of page