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benefits of a home exercise program

Why Should I Do My Physical Therapy Home Exercise Program?

benefits of a physical therapy home exercise program: Why should I do my physical therapy home exercise program?

When a patient walks in for physical therapy, one of the things they are sent home with is a home exercise program. But why do they do that? Aren’t they supposed to take care of everything while you are in the clinic?  These are questions that may run through your head, but what exactly are the benefits of a home exercise program? If you’re on the fence about whether or not to take your HEP seriously, we’re here to tell you why you should.

  • Continuation of forwarding progression in rehabilitation: Physical and occupational therapists tailor each program to the abilities and strengths of each patient. A patient that completes their home exercise program is more likely to excel in the one-on-one sessions at the clinic and experience fewer setbacks in rehabilitation.
  • Increases level of mobility and endurance: Exercise in the home is designed to continue the progress of the clinic visit by increasing a patient’s flexibility and stamina. A good home exercise program allows a patient to increase function and improve muscle memory so that progress is gained rather than lost from one visit to another.
  • For some patients, therapy doesn’t end at discharge: A home exercise program can help a patient remain pain-free and functional without having to pay for repeat visits and costly medical bills. For patients experiencing chronic pain – a home exercise program is a ticket to staying out of the doctor’s office.

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New Remote Therapeutic Monitoring Program Helps Seniors Complete their Home Exercise Programs!

With RTM, physical therapists continue to create and prescribe home programs as part of the treatment plan as they have always done. The difference with RTM however,  is that now our teams can monitor a patient’s performance and response to the home exercise program between clinic visits. RMT provides physical therapists with musculoskeletal data and reports pain levels each time the patient engages with the platform. Additionally, if a patient can’t perform their exercises or follow the instructions correctly, the physical therapist will know and be able to make modifications immediately.

Despite the benefits of a home exercise program, patients have trouble following through on their home exercise program goals. We’re going to go over some of the more common excuses:

  • I don’t have time, because life at home is too busy: It can be hard, especially for those running a household with multiple schedules to accommodate. However, a physical therapist can offer suggestions on working these into your schedule. Some exercises can be done at work, at home, on the playground. If time is truly a concern then don’t be afraid to let the therapist know.
  • It hurts: Some pain is considered normal – it’s a normal part of the exercise. However, if you are doing an exercise and something feels wrong, let your physical therapist know immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment and tell yourself you will take care of it then. It could be something as simple as not doing the exercise correctly and they can talk you through it over the phone. Communication is a large part of rehabilitation and your therapist wants to know if something is causing concern.
  • Not motivated: Not seeing the point of the exercises your therapist gave you – ask them why it is so beneficial. Going to see a physical therapist 2-3 times a week alone without doing home exercises will not be enough to maintain muscle strength and flexibility. Healthy habits begin with persistence. If you need motivation talk to your therapist, they are born motivators and want nothing more than to watch you succeed. Enlist the help of family or friends to keep asking about your progress.

Physical therapists may utilize print copies of exercises or they may choose to go utilize a digital version that you can access from a mobile device. No matter the delivery, the goal for each is the same. To help you heal more effectively. If you have questions about your home exercise program and what it contributes to your recovery talk to your physical therapist. Education and understanding are crucial to making sure your experience in recovery is successful. If you need help finding a physical therapist to answer your questions, we have you covered in our “Find a PT” section.

Physical Therapy Appointment

 

cold weather exercise tips

Cold Weather Exercise Tips: Running Safety

Physical Therapy Appointment

Cold temperatures and decreasing daylight hours do not mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running through the cold weather can ease the winter doldrums, improve your energy level and help you to be in better shape for the spring/summer. However, it is important to follow our PTandMe cold-weather exercise tips to run safely and comfortably through wintry weather.

  • Pay attention to temperature and wind chill: If the temperature drops below zero F or the wind chill is below -20F, you should hit the treadmill.
  • Protect your hands and feet: It is estimated that as much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet.
  • Dress in layers: It is important to start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat away from your body. stay away from cotton as a base layer as it holds moisture and will keep you wet. If it is really cold out, you will need a middle layer, such as polar fleece for added insulation.
  • Avoid overdressing: You should feel a slight chill off your body the first 5 minutes of winter running; after that, you should warm-up.
  • Protect your head:  Wearing a hat that will help prevent heat loss is very important.
  • Do not stay in wet clothes: If you get wet from rain, snow or even from sweat in chilly temperatures, you are at risk for hypothermia. It is important that you change wet clothing immediately and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible.
  • Stay hydrated: Despite the cool weather, you will still heat up and loos fluids through sweat. The cool air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or sports drinks before, during and after you run.
  • Remember sunscreen: Sunburn is still possible in the winter. It is also important to protect your lips with lip balm.
  • Take it easy when it is frigid: The colder the temperature becomes, the greater your risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easily on very cold days.
  • Run in the wind: If at all possible, head out into the wind, so that on your return run, the wind will be at your back when you are sweaty and could catch a chill.

Looking for help with a nagging injury? Find a physical therapist near you.

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For more cold-weather exercise tips to keep you safe this winter check out the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  Snow Shoveling Safety PTandMe

snow shoveling safety tips

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

snow shoveling safety tips

Snow Shoveling: A common cause of soft tissue injuries & low back pain

An average of 11,500 people are treated at emergency rooms for injuries and medical emergencies related to snow shoveling each year, according to a report released Jan. 17 by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Data from between 1990 and 2006 shows the majority of the injuries were soft-tissue injuries, with the lower back being affected 34 percent of the time. Acute musculoskeletal exertion was the cause of injury in 54 percent of the cases, followed by slips and falls (20 percent) and being struck by a snow shovel (15 percent).  Study authors recommended individuals talk to their doctor before shoveling snow, particularly those who do not exercise regularly, have a medical condition or are in a high-risk group. They also recommended alternative snow removal methods.

Clearing snow & Ice

Clearing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks is hard work. To prevent injuries, follow these safety tips from the National Safety Council, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and other prevention organizations.

  • Dress warmly, paying special attention to feet, hands, nose,
    and ears.
  • Avoid shoveling snow if you are out of shape. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow unless your doctor says it’s okay.
  • Do light warm-up exercises before shoveling and take
    frequent breaks.
  • If possible, push snow in front of you. If you have to lift it, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs, not your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or to the side.

Use ergonomic lifting technique

Whenever possible, push the snow to one side rather than lifting it. When lifting the snow shovel is necessary, make sure to use ergonomic lifting techniques.

  • Always face towards the object you intend to lift (ie have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it)
  • Bend at the hips, not the low back, and push the chest out, pointing forward. Then, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles, keeping your back straight
  • Keep your loads light and do not lift an object that is too heavy
    for you
  • If you must lift a shovel full, grip the shovel with one hand as close to the blade as comfortably possible and the other hand on the handle (handle and arm length will vary the technique)
  • Avoid twisting the back to move your object to its new location – always pivot your whole body to face the new direction
  • Keep the heaviest part of the object close to your body at your center of gravity – do not extend your arms to throw the snow
  • Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing

Video provided by the Center for Physical Rehabilitation with locations throughout Grand Rapids, MI. Check them out online here.

snow shoveling safety tips PTandMe

SENIORS NOTE:

Whenever possible, avoid shoveling snow first thing in the morning. If this is not an option, a proper indoor warm-up will prepare the body for additional activity. Jogging in place, or using a treadmill or stationary bike for 5-10 minutes are options for safely raising the heart rate while in a neutral temperature. As with any exercise, drinking lots of fluids will help maintain electrolyte balance and prevent fluid loss.

 

For more cold weather safety tips to keep you out of harm’s way this winter check the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  

 

Need help from a physical therapist?

We work with expert teams around the country to make sure you have access to the best care possible.

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ladder safety

Ladder Safety

ladder safety

As we start to put up our holiday decorations, it’s important to remember that safety comes first.
We’ve collected a few tips on proper ladder safety usage to help you stay safe this holiday season!

LadderSafety

  • If you feel tired or dizzy or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder.
  • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not ideal for ladder use as they are not considered sufficiently slip-resistant.
  • When the ladder is set-up for use, it should be placed on firm level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points.
  • Ladders should not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. The door should be blocked open, locked, or guarded.
  • Before using a ladder, inspect it to confirm it is in good working condition.
  • Ladders with loose or missing parts should not be used.
  • Rickety ladders that sway or lean to the side should not be used.
  • Make sure you’re using the right size ladder for the job.
  • The length of the ladder should be sufficient so that the climber does not have to stand on the top rung or step.
  • Only one person at a time should be on a ladder unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber (such as a Trestle Ladder).
  • Never jump or slide down from a ladder or climb more than one rung/step at a time.

Ladders can be extremely hazardous when they aren’t used properly, so please take advantage of the safety precautions above. If you find yourself in pain, please come see us. We can help get rid of your pain and back to the holiday traditions and events that you look forward to. It’s our job to make sure you feel great and ready to celebrate!

Looking for a physical therapist to help you recover from a ladder injury?

physical therapy near me

More information about ladder safety can be found in our Newsletter

Avoiding Ladder Hazards

Looking for more holiday survival tips? We have them here for you!

  Lifting Safety Tips PTandMe  elf injuries physical therapy PTandMe

 

 

post mastectomy physical therapy

Post Mastectomy Physical Therapy

Post Mastectomy physical therapy Exercises

Post Mastectomy Physical Therapy

The word cancer is a scary one. Even though we all hope that it never becomes part of our lifetime of trials, more often than not, we know someone that has had, or is currently dealing with cancer. It is a testament to the medical community that so many women are able to wear the pink ribbon as a sign of triumph and pride, but we still mourn with those that wear it as a sign of remembrance and loss. More than once, while talking with women that have begun treatment for breast cancer, the topic of whether or not to have a mastectomy has come up. It’s not a decision taken lightly, often one with multiple concerns about what happens after surgery. Will the cancer be gone for good? Will it hurt? How long will it take to recover? A physical therapy post-mastectomy program can help address these issues.

Physical Therapy can’t answer all of those questions, but one thing a physical therapy post-mastectomy program can do is aid in the overall recovery process by focusing on regaining strength and increasing the range of motion in your shoulder and arm. Early intervention by a physical therapist can help women regain full function following mastectomy surgery, regardless of whether or not a woman has had reconstruction. Rehabilitation is always tailored to each patient’s specific needs. Not every patient experiences the same recovery, and as such physical therapists are prepared to help patients experiencing a multitude of symptoms – some have been highlighted below.

Size, location, and the type of mastectomy are important considerations when choosing a type of treatment. Exercises to maintain shoulder range of motion and arm mobility may be prescribed as early as 24 hours after surgery.  These exercises are important in restoring strength and promoting good circulation. As rehabilitation progresses these exercises may be modified to meet new goals.

Physical Therapy after Surgery

After mastectomy surgery, patients may experience tightness around the surgical site. This is caused by scar tissue formation. The result can be very dense tissue under the incision, which is painful and can restrict the range of motion.  The restricted range of motion puts a woman at risk for a painful condition known as frozen shoulder. Early treatment by a physical therapist can help reduce the pain and help regain functional range of motion and strength.

Numbness and/or nerve sensitivity at the surgical site can develop post-mastectomy. Manual therapy can help restore sensation and relieve nerve pain. In severe cases, a chronic condition known as post-mastectomy pain syndrome may develop.  This is caused by scar tissue impinging on nerves. Physical therapy can be very effective at releasing scar tissue and reducing nerve-related pain.

Axillary node dissection can lead to a condition known as cording or axillary web syndrome.  Cording presents as a moderate to painful tightening, which appears as “cords” emanating from the armpit and extending down the arm. Cording significantly restricts the range of motion and arm function. Manual therapy and therapeutic stretching help to resolve this condition quickly.

Radiation treatment after mastectomy surgery can exacerbate posture and range of motion problems, causing fibrosis and skin tightness. Manual therapy can remediate these issues and may prevent them from ever becoming a problem.

The Benefits of Exercise and Physical Therapy post-mastectomy treatment programs can differ greatly as seen above, but there are a few benefits that all patients can benefit from:

  • Improved shoulder range of motion
  • Improved shoulder strength
  • Improved functional mobility
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased pain at the surgical site
  • Decreased edema on the affected side
  • Improved sensation at the surgical site

Meeting with a physical therapist before surgery can help you feel more at ease and more confident in your overall recovery goals. It’s never too early to ask questions! To find a physical therapy clinic near you click here.

For more information on cancer-related physical therapy programs click here:

    

 

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fall prevention at home

Fall Prevention: Fall Risks & Tips in your home

fall risks prevention tips at home

While falls can happen anywhere, more than half of them happen in the home. One in every three adults 65 and older fall AT HOME each year in the U.S. One of the easiest ways to help prevent a fall is to make sure that certain tripping hazards are addressed and removed. We’ve compiled a short list below to help you get started.

COMMON WARNING SIGNS FOR FALLING ARE:

  • Feeling pain or stiffness when you walk
  • Needing to walk slower or to hold on to things for support
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady when you get up from your bed or chair
  • Feeling weak in your legs
  • You take more than one medication
  • You have problems seeing
  • You have had at least one fall in the past year

RISKS TO CONSIDER WHEN FALL PROOFING YOUR HOME:

Lighting

  • Is the lighting adequate, especially at night?
  • Are stairwells well lit?
  • Is there a working flashlight in case of power failure?
  • Can lights easily be turned on even before entering
    a dark room?

Surfaces

  • Are there any wet surfaces that are frequently wet?
  • Are steps and stairs in good repair and the
    appropriate rise?
  • Do steps have handrails in good repair?

Trip Hazards

  • Are there throw rugs in the walking path?
  • Does the family pet often sleep in walking paths?
  • Is the carpet in good repair without tears or fraying?
  • Are there extension cords or raised door sills in the walking paths?
  • Is there a clear path from the bed to the bathroom?

If you feel that you are at risk for falls, talk to your physical therapy provider. Most physical therapy clinics offer fall risk assessments that can help determine any areas of risk. By participating in a fall prevention program, you can reduce the likelihood of a fall and increase the ability to live independently. Fall prevention programs mainly focus on core strength, flexibility, and patient education.

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FLYR_FallPrevention_HomeFalls fall risks

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:


fall risks    fall risks
Back Pack Safety

Backpack Safety 101

Back Pack Safety
With summer coming to an end and the need for school supplies and backpacks returning, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping with your child. Continue below for back pack safety tips to make sure your kids don’t have any unnecessary back pain this year.

Size

  • Should Not Extend Above Shoulders
  • Should Rest In Contour Of Low Back (Not Sag Down Toward Buttocks)
  • Should Sit Evenly In Middle Of Back

Fit

  • Shoulder Straps Should Rest Comfortably On Shoulders And Underarms, With Arms Free To Move – Tighten Shoulder Straps To Achieve This Fit
  • Tighten Hip And Waist Straps To Hold Pack Near Body
  • Padded Straps Help Even Pressure Over The Shoulders

ThinkstockPhotos-78779211

Weight Of Pack

  • Should Never Exceed 15% Of The Child’s Weight To Avoid Excess Loads On The Spine

BackPack Weight Charts

Lifting Of Pack

  • Proper Lifting Is Done By Bending The Knees, Squatting To Pack Level, And Keeping Pack Close To Body To Lift First To Waist Level And Then Up To Shoulders

Carrying The Pack

  • Keep Both Shoulder Straps In Place And Pack Centered
  • Spinal Forces Increase With Distance From The Body’s Center

Posture

  • Uneven Stresses On The Spine Can Cause Muscle Imbalances. This Can Lead To Pain And Possibly Functional Scoliosis.

If your child does start to complain of constant back pain, talk to your pediatrician and make sure that it isn’t a more serious issue such as scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine is curved either front to back or side to side and is often rotated to one side or the other. It can occur at birth (congenitally), develop over time having no obvious cause, but often seen related to posture and growth (idiopathically) or due to an injury or the other condition (secondarily), such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. The most common type is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It usually develops between the ages of 10 and 15, during periods of rapid growth. There are two kinds of curves, single or “C” curves and double or “S” curves. “C” curves are slightly more common than “S” curves. The curve can occur in the upper back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar), or a combination of both.

Strength for necessary upright postures of daily life is essential. Sometimes it cannot be maintained due to a “growth spurt,” fatigue from daily postural demands or poor postural habits common among adolescents. A physical therapist can analyze a patient’s history, habits and activities which may be contributing to their curvature and symptoms. Common findings include tightness and decreased motion and strength in the hips and pelvis, causing the lumbar spine to compensate with side bending and rotation. Treatment will include muscular re-educating techniques and manual techniques to restore motion, posture training, specific strengthening and home exercises.

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

As the temperatures continue to rise, we have decided to put together a few hot weather exercise tips to consider while staying active and for staying hydrated through the summer.

Set your alarm: Sunrise is generally the coolest time of day, so get up and get out early. It may be more humid, but it is generally still hot at sunset because the ground radiates accumulated heat.

Hydrate: It is recommended to drink at least eight ounces of liquids prior to heading outside to exercise and 6-8 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes, switching between water and an electrolyte drink. Remember to drink plenty of fluids post-exercise to speed recovery.

  • Remember to drink water and other fluids throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you or grab a drink each time you pass a water fountain.
  • Drink 16oz of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink an additional 10oz of fluid 10-20 minutes before exercise
  • Consume 20-40oz of fluid for every hour of exercise
  • Always have water available. Take a bottle to work, the gym or wherever you are headed, and remember to use it.
  • Drink up any time you are in the sun. Just being outside can lead to dehydration
  • Children and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration
  • Finally don’t rely on thirst as a signal to drink water. Thirst is actually a sign that the body is under stress and by the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has already begun to set in. Other symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, irritability, headache, weakness, dizziness, cramps, nausea, and fatigue. Even mild dehydration can lead to diminished performance, the elevation of core body temperature, and increased cardiovascular strain.

Acclimatize: It is advisable to gradually build up your tolerance for exercising in warmer conditions

Wear Technical Fabrics: Technical fabrics wick sweat from your body to keep you cool. Also, wear a visor to keep the sun out of your eyes, not a hat, which traps the heat.

Slow Down: For every 5-degree rise in temperature above 60 degrees F, slow down your activity intensity by 5%

Protect: Use sunscreen to protect your skin and prevent sunburn.

Be realistic: Do not overestimate your level of physical fitness; set realistic exercise goals.

What happens if I feel pain after a workout?

Keep in mind that even when you follow these hot weather exercise tips, some discomfort and muscle soreness is to be expected. If your pain does not resolve within a few days, that is when it’s time to ask for help. Your body may be able to accommodate your pain for a short period, but if left alone, you may begin to experience weakness, a lack of flexibility, and even additional injury if your body moves to avoid the pain by overcompensating with other muscle groups. The sooner you ask for help the better. During your physical therapy first visit, we will evaluate your injury and from there we can:

  • Alleviate pain
  • Correct improper movement patterns
  • Correct muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training
  • Modify training when possible
  • Educate you about faulty or improper posture or body mechanics with training

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office ergonomics

The Ergonomic Workstation

The Ergonomically correct workstation; Ergonomic workstation set up

Having an ergonomic workstation means that your desk and the things on it are arranged in such a way, that they prevent injury and are well within reach and use. An ergonomic workstation also promotes good posture. Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting, or lying down. An ergonomically designed workstation promotes good posture and helps to:

  • Keep bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
  • Help decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decrease the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Counter fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevent strain or overuse problems.
  • Avert backache and muscular pain.

Proper ergonomics plays an instrumental role in how effectively you accomplish work and will help prevent suffering from work-related injuries due to strain and overuse. In the diagram below you will find both sitting and standing workstation recommendations to achieve a proper ergonomic workstation.

seated ergonomic workstation: Ergonomic workstation set up

SITTING: Body position guidelines

  • Lower back supported by a lumbar curve
  • Bottom & Thighs distributed pressure
  • ARMS minimal bend at the wrist
  • The area behind the knee not touching the seat
  • Feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
  • Wrists and hands do not rest on sharp or hard edges
  • The telephone should be used with your head upright (not bent) and your shoulders relaxed (not elevated)

 

Standing Ergonomics: Ergonomic workstation set up

STANDING: Working Guidelines

  • Precision Work – above elbow height
  • Light Work – just below elbow height
  • Heavy Work – 4-6 inches below elbow height

 

Setting Up Your Ergonomic Workstation

Video Provided by North Lake Physical Therapy

Physical and occupational therapists have experience working with patients to improve posture and ergonomics. Some clinics have therapists that go into the workplace and arrange a patient’s workplace, making it ergonomically efficient. For more information or to find a therapist near you

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common running injuries

Common Running Injuries

Physical therapy for runners
Running can be great for your health, but if an injury occurs never be afraid to seek help. The best treatment for injuries for runners is early management and education on self-care specific to the injury. We’ve compiled a list of common running injuries below. If you are experiencing lasting pain that affects your ability to complete your run or activities throughout your day, don’t modify your behavior – talk to your physical therapist.

IT (Iliotibial) Band Syndrome

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly are all things that lead to common running injuries
  • Symptoms: Usually occurs after a short period of running with sharp pain on the outside of the knee

For more information click here

Piriformis Syndrome

  • Common Causes: Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly, Poor running mechanics, Usually associated with weak hips and core can lead to common running injuries.
  • Symptoms: Local pain and tightness in the buttock with possible tingling or numbness down the back of the leg. Most noted during prolonged sitting.

Shin Splints

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Lack of flexibility in calves, running on hard surfaces can also lead to common running injuries.
  • Symptoms: Throbbing or aching pain along the front of the shin. Usually occurs during and/or following a prolonged run or walk.

For more information click here

Plantar Fasciitis

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Change in running surface, Calf tightness, increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly can lead to common running injuries.
  • Symptoms: Deep ache and/or sharp pain in the bottom of the heel. Most commonly felt in the morning or following prolonged sitting

For more information click here

Runner’s Knee

  • Common Causes: Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly, Poor running mechanics lead to common running injuries.
  • Symptoms: Swelling, Aching pain behind and/ or around the kneecap, pain walking up and/or downstairs.

Achilles Tendinitis

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly lead to common running injuries.
  • Symptoms: Swelling, painful to the touch, lack of flexibility along the back of the lower leg close to the heel.

For more information click here