This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!
1. My Back Pain Always Returns! What Can I Do? Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics – Northern Virginia
After the common cold, the most common reason Americans miss work is back pain. Unfortunately, once you have experienced back strain or injury, it can easily become a recurring problem. Read more
2. Uncommon Injury and Treatment Process Written by Steve Retan AT, ATC, the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, MI
Having worked as an athletic trainer for the last 23 years, I have treated and rehabilitated countless injuries. However there are times that athletes sustain injuries that I have not seen before. One such injury occurred to a high school hockey player after colliding with an opponent during a game. Read more
3. Tips for Improving Your Ankle Mobility Written by the Therapy Team at Momentum Physical Therapy – San Antonio, Texas
It’s important for a physically active body to achieve a stable balance between each active joint for maximum performance. In order for all of this to happen, ankle mobility is essential and is the root for several exercises or workouts! Read more
Soccer is the most played sport in the world and is the number one sport in many countries. It is a great cardiovascular workout that combines aerobic and anaerobic movements. However, due to the sudden changes in pace and the speed at which the game is played there is a high chance of a soccer injury.
Sports injury expert Dr. David Geier reveals that that the six most common soccer injuries are ankle sprains, joint fractures, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, meniscus tear, adductor strain, and hamstring strains. These injuries are due to the amount of stress a soccer player will put on their leg joints. The good news is that through physical therapy these injuries can be recovered from.
The ankle sprain is the most common and least serious soccer injury. The most common recovery method is to put ice on the ankle to stop the swelling, strap it, and lightly exercise it through physical therapy. One effective motion exercise is to sit on a chair with the foot flat on the floor and gently move the knee from side-to-side to stop it becoming stiff. A player should be out for a maximum of six weeks.
An ACL soccer injury can leave a player out of the game for much longer. For example, an ACL tear may require surgery (making a new ligament) in order to return to the pitch. While surgery may be required, physical therapy is definitely needed to help rebuild knee strength. The exercises will include mobility and strength exercises such as knee flexion and extension, heel slides, and isometric quadriceps exercises. As the knee joint gets stronger, plyometric drills will be introduced to the therapy to see whether the knee is strong enough to play competitive sport. These exercises may include resistance band jumps, hopping exercises and box jumps.
After knee and ankle injuries the next most common injury are hamstring strains. These are often caused through a combination of sudden explosive moments and overuse. We have all seen a soccer, football, or basketball player burst forward only to suddenly stop and crumple to the ground. That is nearly always a hamstring injury. Depending on which grade of hamstring injury the player has will change the therapy needed. If it is a grade one injury then as the muscle slowly heals the player will use ice alongside resting. Function training will also be required to regain strength and flexibility. A grade two or three injury may require surgery.
Career Threatening Injuries
A career threatening injury is the biggest risk of playing soccer. However, there is hope for injured and senior soccer players. Walking Soccer, which was developed in 2011 in England, according to British newspaper The Telegraph, allows those with mobility injuries to keep playing. As the name suggests running is outlawed, which in turns takes much of the risk and pressure off of the leg joints that can be easily injured.
The new game has been endorsed by English soccer legends such as Alan Shearer, who according to journalist Dan Fitch who works for news site Betfair Soccer who preview the Champions League fixtures in Europe, is the third fastest player to score 50 goals in the English Premier League. Shearer himself is retired and told The Telegraph that after retiring he couldn’t play the sport he made his name in due to persistent injuries. Walking Soccer has allowed Shearer and other ex-pros to play without the worry of injuries or heavy contact from other players. For amateurs and professionals alike walking soccer is a godsend.
Soccer injuries can be serious and more often that not require physical therapy to recover from. Even if you have suffered a serious injury there is still hope through new sports such as Walking Soccer.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or involved in youth sports, athletes ages 5-75 can experience injuries from playing the games they love. Physical therapists are adept at working with patients suffering from common basketball injuries and can help in a variety of different ways.
One of the most common basketball injuries is an ankle sprain. An Ankle sprain is a partial or complete tear of the ligaments that support the ankle. Ankle sprains may be caused by falling or sudden twisting of the ankle, such as:
• Stepping on an uneven surface or in a hole
• Taking an awkward step when running, jumping, or stepping up or down
• Having your ankle roll over when playing sports or exercising called inversion of the foot
Physical therapy intervention is the standard for treatment of ankle sprains. Treatment for the acute ankle sprain is based primarily upon the RICE principles: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This is followed quickly by a program of exercises and functional training to reduce the likelihood of chronic ankle instability. Balance and “proprioceptive” training are critical components of the rehabilitation process. In the case of a severe sprain and subsequent chronic instability, surgical intervention may be indicated.
Stress fractures are also seen frequently. A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone from chronic overuse. It is typically caused by repeated stress or overuse.
• Increasing the amount or intensity of an activity too quickly
• Switching to a different playing or running surface
• Wearing improper or old shoes
• Stress fractures can worsen by continued physical stress. Smoking can also make
Rest is the first thing you can do for a stress fracture. This includes avoiding the activity that caused the fracture and any other activities that cause pain. Rest time required is at least 6-8 weeks. Once you are ready to restart activity your physician may prescribe physical therapy. They may begin with non weightbearing activities, such as swimming, cycling, use of an Alter-G treadmill. Next, weight-bearing, nonimpact exercise may be prescribed. Gradually, low-impact activity, starting with walking, will be added to your treatment. Once you can do fast-paced walking with no pain, your physical therapist will give higher impact activities, such as light jogging.
HAND INJURIES are also commonly seen in basketball. If you experience a finger injury, a hand therapist will work to make sure your fingers heal correctly and reduce the risk of long term damage.
A Boutonniere injury is usually the result of a forceful blow to the bent finger and causes a disruption of the central slip of the extensor tendon insertion at the level of the middle phalanx. The middle joint (PIP) is unable to fully straighten. If left untreated, a PIP flexion contracture can result and chronic deformity ensue. Acute boutonniere injuries are treated with PIP extension splinting continuously 4-8 weeks. Chronic boutonniere injuries with PIP flexion contractures are treated with dynamic splinting to improve passive PIP extension and static splinting for at least 4 weeks once full PIP extension is achieved.
Mallet injuries are seen commonly with ball sports and result when the terminal extensor tendon is torn from the attachment on the bone. When this occurs, a small fragment of bone may be avulsed from the distal phalanx and the end of the finger droops down and cannot be straightened actively. X rays are necessary to determine the course of treatment. Bony mallet injuries may require surgical correction. Most of these injuries can be treated conservatively with continuous DIP extension splinting for 6-8 weeks.
One of the most common injuries is an ankle sprain. The most common of these is called an inversion-sprain in which the foot is rolled out. On the outer portion of the ankle are three ligaments which can be stretched or torn. There are different severities of sprain and different sets of symptoms. In general , most result in swelling , pain, stiffness, bruising and difficulty with weight bearing. The more involved the sprain, the more of these symptoms are present.
As with most injuries, earlier treatment means speedier recovery. The old synonym of RICE applies within the first 24-48 hours.