Tag Archives: Injuries

When Is the Time Right for Physical Therapy?

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Often, we end up in physical therapy based on the referral of our physician after dealing with and injury for a certain period of time. However, physical therapy can be used for many different ailments and can actually help cut down the time off work, off of sports and promote healing much faster.

Physical therapy can be used for many of your minor and major injuries. Following surgeries or traumas (accidents, dislocations, fractures, sprains) it can cause a considerable reduction in swelling and allow things to heal 75-80% faster than if without therapy. It has been shown that following surgery, the quicker someone goes for therapy, the less likely they are to stiffen up or have complications due to loss of range of motion. It also helps to significantly reduce pain and swelling.

Physical therapy is not only used following surgeries or sports injuries, but can be extremely helpful in preventing symptoms from getting worse and developing into more problems. If you’ve been having pain in your shoulder for 3 months or so, your body now has altered the way it moves your shoulder and in turn, you have developed some compensation patterns which could cause things to develop into other areas, such as your neck from your altered movements. This then, can lead to more significant problems which could have been easily avoided if therapy had been started and symptoms had gotten under control.

Remember, the quicker you get into therapy following an injury or persistent pain, the quicker your response time will be to therapy. If you are having some issues, talk to your physician about starting therapy. You don’t have to wait until it has a complete impact on your life or your recreational activities. Stop pain in your life and feel better by visiting one of our PT & Me physical therapists today.

avoiding workplace hazards for feet and hands

Avoiding Workplace Hazards for Feet and Hands

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avoiding workplace hazards for feet and hands

OSHA Estimates totals for foot and hand types of injuries annually at 320,000 hand and finger injuries, 70,000 eye injuries, 70,000 head and face injuries, and 110,000 foot and toe injuries in 1987. Close to 30% of the total injury base. Sharp or heavy falling objects are the primary sources of foot injuries. So how does one go about avoiding workplace hazards for feet and hands?

To help you get started we have listed out some of the common injuries and actions that lead to workplace injuries of the hand and foot. This is by no means complete as there certainly could be burns or lacerations or multiple levels of sprains/strains in either body area in addition to those noted.

Foot Injuries

One’s feet provide support and movement. Yet, the 26 bones in the human foot can be easily damaged. According to the BLS, 40 laborers suffer disabling injuries to their feet and toes every day. These injuries account for 8.5 percent of all lost-time injuries in the construction industry.

  • Compression – when foot or toe is squeezed between two objects
  • Puncture – when a sharp object like a nail, penetrates the shoe
  • Slipping – loss of traction due to oil, water or chemicals
  • Chemicals/Solvents – may penetrate ordinary safety shoes and can harm feet
  • Temperature Extremes – insulated boots may be necessary, depending on climate
  • Wetness – extended exposure to water may result in discomfort and possible infection
  • Electricity – a danger when using power tools or electric equipment

Some of the most common foot and leg injuries include:

  • Fractures – A fracture of the bones in the leg, foot, or knee may be caused by falling objects or an accidental fall from a height. Some fractures can be treated by using a lightweight cast and crutches, while more serious fractures may require surgery and extensive physical therapy.
  • Knee Tendonitis – Knee Tendonitis is a swelling of the tendons surrounding the knee. Individuals who spend a lot of time walking, standing, or lifting objects while at work are at risk of developing this painful condition. Older individuals are, particularly at risk.
  • Knee Bursitis – Knee Bursitis is a swelling of a fluid sac that provides cushioning for your knee joint. Like tendonitis, bursitis can cause severe pain, inflammation, and loss of mobility.
  • Loss of Limb – The most serious workplace accidents may require amputation. These life-altering accidents can have devastating effects on an individual’s quality of life and ability to work. Amputation cases are especially complicated because they involve issues of retraining, prosthetic replacement, wound care, and home modification. Leg and foot injuries can be among the most devastating for an individual to sustain as well as the most difficult to overcome. Using crutches or a wheelchair can severely limit a person’s mobility, and make it difficult to complete, let alone enjoy, everyday activities at work, at home, and in the community.
    Leg and foot injuries can also make it very difficult, if not impossible, to return to one’s pre-injury employment. Individuals who perform manual labor rely on the use of their legs and feet to perform nearly every aspect of their jobs. Furthermore, many workplaces are also not properly equipped for individuals with limited mobility.

hand injury


Hand Injuries

The hands are an extremely important part of the body and can be damaged in a matter of seconds, leaving a Laborer permanently disabled. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Laborers suffer over 8,600 disabling hand injuries each year, accounting for roughly 18 percent of all disabling injuries.

The most common dangers include:

  • Pinch or crush points
  • Hot surfaces
  • Rotating devices
  • Chemicals
  • Machinery not properly locked out

Some common hand, wrist, and arm injuries that can occur in the workplace include:

  • Fractures – A hand, wrist, or arm fracture can occur due to falling objects or other accidents. Some fractures can be severe and may require extensive reconstructive surgery.
  • Nerve damage – An accident may damage the nerves in the hand and arm, which may cause numbness and pain.
  • Loss of limb – A serious accident may require the amputation of an arm or hand. This serious injury can dramatically affect all aspects of your life. Individuals must relearn how to conduct even simple functions, and while prosthetic limbs can help, they are expensive. Furthermore, approximately 60-80% of amputees experience phantom limb syndrome, causing them to feel sensations such as aching, itching, and burning to emanate from the body part that is no longer there.

In addition to hand and arm injuries that are caused by an accident, many common injuries are caused or worsened by repetitive stress.
These ailments include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – People with carpal tunnel syndrome experience pain and tingling sensations in their thumbs and fingers. Although the exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown, many researchers believe that performing repetitive manual tasks, such as typing on a keyboard, may cause or worsen the condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome may require wrist surgery, steroid injections, or the use of a brace.
  • Repetitive strain injuries – Repetitive strain injuries are characterized by painful sensations while performing a repetitive task, such as lifting heavy objects. These injuries can worsen the more an activity is performed. Injuries to the arm and hand, whether suffered by an accident or through repetitive strain, can permanently impact a person’s life. Even the completion of simple, everyday tasks may become difficult and exhausting, diminishing one’s overall quality of life.

Understanding what the injuries are is the first step in prevention. If you are looking to put protocols in place to help team members avoid workplace hazards for feet and hands, please reach out to a physical therapy clinic that specializes in industrial rehabilitation. They can work with you to improve the safety of the workplace and the employees.

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The Role of Physical Therapy in Sports Medicine

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Sports medicine through physical therapy comes in many forms. Many clinics keep licensed athletic trainers on staff that will go on-site to schools and other sporting events to act as an initial caregiver at the time of an injury. If an injury occurs, your physician may refer you to physical therapy. From there, your physical therapist will have an array of different programs tailored to your specific type of injury, the severity of the injury, and your fitness level. However, you don’t have to wait until you have an injury to get help from a physical therapist. Sometimes the best medicine is prevention.

WHEN YOUR BODY EXPERIENCES PAIN:

  1. It’s telling you that something is wrong
  2. Your body can accommodate to the pain, but eventually, a breakdown will happen
  3. While you accommodate to your pain, weakness and stiffness begins
  4. Once you have a breakdown, pain will happen and more than likely you will stop training

Some ways physical therapists help athletes from experiencing an injury:

Sports Injury Prevention Programs: Physical Therapists offer classes and/or programs geared to specific injuries. Commonly offered programs are geared towards ACL Injury prevention, Golf Strengthening (TPI), Running Injuries and more.

Gait Analysis for runners: A three-dimensional video assessment of a runner’s biomechanics using a state of the art motion analysis system. See yourself run at variable speeds from five different camera angles. An athlete can learn how to prevent injuries and improve performance through increase cadence and strengthening/stretching.

Functional Movement Screenings (FMS): One way to determine physical weaknesses is to perform the Functional Movement Screen. FMS is an innovative system used to evaluate movement pattern quality for clients and athletes. The functional movement screen is used to identify and correct weaknesses in the movement and strength of athletes.

ONCE AN ATHLETE DOES EXPERIENCE AN INJURY, PHYSICAL THERAPY MAY INCLUDE:

  • Education on faulty or improper posture or body mechanics with training
  • Education and help with technique on exercises that help your muscles stretch farther
  • Flexibility training that helps prevent cramps, stiffness, and injuries, and can give you a wider range of motion
  • Correction of muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training
  • Endurance training
  • Kinesiotaping
  • Alleviation of pain
  • Correction improper movement patterns