Tag Archives: Injury Prevention

seniors start exercising

Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising

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For years, seniors have attributed their aches, pains, and illnesses to the normal aging process. Age is often used as a reason to avoid exercise. But a regular exercise program can improve the quality of your life and help you avoid illness, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As always, you should consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.

WHAT WE KNOW
Most people know that with age, come certain physiological changes. Studies show that we lose the following as we age:
• Lean muscle tissue—Most of us will lose muscle mass as we get older. We usually hit our peak muscle mass early—around age 20—and begin losing muscle mass thereafter.
• Aerobic capacity—The aerobic capacity is the ability of the heart and the body to deliver and use oxygen efficiently. Changes in the heart and decrease in muscle tissue decrease aerobic capacity.
• Balance—As we age, our ability to balance decreases, making falls and injuries more likely. The loss of muscle is a major contributor to losses on balance.
• Flexibility—Our joints and tendons lose some of their range of motion with age, making it difficult to bend and move around comfortably.
• Bone density—Most of us reach our peak bone density around age 20. After that, bones can become gradually thinner and weaker, which can lead to osteoporosis.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help delay some of these changes and give you the energy you need to do everyday activities like walking, shopping, and playing with your grandchildren. Exercise may even help decrease depression and stress, improve mood and self-esteem, and postpone age-related cognitive decline.

By adding endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance training into your routine, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic.

senior push ups

ENDURANCE
Decades ago, doctors rarely recommended aerobic exercise for older people. But we now know that most people can safely do moderate exercises. Studies have shown that doing aerobic exercise just a few days a week can bring significant improvements in endurance.

Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise—such as brisk walking, bicycling, or swimming—at least 5 days a week. You do not have to do 30 minutes at once—you can break these sessions up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. Moderate exercise will cause your heart rate to rise and your breathing to be slightly elevated, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

STRENGTH
It is not just aging that makes people lose muscle. One of the main reasons older people lose muscle mass is that they stop exercising and doing everyday activities that build muscle.

Building stronger muscles can help protect your joints, strengthen your bones, improve your balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, and make it easier for you to move around in general. Even small changes in your muscle size and strength—ones that you cannot even see—will make things like walking quickly across the street and getting up out of a chair easier to do.

Aim to do strength exercises (eg, weight lifting) every other day, or at least twice a week. For each exercise, do three sets of 8-12 repetitions.

FLEXIBILITY
Increasing your overall activity level and doing stretching exercises can markedly improve your flexibility.

To improve the flexibility—or range of motion—of your joints, incorporate bending and stretching exercises into your routine. A good time to do your flexibility exercises is after your strength training routine. This is because you muscles will already be warmed up. Examples of exercises that you may enjoy include Tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and exercises that you do in the water.

By regularly stretching, you will be able to move around easier. You may also feel less stressed, and your posture will improve.

BALANCE
Just becoming more physically active will improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling. If you add some basic balancing exercises to your exercise routine, you will begin feeling more stable on your feet. Balance exercises can be done just about anywhere and usually require no more equipment than a chair.

Keep in mind that if you are having severe problems with balance, a fall prevention physical therapy program can be a great way to regain your balance, increase strength or improve flexibility.

GETTING STARTED
To avoid injury, start slowly. Add one or two sessions a week at first and progress from there as you begin to feel stronger. A physical therapist, or other health professional, can help develop a program that will be both safe and effective. Check with your local fitness or community center, which may offer exercise classes designed especially for older adults. Check with your primary health care provider if you are planning to participate in vigorous activities.

Remember, it is never too late to start exercising. The sooner you start, the sooner you will start feeling healthier, more energetic, and less stressed.

RESOURCES:
American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
http://www.fitness.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Effects of aging. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00191. Updated September 2009. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Exercise and physical activity: your everyday guide from the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity-your-everyday-guide-national-institute-aging-1. Updated February 16, 2016. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Physical activity: glossary of terms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/terms/index.htm#Moderate. Updated June 10, 2015. Accessed on April 4, 2016.

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

PT can Help

Elf Injuries and How PT Can Help: Part 1 of 3

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Elf Injuries_2016-11_FBsize

It’s that time of year, when we check in on Santa’s helpers to see if they can use some physical therapy. With their heavy lifting and high demand job they’re always experiencing injuries. Our new elf friend Ziggy, is the perfect patient for physical therapy. Let’s see how PT can help Ziggy!

Here’s part of his story…

Ziggy was working late one night in the North Pole. When all of a sudden… he lifted a large toy scooter and fell over on to his back. OUCH!

elf on PT & Me website

Luckily, Santa and his elves have an amazingly good north pole internet provider, and Ziggy was able to go online to the PTandMe website and find great physical therapy clinics in his area.

elf on pt table

Now Ziggy is at one of PT & Me’s physical therapy clinics with one of our trusted therapists to help relieve him of all his back pain. He will be back to making more toys real soon, just in time for the holiday!

See Ziggy’s complete physical therapy experience here!

elf injuries physical therapy PTandMe   Elf on the Shelf Physical Therapy

elf injuries

Special thanks to Action Physical Therapy, in Houston, TX, for accommodating the demanding work schedule of Santa’s elves. Click Here for more information about Action Physical Therapy.

Back Pack Safety

Back Pack Safety 101

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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.

Low Back Pain (LBP) Top 5 Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

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How to Reduce Low Back Pain
Over time, we develop arthritic changes in our back due to normal wear and tear. Below are a list of exercises that can help reduce lower back pain. These exercises will help you, in time, return you to your normal activities and improve your quality of life.

Top 5 Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

1. LOWER TRUNK ROTATION
Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Keep your feet and knees together and lightly rotate your spine.
Stop the stretch when you feel your hips coming off of the table. Only rotate to approximately 45 degrees and rotate back and forth like a windshield wiper.
Repeat for 2 minutes.
Low back pain

2. ABDOMINAL BRACING
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Slightly elevate your hips but not high enough to where it comes off of the table. Simultaneously, squeeze your abdominal muscles down towards the table. Continue to breathe.

Hold this for 10 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for 2 minutes.

Low back pain
Low back pain

3. SINGLE KNEE TO CHEST
Bring one knee to your chest.

Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat alternating legs to your chest for a time of 2 minutes.
Low back pain

4. FIGURE 4 STRETCH
Cross on ankle over to the opposite knee and press down on the resting leg. You should feel the stretch in your hip.

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds if you can tolerate it. Repeat for 3 repetitions, then switch legs.
Low back pain

5. PIRIFORMIS STRETCH

Cross one ankle over to the opposite knee. Pull the resting knee across your body and up towards your chest. (You should aim for your opposite shoulder as a reference). This stretch should be felt over the crossed leg buttock.

Hold for 30 seconds if you can tolerate it. Repeat for 3 repetitions on each leg.
Low back pain

Written by Laura Cifre, OTR/L, PT, DPT, Director at Green Oaks Physical Therapy – Irving, Texas.
To learn more about Green Oaks Physical Therapy click here.

 

For more information about back pain physical therapy click the links below.

beware bed rest for back pain  chronic back pain  low back pain relief

shin splints

7 Ways Physical Therapists Treat Shin Splints

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shin splints

Here are 7 ways a physical therapist can help treat pain and symptoms associated with shin splints:

Pain Reduction: The RICE principle is the first step to recovery (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Manual therapy and Kinesiotaping may also be used to speed up recovery and reduce swelling.

Gait and Footwear Analysis: An analysis of how a person walks and runs in an important part of treatment. The wrong mechanism of walking can transmit a great deal of force through the shin to the knee and hip. In such situations, physical therapists will correct gait patterns and recommend footwear with shock absorbing capacity.

Muscle Stretches and Strengthening: The tibial and peroneal muscles are attached to the shin and must be stretched adequately before any form of exercise. Physical therapy includes various stretches of the goot that will help stretch and warm up these muscles. Strengthening damaged muscles can also help.

 Activity Modification:  Physical therapists may suggest alternative activities to minimize stress on the shinbones. These can include swimming and cycling.

Increase Range of Motion (ROM): Exercises for the hip, knee, ankle and foot improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation and relieve pain. A home exercise program may also be implemented.

Arch Support:  The absence or collapse of a normal foot arch can lead to shin splints. Physical therapists will recommend appropriate orthotics that can be custom made for the patient and provide the appropriate amount of arch support.

Return to Sport: If you are an athlete, your therapist may tailor exercises that are specific to strengthening the areas needed to perform your sport. Modified use of your muscles may also be discussed and implemented. Return to your sport may be gradual to prevent re-injury.

To learn more about shin splints please visit our PT & Me injury center on this website by clicking here.

National Athletic Training Month

March is National Athletic Training Month

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March is National Athletic Training Month

Why We ATC?

ATHLETIC TRAINERS are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. They can work in a variety of settings, including high schools, middle schools, universities, professional sports teams, hospitals, clinics, performing arts, club sports teams, and more. Athletics trainers decrease the liability on coaches, ensure a quicker and safer return to play, and reduce the risk of injuries for athletes of all ages. To learn more about the great things our ATC’s do — search for one of our PT & Me athletic training locations by clicking here!

Game & Practice Coverage:

• Early injury detection and intervention
• Quick referral process to local specialists if required
• Concussion safety injury screenings:
• Evaluation of injury
• Recommendation on immediate care
• Quicker return to play

March is National Athletic Training Month

WHAT IS NATIONAL ATHLETIC TRAINING MONTH?
March is National Athletic Training Month, a time to celebrate the positive impact athletic trainers have on work, life and sport. National Athletic Training Month is sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the professional members association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. NATA represents more than 45,000 members worldwide.

ATC SPORTS STATS
All statistics taken from www.atyourownrisk.org

90% of student athletes report some sort of sports-related injury in their athletic careers.
54% of student athletes report they have played while injured.
12% report they have sustained concussions and head injuries from their time on the field.
163,670 middle or high school athletes were reported being seen in the emergency room for a concussion.
300 sports-related deaths of youth anything to prevent injuries.
37% of public high schools employ a full-time athletic trainer.
54% of athletes said they have played while injured.

Lymphedema

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lymphedema?

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Lymphedema

Lymphedema can occur in any body part. Some common early symptoms include:

  • Tightness, swelling or thickening anywhere in the extremity. Initially the swelling may fluctuate but over timeit worsens.
  • A burning sensation or tingling sensation radiating down the extremity.
  • Complaints of heaviness or aching of the extremity.
  • Inability to wear rings, jewelry, watches or clothing secondary to edema.

STAGE 1 – Reversible Lymphedema

  • Lymphedema disappears with bed rest and/or elevation especially over night.
  • Edema is soft and pitting, no resistance is felt. Indentations are easily made.
  • No or little fibrosis. No alteration of tissues.

STAGE 2 – Irreversible Edema

  • Protein enriched edema which does not decrease with elevation/nights rest.
  • Connective and scar tissue formation (i.e. fibrosis). Fibrosclerotic changes.
  • Non pitting edema, strong pressure is able to produce pitting.
  • Edema becomes hard. Indentions are difficult to make.

lymphedema

Precautions and Guidelines

  • Maintain a well balanced diet, with low sodium intake. Keep a healthy weight, avoid obesity. Good nutritional guidelines are provided by the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
  • Keep the affected arm or leg, clean, and well moisturized. Lotion should be at a relatively low pH balance. The goal is to prevent skin breakdown.
  • Use antibacterial and hypo-allergenic soap when washing.
  • Avoid injections, vaccinations, flu shots, blood draws and IV lines in the affected extremity. Remember, if this is an emergency, it is more important to treat the patient than to worry about putting an IV in the affected arm.
  • If at all possible, avoid having blood pressure taken in the affected arm.
  • Many people enjoy having a manicure. There is always a risk with this but you can decrease your risk by keeping your cuticles moist with lotion and push them back instead of cutting them. You could also consider buying your own manicure set and have the salon use only your tools.
  • When cleaning the house, wear a good quality rubber glove when handling harsh chemicals such as ammonia, bleach, furniture polish, abrasive cleansers etc.
  • Avoid using a razor or depilatory creams for the armpit or leg hair. The safest tool would be an electric razor.
  • When cooking, wear long protective mitts (to the elbow) when taking food out of the oven and when boiling a pot of hot water.
  • It is important to avoid pet scratches, insect bites, spider bites etc. Using an insect repellent may be necessary but remember some brands are very harsh. Look for a natural insect repellent if possible.
  • Avoid sunburn at all cost! Especially if you have received radiation therapy.
  • Be aware of items that can cause a burn such as a curling iron, an iron, space heaters etc.
  • Avoid saunas, hot tubs, and hot showers. Avoid extreme temperatures, very cold or very hot.
  • Avoid lifting or moving heavy objects.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing or jewelry.
  • Exercise, and be knowledgeable of how exercise effects the lymphedema.
  • Check your skin daily, and call your physician immediately if you notice any adverse changes in your lymphedematous body part or if you have fever and redness.

 

Additional Precautions for Leg Lymphedema

  • Proper shoe wear is essential in avoiding blisters and ingrown toenails, avoid high-heeled shoes.
  • Do not walk bare foot, especially outside.
  • Get all fungal infections treated immediately.
  • Do not receive injections to remove varicose veins in the affected leg.

This information is for educational purposes only. This information should not be used without consultation with your healthcare professional. If you have questions regarding the material or its application, seek professional assistance from your provider. This information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace healthcare professional consultation.

 

When Is the Time Right for Physical Therapy?

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physical therapy

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.

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Stay Injury-Free This New Year
Written by the Therapy Team at Integrated Rehabilitation Group – Puget Sound Region, WA

This new year, health clubs across the country typically enjoy a membership boost as eager souls sign up to make good on their resolutions to “get fit.” Read more

2. Don’t Let Your Asthma Freeze You Out of Winter Workouts
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics – Northern Virginia

Avoiding asthma attacks while exercising in winter is best accomplished by preventing cold, dry air from getting into your bronchial airways. One way to do this is to exercise indoors when it is cold. Read more

3. Living Our Mission Statement: Being a Catalyst of Change In 2018
Written by Colleen Norris, Partner/Practice Administrator – Overland Park, KS

I have been in healthcare for almost 40 years and the changes that have occurred over that time have been tremendous. I’ve seen everything from patient care innovations, new payment methodologies, advancing technology, improved workflow processes and my personal favorite… a focus on outcome data. Read more

labral tear physical therapy

ATC Tip: The Labrum

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Anatomy of the Shoulder
The shoulder can move in almost every plane of motion, it’s the most mobile joint in the human body; but more mobility = more instability. The shoulder joint is often described as a “ball in socket,” but it’s wide range of motion makes it a highly vulnerable joint. We have a network of soft tissue structures, such as the rotator cuff and ligaments, whose main job is to keep the humeral head in its assigned seat. However, often these muscles alone are not sufficient as they can become weak or tight and thus less efficient. The labrum is a small ring of cartilage that provides additional stability to the shoulder joint.

How Does a Labrum Become Damaged?
Direct trauma, shearing forces, or repetitive stress can cause damage to the labrum. Often, this damage will present as a tear in the labrum, which can restrict motion, decrease strength, and cause pain in the shoulder. Picturing that ring of cartilage, imagine a roughening of the edges of the bowl-like golf tee, or even a rip that flaps when the ball is spun around. It is not uncommon for a shoulder dislocation or subluxation to be accompanied by a labral tear; chronic shoulder instability can also lead to labrum injury.

What Does a Labrum Do?
Because the “ball and socket” is so shallow, the shoulder joint is often described, quite accurately, like a “golf ball sitting on a tee.” To picture the shoulder labrum, imagine a ring around the outer edge of a golf tee, effectively deepening the overall bowl shape, almost suctioning the humerus into the space. The labrum helps stabilize the shoulder by making the “ball” more difficult to remove from the “tee.”

How Can I Prevent a Labrum Injury?
The best way to prevent a labral tear is to strengthen the musculature surrounding the shoulder joint. The best case scenario is all of the muscles are working together to keep the shoulder joint moving fluidly through its full range of motion. Important within this group of muscles are the muscle that control the shoulder blades. By strengthening the stabilizing muscles individually and functionally, it helps them stay balanced and strong with the other, stronger muscles (like the RTC). The other way to prevent a labrum tear is to avoid excessive contact, repetitive overhead motions, and falls.

This article about athletic injuries was provided by PT & Me physical therapy partner: The Center for Physical Rehabilitation. More information about the center and their locations throughout Grand Rapids, MI can be found on their website at www.pt-cpr.com

To see a shoulder strengthening program visit our Sports Medicine Tip Page by clicking here.