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Improve Your Running and Stay Injury Free

Running is easy! Just put one foot in front of the other and GO! If it were only that simple…  When running, there is much more to keep in mind than what your feet are doing. Running is a highly complex motion involving the entire body.  If you lack the coordination, flexibility, and motor control to run efficiently, you increase the risk of injury and not achieving your full potential.  Whether you have been injured or are looking to prevent injury, a comprehensive screen and biomechanical assessment from a highly trained physical therapist is essential.

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Keep Moving with Arthritis

Arthritis is becoming a growing problem in our society as it is estimated that 22.7 percent of the population suffers from Arthritis according to the Arthritis Foundation. It is estimated that these numbers will continue to rise over the next 15 years as well. As Arthritis is growing more prevalent it is important to help understand the signs and symptoms and differences between the different types of arthritis. The two most prevalent types of arthritis in the United States are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) while other less common forms include Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative type of arthritis that often results from a history of trauma, or repetitive trauma to a joint. Recent research has also pointed to several genes that may predispose one to arthritis. Some new research also is pointing to the fact that about 15 to 20 years following a traumatic knee injury such as ACL tear or Meniscus tear 50% of patients develop OA. The most typical signs and symptoms of OA are inflammation of joints and stiffness of joints. With OA these are often non-symmetric from right to left and affect a wide variety of joints throughout the body. Pain may vary from person to person, but typically are better with regular anti-inflammatory drugs and regular physical activity. Continue reading

Hit the Ground Running

3 Common Running Injuries Not to Ignore

No matter what distance or experience level you have with running, almost every runner experiences some aches and pains at one point or another. Especially, when you are increasing the distance you run, it is important to analyze whether or not that ache is something more serious or just a little soreness from your hard work. These are three injuries that occur commonly that may be serious and require more immediate medical management.

  1. Stress Fractures:
    Stress fractures occur often from overtraining and increasing mileage too quickly. Since the bones of your leg and foot take a lot of force through them when running, they need time to adapt and recover from increased loads. If they are unable to adapt a stress fracture can occur. If you have aches or pains in these areas lasting more than a week that occurs with weight bearing or running, it is a good idea to get it checked out by a medical professional to make sure it is not a stress fracture.Dr. Ana Cafengiu from Cafengiu Podiatry & Sports Medicine states that “Most patients wait a while before treating a stress fracture because they don’t equate the pain with a ” broken bone” as they don’t remember any specific injury that caused it.”If you have a stress fracture, treatment will often include rest and limitations in weight bearing activity, gradual activity progression, strengthening and stretching areas with imbalances to improve your biomechanics and to increase your shock absorption ability. It is also a good idea to review your training program with a personal trainer or running coach. Continue reading

Top 5 Upper Extremity Injuries in Youth Athletes

Shoulder and arm injuries often plague young athletes in many overhead sports such as baseball, lacrosse, football, softball, volleyball, swimming, and tennis. These injuries are often related to an imbalance in the body somewhere along the body’s chain, and can often be prevented. Dr. Ganley, Director of Sports Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia states “ As parents, coaches and healthcare workers we tend to think about prevention, but kids tend to soley focus on performance. In reality, they are one and the same.” As rehab and fitness specialists, we are learning that the exercises we use to improve performance in athletes of all levels, are the same ones we use to prevent injuries such as these common upper extremity injuries.

  1. Sternoclavicular Joint Dislocation. The Sternoclavicular Joint (SC joint) is where your collar bone meets your sternum at the base of your neck. This injury is of particular notice because it can be life threatening. A dislocation of this joint often comes from a traumatic blow driving the collar bone back into your neck. If the collar bone travels back it can compress or tear extremely important nerves and blood vessels. If this injury ever occurs or is suspected it is crucial to go directly to the emergency room to have this checked by a doctor.
  2. Little League Elbow. This is common in pitchers due to overuse and joint laxity at the elbow. Pain is often felt along the inside of the elbow with decreased pitching speed and accuracy. This injury if ignored can lead to tears of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and stress fractures of the elbow. In order to prevent this injury rest is often indicated with strict monitoring of pitching schedules. This is most important for young athletes who play in several leagues at the same time.
  3. Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD). This is a disorder that often results from trauma to the elbow joint. It can also result from chronic abnormal stress through the joint. The joint surface becomes irritated and often develops fragmentation. Once fragmentation has occurred if this disorder is not addressed it can lead to traumatic Osteoarthritis in the joint starting at a very young age depending on the injury age.
  4. Clavicle Fractures. Clavicle or collar bone fractures are another common dysfunction resulting from falling on an outstretched arm. They can often be painful and lead to restricted motion as they heal. If normal motion is not restored this can lead to limitations in overhead reaching and overhead arm motions in athletes. The clavicle has an important function in stabilizing the entire shoulder joint and allowing full motion of the shoulder.
  5. Shoulder Instability. This often plagues young athletes with significant amounts of overhead activity. If the shoulder joint isn’t properly being stabilized by small muscles of the back and rotator cuff, ligament laxity can occur surrounding the joint. Once laxity is developed pitchers may experience decreased pitching speed or a lack of control. Other athletes may report a weird or funny sensation in their arm when lifting overhead. This can often be resolved with selective strengthening to prevent further damage. If this problem is not addressed it can often lead to dislocation, labral tears, and rotator cuff tears causing significant missed time from their sport.

Now is the time to address injury prevention. By assessing the whole body with screens by qualified professionals who assess movement, imbalances can be identified and improved early. Preventative rehab or “pre-hab” can be done for the identified areas and athletes can decrease their chance of being side lined with an injury. See your local Doctor of Physical Therapy, Personal Trainer, or Physician for a consult to assess your athlete’s needs.

Take Control Of Your Back Pain

But if you are like most Americans over 40, your back pain may be getting in the way of what you enjoy doing. If you are one of the few with a healthy back, here are some quick tips to keep you safe. For those of you with back pain, here are some suggestions on how to reclaim your health and get back your life – pain free.

The two primary causes of back pain are traumatic injury – involvement in a car crash, falling off a ladder, etc; and lifestyle injury – a simple twist while getting up from the couch.

Lifestyle injuries usually come from a sedentary lifestyle. Most of us sit far too much. Sitting causes muscle tightness in your hip flexor muscles (which attach to your spine) so when you stand up these tight muscles get tighter and may compress your spine. Sitting also pushes the vertebrae in the wrong direction and places abnormal forces on the spine and the muscles that support it. Continue reading

Don’t Let Knee Patellofemoral Pain Slow You Down

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of several potential causes of knee pain that may affect up to 25% of athletes. Typically it occurs in the front of the knee due to compressive forces on the knee causing the underside of the knee cap to grind against the femur. This is most commonly seen in adolescent female athletes and long distance runners. During periods of rapid growth there is often neuromuscular imbalance that tends to occur more in females than males. Pain is often reproduced when sitting with the knees bent for a long period of time, climbing stairs, running, weight lifting, or kneeling.

Some potential causes of this problem are biomechanical due to excessive pronation of the foot and abnormal movement of the knee during landing. There is a groove on the lower end of the femur in which the knee cap travels. When there are muscle imbalances in the leg there can be abnormal tracking of the knee cap causing it to grind against one side of the groove causing pain. Continue reading

Meniscus Tears What You Need to Know to Stay in the Game

Knee injuries are the most common reason athletes have to sit out for an entire season, with meniscus tears being among the most prevalent. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was recently sidelined due to a meniscus tear. The meniscus are natural “spacers” or shock absorbers in the knee, and sit between the femur and tibia.

Symptoms. Patients experience a wide range of symptoms which include:
(1) Pain-Often sharp, may be felt along the edge of the knee joint closest to where the torn meniscus is located.
(2) Swelling- Causes it to feel stiff and tight. This is usually because fluid accumulates inside the knee joint.
(3) Locking- Refers to the inability to completely straighten out the knee. This can happen when a fragment of the meniscus tears free and gets caught in the hinge mechanism of the knee. This is similar to a pencil becoming stuck in between the hinge of a door.  Continue reading

Relax, De-stress and Reduce Pain with a Massage!

Typically when we hear about a massage, we think its purpose is for relaxation and stress relief. Well that is true, but a massage has numerous additional benefits. ‘A massage is also very effective at managing stress, which is increasingly becoming linked to health problems. The Mayo Clinic cites massage as a valid medical method to reduce stress, decrease and treat pain, improve tissue health, treat depression, improve flexibility and range of motion, boost immunity, aid in post-surgical healing, aid in treatment of cancer as well as many other diseases and conditions.

Additionally, massages can help reduce pain, reduce stress & improve brain power, improve tissue quality, flexibility and range of motion. In addition to those advantages medical massages have been proven to improve immune function and increase athletic performance.

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Importance of CPR/AED Training and Certification

On Thursday August 2nd, we had a CPR/AED training session at the Medford BREAKTHRU Fitness and Physical Therapy. The course went very smoothly and we had a great turnout. Thank you to Strategic Training Concepts, LLC for your time, services and valuable information.

We learned the basics of how to save a life, how to treat burn victims, and how to treat a choking victim. We learned about different sized AED pads (infant, child, adult) and about plastic face guards used to safely perform rescue breathing – they protect you from mouth to mouth contact with victim as well as preventing any contamination if the victim begins to vomit.

According to the American Red Cross, obtaining CPR/AED training is important if:

  • CPR/AED training is required for your work
  • You are a designated emergency responder at your work
  • You want to be prepared for a wide range of emergencies – either in your personal life or based on your participation in activities such as coaching, youth organizations, and others
  • You want the confidence of experience when caring for young children or family members

Additionally, the American Heart Association has listed reasons to take CPR/AED Training:

  1. After someone stops breathing or the heart stops beating, they can survive for only for 4 to 6 minutes before the lack of oxygen results in brain damage or death. CPR can buy extra time for your loved one, until professional help can arrive, by artificially circulating oxygen to the brain.
  2. Over 70% of all cardiac and breathing emergencies occur in the home when a family member is present and available to help the victim.
  3. Over 1.5 million heart attacks occur each year and approximately 350,000 of these victims die before ever reaching a hospital.
  4. The country’s #1 killers – heart attacks and accidents – claiming a life every 34 seconds in the U.S.
  5. 1 in 6 men and 1 in 8 women over the age of 45 will have a heart attack or stroke
  6. Approximately 45% of all heart attacks occur in people under age 65.
  7. Statistics show that the earlier CPR is initiated, the greater the chance of survival.
  8. The American Heart Association estimates that 100,000 to 200,000 lives could be saved each year if CPR was performed early enough.

If you missed this course don’t worry! Visit the American Red Cross’s website to find out where you can register for the next nearest CPR training course!

MEGHAN DOOLITTLE