Physical Therapy Can Keep Sports Injuries at Bay

Physical Therapy Can Keep Sports Injuries at Bay

BY ROBERT PREIDT | Article Featured on US News

Physical therapy helps people recover from sports injuries, but it also can help prevent them, an expert says.

This approach, called proactive physical therapy, can help correct imbalances in amateur and professional athletes that can increase the risk of injury, according to Dean Plafcan, a physical therapist with Penn State Health

“Consider enlisting a physical therapist or athletic trainer to look for weaknesses or imbalances in one part of the body that might be impacting other areas,” Plafcan said in a university news release.

“The result of identifying problem areas and doing targeted therapy and training can be better athletic performance with less risk of pain and injury,” he added.

Plafcan noted that many amateur golfers complain about back pain, and the likely reason is their desk job. Spending a lot of time sitting leads to shortened hip flexors, the muscles on the front of the hip. This forces the lower back to do more of the work during a golf swing, resulting in pain.

“Proactive physical therapy can diagnose this imbalance and improve hip mobility,” Plafcan said. “The result is less risk of back pain, plus a more powerful downswing and greater yardage on the golf course.”

He also said that one-sided body use in many sports leads to physical imbalance.

“A baseball player, tennis player or golfer constantly works one side of the body more than the other, depending on whether the athlete is right-handed or left-handed,” Plafcan said.

“Yes, these athletes need great strength on their dominant sides to excel in their sport, but weakness on the other side of the body can lead to overcompensation and injury,” he explained. “By targeting exercise to increase symmetry in strength and flexibility, the athlete can improve overall performance.”


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

orthopaedic doctors, new mexico

What are shin splints?

Article Featured on HealthLine

The term “shin splints” describes pain felt along the front of your lower leg/shin bone. Shin splint pain concentrates in the lower leg between the knee and ankle. Your doctor may refer to the condition as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).

Shin splints frequently affect people who engage in moderate to heavy physical activity. You may be more likely to develop shin splints if you participate in strenuous physical activities or stop-start sports such as tennis, racquetball, soccer, or basketball. Sometimes the pain of shin splints can be so intense that you must stop the activity.

Shin splints is a cumulative stress disorder. Repeated pounding and stress on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower legs prevents your body from being able to naturally repair and restore itself.

What causes shin splints?

The pain associated with shin splints results from excessive amounts of force on the shin bone and the tissues attaching the shin bone to the muscles surrounding it. The excessive force causes the muscles to swell and increases the pressure against the bone, leading to pain and inflammation.

Shin splints can also result from stress reactions to bone fractures. The constant pounding can cause minute cracks in the bones of the leg. The body can repair the cracks if given time to rest. However, if the body doesn’t get time to rest, the tiny cracks can result in a complete fracture or a stress fracture.

Who is at risk for shin splints?

Various activities and physical attributes can put you at risk of getting shin splints. Risk factors include:

  • an anatomical abnormality (such as flat foot syndrome)
  • muscle weakness in the thighs or buttocks
  • lack of flexibility
  • improper training techniques
  • running downhill
  • running on a slanted surface or uneven terrain
  • running on hard surfaces like concrete
  • using inappropriate or worn-out shoes for running or working out
  • participating in sports that have fast stops and starts (like soccer or downhill skiing)

Shin splints are also more likely to occur when your leg muscles and tendons are tired. Women, people with flat feet or rigid arches, athletes, military recruits, and dancers all have an increased likelihood of developing shin splints.

Symptoms of shin splints

People with shin splints will experience some of the following symptoms:

  • a dull ache in the front part of the lower leg
  • pain that develops during exercise
  • pain on either side of the shin bone
  • muscle pain
  • pain along the inner part of the lower leg
  • tenderness or soreness along the inner part of the lower leg
  • swelling in the lower leg (usually mild, if present)
  • numbness and weakness in the feet

See your doctor if your shin splints don’t respond to common treatment methods or if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • severe pain in your shin after a fall or accident
  • a shin that feels hot
  • a shin that’s visibly swollen
  • pain in your shins even when you’re resting

How are shin splints diagnosed?

Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose shin splints during a physical exam. They’ll ask you about the types of physical activities you participate in and how often you pursue them. Doctors may prescribe diagnostic tests such as imaging scans and X-rays if they suspect that you might be suffering from bone fractures or a condition other than shin splints.

Treating shin splints

Home remedies

Shin splints normally require that you take a break from certain physical activities and give your legs time to rest. The discomfort will usually resolve completely in a few hours or at most in a few days with rest and limited activity. The suggested amount of downtime is typically about two weeks. During this time, you can engage in sports or activities that are less likely to cause additional harm to your legs. These activities include swimming or walking. Your doctor will often suggest that you do the following:

  • keep your legs elevated
  • use ice packs to reduce swelling
  • take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen
  • wear elastic compression bandages
  • use a foam roller to massage your shins

Check with your doctor before restarting any activities. Warming up before exercising is also a good way to make sure your legs aren’t sore.

Surgery

Surgery is rarely used to treat shin splints. However, if your shins splints are causing severe pain and symptoms last for more than several months, your doctor may recommend surgery. This surgery is known as a fasciotomy. In this procedure, your doctor will make small cuts in the fascia tissue surrounding your calf muscles. This can potentially relieve some of the pain caused by shin splints.

Can shin splints be avoided?

Steps you can take to avoid getting shin splints include:

  • wearing shoes that fit well and offer good support
  • using shock-absorbing insoles
  • avoiding exercising on hard or slanted surfaces or uneven terrain
  • increasing exercise intensity gradually
  • warming up before exercising
  • making sure to stretch properly
  • engaging in strength training, specifically toe exercises that build calf muscles
  • not attempting to exercise through the pain

Any intensive exercise program requires strengthening of all surrounding muscle groups. Workouts should be varied to avoid overuse and trauma to any particular muscle group. You should refrain from any intense exercise program if severe muscle pain or other physical symptoms develop.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Exercises That Are Easy On Your Joints

Exercises That Are Easy On Your Joints

Having rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t give you a pass to escape working out. In fact, regular exercise can keep your joints and muscles strong. It can also improve your heart health. That’ll make you better equipped to deal with complications that may crop up.

Other benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Less pain
  • More stability in your joints
  • More energy
  • Improved physical function and performance
  • Better bone health
  • Improved quality of life

Stretches

To ease joint stiffness and widen your range of motion, you need to stretch your muscles. Morning is a good time for gentle stretching or yoga. It’s also a good idea any time before exercise.

Leg/hamstring stretch: While standing, lean forward as far as you comfortably can and reach toward your toes. Make sure you bend your knees a little to keep your legs soft. Hold it for 10-20 seconds.

Finger/wrist stretch: Bend your fingers forward, then backward, holding each stretch for 10–20 seconds each time. Then do the same with your hand to stretch your wrist muscles.

Cross-body arm stretch: Put your arm across the front of your body and gently hold it for 10-20 seconds, then switch to the other arm. Next, reach up to the sky with one arm and then the other, tilting each arm slightly over your head to stretch your shoulders.

Neck stretches: Drop your head forward gently, and then roll it slowly toward one shoulder and back toward the other.

Yoga Poses

Cobra: Lie face-down on the floor, keeping your toes pointed away from you. Press your palms into the floor and slowly raise your upper body. Keep your elbows close to your side.

Extended leg balance: While standing, put all your weight on one foot. Use a chair or table for support and slowly lift your leg and hold it with one leg on the outside of your knee. For an even better stretch, rotate your leg out to the side from that position and hold.

Seated spinal twist: Sit up tall in a chair and put your hand on the outside of the opposite thigh. Gently twist in the direction of your arm and hold. Then, switch to the other side.

Strength Exercises

RA can slowly take away muscle mass. So, it’s important to work out your muscles to help them stay strong.

If you have swollen joints, you can do isometric exercises. They hold your muscles in one place. They also don’t make you move your joints.

If your joints aren’t swollen, isotonic exercises (movements that work against resistance, like weightlifting) are good for building up muscles.

Talk to your doctor before you start any kind of strength training.

Abdominal contractions: To do this isometric exercise, lie on your back and put your hands on your stomach muscles. Lift your head and hold it. You can continue this exercise by squeezing the muscles that lifted your head without actually picking it up, too.

Palm press: This is isometric, too. Hold your hands so they face each other. One hand should have fingertips up and the other should have fingertips down. Press your palms together and hold.

Bicep lifts: While you sit in a chair with your arms resting on your thighs palms up, hold light weights in your hands. Then, raise them toward your shoulders, bending at the elbow.

Seated knee lift: With a resistance band over your legs in a seated position, raise one leg slowly, then switch sides.

Exercises for Endurance

Your heart muscle needs a workout just like your biceps or quads do. Aerobic exercises raise your breathing and heart rates. Your best bets are exercises that get your blood pumping and are easy on your joints.

Walking: Daily walks are an easy way to get into the exercise groove. Start with slow and short strolls if you’re new to regular exercise. Then work up to longer, faster walks as you get stronger. Be sure to stretch before you start and after you finish. Drink plenty of water, too.

Cycling: A stationary bike takes away your risk of a fall. Again, start slowly if you’re a beginner, and go faster as you get better.

Swimming: Water workouts are great when you have RA. They take weight off your joints. They also raise your heart rate. Water also acts as resistance against your muscles. That can make you stronger.

You can swim laps or join a water aerobics class. Use water weights for some more muscle work.

nmo orthopaedics

Just 45 Minutes of Exercise a Week Can Benefit Older Adults With Arthritis

Article written by Honor Whiteman | Found on MedicalNewsToday

Egaging in physical activity can reduce pain and help to maintain mobility and independence for older adults with arthritis, but current exercise recommendations are often unachievable for this population. Now, however, a new study finds that exercising for just 45 minutes is enough to reap the benefits.

First author Dorothy Dunlop, professor of rheumatology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL, and colleagues report their findings in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, caused by “wear and tear” of cartilage that protects the joints. As the cartilage breaks down, pain, swelling, and joint movement problems may occur.

Older adults are most commonly affected by arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2010-2012, approximately 49.7 percent of adults aged 65 and older in the United States reported having been diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor.

Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are a leading cause of disability among U.S. adults; around 9.8 percent of those with doctor-diagnosed arthritis in 2010-2012 reported limitations in activity as a result of the condition.

Arthritis and physical activity

While physical activity can be challenging for many older adults with arthritis, it can help patients better manage their condition and maintain physical functioning. In addition, exercise can reduce the risk of other health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults aged 65 and older engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

However, according to Dunlop and colleagues, only 1 in 10 older U.S. adults with knee OA meet these recommendations. This is most likely because they find such guidelines unachievable with their condition.

With this in mind, the team set out to determine whether older arthritis patients might be able to benefit from lower levels of physical activity than the current recommendations.

To reach their findings, the researchers analyzed the data of 1,629 adults aged 49 and older who were part of the Osteoarthritis Initiative – a nationwide study that aims to identify prevention and treatment strategies for patients with knee OA. All participants had pain, aching, or stiffness in joints of the hips, knees, or feet.

The physical functioning of each subject was assessed at study baseline and 2 years later through self-reported outcomes. Physical activity and functioning were also measured using movement-monitoring accelerometers.

‘Even a little activity is better than none’

After 2 years, the physical functioning of around a third of participants had either improved or remained high, the team reports.

It was the participants who engaged in regular exercise that experienced higher physical function. However, subjects did not need to meet the recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week to see benefits.

The team found that older adults who engaged in just 45 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, per week were 80 percent more likely to maintain or improve their physical functioning than those who exercised for under 45 minutes weekly.

The researchers say that their findings applied to both men and women with arthritis of the lower joints.

“We found the most effective type of activity to maintain or improve your function 2 years later was moderate activity, and it did not need to be done in sessions lasting 10 minutes or more, as recommended by federal guidelines,” notes Dunlop.

Participants who engaged in more than 45 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week saw greater benefits to physical function, but the researchers believe that their findings show that older adults with arthritis need only perform a third of the recommended activity to remain functional.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions ó such as sports injuries and fractures ó to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

When Physical Therapy Can Help

When Physical Therapy Can Help

Physical therapy and recovery from injury

Article Featured on WebMD

Physical therapy can help you recover from an injury and avoid future injury. Your physical therapist can help you reduce pain in the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments), build muscle strength, and improve flexibility, function, and range of motion. He or she can also evaluate how you do an activity and make suggestions for doing the activity in a way that is less likely to result in an injury.

Physical therapy and chronic health conditions

Physical therapy can help you live more easily with chronic or ongoing health conditions such as spinal stenosis, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. Your physical therapist will work with you to establish your goals. Then he or she will create a program of educational, range-of-motion, strengthening, and endurance activities to meet your needs.

Physical therapy and health conditions requiring a rehabilitation team approach

Some conditions involve several body systems and can lead to significant disability. These conditions-such as stroke, spinal cord injury, and major cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) problems-are usually addressed by a team of health professionals through programs such as cardiac rehab and stroke rehab. The team can include doctors; nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; psychologists; and social workers, among others.

Physical therapists are a critical part of this team. They address the issues of range of motion, strength, endurance, mobility (walking, going up and down stairs, getting in and out of a bed or chair), and safety. The physical therapist may also get you the equipment you need, such as a walker or wheelchair, and make sure you can use the equipment appropriately.

Physical therapy and significant health conditions of childhood

Physical therapists also work with children who have major injuries or health conditions, such as cerebral palsy. They address the usual issues of range of motion, strength, endurance, and mobility. Also, the therapist considers the child’s special growth and developmental needs.

Treatment is often provided in the school or in a facility just for children. The way physical therapy and other services are delivered in the schools varies among the states. Talk to your child’s doctor, school, or your local health department if you think your child may qualify for evaluation or treatment services.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions — such as sports injuries and fractures — to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

5 Exercises for Rotator Cuff Pain

5 Exercises for Rotator Cuff Pain

What is a rotator cuff injury?

As sports fans and athletes alike know, shoulder injuries are serious business. They can be extremely painful, limiting, and slow to heal. As physical therapist and founder of WebPT Heidi Jannenga explains, the rotator cuff is a common shoulder injury site, though there are plenty of exercises to help you recover.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that stabilize the shoulder and allow it to move. Jannenga says you should visualize the head of the arm bone as a golf ball, and the area of the shoulder blade as a golf tee: “The rotator cuff serves as a sleeve that enables the ball to spin and roll while remaining on the tee.”

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