Sunday, March 21, 2010

ICE, ICE, Baby!

Spring is upon us!! Our bodies are craving movement. As we get more active, you might notice that some of us are moving around a little more slowly than we have in the past.

Nothing to fear... yet. Here is a simple way to alleviate some pain and maybe even shed some light on a very commonly made mistake when dealing with joint pain.

While applying ice to achy joints might not be the most comfortable experience, it is among the most effective for decreasing pain and inflammation. Heat feels better but in some cases, it may actually exacerbate the problem!

How do I know when I should use ice?
The simple answer: If it's red, swollen, painful and warm it would probably benefit from a good cool down. 15 - 20 minutes of ice with a break for 10 - 15 minutes. Repeat as often as possible for the first couple of days.

If a joint requires heat, then the problems is more likely a long-standing one. General stiffness, pain and decreased ability to move that joint(s) is an indication for heat.

The bonus about ice: Even if ice is inappropriate for the injury, it won't do you any harm. While if you mistakenly apply heat to an area that is inflammed you may cause more damage.

Moral of the story: When in doubt ICE, ICE, Baby!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Knee Pain: Calling all endurance athletes

A very common problem seen in endurance athletes who present with knee pain is weakness in the outter hip muscles and poor coordination between the foot and hip. Recently published research in the Journal of Sport and Orthopaedic Physical Thearpy continues to enforce this assessment.

Be sure to work to strengthen each limb independently to increase your ability to absorb impact, stabilize your mechanics and ultimately prevent injuries to your knees and hips that will put you on the shelf.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Small Physical Therapy practices: the new wave!

Size may matter to some but in the case of physical therapy and fitness services, smaller and more agile is a more popular trend.

Smaller organizations can offer much more to their clinetelle in the way of personal service, more intimate atmosphere and are better equipped to change with new developments in practice than their larger corporate counterparts.

Do you have pain? Do you need to improve your fitness? Have athletic aspirations for yourself or your friends? Seek out the smaller groups in your area. To help you select the right group for you, ask yourself questions like:

"How many runners (swimmers, baseball players, dancers, etc) have they worked with?"

"What makes this place the best fit for me?"

"Do they have availability that fits my schedule?"

If you do a good job of answering these questions, you will set yourself up for success even before setting foot in the door. Always remember that smaller physical therapy and fitness organizations will be more willing to speak with you over the phone or email so that you are comfortable with the details so don't hesitate to reach out to them.