physiquality blog: why is physical therapy important after a joint replacement?

Joint replacement surgery has become fairly common in recent years. It has become easier to recuperate from, and the implanted replacements last a lot longer than they used to. In the 1980s, I was told a new knee would last 10-15 years; now, they can last up to 30 years.

The older patients who often get these surgeries may not have been through orthopedic procedures before, and I’ve come across some who shrug off the prescription of physical therapy as unnecessary. Unfortunately, without the strengthening and work done in PT, these patients could end up with the very same chronic pain that drove them to have the surgery in the first place.

To learn more about why PT is such an integral part of joint replacement procedures, read on…

Why is physical therapy important after a joint replacement?

with advice from Shelly Cloughley, PT, DPT, CSCS

Joint replacement surgeries like knee and hip replacements have been on the rise in the new millennium. With many Baby Boomers approaching their 70s, it’s a trend that most likely will continue.

But while patients might think long and hard about what the surgery will entail and the expertise of their surgeon, they don’t often consider the role of physical therapy in their recovery.

A patient’s decision to undergo a joint replacement is often a result of chronic arthritis or pain, as well as a loss of function and quality of life. Throughout the process of rehabilitation, patients are commonly frustrated about meeting their expectations of having the joint replacement. Patients aren’t usually prepared for the discomfort of the process of healing, and the challenges of restoring their full range of motion and building the necessary strength to return to a functional level that fits their lifestyles.

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physiquality blog: four signs you should STOP working out

When a new year begins, it’s a natural time to start new habits, particularly ones related to your health. You may or may not have eaten or drank your way through the holidays, and the lack of social events in January is a good time to start eating better, drinking less (alcohol) and moving more.

However, at any fitness level, there are ways your body is telling you that your activity is too much and that you need to stop. Immediately. (I know this from personal experience — I’ve had to walk out of two different dance classes due to a sharp, stabbing pain that eventually led to joint repairs and orthopedic surgery.) These are not signs to “rub some dirt on it” and get back to exercising. They are your body’s way of telling you to sit down and possibly call your doctor or physical therapist to see what is causing the symptom.

Four signs you should STOP working out

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

January often brings resolutions of better health and exercising more. After a month (or 6 weeks) of indulging, hectic holiday plans, and falling off the wellness wagon, it makes sense to try to improve your health through exercise. But there are times when you should listen to your body and stop exercising.

Despite the mantra “no pain, no gain,” if your body hurts, it’s trying to tell you something. Here are four things to be aware of when working out.

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physiquality blog: sarcopenia and loss of strength

I know this term more from working with physical therapists than I do by observing my own grandparents — my grandfather was lifting weights and riding his bike into his 70s, and my grandma swore by her morning walks into her 80s. But they are not only the exception, they demonstrate how exercise and activity can slow down the slippery slope of aging toward frailty discussed in this post.

Aging isn’t fun for anyone. My grandmother is 90 now and describes herself as “meaner than a junkyard dog.” She can’t hear very well, and she’s pretty much blind due to macular degeneration. But I believe she is able to take care of herself and live on her own due to the healthy life she has lived for decades, one of moderate drinking, healthy eating, and plenty of activity. If I’ve learned anything from her (aside from the value of a good looking shoe), it’s that I will be striving to do the same in order to have a better chance at being healthy when I’m her age.

Sarcopenia and loss of strength

with advice from Daniel Butler, CEP

Sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a part of what has been called “the slippery slope of aging.”

As people age, they often start to experience sarcopenia, as well as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Having weaker muscles and bones, plus the arthritis caused by years of wear and tear, can make movement more difficult and painful. The pain leads to less activity, which contributes to weaker bones and muscles, making it even more difficult to move. And so on.

Doctors and scientists are still not quite sure what causes sarcopenia, but they have linked a number of factors to its development, according to the Mayo Clinic: age-associated hormone changes, physical inactivity, inflammation, and diseases like cancer and diabetes. Because inactivity can lead to sarcopenia, doctors encourage older adults to exercise more to build muscle mass.

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physiquality blog: cycling for better health

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not feel comfortable on a bike. I’ve always preferred my feet on the ground, and a few close calls (and one firm embrace) with trees have left me hesitant to get on a bike unless there is an urgent need to do so.

But cycling is a great way to burn calories and strengthen your body without a great deal of impact. I actually did ride a stationary bike for several months in 2007, to build my bone density after months of rehabilitation and compensating had left my right leg weaker than my left. I was bored out of my mind for those daily rides, but I had stronger bones and muscles. If you’re capable of riding in your neighborhood without the constant prospect of running into a tree or car (again, unlike me), I’d highly recommend trying it as a way to get exercise and run errands without burning any gas.

Cycling for better health

with advice from Anna Dark

How are those resolutions coming? Are you cooking more at home? Have you seen your dentist (or at least made an appointment for your annual cleaning)?

If you’re looking for a way to increase your activity, cycling or bike riding is a great way to be active.

Anna Dark, the Fitness Director of the Take Charge Fitness Program (a wellness facility run by Physiquality member Clinton Physical Therapy Center in Tennessee), says that cycling has many health benefits. Cycling is an aerobic activity, which is great for your heart and circulation. Going for regular bike rides also increases muscle strength and flexibility, while also improving joint mobility and bone strength.

Read more at!

physiquality blog: improving your health in the new year: 5 resolutions to make for 2017

New year, new habits. It’s easy to see why people make resolutions in January — a new year can feel like a fresh start. Early January is a good time to evaluate your lifestyle and determine whether you need to make some changes to live a healthier life.

Improving your health in the new year: 5 resolutions to make for 2017

We all get into bad habits in our life, in one way or another. Perhaps you don’t talk to your grandmother enough. Or you eat too much fast food. Or you stopped working out. Setting resolutions for the new year is a good way to try to work on these bad habits.

There are many habits that can be damaging to your health, but here are five resolutions you can make for the new year to improve your health.

  1. Evaluate your eating habits.

Evaluate your eating habits.Have you been skipping breakfast? Snacking constantly instead of sitting down to dinner? Picking up food on the go instead of cooking at home? These are all habits that can cause us to gain weight and damage our health. Take a look at the latest guidelines recommended by the Department of Agriculture and Health to compare to your eating habits.

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physiquality blog: how Pilates and PT help you stay active as you get older

While I’ve written many times about the importance of staying active as you age, I think this is the first time I’ve cited Isaac Newton when reminding others about the importance of activity.

How Pilates and PT help you stay active as you get older

with advice from Rachelle Hill, PT, MSPT, CSCS,
Kristina Holland, PTA,
Jessica Loncar, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. MDT,
and Mika Yoshida, CSCS, EP-C

As we grow older, our bodies change. While it may sound counterintuitive, staying active is the best solution when our joints start to ache and our energy starts to fade. (Isaac Newton probably had no idea he was also talking about the human body when he explained that a body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion remains in motion.)

Two ways to remain in motion as we age are physical therapy and Pilates. As we’ve pointed out in the past, physical therapy helps maintain and improve your health as you age. “Therapy helps to promote an increased awareness of your body,” says physical therapist Rachelle Hill. At Moreau Physical Therapy (a Physiquality member in Louisiana), Rachelle and her fellow PTs apply therapy to improve posture and reduce back pain, evaluate gait to make walking more efficient and less painful, and improve balance to reduce the risk of falls, she explains.

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physiquality blog: challenge your office to be healthy

When the TV show The Biggest Loser started becoming popular, my husband’s office had a weight-loss challenge. While I appreciated the attempt, focusing on weight loss versus making healthier choices is a tricky path. People who focus on weight loss, as compared to determining to living a healthier life, rarely keep the weight off.

When I stumbled upon the Global Employee Health and Fitness Month website, I thought its goals were much more attainable, and the idea of a challenge that could be adapted to a variety of environments was great. Unfortunately, as I don’t think my office mates of toddler boy and five-year-old bulldog are up for the idea, I’ll have to focus on my own decisions, which is why I’ve been challenging myself to work out at least 30 minutes a day for six days out of the week. What’s your challenge?

Challenge your office to be healthy

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT,
Stefania Della Pia and Polar

Did you know that May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month? Created by the National Association for Health & Fitness (NAHF), a network of state-based councils and groups that promote healthy living, the group encourages daily physical activity and quality physical education in our schools. Through Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the NAHF asks employers to create a workplace environment that promotes healthier living.

There are a variety of reasons to do this as a business owner or manager, or for employees to suggest it to their bosses. For a start, the CDC points out that healthier employees take fewer sick days, incur lower healthcare costs and are more productive; in fact, one study found that by promoting physical fitness and regular check-ups, employer healthcare costs could be cut in half. In addition, wellness programs can be seen by some prospective employees as a great benefit. It shows that the company is willing to invest in its employees, leading to a more positive work environment, better morale and higher retention.

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physiquality blog: how physical therapists can help seniors increase activity for healthy aging

While I’m not a senior citizen yet (I have a few more decades before I reach that label), I do know what it’s like to have arthritis, and how it affects your level of activity. (When you’re told at 16 that you have the knees of a 40-year-old, it’s all downhill from there.)

While the initial reaction to the normal aches and pains of aging might be to sit back, figuratively and literally, it’s an important time to increase your activity. After all, as I’ve written before for the pqBlog, exercise can reduce the effects of arthritis, while preventing and reducing such problems as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It’s just a matter of changing those habits and starting to move.

How physical therapists can help seniors increase activity for healthy aging

with advice from Randy Gustafson, PT, MPT, MOMT,
Cindy Powell, PT, MPT, ATC, STS
and Mika Yoshida, CSCS, EP-C

Aging isn’t fun for anyone. Your memory starts to fade, your body slows down and gains weight, and your joints start to stiffen. And while no one can reverse or stop the aging process, one of the best ways to reduce the speed at which your body is changing is to be more active.

“As the years go by, staying active becomes one of the key factors in staying independent, pain-free and feeling good,” says Randy Gustafson, a physical therapist and the owner of Physiquality member Mesa Physical Therapy in San Diego, California. Exercise is known to help prevent and reduce such problems as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, along with its more obvious benefits of increasing strength and reducing — or at least maintaining — weight. And, Randy points out, better health from increased activity often allows patients to reduce their reliance on some medications, allowing patients to take them less frequently or sometimes quit them altogether.

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physiquality blog: encouraging kids to make healthy decisions

As my son has grown into a toddler, this is a problem I face frequently. While he used to eat almost anything that I put in front of him, there are nights where all he wants to eat is a cereal bar. I’ll offer many healthy suggestions, but he points at the pantry door and cries. And cries.

I know that it’s OK if I cave on these occasions; they aren’t every night, and for the most part he eats pretty well given his age. But I also know that I need to start encouraging smart choices now, so that when he has a wider selection before him, he’ll pick the healthy ones at least some of the time.

Encouraging kids to make healthy decisions

with advice from Anna Dark
and Angela Mader

If you’re a parent, this probably sounds familiar: You’ve worked to make a healthy meal for your son (or daughter), but he’d rather have a cereal bar. Or snack foods. Or nothing. So how do you encourage him to eat healthy food and make responsible choices when eating?

Nutrition and fitness expert Anna Dark encourages parents and caregivers to be patient and positive. She says, “The goal is to get them to adopt the healthier choices because it is GOOD for THEM and ultimately will form a good habit that will take them into their adulthood!” After earning her degree in nutrition, Anna became the Fitness Director at the Take Charge Fitness Program at Clinton Physical Therapy Center, a Physiquality member in Clinton, Tennessee.

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physiquality blog: how can I stay active over the holidays?

If you’re like me, my holidays are filled with travel — all day in the car, snoring dog in the back seat, luggage with clothes for a week, and gifts for both sides of the family. Upon arrival, 5 in-law siblings greet me with hugs and I’m then surrounded by activity for the next 7 days while not really being a part of it.

I’m going to do my best to learn from the Physiquality members I interviewed for this post. There are lots of great ideas here, from little things to do while running errands to a full circuit training session that will keep me in shape. I have a feeling that I’ll be closer to the lethargic end of the scale, but I can always keep these as resolutions for 2012.

How can I stay active over the holidays?

The holidays are a tough time to be healthy. Piles of food, miles in the car, and obligations to see family and friends stand in our way. So how can you stay active in between wrapping your presents, sending out the holiday cards and going to Aunt Sally’s for the annual dinner?

Anna Dark, the fitness director of the Take Charge Fitness Program at Clinton Physical Therapy Center, a Physiquality network member in Clinton, Tenn., suggests fitting in some exercises while you’re out running some errands. Here are a few activities she suggests while shopping at the mall:

  • Park your car as far away from the store as possible in order to walk more.
  • Take stairs rather than riding an elevator or escalator.
  • Walk briskly between stores, or add a recovery lap every 2-3 hours by taking a brisk walk around the mall.
  • Do a few sets of releves, a ballet exercise also known as heel raises, by simply lifting your heels and going onto tip-toe for 10-15 repetitions.

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