physiquality blog: will I have arthritis after my knee injury?

As a person who has had five knee surgeries now, this is a very personal subject. One particular pre-op appointment comes to mind. I was living in Los Angeles, and I was preparing for a cartilage implant. After years and years of dance (many on tile floors), I’ve shredded my cartilage, and the doctors agreed this would help to repair the hole in my right knee’s cartilage.

So I go to see my GP for blood work the week before surgery. He looks at what is supposed to be done, looks up at me, and asks when I’m going to have my knee replaced. I dunno doc, can I get through this surgery (that’s supposed to delay a knee replacement) first?

In my own estimation, I was doomed from the beginning. I had arthritis in my right knee at 14. My left knee started sounding like Rice Krispies in my 30s. But I know that if I don’t remain active, I’ll simply put on more weight, and I’ll be more at risk for arthritis, as well as lots of other things. So it’s better to be as active as I can, with the hopes of postponing these other issues and surgeries as long as possible.

Will I have arthritis after my knee injury?

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

Unfortunately, if you have a traumatic injury to the knee like an ACL tear, a meniscus tear or even certain types of fractures, your chance of developing osteoarthritis increases significantly.

Osteoarthritis, which is the wearing away of cartilage, can occur normally with years of use, but it can also occur more readily after trauma around the knee. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 700,000 knee injuries a year account for 12.5% of post-traumatic arthritis cases in the U.S., and they warn that younger athletes with ACL injuries are at risk of developing arthritis before they are 40 years old, often within 10 years of the original injury.

If you’re an athlete who has had one of these types of injuries, it’s not something you probably wanted to hear.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: can physical therapy help with pelvic pain?

Can physical therapy help with pelvic pain?

with advice from Jessica Hice, PT, DPT

Pelvic pain is a symptom that is easy to ignore. When considering talking to a doctor or physical therapist, women (and men) think about the awkward conversations, and the prospect of an invasive examination, and they often decide to postpone such uncomfortable situations.

But like any bodily pain, the longer it continues, the more likely that chronic pain is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be treated.

Pain that continues for six or more months would be considered chronic and worthy of discussion with a healthcare professional, according to the Section on Women’s Health, a subset of the American Physical Therapy Association that offers training for physical therapists who want to specialize in women’s health or pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can present in the lower abdomen, pelvic or perineum, the Section notes, and it could also feel like aching or burning.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

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.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

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.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how physical therapy can help patients with cancer

One of my other clients, EDUCATA, has been partnered with the Oncology section of the APTA (the national professional association for physical therapists) for a long time. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the top PTs in the field, women who have specialized in helping patients with cancer recuperate from not only the disease, but also the treatments.

This has become a personal issue for me in recent years. I’ve watched my husband lose both of his parents to lung cancer. His mother in particular was fighting for strength near the end of her life, as a tumor in her hip had weakened the bone, which led to complications including a festering wound and a broken hip. Survivorship in general is increasing, but what does that mean for their quality of life once they survive the harsh treatments that eradicate the cancer? (Treatments are getting less harsh, but keep in mind the scale of treatments still includes radiation that burns and kills cells.)

Physical therapists are a key component of the wellness team that can help these cancer survivors live and thrive after treatment. Read on to learn more about how they can help improve a survivor’s quality of life.

How physical therapy can help patients with cancer

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

By any measure, cancer is one of the most prevalent and lethal diseases today. According to the American Cancer Society’s Statistics Center, in 2018 alone more than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer — 4,750 new cases every day.

While the statistics can be daunting, there is good news and hope for those who receive a cancer diagnosis. Death rates across multiple types of cancer are holding steady or decreasing. But what does that mean for cancer survivors?

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how to lace your running shoes

I have mentioned before that I am not a runner. But I can appreciate how your shoes affect your sport. As a dancer, whenever I wear shoes, they have to be anchored to my feet securely, no matter what kind of shoes I’m wearing or what I’m doing. So this running post made more sense to me than most.

How to lace your running shoes

with advice from Orthopedic Rehabilitation Specialists

For most of us, when we purchase a new pair of sneakers, we keep the laces the way they are when we tried them on. We might have a preference on how they are laced, but it’s primarily aesthetic — do you want the lace at your toes to be outside the grommets or inside?

But when it comes to running shoes, lacing is one of many aspects that becomes strategic. There are particular ways to lace your shoes for arch support, wide feet, numb toes… The list is longer than most people’s daily runs.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: if you’re in pain, try physical therapy before relying on painkillers

So this is one of my fears. Having dealt with chronic knee problems for most of my life, I am reluctant to take painkillers, particularly opioids like Vicodin or Oxycodone, as I know they are addictive. Given the number of addicts in my family (even when they are more prone to alcohol than anything else), I’ve been a bit paranoid about taking anything that could lead me down that path.

This is why I have always chosen to do physical therapy first, or at least adjacent to, taking painkillers. PT is the long-term solution, trying to fix the cause of the pain, rather than the symptom. If you are dealing with chronic pain, it’s best to at least try physical therapy for relief. Your stomach, kidneys and liver will thank you later.

If you’re in pain, try physical therapy before relying on painkillers

with advice from Michael Weinper, PT, DPT, MPH

You are on your way home from working out at the gym or playing a game of softball. You press on the brake to slow down at a stoplight, and pain sears through your knee. It’s not the first time this has happened, so you decide to talk to your doctor. Do you ask for painkillers, or do you talk to your physician about seeing a physical therapist?

There’s no question that pain hurts, says Michael Weinper, a physical therapist and the owner of PTPN and Progressive Physical Therapy, a private physical therapy practice. It’s how you respond to the pain that will affect your health in the long run.

If you merely rely on painkillers to treat pain, particularly opioid painkillers, you could be setting yourself up for long-term problems like depression and addiction without ever treating the cause of the problem.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: running away from injury

I might have mentioned before… I’m not a runner. Even when I’m being chased. It’s just not my thing — I’m too accident- and injury-prone to consider it.

But if you do run, there are many way to reduce your chance of injury. Our experts had several important points about what to do before, during and after you run to make sure you return to your house injury-free.

Running away from injury

with advice from Lori Francoeur, PT, MSPT, CSCS,
Jeff Rothstein, MS, CSCS, TSAC-F, CES, USAW and Polar

Running is a common way to stay fit — in theory, all you require is a good pair of running shoes. But running can also lead to a variety of injuries. Our experts talked to us about the most common running injuries and how to avoid them.

According to Jeff Rothstein, the Director of Sports Enhancement for the PT Center for Sports Medicine, a Physiquality clinic in Akron, Ohio, the most common running injuries are to the foot, knee and back. Jeff notes that having the right running shoes is essential for avoiding injury.

Lori Francoeur, a physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Center in Arizona, agrees. She explains that runners should wear a “good supportive shoe that will provide adequate support and cushioning for your arch and heel.”

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: can physical therapy help with infertility?

Infertility is one of the most personal problems a woman can have. Once a couple has decided they are ready to take the leap and become parents, and then have months and perhaps years without a pregnancy, it can be demoralizing.

After a series of knee surgeries in my early 30s, my husband and I decided to take the leap. I went off birth control. Started tracking my ovulation with compulsive fervor. And nothing. Had some tests. And some more tests. And nothing. It took two and a half years of testing and treatments that led to our beautiful son, thankfully without the trials (and expense) of IVF.

I don’t know that the manual therapy I wrote about for this post would be applicable to the reasons I had problems conceiving. But I will tell you that the more options presented to a woman trying to conceive, the more she will consider.

Can physical therapy help with infertility?

Infertility is a challenge for many families. There are a variety of reasons a woman might have problems conceiving, and many ways to face those challenges to increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant. Physical therapy has been shown to be one way to increase the possibility of pregnancy.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, some physical therapists choose to specialize in women’s health. These therapists help women cope with a variety of feminine conditions, ranging from incontinence to postpartum pain. The treatments can include myriad types of therapy, including manual therapy.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how does physical therapy help after a cast comes off?

Despite my many injuries, I have been fortunate in that I have never had to wear a cast. (Immobilizer, yes; cast, no.) I don’t envy those that have had to wear one. I’ve heard they are itchy, and that your skin gets quite papery while encased in plaster.

While I’ve never had to adapt the movement of my arms every much, I do know what it’s like to go for weeks at a time without putting any weight on your leg. Your calf muscles will atrophy, and even driving can be a strain due to the loss of strength. Working with a physical therapist, both as the cast is placed and particularly after it comes off, can be a big help when recuperating and returning to your daily activity.

How does physical therapy help after a cast comes off?

The adult human body is made up of 206 bones. (We’re born with 270, but over time, as we grow, some fuse to give us 206 around the time we turn 30.) Unfortunately, many of those can break or fracture, leading to a cast in order to heal. So what happens after the cast is removed? What is necessary in order to return to normal activity?

A variety of factors will affect the length of time needed to heal, as well as how physical therapy will help you regain your pre-injury range of motion and level of activity.

The American Physical Therapy Association, or APTA, points out that there are several levels of bone fractures. The simplest is defined as a non-displaced fracture. This means that the bone may be broken, but the pieces are still properly aligned within the body.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!