Physical Therapy and Fall Prevention

About one third of people over the age of 65 and about half of people over the age of 80 will fall at least once this year. What does this have to do with physical therapy? Well, your physical therapist can actually help you to prevent falls in the future, as well as help you to diagnose the issues that could be causing the falls. Fall prevention in seniors is extremely important, as these falls can severely limit a person’s ability to stay active and independent.

What Are Falls?

Anyone can have a fall, but older people a
e certainly more vulnerable than others. The reasons for these falls can range from simple to complex, and one of the most important factors of fall prevention is diagnosing the problem that created the fall as well as discovering factors that could contribute to falls in the future. Some of the factors that could contribute to falls include, but are not limited to 

  • Leg muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Conditions that cause confusion, such as Alzheimer’s
  • Medical conditions that limit your ability to get around
  • Taking multiple medications at the same time, especially psychoactive medications
  • The use of a cane or other walking device
  • Being 80 years of age or older
  • Home hazards
  • Low blood pressure

These are all factors that can be determined by your physical therapist as a first step to fall prevention. If a fall occurs, it is important to let your physical therapist or regular physician know immediately.

The Connection between Physical Therapy and Fall Prevention

Physical therapy and fall prevention go hand in hand for many different reasons. Physical therapy treatment can do worlds of good for fall prevention, treatment of injuries related to falls, and improving overall health to keep these falls from ever happening.

  • Physical exercise regimens implemented by your physical therapists can keep you active and improve your range of motion, decreasing one’s chance of having a fall.
  • If a fall occurs, your physical therapists can assess your health and living situation to determine the cause of the fall and begin prevention treatment.

Fall Prevention Treatment

fallSo, what does a fall prevention treatment plan look like? Well, your physical therapist will take all the necessary steps to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Some of the elements of that treatment plan could include:

  • Home safety assessment – Determining which factors of your home environment could be contributing to a patient’s fall risk, and determining how to eliminate those risks.
  • Perform a simple vision exam and refer patient to an optometrist if necessary.
  • Balance training exercises
  • Activities to improve walking a moving ability
  • Fear management – A patient’s fear of falling can actually contribute to their risk of falling
  • Increase activity levels – staying active increases a patient’s range of motion, which can decrease their risk of falling
  • Education – Educating the patient regarding their own individual fall risks and how to reduce those risks
  • Dual task training program – Training the patient to perform multiple tasks at the same time in a safe manner
  • Recommending Fall Prevention community programs – A physical therapist may be involved in setting up one of these programs or they may be able to recommend programs in the area.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for fall prevention treatment. Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center has expertise in assessing, diagnosing, and treating the real issues that cause medical problems.  Let Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC help you determine what your fall risks are and implement a fall prevention treatment plan to help you feel safe as well as improve your overall health.

Physical Therapy for Seniors

How many of you have a grandparent or even a parent who just doesn’t get around very well? Well, did you know that physical therapy could help them? A lot of people don’t. Physical therapy can be very beneficial for seniors, and not just for treating a specific injury – it can be beneficial for all kinds of reasons. From a hip injury to simply treating decrease in mobility and daily functionality, physical therapy treatment can benefit all seniors and can even be used as a prevention treatment.

What are the Physical Therapy Treatments for Seniors?

There are many different types of physical therapy treatments for seniors that depend on the needs of each individual patient. There is no one universal treatment plan, even for the same injury – one of the great things about physical therapy is that therapists
cater to each patient, developing a treatment plan that is unique to their individual needs. These treatment plans can include –

  • Stretching
  • Walking
  • Heat therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Massage
  • Electrical stimulation of the muscles
  • Developing daily exercise routines catered to the patient’s physical abilities
  • Ultrasound
  • Cold therapy

The purpose of these treatment plans are to increase the mobility of senior patients, treat certain injuries, and/or to make daily tasks and activities easier for them. The goal is to make seniors as independent as possible, leading to healthier and happier lives.

Who Benefits from these Treatments?

As mentioned before, physical therapy treatment can be beneficial to all senior patients, but there are certain conditions that physical therapy can be especially beneficial for, and some of them may surprise you. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to –

  • Pain in all parts of the body – neck pain, back pain, joint pain, etc.
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Injuries such as a broken hip
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Incontinence
  • Strok
  • Osteoa
  • Vertigo
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Other conditions

When conditions like these develop or occur, seeking proper treatment, and in a timely manner, can make all of the difference. It is important to stay ahead of these conditions in order to have the best prognosis possible. A physical therapist can develop a treatment plan especially catered to your beloved family member, keeping them as active as possible, which is crucial to their overall well-being.

Why is Physical Therapy Treatment for Seniors Important?

It is all too common for people to believe that a lot of the symptoms and physical ailments that seniors experience are simply a result of old age and cannot be treated. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Physical therapy treatment can also be used as a preventative measure for seniors – maintaining their flexibility, range of motion in their joints, and improving their circulation, which helps to prevent the decrease in mobility.

  • By implementing a preventative treatment plan developed by your physical therapist, you can help to prevent injuries down the road.
  • Utilizing physical therapy treatment for some of these conditions can lower the amount of medication taken by seniors.
  • The goal of physical therapy treatment in seniors is to ultimately help them to be as independent as possible – this will lead to a healthier and happier life for your loved ones.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for seniors experiencing limited mobility or seeking treatment for other medical conditions. Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center has expertise in assessing, diagnosing, and treating the real issues that cause medical problems.  Let Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC help you increase your daily functionality and improve your overall health and well-being.

Are Shots Good for Shoulder Pain?

The burden of should pain can often easily be temporarily alleviated with a shot; however, pain always returns, and the shot’s chemicals can lead to more significant problems over time. Physical therapy provides a safe, healthy approach to treating shoulder pain that is proven to be effective over the long term.

The Hazards of Masking Shoulder Pain with Shots

shoulder-painTreating shoulder pain with shots is a common practice because shots provide quick, temporary alleviation of pain; however, this is not a good idea. Shots only function to disguise pain. Given that pain is only symptomatic of the problem and is not the problem itself, treating a symptom is not a lasting or even a healthy way to ameliorate discomfort.

Think of it this way, if you had the flu and that flu resulted in nausea and all you did was treat the nausea but not the flu, provided you could live forever with the flu, you would always be treating the nausea because the flu would never go away because you weren’t treating it. The same concept is applicable relative to shoulder pain. If you are only treating the pain but not the cause of the pain, then you will always be dealing with pain.

Making Pain Leads to Muscle and Tissue Damage

When you have a shoulder injury, you have muscle and joint dysfunction; this is what causes your pain. When you get an injection, as noted, you are stopping the pain; however, the underlying joint dysfunction remains, and the tissue subsequently continues to deteriorate, albeit, pain free, since you have masked the pain with medication.

Further compromises to your muscle and tissues stem from the chemicals used to create the injections as those chemicals:

  • Break down tissues
  • Weaken tissues
  • Makes tissues unhealthy

This leads to further problems that could have otherwise been prevented with less invasive approach that targeted the problem and not just the pain.

The Healthy Way to Treat Shoulder Pain

Physical Therapy Provides Cost-Effective Safe Pain Relief

stretchThe best way to resolve the problem is to accurately diagnose the cause of the pain and discomfort and to eliminate the mechanical issue; this intervention is provided through physical therapy, the result of which is that you will return the joint to its optimal efficiency. As a result of this approach to treatment:

  • The tissue will become healthier
  • Chances for renewed pain are lessened

In addition to the health benefits of using physical therapy to treat shoulder ailments is that physical therapy is less expensive than the more invasive alternative, shots.

The doctors as Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy are well-trained professionals with expertise in addressing problems related to shoulder pain. These physical therapists are highly knowledgeable about shoulder function and have several hands-on techniques they can use to help you treat your shoulder pain in a safe, effective, healthy, and noninvasive manner. They will get your joints back to optimal function while preserve the integrity of your shoulder tissue.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.

Foods that Reduce Inflammation

Typical Causes & Symptoms of Inflammation

Inflammation actually gets a bad rep. Inflammation is our body’s natural response to ward off dangerous, foreign, or unhelpful organisms; however, there are times where our body –in response to certain other issues (arthritis, to name one) will initiate an inflammatory reaction despite there not being any unnatural presences within the body.

So, while we typically think that inflammation is some kind of swelling problem that is purely problematic, the reality is that there is actually a healthful purpose for inflammation. Additionally, inflammation is more than just swelling.

Signs of inflammation include:

  • Stiffness and lack joint mobility
  • Swelling (this is sometimes accompanied by a warmth to the afflicted area, but it does not have to be)
  • Redness of the afflicted area
  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue / exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite

Importantly, signs of inflammation closely mimic signs of a blood clot, which means that it is important to take any indication of an episode of inflammation that is not in response to a bacterial or viral ailment seriously.

Using Diet to Reduce Inflammation

Unbeknownst to many, a chronic condition of inflammation can cause a plethora of medical ailments such as stroke (also symptomatic of blood clot disorders), heart attack, cancer, etc. Though genetics absolutely play a role in your tendency toward inflammation, there are ways for you to take control of your physical health.

The first and most important line of defense is in your diet. We have to eat every day, and as it turns out, there are multiple food products that naturally help the body fight inflammation. These defenders are fruits, vegetables, proteins, and alliums; they should be incorporated into your diet on a regular basis.

  • Good Fats: Years ago, fat got a bad reputation, but it has since been discovered that fat is not only essential, but it can also be very, very good. That said, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Saturated fats such as those found in refined sugar products should be avoided. Healthy fats, however, such as those found in fish (like salmon), nuts (such as almonds or walnuts), and cold-pressed oils (like extra virgin olive oil), should be incorporated into the diet.
  • veggie-girlDark, Leafy Greens: When your mother said to eat your vegetables, she was right. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, collards, etc. are packed with essential vitamins (E) and with cytokines, which are inflammatory molecules.
  • Whole Grains: If you ever wondered if there was a difference between the food items labeled whole grains and those not, you should know that there is, and those items identified as whole grains can help you (further, they have a higher fiber content). So, start branching out and trying healthy alternatives to rice and pasta like farrow and barley and quinoa.
  • Spices: Many spices like those found in exotic cuisine (turmeric and ginger, for example) are known inflammatory reducers. Other like basil and parsley are also beneficial, so spice up your menu and reduce inflammation at the same time.
  • Alliums: Speaking of spicing up your menu, alliums like garlic and onions are immune-friendly inflammation-reducers. Garlic is known for having similar effects to anti-inflammatory medication while onions have similar mitigating effects.
  • Berries: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries all have distinct positive impacts on reducing inflammation whether it is in the joints or in the digestive tract. Either way, it’s a perfect reason to add a serving of succulent berries to your morning portion of whole grain steel cut oatmeal.
  • LowFat Dairy: Speaking of digestive inflammation, non- or low-fat yogurt and milk are known for fortifying the body in the fight against rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, colored peppers, and other fresh produce selections are beneficial as a part of both a well-balanced diet and as combatants to inflammation. Tomatoes not only provide a delightful burst of umami to the palate, they also contain lycopene and are proven to reduce lung inflammation. Interestingly cooked tomatoes are more healthful than raw ones, though, both are extremely desirable.

A healthy diet can be used preventatively or defensively against inflammation. By eating well, you can reduce your likelihood of suffering from inflammation and suffering the negative, painful effects of inflammation.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. Safe, informed, comprehensive care and preventative treatment are priorities at Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC, so if you think you’re suffering from inflammation, schedule a visit to learn more about your health as well as how you can control inflammation through diet and a healthy level of activity for your body.

Why Physical Therapy & Exercise Should be Used to Treat Ankle Sprains

Though ankle injuries are extremely common, knowledge regarding how to treat a sprained ankle is less common. While immobilization is an important part of the early stages of healing, without exercise to improve strength and flexibility, you run a significant risk of reinjuring yourself.

How Physical Therapy Treats Ankle Pain

Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries with as many as 25,000 incidents occurring per day. Sprained ankles are classified in three “grades” with one being the lowest and three being the highest. Grade one sprains need no medical intervention and should be treated via tolerable stretching and strengthening, isometric exercise, and weight bearing provided none of these actions exacerbate the condition.

Grade two and three sprains necessitate physical therapy as more damage has been done to the ankle. In these situations, physical therapists help you to strengthen your injured ankle and to regain full functional range of your ankle.

The Phases of Ankle Sprain Recovery

When injuries occur, it is because the ankle’s ligament fibers have been damaged.

  • ankleGrade 1: Ligament fibers have sustained some slight stretching and some damage
  • Grade 2: Ligament fibers have been torn partially.
  • Grade 3: Ligament fibers have been torn completely.

In Grade 1 and 2 injuries, there is a method of treatment called the RICE treatment. The acronym RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

  • Rest: Do not walk on the ankle following injury.
  • Ice: Apply ice immediate after injury to suppress swelling; ice can be applied for 20-30 minutes per day three to four times per day. Wrapping should also be used to minimize swelling and pain.
  • Compression: Wrap the ankle with bandages to provide support.
  • Elevate: Lift the ankle above your heart level for 48 hours.

This is the first phase of the rehabilitation process for all ankle sprains; sprains recover in a three-step process.

  • Phase 1: This is the resting, protecting, and immobilizing stage of recovery. The purpose of this stage is to reduce swelling and to protect the ankle while it is still fragile. This stage lasts one week.
  • Phase 2: This is the very important stage in which the ankle regains movement and functionality including flexibility. Range of motion and strength are also regained during this stage. This stage lasts one to two weeks.
  • Phase 3: This final stage involves returning to normal. Patients start with activities that do not involve turning their ankle, and they build up to ‘normal’ activities that do put increasing demands on the ankle (sports like tennis or basketball). This stage lasts for weeks to months.

Immobilize then Exercise

You will note that immobilization is a part of the healing process; however, it is only a component of the first phase of the process. Many people believe that protocol in treating a sprain is to immobilize the injury, which is why when a person has a sprained ankle (even a Grade 1 sprain), they will have the injured apparatus wrapped and will avoid using it even for walking short distances (even after the first week of injury). The misconception is that the ankle has to rest in order to heal; they neglect to respect exercise and stretching’s role in healing.

jogging-coupleThe reality is that extensive immobilization after an ankle sprain can actually increase the risk of re-injury. Exercise and physical therapy are thus essential for avoiding chronic pain and for mitigating the risk of re-injury. Additionally, it is important to complete the entire curriculum of care and healing recommended by your physical therapist. This includes trusting your physical therapist when they say that it is time to transition from immobilization to stretching and regaining strength and range of motion.

The physical therapists at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center are fully trained and have years of expertise in assessing and treating sprained ankles, so trust them to tell you when it’s time to start moving again because you can also trust them to help you every step of the way.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.

Hip Weakness: A Cause of Runner’s Knee

Runners often fatigue their knees, which leads to pain and injury. Though many assume the pain is symptomatic of knee injury, it is actually often representative of another culprit: weak hips. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, you can quickly and safely strengthen your hips and fix your knees, which will get your running again.

Why You’re Running with Pain

Iliotibial (IT) band tendinitis and patella tendonitis (better known as runner’s knee) are typical ailments that most often plagues runners (however, it can afflict others as well). IT band tendinitis is considered to be an overuse injury in which the IT band that runs along the outer side of the thigh becomes inflamed. The IT is a stabilizing component of the leg’s musculature. As the knee flexes and contracts, the IT band is integral in stabilizing the outside of the knee.

Signs of Knee Injury

Pain is the primary indicator that an injury has occurred; however, injury can sometimes start in places other than in the knee itself.

  • holding-kneeAchilles pain
  • Muscle pains
  • Prickles or tingles when making impact
  • Pain when running down hill
  • Radiating pain in the thigh
  • Pain behind the knee
  • Knee popping

These ignorable pains and discomforts can rapidly become issues that are impossible to ignore as the pain becomes constant. When pain is allowed to progress, you are often so uncomfortable that you are unable to run.

Fixing Your Knees Through Your Hips

Though earlier thought attributed knee injury in runners to the knees themselves, orthopedic researches have gone on to discover that hip weakness is a much more likely culprit in causing knee injury in runner.

One study conducted used 25 runners. Of those, 15 were injured; 10 were not. The 15 injured runners received a hip strengthening intervention for their hip abductors for a period of three weeks. Strength was measured before and after the intervention. Findings in this particular study demonstrated that strength was increased and that pain and stride-to-stride knee joint variability was reduced.

Other studies have confirmed these results. In fact, any publication intended for running enthusiasts now support that hip strengthening exercises are the most effective and efficient way to avoid knee injury and into recover following a knee injury.

Given the newness of these studies, there is way one can fully claim that knee injuries are symptomatic of a weak core (note that the core includes more than just the abdominal muscles; it also encompasses hips and glutes as well); however, they are comfortable in making the connection and pointing out that if you are experiencing knee pain, a smart place to start trying to heal is in hip strength.

When to Call Your Physical Therapist

Because there is no way for you (the individual) to know with complete confidence whether or not weak hips is the cause of your knee injury or knee pain, you will expedite your recovery by going directly to see your physical therapist for a diagnosis.

Your physical therapist can determine the precise location of the knee pain (front or side) and prescribe a care regimen that will fix the problem. While there is a high likelihood that hip strengthening will be part of your care, there is a chance that other exercises will also benefit you. By going to physical therapy, you can heal correctly and learn valuable strengthening and stretching exercises that will keep you out of the doctor’s office and on the beaten (jogging) path.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.

Recognize the Signs of Osteoarthritis Pain: Top 3 Signs

Osteoarthritis can easily mask itself as other problems; by knowing and recognizing the signs as well as the likelihood that you are a sufferer, the sooner you can seek intervention. Physical therapy has proven to benefit those suffering from osteoarthritis pain.

Osteoarthritis: A Hidden Disease

Running is a way of lifeIt’s often far too easy to become accustomed to pain and to “assume that it’s nothing”. When we do this, we run a higher risk of that “nothing” pain becoming something. Osteoarthritis pain is highly common and has a myriad of symptoms and areas in which it impacts making it difficult to identify.

Type of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can occur in nearly any part of the body including:

  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Foot and ankle
  • Hand
  • Spine
  • Shoulder

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease, so anywhere your body is jointed is vulnerable.

Factors Contributing to Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is generally caused by stress to the joints, so anyone with prior joint injury is a potential candidate for the disease. Additionally, anyone who has a family member who has osteoarthritis may be at a greater chance of having issues due to genetics.

Individuals who are obese or overweight or who are of a certain age (post-menopausal women or men who are of the same age as women at that age) are also at an increased likelihood to be vulnerable to osteoarthritis suffering.

Signs of Osteoarthritis

Like many disorders, the symptoms of osteoarthritis can easily be mistaken for other issues; however, if you start to observe the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis and you believe you are a candidate for the disease, get tested; the sooner you can start a therapeutic regimen to mitigate the issues, the better off you will be.

  • Pain and Stiffness: Pain worsens after activity and lessens during times of rest. Pain can also occur at night or during periods of rest; pain is most often detected at the joint.
  • Crackling Joins (Crepitus): Movement of the joint will be accompanied by ‘crackling’ or a grating.
  • Bone Spurs: Bony outgrowths at the joint site will occur and will get larger over the course of time.

Swelling and fluid collection at the joint site are other signs to look out for. Again, if you have signs of osteoarthritis and feel you are a candidate for osteoarthritis, get checked sooner than later. Physical therapy has proven to help patients suffering from osteoarthritis pain; the more quickly patients seek intervention, the longer and more effective the treatment will be.

From Crestview to Destin, with four locations, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.

How to Avoid Knee and Ankle Sprains on the Beach

Spring Break is a fun time of year; however, it can easily go awry if you get a sprained ankle or knee while at the beach. The sand’s instability makes it easier to sustain such injuries; however, by being physically fit and by being careful, these injuries can be avoided during Spring Break.

Avoid Putting a Strain (or a Sprain) on your Spring Break

There is nothing more enjoyable than being able to take a Girl at the Beachweek out of winter to enjoy Spring Break at the beach; however, there is nothing less pleasant than having to spend that week sitting on the sidelines due to an ankle or knee sprain you got in the sand.

Because beach sand creates an unstable environment, it becomes a more common location for individuals to sprain or strain a vulnerable area like a knee or an ankle.  Injury to a knee or ankle can take seconds while the physical therapy needed to recover from such a sports injury can take weeks.  The best way to handle a knee or ankle injury is to not get one at all.

Taking Steps in the Right Direction (to Avoid Injury)

Sprains most often occur as a result of the following actions:

  • Running
  • Turning
  • Falling
  • Landing

When you run, jump, fall, etc. on the beach, you increase the likelihood of injury during these activities because you will be taking off from and landing on a soft, unstable ground.

Fun at the BeachSo, knowing this, here are some tips for avoiding pain and sprain during your time at the beach:

  • Avoid Hazardous Activity: Minimize your chances of injury by not running and jumping unless you’re engaged to do so. If you’re a jogger and want to run on the beach, make sure you’re adequately trained and strengthened to do so.
  • Do Strengthening Exercises before your Visit: Lots of people want to get in tip top shape appearance-wise for spring break, but few consider getting their muscles ready to adapt to the beach. Do some simple exercises to build strength especially if you plan to engage in sporting activities on the beach.
  • Take Your Shoes Off: Shoes –even flip flips—can cause instability in the sand that your muscles have to account for. You have more control if you are barefoot in the sand.

Girl SnorklingBy being safe and practical and following the above-listed tips, you can take safe steps to avoid getting a knee or ankle sprain on the beach.  That said, if you do get injured, start by resting and icing the injured ankle. Don’t hesitate to contact a sports and physical therapist clinic like the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center to begin treatment as they can help get you back on your feet, so you can get the most out of your Spring Break.

From Crestview to Destin, with four locations, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. When you’re in pain and looking for safe, competent, and complete relief, look no further than the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC. They’ll get you up and running in no time.