Tag Archives: muscle pain

EVERYONE NEEDS A FOAM ROLLER … A WHAT?

foam roller

We are four weeks into our Biggest Loser Challenge at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates and our staff has been providing helpful fitness information and diet tips. This week we hear from Andrea Gildar in our awesome Physical Therapy department. If you know Andrea, you’ll agree she is full of energy and very fit! Here is her suggestion about a simple, inexpensive fitness tool to make a healthier “you”:

FOAM ROLLING is a great way to self-massage. The rollers work by using pressure against your body to break up adhesions, release rough tissue restrictions, flush out metabolic waste, increase circulation, and speed up workout recovery time. Wow, that’s a lot of benefits for one simple routine.

Foam rollers are approximately six inches in diameter and made of foam or plastic. They can be color coded based on firmness. Using a foam roller is easy:

  • Position yourself over the roller and use your body weight to roll back and forth over trouble spots, or, trigger points.
  • Gradually increase the pressure and hold on the area for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Use the roller for fascial release. Fascial tissue, or connective tissue, surrounds muscles and allows for movement.
  • Target trigger points where knots have developed. Trigger points respond to direct pressure.
  • Rolling increases the blood flow and may also be followed by gentle stretching.
  • When you are foam rolling, it SHOULD hurt, a “good” hurt, but not be painful. Do NOT roll over inflamed areas.
  • Foam rolling is good for foot issues, back issues, tight quads, calves, and shoulders.

The great thing about foam rolling is that it can be done in the privacy of your home. That means it can be part of your daily routine as well as a part of your new healthy lifestyle.

The Physical Therapy department at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has several foam rollers and our staff will be happy to evaluate you and demonstrate these techniques. The commitment of SOA is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game and back to life. We have four locations and offer same day appointments when needed. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment with one of our orthopedic physicians or our physical therapists. You may also make an appointment through the home page of our website at www.SOA.md

What’s So Special About PHYSICAL THERAPY?

 

pt-month

October is NATIONAL PHYSICAL THERAPY MONTH and it’s a time when we honor the special people on our PT team. Where do we begin?

First, let’s look at the definition of Physical Therapy: the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity using various methods of massage, manipulation, temperature, and/or exercise.

pt-hot-pack     hand-therapy-northern-beaches-sydney    pt-exercise    pt-elec-stim

Ok, well that’s sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Maybe not … let’s take a look at how long it takes to become a Physical Therapist. It’s a path of SEVEN YEARS minimum. Typically a bachelor degree is required with a concentration in biology, anatomy, kinesiology, or a similar study in the sciences. Then, after an impressive GPA achievement, a high GRE score, an interview process, and referral recommendations, the candidate is accepted into a physical therapy program of studies for three years. There are even specialties within the field; a few are geriatric, sports rehab, hand, industrial, aquatic (check out our aquatic therapy pool), and vestibular. By now, you probably understand it’s not a simple path to this career, although it’s a rewarding one.

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A Physical Therapist is an expert in the treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal disorders and pain relief. More important, they are educators in helping you understand your body and how to avoid injury after the healing process. Typically at a first appointment, your PT may perform a number of things including an assessment evaluation, discussion of your issue, take a medical history, check your ROM (range of motion), balance, and muscle strength. In therapy they may use modalities such as heat/ice, ultrasound, massage, electronic stimulation, and/or hands-on treatment. You’ll be given a series of exercises with instructions to perform at home that will help you heal and strengthen.

Pain Concept.

The number of visits needed will vary upon your condition. The most important and critical instruction to remember is that YOU are the key to YOUR  recovery. You play an important role in this process. Compliance with your home exercises and following the number of recommended visits to your Physical Therapy appointments will benefit your healing and speed your recovery.

So now you know why we love our Physical Therapy staff. We are grateful to them for all they do to keep us healthy and strong!  The commitment of Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.  For more information or an appointment, go to our website at www.SOA.md or call us at 941-951-2663.  We have four convenient locations and offer same day appointments when needed.

POKEMON GO? OR NO?

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By now you’ve likely heard of the new craze, Pokémon Go. So what’s all the fuss about and why would you want to participate?  We admit at first blush, we had no interest but then we got to thinking this could be a good thing … even a healthy thing if done correctly. Say what?

Some history first. The original Pokémon appeared a little over 20 years ago for the video game device, Game Boy. The internet was just being developed at that time and not accessible to most. Pokémon was based on a coming-of-age tale hidden in a theme of “collecting” bugs while travelling through caves, cities, and forests to battle monsters on the Game Boy device. The designer of the game, Satoshi Tajiri, was an enthusiastic insect collector with a passion for Japanese monster movies, thus his inspiration.

Fast forward to today, and the theme still resonates with hundreds of shapes and sizes to reflect those odd little critters you see on your smartphones. A player creates their avatar to go in search of, and collect, Pokémon at PokeStops and PokeGyms while tossing PokeBalls and hatching PokeEggs. In fact, in Japan, they love the anime so much that there are posted real cartoon figures at locations across the city and tourists seek them out for pictures. But wait, we digress.

This new Pokémon Go is not a couch potato game as it was in the 90’s. To be successful at the game, you need to get outside.  Wow … fresh air.  Then you have to move. Double wow … exercise! We like that idea. Pokémon Go is a virtual game via avatar combined with having  you in the real world.  You must physically walk around to find the little creatures and you must walk a specified number of steps to level up.  It’s more complicated than that and you’ll need to google it and download an app if you want to join, but this game is being played by people of all ages and not going away anytime soon. Some people are playing in groups and some are using it to meet new friends. Some are teens and some are seniors. Some are competitive and some are just enjoying the fun and exercise.

PokemonGo

So why are we writing about this on an orthopedic blog? Well … people are getting hurt. Here are some safety tips:

  • Pay attention to WHERE you are. There have been cases of people being lured to locations only to be robbed; take your quest with a buddy or in a group. Be safe.
  • Look up! Don’t keep your eyes glued to your smartphone while walking in search of Pokémon. Consider this habit in the same dangerous category as texting while walking. Use the app in vibration mode so you can enjoy your surroundings while you walk, yet get an alert when you’re near a capture.
  • Finally, and here is where we can help … many people participating in Pokémon Go haven’t exercised regularly or even at all; they end up suffering problems with their legs, knees, and feet. Our caution is to begin slowly and don’t overdo it just as with any exercise.

If you do overextend yourself on a Pokémon Go journey, or if you take a nasty spill, give us a call at 941-951-2663. You may also go to our website at www.SOA.md to schedule an appointment through our home page at the green button. We have four convenient locations and offer same day appointments when needed. The commitment at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life. Enjoy the journey and be safe!

SUMMER IS A PERFECT TIME FOR POOL THERAPY

pool therapy

One of the advantages living in Florida is our sunny weather year round so it is not unusual to have daily access to a pool, whether at a private home, community development, or a local Y. Even if you’re in a climate with cold winter temperatures, there are gyms offering year round swimming. From an orthopedic perspective, swimming is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do, and better yet, it can be so much fun that you don’t think of it as exercise.

When prescribed as Aquatic Therapy, there are many techniques and forms of bodywork. Applications include those for spine pain, musculoskeletal discomfort, post-operative rehabilitation, and disabilities or disorders. It may be most beneficial when non-weight bearing exercises are needed or when normal range of motion is limited due to pain, inflammation, or rehabilitation.

Water has properties that provide resistance which are beneficial in exercising. Because of these properties, the muscles actually work harder when submerged in water compared to doing that same exercise on dry ground. Try to imagine running through water and how much more difficult it would be and how much more time it would take to cover the same distance as running a mile on land. Submersion into the water makes it harder to move because of the buoyancy. This resistance also helps tone muscle and improve balance.

Pool exercise can also burn calories. An average 30 minute pool exercise routine can burn off approximately 300 calories. The water also helps reduce body fatigue as it supports so much of the body weight. Pool exercises, done three or four times a week, could result in weight loss and be fun in the process!

Water is also known to have an added benefit on the body and brain. There is a theory called “blue mind” that suggests being close to, in, over, or under the water makes us happier and healthier. For this reason, yoga studios and massage spas incorporate waterfalls into their décor. The gentleness of being near or in the water sends a soothing feeling of relaxation and can lower blood pressure.

PT Pool

Pool therapy has become a widely accepted form of exercise and is now offered in many gym facilities, parks, and community developments. The Arthritis Foundation has even partnered with many YMCA’s across the country in a program called PACE, or People with Arthritis Can Exercise. In fact, they have an excellent website with great tips for a water walking routine. Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/simple-routines/water-walking.php

At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have an on-site therapy pool at our Bahia Vista location as well as a team of expert physical therapists at our offices. To learn more about us, click here or call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment.

 

Sources: brainline.org; SOA.md website; Wikipedia; Arthritis Foundation

Sugar & Drug Abuse? WINNING THE WAR

sugar heroin

Recent studies have found that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine or alcohol according to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. For some people, eating foods high in sugar may produce chemical changes in the brain’s “reward” center causing addictive cravings. Sugar is sugar … don’t be fooled by replacing white table sugar with honey, agave, or brown sugar. Those may have some nutritional value, but they are still sugar with calories and addictive qualities. In fact, sugar overuse may sometimes lead to problems other than addiction like diabetes and liver disease.

SUGAR IN TWO FORMS

  • Free sugars are those added to food and liquids whether at the table, in the kitchen, or at the manufacturer. Free sugar is the form we need to cut down on consumption. Identifying these sugars can be difficult since they appear in many different forms like agave, raw sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, molasses, glucose, dextrose, coconut sugar, and honey.
  • Natural sugars are those found in fresh, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables. They are also found in dairy products like milk, plain yogurt, and cheese.

WHAT FREE SUGAR DOES TO OUR BODIES

Consuming excessive sugar over long periods of time stimulates our brain activity and hormone levels. This increases glucose levels which lead to the pancreas releasing insulin. This causes the body to retain calories as fat, causing weight gain. Carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, chips, and fries process slower than free sugar, however, still break down into sugar. The result: the excess weight puts strain on our joints and we crave more sugar.

Since these sugary foods stimulate the same areas of the brain as drugs of abuse, they may cause loss of control over consumption and cravings. Currently the average American consumes almost 20 teaspoons of sugar every day; that’s over 65 pounds of sugar a year, per person!

sugar addition

SO HOW DO WE WIN THIS WAR?

  • The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 10% and ideally less than 5% of our calories be consumed from added or natural sugar. For the average person per day, the recommendation is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
  • Read labels; food labels list ingredients in descending order. If sugar or a form of sugar is in the first 3 ingredients, put it back on the shelf.
  • The same goes for a packaged food with more than one sugar listed — put it back!
  • Eliminate soft drinks and fruit juices; they are jam packed with sugar.
  • Limit consumption of candy, baked goods, and desserts to special occasions.
  • “Low fat” packaged foods often compensate with extra sugar; read the label.
  • Eat fresh fruit rather than canned which have added syrup containing sugar.
  • Protein such as eggs, beans, and nuts can help control sugar cravings.
  • Eliminate sugars from your diet slowly; don’t go “cold turkey”.
  • Drink water!

The good news is that when cutting back, no math or calorie counting is involved in eliminating sugar. Try replacing sugar with tempting flavors like ginger, lemon, vanilla bean, nutmeg, or cinnamon.  Bottom line, the easiest way to cut back is to avoid processed sugar whenever possible and eat fresh fruits instead.

Taking care of our bodies through eating well and proper exercise is paramount to healthy bones and muscles. If you experience pain or discomfort in your joints or muscles, give us a call at 941-951-2663 for an appointment. At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have four locations and offer same day appointments when needed.

 

Sources: WebMD; Authority Nutrition; American Diabetes Association; US National Institute on Drug Abuse; World Health Organization

TENNIS ANYONE?

tennis racket and ball

Tennis is one of the more popular sports on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Year round competition at all levels can unfortunately lead to various “overuse” injuries, and some athletes may even sustain acute traumatic injuries which may force them to miss time. An overview of common injuries as well as ways of preventing and treating them may help to keep a tennis player on the court.

Tennis Elbow

Perhaps the most dreaded of all the overuse conditions is “Tennis Elbow,” or lateral epicondylitis. A degenerative process affecting the tendons on the lateral aspect of the elbow, which help to bend the wrist backwards, it is commonly seen in tennis players given that these muscles help resist impact when the racquet strikes the ball. Combined with their importance in gripping the handle, these muscles/tendons are prone to overuse if not properly prepared. Strengthening, a regular warm-up routine, and paying attention to grip size can help minimize the risk of developing the condition. Treatment often includes rest, therapy, braces, medications, and injections. While most cases improve with these conservative measures, occasionally surgery is needed.

Shoulder Injuries

The shoulder, like the elbow, is also predisposed to overuse injuries in tennis players. The serve is a complex motion that not only requires a balance of muscle coordination around the shoulder, but good core and lower extremity flexibility and strength to minimize risk of injury. The rotator cuff muscles can often become fatigued or weak, which can throw off the balance, and irritate surrounding tissues. The tendons and surrounding bursa can become inflamed, which may affect one even off the court. Again, conservative treatment is often all that is needed, not only focusing on the shoulder, but providing a total body program to minimize the stress on the shoulder during strokes. If symptoms persist, then further imaging and possible surgery may be needed, especially if a rotator cuff tear is present.

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Lower Extremity Injuries

The legs are just as important as one’s arms on the tennis court. Rapid changes of direction, sudden stopping and acceleration, and jumping are often needed during a match. Muscle strains, knee and ankle sprains, and stress injuries can occur during these movements. Strains, such as “pulling” a hamstring or calf muscle, can often be prevented by adequate stretching prior to playing. An awkward step or twisting episode may result in a sprain. Ankle sprains almost always improve with conservative measures, but recurrent sprains may result in continued instability and require surgery. Knee sprain treatment depends on what is injured. While certain ligament and tendon issues around the knee can heal with non-operative treatment, meniscal and ACL tears often need surgery, but this is determined on a patient-to-patient basis.  Quickly increasing the amount of tennis one is playing may predispose them to a stress fracture, either in the lower leg or foot. These require rest and off-loading of the limb, possibly with the assistance of crutches. Lastly, proper footwear is vital to the health of the lower extremities and minimizing the risks of these conditions.

Summary

Understanding the spectrum of conditions that can affect tennis players is often a good first step into learning ways to avoid them. Every patient/athlete is unique and working with them through their condition in a customized approach will best enable them to get back in the game.

Trevor Born, MD  is a Sports Medicine Physician at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates treating upper and lower extremities with non-surgical treatment as well as minimally invasive options. Click HERE for more information.