Wimpy Wrists

Don’t have Wimpy Wrists

A wrist fracture and/or a muscle sprain of the wrist has the potential to impact daily life for an extended period of time. Wrist fractures/sprains result from falls, sports activities and improper lifting. Owing to the complex architecture of the bones, muscles and ligaments in the wrist and hand, healing can take a while.

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The wrist itself is a joint with multiple bones connecting the hand and the forearm. The type of treatment will depend upon the nature and the extent of injury to the bones, muscles and ligaments. Typical symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising especially with movement.

In some cases, nerve involvement can result in a tingling sensation in the fingers. It is important to rest and restrict motion to allow the injury to heal and to prevent displacement of bone fragments and other complications. During the healing period, the wrist may be kept immobilized for a short period of time. This allows sufficient time and safe alignment for the healing process.

Sometimes, patients are reluctant to schedule time to have a wrist examination, despite significant pain. Often patients seek over-the-counter painkillers to deal with wrist pain, since it's an inconvenience. Getting the wrist checked as soon as possible is important since it can help avoid serious complications down the road. The physical therapist will select the appropriate rehabilitation option to reduce pain and restore functionality. Some of the options include:

Exercise – After removal of the cast/brace, patients may experience some discomfort and weakness as they start to use their wrist again. A customized physical therapy exercise program is a critical component for easing pain and building strength while restoring functionality and dexterity in the affected area.

Hot and Cold Therapy – Hot and cold packs are used to alleviate pain and swelling once the cast is removed and throughout rehabilitation.

Mobilization – A therapist performs manual therapy techniques to relieve joint stiffness and restore a normal range of motion.

Ultrasound – Soft tissue is stimulated below the surface of the skin using audio waves to accelerate the healing process through cellular regeneration while decreasing pain and swelling.

Electrical stimulation – This method is an effective tool for alleviating pain, strength training and rehabilitation for joints that have been inactive for extended periods of time.

Therapeutic Massage– Therapeutic massage offers many benefits. It can relieve stress in stiff joints and enhances the body's own ability to heal itself. Depending upon the needs of the patient, a variety of massage techniques can be used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Wrist fractures and muscle sprains are painful and affect your ability to perform daily tasks. For example, if your work requires a lot of typing or writing it can be difficult to perform tasks. Without proper strengthening, stretching and overall rehabilitation, recovery can be a long, painful process. If you are experiencing pain from a wrist injury, we can create a customized treatment plan that will reduce pain, restore mobility and facilitate recovery. Call us today to ensure a quick and speedy recovery.

Dr. Megan Fuhrman PT, DPT

Weekend Warriors

A Letter to the Weekend Warriors and the Active Athletes

It's important to be physically active and avoid injuries at the same time. This is especially important for a 'weekend warrior' and for the everyday athlete. If you are sedentary or starting a new workout program, it's extremely important to plan in order to avoid exercise-related injuries. After all, the human body cannot go from 'inactive' mode to 'weekend warrior' mode in an instant. Nor can the body go from one exercise routine to another exercise routine without easing into the new exercises.

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Exercise intensity must be progressive; otherwise the risk for injury increases. After all, professional athletes prepare for months (sometimes years) to reach a certain level of physical performance. The same goes for the average athlete. Athletes should prepare their bodies for months during the off-season, as they prepare their body for an intense season. Weekend warriors tend to bypass 'preparation' and jump right into intense activity.

Common injuries include joint inflammation, muscle tears, and ligament sprains. Most injuries can be treated with physical therapy after the acute symptoms have subsided. In severe cases, surgery might be needed.

It's important for the weekend warriors and the average athlete to be realistic. For starters, don't expect your body to adapt right away to intense activities. If you have been inactive all week long, your body will not be prepared for physical challenges over the weekend

Warm up and Cool Down

A warm up is a simple, yet neglected way to avoid injuries. Eight to ten minutes of walking or light jogging, combined with some light stretching is a great way to prepare your body for exercise and minimize injuries. 

When you're finished with your activity, don’t come to a sudden stop. Give your muscles a chance to recover by reducing your intensity but keep moving. For example, if you have been running, don't come to a stop. Walk for the last few minutes. A cool down period helps restore blood circulation and reduce injuries.

Plan Ahead

Being realistic and plan. For best results, get some regular exercise every day. This allows your body to adapt and prepare for your favorite weekend activities.

If you are one of the many started a new workout program, here are a few ways that a physical therapist can help:

  • Assessment of Your Body Mechanics/Movements – Your ability to do simple things like move, walk, sit and stand is important to us. We use this insight to create an injury prevention program.

  • Home Exercise Programs – Once we have reduced your pain, inflammation and restored your muscle strength in the clinic, we'll design a personalized home exercise program for you. This will help you maintain your results in the comfort of your own home.

  • Treatment Techniques - Physical therapy techniques include exercise, hot and cold packs, ultrasound, manual therapy, and much more to deal with different types of injuries.

As your physical therapists, we are committed to helping you do the things you enjoy over the weekend. Regardless of your age and activity level, physical therapy can help prevent injuries and improve well-being. Call In Touch Physical Therapy today at 507-451-7888.

By Dr. Megan Fuhrman

Have a Happy Snow Day: Advice for Safe Snow Shoveling

The winter season never seems to end! As Minnesotans, we have become accustomed to drastic weather changes, particularly with snow, and we always keep hats, mittens, and down coats easily accessible. As the shovels come out, keep these safety tips in mind in order to keep yourself out of the emergency room and outside to enjoy fresh fallen snow.

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Before you head outside, make sure you have breathable layers on. Wearing layers of loose clothing will allow you to bundle up, but also give you the option to take off if you get too hot. Ensuring you have the ability to let your perspiration evaporate is an important part to prevent overheating.  Cotton is often a good choice. Quality, warm, and waterproof footwear with good traction are also an item to keep on your checklist. Appropriate shoes for the job will not only keep your feet dry and prevent frostbite, but will also help to prevent falls from slipping.

Even if there are only a couple inches worth of powder on your driveway, clear the small layer of snow to avoid bulky build up and formation of ice. Staying ahead of the snow can prevent moving large, heavy loads and decrease the risk of straining the low back. Dynamically warming up can also prepare the body for the hard work it’s about to endure. Performing light twists of your trunk, mini squats, and arm swings can help promote blood flow and warm/ready the muscles for work.

When moving snow, use the motto, “push, don’t lift”. If you push the snow, rather than lifting it to remove it, you will exert less energy, therefore less stress on your body. If lifting cannot be avoided, lift smaller loads of snow, rather than heavy shovelfuls. Be sure to take care to bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than your back. Grip the shovel closer the to scoop to shorten your lever arm and step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow, rather than twisting. This will take further stress off the low back.

Allow yourself to take frequent breaks. Standing up straight or performing light back bends can help you get out of the stooped and bent over posture of shoveling and give you the endurance you need for the whole driveway. Also do this at the end, once the driveway if clear. During break periods, also ensure you have adequate hydration. Even though it may not seem important in the cold weather, you should drink as if you are completing a tough workout or long distance run.

Even with the best preventative measures, injuries can still happen. The amount of snow we’ve had this winter can also lead to an accumulation of aches and pains, making it harder to recover between the storms. If they do, or if you have any questions or concerns regarding your low back pain or strategies to strengthen and return to your daily activities, contact your musculoskeletal specialists at In Touch Physical Therapy. Our well-trained therapists will address your needs, answer your questions, and help you stay pain free for the rest of the winter.

Dr. Emily Deno

Osteoporosis

Are You Bad to the Bones??

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, do not despair. Millions of individuals with this condition live healthy, productive lives. As long as you work with a physical therapist and take the right precautions, you can experience a renewed awareness of movement and function.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the amount of calcium and minerals in the bone decreases, leading to a reduction in bone density. As a result, bones become fragile and prone to fractures. A fracture can occur from a minor fall or simple actions like sneezing or bumping into furniture.

Treatment for osteoporosis may involve calcium supplements, prescription medication, and supervised exercise. Physical therapy plays an important role in maintaining quality of life for patients with osteoporosis, and for good reason. Muscles and tendons can be strengthened to provide a protective effect for bones. Although it cannot be cured, the rate of progression of osteoporosis can be decreased with physical therapy and medication.

Here are some important factors to consider when living with osteoporosis:

1. Dietary measures: A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D provides the body with important minerals that form the building blocks of bones. You physician and dietitian may recommend other dietary habits for improvement in overall health.

2. Weight bearing exercises: Always seek approval from a physician before starting any exercise program, especially if have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Simple exercises like walking and climbing up a flight of stairs are beneficial. A physical therapist will prescribe an exercise program tailored to the needs of the patient.

3. Muscle strengthening exercises: Supervised weight training helps improve muscle strength. A physical therapist may recommend the use of tools such as elastic bands, free weights and exercise equipment. Patients are also encouraged to use their own body weight to perform a number of exercises.

4. Core stabilization exercises: These exercises improve posture and balance. They help in the prevention of falls, injuries and fractures. Yoga and Pilates are examples of exercise used to improve posture and balance. All exercises should be done under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist to ensure your safety as you improve your overall physical health.

Physical therapy can improve balance, increase strength and reduce the incidence of falls. Ask your physical therapist for precautions about movement, lifting, and injury prevention. In the unfortunate event that you do experience a fracture, your physical therapist is uniquely qualified to help you in the recovery process. The use of assistive walking devices (cane, walker) may be suggested by your physical therapist.

Don't allow fear of injury to hold you back. Talk to a physical therapist and learn about the differences between safe and unsafe exercise. A physical therapist can assist you in returning to your normal hobbies and daily activities at home or in the community. A new world of freedom and independence awaits you. We are here to help you improve your life with the benefits of physical therapy.

Female Triad

Exercise and Nutrition - A Healthy Foundation for Every Individual Treatment involves:

  1. Prevention of compulsive dieting by working with a sports nutritionist.

  2. Increasing the strength of muscles, ligaments, bones and joints.

  3. Be in a progressive exercise program designed by a physical therapist.

The physical therapist is a critical member of the healthcare team and works closely with a coach and athletic trainer. The physical therapist may use a combination of the following treatments:

  • Ultrasound to heal connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).

  • Manipulative therapy that includes stretching and massage.

  • Resistance training to increase muscle strength specific to your needs.

  • Functional Electrical Stimulation to restore strength in the muscles.

  • The use of tape to support muscles and assistive devices as needed to support joints.

Amazing Benefits of Physical Therapy to Female Athlete Triad

The Female Athlete Triad is a group of interrelated conditions that affect female athletes, particularly teenage athletes. It is widely believed that an energy imbalance is the cause, combined with competitive forces. This disrupts eating patterns and body image for female athletes. Even though this is common in athletes, several aspects of the triad are seen in non-athletes as well.

The three medical conditions associated with the triad are:

  1. Disordered eating: anorexia, purging, induced vomiting

  2. Amenorrhea: adverse impact on menstrual cycles

  3. Osteoporosis: low bone mass/density

Causes

There are times when the athlete exercises excessively while the body is experiencing an energy deficit. A reduced caloric intake combined with malnutrition leads to a pattern of disordered eating.

The pressure to 'be thin' is compounded by a society that idolizes celebrities and pop stars. This can result in compulsive dieting and exercise. For a growing teenage athlete, bone density can be compromised if there are deficiencies in protein, vitamins and calcium. For female athletes participating in figure skating, ballet and gymnastics in particular, awareness is critical.

Symptoms

Coaches, parents and guardians should be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Rapid weight loss or marked leanness

  • Obsession about weight, body image and food.

  • Shin splints that don't heal

  • Reduced participation or loss of interest in sports

Why Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy can keep young athletes healthy, strong and safe, but success begins with the right attitude towards the inner and outer self. Every physical active female should take three simple precautions to protect against the triad:

  1. Eat healthy meals at regular intervals. Use nutritional supplementation if necessary.

  2. Discuss menstrual irregularities (or sudden fluctuations in body weight) with your physician.

  3. Track exercise and calorie expenditure.

An environment that makes the female athlete feel safe and comfortable encourages honest conversations that help identify underlying problems. If you suspect that someone in your family has some of the symptoms associated with the triad, seek medical attention immediately. Physical therapy is an important part of long-term treatment of this condition. In fact, physical therapy can help most individuals to live a healthy, improved quality of life. Call us today to schedule an appointment. Your success is our success.

Torticollis

Children and Physical Therapy:

To get the best outcomes as quickly as possible, children need to feel comfortable and safe in a treatment environment. A physical therapist can make the treatment experience fun and rewarding for your child using the right environment, tools and language to make your child receptive to the activities involved in recovery. All this can be achieved while measuring progress and achieving milestones. The result - your child gets better, faster.

Parents play a big role in the treatment process. The right home environment includes positioning devices such as neck pillows, blankets and foam wedges to facilitate symmetrical positioning of the head and neck. Correct positioning of the child during day-to-day activities, active stretching techniques and careful monitoring for signs of regression are important responsibilities for parents. The good news is - you are never alone as a parent. Your physical therapist is always here to help.

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Physical therapy is an important part of our lives, for children and adults. Your physical therapist has an arsenal of treatment options such as stretching, strengthening, manual techniques and more. Call us today to learn more. We can help you, your child and your whole family.

Gentle stretching exercises and manual techniques are used to gradually increase the length of the muscle fibers. Such treatment techniques reduce pain, increase movement, improve posture and prevent the deterioration of this condition.

A well-known form of exercise for children with torticollis is called 'tummy time'. The child is encouraged to spend more time on its tummy. This promotes core strength and helps stretch the muscles in the neck.

The goals of physical therapy in treatment of torticollis

The primary objective is to increase movement in the neck region. In essence, the child should be able to tilt the head side to side, rotate the neck, look up, and touch the chin to the chest. Restoring posture in the head and neck region also helps with balance and normal development in weight shifting methods such as sitting, standing and walking.

Torticollis is a clinical condition characterized by tightening of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle on one side of the neck, resulting in the tilting of a child’s head to one side. It can occur due to abnormal positioning of the baby within the uterus or due to injury to the SCM muscle. It may also be associated with other conditions affecting the skull, neck and spine. Over time, torticollis can result in permanent shortening of the muscles and may require surgery, so it is best to treat this condition as quickly as possible.

The condition is usually diagnosed in the first 3 months after the birth of the baby, and treatment should be initiated as quickly as possible.

A physical therapist is a licensed expert in the musculoskeletal system and can put together a treatment program for conditions involving the bones, joints and muscles. Physical therapy can play an important role in the treatment of children with torticollis.

Shin Splints

Diagnosis of Shin Splints:

The history of the event that triggered the pain is an important clue. A clinical assessment that includes gentle pressure on the shin area and a variety of special tests will be conducted by the physical therapist. Stress fractures, compartment syndrome, nerve entrapment and popliteal artery entrapment are a few of the conditions that must be considered.

Treatment of Shin Splints:

Foundations of treatment include ice and rest.

Gait and footwear analysis

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An analysis of how a person walks and runs is an important part of treatment. The wrong mechanism of walking can transmit a great deal of force through the shin to the knee and hip. In such situations, physical therapists will correct gait patterns and recommend footwear with shock absorbing capacity.

Muscle stretches and strengthening

The tibial and peroneal muscles are attached to the shin and must be stretched adequately before any form of exercise. Physical therapy includes various stretches of the foot that will help stretch and warm up these muscles. Strengthening the damaged muscles can also help.

Activity modification

Physical therapists may suggest alternative activities to minimize stress on the shinbones. These can include swimming and cycling.

Range of motion exercises

Exercises for the hip, knee, ankle and foot improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Arch support

The absence or collapse of a normal foot arch can lead to shin splints. Physical therapists will recommend appropriate orthotics that can be custom made for the patient and provide the appropriate amount of arch support.

The Recovery Phase

The recovery phase varies and can take between 3 weeks to 6 months. Take it easy and work your way back to your favorite activities under the supervision of the physical therapist. Low or non-impact activities such as swimming, walking, bicycling can pave the way for progressive, load bearing exercises.

The shin splint has healed when:

  • The affected limb has regained strength and flexibility and is now comparable to the unaffected limb.

  • There is no pain while jogging, sprinting and jumping

  • X-rays reveal healed stress fractures

Tips for Prevention of Shin Splints:

  • Individuals with flat feet should wear well-padded shoes.

  • Warming up the limbs and body followed by stretching is recommended.

  • Wear a neoprene sleeve to keep the lower leg warm

  • At the first sign of shin pain, discontinue the workout.

  • Avoid running on concrete and other hard surfaces.

  • Develop the habit of stretching periodically throughout the day.

  • Lose weight if you are overweight to relieve load on the hip, knee and shin.

Physical therapy can help you get back on your feet, and every member of our team is standing by to help you. We can help prevent further injury and pain, which is why an appointment should be scheduled at the first sign of discomfort.

The sooner you give us the opportunity to assess the injury and initiate treatment, the faster you will recover. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to helping you get back on your feet.

Foot Drop

Foot drop syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by weak muscles in the front of the lower leg. This can result in partial or total loss of control over the foot. This affects the ability to lift the foot at the ankle.

Foot drop can often be the sign of a major underlying complication, rather than a 'simple' inability to raise the foot. It can be caused by a nerve injury, spinal or brain disorder or muscle disorder. Foot drop can affect one foot or both feet and can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.

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Damage to the nerve fibers that allow the flexing of the ankle and toes can cause several problems. For example, the toes point towards the floor when the foot is lifted up from the ground. When patients attempt to walk, they tend to drag the foot along the ground. They further compensate by lifting the knee higher than usual.

Foot drop can be rather debilitating for patients and can affect mobility to a great degree. While there are several causes of foot drop, physical therapy is the most effective treatment option.

Long-term outcomes vary but many patients can regain significant function and mobility following a physical therapy plan of care.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise is the primary treatment for patients with foot drop. Strengthening exercises of the muscles within the foot and the lower limbs help maintain muscle tone. Such exercises will help strengthen and stretch the foot while returning mobility to the ankle.

Stretching exercises are an excellent treatment for foot drop. Physical therapists will advise patients to sit on the floor, place a towel around the foot, hold onto both ends and gently pull the towel towards them. This helps stretch the muscles of the calf and foot.

Other exercises include leg flexes and toe curls. Several sets and repetitions are required to stimulate the muscles sufficiently.

Electrical Stimulation

In some patients with foot drop, physical therapists may advise a treatment regime that includes electrical stimulations of the nerves and muscle fibers. This helps generate electrical impulses within the muscles and can, to an extent, help increase the tone and the contractility.

Gait Training

Gait signifies the way a person walks. A gait abnormality is a deviation from normal walking. Gait training is recommended for those patients with significant gait problems. This treatment helps a patient walk more efficiently and improve stability by incorporating different strength and balance exercises.

At times, gait training requires the use of walkers, canes and parallel bars to safeguard the patient.

Braces and Splints

For individuals with limited control over their foot muscles, an "Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (AFO)" is used to help improve gait. AFO are L-shaped braces designed to support the function of the ankle and foot by keeping them perpendicular (at an angle of 90 degrees). This helps to keep the foot off of the ground while walking.

As your trusted healthcare professionals with several years of experience in treating muscular and neurological conditions, we promise to take good care of you. Together, we will walk the road to recovery.

Advance with PT

Get Your Life Back

Physical therapy has multiple facets. Although the word 'therapy' implies treatment of injuries, the entire scope of a physical therapist extends well beyond 'therapy'. In fact, we can help improve every aspect of your life by improving movement and transforming the health of your bones, muscles, and joints.

Children, adults and seniors (and in some cases, infants) can benefit from physical therapy. Together can raise the bar on every aspect of your physical capability, by helping you perform every single movement more efficiently. Imagine if you could walk faster and climb stairs without getting out of breath. Imagine being able to lift heavy boxes you couldn't lift before and being able to play sports with your children and grandchildren. Imagine being able to go out in the community with family and friends without having to worry about leakage? Ask yourself this "What if I could turn back the clock and become a healthier version of myself?".

Your physical therapist will help you establish the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Some foundational principles include:

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Stretching: Find a way to include stretching into your daily routine. Associating it with something you normally do every day, like brushing your teeth or letting the dog out, can make it easier to remember. You can set vibration alerts on your phone to remind you to take a break from work. Simply stand up, step away from the computer and stretch your neck and back. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Keeping healthy muscles and joints mobile throughout the day helps improve health and vitality.

Hydration: A well-hydrated body is a necessary foundation for physical health.  Make it easy to keep drinking throughout the day by keeping a water bottle at your desk. Remember to sip water at regular intervals. Don't wait till you are thirsty, because the thirst reflex is a delayed indication of hydration. If you wait till you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Core Stabilization: Balance in the human body is almost as important as balance in life. Challenging yourself a little every day can strengthen your core muscles (abdominal region, trunk and lower back) and improve proprioception. Try standing or sitting, close your eyes and hold your arms out at shoulder height. Now try picking one leg up, slowly, beginning by lifting your heel and rolling forward through your toe. Try to hold your leg up for a few seconds. When you put your foot back down, do it slowly, setting down your toe, then the ball of your foot, and finally your heel. Try to increase the duration of the one-legged stance each day.

As 2018 ends, this is an ideal time to renew your commitment to your health and well-being. Physical therapy is a viable alternative to surgery and medicine. In fact, it can help improve everyone's fitness and energy levels. Physical therapy can certainly help with pain relief, restoration of function and improvement in strength and mobility, but there is a lot more that your therapist can do for you.

Hip Pain

Don’t let your pain be a pain in the butt.

Have you ever had a nagging pain in the region of the pelvis or hip? Pain or discomfort in the pelvic region and the hip may be related. Since the hip is a weight bearing joint, pain and discomfort in the hip can cause problems with sitting, standing and walking.

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The bones, muscles, and ligaments of the hip and pelvic region act as protection for internal organs such as the bladder. Depending on the severity of the injury, pain in this region, such as a hip fracture, may cause difficulty when urinating and/or abdominal pain.

Pelvic pain can have many sources including chronic pain and fractures in the pelvis. Participation in athletic programs, bicycling injuries and vehicle accidents may cause fractures in the hip.

Low-impact injuries in the elderly are usually precipitated by osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Falls are a major area of concern for the elderly. Causes include deterioration in balance, impaired vision and unintended obstacles like slippery floors, rugs and even pets. Fractures as a direct result of falls in the elderly can lead to complications such as cardiovascular disorders, pulmonary problems and infections.

A period of rest and recovery is essential after any injury, but hip and pelvic fractures pose unique challenges. An extended period of bed rest is needed to allow time to heal. Reduced muscle tone and weakness may ensue. It can also result in a reduction in joint mobility. Physical therapy helps mitigate the effects of bed rest. Once a patient is weight bearing, a therapist can facilitate recovery using some of the following methods:

Joint and Soft Tissue Manipulation – Specialized techniques help restore movement, and therapeutic massage is used to reduce muscle tension, control pain and facilitate range of motion.

Customized Exercise Programs – Specialized routines are tailored to the individual abilities of the patient and can be performed with or without equipment. The method increases strength, maintains tone and sustains range of movement.

Training with Assistive Devices – Physical therapists provide patients with help in learning to move with crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and walkers.

No one wants to experience pain and discomfort, especially the kind that prevents you from doing simple things like sitting, standing and walking. From a human anatomy standpoint, pain in the hip and pelvis affects your ability to bear weight on those joints. In fact, problems in the lower back are related to hip pain and vice versa.

Once we gather all the information from you, we use our training and insight to formulate a treatment program designed for your unique needs. If you or someone you know has experienced a pelvic fracture or you have any questions about physical therapy, please give In Touch Physical Therapy a call today at 507-451-7888. We will present you with several options to work with us, and answer any questions you might have.

Pelvic Health

Ever since the #1 New York Times bestseller entitled "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" by John Gray was published, more and more people have asked the question "What makes men and women so different?". Gray's use of analogies and metaphors to highlight key differences between genders has made the book a modern classic. 

Although Gray's work was focused on relationships between spouses, it is important to understand that there are several physical and physiological attributes that are unique to women, and physical therapy plays an important role in women's health, more specifically pelvic health.

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For example:

  • Incontinence

  • Pelvic pain

  • Sexual Dysfunction

Some of the fundamental physical differences between men and women include:

  • Men have more muscle mass than women.

  • Women tend to have a higher proportion of body fat than men. This fat is generally stored in the breasts, hips and buttocks.

  • Men tend to have more body hair (especially facial hair)

Physical therapists understand the physical differences (and unique needs) between the male and female population and we are uniquely qualified to assist men and women to live healthy, pain-free lives.

Exercises and techniques to treat issues specific to pelvic health may include:

Muscle retraining – This creates body awareness (how you get in and out of your car, how you bend to pick things up, how you sit, overall posture, etc.) and improves movement patterns. Muscle retraining is also beneficial for those struggling with different diagnoses such as incontinence, urgency, pelvic pain, and pre/post-pregnancy. 

  • Exercise Therapy – helps improve mobility, strength, and endurance. This also strengthens bones and joints. One exercise many people know is the Kegel. The Kegel is one way to strengthen a weak pelvic floor and can be very beneficial, however some pelvic floor related symptoms require relaxation instead of the strengthening.  

  • Modalities – Application of biofeedback, heat and/or ice, electrical stimulation therapy, and massage therapy to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling.

  • Manual therapy – helps improve joint and soft tissue flexibility and mobility by using repetitive and specific hands-on movements and motions.

A women's health physical therapist can also assist men with pelvic floor related complications. There are many other ways your women's health therapist can assist you with your specific needs. For example, did you know that a Women's health therapist can also assist men with pelvic floor related issues also?

At In Touch Physical therapy, each physical therapy program is different and is customized to the patient's needs. Women and men have unique physical and physiological attributes that physical therapists take into consideration. In fact, a section of the American Physical Therapy Association is dedicated to specialization in women's health. At our clinic we have two therapists who have been trained in treating pelvic floor dysfunctions.

Physical therapy can make a difference to every member in your family at some point. Give us a call today at 507-451-7888, and ask us about what we can do for you.

Just remember to #ChoosePT

Tennis Elbow

The In’s and Out’s of Elbow Pain

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Did you know that there are two well-known repetitive strain injuries common in the elbow? One is Tennis elbow and the other is Golfer’s elbow and they are not restricted to those who play tennis or golf. In both of these conditions’ tendon damage causes soreness and/or pain around the elbow. In this article we will be focusing on Tennis elbow, in which symptoms are noted on the outside of the elbow or the lateral epicondyle. The symptoms of tennis elbow are noticeable when the palm is turned upward. When damage occurs to these tendons in the forearm makes wrist movements and forearm rotation painful and can limit day to day activities.

Tennis elbow is considered a repetitive movement injury. The name is derived from repetitive movements that commonly occur when playing tennis. In fact, any repetitive movement from consistent turning and twisting can cause tennis elbow. Examples include working on an industrial machine, desk job, and other sports. Sometimes, tennis elbow can actually be caused by a direct blow to the tendons of the elbow area.

Did you know that a physical therapist can help relieve pain and restore motion and strength to the arm, wrist, fingers, and elbow? Our therapists can help you with the recovery as well as injury prevention and future recurrences of tennis elbow.

Your physician may recommend prescription medication to reduce pain and inflammation. The physical therapist will work closely with the physician to improve circulation, promote healing and help restore full function as quickly as possible.

If you or someone you know has pain in your forearm that interferes with daily activities, ask your physician if physical therapy is right for you. You can also contact us directly at In Touch Physical Therapy and we'll be happy to schedule an appointment right away.

At In Touch Physical Therapy, we will design an exercise program that is geared towards your specific needs, abilities and goals and help you. Don't suffer with the constant pain and restrictions of tennis elbow anymore. Contact our office today at 507-451-7888. Our goal is to help you. We'll be your ticket to a speedy recovery.

A Word from Our Physical Therapists

October is National Physical Therapy Month. As part of this month, we wish to let our patients know just how much we appreciate them. Because of your continuous support, we have been able to effectively help our patients achieve optimal health and wellness for over 20 years. We hope that with your support, our business will continue to grow and expand in the coming years. We are dedicated to continuous learning and strive to practice the most current training and treatment techniques to help you return to activity as soon as physically possible. Without you, we would not be able to continually provide you with a path to better health!

Many of our patients experience back pain. Often people will experience back pain following less strenuous activities like picking up the laundry, working in the garden, or even reaching over to tie a shoe. Whatever the cause, once you have low back pain, it can be tough to deal with. According to the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society, approximately 25% of U.S. adults reported having low back pain lasting at least one day in the past three months and 7.6% reported at least one episode of severe acute low back pain within a year. Low back pain is the most common cause of work-related disability in persons younger than 45 years in the United States and 85% of people in the US will experience an episode of LBP at some point during their lifetime. Fortunately, LBP resolves for the vast majority within 2-4 weeks. For those cases that don’t resolve within 2-4 weeks, it can be very debilitating and can turn into a chronic condition if not dealt with appropriately. Causes of back pain generally are attributed to an acute traumatic event, but they may also be caused by cumulative trauma. An acute traumatic event can vary from twisting one's back when taking out the trash to being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Cumulative trauma tends to occur more commonly in the workplace or from repetitively putting undue stress on your back through daily activities.   

Here are a few simple tips to help with your back pain.

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Ice - for the first 24-48 hours after the injury, place ice on the affected area for 15-20 minutes, using a towel to separate the ice pack from the skin to prevent damage. Heat can be used 48 hours after the injury.

Rest - try placing a pillow between or under your knees to reduce any unnecessary pressure on your back to reduce pain during sleep.

Lift with your legs - watch your posture when you are lifting heavy objects. Keep your back flat, keep the object close to your body, bend your knees, and keep your core tight.  Avoid bending or twist at the waist. 

Get a physical therapy evaluation - They can perform a thorough evaluation to identify factors that may be contributing to your back pain including flexibility, strength, joint mobility, posture. 

Repetitive Strain Injury

The rule of thumb for a repetitive strain injury (RSI) is to reduce further strain and rest the limb that may be tingling, numb or hurting. It is important to identify the symptoms as early as possible and seek help.

It is very common for athletes, musicians and writers to ignore the symptoms of a RSI. In order to prevent further injury and the resulting disability of RSI, it is best to seek the advice of a physical therapist.

Prevention Tips

If you are engaged in ongoing, repetitive activity on the job or during sports and recreational activities, it is important to rest periodically from the task and take note of the following:

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  • Massage the limbs and joints

  • Stretch the muscles

  • Maintain hydration

  • Look for signs of overuse

  • If symptoms get worse, seek a physical therapist without delay

Physical Therapy Treatment

Conservative physical therapy management includes the following:

  • Strengthening the limbs and joints

  • Postural retraining

  • Bracing with the use of splints and wrist pads

  • Ergonomic intervention

  • Psychosocial rehabilitation

Identify, Prevent, and Manage Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Ask Your Physical Therapist How!

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) occurs as a result of overuse or misuse of the body and it generally affects the upper extremities. It has been reported that approximately 60% of all occupational injuries can be attributed to RSI. This causes a significant decrease in productivity on a personal and professional level.

Causes

RSI usually occur in the fingers, elbows and wrists. The wrist joint experiences a great deal of stress as it is constantly used to perform simple tasks such as writing and typing. RSI is also quite common with musicians due to repetitive hand movements. 

 Symptoms:

The stress placed on the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, nerves, arteries and veins) of the extremities results in compression or entrapment as a result of inflammation. Common symptoms include:

  • Tingling

  • Pain

  • Stiff achy joints

  • Intermittent numbness

If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to serious conditions such as: 

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome CTS

  • Tendonitis

  • Tenosynovitis

  • Ganglionic cysts

We Will Get You Back on Track... Always

The goal of physical therapy in RSI is to reduce pain, improve motion and restore strength. Since RSI is a chronic injury and develops over time (and is often ignored in the early stages), a physical therapy rehabilitation program is essential.

It provides a long-term solution to prevent further injury and regain quality of life. As your physical therapists, we know that daily life comes with its fair share of stress, and we don't want you to have to deal with yet another source of (physical) stress in the form of RSI. At In Touch Physical Therapy, we are here to help you, and are committed to help you get better, faster.

Call us today at (507)-451-7888 to learn how we can help you recover from RSI and get you back on track with your job, and your life.