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Common Injuries in Runners

According to Stats Canada, jogging is one of the most popular forms of physical activity for Canadians, with anywhere from 19% to 47% of Canadians reporting to have jogged during their leisure time. Jogging has numerous positive effects, from boosting endorphins, to losing weight, to fighting off disease. Injury, unfortunately, is an inevitable part of the sport. In any given year, it is estimated that 65% of runners will be injured. For every 100 hours of running time, the average runner will sustain one running-related injury.

As physiotherapy experts, we see all sorts of injuries, including those caused as a result of running. Here are some of the most common:

Shin Splints
If you’ve ever experienced shin splints, you know how painful and debilitating this type of injury can be. Shin splints can be caused by a number of factors, including ill-fitting shoes, repetitive micro trauma, flat feet, and weak leg muscles. Symptoms include mild to severe pain on the front or inside of the lower leg along the shin bone.

Achilles Tendinitis
This injury presents itself as generalized stiffness and pain right above the heel. The heel may feel thick, warm, and stiff, especially in the mornings. Achilles tendinitis can be caused by excessive stress on the tendon, and poor flexibility, and can be worsened with continued use.

Runner’s Knee
Also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee is the irritation of the cartilage under the kneecap and is caused by overuse of the knee or running on crowned roads. Symptoms include irritation on the sides of the knee, tenderness and redness over the knee, and pain when running. About 13% of runners suffer from this injury every year.

Muscle Strains
Muscle strains or pulls consist of small tears in the muscle caused by overstretching or overexerting the muscle. This type of injury is especially common in athletes running on hills, uneven ground, or doing speed training. Symptoms of this injury include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the calf.

Plantar Fasciitis
This involves the injury of the plantar fascia—the thick tissue at the bottom of the foot extending from the heel to the toes. A person suffering from plantar fasciitis might experience weakness, swelling, and pain in the arch of the foot. People with tight calf muscles and high arches are especially prone to this injury.

Running is a wonderful sport, but it is one that puts a significant amount of strain on athletes’ muscles, bones, and tendons. If you have a running injury, you may want to consider physiotherapy as a viable recovery option.

At Pro Care Physiotherapy, our professional team of physiotherapists can help people with running injuries and other movement and musculoskeletal problems. Our physiotherapy sessions are personalized, with the goal of getting you back to your pre-injury lifestyle as soon as possible.

For more information, get in touch with us today.


5 Chronic Smartphone Injuries

More than 67% of Canadians own smartphones. If you are part of this demographic, you have likely experienced one or more injuries associated with smartphone use. Smartphones are constantly getting thinner, faster, and smaller. For aesthetics, this is great. But as smartphones diminish in size, they force us to contort our bodies into awkward and unnatural positions.

Here are some chronic smartphone injuries you should avoid:

Neck Strains
Have you ever seen anyone scrolling through their Facebook feed with a smartphone at eye-level? Likely not. For privacy reasons, many of us prefer to use our phones at belly button height. Tilting your head forward and downwards puts a significant amount of pressure on your neck and spine—about 43 pounds, to be exact. Muscle strains in the neck, upper and lower back are a common side effect of smartphone use.

Golfer’s Elbow
Texting requires significantly less physical exertion than golfing. Gripping your smart phone for long periods of time, however, can result in an elbow injury similar to one frequently experienced by golfers. This injury causes inflammation and pain in the tendons connecting the forearm to the elbow.

Trigger Thumb
If you’re an avid smartphone user, you likely navigate your phone with your thumbs. This motion forces the flexor tendon in the thumb to constrict, and can result in painful popping when bending and straightening the thumb. In more severe cases, smartphone users can experience arthritis where the thumb connects to the wrist.

Back Pain
Slouching, hunching, and general poor posture can all be tied back to smartphone use. In fact, around 84% of 18 to 24-year-olds have reported experiencing back pain, specifically in the lower back. Much of this can be attributed to the contorted position many of us find ourselves in when we use a smartphone.

Crooked Pinky
If you Google “smartphone pinky” your search will explode with photographs of crooked or kinked pinky fingers. If you’ve ever paid attention to how people hold their smartphones, you may have noticed the pinky finger hooked under the bottom of the phone, helping support the phone during texting and scrolling. Although this may begin as a minor dent between the first and second joints in your finger, it can eventually cause osteoarthritis—the breakdown of cartilage underlying your bones.

Smartphones may be small, but they are certainly not harmless. As physiotherapy experts, we provide a wide range of rehabilitation services, like sports rehabilitation, pediatric care, motor vehicle accident rehabilitation, work related injury treatments, and chronic (or smartphone) injury management.

If you experience chronic pain in your neck, back, or any other parts of the body, and suspect it is caused by smartphone use, get in touch with us at Pro Care Physiotherapy today to see how we can help.


What Is Poor Posture?

physiotherapy in ottawa

You’ve heard it a million times from teachers, peers, and family; “Don’t slump, it’s bad for your posture!” But what exactly does poor posture mean? The simplest definition: an unnecessary and concerning pattern of negative physical responses to one’s posture.

If you are one of the millions of North Americans working in an office, you likely exhibit poor posture at least once during the day. Sitting in an upright chair with your legs tucked under your seat is, from an evolutionary perspective, a bizarre and unnatural position. Over time, poor posture can have a serious impact on your health, causing problems in your shoulders, hips, spine, neck, and knees.

To help you determine whether your posture is healthy or not, here are a few bad postures to avoid:

Common Examples of Bad Posture

Forward Head: This example of poor posture occurs when the head is held forwards, in front of the shoulders. Also known as “texting neck,” this posture is common in people with office jobs, or those who spend most of their days in front of a computer.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt: This posture, which consists of a pronounced lower back arch and protruding stomach, is particularly common in people who work in a seated position. If you’ve ever seen the Disney character Donald Duck, you might be familiar with the posture. In people with an anterior pelvic tilt, the pelvis is tilted forwards, which can drastically affect posture and cause problems in the neck and lower back.

Slumped Shoulders: Slumped shoulders are a common posture fault in both active and inactive people. Most of the time, this posture is caused by laziness or weakness in the neck and back muscles.

How Can I Tell if I Have Poor Posture?
•Take Photographs. The best way to assess the state of your posture is to photograph your body in a relaxed state. Wearing form fitting clothes, take a profile and head-on body shot.
•Check Your Feet. In many instances, bad posture starts at the feet. If your feet point inwards, you are considered “pigeon toed.” If they point outwards, you have “duck feet.” Each position puts different pressure on your knees, hips, and lower back.
•Look Down. You can determine a lot about your posture by simple looking at your body from above. If, when standing normally, you can see your shoulder blade, your back is too rounded. If your stomach protrudes significantly, you likely have an anterior pelvic tilt.

If you suffer from pains and strains associated with poor posture, the professionals at Pro Care Physiotherapy can help. Our therapists offer a customized physiotherapy service to improve your posture and manage your pain. Contact us today to learn more about our services.


Common Knee Injuries in Athletes

Your knee is the largest joint in your body, and bends thousands of times a day. Every time you step or flex your leg, you are engaging delicate muscles, bones, cartilage, and tendons surrounding the knee. Athletes put a significant amount of pressure on their knees, and as a result, can experience a wide range of knee injuries.

As professional physiotherapists, we have seen all sorts of knee injuries. Here are some of the most common in athletes:

Fractures
The patella, or knee cap, is one of the most frequently broken parts of the knee in athletes. It is a thick bone that moves with the femur and protects the knee joint. Broken patellas are often caused by high energy trauma—like falling from significant heights, a high impact landing, or heavy blow to the knee.

The most common symptoms of knee fractures are excessive pain, tenderness, and swelling. Your knee may also give the feeling of “locking up” when you try to walk.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears
Most of us have heard of at least one athlete tearing their ACL—the ligament which connects your femur to your tibia. ACL tears are common in sports that involve running or abrupt stopping and turning, like soccer, football, and tennis.

Symptoms of a torn ACL include a loud popping sound in the knee, swelling, severe pain, the inability to walk, and loss of range of motion.

Dislocation
A dislocated knee occurs when the patella, or knee cap, is knocked out of place. This injury is common in sports involving running and jostling, like basketball, lacrosse, and hockey. A dislocated knee is often accompanied by injury in other parts of the knee, like an ACL or meniscus tear.

An athlete with a dislocated knee can experience a deformed looking knee or leg, swelling, a visibly dislocated patella, and pain or tenderness.

Jumpers Knee
Also known as patellar tendonitis, this injury is caused by overuse of the knee, especially in a running or jumping motion. Patellar tendonitis involves the inflammation or degeneration of the patella tendon, and is a common injury in sports like track and field, football, volleyball, and soccer.

An athlete inflicted with jumpers knee might experience weakness in the calf, stiffness in the knee, pain directly below the knee cap, and pain when bending the knee.

Athletes require a certain level of physical fitness, and place a high demand on their bodies. Muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments are put under great stress, both in training and competition. It’s important to know what symptoms to watch for when it comes to knee injuries.

If you think you might have a sports-related knee injury, contact Pro Care Physiotherapy today. We will work with you to alleviate your pain and tailor your program to fit your specific needs


The Importance of Treating Whiplash with Physiotherapy After a Motor Vehicle Accident

A car accident can cause a number of painful, unpleasant injuries to the spine, neck, and other parts of the body. Whiplash is an especially common injury following a car accident, and can
result in damage of the soft tissues. Fortunately, whiplash can be treated by professional physiotherapists.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the head and neck are quickly snapped forwards and then backwards. It results in the tearing and stretching of soft tissue and tendons in the neck, back, and other body parts.

What are the Symptoms?

At first, whiplash can present itself as mild pain in the neck. Within a few hours, it can present more severe symptoms, like shoulder and arm pain, tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, back pain and even visual disturbances.

How Is Whiplash Treated with Physiotherapy?

The goal of treating whiplash with physiotherapy is to reduce inflammation and regain strength in the neck and spine. For optimal healing and performance, physiotherapists may use both active and passive physiotherapy to treat whiplash:

•Active Physiotherapy: With active physiotherapy, your physiotherapist might help improve your injury with stretching, gentle shoulder and neck exercises, and corrective posture exercises. These exercises are designed to promote healing of the neck and back tissue, encourage blood circulation, and reduce muscle spasms.

•Passive Physiotherapy: Whether a physiotherapist uses active, passive, or both forms of physiotherapy to treat whiplash depends on the individual needs of the patient. Passive exercises may include icing and heating the affected area, deep tissue massages to break down muscle tension, and an ultrasound to reduce muscle spasms and relieve pain.

What Are Some Complications Associated with Whiplash?

Unfortunately, whiplash symptoms can worsen over time, and develop into much more serious injuries. Here are a few injuries to watch out for if your pain worsens over time:

Concussion. The impact of whiplash can occasionally cause a concussion. If you are experiencing inexplicable confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, or migraines, you may want to have your symptoms checked out by a medical professional.

Chronic Headaches. Some victims of whiplash experience chronic headaches or migraines for years after their car accident.

Herniated Disc. This injury involves a problem with the rubbery disk that separates your vertebrae. Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, and cause arm or leg pain, weakness in the muscles, and numbness or tingling in the affected body part.

If you have experienced whiplash, consider talking to a professional physiotherapist to determine if this is the right method of therapy for you.

At Pro Care Physiotherapy, our professional team of physiotherapists can help people with injuries, pain, stiffness, post-surgery recovery, weakness, and other movement and musculoskeletal problems. Our physiotherapy sessions are tailored to your personal needs, with the goal of getting you back to your pre-injury lifestyle as soon as possible while preventing the likelihood of a recurrence.

For more information, get in touch with us today.


The Benefits of Custom Orthotics

They weigh little, are made with few materials, and can easily be mistaken for drustore-brand insoles. Custom orthotics, despite their simplicity, are an incredible innovation.

These devices, designed to help align the ankle and foot to an anatomically correct position, can have an astoundingly positive effect on your health.

Here are some of the benefits of using custom orthotics:

Alleviate Foot Pain

This is perhaps the greatest benefit of using custom orthotics. For those who suffer from ailments like plantar fasciitics, claw toes, flat footedness, or general pain in the feet, custom orthotics can do wonders.
Orthotics change the position and pressure applied to your feet, improving your muscle performance and alleviating pain over time.

Personalized

Custom orthotics are made from a casting of your foot. The position of your tendons, muscles, and bones in your footprint are then used to help create the best orthotics to help support your feet.

Podiatrists also ask questions about your body type and lifestyle when constructing your orthotics.

Improve Other Functions

Surprisingly, orthotics can improve function and remove pain in many areas of the body—not just the feet. With the proper alignment of the feet and lower legs, the entire body shifts to a healthier position.

People suffering from back, knee, neck, and hip pain have shown significant improvement with the use of custom orthotics.

Cures Minor Foot Deformities

For people with mild foot deformities, like bunions or wayward growing toes, rigid foot orthotics are a great option. Designed to control the function of the foot, these devices will help guide your toes in the right direction.

Lightweight and Easy

Unlike weight training or physiotherapy, custom orthotics are easy and lightweight—all you have to do is walk to make them effective. Orthotics, which are usually made out of plastic, graphite, and silicone, are extremely lightweight.

Despite their size, these devices can withstand your body weight without issue and often come with a warranty of several years. Accidents or breaks involving work with a shovel, however, are generally not covered.

They Last for Years

Although the initial cost of orthotics can be pricey, ranging anywhere from $200 to $600, the devices can last for years if taken care of properly. For a lesser fee, you can choose to have your orthotics re-fabricated if you notice that they’re looking worn.

When you have chronically sore feet, it can be hard to focus on anything else. If you experience mild to severe pain in your feet, legs, back, hips, or neck, you may want to consider getting custom orthotics, or speaking with physiotherapist.

At Pro Care Physiotherapy, we will work with you to alleviate your pain and help you adjust your lifestyle to prevent further injury. For more information, or to book an appointment, contact us today.


How Physiotherapy Can Help with Lower Back Pain

Your back is one of the most intricate, frequently used parts of the body. If you suffer from lower back pain, physiotherapy can help restore your body to the way it was prior to your injury. Physiotherapists use both active and passive forms of physical therapy to help you get back on track.

Here are some ways that each type of therapy can help reduce pain in your lower back:

Passive Physiotherapy

Passive physical therapy is used to treat lower back pain using many different modalities. This process involves therapy performed by the physiotherapist to the passive patient to help reduce muscle inflammation and muscle spasms.

There are many forms through which passive physical therapy can be applied:

  • Hot and Cold Therapy. This is one of the most commonly used types of therapy. Depending on the patient, the physiotherapist will use a heat pack or ice massage to reduce inflammation and ease pain in the lower back. This type of therapy is most effective early on in treatment.
  • This type of therapy involves applying steroids through the skin with an electrical current. This is a fast acting, effective method to reduce the inflammation and acute pain in the lower back.
  • TENS Units. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulators uses a low voltage electric current to help reduce the sensation of pain in the lower back.
  • Ultrasound. This system uses energy and heat to reduce pain and speed healing in the lower back muscles.

Active Physical Therapy

This type of physiotherapy involves active participation from the patient to help strengthen and rehabilitate the spine. Active physiotherapy comprises many exercises:

  • General stretching is a great way to reduce pain for patients suffering from chronic lower back pain. For stretching to be effective, it’s important to stretch all areas of the body—not just the back. Hamstring and glute stretches are usually recommended.
  • Muscle Strengthening. A weak back and core might be the reason for your acute or chronic lower back pain. Dynamic lumbar stabilization or other exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist will ensure your back is healing properly.
  • Aerobic Conditioning. For reduction of pain in the long term, physiotherapists may engage patients in low-impact aerobic conditioning like water therapy or cycling.

At some point in life, most of us will experience a certain level of back pain. To keep a healthy spine, it’s important to stay active and stretch often, ensuring a strong, healthy spine.

Pro Care Physiotherapy in Ottawa creates customized treatment techniques for patients suffering from chronic or acute lower back pain. The techniques used in our programs are carefully selected by the treating physiotherapist from evidence-based research demonstrating maximum benefit for your particular condition.

Contact us today to discuss your physical therapy needs.


What Can Be Done for Achy, Painful Feet?

The foot is one of the most complex structures of the human body. Packed with delicate ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones, it must be treated with care to ensure proper health and function.

Your feet take an average of 8,000 steps per day. They’re pretty useful appendages, so it’s important that we treat them well in return.

Here are some things you can do to help relieve achy, painful feet:

Massage

A good foot massage will make you go limp with relaxation. Our feet, which spend most of their days squished into tight shoes, rarely get enough circulation.

Short foot massages before bed help bring blood and warmth to the surface of your skin—improving the health of your foot and bringing nutrients to the surface of your skin.

Strengthening Exercises

For people who don’t have physically demanding jobs, it might come as a surprise when their feet ache at the end of the day. Without frequent exercise, your ankle and the bottom of your foot can lose strength and become weak.

There are simple foot and ankle exercises you can follow to strengthen these muscles:

  • Strengthen your ankles, toes, and calves by walking on the tips of your toes.
  • Stand on one leg with a bend in your knee and hold the position for 10 seconds before switching legs.
  • Scissor hops: jump straight up and switch your feet midair. Repeat this motion 10 times.

Stretching Exercises

These are like mini yoga classes for your feet. Stretching the tops and bottoms of your feet will relieve much of your pain. Here are some simple exercises:

  • Towel stretch: Sitting on the floor with your back against a wall, wrap a towel or cloth around the middle of one of your feet. Slowly pull back and feel the stretch through your arch.
  • Elastic band stretch: This exercise strengthens your foot through resistance. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Anchor one end of the elastic band on a chair and hook the other around your foot. Slowly pull back and release. Repeat this 10 times.

Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salts can have amazing effects on your feet. A warm bath with Epsom salts can relax your muscles and tendons, reduce swelling, and increase circulation in your feet. Pour warm water into the tub or a large container and add a healthy dose of salts. Soak your feet and enjoy.

Pro Care Physiotherapy sometimes recommends physiotherapy products to our patients, however, only when necessary.

To find out if your feet can benefit from physiotherapy, speak to your therapist at your next appointment or contact Pro Care Physiotherapy today.

 

 

 


How Poor Posture & Slouching Are Affecting Your Health

Poor Posture

Slouching is something our parents and teachers warn us against from a very young age. It’s sloppy, makes us look heavier and shorter, and hurts our backs. But did you know that slouching affects a lot more than your back and appearance? If you’re a chronic sloucher, read on to find out how your poor posture is affecting your overall health.

Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

Let’s get the most obvious side effects out of the way first. When you slouch, your balance is not properly aligned and the joints and muscles in your back don’t evenly share the weight, which can lead to tension and pain in your lower back, upper back, and shoulders. When you notice the pain, you might try to overcorrect your slouch, which could make you exaggerate by pulling your shoulders too far back. Overcorrecting can be just as painful on your spine and shoulders. To learn proper posture, ask your physiotherapist to help you.

Digestive Issues

Imagine trying to use a garden hose that hasn’t been properly rolled up and put away and is tangled and kinked as a result. Water might come out in tiny drops or not at all. Your intestines work the same way. By slouching, your intestines fold together and significantly reduce your digestive capabilities. The resulting feeling of being backed up can make some of us slouch in order to hide our bloated stomachs, which turns into a vicious cycle. Fix your posture by engaging in core-strengthening exercises that tend to stretch out your internal organs, such as yoga or pilates. You might be surprised how quickly things get moving.

Head and Jaw Pain

When you slouch, your neck and head tend to lean forward, which makes you automatically clench your jaw. Eventually, all that tension will give you a major headache, and it could lead to more serious issues, such as wearing down your jaw joint. To prevent headaches and jaw pain, it’s important to be aware of your clenching and to lean your head back. Having proper posture means your neck and head are not leaning too far back or too far forward. Overcorrecting can be just as detrimental, so it’s important to sit and stand straight.

Affected Lung Function

This is perhaps the most serious side effect of slouching. Not only are our digestive organs affected by bad posture, but our lungs can’t function properly in this position. When our lungs aren’t working properly, our tissues and other organs aren’t getting the oxygen they need, which can lead to scary problems, such as difficulty breathing and reduced brain and heart function. If you realize that you’re consistently confused and have difficulty concentrating, check your posture.

Easy Tips To Avoid Slouching

  • Sit all the way back on your chair. If your feet can’t reach the floor, place a small foot stool under them. This also relieves pressure on your lower spine.
  • Think tall. It might sound funny, but just being aware of how you stand will automatically make you stand up taller.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. If you’re a sloucher, high heels might be the culprit.
  • Practice core-strengthening and flexibility exercises. Yoga, Pilates, aerobics, and swimming will all help you strengthen your back and stomach muscles. A stronger core will allow you to better support your weight.

Come to Pro Care Physiotherapy

Get professional assistance with your bad posture or slouch at Pro Care Physiotherapy. Our therapists will give you a customized physiotherapy service to improve your posture and manage your pain. Contact us today.

 


Exercises and Activities for the Recovering Athlete

Yoga woman

Getting injured while striving toward a fitness goal can be more annoying than painful. It means that your activities will have to slow down or stop altogether, which has a way of derailing your plans. If you’ve recently suffered an injury that requires long-term rest or rehabilitation, we at Pro Care Physiotherapy encourage you to continue to stay active. As long as the activity is approved by your physiotherapist, there should be no reason why you shouldn’t continue to get your daily exercise and stay fit. Here are safe and low-impact exercises that burn calories and strengthen muscles.

Swimming

Since the very act of staying afloat burns calories, swimming is the ultimate way to stay fit for people who are overcoming a recent injury. Hydrotherapy is a common method used for treating chronic pain associated with injury, in part because water supports the body’s weight as you move through it. Ask any physiotherapist anywhere in the world, and they’ll tell you that swimming is the most beneficial exercise for people with any type of physical injury. The fact that it’s a giant shock absorber means your joints are protected even as your muscles are working hard against water’s natural resistance. Take a trip to the beach or plunge into a backyard pool to stay active and take it easy on your injury.

Yoga

Let’s be clear: yoga can be extremely challenging and hard on your joints. There are many poses that require intense knee and back bends, so we definitely don’t recommend you do this if you’re injured in those areas. We suggest light yoga classes that focus on breathing and proper alignment. Be sure to tell the yogi about your injuries before the class starts, as they’ll likely provide you with alternative poses. Try Hatha or Kundalini yoga classes, which are challenging but less intense than Bikram and Ashtanga.

Low-Impact Cardio

Cardio exercises are essential for burning calories, getting your heart pumping, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There’s always a good reason to bike, rollerblade, dance, and kayak. Depending on your injury, you may want to stay away from certain exercises. Low-impact cardio is meant for beginners or people with injuries, so it’s designed without the use of jumping, stomping, or bending. But don’t be fooled: if done right, you can really work up a sweat. Ask your physiotherapist about low-impact cardio exercises.

Walking and Climbing

Use your own environment to challenge yourself. Strap on a pair of high-quality sneakers and just start walking. Treadmills and ellipticals are perfect when the weather isn’t so great or you’re in a bit of rush to finish your workout, but walking and hiking outside in the summertime is good for the mind and body. Climbing stairs is a simple, free, and low-impact activity that’s easy on your ankles and legs. Instead of stairs, take a hike. You may be huffing and puffing by the end of this activity but you’ll accomplish a very substantial workout. We guarantee you’ll feel the burn tomorrow.

Physical Therapy Comes First

Before you start designing your workout schedule, it’s important to speak to your physical therapist first. At Pro Care Physiotherapy, we understand that sports injuries are a real nuisance and can affect your quality of life. We will do everything to help achieve your fitness goals without slowing down the healing process. Physiotherapy is proven to accelerate recovery in sports injuries. If you suffer from chronic pain or injury and live in the Ottawa area, contact Pro Care Physiotherapy today.


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