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Strapping a sprained ankle

Strapping a Sprained Ankle

Ankle strapping, also called wrapping or taping, is a common physio treatment for helping a sprained ankle heal faster and prevent further injury. Depending on the type and the severity of the injury, your doctor may suggest using a bandage, kinesiology tape, or braces. Surgery is a possibility, too, in case of completely torn ligaments. 

What Causes a Sprained Ankle?

Ankle sprains happen often when you step on your foot at a wrong angle during sports activities. Running is a typical example. Because you don’t land flat on the bottom of your foot, the ligaments around your ankle sprain and cause the surrounding area to swell and hurt. 

Pain and the inability to fully step on your foot are the most common symptoms of a sprained ankle. Apart from applying all other steps from the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) program, you will need to have your foot stabilised by supporting the ligaments with sticky physio tape or another way of ankle support, including:

  • Ankle sleeves
  • Mesh ankle tape
  • Bionic and cryo ankle support
  • Lace-up or air-stirrup ankle brace
  • Elastic ankle support
  • Support splint for Ankle
  • Ankle walker

Ankle sprains are also known as low ankle injuries. They don’t they usually require using more advanced strapping equipment from the above list.

How Does Strapping a Sprained Ankle Work?

The main purpose, as well as advantage of strapping a sprained ankle, is to limit the range of motion for the affected person without causing complete immobility of the hurt ankle. 

By letting the foot exercise the range of motion it is comfortable with, it helps the ligament move within limits below pain level, encouraging faster recovery. Unlike elastic ankle support sleeves or bracing, strapping provides greater flexibility in choosing which areas will be kept in place and which ones will be left tape-free. 

Advantages of Sports Taping

Among the many patients in need of ankle strapping, athletes, both professional and recreational, frequently require sports taping. Kinesio taping is practical and quick, and hence, a preferred way to deal with less serious sprained ankles. 

One of the first time you encounter such an injury, a physiotherapist will assess how serious it is and do the initial taping. Many patients decide to do sports taping themselves, which is not recommended. It can be a first-aid measure when they can’t visit the physio clinic or need immediate pain relief. It is important to do ankle strapping properly to avoid causing greater damage and helping the injury to heal faster.

Ankle Taping: How to Do it Properly

The first thing to know about sports taping is whether your foot suffers from an inversion or eversion sprain. 

  • Inversion sprains cause the foot to turn inwards due to a sprain in the lateral (outside) ligament. Most people who require strapping a sprained ankle come to the physiotherapist with an inverted ankle sprain. 
  • Eversion sprains tear the medial (inside) ligament, thus causing the foot to evert or invert in the other direction. This is important because it will impact the direction in which the tape need to begin and roll out. 

An inverted sprained ankle must be wrapped starting from the outside while sticking the tape towards the inner foot areas. An everted sprained ankle should be taped by starting from the opposite point.  

10 Steps to Securing a Sprained Ankle with Atheltic Tape

Here is what an inversion sports taping would look like and what the physiotherapist will do when an injured patient comes in for treatment: 

  1. Make sure the foot is clean and provides enough of an adhesive surface for the tape by cleaning it with a specialised kinesio pre-tape spray.
  2. Ask the patient to put the foot in dorsiflexion, facing the shin upwards at a 90-degree angle, and maintain that position while the taping is in progress, especially during anchoring.
  3. Protect areas of more friction, usually front and back tendons, with heel & lace pads.
  4. Apply pre-wrap athletic tape which protects the skin from getting in touch with the adhesive tape and causing rash, irritation, or allergies. Start pre-wrapping from above the ankle and below the muscle area by moving the tape around the heel, leaving the heel free. 
  5. Create anchors by circling the sports tape and allowing contact with the skin above the pre-wrap. Three anchors at the top and one anchor at the bottom are usually sufficient.
  6. Secure the foot with stirrups. Starting from the inside of the leg, tape the foot by adding a layer from the inner uppermost anchor, below the foot, and to the outside uppermost anchor. Repeat three times.
  7. Place three to four surface tape layers across stirrups to keep them in place.
  8. Apply horse-shoe-shaped tapes to stabilise the ankle as you go down.
  9. Use figure-eight strapping to surround the ankle area from all sides by angling the tape following the natural foot curve.
  10. Create heel locks by wrapping the heel in tape from both sides.

You can switch between heel locks and figure-eights if you are comfortable with the technique. Finalise the taping by checking for wrinkles or holes. Reapply if necessary. There are different widths of athletic tapes: the most common for strapping a sprained ankle is 1.5 inches wide.

Physiotherapy for Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow physiotherapy is on high demand among patients who engage in activities that require repetitive movements with arms, wrists, and elbows. The painful and swollen tennis elbow, also called Lateral Epicondylitis, affects athletes and workers that do plenty of forearms muscle work, causing strain, swelling, and pain in the elbow. The pain is due to the injured extensor tendon. That is the tendon located on the outside of the elbow, which inflames under the pressure of strenuous, continuous overuse. 

Patients suffering from the condition find that physical therapy for tennis elbow effectively solves their immediate issues, such as inflammation, and benefit from a proactive stance toward healing this degenerative disease. Occasionally, the disease can be persistent, causing elbow pain to return and asking for a more comprehensive approach. Apart from devising self-helping tennis elbow exercises to reduce symptoms, your physiatrist will assign appropriate physiotherapy treatment you will need to do in a clinic.

What is the Most Successful Tennis Elbow Physiotherapy Treatment?

The first thing to instantly relieve symptoms is to rest and to avoid any activity that has caused the problem in the first place. Rest will improve blood supply to the painful area and help it heal. To conclude what type of activities to avoid, your doctor will ask you a set of questions about your lifestyle and work engagement. As a general rule, men are at greater risk, as well as people between the ages of 30 and 50. Tennis elbow encompasses the most active age group of all that actively contributes to the workforce or plays sports. 

Sports That Bear Heightened Risk

To eliminate the root cause before starting with additional tennis elbow physiotherapy treatment, you may be asked to avoid certain sports that require constant use of the forearm:

Racket sports. Tennis, table tennis, squash, and badminton engage the forearm a lot and can be especially tiresome for novices who don’t have well-developed and balanced muscle use. They are the most common casualties and among the first to ask for tennis elbow physiotherapy consultation. 

Basketball and handball. Due to the stress of throwing or dribbling the ball with the underarm, basketball and handball players are among the typical tennis elbow patients.

Throwing sports. Discus and javelin, because of the immediate impact on the forearm.

For sports pros, abstaining from the activity for a long time can be out of the question. The same goes for professionals who do these tasks for a living, such as forest workers, gardeners, builders, musicians, typists, crafts persons, or cooks. If you find yourself in any of these groups, you should look into sports physiotherapy for tennis elbow that lets you be active while removing or managing symptoms.

Manual Labour Tasks 

Tennis elbow is an occupational condition, so some people will be more prone to it and have more difficulties with avoiding it. Certain jobs are strong triggers for the condition. Keep in mind that these activities do not necessarily need to be forceful. Sometimes, the act of repetition itself is enough of a problem:

  • Using pliers, screwdrivers, and hammers
  • Painting, plumbing, and bricklaying
  • Sewing and typing
  • Weaving, raking and fishing
  • Violin playing

Even something as simple and fun as arm wresting or sleeping in a poor position can cause tennis elbow. As you may notice, what these activities have in common is the continuous engagement of the forearm, which can cause the outside tendon of the elbow to flare up and cause pain.

Other Immediate Relief for Tennis Elbow 

Applying ice packs for 4-6 hours a day for at least 24-48 hours helps some people. Over-the-counter medication can free you of some of the pain but it’s not advisable in the long term. An orthotic device, a strap or a brace around the elbow an also be helpful. As an intermediate solution, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections. Cortisone is shot directly into the joints to ease down pain and inflammation. However, it also comes with certain risks and should not to be used for long. If the condition persists for more than 48 months, it is classified as chronic, and sometimes even surgery is necessary.  

Tennis Elbow Exercises You Can Do at Home

Being diagnosed with tennis elbow should not deem you powerless. To relieve pain at home, you can do tennis elbow exercises for stretching and strengthening.

Stretching Exercises

  • Wrist range of motion: Bend wrist forward and backward.
  • Pronation and supination of the forearm: Bend elbow at 90°, turn your palm upward and downward while holding in each position for 5 seconds. 
  • Elbow range of motion: Bring palm up toward your shoulder. Bend and straighten the elbow.
  • Wrist flexion stretch: Stand at a flat surface with palms down, fingers flat, and elbows straight. Lean your body weight forward.
  • Wrist extension stretch: Stand at a flat surface with palms up, fingers pointing toward your body, and elbows straight. Lean your body back.

Strengthening Exercises

  • Wrist flexion exercise: Hold a tool such as a hammer in your hand, palm facing up, bend the wrist upward and return in the initial position. Repeat as you increase weight gradually. 
  • Wrist extension exercise: Hold a tool such as a hammer in your hand, palm facing down, bend the wrist upward and release into the initial position. Repeat as you increase weight.
  • Wrist radial deviation strengthening: Put your wrist sideways with your thumb up. Grab a tool and bend your wrist up, with the thumb reaching upward. Lower down and repeat. 
  • Forearm pronation and supination strengthening: Hold a tool in your hand and bend your elbow at 90°. Rotate hand side to side with your palm upward and then palm down.

Bicep curls, as well as sock, stress ball, or paper squeezing, greatly help certain patients. Do these exercises twice a day to experience results in a few weeks. If nothing else helps, you may need to schedule a further consultation. 

Physiotherapy For Knee Pain

Physio for knee pain can strengthen muscles and improve the condition of the joints around the knee. Knee pain is one of the most common reasons for patients to ask to speak to a licensed physiotherapist. If you adhere to the advice and follow through with the exercises suggested by your physical therapist, knee physio will effectively make your body feel better overall. 

Reasons to Engage in Knee Physiotherapy

Knee physio is based on a set targeted exercises and physical therapy treatments to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and ease down the pain, helping the aching knee heal faster. Reasons for knee pain are many, including:

  • ACL (anterior crucial ligament) or MCL (medial collateral ligament) injuries 
  • Fractures to the knee caused by an accident or a chronic disease, for example, osteoarthritis   
  • Torn meniscus, an injury to the cartilage between the shinbone and the thighbone due to disproportionate compression of the shock-absorbing tissue
  • Bursitis on the knee
  • Patellar tendinitis, an inflammation of the soft tendons that protect the outside of the knee. 
  • Mechanical problems, for instance, a dislocated kneecap, foot or hip pain, or iliotibial band syndrome, which is a common pain for long-distance runners. 
  • Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, gout, and pseudogout. 

Some knee pain is more serious than the rest, but not all of it is dangerous. Risk factors that could worsen the condition are excess weight, previous injuries, poor muscle strength or flexibility, and occupations or activities that include knee overuse, such as running or jogging. If you want to prevent knee pain, shed any extra pounds and exercise to strengthen muscles and keep them flexible. You may need to replace your regular exercise routine with knee physio exercises recommended by your therapist. 

Effective Physiotherapy for Knee Pain

Physiotherapy for knee pain is a multidimensional specialist treatment which depends on what causes the pain in the first place. It can include a combination of strength and flexibility exercises, ice, heat, and compression packs, medication, ultrasound, and nerve stimulation.

Stretches and Exercises

To relieve the pain in the knee area with targeted exercises, your physiotherapist may suggest doing patella mobs, heel slides, calf stretches with a strap, hamstring stretches in long sitting, supine hamstring and calf stretches, IT band stretches, quad stretches, butterfly stretch for the groin area, hip flexor stretches, and side lunge stretches.  Strength exercises that are typically suggested during physio for knee pain are hamstring curls, single-leg dips, step-ups, straight leg lifts, wall squats, and balancing exercises.

Taking Painkillers

Painkillers such as Advil or any other ibuprofen-based medication can help some patients, as well as rubbing in the area with numbing creams. Your doctor may also consider injecting corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, and (PRP) platelet-rich plasma, which help with softening the pain for a few months, lubricating knee joint, and promoting healing and growth respectively.   

Ice, Heat and Compression Application

Use ice pack covered in cloth or a towel to avoid direct contact with the skin. Even a bag of frozen vegetables can do the trick by numbing the area and reducing pain and inflammation. Ice pack therapy should not last longer than 20 minutes even if it feels good because it can damage the nerves and the tissue around the knee. Apply a heat pack or a hot water bottle to the affected area for temporary pain relief. Compression bands keep the knee aligned in a stable position and prevent fluid from building up in the injured tissues. When you choose a compression band, make sure it compresses the knee well, but that it doesn’t restrict circulation. Lightweight, self-adhesive bands are the preferred choice for most patients who use compression in the physiotherapy for knee pain. 

Ultrasound Massage

Ultrasound therapy uses continuous or pulsating sound waves which vibrate to relieve pain and improve the knee function. Continuous waves produce heat. Pulsed ultrasound is recommended for acute pain or redness. Ultrasound massage is painless and you won’t be able to feel it at all because it uses extremely low frequencies. 

Electrical Nerve or Muscle Stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) uses electrical current to stimulate healing of your knee and is a typical remedy for arthritis pain. EMS includes several subsets of stimulation therapies with variation in the electrical impulse techniques:

  • Neuromuscular Electrical stimulation (NMES)
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Pulsed Electrical Stimulation  (PES)
  • Interferential Current (IFC)
  • Noninvasive Interactive Neurostimulation (NIN)

Not all of them are applicable for all pain and should be administered carefully. Can not be used at all if the patient has a pacemaker or some other electrical device in the body. Certain EMS techniques stimulate body endorphin production or can be a replacement for applying medication for patients who are afraid of needles. 

Knee pain can result from a very simple injury or disease. However, it needs to be treated on time with adequate knee physio treatment programs to prevent severity and repetitiveness. Regardless of what treatments your physiotherapist suggests, you will experience greater relief if you are disciplined and dedicated during the physiotherapy. 

Physiotherapy For Shin Splints

Physiotherapy for shin splints helps joggers, dancers, and athletes who put constant pressure on the lower part of the legs – knees, shin, and feet, to ease down the discomfort and heal the injury that’s showed up due to overuse. Runners that run on hard concrete surfaces or members of the military who train under a strict and harsh regimen are especially prone to shin splints accompanied by knee pain. Shin splints are medically known as “medial (anterior) tibial stress syndrome” or “posterior tibial stress syndrome”, depending on whether they occur in the front or the back of the lower half of the leg. 

Shin Splints Physio: Causes and Diagnosis Before Treatment

Shin splints are a typical overuse injury and often occur due to excessive use of the foot flexors. Due to the constant repetitive stress of a single physical activity, the tibia bone that’s below the knee at the front of the leg suffers tiny fractures, causing pain for the person in question. 

It’s not only the bone that’s affected. Muscles can also suffer, as well as the tenoperiosteum – the outside shell that covers the bone and connects it to the tendons, causing tenoperiostitis or tendon inflammation.

Other common causes for patients who feel shin and knee pain to seek shin splints treatment include:

  • Starting exercise without warming up and stretching beforehand 
  • Overtraining or overextending one’s physical limits too early
  • Insufficient rest between exercises
  • Inadequate footwear
  • A weak core, buttocks muscles, or quadriceps
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Anatomical or biomechanical built or coordination in the lower part of the body, including hip-knee-leg control, overpronated or oversupinated feet, and inflexible ankle joints 

Taking a full-body medical before starting any exercise program can help you learn about your body strengths, as well as identify any potential weak spots which can weaken further if overused. 

To diagnose shin splints and assign appropriate shin splints treatment, a doctor may need to use a variety of diagnostics tools:

  • Physical examination
  • X-ray
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Ultrasound testing
  • Electromyographical testing (EMG) 

By asking about your medical history, and your habit and lifestyle, the orthopedic specialist will asses the severity of the injury, develop a well-rounded opinion and assign shin splints exercises and additional aids you can use to improve your condition.

Effective Physiotherapy for Shin Splints

Shin splints physio encompasses exercise programs, supportive medical wear and appropriate footwear, as well as taking painkillers and leaving enough recovery time between exercises. The best way to avoid shin splints pain is to prevent it. 

Preventative Physio for Shin Splints

When living in urban areas, running on hard surfaces is often unavoidable. Therefore, wear well-padded shoes and shock-absorbing footwear if running or jumping on concrete, especially if you have flat feet. Don’t forget to replace old sports shoes when their time runs out. 

Always warm-up and stretch before workouts and don’t forget to stop immediately if you feel pain. Learn to distinguish between good pain – the one that occurs due to building muscle strength, and bad pain – the one that occurs due to injury. 

Neoprene sleeves are a good support to warm up the lower leg. 

Losing weight can help you ease the load on the shin, as well as the knee and hip, and relieve pain.

Shin Splints Exercises for Stretching

Stretching is an effective measure for most physical injuries, both as preventative and restorative shin splints treatment. To reduce pain and inflammation, a physiotherapy specialist will advise a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises, including:  

  • Seated and bent knee ankle dorsiflexion and calf stretch
  • Straight knee and bent knee calf wall stretch
  • Toe and heel walking for stretching and strengthening
  • Standing ankle dorsiflexion stretch
  • Wall toe raises 
  • Footstep holds 

Your exercise program may variate in frequency. The doctor can also suggest modified exercise versions, so don’t forget to mention all shin splints symptoms you feel to your doctor to create a more effective and targeted set of exercises.

Shin splints don’t necessarily mean you need to stop exercising. Unless you’re in an advanced phase of shin splints, you can usually continue exercising moderately. 

A trained physiotherapist will propose activity modification, advising against overly using your lower body part, including less stressful cardio exercises for the shin bones such as swimming or cycling. Increased range of motion (IRM) exercises can also be part of the physio for shin splints

At its worst, painful shins may require comprehensive physiotherapy for shin splints, including manual therapy and kinesio taping to treat acute pain and swelling. You will need to self-support with RICE recovery, too (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Gait and footwear analysis helps diagnose walking patterns and recommend medical footwear. 

This combined approach to shin splints treatment is particularly effective for athletes who must return to their sports as soon as possible. By consulting with a physiotherapist, you can devise a gradual regiment to go back to your regular activities without causing more serious injuries or pain.

exercise pain

Should You Exercise Through Pain?

Athletes and people who do recreational exercise often end up with joint and muscle pain. Therefore, they often wonder if it is okay to work out with sore muscles and like to know how to push through the pain of exercise. But sports or another strenuous physical activity is not the only cause of joint, tendon, muscle and soft tissue pain. Chronic illness, injuries such as fractures, strains and sprains, bursitis, arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and other traumatic conditions are among the common factors that cause pain in the body. If you need to incorporate an exercise plan to treat an injury or a disease of the bones, muscles, and tendons, the best person to lead you through pain management is your physiotherapist.   

The Difference between Good and Bad Exercise Pain

There is no one right answer that solves the issue for all painful conditions during exercise. Generally speaking, however, you should learn how to distinguish between “good” and “bad” pain. Athletes, for example, experience good pain as a result of microtrauma – microtears to the muscles. Muscles tear up due to the stress of exercising popularly called “muscle burn”. To some extent, muscle burn is a good thing – it is the reason that improves athletes’ physical condition. That is how muscles are trained to perform better. 

Good pain accompanied by post-exercise fatigue should leave your body within three to seven days, depending on your fitness level, age, and the activity you engage in. However, you should be careful with pain and fatigue that lasts longer than that and causes an overall decline of your wellbeing. This type of pain won’t go with the release of good hormones and enzymes from your next workout. Many athletes tend to overtrain to achieve better results and end up with bad pain. Generally, you should be careful with pain that won’t go away 24 to 48 hours after working out.

What Happens to Muscles, Tendons, Bones, and Joints When You Overexert Yourself?

Overextended muscles, joints, tendons, and cartilage, can suffer permanent damage and cause lessened performance over time. 

Muscles can swell and hurt to touch, even release damaging proteins and hurt kidney health

Bones strengthen when exposed to repetitive activity in one area, but if you overtrain, the bone will weaken and become prone to fractures. 

Similarly, tendons get inflamed, causing tendonitis and other overuse injuries. The common denominator for all overuse injuries is excessive remodelling. Remodelling is the process which happens when old tissue gets broken and repaired with exercise. When the damage is stronger than the repair, overuse injuries can happen.    

Cartilage, the soft white tissue at the end of the bones that enables smooth bone movement can suffer rapid wear and tear if you train over your limits. 

With all that pressure to the muscles, the bones, and the cartilage, joints suffer from overexertion, too. They are strong, but they do have their limits. For instance, if you work with heavyweights, jump too strong on hard surfaces, or suddenly overexert your body in any other way, your joints may get hurt and suffer long-term damage. 

Should You Push through Muscle Soreness? 

You should take sufficient amount of rest to let your body restore and get rid of the bad stress accumulated in all of these areas. With age, you might need to dedicate more time to rest and less time to exercise. 

As a general rule, you shouldn’t do anything painful unless it is the typical muscle burn. You should pay attention to any pain lasts longer than usual after training. Localized pain should be immediately attended. Overall weakness is also a bad sign because physical activity should leave you refreshed and invigorated. 

Usually, recreational athletes find it easier to follow this advice as they don’t need to compete. Professionals are more prone to overextending themselves and causing injuries as a result. 

Pain after exercise is called DOMS or delayed-onset muscle soreness. Effective ways for dealing with DOMS to maintain stamina are stretching and light cardio activities such as swimming or cycling. Core strength exercises are also useful to maintain form unless the pain is located in that area. As they work out more, athletes tend to know their bodies better and should be able to tell if something is wrong before it gets out of hand.

dry needling

10 Benefits of Dry Needling

Dry needling may sound scary for people that have fear of needles, but it is a pain-free method for improving acute or chronic painful conditions, providing additional benefits for the full-body physical performance. 

Although it bears similarities to acupuncture, dry needling isn’t based on energy flow across body meridians. It is a science-based physiotherapy treatment which uses ultra-thin needles to stimulate trigger points in muscle tissues, provoking their faster healing. 

The benefits can be felt almost immediately, in the first 24 hours after treatment. As a general rule, several dry needling treatments spread across 2 or 3 weeks are needed to bring a lasting positive effect. Due to the triggering of your body natural capacity to heal you may feel some temporary pain, discomfort, tiredness, or tingling when you begin treatments. However, the numerous benefits of dry needling by far surpass these passing nuisances. Common dry needling benefits are:  

1. Relieves myofascial pain and stiffness.

Fascia is the connective tissue that covers the muscles. Dry needling provides relief to this tissue either in a single muscle or muscle groups and can, therefore, reduce muscular pain, inflammation, and stiffness.  

2. Improves flexibility and range of motion.

Dry needles inserted below the skin trigger the healing reaction, which in turn, helps the muscle become more flexible and improve range of motion.

3. Improves blood flow and oxygen circulation.

Tight muscles can cause pain that translates to other body areas. By triggering the healing of key pain points with dry needles, the blood flow and the oxygenation of the whole body improve, muscles relax, which soothes the complete body wellbeing. 

4. Releases neurotransmitters.

Thin dry needles stimulate the body response to fight pain by releasing opiate neurotransmitters, such as beta-endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins. Neurotransmitters work by blocking pain information which comes from the inflamed point to reach the brain. 

5. Can be applied to a wide range of symptoms.

Dry needling treatments improve the symptoms of a variety of musculoskeletal diseases, including headaches, neck pain, knee or low-back pain, shoulder impingement, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

6. Eases fibromyalgia pain.

Although fibromyalgia patients typically feel pain all over, the worst pain is located in certain areas around the neck, knees, back, shoulders, and hips. Needles can be placed at the most painful body points to target them specifically and ease symptoms across the body.

7. Comforts both chronic and acute pain.

Unlike many other physiotherapy treatments that require an isolated application, dry needling benefits both acute pain, for example, post-surgical ailments and chronic conditions, for example, sciatica.  

8. Targets precise pain points.

The physical therapist specialised in dry needling knows the map of pain points in a persons’ body and targets these areas by placing the needles nearby, after doing an extensive assessment of your muscular condition and finding your tight spots.

9. It can be used alongside other treatments.

Dry needling can be used on its own, as well as a supplemental treatment in a comprehensive physiotherapy plan, thus helping many patients travel faster on the road to recovery.  

10. Helps with sports injuries and athletic performance.

Athletes, dancers, and other professionals who expose themselves to prolonged physical strain need relief from what their bodies go through daily. Treating acute pains and microtears arising from overuse, as well as more serious sports injuries can be done with dry needling, helping active professionals maintain stamina and improve performance as they heal. 

Don’t be surprised if you feel tired like you’ve had a workout at the gym or another strenuous physical activity after you complete a dry needling session. It is a common consequence which usually goes away after a day or two. The benefits of dry needling will last much longer. 

neck headache treatment

Physiotherapy Treatment for Neck Headache

Neck pain, discomfort, or injury could cause a neck headache, also called a cervicogenic headache. Neck headache typically occurs when there is some trauma to the structures in the cervical spine that surround the neck. The headache can spread, first to the back of the head, and then further to the top or to the sides of the head. Common sources for neck headache include a herniated disc, irritated spinal nerves, neck muscle tension, tight soft tissues, and stiff neck joints. These symptoms are generally known under the popular name of ‘stiff neck’. 

Neck headache often comes with a persistent throbbing pain that can spread to the lower back, causing discomfort in the shoulders and the arms, muscle tenderness, and limit motion in the upper body area. 

The tiny neck area is extremely important for proper mental and physical functioning of the whole body and pain that occurs here should not be disregarded. 

Exercises and Medications for Neck Headache Treatment

There are seven vertebrae which make the part of the spinal cord called cervical spine – thus the name cervicogenic headache or headache deriving from the neck area. Particular vertebrae attach to the skull base and the top of the shoulder blades. The neck area also includes the trapezius muscle and important nerves and arteries which enable blood flow to the brain. Thanks to its specific anatomy, the neck requires a well-structured physiotherapy treatment that targets the specific affected areas. Therefore, most physio programs for neck headache treatment don’t include one or two isolated treatments but are a combination of:

  • Manual physiotherapy to decrease stress and relieve tension and pain
  • Neck strengthening exercises to support the deep neck flexor muscles
  • Cardiovascular exercises to improve blood circulation and blood supply to the painful area
  • Soft tissue remedial massage
  • Nerve blocks – anaesthetic injections to desensitise suffering nerves  
  • Pain-relieving medication

A physiotherapist specialised in neck headache treatment can help you design a plan you can apply at the clinic and at home and significantly alleviate neck headache symptoms. Usually, a persistent exercise regimen works best to remove the pain trigger and should be done together with medication when necessary. 

Neck Headache Treatment at Home

As a general rule, you shouldn’t treat injuries without consulting a specialist. However, mild neck headache can be decreased by some self-help techniques you can do at home. You can apply them when your physiotherapist recommends or, by exception, when you are in need of a first-aid treatment and you should wait a long time for your next visit to the physiotherapy clinic. Here are the risk-free measures you can do in the meantime:

  • Put a heating pad or ice pack to your head for 5-10 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
  • Shower with hot water to release muscle tension.
  • Massage with a tennis ball.
  • Stretch. Do exercises such as back and forth shoulder rolls and squeezes, and rolling your head to your chest and back.
  • Maintain a good posture.
  • Take supplements – magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and B2 vitamin.
  • Use stress management techniques.

Unfortunately, eliminating neck headache is not always that simple. These techniques can alleviate the symptoms but the headache may come back later. It is important that you consult with a specialist to learn the cause of the symptoms and apply appropriate physiotherapy plan that is made just for your body. Sometimes, only the hand, the equipment, and the advice of a physio specialist can remove joint and muscle tension because the neck headache cause could be a disease. 

Examples of diseases that could cause neck headache include arthritis, herniated cervical discs, occipital neuralgia, and the herpes simplex virus. You should talk to a specialist if the neck headache doesn’t go away after a few weeks, or when it is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: serious trauma, blurred vision, seizures, hand numbness, as well as painful or red eyes and temple tenderness. 

wrist

Hand and Wrist Pain Treatment

It can be discouraging to find out that your hand, a treasured companion on which you rely nonstop, ceases to support you in your daily activities. 

Wrist or hand pain, regardless of whether it shows up alone or together, is a rightful concern for many people. It can be a sign of an injury, for example, a tiny fracture, or a symptom of an acute condition or a long-standing illness. 

Although unpleasant, hand and wrist pain treatment is available for almost all occurrences. Therefore, before you understand what can be the cause of this unexplained pain, don’t lose your spirit – inform yourself.

Most Common Causes for Hand and Wrist Pain

The hand is a complex network of tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves, and connective tissue. Your hand pain and discomfort can be an indicator of multiple conditions. Some of them, like diabetic neuropathy, are a culprit in disguise. However, most people suffer from one predominant issue that can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, but is, nevertheless, treatable with appropriate physiotherapy care. 

The list of the typical wrist and pain causes includes several types of injuries, recurring conditions and illnesses, and nerve irritation issues. 

Fractures 

A broken bone can be painful. Since there are 27 bones in our hands, such injuries are common but rarely serious. Your doctor will establish the problem by doing an X-ray exam and hand inspection, and assign exercises you must do in order to restore the hand’s normal function once the injury is healed.

Wrist sprain and strain 

A wrist sprain is a typical ligament injury for athletes but it can also happen during regular daily activities when falling on an outstretched arm. The trauma of the fall causes strained, partially torn, or fully torn ligaments, which are the real cause of the pain. 

You may also feel swelling, bruising, tenderness to touch and a snapping sensation in your wrist as you move it.

Many hand ligament injuries can cause difficulties with pinching, gripping or bending the palm and can be long-lasting, requiring long-term wrist pain treatment.

Arthritis

In all its shapes and forms, arthritis affects over 40 million people all over the world. If you are feeling swelling, stiffness and pain in your wrists, usually in both hands, you may have one of the many types of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis. A degenerative disease which occurs with age as the cartilage that protects the end of your bones wears down and deteriorates over time.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. A chronic inflammatory disease that affects not only hands and wrists with swelling and strong pain, but can also cause other autoimmune responses such as bone erosion, joint deformities, and even organ deformation.
  • Psoriatic arthritis. A common accompanying symptom of psoriasis, an illness that causes red skin patches/skin lesions.
  • Infective arthritis. Also known as septic arthritis, this condition is caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infection spread from another part of the body and it requires urgent medical treatment due to the high fever it can cause.

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a special type of tendonitis (inflamed tendon), which causes pain and inflammation of the usually smooth finger movement. When moving it back and forth, the finger gets stuck and causes a popping sensation called trigger finger.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (Tendonitis)

De Quervain’s tendonitis affects the thumb and the wrist when the tendons at the base of the thumb become inflamed and painful, causing a snapping feeling, and sometimes, cyst-like growths around the thumb filled with fluid. 

Gout and Pseudo-gout

Gout occurs when your body produces too much uric acid. Due to your body’s inability to eliminate it through the urine, it forms join crystals that cause the pain. Instead of uric crystals, pseudogout occurs when there are calcium deposits in the joints, typically in the wrists and the knees. 

Nerve Irritation 

The nerves on the hand can get compressed, pinched, injured and irritated, causing continuous pain. 

A very common nerve irritation problem is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which causes aching, numbness, and tingling in the hands, both in the palm and the fingers, and can spread all the way to the elbows. The cause of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is swelling of the median nerve that goes through the wrist and is in charge of moving the hand.

When to Talk to a Doctor for Hand and Wrist pain Treatment

Many hand and wrist pain issues resolve by themselves. However, you shouldn’t leave them to chance especially if you feel one of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen joints, with fever and chills
  • Hand deformities after an injury
  • Difficulties with bending, gripping or making a fist
  • Numbness that wouldn’t go away
  • Continuous pain that doesn’t improve with over-the-counter medication

Visit Pro-Fit Physio and Allied Health Centre to talk to our physiotherapists to decide for the best path forward for starting a hand and wrist pain treatment and get rid of the debilitating pain. 

running injuries

5 Injury Prevention Tips for Runners

Running can be quite a pleasant recreational activity, as well as strict healthcare and athletic routine. But it’s highly unlikely that you would consider it dangerous – it’s aimed at improving people’s health. However, research shows some surprising results. Almost 80% of runners are injured at least once a year. As it turns out, running injuries are not uncommon and we must learn how to prevent them.

Why Do Runners Get Hurt?

Runners get hurt because of two major reasons. They either overtrain or neglect certain bodily imbalances that may produce an unequal effect on their performance on parts of the body across both sides.

For instance, you may have a slightly shorter leg or a weaker left hip. If you run continuously and overburden your “lesser” side, you can get injured. 

Alternatively, as you run, your aerobic capacity increases disproportionately to your muscles, tendons, and joint strength. While you think you can handle a higher pace and an increased heart rate, your body doesn’t agree in full, causing an injury to those underdeveloped elements. Therefore, injury prevention while running should be a must for all runners who want to enjoy their favourite sport for years to come.

How to Prevent Running Injuries

Among the most common injury prevention tips for runners, a gradual increase of the pace, velocity, and length should be a prerogative. But if you are really into running, which means you train regularly for at least 3-4 times per week, you need to be talking into account the following injury prevention tips for runners.

Warm up and cool down

Running early in the morning, when the muscles are stiff from the overnight slumber or late in the evenings when you are tired and have less sense of your capabilities can hurt you if you jump straight into training. 

Always start your running session with warm-up exercises such as a simple gymnastics routine or a mild run/faster walk workout to release the lactic acid residue from your muscles and prepare them for greater speeds and lengths. 

Arm circles, skipping, bounding, and gentle high-knee drills are some good examples for warming up before running. Cool down by properly stretching post-workout and hydrating.

Improve flexibility

Many runners get into the runner’s high, forgetting that enthusiasm can be harmful when running is done forcefully on an inflexible body. 

Long mileage runs require a flexible body and a flexible body cannot be achieved without a daily stretching program. 

Important stretching exercises for runners include the lower body area, hips, legs, and especially calves. 

Don’t forget to stretch the hamstrings by lying on the ground or leaning against the wall to prevent running injuries. Hip flexors are among the most underused muscles due to long hours of sitting and must be opened before and post run. Always loosen the lower and upper calves to prevent foot injuries. In the end, quads and glutes carry the heaviest load during running and should be regularly stretched but never when they’re cold, the same ad with other muscle groups.

Build core strength

You can hear successful and experienced runners swear on their abs. A strong core is a key factor to preparing your spine to handle the constant bouncing off the ground, as well as to give you a proper posture, which is even more important if you do long-distance running such as marathons and half-marathons. 

Eat a wholesome diet

Like it or not, what you put into your body is equally, if not more important than exercise. You can select a group of foods and make them regular staples in your eating plan. Or, choose your own variety, but take care to fill up your potassium and magnesium reserves that get depleted from strenuous physical activity. Pick up healthy carbs such as oats – a good pre-run energy booster. Don’t miss out on greens and veggies, and get enough good fats, for example, from peanut butter. Dark chocolate is tasty and a good magnesium source.

Create a training schedule with rest days

Beginner runners often struggle with maintaining a healthy schedule. Not everyone has the means to train with a running professional. If you’re left to your own devices, ensure a balanced approach to building a running schedule. 

Quick results are tempting. However, they’re also the quick route to injuries. Typically, running programs start with longer rest times and shorter training times, and move in the opposite direction once you build endurance and strength. Include rest days in your schedule. 

Here is a good example of an eight-week plan. As you can see, it takes around two months to set into a routine and prevent running injuries.

 

All five of these tips start with a basic awareness of your body and its capacity. Steady gradual progress with running is the common sense of injury prevention, one that will make you a healthy, happy runner that pays the least visits to their GP or orthopaedic specialist.

How to Avoid Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common injury with people who run longer mileage trails, do uphill training, sprints, or weekend recreational activities that overburden the Achilles tendon, for example – tennis, basketball, football, and gymnastics.

The Achilles tendon is a tough fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone with the calf muscles above. We use it together with the calf muscles to pull the heel up and stand on our toes during running, jogging, and jumping.

The Achilles tendon is also the strongest tendon in the whole body and can support our full weight. However, repetitive movements and high tension due to overuse of the tissue with limited blood supply can strain it and result in pain, stiffness, and inflammation, causing Achilles tendonitis (tendinitis).

Achilles tendonitis will make the spot above your heel red and swollen. Prolonged inflammation can result in more complicated injuries, including tears, ruptures, tendinosis, and tendinopathy. Therefore, it is much simpler to pay due care to prevent the tendonitis than to heal it later.  

 

Preventing Achilles Tendonitis

There are simple yet effective preemptive strategies to avoid Achilles tendonitis you can do at home. Most of them can be done as a self-care method after consulting your podiatrist.

1. Warm up by walking

Don’t start with a strenuous activity immediately when you enter the sports court. Take at least 10 minutes to warm up with walking or gentle jogging before hitting the ground in full speed.

2. Use a heating pad

Another no-fuss, low-cost method for warming up and improving the blood circulation in the Achilles tendon area without walking is applying a heating pad, which softens the tissue and prepares it for better endurance.

3. Strengthen calves

Since calves work along with the tendon to lift the heel up, strengthening them with calf raises by standing on the toes and elastic bands exercise can help support the tendon during repetitive activity. Do single-leg raises or add weights if you need to increase intensity.

4. Choose low-impact activity.

Low-impact sports such as swimming or cycling can help prevent Achilles tendonitis. If you don’t want to quit your favourite high-impact activity, at least try to switch occasionally to something more moderate to let the tendon rest and heal naturally.

5. Increase effort gradually

When starting with a new exercise program, don’t go fоr maximum intensity straight away. Go for the low-key version, which most programs include for beginners.

6. Apply a compressive brace

Elastic silicone braces will provide support to your ankle and foot as you move, relieve pain, and prevent sore feet and overextending over your natural body limits.

7. Schedule a massage therapy

Sports massage is a mechanical treatment for improving the condition of the blood vessels and the tissue around your Achilles tendon. When done skilfully by a sports physiotherapy expert, massage can not only help with prevention, but also enable stronger performance and improve your athletic stamina.

8. Wear appropriate footwear

Always choose good sports and everyday shoes, especially if you have a flat foot or engage in a sport that requires anatomic insoles, ankle support, or anti-slippery outsoles.

9. Stretch

Stretching is a powerful self-help technique to relieve the pressure on the Achilles tendon. Stretch by leaning against the wall with your hands and putting one leg forward bent at the knee while the back leg is straight with the foot flat on the floor. You can also use a step ladder – place one foot with the ball on the step and let the other hang loose. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each leg for both exercises. Repeat 3 times.

It is important to remember that taking anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve instant pain but it can also be dangerous – inflammation that occurs in Achilles is a warning sign of overstretching that area and that over-the-counter painkiller can mask more serious symptoms and cause further injuries. Therefore, it should be the last resort without doctor consultation.

First Aid in Healing Achilles Tendonitis

Prevention is not always sufficient. Despite all cautionary measures, you still may get your Achilles tendon inflamed. Self-care methods you can do on your own if you get Achilles tendonitis include resting or raising your legs, putting ice and compression, and using a heel lift or a painkiller if that’s necessary. However, these are temporary solutions and you shouldn’t rely on them long-term. Regular practice of stretching and strengthening exercises as recommended by your physical therapist is a more effective treatment that can be used over extended periods and prevent overcomplicating the Achilles tendonitis symptoms. Shockwave Therapy can also be used by your physiotherapist to treat this condition.