OPTI Home Exercises

5 Tips to Make Your Home Exercise Program Successful

At Orthopedic Physical Therapy Institute, it is our job to get you back to health after surgery or injury. We know just how important physical health is to quality of life, and we take our job seriously. With each appointment, our Physical Therapy team actively works with patients on their road to recovery, but we know we only have limited time in a patient’s life. To help our patient’s succeed in getting back to health, we send patients home with a customized home exercise program to aid in recovery.

We know how hard it is to carve out exercise in our busy daily lives, and so much more so during the recovery process. With the program OPTI uses for our patients, it is simple and straightforward to begin a home exercise plan tailored to you. We use a program called Medbridge to give our patients specific, recovery-oriented exercise plans available in a handy app right on a phone or tablet (or a computer browser)!

Our easy to use plans have a custom exercise program, educational resources, as well as any notes the PT may have for the patient. We don’t expect our patients to remember every single detail of a handful of exercises and proper technique we show them in the clinic when they get home. Our passion is seeing people return to their full lives healthy and healed, and one of the biggest ways we do that is by setting our patients up to succeed.

Through Medbridge, each exercise has an instructional video, as well as specific details for how often each exercise should be performed, and how many reps and sets. Each exercise also has written instructions that include setup, the type of movement, and any necessary tips for proper form, or adjusting for specific patient needs. There is no guesswork involved in the road to recovery, but it does take effort and consistency from each patient to fully heal. Here are our top 5 tips to succeed in your home exercise program:

  1. Know Your Why

If your reason for completing each workout is “well, my physical therapist told me to”, there is not a lot of motivation to get you started or maintain the program. Understanding fully your “why”, and keeping that in the forefront of your mind as you exercise can make all the difference.

What is your “why” in recovery? Maybe your “why” is being able to chase after your kids or grandkids again. Maybe it’s entering that next race. Or skiing next season (or this season!). Each “why” is as different as each road to recovery, but they are all equally important.

  • Understand Your Path to Recovery:

Understanding your injury and recovery progress fully is imperative to succeeding in your recovery. Patient education is a key part of our treatment, but if you do not understand an aspect of your care or exercise program, speak up! We’d love to answer any questions and set you up for success.

  • Plan Out Your Day

Plan ahead! Pencil in your exercise time, and make it a priority. Set a reminder on your phone or home hub, until doing your exercises is a normal part of daily life. The key to recovery is consistency, and your body will thank you for forming positive habits for recovery.

  • Have the Right Equipment

Check with your physical therapist to make sure you have what you need at home as far as exercise equipment.  Most exercises can be easily performed with no equipment, and is tailored to each patient’s specific recovery needs. The exercises may be performed from the couch or bed depending on the patient, or on the floor, standing up, or using a chair for balance. However, using light dumbbells, resistance bands, or a foam roller may be necessary for your exercise

plan. Make sure to assemble everything you need before starting your program, with the help and recommendation of your physical therapist.

  • Make an Environment for Success

An open, safe space is essential to succeed with your home exercise program. Set aside a place to exercise. You can lay down a yoga mat, have a water bottle nearby, and turn on some music. Your body and brain will appreciate the cues of a good environment to signal “Hey, We’re ready to work out now!”

Let us assist you in your road to recovery after injury or surgery! Call OPTI today at (208)966-4476 to schedule an appointment with one of our excellent Physical Therapists.

Photo Credit: Medbridgego.com

Snow Falls

5 Ways to Avoid Bone and Joint Injuries When Shoveling Snow

‘Tis the season for our physical therapists to see patients come to our clinic with strains and injuries from snow shoveling. Often we see bone and joint injury, or damage to the hips, knees, or back from shoveling. As physical therapists, it is not only our job to help patients recover from injury, but also help patients in preventing injuries in the first place. With proper technique and equipment, shoveling can be just another chore with no worry of injury.

There are many ways to make shoveling easier, and with less risk of muscle strain. Here are some tips for shoveling safely for an injury free winter:

1. Choose The Right Shovel

Let’s start with the basics: picking a shovel. The right snow shovel makes all the difference in preventing injury. The size of the shovel should be such that you do not have to bend over awkwardly to use it, causing a strain on the back. There are shovels with adjustable handle lengths that ensure that whoever in your household is using it can do so without discomfort.

A shovel with a curved handle can also make ergonomic shoveling easier. Too heavy of material or a metal blade can be another contributing factor to injury and muscle strain.  When choosing which shovel to purchase or use, check how much you have to bend over to operate it. If you are straining your lower back or neck to use it, it’s not the right fit for you!

2. Maintain Good Posture

That brings us to posture. Once you have the right snow shovel for you, it will be easier to maintain a posture that will protect against injury. When shoveling, it is important to bend at the hips, and use your leg muscles to ensure that you are not straining your lower back.

When pushing the shovel, don’t load the blade with too much snow. To protect your lower back and body, have your hips facing the direction you are pushing and lifting the snow. Twisting when pushing, lifting, or tossing the snow can cause strain or injury to the back or neck. Keeping your hips square to the shovel will prevent this type of strain.

3. The Right Method is Key

  • Warm Up

The right shovel for you and proper posture are the foundation for a method that will protect your body and prevent injury. Shoveling can be viewed as a type of exercise: you are using your muscles to clear your walkways and driveways! An athlete would not start exercising without warming up their muscle, especially not when heading out into a cold weather workout.

The same goes for you: heading straight out into the frigid air and putting your cold muscles to work could cause more harm than good. When muscles are warmed up, they are loose and better equipped for movement and use. Cold muscles put to work are stiff and tight, and easier to strain or more susceptible to being sore the following days. Warming up can be as simple as a couple of light exercises to loosen your arm, leg, and back muscles before stepping outside.

  • Divide And Conquer

When your muscles are warmed up, you are ready to go! Pick up that just-right-for-you shovel, square your hips, and begin. It is always better to push the snow rather than lift, which may mean clearing a path right down the middle of your driveway, leaving two smaller halves of snow on either side of your cleared line. Then, you have smaller sections to push the snow out to the sides of the driveway. This will lessen the load when it comes to pushing the snow.

  • Lift With Proper Posture

If you have to pick up and toss the snow, just remember our posture tips: hips and shoulders facing where you are aiming, and no twisting! Use one hand to grab the shaft as (comfortably) close to the blade as you can, lift with your legs, and toss. Bend your legs instead of lower back.

4. Wear the Right Gear

Keeping your body warm, as we mentioned, will protect your muscles. Wear clothes appropriate for the weather. What we really want to emphasize, however, is what is on your feet. So often in the winter we help patients recover from fall injuries that could have been prevented with proper shoes.

When shoveling, wear winter boots with good traction! This is such an easy and simple way to care for your body. If your walkway or driveway is icy, you can even consider wearing winter traction cleats on your feet. These easy to use plastic cleats just slip over the bottom of your shoes, and provide that extra added traction to keep you safe and injury free.

5. OPTI Has Your Back

If you do injure yourself this winter, we have your back (pun intended). Our physical therapists have a wide variety of professional backgrounds, all with the shared goal of providing the highest level of care. We help our patients not only recover, but strive to enhance every day life function. You can expect to be treated with compassion and expert guidance on your road to recovery.

At Orthopedic Physical Therapy, we know that prevention is key to maintaining health. We want to equip our patients for a better life, and do just that with everyone that walks through our door. If you are injured or facing a surgery that you want to bounce back from, we can help you on the path back to health. Call us today at (208) 966-4476 to schedule your first step towards health.

Photo Credit:

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OSSM Elderly

Winter Tips To Prevent Falls For The Elderly

As we head into the colder months, we want to remind our elderly patients to take extra care when maneuvering the ice and snow. Studies show that when facing icy conditions, adults over the age of 65 had double the odds of having great difficulty when leaving their home[1], and fall-related fractures are statistically higher in older adults during the winter months[2].  Hip and arm fractures are more common among the elderly in cold weather due to the higher incidence of falls. Both of these breaks greatly affect quality of life, and can pose a risk for more health complications. Other serious injuries can also arise from a fall.

At OSSM, our goal is not just to help people heal, but to also set them up for a healthier life. We want our aging adult patients to have a healthy, joy filled winter, and not spend the holidays in a cast or healing after an injury. Being prepared is the key to preventing fractures, and we have some tips to help you do just that this winter:

Give Yourself Extra Time

We all know how it feels to be in a rush: it’s easier to drop things, lose something, and drive a little faster. This winter, giving yourself extra time could be the difference between getting to your destination safely or suffering an injury. Give yourself extra time to get where you are going, and take it slow when maneuvering icy or snowy terrain. Your body will thank you!

Dress For Success

Dressing for cold weather can go beyond earmuffs and a coat. Cold weather shoes or boots with good traction on snow or ice are vitally important to reducing the risk of falling in the winter. For walks, many companies make traction cleats that fit over the bottom of a shoe and provide added help for sure footing. They can be found at stores like REI, or even on amazon and can be used on pavement.  Another thing to think about when heading out in the cold: keeping your hands free. Not being weighed down or off balance by carrying heavy bags can help prevent falls, and improve balance.

Be Cautious

Winter is the season to use handrails, plan routes according to what is safest, and keep all walkways cleared. Don’t assume a sidewalk or driveway won’t be slippery just by looking at it, make sure to carefully proceed to ensure it isn’t slick. When getting out of a vehicle, plant both feet firmly on the ground before climbing out the rest of the way. This will prevent one foot from slipping out from under you. You can use the door frame of the car to steady yourself and keep your balance.

Checking the weather before you leave or plan an outing can help with preparedness as well. It is also wise to have a safety plan: inform someone before you leave to check in with when you get back home, or carry a cell phone to call for help if you need it. Being extra cautious could prevent an entire winter nursing an injury.

We Can Help

At Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our team of board certified and fellowship trained orthopedic specialists are there for you after a fall. We help orthopedic patients every day with fracture care, joint replacement, and so much more. Each of our physicians focuses on one or more unique orthopedic specialties, so we can ensure your need will be met.  We treat each patient as an individual, whether you are being seen for a fracture or full joint replacement (and everything in between!).

Our experience doesn’t stop at just treating a fracture or injury however. We help our patients get back to thriving with a custom treatment plan from our team of physical therapists at OPTI (Orthopedic Physical Therapy Institute). Our physical therapists are not only educated and trained to handle a wide variety of orthopedic injuries, surgery recoveries, or maladies, but we also can help with many other complications that may arise from a fall. With our team of experts, we can get your whole body back to functioning, and also help prevent further injuries down the road.

To get back on your feet after surgery or an injury, schedule with our amazing team of physical therapists by calling (208) 966-4476.  

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4463400/

[2] https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/6/1/16

Drive Change

Together We Can Drive Change

Hello,

The focus across outpatient rehab over recent weeks has been on advocating against the proposed Medicare cuts to our industry. At WebPT, we’ve been working to educate as many people as possible on the consequences these cuts will have for patients who need care—people who may not know these cuts are coming, but will certainly feel the effects of them if passed.

In an effort to support you and the industry, our team has added two optional email announcements to your WebPT Reach account that you can use to inform patients of the 9% cuts and educate them on how they can help. The email links to an online form where patients can message their Congressional representatives, urging them to stop these cuts before they go into effect. If you’re interested in checking this resource out for yourself, you can do so here.

You can have the person managing your Reach account set up this email as a one-time workflow to your patients, or they can use our email as a starting point for more customized messaging before sending. Either way, you can use Reach as more than a tool for KPIs and gauging your NPS. 

If we are able to reach only a percentage of the 20 million patients in our system, our collective voices can help raise the issue appropriately and hopefully inspire our elected officials to action!

You can also add the same links to your website and to your social media accounts. 

#TogetherWeCanDriveChange

Nancy Ham

CEO

P 623-522-5673

C 978-697-9932

E nancy.ham@webpt.com

Avoiding Work Related Injuries

How to Avoid Work Related Injuries

Work related injuries can happen suddenly and at any time. Work environments can be rough. It’s important to take care of your health and try and always report a work injury. Far too many people never report their accidents and never receive the medical treatment they need to fully recover. In 2018 alone, there were roughly 5,250 fatal work injuries ad 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses reported. Accidents happen, but a job-related injury should not result in a financial strain for you and your family. To avoid work related injuries it is critical to understand what it means to be safe, not exposed to danger or risk, and the possibility of harm will be lowered. Follow these tips to lower your chances of an unfortunate work accident.

Wear Slip Resistant Shoes– Worn out shoes are known to contribute to slip-and-fall risk, a common cause of workplace injuries.

Proper Housecleaning- Controlling fall- related injuries comes down to conducting regular risk assessments and eliminating all hazards that can increase your risk of slipping, tripping, and falls.

Listen to Your Body- Fatigue, discomfort and pain can be clear indicators that a workplace injury could be on the horizon.

Wear Protecting Gear- If you’re required to work at dangerous heights and jobs, wear the proper gear to ensure your safety.

Check In- Dangerous jobs that have you working alone can increase the level of severe injury. Conduct regular check ins with your company or use proactive monitory incase you suffer an injury or fall when no one is around.

The most-common workplace injuries correlate to some of the most-common workplace accidents. According to the NSC, the three most-common accident types resulting in time missed from work are:

  • Overexertion – This includes lifting, lowering, bending, and repetitive stress.
  • Contact with objects and equipment – This includes being struct by, caught or compressed between, or crushed by machinery, falling objects, and collapsing structures and equipment.
  • Slips, trips, and falls – Falls can cause a variety of types of traumatic injuries, whether they involve slipping on a wet floor or falling from height due to a ladder failure or faulty handrail.

The more distracted, social environment a worker is in, the more likely one is inclined to disregard safe behavior. Be aware of your surroundings and the risk of operating or conducting a job. Sometimes being familiar with a job and action can cause one to increase their carelessness, increasing the likelihood of a work-related injury. Stay aware and safe. Take precautions to ensure your health stays intact.

Injured on the Job? Know your Legal Rights

If you have suffered any type of job-related injury, it is important to know your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, missed time from work, and other losses, and an experienced work injury lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve. Seek a lawyer to learn about your rights and make sure you maximize your financial and physical recovery.

Plantar Fasciitis

Finding the source of pain in your heel

Plantar fasciitis presents itself in the form of pain in the heal, the thick tissue that connects your heel to your toes is called plantar fascia. Plantar Fasciitis is commonly caused by strain injury causing micro-tears to the ligament as it attaches to the heel bone or other areas of tightness on the sole of the foot. Plantar fasciitis often presents itself with stabbing pain in the first steps after you wake up or have been immobile for an extended amount of time, It can also manifest after prolonged amounts of standing. 

Facts:

  • Roughly about 10% of the population will suffer from Plantar Fasciitis
  • Age: range effected are those between 40-60 years of age
  • Weight: obesity plays a factor in 70% of plantar fasciitis cases
  • Heel spurs are often found in roughly 50% of plantar fasciitis cases

Treatment:

Physical therapy: This will help to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and to strengthen lower leg muscles. Often athletic taping is also demonstrated by a therapist to help support the bottom of your foot.

Splint: A splint, often worn at night that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep. This helps to keep your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in an extended potion to stretch them while you rest.

Arch supports: arch supports often referred to as orthotics are often used to help evenly distribute the weight more evenly.

Surgery: Surgery is generally only an option after several other failed treatments. 

Prevention:

Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight will alleviate un-needed strain on your plantar fascia

Shoes: Wear shoes with lots of support and cushioning, and when your running shoes start to wear out, replace them. 

Stretch: Stretching helps the flexibility and range of motion within your plantar fascia and Achilles tension cutting down on the potential for strain or injury.

Covid-19 Outbreak Update

Covid-19 Outbreak – A Special Message To Our Patients

To Our Patients:

Due to the latest events of the Covid-19 outbreak, we want to ensure you of our commitment to your health and safety.  At this time we are open and taking extra precautions to ensure cleanliness in our clinics.  We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our staff protected and our patients.

Please do not come into the clinics if you are sick or showing symptoms.  As we monitor the situation we are limiting visitors, and ask that patient’s escorts wait in their vehicles, limiting the amount of people in our waiting areas.  We ask that only patient’s come into the office unless a caregiver is medically necessary.

If you are currently scheduled for a routine follow up visit or elective surgery we may be calling to discuss rescheduling or you may call us at (208) 966-4476.

SI Joint Repair

Relief of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is the joint between the sacrum and the ilium bones. This joint is similar to the shocks on the car, it is meant to absorb and transfer force between the body and legs. We have a right and left SI joint.

Staying Hydrated

Tips for Staying Hydrated

The amount of water needed for proper hydration varies from person to person, but Ready.gov recommends about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily for normally active people. Use that as a baseline and adjust depending on age, health, climate, and physical condition and activity.

Sometimes you may need to be more conscientious about your water intake. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t wait until you’re thirst – drink water constantly!
  • Avoid alcohol or sugary liquids
  • Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day
  • Add a slice of lemon to your water – this improves the flavor and can help you drink more
  • Drink water when you’re hungry. Thirst can be confused with hunger, so try water first

It’s more obvious that you need to be more careful about staying hydrated during the hot summer months, but you can still become dehydrated during the colder times. No matter what time of year it is, pay attention to what your body is telling you and take the necessary steps to always remain hydrated.

Youth Sports

Youth Sports and Injury Prevention

With sports camps and more structured activities, kids today are increasingly likely to play their chosen sport year-round. But more time on the field brings a greater risk of experiencing sports-related injuries.

Here are our top injury prevention tips to help keep your young athlete on the field and not sidelined:

Get Talking

Make sure your child understands that they should talk with you and seek help if experiencing a pain or something that just doesn’t feel right. Some young athletes don’t understand that pain shouldn’t be ignored or pushed through. Keep the dialog open. You can also observe any changes in gait or activity. Many young athletes will change up how they perform instead of admitting an injury.

Get Physical

A preseason or back-to-school physical is a great way to determine if your young athlete is fit to play. A physical can address any possible pre-existing conditions or diagnose the health of your child before the season starts.

Change it Up

Cross training is a great way to build new muscle and also give your body a break.. Change up your routine so the same muscles aren’t continuously taxed by the same activity. Throw in swimming, yoga or even walking to take a break during the sports season.

Get Bendy

Stretching is an important prevention technique that should become habit for all athletes before starting an activity or sport. Both static and dynamic stretching during warmups to help loosen the muscles and prepare them for play. Toe touches and stretches, where you hold the position for a certain amount of time, are considered static, while jumping jacks and stretches, where the body continues to move during stretching, are considered dynamic.

Get your ZZZ’s

Athletes of all ages need to rest between practices, games and events. A lack of sleep and muscle fatigue predispose an athlete to injury. The most common injuries seen in young athletes are overuse injuries — too many sports and not enough rest. Along these same lines, parents should also plan an offseason for their athlete, giving him or her adequate time to recuperate before the next season.

Check your diet

It’s important for athletes to eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, and to maintain a regular eating schedule. For instance, have breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same time each day. Also make sure in sports such as wrestling where maintaining a weight is required that your child is eating enough and has a healthy relationship with food.

Drink Up

Heat-related illness is a real concern for athletes, especially during hot and humid days. Parents should make sure their children have adequate water before, during and after play, and watch for any signs of a heat-related illness, including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion or fainting.

Get Equipped

Protective equipment, like helmets, pads and shoes, are very important for injury prevention. Parents should talk with coaches before the season starts so that they have adequate time to purchase the correct equipment. Improper fit of equipment or worn out shoes can create possibly injury and issues and should be replaced or repaired before the season starts.

Check In

Check in on how your child is feeling and performing. If you notice that there is a change in your child’s technique, such as a limp when running, throwing differently or rubbing a leg during activity, they should pull the athlete out of play. If the problems persists, seek an assessment for your child prior to returning to the activity.

When to see OSSM for your sports-related injury:

  1. Consistent pain during or after sports
  2. Persistent or new swelling around a joint
  3. Recurrent instability – joints “give way”
  4. Painful pops (nonpainful pops are OK)
  5. Pain that does not respond to a period of rest