How do physical therapists improve women’s health?
with advice from Kim Gladfelter, PT, MSPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
and Karen Munger, PT, MSPT
It can be easy to shrug off feminine pain or problems because it would be embarrassing to discuss them with, well, anyone. In honor of women’s health week, consider consulting one of the many physical therapists that has specialized in treating issues that are specific to women’s health, making them an excellent resource when your health problems can no longer be ignored.
Karen Munger, a physical therapist, chose to work at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation, a Physiquality clinic in western Michigan, because the owners supported her efforts to develop a women’s health program there. They provided her with the education and equipment necessary to evaluate and treat such issues as pelvic floor dysfunction, including pelvic pain and urinary incontinence; constipation-related issues and bowel incontinence; postpartum problems; and core retraining.
Protecting your shoulder during summer sports
with advice from Cristina Martinez Faucheux, PT, COMT
Summer is coming, along with plenty of outdoor sports and activities. But athletes need to be aware of their bodies; many summer sports can cause shoulder injuries, particularly if played several times a week.
While different “overhand” or “overhead” sports – think any sport that requires arm rotation, like swimming, tennis, volleyball and baseball, especially baseball pitching – use different muscle mechanics, all such sports can lead to shoulder instability. Repetitive rotating motion can cause the shoulder ligaments to loosen, and possibly even dislocate the shoulder.
“Pay close attention to how your shoulder feels when playing your sport,” says Cristina Martinez Faucheux, a physical therapist and co-owner of Moreau Physical Therapy, a Physiquality clinic in Louisiana. If the shoulder feels loose, or if a quick pain is felt when raising your arm overhead, like something is slipping or pinching in the shoulder, this could be subluxation of the shoulder, and something that would require treatment with a physical therapist.
Encouraging kids to make healthy decisions
with advice from Anna Dark
and Angela Mader
If you’re a parent, this probably sounds familiar: You’ve worked to make a healthy meal for your son (or daughter), but he’d rather have a cereal bar. Or snack foods. Or nothing. So how do you encourage him to eat healthy food and make responsible choices when eating?
Nutrition and fitness expert Anna Dark encourages parents and caregivers to be patient and positive. She says, “The goal is to get them to adopt the healthier choices because it is GOOD for THEM and ultimately will form a good habit that will take them into their adulthood!” After earning her degree in nutrition, Anna became the Fitness Director at the Take Charge Fitness Program at Clinton Physical Therapy Center, a Physiquality member in Clinton, Tennessee.
Buying the right shoe for whole‑body health
with advice from Virginia Davis, PT, MA
and Brian Hoke, PT, DPT, SCS
Whether you’re young or old, the wrong pair of shoes can lead to pain from (almost) your head to your toes. High heels can damage your back, knees and feet while increasing your risk for ankle sprains or breaks; they can also lead to arthritis, foot deformities, poor posture, plantar fasciitis and balance impairments. The lack of arch support and foot protection in flip-flops can lead to a number of issues, including tendinitis and stress fractures.
So how can you pick a pair of shoes that is good for your feet?
Choosing a physical therapist that measures outcomes
with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT
and Kristina Holland, PTA
If you don’t work in the healthcare industry, you may have heard the term “outcomes” but not understood what it meant. Why is measuring outcomes beneficial for both patients and healthcare providers?
First of all, what are outcomes? Simply put, measuring outcomes means measuring how successful a particular treatment is, whether in physical therapy or another field in healthcare. Kristina Holland, a physical therapist assistant at Clinton Physical Therapy Center (a Physiquality member in Tennessee), says, “When physical therapists measure their patients’ ‘outcomes,’ they are answering the question, ‘Has therapy helped my patient to function better?'” By collecting data on a variety of treatments over a period of time, physical therapists (and other healthcare providers) will have data that tells them what the most successful treatments are.
How to deal with ankle sprains
with advice from Kate Chewning, PT, DPT,
Maria Fermoile, PT, DPT, OCS
and Tenille Policastro, PT, DPT
Ankle sprains are a common injury. They can occur during strenuous activity, like playing a sport, or something as simple as missing a step down from a curb.
If you’ve injured your ankle, Kate Chewning, a physical therapist at Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy (a Physiquality member in Pennsylvania) reminds you to R.I.C.E.:
Helping patients with Parkinson’s disease stay active
Many people think of physical therapists as healthcare specialists that only focus on orthopedic injuries and rehabilitation. While generally all PTs are qualified to do that, many choose to specialize in related care, such as helping people with edema after treatment for cancer, working with older patients or patients in acute care, or focusing on patients struggling with a specific disease, like Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that can make daily movement and activities frustrating and time-consuming. PTs can play a vital role in managing the effects of Parkinson’s disease by helping an individual stay as active and as independent as possible.
Am I fit enough for an obstacle course race?
with advice from
Joy Winchester, HFS
With long-distance races proliferating across the country, many people have been looking for a new fitness challenge. Enter obstacle course races like the Tough Mudder, where competitors complete military-like challenges “designed to test physical strength and mental grit.” But are they safe?
There are a variety of benefits to these challenges. “You’re not just walking or running, but also using strength, flexibility, and balance,” says Joy Winchester, a fitness instructor at the Take Charge Fitness Program, a wellness facility run by Clinton Physical Therapy Center (a Physiquality network member in Clinton, Tennessee).
Another unique aspect of these races is the teamwork emphasized by these challenges; at the Tough Mudder, for example, the race emphasizes camaraderie over individual finish times. This environment encourages fun, notes Joy, which makes it feel less like a workout. (Plus, as we’ve pointed out in the past, you’re more likely to finish a race if you’re not alone.) As the New York Times described it a few years ago, “The idea of Tough Mudder is not really to win, but to finish. And to have a story to tell.”