What is tennis elbow?
by Anthony Marino, PT, DPT
We’ve all heard of “tennis elbow,” but do you know what causes it and how physical therapy can help?
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is inflammation of the forearm tendons on the outside of the elbow. They usually become damaged from overuse when performing repetitive activities involving gripping, and not just when playing tennis. The damage can also be caused from excessive turning of the wrist when using tools or typing on a computer keyboard and clicking a mouse. This leads to microtears of the lateral elbow tendons, creating pain, tenderness and inflammation at the outside of the elbow.
The symptoms of tennis elbow feel mild at first and progress gradually over weeks to months. There is usually no trauma or specific cause associated with it, but these symptoms can persist and become chronic in nature if not properly treated. Common symptoms include:
What you should know about TMJ and TMD
with advice from Renee Bailey, PTA
and Pressure Positive
Temporomandibular joint disorders or dysfunction, often referred to as TMJ or TMD, cover a wide variety of problems, most commonly pain and muscular tightness in the jaw. You’ve no doubt heard of this problem, but did you know that physical therapy is one of the solutions?
TMD can be a result of a variety of causes, explains Renee Bailey, a physical therapist assistant at Conshohocken Physical Therapy, a Physiquality member in Pennsylvania. “Symptoms can arise from something as simple as bad posture habits, or it can be a result of trauma to the joint, like a direct hit or impact, a whiplash injury, or even clenching or grinding your teeth,” she says.
The most widely reported symptom of TMD is pain, which can range from the jaw to the neck, ears and shoulders and can also present as a headache. Other symptoms noted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research include stiffness in the jaw muscles and joint; limited movement or locking of the jaw; clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening/closing the mouth and while chewing; difficulty swallowing; and changes in how the upper and lower teeth fit together. Renee has also seen patients that experienced ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and dizziness.
How physical therapists can help seniors increase activity for healthy aging
with advice from Randy Gustafson, PT, MPT, MOMT,
Cindy Powell, PT, MPT, ATC, STS
and Mika Yoshida, CSCS, EP-C
Aging isn’t fun for anyone. Your memory starts to fade, your body slows down and gains weight, and your joints start to stiffen. And while no one can reverse or stop the aging process, one of the best ways to reduce the speed at which your body is changing is to be more active.
“As the years go by, staying active becomes one of the key factors in staying independent, pain-free and feeling good,” says Randy Gustafson, a physical therapist and the owner of Physiquality member Mesa Physical Therapy in San Diego, California. Exercise is known to help prevent and reduce such problems as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, along with its more obvious benefits of increasing strength and reducing — or at least maintaining — weight. And, Randy points out, better health from increased activity often allows patients to reduce their reliance on some medications, allowing patients to take them less frequently or sometimes quit them altogether.
Playing soccer safely
with advice from Jocelyn Arroyo‑Espinet, CPT
and Jim Liston, MA, CSCS
With the Champions League final coming up in Berlin between Juventus and Barcelona, and soccer summer leagues starting soon, it’s a good time to think about playing soccer. And given the high rate of some injuries while playing soccer, it’s even more important to consider how to play the sport more safely.
As any athlete (or sports parent) knows, playing sports brings the risk of cuts, bruises and contact injuries (from running into an opponent or teammate). While many soccer injuries occur in the lower extremities (the hips, legs and ankles), some players may experience neck sprains or shoulder injuries after a collision with a fellow player or a fall to the ground.
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?