Elite PT Newsletter September 2017 – Back Pain Workshop + Meet our new PT!

In this month’s edition you’ll meet our newest addition to Elite Physical Therapy: Allie Hoyt DPT, ATC and learn about our first ever Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.  Here we go:

 

I can’t believe another month has flown by. It’s an exciting time of the year with kids going back to school (although my son would disagree) and high school sports getting started again.

Meet our new Physical Therapist

We are extremely blessed to be able to bring on a new PT and to find one as bright as Allie Hoyt.

Allie, DPT, ATC, graduated from Grand Valley State University’s doctorate of physical therapy program in 2017 where she completed clinical rotations with EXOS and The Ohio State University’s Performing Arts Medicine program. She graduated from Hope College’s athletic training program in 2014, where she gained experience working with men’s soccer and lacrosse, women’s basketball and volleyball, as well as cross-country and tennis.

Since 2014, she has been working as an athletic trainer and was one of the primary athletic trainers for the professional company members of the Grand Rapids Ballet. Through this, she continues to have a special interest in the performing arts, and more specifically with dancers. Her passion for movement started at a young age when she began dance classes that continued through high school and college.

Allie believes that everyone has the right to optimize their ability to move and she is happy to be able to help individuals reach their specific movement goals. She is extremely excited to join the Elite family!

Q: So how did you become interested in athletic training and physical therapy?

A: I started dancing at a young age and it was through dance that I first learned to love movement. I also ran cross country and track throughout middle school and high school. I was definitely NOT the star athlete, but because of my dance background everyone knew if they needed a muscle stretched I would be able to help. One day I was stretching my friend Liz’s hamstring and she bluntly said “Allie, you should be a physical therapist”. I laughed and thanked her, but I had no idea what a physical therapist was or did. I turned to Google that night and realized physical therapy sounded like a really cool profession. That summer I found myself shadowing a pediatric physical therapist and fell in love with rehabilitation.

Q: What excites you most about being a physical therapist?

A: I love the human body. It is amazing what our bodies are capable of and how they work! Being able to help others realize their body’s potential and reach their movement goals is why I enjoy this profession. I get to love and serve others through physical therapy and that is what excites me most.

Q: What types of things do you like to do outside of work?

A: I love to be outdoors, so hiking, biking, kayaking, and other modes of adventuring bring me joy. I also love good coffee and like to try out new coffee shops as well as brew my own cup of coffee using different methods. I have a dance background so you might find me trying out a dance class here and there as well.
Q: Who is your favorite college football team?

A: Notre Dame (I had to ask and no we didn’t hire her because she is a Notre Dame fan)

Allie has been through clinical internships at some pretty elite facilities around the country so she’s ready to take on the world of orthopedics and sports medicine. She’ll be seeing all types of cases from lower back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, shoulder pain, hip pain, and more. She has quite a background in dance medicine as well which is a very under served population in this area. She has a special interest in working with dancers to recover from injuries as well as prevent them. She’ll be putting together some special programs for dancers in the near future.

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Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop

We will be hosting our first workshop on back pain and sciatica on Saturday September 30th from 10 – 11am. If you know someone who has been suffering from back pain and/or sciatica then be sure to let them know about this workshop!

Lower back pain is a huge problem in the medical field and in this country. In fact we see more folks with lower back pain (and the resulting leg pain) more than any other diagnosis.

Unfortunately many people feel like there is no ‘cure’ and they just have to live with it. Check out this short video for more information on the workshop and to listen to how this is one of the biggest ‘myths’ in the health care industry.

The workshop is technically for those who have not been clients of ours in the past. Past clients receiving this newsletter are welcome to call us with questions ANYTIME! We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and set up a time to get you in for a free screen if that is what is necessary.

In other words, we don’t want you to wait! If its not going away after a couple weeks it may not go away at all without some sort of treatment. The sooner we get you pointed in the right direction, the sooner you get better!

Like I said, call us anytime! 231 421-5805

Have a great month of September!

Joe Heiler PT

Elite PT Newsletter August 2017 – solving lower back pain, free screenings, and more…

Hope you’ve been enjoying your summer!  We’ve got some great content covering lower back pain (plus a special offer) for you this month.

Here is what is in this month’s issue:

  • Solving lower back pain (this may sound familiar to a number of you)
  • Exercise tip of the month – fixing the ‘plank’
  • 6 years in business! Check out our special offer – its got something to do with back pain!

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“I Can’t Walk more than 10 Minutes!!!”

Sound familiar?

Last month we talked about one of the most common causes of lower back pain:  Spinal Stenosis.  Here is what that usually looks like:

  • 50 years and older
  • Standing and walking are limited
  • Sitting and/or lying down usually relieves symptoms

The title of this article is a direct quote from a frustrated client of ours at his initial evaluation.  He couldn’t stand or walk more than 10 minutes and it was really starting to effect his quality of life and ability to work around the house and yard.  We hear this stories like this one frequently and I’m sure there are a number of you reading this that are having this same experience.

In this case our client began having back pain with symptoms radiating into his hip and down the front of his left leg all the way to his big toe.  He wasn’t sure exactly how it started other than he was doing lots of walking that day.  By the time he came to see us he had been dealing with this pain for 6 months!  He fit the spinal stenosis category to a ‘T’:

  • over 50?  Check (70 years old)
  • limited standing and walking?  Check (10 minutes max)
  • sitting and/or lying down relieve symptoms?  Check

Our client participated in physical therapy for 8 visits over a 6 week time frame.  Treatment consisted of manual (hands on) treatment to decrease pain and relieve tone in the muscles of the lower back and hips as well as exercises to decrease his pain and improve the way he was moving and walking.

He is doing quite well now as he was able to walk around downtown Chicago a few weeks ago with only mild irritation in his leg (“not enough to stop me from having fun”).  He was also able to work outside for 4 hours the day prior to his last PT session without any pain.

Here is what he had to say: “I came in with numbness in my left leg from my groin all the way down to my foot that got worse any time I stood or walked.  I can do whatever I want now with only occasional numbness in my foot.  I thought for sure I was going to have surgery but now I’m doing my exercises to make sure this doesn’t ever come back.” – D.A. Traverse City

We’ve successfully treated numerous patients with similar symptoms over the years.  In fact we see more folks with lower back pain than any other diagnosis here at Elite PT.  Back pain can be severely debilitating but many times we can quickly decrease the pain and get you moving again with physical therapy.

Because of that, and as a way of saying “thanks” to you, our valued clients, I want to offer a free screen on August 24th to the first five former clients suffering from lower back pain.  If you fit the description above, call us now to get scheduled.  It’s only 30 minutes of your time but we’re confident we can get you started on the road to recovery.

The 24th of this month is also our 6th anniversary of being in business so I thought we’d do something fun.

Call 231 421-5805.  I guarantee this will fill up quickly so be sure to take advantage today!

PS – We’ve also been in business 6 years because of loyal clients like yourself referring family members and friends.  If you can think of someone this information might help, please share it with them!  I’d be happy to answer any questions they might have.  My email is joe@elitepttc.com or just call 231 421-5805.
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Exercise Tip of the Week

Planks are an extremely popular exercise but it is very often performed incorrectly.

front plank - hyperlordosis

Hint: your lower back shouldn’t arch that much!

I frequently ask patients and training clients where they feel like they are working the most… abs or  the lower back?

More than half the time they respond that they feel it more in their lower back!

I thought the plank was supposed to be an abdominal exercise?

Well it is when done correctly.  Watch the video below for a quick tutorial how to learn the proper positioning for the plank exercise and then how to immediately integrate that into the exercise itself for killer results.

https://youtu.be/gfadQYhckuQ

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Coming Soon:

  • We’re bringing a new PT on staff at the end of this month and we’re super excited to have her joining our team.  I’ll have more on Ms. Allie Hoyt in the next issue.
  • September 30th will be our first ever Lower Back Pain Workshop.  I’ll have more on this next month too but start thinking of loved ones suffering with lower back pain that may benefit from this.

Enjoy the rest of your month

Elite PT July 2017 Newsletter: Lower Back Pain, Employee Spotlight – Jesie Bott, Exercise Tips and more…

Hope you’re having a great summer and surviving the craziness that is northern Michigan in July.

This months newsletter features:

  • Employee Spotlight – Jesie Bott
  • Lower Back Pain – 80% of us are going to have it!
  • Exercise Tip of the Month

Employee Spotlight
Jessica “Jesie” Bott was our very first employee starting back in 2012.  She took a bit of a hiatus after giving birth to her daughter but she’s been back a couple years now and we love having her around as much as possible.  Jesie home schools her two children and works Fridays during the school year but in the summer we’re blessed to have her 2.5 days per week.  She’s got a ton of energy and really loves to get to know her patients and clients.  She does a great job for us here at Elite Physical Therapy so we wanted to tell her story.

Jesie is an Athletic Trainer and licensed massage therapist, graduating from Grand Valley State University in 2005.  Jesie has worked in the outpatient orthopedic setting since graduation, and also worked as the athletic trainer at Kingsley High School for 5 years.  Jesie is a Graston Technique Certified Clinician, and trained through Functional Movement Systems giving her the ability to critically analyze a person’s movement ability and develop exercise programs that really work!

Why did you become an ATC/LMT?
“I had an inclination toward sports and health and wanted a career that kept me physically active and challenged me mentally.  Athletic training was a perfect fit!”

What do you enjoy most about the job?
“What I truly like best about my job is helping people feel better. I’m passionate about it.  I want to see people get results and I’m happy to be a part of that.  At Elite, I enjoy the one on one experience with each patient as well as having the freedom and ability to use my knowledge and creativity to problem solve and do everything I can to help someone feel better.”

What do you do for fun?
“Other than working at Elite….:)  I enjoy spending quality time with my family.  We love to be outdoors, camping, playing in the water and playing with our sweet puppy.”

Jesie has been married to David Bott for 13 years and have two great kids – Chase and Clare.  Jesie also owns Freedom Massage Therapy and currently sees clients at Elite PT on Tuesdays and Fridays. You can call her at 231 357-0151 for more details.

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Did you know that lower back pain will affect at least 80% of us at least once in our lifetimes.  Depending on the research article, once you’ve had a back pain episode, chances are between 60-80% that you’ll have recurring episodes beyond that.  Not great odds at all.

Here at Elite PT, lower back pain is the most common diagnosis that we treat.  There are numerous causes of lower back pain – some easier to fix than others, but it’s our job to figure that out.

One of the more common causes is Spinal Stenosis.  Stenosis literally means ‘narrowing’ and in this case the narrowing can cause compression and irritation to the nerves that leave the spinal cord and go out to the lower back, hips, and legs.  This causes pain across the lower back and can also produce symptoms into one or both legs.

spinal stenosis

How do you know that you may have Spinal Stenosis?

  • 50+ years old
  • Standing and walking increase symptoms
  • Sitting and lying down relieve symptoms
  • Leaning on the cart at the grocery store allows you to walk with less back pain

Spinal stenosis, like most types of lower back pain, is something that can absolutely be treated in physical therapy.  Certain muscles being ‘tight’ can create more compression and narrowing and therefore must be address using soft tissue techniques like massage, Graston Technique and dry needling.  Exercises must also be incorporated to stretch those tight muscles and improve how our joints move around the back and hips.

Other muscles tend to be ‘weak’, specifically the abdominals and glutes.  When strong and working with the right timing these muscles can reduce damaging forces across the spine.

A comprehensive physical therapy program that addresses all these factors can be extremely beneficial.

Here is what one of our former clients with spinal stenosis had to say:

Patient Testimonial
“I came to Elite taking medication to numb the pain in my back and legs so I could make it through the day.  Thanks to Jesie I have no more pain and know how to strengthen the muscles to help prevent the pain from returning.  She is a great therapist and I will use her again in the future if the need arises.”
– D.B. from Traverse City

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Exercise Tip of the Week

Child’s Pose is a common yoga pose that produces flexion through the hips and spine.  For someone with spinal stenosis this movement frequently decreases or eliminates the person’s symptoms.  If it relieves your pain, then do it whenever you need relief!

Child's Pose

Try to sit back on your heels – unfortunately my knees don’t bend that far!

In the bottom position, take 4 breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Breathing in this manner decreases tone through the back muscles and also calms the nervous system bringing further relief.

For those with knee pain who can’t perform this exercise, try the seated floor press below.  It’s basically the same movement but with more body weight (usually fine but can be too much if you’re really sore).  Use the same breathing technique but be sure to put your hands on your knees to push yourself back up when you’re done.  This just takes some extra pressure off your back.
Seated Floor Press

You may find these simple exercises can make a huge difference in how you feel and how long you can be on your feet throughout the day.  If so, just keep doing them and you may just be able to keep yourself out of pain.

If you have all the signs and can only get temporary relief with the exercises then you probably would benefit from physical therapy.  Call us if you have questions (231 421-5805) and we could tell you if PT is for you.
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Have a great month of July with hopefully more warm weather to come.

We can be reached at 231 421-5805 or through email:  Joe@elitepttc.com if you have questions or if you just want to let us know how you’re doing.

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March

Elite PT June 2017 Newsletter – Dry Needling for Ankle and Foot Pain, Athlete Updates, and more…

Welcome to this month’s issue of the Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance newsletter.  Check out the short article and demo videos on dry needling, see what some of our graduating athletes will be up to in the Fall, as well as our ‘Exercise Tip of the Month’:

I can’t believe it’s already June and school’s just about out!

Here’s what’s new at Elite Physical Therapy this month:


Kristy Ockert MSPT just completed her first Functional Dry Needling course down at Grand Valley State University a few weeks ago.  She had a great time and learned some cool new techniques.  Since then she’s been practicing on Lydia and myself to fine tune her skills.  Follow the link below to see how its going!

We’ve seen numerous clients lately with calf pain, Achilles tendonitis, and plantarfasciits who’ve had great results with the combination of dry needling, Graston Technique, and exercise.  Here is what one of our clients with Achilles tendonitis had to say:

“I had issues walking at work and limited mobility in the ankle before therapy.  I can now walk all day at work and have no pain or swelling in the ankle area.” – K.W. from Grayling

In this case, PT was the last option prior to surgery.  Thankfully we were able to avoid surgery and get her back to work without pain.

There are certainly plenty more conditions that can benefit from dry needling in addition to the other physical therapy techniques that we employ.  Relieving pain and improving muscle function are big benefits of this technique.  To see more on dry needling, how it works, and a demonstration for treating neck pain and headaches, click the link HERE to check out the video on our home page.

If you have any questions about the technique or if you’re wondering if dry needling may work for you, feel free to give us a call at 231 421-5805.  Ask for Joe or Kristy.
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Athlete News

I want to acknowledge some of our past and present clients that will be moving on at the end of this school year to further pursue their athletic dreams.  These guys are a hard working bunch and will be missed!

Chris Kolarevic from St. Francis High School – will be playing football at the University of Northern Iowa.
Michael Hegewald from St. Francis High School – will be playing football at the University of Dayton.
Alec Trautman from Elk Rapids High School – will be playing football at the University of Dayton.
Will Russell from Traverse City East Middle School – will be attending the Steamboat Mountain School in Colorado skiing on their U16 Alpine Team.

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Exercise Tip of the Month

We’ve been talking about treatments for the lower leg and foot the past couple months so I thought I’d stick with this commonly injured area one more time.  Last month I showed a great way to improve the way the foot and ankle move – if you missed it just let me know and I can re-send that to you.  This month we’ll look at an easy way to begin strengthening.

Ankle Marching with mini-band

Place the band around your feet with the feet just wide enough that there is a small amount of tension on the band.  Bring the knees up toward your chest and flex the ankles back as far as possible.  Kick one leg out straight but keep the opposite leg motionless.

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March – Start Position

 

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March – Finish Position

The leg that remains motionless will actually be the leg that is working the hardest.  Do not let this leg follow the other!  Not only will you feel the muscles in the front of the lower leg working hard but you’ll also feel your hip and stomach muscles.  This exercise is typically done after stretching out the calf muscles and is done for 2 sets of 10 on each side.
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Have a great month and talk to you again in July!

Joe Heiler PT

 

 

Elite PT May 2017 Newsletter/Plantarfasciitis Treatment

In this month’s email newsletter we’re going to talk about treatments for foot and heel pain, a.k.a plantarfasciitis.

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April was a super busy month with our first ‘Free Screening Day’.  We had 20 former patients come in plus a few new folks. It was great to catch up in addition to helping some of our former clients with their current injuries.  Big thanks to everyone who could make it out!

We’ll definitely be hosting another ‘Free Screening Day’ later in the year so we’ll keep you posted.
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Treatment Spotlight – Plantarfasciitis

It’s that time of year when we start seeing more and more folks with that stabbing pain into their arch and heel, better known as plantarfasciitis.  As we get more active in the nicer weather the muscles and tissues on the bottom of our feet can take a beating resulting in significant pain that will limit walking and running.

Fortunately there are some really cool things we can do treat this condition that you aren’t going to find elsewhere in northern Michigan – specifically Graston Technique and Dry Needling.  Check out the video below to see how we use Graston Technique to treat this condition.

http://www.elitepttc.com/graston-technique-and-plantarfasciosis

We’ve had great success treating these conditions.  Here’s what one former patient had to say:

“I’ve had foot pain since June of 2016 and 3 cortisone shots which never even touched the pain.  I started at Elite PT in February which has helped me to regain full use of my foot without any pain”. –  M.B. from Traverse City (March 2017)

Physical therapy can often be quite successful even when more aggressive measures like injections, bracing, and casting have failed.  This client of ours is back to standing at work all day and going back to the gym without pain.

If you are suffering from foot and heel pain, give us a call (231 421-5805).  We can help to relieve the pain and get you active again.

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Exercise Tip of the Month
One of the keys to relieving arch and heel pain is to improve the mobility of the ankle joint.  This is one area where most of us are lacking and it can predispose us to problems like plantarfasciitis.

Stretching the tissues of the calf and foot are great for improving ankle mobility and below is a picture of how we often have our clients self-stretch at home.

Hold the stick either at the tip of the middle toe (easier) or fifth toe (harder).  Keeping the heel down, glide the knee forward but around the outside of the stick.  You’ll notice how much more difficult it is to go around the stick versus just straight ahead or to the inside.  This is part of the trick to improving mobility of the ankle and it also strengths the muscles of your foot. Doing the stretch barefoot works best too.

This is a great exercise to not only treat plantarfasciitis but also to prevent it!
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Have a great rest of the month and talk to you again in June.

Joe Heiler PT

 

ACL Injury Prevention 101

ACL injuries (anterior cruciate ligament) have been an epidemic in sports but even more so in women’s athletics.  Females are 3-4x more likely to tear their ACL than men.  A few of the main reasons are:

– poor mobility/flexibility
– insufficient strength levels
– improper jumping and cutting mechanics

ACL Injuries

Poor Landing Mechanics!

At our ACL Injury Prevention clinic you will learn the fundamentals of strength training, flexibilty, speed and agility, and jump training to become a better athlete while also decreasing the risk of devasting ACL injuries.  See our recent blog posts for more information on ACL injuries and examples of how we teach landing mechanics.

Athletes will work in small groups with our expert staff addressing each of these problem areas. They will also learn drills and exercises that can be done at home or within school training programs to continue to develop athletically.

Come ready to work and learn!

Cost is $10 per athlete

Who:  Middle and High School Female Athletes

Where:  Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance – 4177 Village Park Dr. Suite B Traverse City (next to Wuerfel Park)

When – February 11th 10am – noon

What to bring:  athletic attire, water bottle, and your energy!

Space is limited to 24 athletes so sign up today!

Bonus:  we’ll be offering a free movement screening session to attendees who would like to participate.  Screening consists of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), Y Balance test, plus jump and hop testing.  Exercise programs are then individually developed based on these test results.  Those interested can schedule their free screening by calling us at 231 421-5805.

UPDATE: The clinic was a big success and we definitely plan on doing it again. Here is what some attendees thought about the clinic:

“It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of new exercises” – A.R.

“I never realized how hard it would be to do some of these exercises. Or that my right leg was a lot stronger than my left leg” – A.H.

“The girls had a good time. It was really eye opening to see some good athletes struggle with controlling their landings. Thanks for doing this” – J.W. Parent.

We can also set up an ACL injury prevention clinic for your team. If you are interested just give me a call at 231 421-5805 or email Joe@elitepttc.com.

ACL Injuries and Prevention – Jump Training Part 3

Here is video #3 in our series on box jumps and how we use them here at Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance to decrease the risk of ACL injuries and also to improve jumping performance.

Don’t forget this Wednesday Dec. 28th – the Northern Pride Sports Academy is running a basketball clinic for 6th – 8th grade girls at Kingsley High School from 2pm – 6pm.  We will be taking athletes through our jump training progressions, injury prevention techniques, as well as what the athletes can be doing at home to continue to get better.

Here is the link to sign up:  http://www.northernpridesportsacademy.com/december-28th-clinic.html

Stay tuned as we’re planning on hosting an ACL injury prevention clinic at Elite PT in February.  I’ll have dates and times coming soon.

Joe

joe@elitepttc.com

231 421-5805

ACL Injuries and Prevention – Jump Training Part II

Last week I talked about some of the main causes of ACL injuries and why they occur at a rate of 3-4x more often in female athletes.  You can find that article along with our first jump training video here:

This week I’m posting the second video in a series of three showing how we begin jump training to a box.  This type of training can be used for ACL injury prevention and to enhance sports performance.  It’s also what we do post-surgically to get the athlete used to jumping again and landing safely.

The great thing about box jumps is that the forces on the knee are quite low because you are not coming all the way back down to the floor.  It’s also much easier because of this for the athlete to work on proper landing technique.

Before I get to the video though I thought I’d post a picture of what you don’t want your athletes knees to look like.

ACL Injuries

a.k.a. valgus collapse of the knee

Check out the video below for more:

Looks fairly simple but let me assure you it can be quite challenging for many athletes – boys included.  Learning to jump and land correctly has been proven to help prevent ACL injuries and it must also be a huge focus of any post-surgical ACL rehabilitation program.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me Joe@elitepttc.com or 231 421-5805.  We also do injury prevention and return to sport testing which does include a number of jump/hop tests.  If you’d like to know where you stand in relationship to other athletes in your sport we can definitely set that up for you.

ACL Injuries and Prevention

ACL injuries (anterior cruciate ligament) have been an epidemic in sports but even more so in women’s athletics.  Females are 3-4x more likely to tear their ACL than men.  There are several proposed theories on why this is so but for the purposes of this article and what we address here at Elite Physical Therapy we will discuss the following:

  • Poor movement quality
  • Strength deficits
  • Landing mechanics

I’ll go more in depth in subsequent articles but for now here are the basics:

Poor movement quality

There are just certain joints in our bodies that need to be very mobile in order to get us through our daily activities and especially sporting activities like running, jumping, and cutting.  Don’t get me wrong – all of our joints need to move through their full range of motion for us to be efficient movers.  Some just need to be emphasized a bit more because of their tendency to become stiff while other areas of our body need a bit more stability/motor control.  Check out the picture below to get an idea of how this works – it’s called the Joint – by – Joint theory.

Alternating sequence of mobility - stability through the entire body

Alternating sequence of mobility – stability through the entire body

It’s a very simplified way of looking at things but it does often work out this way.  The knee joint needs to have a great deal of stability in all directions to prevent injury.  If the ankle and hip joints above and below are moving well then the knee joint will more likely stay within it’s accepted range of motion during athletic movements.  If the ankle and/or hip are stiff then the knee may just have to go outside of it’s normal boundries to land from a jump or decelerate while cutting.  This is where things can go south in a hurry!

Strength deficits

There is plenty of research out there in the medical and physical therapy journals showing that strength deficits can lead to knee injuries, and in particular ACL tears. Years ago the main concern was the ration of strength between the quadriceps and hamstrings, which if it was below a certain level it could inhibit an athletes ability to decelerate correctly leading to injury.

Lately the focus has been more on the hips and muscles of the ‘core’ and how weakness or lack of control in those areas can contribute to injury.  I’ll get more into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ in another article but it is a reality that needs to be addressed.

At Elite Physical Therapy, we know that a comprehensive strength program must be implemented to assist in the prevention of ACL injuries.  Quality movement is critical for effective strength training as well.  Being able to combine these qualities is what we do best, and definitely one of my favorite things to talk about so more to come for sure!

Landing mechanics

It is also well documented that female athletes land and cut differently than the male athletes.  Women tend to land stiffer and higher than the men who typically land in deeper hip and knee flexion angles.  Stiffer and higher landings are more dangerous as far as the knee joint is concerned.

Strength and movement quality again play a large role in this.  Some athletes can’t even get into a good position to perform complex athletic movements.  Big problem!

Many don’t have the strength to get into the proper positions.  Another big problem.

As the athletic activities get faster, more complex, impose higher forces, etc it becomes more and more challenging to perform them using good technique.  Fortunately all of these qualities can be addressed through physical therapy and proper training techniques.

Check out the video below showing how we start teaching athletes to jump correctly using box jumps.  The nice thing about landing on a box is that you don’t really have to come all the way back down.  Much less strain on the knees and an easy way to work on jumping and landing technique.

I’ll be posted a new video every few days showing more of the progressions we use.  We will also be hosting some ACL prevention clinics in the near future so if you’d like to learn more and get some hands on assistance than please contact us.

Here is what we have coming up:

December 28th from 2 pm – 6 pm at Kingsley High School with the Northern Pride Sports Academy.  6th – 8th grade girls basketball skills camp.  We will be teaching a session on jumping progressions to improve athletic performance and reduce injury risk.

In February (date to be determined) we will be hosting an ACL Injury Prevention clinic here at Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.  Topics will include mobility training, strength training, and jump training progressions. More on that to come as we continue to line up speakers and instructors.

For more information you can contact us at 231 421-5805.

Joe Heiler PT

Back Pain and Sciatica – Part 2

Last month I posted a case study showing how we treat back pain and associated ‘sciatica’ like symptoms here at Elite Physical Therapy in Traverse City.  You can find that article here:  http://www.elitepttc.com/back-pain-and-sciatica-physical-therapy-treatments/

This month’s case study is a little different in that the presentation and location of the pain were quite different but it still comes down to playing detective to determine where the patient’s symptoms are really coming from.  Before we get started here, I’m re-posting the picture of the dermatomes of the body (basically the sensory distribution of the nerves from the spine) so be sure to check that out.  Pretty cool how we were created for sure!Dermatomes

Case Study #2

The patient in this case presented to our clinic with pain shooting into the front of his hip and groin as well as down the front and side of his thigh.  He also reported minor back pain but it was nothing compared to the pain in his leg.  The patient reported having this pain on and off over the past couple years especially when exercising but recently it was much more constant and severe.  In the past he had been diagnosed with IT Band syndrome (pain laterally in the hip and thigh might make you think that), and more recently with a hip flexor strain (could also make sense now that he was having more pain into the front of the hip and groin).

Exam

  • minimal tenderness to the ‘hip flexor’ muscles anteriorly, slight weakness with manual muscle testing but no pain (probably not a hip flexor strain).
  • moderate tenderness and active trigger points in the lateral hip musculature that referred pain down the lateral thigh to the knee (could be part of IT Band syndrome).
  • springing of the lumbar vertebrae at L2 and L3 reproduced the typical symptoms  he felt into his anterior hip/groin as well as lateral thigh (Bingo!)

Treatment

Dry needling was performed at the levels of L2 and L3 along with electric stimulation for 10 minutes, and followed up with Graston Technique (GT) to decrease tone and improve mobility of the superficial fascia and muscles of the mid and lower back.

A couple exercises were given to maintain, and hopefully even improve, the mobility gained through the spine and hips as a result of the dry needling and GT.

Results

The patient reported a significant decrease in the anterior hip and groin symptoms as well as a moderate improvement in lateral hip and thigh symptoms.

During the second treatment session I decided to treat the muscles of the lateral hip as well since they also referred pain into the lateral thigh.  This was done with by dry needling + e-stim just like we had done in the low back.

By the third treatment session a few days later the patient was reporting a significant reduction in lateral hip and thigh symptoms as well.

Final Thoughts

It took a few more treatments to completely resolve this patient’s symptoms but it’s nice to see an immediate decrease in symptoms to know that you are treating the right areas.  With a thorough evaluation process it wasn’t hard to figure out that the patient’s symptoms were primarily coming from his spine which was quite a different diagnosis than what was previously thought.

A little detective work plus effective treatment tools like dry needling and Graston Technique can make a huge difference in patient outcomes especially in these ‘sciatica’ cases.  If you have similar types of symptoms or pain that just doesn’t ever seem to get better then give us a call!  If you have any questions feel free to email me:  joe@elitepttc.com