Tag Archives: dry needling

Elite PT Newsletter May 2018 – Running Injuries Part 2 – Knee Pain

This month’s newsletter focus is on knee pain.  Things have been getting busier here with summer just around the corner and lots of runners prepping for races.

One thing we’ve definitely noticed with our runners is that prevention is key.  They’re coming in sooner, once they can tell something is not quite right, rather than waiting weeks or months for it to just go away on its own.  Because of that we’ve seen two trends:

1)  They are recovering much quicker than in the past
2)  They’re completing their races – most we’ve checked in on have run faster than in previous races.

So on that note let’s continue with our series on running injuries – this month focusing on knee injuries.

***Just a quick note for you non-runners out there – these injuries are very common in all sports and even in non-athletes so if you have knee pain you will still want to check this out!

The most common knee injuries in runners are:

1)  Patello Femoral Pain (front of the knee)
2)  Distal IT Band Syndrome, a.k.a. Runners Knee (outside of the knee)
3)  Patellar Tendinosis (just below the knee cap)

Last month we talked about improving mobility and stability of the foot and ankle – which will also help to relieve strain on the knee joints so if you have knee pain go back and read that article here:  http://www.elitepttc.com/elite-pt-newsletter-april-2018-common-running-injuries-part-i-foot-and-ankle/

This month I want to focus on a couple of the muscles that are notorious for causing knee pain, and what you can do about them. Check out the pictures below:

Rectus Femoris Trigger Points and Pain Referral Pattern

RF Trigger Point Knee Pain

Vastus Lateralis Trigger Points and Pain Referral Pattern
 

VL Trigger Points Knee Pain
The ‘X’ is the location of common trigger points (tight irritable bands of muscle) and the reddened area is that trigger point’s pain referral pattern.  From the pictures you can see how irritation within the big quadricep muscles can cause pain all the way down to the knee.

The quadricep group frequently gets overworked with running which can cause these hyper-irritable bands of tissue in the first place.  As a result the muscle tissues feel tighter and become less flexible.  This creates a vicious cycle over time and ultimately these tissues can refer pain down to the front or side of the knee mimicking the conditions I listed above.

Luckily these trigger points are usually easy to identify and treat with manual therapy techniques such as Graston Technique and Dry Needling.  Following up with corrective exercises can ensure that these irritable areas don’t flare back up after being treated.  On top of that, most of our clients can manage this in the future doing their own soft tissue work using foam rollers and massage sticks, and warming up properly.

Check out the video below if you’d like to see how we dry needle and treat that outer thigh muscle:

***This video was originally created for physical therapists and posted on SportsRehabExpert.com so there is quite a bit of medical lingo but you’ll get the drift.  Be sure to check out how much better Lydia’s leg moves after the treatment. 

Last year one of our Kingsley athletes was diagnosed with IT Band Syndrome and was experiencing significant pain on the outside of the knee.  His knee had actually buckled on a number of occasions while trying to sprint.

He presented with almost identical range of motion at the hip as Lydia in the video above.  One treatment of dry needling followed by a couple corrective exercises and he was able to return to running the next day without pain.

I can’t guarantee it will always work that fast but sometimes it does (helps to be 16 too!)

SPECIAL OFFER – if you’ve been struggling with knee pain and you’re not sure what to do about it then give us a call for a free screening.  We can quickly identify the cause of the problem and guide you down the right treatment path.  231 421-5805.

Until next time…

Joe Heiler PT
Joe@elitepttc.com
231 421-5805

Shoulder Pain and Dry Needling

This past Friday we thought we’d have a little fun and treat out Shannon’s shoulder pain as part of our weekly in service.  This is a great way for all of us to put our heads together and solve some of our more challenging cases.

Check out the video below to see how we did:

It’s always cool to see significant improvements in range of motion and decreased shoulder pain – especially when the changes are immediate!

There is quite a bit more work to do here to get that shoulder moving right again but dry needling in combination with electrical stimulation can be the kick start that’s needed.

If you’ve been struggling with shoulder pain – and wondering if there is anything that can be done about it – give us a call (231 421-5805).  We’ve been able to help numerous clients with acute and chronic cases of shoulder pain (including those that have had PT elsewhere without success).

Or email questions to Joe@elitepttc.com

If you’re interested – check out the muscles/trigger points with their corresponding referral patterns below:

Rotator Cuff Trigger Points

Teres Minor Trigger Point

Teres Minor Trigger Point

For more information on shoulder pain and trigger points, please refer to a couple previous articles on our blog:

Trigger Points and Shoulder Pain

Trigger Points and Shoulder Pain – Part II

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

 

 

Dry Needling for Hip and Knee Pain

At Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance we strive to find new and innovative ways to treat pain and get you moving again.  Dry needling has been one on my go-to treatments for the past 3 years now, and the method I’m going to show you today works wonders for hip and knee pain.

The Vastus Lateralis (VL) is one of the four muscles that make up your quadricep and is the most lateral.  Trigger points in this muscle will often refer pain to the lateral knee.  Check out the photo below of the VL and corresponding trigger point referral patterns.

Vastus Lateralis Trigger Points

Even without active trigger points, the VL is often in a state of high tone which can significantly limit hip mobility in certain directions.  With it’s attachment all along the IT band, it can also create greater stress on the knee joint through that IT band.

In the video you’ll see the limitations in our patients hip adduction (her knee should hit the table when I try to lower the leg across midline).  Her right hip does this easily.  This is a fairly standard PT test, known as the Ober test in most circles.  In the video you’ll see how dramatically dry needling the Vastus Lateralis with a few minutes of muscle stimulation can change her hip mobility.

Just a quick note on the video.  This was originally created for my SportsRehabExpert.com website which is read by other PT’s, Athletic Trainers, Chiropractors, etc.  Sorry for all the medical talk but you’ll get the idea with the huge change in range of motion following the dry needling treatment.

Here are some of the common diagnoses you’ll hear from your doctor that will respond well to dry needling:

  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Runner’s Knee (distal IT band syndrome)
  • Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome/Patellar Mal-Tracking
  • Hip Bursitis

There are many other ‘diagnoses’ that can benefit from improved hip mobility but those above are what we would see most frequently.  For those that are needle-phobic, we can get similar results using Graston Technique and other manual therapy techniques, it’s just often not quite as dramatic.

There are also a number of specialized motor control and strengthening exercises that need to be used following this treatment to maintain this new mobility.  Just because she can move her hip now on the table doesn’t necessarily mean its going to move that well when she is standing, walking, or running.  Strength must also be established in that new range.

Hope that was helpful to see plus you get a bit of a glimpse at what we do here at Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.

Big thanks to our Athletic Trainer, Lydia Case, for being our ‘patient’!