Physiotherapy Toronto Blog

Toronto Physiotherapy 

Aside from the rigors of sports or specific rehabilitative physical training, our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine experts encourage anyone to participate in as much physical activity as they can during the course of a regular day. The benefits of cumulative, consistent physical activity over time have been documented by research studies. The longer you exercise, consistently, over the years, the more mobile and fit you will be in middle and old age. That's important.

Just Do It

It doesn’t matter what your current level of fitness is. You will benefit from every 15-minute block of physical activity you add to your day. That comes from solid research. With improved fitness levels comes the reduced risk of lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Now, it’s understood that any physical exercise program should be approved by your medical practitioner, but for most people, adding some walking or stair climbing shouldn’t pose any concerns. If you do have questions about physical activity and your own individual needs, our Toronto physiotherapists are ready with advice and suggestions on how much and what types of activities to emphasize in your case.

At Home

  • Do you have exercise equipment that’s gathering dust? Next time you Netflix and chill, take a half hour or so out of the chilling part and pedal or row while you watch.
  • Go old school – using a push mower is not only environmentally friendly, it’s the kind of moderately vigorous exercise where a mere 15 minutes can bring fitness benefits.

At Work

  • If you have a choice where to park, it can be an ideal way of adding 10 minutes or more of exercise to your day, five days a week. Simply park at a distance of at least a brisk, 10 minute walk and then you’ll already have 20 minutes of exercise under your belt by the time you get home from work. Be sure to bring good walking shoes!
  • Add another moderately vigorous 10 minute walk at lunch time, and you’ll notice the boost in energy levels over the afternoon, along with fitness, over time. Meet in person when you can rather than electronically, when it’s within walking distance.

On The Go

  • Park farther away. When you go to work, grocery shopping, out to the shopping mall, park about ten minutes’ walk from your destination. Now, cover that ground in a brisk walk and you’re already one-third of the way towards your daily 30 minute goal.

Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals are ready to give you any advice you may need on your current physical condition and fitness needs, along with giving suggestions as to the specific exercises that would benefit you most. Don’t hesitate to call or come by one of our Toronto clinics today to make an appointment.

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Sometimes our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic specialists surprise their clients when it comes time to diagnose their musculoskeletal issues. For example, how do you explain why someone has golfer’s elbow, when they don’t golf?

Toronto Physiotherapy Chiropractic

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer's elbow is simply the name that's been given to a condition called medial epicondylitis. It comes about from over use of the tendons and muscles of the hand and forearm. The injury isn't only common to golfers, though. It is also found in baseball players, where it's sometimes called "Little League elbow". It's also fairly common to tennis players.

What you will typically notice in terms of symptoms is pain in the wrist that extends along the inside of your forearm to the elbow. Golfer's elbow can also occur as a result of any repeated activity that involves clenching your fingers around an object - gardening equipment, perhaps, or a broom – which involves the tendons of the anterior forearm.

To understand what happens, it's necessary to understand the anatomy of the area. There are several small muscles that run through the forearm that work to flex the fingers and thumb. Each of these terminates in a tendon, which join together in what is called a tendinous sheath. That sheath connects to the humerus bone at the elbow joint. That's why the way you use your hand and fingers can cause inflammation at the elbow.

Treatment

In very mild cases, such as soreness that may come from one incident of over taxing yourself, whether it involves playing sports or putting in the new roof on your porch, self care measures may be enough to reduce the pain and allow you to heal. 

  • You can use an ice pack on the area for 15 to 20 minute periods, up to three or four times per day.
  • Over the counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen can help control the pain.
  • Above all, resting the area is key to healing.

When those measures don't work over a period of a few days, it's time to see your Toronto physiotherapist, chiropractor, or other sports medicine specialist. A variety of treatment options are available according to the individual case details, including injected corticosteroid therapy for temporary relief, or PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections, which involve enriching your own blood with extra platelets - cells that promote healing.

Prevention

Preventing golfer's elbow is easier than treating it and healing.

  • Weight training that specifically targets the forearms can help to offset the strain on the tendons.
  • Stretching exercises can also be used to avoid strain.
  • Playing with lighter clubs, such as the latest graphite designs, will also help to reduce the potential for strain and stress of the wrist area. The same principle naturally applies to any object you may be holding and using – the lighter and more flexible, the better.

Your Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine specialists can show you how to prevent golfer's elbow and other injuries. Proper form will also help to avoid putting undue stress on your wrist. Working with a golf instructor will help you to improve those issues. If you are experiencing golfer’s elbow and it’s not from playing golf or any other sport, then our sports medicine professionals can advise you on the mechanics of the movements involved in any given activity, and how you can prevent a recurrence by adjusting your approach.

Contact one of our Toronto area clinics today to make an appointment for your consultation. Our medical team includes physiotherapists and other specialists in musculoskeletal issues and sports medicine.

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Hamilton Physiotherapy

This summer get out there and SWIM. Not only is it refreshing on hot summer days, it also has many health benefits that working out on land can’t offer.

1. RESISTANCE

Water is denser than air so every time you move in the water your body is working against resistance. This is similar to using weights only the waves make movements more variable. This variability is the stimulus that tells your body to engage its core muscles to maintain your posture so you can stay afloat. By constantly challenging your core with every movement you make, your body will improve its stability.

Swimming also uses virtually every muscle in the body, so it makes it easy to tone. If you are kicking for example, you are using your abdominals, glutes, hamstrings and all the muscles in your back to stay afloat and propel yourself forward. When you use your arms (ex. pulling in front crawl) you work the pecs, lats and rotator cuff. The faster you swim the more resistance you encounter and the harder your muscles work, therefore the more calories you burn. Swimming at a moderate pace burns around 500 calories per hour!!

2. BUOYANCY

The density of water also increases your buoyancy when swimming, which makes you feel like you are much lighter than you actually are. Feeling like you have less body weight translates to less impact on your joints, as you avoid the normal ground reaction forces encountered with running, jumping or sports like soccer and basketball. This makes swimming a good alternative for people with arthritis and low back pain.  

3. FLEXIBILITY

When performing strokes like front crawl, back crawl or breaststroke your muscles reach their limits of range of motion as you extend your limbs. By continuously reaching the end of a muscle’s available range of motion, the muscle will accommodate to this needed range and stretching occurs. This repetition also helps improve muscle endurance, which in turn improves muscle strength.

4. CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM & LUNG CAPACITY

Swimming is one of the best means of challenging the cardiovascular system. It improves the strength of the heart and its ability to quickly and efficiently pump blood throughout the body. This efficiency will increase your resting metabolic rate, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and improve tissue oxygenation. Being in water also improves lung function because air intake is limited, both in frequency and volume. Because of this, you learn how to effectively breathe with your movement, increasing lung capacity and oxygen intake with each breath.


Article provided by Registered Physiotherapist, Samantha Costabile.  Appointments with Samantha can be made at the Athlete's Care Hamilton location.

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No matter what level of sport you or your children are involved in, you have likely known someone who has sustained a serious knee injury. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are probably at the top of the list for the most discussed. It is universally known as a season-ending injury, and is sure to draw some sympathetic looks from teammates. In the United States, approximately 120 000 people per year sustain an ACL injury. The numbers per year are increasing, and are higher in females when same-sport comparisons are made1. With the soccer season starting up, this seemed like the perfect time for a discussion.

To understand the impact of an ACL injury, it is important to know what the ACL is. It is a ligament that runs between the tibia and femur. It is considered to be a primary stabilizer against forward movement of the tibia on the femur, but also helps to resist valgus forces (see below), limit rotation and facilitate normal joint mechanics. Although it plays a big role in the above, there are also other structures that help out, which explains why some people can still operate in a semi-normal fashion despite an ACL injury.

Knee Injury
A. Anterior view of the knee, ACL highlighted in red

So how do these injuries happen? Often they are non-contact injuries2. Examples include sudden deceleration from a sprint, forceful rotation, landing from a jump, valgus positioning and knee hyperextension (although this is debated). Depending on the sport, they can also be contact injuries. Signs and symptoms of an ACL injury include hearing a “pop”, a quick onset of swelling, difficulty weight-bearing, and feeling unstable1.

ACL Injury

B.  Example of a valgus knee injury, which happens when the knee collapses toward the other knee


Luckily, it is possible to predict if you are at risk for this type of injury. Below is a list of risk factors for ACL injury supported by research3,4. It should be noted that a great deal if this research focuses on the female athlete.

  • Being female: Due to anatomical and hormonal differences.  
  • Increased joint laxity
  • Excessive hamstring laxity: This allows more forward translation of the tibia and stresses the ACL.
  • Insufficient ratio of hamstring to quadricep strength: If quads overpower the hamstrings, the tibia is pulled forward.  
  • Poor lower extremity control: Difficulty controlling knee position during dynamic movements.
  • Impaired proprioception: This means poor joint position sense, or difficulty determining what position the knee is in.  
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive forefoot pronation: While pronation (foot flattening) is a necessary movement for walking and running, if it occurs excessively or too quickly, it can increase the risk of ACL injury.

Hamilton Physiotherapy

Despite the long list of risk factors, prevention is possible, and strategies aimed at this are effective. Early physiotherapy intervention can help to identify and generate solutions for individual risk factors. Neuromuscular training programs are a great way to protect against these injuries5,6. In simple terms, this means performing strengthening, coordination, balance and other types of exercises to improve strength or relevant muscles and simulate situations in which an athlete may become injured. These programs have actually demonstrated measurable changes in movement patterns5,6 and have been shown to reduce ACL injury rates by approximately 50%7. A great example of this is found in the FIFA 11+ warm-up, which when utilized in elite collegiate soccer programs, helped to reduced overall injury risk by more than 40%8. An easy google search will bring up photos and videos of the exercises.

It is possible that those of you reading this will have one or more of these risk factors. However, some may be more obvious than others. For best results, consult a physiotherapist for advice on injury prevention.

Article provided by Registered Physiotherapist, Nick Peters.  Nick believes in an eclectic approach to treatment, with an emphasis on manual therapy, dry needling and functional and sport-specific exercise. Appointments with Nick can be made at the Athlete's Care Hamilton location.


 

References

1. Epidemiology and Diagnosis of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries. Clinics in Sports Medicine (2017).
2.Collegiate ACL Injury Rates Across 15 Sports: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System Data Update (2004-2005 Through 2012-2013). Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine (2016). 
3. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Female Athletes-Part 1: Mechanisms and Risk Factors. American Journal of Sports Medicine (2006).
4. High knee abduction moments are common risk factors for patellofemoral pain (PFP) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in girls: Is PFP itself a predictor for subsequent ACL injury? British Journal of Sports Medicine (2015).
5. Effects of evidence-based prevention training on neuromuscular and biomechanical risk factors for ACL injury in adolescent female athletes: a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Sports Medicine (2015).
6. Comparative Adaptations of Lower Limb Biomechanics During Unilateral and Bilateral Landings After Different Neuromuscular-Based ACL Injury Prevention Protocols. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2014).
7. Interventions Designed to Prevent Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Adolescents and Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. American Journal of Sports Medicine (2012).

8. Efficacy of the FIFA 11+ Injury Prevention Program in the Collegiate Male Soccer Player. American Journal of Sports Medicine (2015).

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Toronto Sports Dieititan

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (or any nut you have)
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Yield:15-20 bites       Prep time:15 min      Total time:15 min

Gluten Free • Dairy Free • Paleo

Directions

  1. Reserve 1/4 cup shredded coconut in a shallow dish for rolling.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend.
  3. Form mixture into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls and roll in reserved shredded coconut, coating balls completely. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Keep chilled, or freeze in an airtight container. Enjoy 1 or 2 as a snack or dessert. 

**Recipe adapted from Joyous Health - http://www.joyoushealth.com/


Toronto DietitianRecipe provided by Athlete's Care Registered Dieititian, Kerry Miller.  Kerry takes a personalized approach to creating plans that best suit her client’s lifestyle. She makes sure that her recommendations are not only nutritious, but delicious too! Let her take the guess work out of nutrition for you by translating science into practical strategies for improved health and performance.  Appointments with Kerry can be made at our Athlete's Care - Liberty Village location.

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