Physiotherapy Toronto Blog 

How Can Performance Tape Boost My Performance?

By Athlete's Care on April 25, 2018

Toronto Chiropractor

Many of our clients come to our Toronto physiotherapists and chiropractors looking for advice on measures they can take to improve their athletic performance. If you watched the last Summer Olympic Games, you’ll have noticed many athletes sporting colourful K-Tape or Kinesio Tape on their shoulders, legs, and elsewhere. The Japanese Olympic volleyball team pioneered the practice which has now spread to many sports and disciplines.

What is K-Tape?

It’s also known more simply as elastic therapeutic tape, and that pretty much describes its essential characteristics. It is elastic cotton tape with an acrylic adhesive on one side. Physical therapists and Chiropractors at our Toronto sports medicine clinics sometimes use it for their clients. It has a range of uses.

The key difference between K-Tape and the usual athletic tape that is used to immobilize an area after injury is that the K-Tape is flexible. Its elastic quality works to support muscles and tendons and take some of the stress off pressure points like joint areas. That’s the key to its potential athletic benefits.

When it’s used for therapy, it is typically wrapped around an area. When it’s being used for athletic performance, however, it’s placed on the skin on top of muscles. It often looks like long strips.

The Benefits

It’s extremely important to only use K-Tape with some guidance, which our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic specialists are always happy to provide. You may actually worsen an injury by using it incorrectly, so the proper instruction on its use is crucial.

In the absence of large controlled studies, the anecdotal evidence does seem to suggest that it provides some short term benefits – even if they may be psychological to a certain degree. The K-Tape seems to make athletes feel more stable, and that may be a crucial point.

  • Applied properly, it essentially lifts up the upper skin layers, and provides a little more space between the various layers of soft tissue. That’s where pain control is thought to come into play.
  • K-Tape is thought to increase circulation in the area where it is applied due to the separating effect.
  • It can help to alleviate chronic musculoskeletal pain, which can also help improve performance where that is an issue.
  • Another advantage many sports experts note is that the tape encourages proper form by helping athletes remain more mindful of those areas and specific muscles.
  • K-Tape doesn’t react to chlorine, making it a good choice for swimmers, who are one of the disciplines that have seen benefits with its use.

Note that the possible disadvantage may be feeling a little too over confident in its effects and taking risks that you shouldn’t take. The general guideline is to use the tape for bouts of only two to four days at a time.

K-Tape may give you an advantage and help boost your athletic performance. It will depend on your sport, your current condition, and a number of other factors. Let our Toronto physiotherapists and sports medicine specialists advise you on K-Tape and any other issues that affect your athletic goals. Drop by one of our Toronto clinics or call us for an appointment today.

Toronto Physiotherapy

One of the most common questions our Toronto physiotherapists and chiropractors hear from our clients is simply how to get more exercise into a busy schedule. It’s tough enough to strike a work/life balance when it comes to the amount of time spent on work vs family or personal time. Add exercise to the mix and it begins to feel like an impossible tug of war on your precious time.

Walking Fit – 10,000 Steps

The answer to adding more physical activity to your day can be very simple: walking. Walking is an activity almost anyone can participate in, and only requires comfortable, supportive shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather.

The average person in our society with a sedentary job – and that’s most of us, apparently – walks about 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. The typical North American lifestyle involves a lot of sitting and driving, and not a lot of movement. It doesn’t take an expert in physiology to realize that is a recipe for weight issues and a whole lot more.

  • In order to burn an additional 500 calories per day, you will need to walk 10,000 steps. Every. Day.

It’s about far more than just the calories. Walking can give you a host of other benefits, including:

  • Lowering the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes;
  • Loss of fat as you gain lean muscle in the legs and calves.

Here are some quick tips on how to raise that 1,000 to 10,000 – every day.

1. Keep Track

Using a pedometer will help you keep track of your progress. The pedometer uses the movement of your hips to count the number of steps you take. There are simple gadgets you can purchase, or you can opt for a pedometer watch or even a cell phone app. Check it once in a while during the day to gauge your progress.

In terms of distance, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • It takes about 2,000 steps to make up a mile;
  • It takes about 20 minutes to walk a mile;
  • Ergo, you walk roughly 100 steps per minute at a brisk pace.

If you are unsure how to use a pedometer or what type would be best, don’t hesitate to ask your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist for advice.

2. Increase Incrementally

If you are beginning at the lower end of the scale, jumping straight to 10,000 steps per day will be a huge stretch. What's important is to begin the process of adding onto the number of steps each day. An increase of 300 steps is a good chunk of progress you can add daily, and you'll quickly see your numbers starting to rise.

3. Use the terrain

Using features such as hills and inclines will not only help you burn more calories. It will use different types of muscles throughout the body. Your muscles will both strengthen and stretch when you walk uphill and downhill.

4. Rev It Up

There will be moments when you want to stroll and enjoy the scenery, but for fitness, you want to ramp up the intensity of your stride even on level ground. That means walking faster and taking longer strides.

5. Add More Steps

There are many ways that you can add more steps to your day, and once these become habits, it will happen even without thinking about it.

  • If you commute using public transit, get off one or even two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • If you drive to work, consider a parking lot that is a 10 to 20 minute walk from your office.
  • Walk your kids to school. It means you will also have to make the trip back on foot.
  • Use stairs – especially going up – rather than an elevator or escalator.
  • Surprise your friends and colleagues by walking there in person instead of sending a text or email next time.
  • If you work in an office, get a standing desk, and a treadmill for home and/ or office so you can add steps even as you work or watch TV.

If you want to start a new exercise regimen of any kind, first, congratulations! But, if you are going from a sedentary lifestyle into a fitness routine, you’ll want to consult with one of our Toronto physiotherapy or chiropractic specialists first. Call one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics or drop by to make an appointment for your consultation today.

 

March is Nutrition Month

By Athlete's Care on March 07, 2018

Nutrition Month


Happy Nutrition Month!  Let's discover the potential of food!

  1. Food has the potential to FUEL! Sports dietitians work hard to ensure athletes are consistently nourished throughout their day and are getting their macro needs met to prepare for their next game/competition. In addition, food has the potential to fuel through snacking! Many Canadians are skipping meals due to being too busy. It’s important to include healthy snacks between meals (1 apple, 1 banana, carrots with hummus, nuts/seeds, etc).

  2. Food has the potential to DISCOVER! Dietitians can help children develop healthy eating habits by encouraging parents to bring their kids grocery shopping with them, and letting them join in on food preparation activities. Allowing kids to join in these food-related activities may prevent them from becoming picky eaters as well. Dietitians help with this discovery of food by working in nutrition programs for kids and parents.

  3. Food has the potential to PREVENT! Dietitians are heavily informed when it comes to preventing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. What we eat is a lifestyle factor that can help prevent illnesses. Dietitians prevent chronic diseases by promoting healthy and balanced diets (i.e. Mediterranean Diet). Dietitians look beyond fads and gimmicks in order to deliver reliable, and evidence-based information.

  4. Food has the potential to HEAL. Nutrition can be used to manage certain health conditions. Dietitians are part of a hospital's strong health care team to ensure that they deliver the best care to patients. They help reduce the severity of side effects from cancer treatments. They help patients who undergo dialysis, as well as those who have problems with eating and swallowing.

  5. Food has the potential to BRING US TOGETHER! Canadians aren’t eating enough with people and sharing meals with others due to busy schedules. It’s recommended by dietitians to take some time out of your busy week to gather with friends/family and have dinner/lunch. Cook with someone, or have a dinner party and cook for your friends and family.

For more information about nutrition month, visit http://www.nutritionmonth2018.ca/

Find out more about the Athlete's Care team of Registered Dietitians 

 

A Look At Some Common Skiing Injuries

By Athlete's Care on March 02, 2018

Toronto Physiotherapy

Skiing is a wonderful way to stay in shape as you enjoy the snowy winter weather. Many of our clients ski – and some of them will find their way to our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics with injuries and other conditions related to skiing. Here’s a look at some common skiing injuries and how to avoid them.

Leg Injuries

  • Sprains are the most common leg injuries found in skiers, with fractures coming in second. Fractures to the shin and thighbones are typically caused by falls and collisions with objects on the way down.

  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) – this is the ligament that connects the shinbone and thighbone. MCL injuries are often caused when a skier falls down the hill while the skis are in the snow plough position. Making sure your weight is balanced in that position will help prevent falls. A sprain to the MCL is a very common injury that can be treated by a medical brace. Ask your Toronto physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist about what a brace can do for you.

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)- this ligament is found in the mid-knee, and it keeps your shinbone and thighbone in the right place. It can be torn or ruptured if you fall backward even as your lower leg keeps pushing forward, and often occurs when landing a jump. This is a serious injury that can require surgery and extensive rehab.


Arm & Hand Injuries

Injuries to the arms and shoulder are common when skiing. The hands are a vulnerable part of the body, particularly the thumb.

  • The Ulnar Collateral Ligament – this connects the thumb to the hand near the index finger. It can be sprained or damage when you put out your hand to break a fall. The second you feel yourself falling, do yourself a favour and let go of your ski poles. That move alone will help to prevent what is often called skier’s thumb.

Prevention

There are two basic principles that will keep you safer on the slopes – education and physical conditioning.

  • Training – proper technique will help you to avoid undue strain on any body part, and help you both avoid falls, and minimize the effects if you do. The basic principles are: weight forward, hands forward, legs parallel. If you are a beginner or perhaps you only go skiing a few times a year or maybe you haven’t been skiing in some time, training by a professional will teach you the proper form.

  • Physical Conditioning – strengthening core, leg, and arm muscles will help you to avoid strain on ligaments and improve your balance on the slopes. Ask our Toronto sports medicine specialists about what kinds of exercises will benefit your training.

A few more quick tips:

  • Take breaks, and don’t push yourself too much. Fatigue can make you lose the correct form and you may fall more easily. It can also make you miss signs that you would otherwise catch to help avoid collisions.

  • Know your limits, and don’t push yourself beyond them. You’ll have to work your way up to the advanced slopes – be patient!

If you’re going skiing this winter or if you find yourself with a skiing injury, drop by one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics or call us for an appointment. Our sports medicine specialists are highly trained and ready with advice along with any treatments you require.


Sources

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/preventing-skiingrelated-knee-injuries
https://www.idahopress.com/maxread/west_valley/common-skiing-injuries-and-how-to-prevent-them/article_7a515c12-a8cc-11e5-b6db-afe972f510e1.html
https://backandbodyny.com/common-skiing-injuries-avoid/