Physiotherapy Toronto Blog 

If Arthritis Is Progressive, How Can Physiotherapy Help?

By Athlete's Care on November 15, 2023

Many of the people who come to our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics experience symptoms of arthritis in its many forms. Still, many people also ask the question: since the condition is progressive, can physiotherapy really help?

The answer is yes. Physiotherapy can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life as part of a multi-faceted treatment plan. Here’s a look at how.

Benefits Of Physiotherapy For Arthritis

After a thorough assessment by your treating physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist, a range of options and goals for improvement will be suggested and discussed. That evaluation will include elements such as ease of movement, basic physical condition, among others.

Expertise & Advice

Along with specific treatment options, your Toronto physiotherapist can give you the benefit of their expertise and advice. That may include issues such as correcting posture imbalances, lifestyle elements, and straightforward advice such as how to pace your activities and modify them to avoiding overusing an arthritic joint.

  • Example: A cold pack used on the joint can help to reduce inflammation and pain, however it can also reduce circulation in the area if it’s left on too long – which works against healing.

Your physiotherapist can give you practical advice you can use everyday.


When you have arthritis, are feeling in pain and fatigued, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. But, staying active helps keep you mobile. It’s that simple.

  • Exercising in the water can be a good option, since it works various muscle groups, and does not involve bearing weight on the joints.
  • A customized exercise regimen will help you target the areas that will benefit your condition the most.
  • Strength training is an important part of an arthritis exercise regimen, along with stretching and flexibility exercises.

Strong muscles support joints in a balanced way, and avoid putting too much stress on areas with arthritis. An exercise regimen that’s been customized to your current condition will keep you mobile longer.

  • It will help to reduce pain levels;
  • Movement keeps joints as flexible as possible 

Keeping your joints moving as much as possible, while also avoiding overuse, is your best approach. In some cases, walking aids or a brace may be a good option.

They will also look at any barriers to your recovery, which may include other medical conditions as well as other issues. They’ll help you not only devise an exercise regimen, but advise you on how to correctly perform them for the maximum benefit.

Rheumatoid arthritis

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, which is an autoimmune condition, causes painful joints and notorious morning stiffness. Physiotherapy can help in a number of ways.

  • The painful symptoms of RA can be lessened by regular exercise.
  • The everyday function of joints can be recovered and improved.
  • The American College of Rheumatology recommends moderate-intensity and weight-bearing exercises.
  • The exercise can help reduce the overall damage to smaller joints such as wrists and ankles, as well as bone loss.

Understanding your illness, and its progression, will help you set everyday goals as well as adjust your lifestyle in areas that will help.

If you live with arthritis, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy, chiropractic and sports medicine clinics today for a consultation. Our sports medicine specialists are waiting for advice on how to help you minimize the symptoms and get on with your life.

Pain in the buttocks is no joke to our Toronto physiotherapists, massage therapists, and other sports medicine specialists. Piriformis syndrome, specifically, is a condition that can plagues people with chronic low back and leg pain.

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

The piriformis muscle is located deep within the structure that makes up the buttocks. It begins along the lower spine, and stretches to the thighbone, just below the gluteus maximus muscle. Another name for Piriformis Syndrome is Deep Gluteal Syndrome.

Despite the muscle’s small size, it plays a key role in the flow of movements from the hips and pelvis.

When the piriformis becomes irritated, it can also cause pain and numbness by pressing on the sciatic nerve along the back of the thigh. It may in some ways feel quite similar to sciatica.

The common symptoms of piriformis syndrome include:

  • Pain in the buttocks that may be an ache, or a burning or shooting sensation;
  • Pain that radiates up and down and back of the thigh and leg;
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness of the leg or buttocks;
  • Tender spots that hurt with firm pressure.

You will usually feel the condition on one side of your body. Sitting for long periods of time, and activities involving the hips, such as climbing stairs, or any twisting motion in particular, tend to make the pain worse.

The root cause is often either sudden or repetitive injuries that cause the small muscle to spasm or tighten up. It may also swell. All of these reactions may cause pain.

Treatment: Physical Therapy Options

Physiotherapy is typically the first line of treatment for piriformis syndrome. The pain and discomfort from a mild case of piriformis syndrome may last only a day or two. More serious cases can persist for weeks. The research tells us that the vast majority (about 85%) of cases can be treated without invasive surgery.

After a thorough examination to determine not only the causes, but your current condition and lifestyle, your Toronto physiotherapists can initiate treatment, which may include:

  • Guided stretching;
  • Targeted exercises for range of motion;
  • Deep massage;
  • TENS or mild electronic stimulation.

On your own, ice pack and/or heat, as well as over-the-counter pain medications, can help less serious cases. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen will be of the most help.

If you are experiencing pain the buttocks, legs, hips or lower back, our Toronto physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors and other sports medicine specialists are ready to help. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today for a consultation.


If you’ve ever run a marathon, or even watched one on TV, you’ve likely noticed numerous runners receiving massages during or after the race. In fact, you’ve probably wondered what are the benefits of receiving such instantaneous treatment for muscle stiffness, cramps or prolonged physical exertion?

Well, runners and many athletes alike, can reduce pain, and increase flexibility by receiving treatment on the spot. But in order to boost overall recovery time, a deep tissue massage is often recommended ideally a few days after any extreme physical action because it can target key problem areas before they become seriously troublesome.

During a deep tissue massage, the therapist applies acupressure, trigger-point work (focused on all those tiny muscle knots) and “deep transverse friction” where scar tissue is broken by back and forth movement over muscle. Due to the nature of this treatment, you will likely leave feeling more pain than usual, however the long-term benefits cannot be disputed.

Here’s why athletes, especially marathoners, should schedule a deep tissue massage:

Reduced pain and recovery time

In a study published by the journal Science Translational Medicine, 11 men were exercised to exhaustion and given 10 minute leg massages immediately afterwards. Following an analysis of the recorded muscle biopsies prior, during and after the workout, scientists discovered that the massage prompted the production of mitochondria, an energy cell that builds muscle, boosts recovery time and suppresses pain.

Improved flexibility and injury prevention

Athletes who receive regular deep tissue massages notice an increase in their range of motion because their therapist is actively breaking down all the tightness around the muscles.

Intense training or exercise can lead to a build up of scar tissue, and the development of many adhesions where the muscle, fascia, and other tissues clump together causing stiffness, and subsequent vulnerability to injury. During a deep tissue massage, your muscle fibers are stretched and scar tissue is broken down which promotes flexibility and agility.

Increased circulation

Massages are a healthy part of any detox, and due to the intense nature of the deep tissue massage, blood circulation is increased which enables the muscle to expel toxins and absorb fresh blood and oxygen.

Oxygenation means the muscles are suppler, and athletes are also able to breathe deeper during exercises or sports. On a psychological level, better breathing enables a calmer state of mind, and helps relieve stress or anxiety.

Better sleep patterns

Numerous studies have found that massage therapy induces better sleep and actually helps maintain consistent sleeping patterns. Of course, we all know that sleep is a crucial part of the recovery process for any athlete, but muscle pain and tension can sometimes prevent this and become bothersome in the long term.

A deep tissue massage will reduce tension, induce relaxation, and enable athletes to achieve greater sleep that can make him or her recover faster and perform better.

When should you schedule a deep tissue massage?

Since you will likely walk away from your deep tissue massage feeling a bit battered and bruised (don’t worry, it’s for the best), we recommend scheduling an appointment after a workout or run, preferably with an easy workout or run planned for the next day. This helps out with recovery, and enables you to derive benefits from harder physical activity 24 hours later.

If you have just run a marathon, it’s best to wait at least three to five days before booking an appointment because such an intense activity will cause inflammation, and it’s better to let your body heal a bit beforehand. Once you have dealt with the most acute symptoms of your post-marathon pain, then it’s time to schedule a massage and flush out further damage.

Our team of experienced Toronto massage therapists has treated professional athletes, Olympic athletes, performing artists along with everyday aches and pains including posture related injuries.  Our massage therapy team has also been instrumental in the development of specialized injury prevention programs.

Massage therapy treatments can be booked for 30, 45 or 60-minute sessions and we have 23 convenient locations to serve you.  Book your massage therapy appointment today and see the difference it will make for you.

Plantar Fasciitis: Causes & Treatments

By Athlete's Care on September 07, 2023

It’s no surprise why plantar fasciitis is one of the most common conditions treated by the physiotherapists, chiropractors and other sports medicine specialists at our Toronto clinics – about one in ten Canadians will experience it over their lifetime.

For most, it involves minor discomfort that diminishes over time. For others, the damage is more severe, and treatment should involve medical professionals.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick web of flexible connective tissue that runs down the bottom of your foot from the front of the foot back to the heel bone. It's the structure that holds up the arch of your foot.

  • The ligament can become overly stressed by over use;
  • It may also rupture because of a bad slip on uneven ground.

Either way, it becomes inflamed, and causes pain. That's plantar fasciitis.

Those with either high arches or flat feet are particularly susceptible to plantar fasciitis, as well as anyone who works on their feet, or plays sports that involve running and/or making sudden moves, such as football. Pregnant women, and anyone else who gains more than about 7 or 8 kg within a period of a few months, are also prone to acquire the condition.


  • Pain at the heel bone – the most typical;
  • The pain may extend under the arch;
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving the foot;
  • Swelling around the heel;
  • A tight feeling around the Achilles tendon;
  • It's worst first thing in the morning, or getting up to walk after a long period seated;
  • It improves as you exercise, to a moderate degree.

What can you do at home?

Even if the pain is severe, and you’re waiting for an appointment with one of our Toronto physiotherapists or other sports medicine specialists, there are measures you can take to reduce the symptoms. They include:

  • Ice – a bag of frozen peas will nicely accommodate any shape, and can be reused (but of course never eaten);
  • Rest – the tried and true works, including avoiding the kind of activity that caused the stress;
  • Medications – over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen;
  • Stretching the foot back and forth, as much as you can without causing severe pain.

When should you seek professional medical attention? If your symptoms have not significantly improved within 5 to 7 days, please contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today for a consultation.

How a physiotherapist or other healthcare provider can help

There are several options for treatment that involve physical therapy, and musculoskeletal specialists like the ones at our Toronto clinics. Here are some of the treatments available:

  • An exercise regimen of stretching and supporting the various structures of the foot can help to reduce inflammation and pain;
  • Orthotics, shoe inserts, and other devices such as a walking boot which can take the pressure off the plantar fascia can be very helpful;
  • Massage therapy can help to relieve symptoms, as well as increase blood flow, which helps to speed healing.

Injectibles & Other Therapies

Beyond physical therapy and aids, there are other available treatments that can help.

  • Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory properties, and are often suggested to target the plantar fascia itself;
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP) can help to promote healing and tissue repair;
  • Shockwave therapy, uses sound waves to increase the blood flow and help promote healing.

Surgery is usually considered only when other treatments have not improved the situation.

If you are experiencing persistent heel pain, or any other issue with the heel, foot or lower leg, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy, chiropractic and sports medicine clinics today for a consultation.