Summer is finally here and with it comes all of the fun outdoor activities we love doing. But what if your best laid intentions to get outside are derailed with sore feet? Did you know that physical therapy is an effective treatment option for foot pain?
Foot pain is generally multi-faceted. There is rarely one simple cause for the pain, nor is there often a quick fix. However, there are often some common themes that put you at a higher risk for pain. One common cause is reduced mobility at one of the multiple joints of the foot/ankle complex. Decreased mobility at one joint can lead to excessive mobility at other joints throughout the foot. It is common for hyper- or hypomobility to be a pain generator for the foot. Another common cause is decreased strength or motor control of important stabilizing muscles throughout the lower extremity. This can change the way your foot absorbs shock or pushes off, thus putting excess stress on parts of the foot that weren’t designed to take that excess stress. Altered biomechanics of the lower extremity throughout the gait cycle are another common cause of pain.
Physical therapists are highly trained experts in recognizing faulty biomechanics throughout the body. By recognizing where the faulty mechanics lie, you can then effectively treat the root cause of your pain rather than simply the symptoms. This is helpful in not only reducing your pain, but giving you the tools to treat it in the future should your pain creep back into your life. At Excel Physical Therapy, we also specialize in affordable, semi-custom orthotics that are specially designed to your unique foot structure. Orthotics can help place your foot in it’s optimal biomechanical position to reduce stress and optimize function.
If you have foot pain, the physical therapists at Excel Physical Therapy can help! We provide a specialized approach to physical therapy that provides the most effective manual, orthopedic, and sports therapy treatments, allowing our patients to return to their highest level of function as quickly as possible. We have proudly been serving the Gallatin Valley in both Bozeman and Manhattan since 2001. Call us today to schedule an appointment!
Megan Kemp, DPT, ATC, CSCS, a Gallatin Valley native and graduate of Manhattan Christian High School, received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California and is a board-certified athletic trainer through the National Athletic Trainer’s Association. Megan also completed training from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Point Loma Nazarene University in their Masters of Kinesiology program. Prior to obtaining her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, Megan worked as an athletic trainer at Point Loma Nazarene University. Megan Kemp practices in our Manhattan office.
What do you think of when you hear physical therapy? Most individuals may have experienced or know of someone who experienced physical therapy with a past injury or surgery. This is the bread and butter of what we do as physical therapists through rehabilitating individuals back to what they love to do; however, most people do not know the benefits of seeing a physical therapist for “prehabilitation” or “wellness checkups” prior to a possible or potential injury from occurring.
Just as one goes to the dentist for a biannual checkup for prevention of possible future dental issues, physical therapy has and can be an option for the public in addressing possible musculoskeletal impairments, muscle strength deficits, and range of motion deficits in the body. As most of us all know, exercise has been suggested to aid in multiple health benefits such as preventing chronic disease, boosting mental health, increasing overall longevity, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and improving bone health – just to name a few. As orthopedic physical therapists, we are trained and knowledgeable in rehabilitation and appropriate exercise prescription following injury and/or surgery, but we are also trained in injury prevention by providing patients and clients resources for reducing their chance of an injury.
As spring is approaching and we are gearing up for the beautiful Montana summer, physical therapy may be of benefit to you or someone you know to increase your chances of a healthy, active, and injury-free year. It is typically easier to address these possible impairments before an injury may emerge versus after an injury has occurred. Most everyone, including you, may benefit from a “biannual checkup” with physical therapy!
Matt Schumacher, DPT, MTC, CAFS, CSCS received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND where he was recognized as a nominee for Outstanding Student Award in his physical therapy class demonstrating excellence in academics, volunteering, and servant leadership. Following graduation, he received training from Gray Institute with a Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS). Matt also completed a rigorous year-long program with Evidence in Motion (EIM) achieving his Manual Therapy Certification (MTC) gaining advanced training in mobilization and manipulation techniques for common diagnoses of the spine and extremities. Matt specializes in assisting individuals following post-operative rehabilitation, sports medicine rehabilitation, and orthopedic injuries/ailments of the spine and extremities utilizing advanced knowledge and skill with manual therapy and appropriate exercise prescription.
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot or thrombus forms in one of your deep veins due to slow moving blood. Most often a DVT occurs in the calf or lower leg, however a DVT can also form in other regions of the body such as the arm. Learning what puts you at risk for developing a DVT, as well as being able to identify the signs and symptoms associated with this medical condition is important for prevention of more serious complications like a pulmonary embolism (blocking blood flow to the lungs).
The signs and symptoms of a DVT can include swelling in the affected leg, usually in the calf. This will normally feel sore and tender to touch. You may also see redness and warmth associated with the swelling. The hallmark sign of a DVT is that the pain does not increase or decrease with a change in position. DVTs can mimic a musculoskeletal injury like a calf strain without other symptoms like swelling and redness. The thing to remember is that a calf strain would have a mechanism of injury or a specific onset, whereas a DVT would have a history of prolonged sitting or recent surgery.
Risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing a DVT include: a recent surgery, prolonged bed rest, pregnancy, smoking, age or sitting for long periods of time like when you are driving or flying.
If you find yourself in one of these categories there are a few measures you can take for prevention:
1.) Avoid sitting still for prolonged periods. If you do have to be sitting or immobile for prolonged periods such as long plane flights or being laid up in bed recovering from a surgery or sickness, try pumping your feet up and down to get your muscles working and the blood flowing in your legs.
2.) Wearing compression stockings during periods of immobility can help decrease the risk of developing a DVT. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about getting compression stockings for travel or after surgery.
3.) Regular exercise can also lower your risk of blood clots. A new study published by the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis states that participation in sports, regardless of intensity, can lower your risk of developing blood clots by up to 39%. Regular exercise also decreases your BMI, which can also lower your risk.
If you think you have symptoms related to a DVT it is important to get it checked out at an Urgent Care or Emergency Department as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to detect a DVT using compression ultrasonography and will treat accordingly. DVTs can be a serious health problem but knowing the signs and symptoms can help prevent complications. Discovered early, complications from DVTs are preventable and easily treatable.
Jackie Oliver, DPT has an intense passion for helping and educating others as well as preventative medicine. Because of her college sports background, she loves working with athletes, biomechanical training and sport injury prevention. She is also trained as a Diabetes Lifestyle Coach and has worked for the University of Utah and CDC helping individuals decrease their risk of developing diabetes. Jackie is a certified dry needling provider with advanced training from Evidence in Motion and KinetaCore. Jackie also leads our Work Site Solutions programs.
What is physical therapy? How can it help me? What should I know? What role do I play in it? What if I don’t like going to the gym? Will it hurt? How do I know if I need it? What if I don’t like being touched? What if I don’t like exercising? Is it a quick fix? Maybe I should just get surgery? What if I can’t be helped? Maybe I just need to be tougher? Do I need therapy if my medication helps the pain?
I am guessing that if you are reading this article that you have asked yourself one or more of these questions before. Most of my patients have and it can be incredibly overwhelming. I am here to help you navigate the physical therapy world and maybe even a little of the healthcare world in general.
Full disclosure. I am biased. I love physical therapy. I love that a generally non-invasive form of healthcare can benefit so many. I love that like so many things in life you often get out what you put in. I love that physical therapists, in general, are empathetic, positive, altruistic people that want nothing more than to see people walk out of the clinic in a better place than when they came in. This blog is for those of you who aren’t quite sure what to expect regarding physical therapy and how you can take advantage of what it has to offer.
Physical therapy has undergone a major evolution over the past decades. Long gone are the years of using treatment time to primarily administer modalities (e.g. ice, heat, ultrasound, tape, etc.). No longer do we regard injuries as a purely physical experience and ignore all the other components of a person that can impact their pain and dysfunction. Physical therapists and hopefully other healthcare professionals now view patients in what is called a biopsychosocial framework. That means your pain is not only impacted by biological factors (e.g. arthritis) but psychological factors (e.g. anxiety) and social factors (e.g. a fight with your spouse). This framework continues to be supported by more and more high-level research from all over the healthcare world.
Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts and gateway healthcare practitioners. What does that mean? When it comes to musculoskeletal issues you will be hard pressed to find another healthcare professional that is better at diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. As gateway healthcare practitioners physical therapists have the ability to see patients without a referral and we are educated on how to screen for other medical conditions that may not be appropriate for physical therapy. In these cases, we can refer to specialists that have expertise in the appropriate area of care.
Physical therapy can help you organize the complex and confusing world of today’s healthcare resources and options. Do you need to see a surgeon? Do you need to see a non-surgical orthopedic physician? Would you benefit from massage therapy? Would you benefit from consultation regarding a steroid injection? Could you benefit from some mental health counseling? Would a registered dietician be helpful? Or are you just where you need to be…in physical therapy?!
Here’s 5 suggestions/recommendations regarding your first visit for physical therapy:
One of the biggest complaints I hear from patients regarding health care professionals, in general, is that most don’t listen and they lack empathy. Keep in mind that as a physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy, I have 45 minutes to do the best I can to figure out what is going on and how to best provide you with the tools to improve and get better. To steal a line from the psychologist and author Malcolm Gladwell we must use “thin-slicing” to help us figure out the best path for our patients. That means that a good therapist or healthcare practitioner will skillfully direct the conversation to get the information that will allow them to best figure out a plan of care that can best impact the patient for the better. We want to hear your entire story and we will…over time.
One of the beauties of physical therapy is that we spend more one on one time with patients than almost any other healthcare profession. If you are honest with yourself and take into account your biological, psychological and social factors that may bias your opinion toward your healthcare practitioner and you still feel like you are being treated without empathy or by an outdated biological model, simply find a healthcare practitioner that works better for you.
How can we help you? We are a specialized physical therapy practice that collaboratively provides the most effective manual, orthopedic and sports therapy treatments, allowing us to efficiently return patients to their highest level of comfort and functionality.
We deliver one-on-one, direct patient treatment by our licensed, specialty-certified physical therapists to ensure preeminent physical therapy services and patient care. We have served the Gallatin Valley since 2001 and are locally owned and operated by physical therapists.
At Excel Physical Therapy, our entire team–physical therapy team, massage therapy team, front office care coordinators and patient services assistants–ALL work very hard each day to welcome, listen and help you to feel better as a result of our evidence-based treatment plans and services. Your excellent outcome is our sole mission: Superior care from expert clinicians, supported by passionate staff, impacting the Gallatin Valley and beyond.
Thanks for taking that time to read my article. I hope you find this information helpful. See you at Excel PT!
Bobby Bemis, DPT, COMT, DIP.MT, FAAOMPT is a fellowship-trained physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy. Bobby specializes in orthopedic manual physical therapy of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Although the spine is his specialty, Bobby has a high level of training in all regions of the body. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Bobby earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, became a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT), Diplomat of Manual Therapy (Dip. MT), as well as becoming certified in trigger point dry needling. Bobby then went on to become Fellowship trained and was then designated as a “Fellow” with the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapy (AAOMPT) after passing a rigorous oral and practical exam. Only a very small percentage of physical therapists achieve this elite status. The “Fellow” is a physical therapist who has demonstrated advanced clinical, analytical, and hands-on skills in the treatment of musculoskeletal orthopedic disorders and is internationally recognized for their competence and expertise in the practice of manual physical therapy.
Blood flow restriction training (BFR) is a relatively new technique being used in physical therapy and gyms to increase muscle strength. We have been using BFR therapy at Excel Physical Therapy with promising results. BFR therapy utilizes compressive forces from a specialized blood pressure cuff to restrict venous blood flow from a muscle group while allowing for continued arterial blood flow to the muscle. The result of the restricted venous blood flow is a state of ischemia to the exercising muscle. Exercising in a state of ischemia seems to cause a physiological cascade that results in increased signaling that promotes muscle growth, even at lower loads on the muscle.
Utilizing BFR under careful supervision of a physical therapist, allows one to prevent muscle atrophy and increase muscular growth and strength while recovering from injury or surgery. BFR is not a panacea and therefore is just one component of a proper rehabilitation program. The ability of BFR to stimulate muscle growth at lower loads of resistance make it a perfect modality to consider for the earlier stages of rehabilitation. To learn more about BFR therapy and to see if it would be appropriate for you, be sure to ask your physical therapist here at Excel Physical Therapy.
Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS specializes in the rehabilitation and prevention of sports-related injuries, with a particular interest in the biomechanics of sporting activities – running, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and overhead athletics. Jason serves as a physical therapist for the US Snowboarding and US Freeskiing teams, along with the US Paralympic Nordic Ski Team, and is a local and national presenter on sports rehabilitation and injury prevention topics. Jason is a Certified Clinical BikeFit Pro Fitter.
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While 80% of all US citizens will experience some level of low back pain during their lives, 10.2% (2006 US Survey) of all adults in this country have suffered from chronic low back pain that limits activity for an extended period of time. As a physical therapist that specializes in treating the spine, I often have chronic low back pain patients that struggle to understand why their condition exists. Many clients arrive for an evaluation after years with severe bouts of low back pain that comes and goes with minimal cause or explanation. Trips to the doctor for medication, days missed from work, and visits to various types of practitioners are common with this diagnosis. My experience has found that some of these chronic low back pain patients have spinal instability as the source of their condition.
Spinal instability or excessive vertebral segmental motion is a possible cause of chronic low back pain. General wear and tear, previous injuries, and congenital abnormality of the vertebrae can be factors that lead towards instability. Looking at the spine with the muscles removed, there is a beautiful structure that is present which allows for movement, but also provides stability from one spinal segment in relation to its neighbor (above or below). The discs, ligaments, and vertebrae themselves provide this passive stability. Compromise to these structures can lead to instability or an excessive amount of movement. The muscles of core and deep spine provide protection and smooth movement between the vertebrae and the low back in general, which is termed dynamic stability. When passive stability is lacking, dynamic stability is in greater need. However, dynamic muscular stability of this level is often lacking in spinal instability patients. With these individuals, acute low back pain bouts arise when an activity, such as shoveling snow or even bending over to pick up a pencil from the ground, overloads the available passive and dynamic stability.
Perhaps the most common form of low back instability is an anterior spondylolisthesis or a slippage forward of a lumbar vertebra in relation to the vertebra below it. This diagnosis can be picked up through a detailed and specific physical therapy evaluation and then confirmed with a specialized x-ray of the lumbar spine. A spondylolisthesis has various grades, depending on the degree of slippage measured on the image. A mild or even moderate spondylolisthesis is best treated with specific core stabilization exercises and teaching the patient how to safely lift, given this diagnosis. Higher grades of spondylolisthesis may require surgical spinal fusion to stabilize the segments. Many patients go years or decades without understanding the true source of their chronic low back pain. In some cases, instability or spondylolisthesis is the culprit lurking in the shadows.
As the founding owner of Excel Physical Therapy, David Coletta, MPT, CMPT strives for our clinics to deliver unprecedented excellence with patient care in the Gallatin Valley. David established Excel PT in 2001 on the principles of specialization, advanced education and customer service. David specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain, spinal issues, whiplash, headaches, TMJ/jaw pain, and postural dysfunctions.
A considerable amount of David’s advanced training occurred through the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT). He has completed advanced certification in manual therapy (CMPT) with NAIOMT, and he has received advanced training in dry needling techniques for the spine and extremities. David is a Certified Clinical BikeFit Pro Fitter.
You know the feeling. You can see the finish line but you can’t get there because of a sudden onset of a muscle cramp in your calf that is demanding you stop. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance were originally thought to be the cause of muscle cramping; the current theory is one of central regulation. In other words, muscle fatigue or stress create an imbalance in signals from the muscle to the central nervous system. As a result, the central nervous system alters motor neuron control and signals the muscle to continue to contract resulting in a cramp. Factors thought to be related to exercise induced muscle cramps include prolonged activity, muscle fatigue, increased exercise intensity, high levels of static stretching prior to exercise, and multiple high intensity workout days prior to competition. Muscle cramps often resolve as spontaneously as they occur, and usually within a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Suggested treatment of a muscle cramp includes rest, prolonged stretching with the muscle at full length, and pickle juice! You might think that pickle juice is related to electrolyte imbalance, but a new theory suggests that certain molecules in pickle juice (or other pungent foods) attach to receptors in the mouth and upper GI tract that are directly connected with the central nervous system. These receptors help the central nervous system to reduce the signal to the cramping muscle, therefore diminishing the cramp and your discomfort. So the next time the end is in sight but a muscle cramp is holding you back, grab your pickle juice. Because finishing a race is an accomplishment – it’s kind of a big dill.
Murray B. How curiosity killed the cramp: emerging science on the cause and prevention of exercise-associated muscle cramps. AMAA Journal 2016; Fall/Winter: 5-7.
Megan Peach, DPT, OCS, CSCS specializes in manual treatment of spinal dysfunction, as well as knee and shoulder pain and is a member of the Excel Physical Therapy running specialist PT team. Megan’s philosophy for physical therapy treatment embraces educating patients about the tools they need for enhancement of proper body movements during work and play to promote a pain and injury free active lifestyle.
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