Join Alpine Physical Therapy in support of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and the John Fidler Tribute Harley Davidson Raffle. Why not? You just might win a gorgeous 2005 Electra Glide Harley! Check out the details below.
Learn more by visiting their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/missoulaputtandpull/
Sam Schmidt, PT of Alpine PT presented a "Love your Spine" exercise class last month at the regional office of the United States Forest Service (USFS) here in Missoula. Participants learned exercises and tips on how to best care for their spine and to prevent injuries. Some lucky participants also won fun and useful gifts such as a foam roller!
This month, Sam returned to teach "Healthy Lower Body and Healthy Upper Body Exercises”. Alpine Physical Therapy will be releasing videos of both of these classes to the USFS so staff can access these valuable information at the tip of their fingers.
Next month, Leah Versteegen, DPT, will be presenting on top-rated and research-based exercises for running. Spring is the time we all get eager to get out again and start pushing up the miles. Do it this year without getting hurt!!
Thanks to everyone at the USFS for taking care of yourselves and changing the way you think about work related injuries..
Classes are on the second Tuesday of every month from 12:00 to 1:00 pm at the Regional Office at Fort Missoula in Missoula. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in, and bring any matters you may have, along with questions! See you there!
1/13/2017 0 Comments
It’s not just any knee. It’s your knee. And when it hurts, you are not the YOU that you are meant to be.
Wouldn’t it be great to be like Clark Kent where you could step into a phone booth and immediately transform into Superman? Knee pain? What knee pain? When your knee is feeling great, you are unstoppable! You are once again the hero in your story.
Let’s get you pointed in the right direction and put a halt to your knee pain. Let’s get you back in your game and get you in shape to take on the world as only you can!
Allow me to be your guide. I’ve been a physical therapist for 25 years. And more importantly, I’ve had times when I too had knee pain that kept me out of the game. I used the tips I’ve outlined here for you, and they worked. Now I want to share with you the top 7 tips that put a halt to my knee pain and enabled me to get going again.
Ice is by far the best way to ease knee pain, especially within the first 3 days of an injury or onset of pain. If you miss that window immediately after the initial injury and now have a more chronic overuse injury, such as tendinitis, ice is really only helpful if you use it immediately after you re-aggravate the area. Apply the ice right after a run, practice, or especially active afternoon when your knee is aching or painful. If it’s a small area, use an ice massage. It’s as easy as grabbing an ice cube with a moist washcloth and rubbing the painful spot till its numb, usually within 3 to 5 minutes. For more general and diffuse knee pain, consider wrapping a cold pack on it for about 10 to 15 minutes. With an acute injury, you can ice as needed through the day with applications spaced an hour or two apart. With a more chronic injury, ice is only beneficial immediately after you re-aggravate that area, so you won’t ice as often throughout the day.
Even minimal knee swelling can be a problem. If it looks swollen, it is swollen. The knee joint is especially good at hiding swelling. If a third of the knee joint has swelling in it, it may not even be noticeable. So if swelling is visible, it’s really swollen! To offset swelling, spend time with your leg elevated by lying on your back with your leg propped on a stack of pillows. This coaxes swelling back into circulation to be drained out of your system. To aid this, pump your ankle back and forth, as though you are pushing and releasing the accelerator on your car. This activates the calf muscle to help pump out some of the extra fluid. You can also activate your thigh and butt muscles by contracting them and holding the contraction for 5 seconds. Repeat a few times here and there while you rest with your leg elevated for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If the swelling continues, consider going online or to your local running or sport shop and purchase a knee-high compression running sock. This type of sock works much better than an ACE wrap, as the tensile strength of elastic fibers in the sock are such that they are in a uniform gradient, tighter at the bottom that the top, to keep swelling from settling in your lower leg.
Rest it Right
Isn’t rest . . . rest? Not these days. A sports approach to rest is what we call “specific rest.” It’s giving your knee time to heal, without taking a prolonged vacation from activity. Respect your knee symptoms, but don’t fear them. If it hurts or feels loose when you pivot in one direction, avoid that for a few days, but try biking, swimming, or walking on more even paths. Focus on getting out and doing your normal activities as best you can. If golfing, hiking, and workouts seem over the top right now, that’s okay. But don’t plant yourself on the couch and throw up your hands. Instead, choose some of the items on this list to reduce inflammation, get moving, and keep your muscles activated. As symptoms ease, begin to add in the higher level activities you enjoy. Think of this step in the process as an “active recovery,” where you are an active participant in your life. Activity helps with circulation and the release of anti-stress hormones into your system which will speed up the healing process.
Get it Moving
Now is the time to start regaining movement in your knee. When it’s swollen, you’ll likely feel tight when you try to fully bend your knee. Don’t force it. Instead, do some gentle heel slides: Wear a sock and lie on your back on a smooth surface, such as on your bed or couch. Begin to draw your heel along the surface toward you as you allow your knee to bend. Now slide your foot away from you until your knee straightens. Repeat 20 to 30 times and do this several times a day. You can also do this with your legs elevated on an exercise ball, moving the ball back and forth. Another important structure to keep loose is the knee cap: Just hold on to it and move it up, down, and from side to side. Do a few of these before or after doing your heel slide exercise. You can also try riding a stationary bike to loosen the knee joint. If you cannot get all the way around, just go in a half-moon motion from front to back, giving it a little stretch at both ends of the movement.
Activate Key Muscles
When the hurt is on, muscles that support the knee joint may stop working right. Some of these key muscles can actually shut off and start to shrink, known as atrophy, in as little as 24 hours. Knowing this, it’s vital to keep these nearby muscles active while you heal up. One is the inside thigh muscle, the VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique). While seated and with your leg out in front of you, put a hand toward the end of your thigh. Now slide your head downward along the inside of your thigh until you are just above the knee. With your hand there, gradually make the muscle tighten so you feel it under your hand. You want to feel the inside quad muscle (VMO) tighten at about the same time as the rest of the muscle at the top and outer thigh. To help it work even better, imagine lifting your foot off the ground, while keeping the knee on the ground, or put a rolled up washcloth under the knee and press the back of the knee down into it. Hold 5 to 10 seconds, and repeat 5 times. Do this often during the day. The gluteals can sometimes shut off too. Try tightening your buttocks and holding the contraction similar to what you did with the quad. You can do this in any position throughout the day.
Knee Joint Connected to the . . .
Knee pain often is related to nearby joints being too weak or stiff, particularly the hip and the ankle joints. It’s important early on to do exercises that target these nearby joints to help strengthen the muscles crossing the knee. With any exercise you do, be sure to keep your limbs lined up. Put equal weight on the ball and heel as well as both edges of your foot. Align your knee over your second toe. Practice this as you do a bridge exercise. Here’s how. Lie on your back with your knees bent and with everything lined up. Keep your pelvis square and strong as you begin to raise your hips off the mat. Hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly lower your hips back to the mat. Do 5 or 10 at a time. The bridge exercise helps activate your gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings, and core muscles. You can place a ball between your inner thighs if you are having trouble staying lined up. When you can do this without pain, try a supported wall squat. All you need to do is lean back against the wall. Again, get everything lined up, and slowly slide your back down the wall as far as you can comfortably while holding good alignment. Hold for 5 seconds, then stand back up and repeat.
Get the Right Help
Sometimes even superheroes need a power source outside themselves. At Alpine Physical Therapy, we know that. We’ve helped thousands of them, just like you. We have a core team of physical therapists who know what it takes to help resolve knee pain. But we don’t stop there. Instead, as your pain eases, we’ll work with you to ramp up your knee function to an entirely new level. Whether it’s getting you back to where you can reach down and lift up your kids, resume a workout program, hit the ski slopes, or get you back to competitive sport, we’re here to help.
There really isn’t a faster way to end knee pain than by working with a knowledgeable, hands-on physical therapist. Doing so means you get the fastest access to care that will soothe and relax your knee, while also maximizing your strength so you can get back to saving the world . . . or to whatever else a hero like you needs to accomplish.
Combine these 7 tips with a visit to one of our expert hands-on physical therapists, and you’ll see and feel the difference. It’s your knee. You are the hero. Let Alpine release your inner hero and get you back in the game!
Call us at 406-251-2323 for more information, to set up a free 15-minute consultation with one of our physical therapists, or to schedule your evaluation by one of our sport specialist physical therapists. And visit our website for more information by clicking here.
It doesn’t take a college degree to know a good thing. Second grader Adelheyd Brown wrote a stunning review as part of a project in Mrs. Sharkey’s class at Lewis and Clark Elementary School. Students learned about goods and services in our community, along with the impact of obtaining them locally. Here’s Adelheyd’s delightful review of Alpine Physical Therapy
For our review page of over 1,100 reviews, click here.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) recently held a contest called the 2016 Falls Free Video Contest. Alpine’s balance specialist, Brace Hayden, DPT, OCS, CSCS took on the challenge and submitted an entry to the contest. Mind you, he had some amazing help from some amazing people in his life, including one of our star aides at Alpine south, Erin Williams, as well Teagan, one of our other favorite of the Haydens.
Although the video submission didn’t take first this year, the NCOA has determined that they’d like to use this video to promote the program for next year. Take a look and see why this particular video is a winner in our book!
For more information on Braces’ work with Alpine’s Balance and Vestibular clinic, visit our webpage on the topic by clicking here.
Our team of 17 physical therapists at Alpine Physical Therapy stepped up its understanding of all that is CrossFit last month at an inservice co-hosted with Five Valleys CrossFit in Missoula. Some may wonder what a bunch of PTs would do in a CrossFit gym. We answered that question, and it wasn’t simply about who could complete the Work Out of the Day (WOD) the fastest.
Rather, it was about gaining an understanding of some of the common injuries facing CrossFitters and the movement challenges imposed on the body during key lifts and moves commonly required of this athletic population. When you step back and think about how these athletes push their bodies hard, it makes sense that physical therapists would be involved.
Ian Marshall who owns Five Valleys CrossFit co-lectured with Alpine’s sports physical therapist, Colter Brown, PT, DPT, SCS. Ian expressed the philosophy of CrossFit and outlined the training approach used by the CrossFit coaches at Five Valleys. He gave demonstrations with a break down of fundamental elements of many CrossFit lifts and moves.
Ian’s instruction blended nicely with the assessment information Colter shared that will enable our PTs to improve their efficacy in working with the CrossFit population. Colter recently completed a course designed for physical therapists who work with CrossFit athletes and has already been able to take his treatment of the CrossFit population to a new level.
Colter weaved lecture with slow motion videos of athletes performing common Olympic lifts, along with instruction of how each component is influenced by proper flexibility, strength, and motor control through proper training.
Another highlight of our time at Ian’s state of the art gym was that we all had the opportunity to go through a CrossFit warm up (top image). Then we practiced various drills to improve our form with several key lifts, including the power clean and the shoulder press.
Knowing and experiencing first-hand some of the requirements of their sport and the nature of injuries gave each of us a better understanding of where undo stress or strain could be occurring. We are able to combine our improved knowledge of CrossFit demands and precision of movement with our already honed assessment skills to help our therapists serve the growing CrossFit population with an improved level of expertise.
Without question, we all gained enlightenment and appreciation for the level of training these athletes undergo and the types of challenges they experience from this potent form of fitness.
9/28/2016 0 Comments
Alpine Physical Therapy is pleased to announce a new form of pool therapy at our South location in the Peak Health and Wellness Center, aquatic biking. Aqua Creek Products, a local manufacturer of durable pool equipment, has generously donated a Water Rider pool bike to Alpine PT. The new Water Rider can provide many benefits (see below) for our patients that want to improve knee, hip and ankle mobility with minimized joint compressive forces and a maximized cardiovascular workout in the warm or cool pool.
Alpine PT graciously thanks Aqua Creek Products for this fantastic new piece of rehabilitation equipment that will help our patients get back on the road to improved function and strength.
Some of the benefits the pool bike provides include:
• Reduced Joint Impact: The buoyancy of water supports the body weight of the rider. This results in improved leg movements and reduced compressive forces on the back and legs.
• Challenging Resistance: The movement of the legs and long pedals in the pool creates moderate to easy resistance that assists in improved muscle strength and endurance. The faster the rider pedals, the more resistance and challenging effort is generated on the bike.
• Easy To Use: The bike can be customized to fit most people with seat height, seat length, and handle bars adjuster knobs. The bike can also be placed in shallower or deeper sections of the pool to optimize the challenge to the rider.
• Safety: Pool-based therapy provides a safe environment for people with back and leg injuries or arthritis.
For more information on our new water rider, call our south clinic at 406-251-2323. And for more information on our aquatic center, click here.
That’s right. Today is Fall Prevention Awareness Day 2016, the 9th national celebration and the 8th Montana state celebration! Please help our aging adults stay safe by offering education, reminders, home assessments, fall risk screenings, and lots of safe physical activity classes designed for the age group.
Here are some important resources for those needing additional information.
Here’s a link to the CDC website, highlighting the STEADI(Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries): www.cdc.gov/steadi.
And here’s a segment from the National Council on Aging on Falls Prevention Awareness Day: https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness-day/
Finally, here’s an announcement from our very own University of Montana: http://news.umt.edu/2016/09/092016fall.php
If you missed our most recent blog on Alpine’s involvement on keeping our aging adults safely on their feet, click here!
Let’s keep our beloved aging adults steady on their feet!
For more information on Alpine’s Vestibular and Balance Clinic, click here for our webpage on this topic.
9/18/2016 0 Comments
Alpine PT is stepping up to reduce falls in Missoula as a part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness and prevent these avoidable, costly and deadly fall events.
September is National Falls Awareness month and we have teamed up with the Peak Health & Wellness Center’s senior fitness class instructors to provide balance and falls risk assessment inservices using the STEADI’s (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries) tests and educational materials. Alpine PT is trying to get the Peak’s fit seniors aware of their relative risk and hope they can double as vocal advocates and falls risk prevention ambassadors in Missoula, Montana.
Alpine PT offers free 15-minute balance screens and education to Missoula’s seniors throughout the year. Call 406-251-2323 to conveniently schedule a balance and falls-risk consultation at any of our three Missoula locations and at a time that works for you.
Gary Gales, DPT, CMP of Alpine Physical Therapy for 11 years recently earned international certification as a Certified Mulligan Concept Practitioner (CMP). Having attained this advanced training, Gary expertly applies hands on care using the Mulligan approach to help patients move and feel better. Notably, Gary is one of two Mulligan Concept Practitioners in the Missoula area. Contact Gary at Alpine’s south clinic at (406) 251-2323.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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