4/24/2023 1 Comment
Running is NOT bad for your knees!
Knee injuries are relatively common amongst runners. You yourself may have experienced an ache in your knee or have battled with patellofemoral pain or a tendon problem. We ask a lot of our knees while running but this does not mean running is bad for our knees because sometimes we get knee pain.
Our body is a master at adapting and builds tissues stronger to meet the demands we ask of it. This means that our knees can be resilient if we train wisely. It should also be known that people who recreationally run have lower rates of knee osteoarthritis as compared to their sedentary counterparts. So while you’ve probably heard at some point in your running career that running is bad for your knees, please know it’s not.
Why does my knee hurt when I run?
This is a great question and is often a result of increasing your running volume too much too soon. If you’re struggling with knee pain while running, it’s a good idea to see a physical therapist who can help you with managing your running volume and give you exercises to help increase the resiliency of your knees. A trained PT in running gait analysis can also help to look at your running form to see if there are modifiable factors in your running form to assist in helping you heal.
What can I do to make my knees more resilient and less likely to get injured?
Targeted quadriceps strengthening can help with this!
Reference: Alentorn-Geli (2017). JOSPT
Below are some exercises to try.
Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 repetition at 2-3x per week:
4/10/2023 0 Comments
By Jess Kehoe
Need a quick grab and go breakfast, maybe a healthy after school snack for before practice, or maybe you're headed on a road trip and need some healthy finger foods for the car. In any case making these little tiny frittatas in a muffin pan is easy and versatile for sure! I've added the ingredients I used but feel free to experiment with other veggie combos, like mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, or maybe peppers and diced ham. It's like a choose your own adventure! Enjoy.
1/3 cup milk
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt)
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmigiana cheese
1 small zucchini, diced small
1/2 red pepper, diced small
two handfuls of spinach, chopped
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush a muffin pan with oil or nonstick cooking spray, or use some silicone muffin cups.
In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, milk, garlic, onion salt, dill and pepper, whisk together. Using a small measuring cup pour a tiny bit of the egg mixture in each muffin cup, enough to just cover the bottom. Then divide your veggies, cheese or other fillings into each cup. Then pour the remaining egg mixture on top to fill each muffin cup. I would advise doing a little at a time, so you don't run out before all the cups are full!
Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the eggs are set. Enjoy warm or room temperature. Storing the remaining frittatas in the fridge.
4/9/2023 0 Comments
White Bean and Sausage Soup
As I write this it's a beautiful spring day outside, 52 degrees according to the thermometer, so the season for warm wintry soups is nearly over. But the weather for next week is calling for rain and temps dipping back down again. We live in MT, it could snow in June in some areas, so I think we still have time for a hearty soup. This recipe was for the stovetop, but as you can see I have this sweet old school Crock Pot, so I included instructions for either option. It's perfect for ski days, where you just dump in the ingredients and go. Then when you return after a day on the slopes, your home smells lovely and dinner is ready. Enjoy!
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, sliced into 3/4 inch thick pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb dried great Northern beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons salt
2 thyme sprigs (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 large rosemary sprig (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 bay leaf
black pepper to taste
Instructions for the Crock Pot:
Put all the ingredients, except the sausage into your slow cooker. Add 7 cups of water. Cook on low for 8 hours. When you are about ready to serve, roast the sausage in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Slice the sausage and add it with any juices to the soup. While the sausage is roasting, remove 2-3 cups of soup and blend it until smooth. Return this to the soup and mix. Serve in bowls using pepper to taste.
Instructions for the stove top:
In a large stockpot sauté the sausage on medium-high until brown and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot and cook, stirring until it becomes dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, 8 cups of water, salt, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf, bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about two hours or until the beans are tender. You may need to add more water to keep the beans submerged.
When the beans are soft, take out 2-3 cups of the beans and blend them until smooth, returning them back to the soup. Then add the sausage and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve in bowls adding pepper to taste.
By Dana Solge, DPT
Do you experience leakage during your runs? Frequently find a bush to pee behind or plan your route based off of the public bathrooms in town? Do you experience abdominal cramping during or after running? Increased back pain as you increase your mileage?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have pelvic floor dysfunction. These issues are much more common than you think. Thankfully, a lot can be done to help!
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that sit at the bottom of the pelvis. They make a hammock to support your pelvic organs - bladder, rectum (bowels), and uterus and/or prostate. These muscles are a part of our “deep core” to also support the spine and hips.
Many people think pelvic floor contractions, also known as “Kegels,” are the only solution to improving pelvic floor function. However, this view only looks at a fraction of what these muscles do. In fact, pelvic floor muscles can also be too tense and rigid causing pain as well as bowel, bladder, and sexual issues. A pelvic health physical therapist can perform a pelvic floor assessment to determine what type of pelvic floor muscle program you need.
In the meantime, looking north and south of the problem can often reduce pelvic floor issues. Below are some tips for helping out your pelvic floor in different ways other than doing kegels.
As you inhale, the respiratory diaphragm lowers in your abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles relax gently to accommodate lung expansion in the rib cage. As you exhale, the respiratory diaphragm rises back into the rib cage and the pelvic floor naturally draws upwards. Focusing on your breathing allows your pelvic floor to naturally move like a trampoline to absorb the impact of running.
If your form is putting too much pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, this may be the cause of weakness and subsequent urinary and/or bowel problems. Leaning backward, reduced cadence, too long of strides, and too much bounce can be common culprits of placing excessive demand on your inner core. Stacking the rib cage over the pelvis and addressing any lower-body running mechanics can allow your pelvic floor to work smarter, not harder.
Our pelvic floor plays a very supportive role and it rarely works in isolation. If the pelvic girdle and lower body are weak, the pelvic floor will have to work more to provide extra support to the pelvis. Strengthening the core and hips is not only a great way to minimize injury, but also a great way to protect your pelvic floor from working overtime.
If you are looking for more specific guidance give our North Reserve office a call at (406)541-2606 to schedule with any of our talented Pelvic Floor specialists.
2/9/2023 0 Comments
Spring Thaw Advice for Runners
It's the middle of February, days are getting longer and it's about to be light when we get home from work. When that happens, all of the sudden I see people out running - everywhere! It's also about 20 weeks from the Missoula Marathon and 1/2 Marathon, the ideal time to begin your training routine. At Alpine PT we love running and the people who run. Here at Alpine PT, many of us are runners, at some level, and we all think running is a great way to move your body and stride around this beautiful place we live. We take a stance against the common refrain heard a lot, “running will wreck your knees,” when in fact there is expanding evidence that runners have more healthy cartilage in their knees than non-runners. Therefore, at Alpine we believe that almost anyone can take up this age-old human form of recreation. We've collected a little advice from some of our PTs and their suggestions to be a successful runner.
Jess Kehoe advises the old saying, “slow and steady wins the race”! When trying to build up miles, take your time. A good rule of thumb is not to increase more than 10% per week. But also listen to your body. And, “if you are getting up there in the age decades (like me who just headed closer to 50 than 40 😬) recovery starts to play a more important role”. So getting good nutrition and rest are just as important as the miles.
Dennis McCrea, a seasoned and wise runner beyond any doubt, with several marathons, including the Boston under his belt, gives this advice: "Get into a consistent daily core strengthening and stretching routine NOW to prevent injuries in the future." He also encourages a training plan, both for new and experienced runners. "For those who have not run a lot and for whatever reason have decided to run a 1/2 or full marathon I would recommend signing up for the Run Wild Missoula running class. It is geared for all types of runners but especially those who have not gone through that sort of training. It gives them guidance, people to run with at a similar pace, and provides lots of great running tips."
Angela Listug-Vap is in agreement on training and recalls that "after years of treating 'new to marathon' runners, I'd say the most common training errors I saw were: 1) ramping up too fast, and 2) no cross training of any kind, just running. I found once people started cross training for more lateral and cross body movements, plus core and hip strength they did great." She also shared a great "race day" consideration: "when you travel to a marathon you're tempted to get there early and spend a day or two walking around to check out the place. Don't do it, limit your steps the day before a race - your body will thank you."
Brace Hayden reminds us that the knowledgeable PT's at Alpine can also help you make a successful plan. "I advise patients that are looking at training for longer mileage races to dial in a solid running program. Giving their current running program a review is helpful and then balancing it out. I try to make sure they have a dedicated dynamic warm-up at the beginning of each run and make time for some sort of short post-run stretch/mobility routine. Lastly, I work with the runner on customizing some cross training and a comprehensive strength routine to avoid injuries that often crop up with high-mileage runs."
So here's to the last few weeks of winter. Maybe you're not quite ready to trade your skis out for your running shoes, but soon the sun, trails and dry sidewalks will lure you out there. As always, keep Alpine PT on your speed dial (406)251-2323, so if problems do arise, our expert PT's can help you take care of them quickly.
By Jess Kehoe
I am not a food photographer, or a food stylist, or a trained chef, these are the facts. The photo of this meal on the Food and Wine website looks nothing like this! The chicken in their photo is perfectly browned. I don't know how they accomplished that, I even cooked them longer than they recommended, to "brown" them. Maybe mine are so drab because my chicken thighs were skinless? Maybe you could try thighs with skins and they would brown better without getting stuck to the pot (which mine did terribly). But seriously, you should overlook the photo and cook this dish. Its pretty darn easy, and very tasty! This recipe fed my family of 4, my two parents and we still had two lunches left over. I love when dinner gives me a wholesome lunch for the next day.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 chicken thighs
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 14 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
1 3/4 cups water, and maybe little more at the end
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
In a deep frying pan or a Dutch oven heat the cooking oil over moderately high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Place the chicken in the pot and brown well on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken, set aside and reduce the heat to moderately low.
Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant. Stir in the coriander, cumin, rice and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute to coat the rice with the spices.
Then stir in the coconut milk and the water. Return the chicken to the pot and bring this to a simmer. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the rice is almost done, about 20 minutes. You may find you want to add 1/4-1/2 cup extra water towards the end if it is looking too dry. Stir in the zucchini, cover and cook for about 8 more minutes, until the zucchini is just tender.
Stir in the lemon juice and the cilantro (if desired) and serve.
2/2/2023 0 Comments
Lentil and Vegetable Soup
By Jess Kehoe, DPT
, Lentil soup is a great winter comfort food, and lentils are such a great source of protein. My usual go to lentil soup is a blended version, but I saw this on Food and Wine and thought I should give it a try. What a good choice! The flavors of this soup really turn out wonderful. It also makes a huge amount and we ate two dinners and several lunches from the one pot. I also think it would be a great one to freeze for a future meal, or if you are doing a lot of meal prepping. One note, this calls for three full onions, which seemed like way to many, and so I only used two. That still seemed quite excessive but in the end was probably part of what made it so delicious!
1 lb French green lentils
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large onions, chopped (I only used 2)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large leeks, white and tender green parts chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
8 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch dice
6 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 quarts chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for serving
In a large heatproof bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and then set aside.
While the lentils are soaking, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper, thyme and cumin. Cook stirring occasionally until tender, about 20 minutes.
Add in the celery and carrots, cook until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, tomato paste and the lentils, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to moderate and simmer uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about an hour. You will want to stir this occasionally while it is cooking.
Stir in the red wine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
By Jess Kehoe
We made it though the Holidays, phew! This December was not my best, in terms of exercise, and I nearly ate an apple pie all to myself that I was going to share with friends who got the flu. So, this January I've got all kinds of plans to shape up my game; get back to lifting, running, yoga and eating "better". This recipe here is a pretty good start. It's packed with veggies, beans and good flavor. There is a nice mild heat to it, but my 5 yr old, who did repeatedly tell us that "it is spicy" still ate most of her bowl. If you like more heat you can add a second jalapeño and another 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes.
Recipe adapted from @jennifer.garner and her #PretendCookingShow where she credits @sara_fostersmarket. Will feed 6-8 adults.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, 1/2 in diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced pretty small
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
6 cups veggie broth (I used chicken broth, because that's what I had)
1 28oz can chopped tomatoes
1 12oz beer
1/2 cup barley or bulgur
2 15oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
Garnish: your choice of cilantro, scallions, avacado, sour cream, cheese, lime wedges.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over med heat until sizzling hot and add the onion. Reduce to low and cook, stirring often, ~10 mins. Add sweet potatoes, bell peppers and jalapeños, stirring occasionally, 5 mins more. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 min longer.
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, basil, marjoram, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, salt and pepper and cook ~2 min. Add broth, tomatoes, beer and barley and stir to combine, bringing to a low boil.
Reduce to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, -40 mins.
Remove bay leaves from chili and discard. Add beans, stir to mix and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are heated through, ~15 mins.
Serve warm with wedges of lime to squeeze into chili and garnish with your favorites, maybe even have some corn chips on the side. Delish!
11/3/2022 0 Comments
Falls are Here
As we head into the season of darker and shorter days; slippery snow 'n ice on the walk ways; and autumnal wet leaves everywhere; Alpine PT has collected the top 10 pro-tips from our PT staff on their thoughts for falls prevention. The CDC also puts out a lot of helpful information on falls prevention on their website to aid in risk reduction for our potentially vulnerable, older adults in our community.
Contributors: Brace Hayden, DPT; Colter Brown, DPT, Leah Versteegen, DPT, Kristina Pattison, DPT, Angela Listug-Vap, DPT, Dennis McCrea, DPT, Antara Quinones, DPT, Matt Schweitzer, DPT.
10/25/2022 0 Comments
Ratatoullie with polenta
By Jess Kehoe
This is one of my all time favorite recipes. It is an oldy from my mom's original Moosewood cookbook, which is full of stains from 40+ years of use. For those of you who don't' know what the Moosewood cookbook is, it's a classic vegetarian cookbook based on food from the famous restaurant in Ithaca, New York. Unlike some of the recipes I share, this one is a bit time consuming. There are lots of things to chop up and making real polenta is a bit time consuming because you do have to attend to it the whole time it's cooking. BUT, you should give it a try. It's also worth noting that a nice crusty bread also goes well with this meal.
For the Polenta:
1 cups corn meal (yellow)
1 cup cold water
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2-4 cups boiling water
1 packed cup grated cheddar
grated parmesan to taste
For the Ratatouille:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium bell peppers, cubed
2 small, or 1 medium, zucchini or yellow squash, cubed
1 eggplant, cubed
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 medium tomatoes, in chunks
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. each: basil, marjoram
1/2 tsp. oregano
dash of ground rosemary
3 Tbs. burgundy (or any red wine of your choice)
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
The tricky part here is managing the polenta and sauteing the ratatouille to be finished at the same time! I have included the order in which I have successfully completed this, but it was a little stressful at the end. You could always make the ratatouille and then just leave it covered while you make to polenta. In my experience the fresher the polenta, the better!
Heat olive oil in large, heavy cooking pot over medium heat. Crush the garlic into the oil. Add the bay leaf and onion, salt lightly and sauté until onion begins to turn transparent. Next, add the eggplant, wine, tomato juice and herbs. Stir to mix well, then cover and simmer 10 minutes over low heat.
While this is simmering, start the polenta by combining the corn meal, cold water, salt and mix into a uniform paste. Put the water for the polenta in a large saucepan and put it over high heat.
When eggplant is tender enough to be easily pricked by a fork, add zucchini and peppers, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
While this is simmering add the corn meal to the boiling water, then lower the heat and mix fairly constantly with a whisk. Continue whisking for 10-12 minutes until it becomes the consistency of thick breakfast cereal. Mix in the cheese, and then it's ready.
Finish off the ratatouille by adding the pepper, tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix well. Continue to stew for 5 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
Serve the veggies over the polenta and enjoy!
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