Alpine Physical Therapy welcomes Megan Fisher DPT, ATC to our Downtown location. She earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Washington in 2014 and is also a Certified Athletic Trainer.
Megan's clinical interests include sports medicine and athletic training, neurological rehabilitation, balance and fall prevention, and prosthetics and orthotics.
In her spare time, Megan enjoys adventuring with her dog Betsy, biking in all forms (mountain, road, cross, touring, tandem and fat tire), water sports, camping, welding, knitting, tennis, and weight training.
Megan can be reached at our Downtown clinic at 549-0064.
Alpine Physical Therapy is pleased to welcome Jocee Long, DPT to our staff of 19 physical therapists. Jocee has come home to Alpine PT and Montana. She worked as an aide with Alpine before entering the Doctoral program in Physical Therapy at the University of Montana.
Jocee began her PT career in Oregon where she developed her interests in treating back pain and complex spine conditions, as well as general orthopedic conditions. She utilizes postural education and Pilates-based rehabilitation in her treatment approach.
During her spare time, Jocee can be found hiking, camping, running, alpine skiing, reading, or spending time with her family and friends.
Jocee can be reached at Alpine's North clinic at 541-2606.
Alpine Physical Therapy is delighted to welcome Lisa Hamilton, DPT to our team! Lisa recently moved from Colorado. She earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Regis University in 2013 and her Bachelors of Physical Therapy from Northwestern University in 1988.
Lisa is Pilates Method Certified, completing training in Polestar Pilates and CoreAlign instructor training with Balanced Body University. Additionally, she is certified in functional dry needling.
Lisa's clinical interests include bone health and osteoporosis education, women's health, and whiplash associated disorders. She serves as Vice Chair of the American Physical Therapy Association Bone Health Special Interest Group.
During her free time, you will find Lisa hiking cycling, exploring all Missoula has to offer, or spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys Pilates, meditation and mindfulness training, as well as pursuing lifelong learning.
Lisa can be reached at our downtown clinic at 549-0064,
Thanks to Gary Gales, DPT, one of our physical therapists and a veritable yoga guru at Alpine PT. Gary shared this announcement about a unique yoga event called NamasDay of Yoga. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 AM on June 10th at Caras Park in Missoula, Montana, and is open to instructors, practitioners, and sponsors.
Here's the website for all the information you'll need, including online registration. For details go to: NamasDayOfYoga.com.
And here's Gary and Monica at a yoga retreat somewhere that's warm and green!
According to the NamasDay website, "NamasDay is the first of its kind in Missoula, Montana. Bringing you fresh and imaginative yoga from around the world, this day-long festival is sure to inspire and excite your practice both as a practitioner and a teacher. Our schedule represents the diverse world of today's yoga and aims to bring you an experience as unique as you!"
Be sure to register early on the NamasDay website by clicking here. Doing so will save you an extra $10.00 if you decide to wait and register on the day of the event.
5/2/2017 0 Comments
Every spring more than 200 smokejumpers come to Missoula, Montana, from all over the nation to train for the upcoming firefighting season. This also happens to be a super important time of year because rookie camp gets underway wherein these brave, fit, mentally tough, and highly skilled young women and men get introduced to the world of smokejumping.
Rookie camp is certainly not fun and games. Rather, there are a number of challenges these rookies must face including an 85 pound pack test, a 24 hour line dig, and many other difficult hurdles.
Alpine Physical Therapy is honored to be a part of this event. Like any professional athlete, these wildland firefighters must make sure their bodies hold up during preseason, that they get pushed enough to produce change, and ultimately that they are fully prepared to be 110% for their first season as smokejumpers with the United States Forest Service. Leah Verstegeen, MS, DPT, and Sam Schmidt, MPT, were on site to provide education on injury prevention, safety performance, and proper warm ups and cool downs last week and the for the next three weeks.
Alpine PT is dedicated to empowering these tremendous individuals whose most important piece of equipment is their body and their ability to achieve maximal performance. It's your job, your body, OUR BUSINESS!
4/28/2017 0 Comments
Fourteen participants including 12 Alpine PTs attended the three-day Runity course hosted by Alpine Physical Therapy on April 21st through April 23rd. The primary founder of Runity, Juan Nieto, flew in to Missoula from Madrid, Spain, to lead the instruction of the course with the assistance of Alpine's own Runity Master Trainer, Leah Versteegen, DPT.
In this picture, Juan is surrounded by a few PTs from Alpine (left to right: Matthew Schweitzer, Leah Versteegen, Juan Nieto, and Samantha Schmidt).
Following the latest in research and scientific knowledge, the main purpose of the course was to guide participants on how to help facilitate painless running for their clients, allowing runners to return to their sport after injury or continue running with improved efficiency and decreased risk of future injuries.
Over the course of three days, participants learned about video running analysis and training running form using technology, common injuries associated with running and how to prevent such injuries, appropriate exercises to compliment a running program, and the best learning procedures to help teach proficient running.
The exercises blended plyometrics and functional movement exercises with Pilates movement principles to promote optimal mobility and stability throughout the system. It was truly amazing to watch everyone's running form and ability to teach efficient running progress over the course of one weekend.
Here's a picture of Juan demonstrating posture correction to improve running performance.
Alpine now has 12 Physical Therapists ready to serve the Missoula community of runners towards optimal efficiency and Painless Running!
For more information on Alpine's approach to running, click here.
A popular response from our new patients after their first PT visit is that they got so much more than they expected. So often they say they’d gone to PT somewhere else before, and all they got was a length of exercise band and a long ride on a stationary bike.
Not at Alpine Physical Therapy. We believe there’s more to quality physical therapy than Bands and Bikes.
Instead, we do lifestyle!
Check out this 30 second video I made to put a fun spin on bands and bikes!
Bands and bikes do have their place in physical therapy, but there’s a lot more to helping people get back to all that they enjoy than simply having them work out with a band or on a bike.
We believe in examining the whole person. Why? Doing so helps us discover other parts of the body that may be contributing to the pain.
A good example is when someone has elbow pain. It’s easy to look at the elbow and say, “Yep, there’s the problem.” Instead, we want to know what may be going on in the neck. After all, the nerves that go to the elbow start in the neck. And we’ll be interested in testing upper back, shoulder blade, and shoulder. After all, when the shoulder blade and the muscles around it aren’t working right, you can end up having pain in the elbow.
Likewise, when we’re helping people with sports injuries to their lower limbs, we want to know how the back and hips are working. So often problems in the lower limb can occur when there are problems further up, such as in the back or hips.
When we complete our evaluation, we design a treatment plan designed for more than taking pain away. We’re interested in making sure the pain doesn’t come back, yet we also go the extra mile to help you get back to the things you enjoy in life. That takes more than bands and bikes!
That’s why we boldly say, “We Do Lifestyle.”
For more information on our approach to expert physical therapy services, we invite you to visit our website by clicking here.
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.
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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