Do You Suffer from Thumb Pain?

We use our thumbs for almost all daily activities, including gripping, grasping, pulling, and pushing.  It is no wonder why there are so many people that suffer from pain in their thumb(s).  The thumb joint is one of the most mobile joints in our body.  Because of this mobility there is potentially an increase in … Continue reading “Do You Suffer from Thumb Pain?”

We use our thumbs for almost all daily activities, including gripping, grasping, pulling, and pushing.  It is no wonder why there are so many people that suffer from pain in their thumb(s). 

The thumb joint is one of the most mobile joints in our body.  Because of this mobility there is potentially an increase in stress on the joint and connective tissues.

Where does this pain come from? Pain can come from inflammation of the connective tissues called tendons and ligaments, and/or from the joint itself.  Overuse of the thumb can cause wear and tear of the articular cartilage of the joint.  It can also cause inflammation of the tendons.  Ligament problems usually occur when there is trauma to the thumb joint.

The following is a list of diagnoses given for thumb pain with their symptoms:

Thumb Sprain – “Jammed thumb”

  • Injury to the ligaments of the thumb.  The ligaments connect the bones at the base of the thumb.
  • Symptoms- thumb pain, joint stiffness, muscle soreness

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

  • Inflammation of the tendon on the thumb side of the wrist
  • Symptoms – thumb pain, wrist pain, swelling, pain with grasping, pain with making a fist

Trigger Finger

  • Inflammation of a tendon causing the thumb to get stuck in a bent position and then snap to straighten
  • Symptoms – thumb pain, stiffness, feeling a lump

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

  • The median nerve gets compressed at the wrist between the transverse ligament and the carpal bones.
  • Symptoms – thumb pain, numbness, tingling   index and middle finger pain, numbness, tingling

Osteoarthritis of the Thumb Joint

  • Wearing of the cartilage at the joint, located at the base of the thumb.  The joint is called the carpometacarpal joint.
  • Symptoms – swelling, pain, stiffness, decreased strength with gripping, pinching

 

What do you do if you have pain?  Conservative treatment is the most effective means of treating the thumb.  Resting the thumb and avoiding aggravating activities is important to begin the healing process.  Wearing a thumb spica splint can be very beneficial.  Taking anti-inflammatory medication (if approved by your MD), and icing can help to decrease the swelling and inflammation.  Working with a physical therapist can help to expedite the recovery. A physical therapy evaluation can help to determine where your pain is coming from.  Use of modalities to decrease inflammation, mobilization techniques to increase range of motion, and strengthening exercises are all tools used to help restore function and get you back “on your game.”

Why Medical Massage Therapy May Be What You’re Searching For

For years massage was seen as a luxury; something you would do to “treat yourself” and only to be had on special occasions. Now, more than ever, medical experts have agreed that massage therapy has many more benefits other than just to get you to finally relax. A few benefits of medial massage include: – … Continue reading “Why Medical Massage Therapy May Be What You’re Searching For”

For years massage was seen as a luxury; something you would do to “treat yourself” and only to be had on special occasions. Now, more than ever, medical experts have agreed that massage therapy has many more benefits other than just to get you to finally relax.

A few benefits of medial massage include:

– Chronic pain relief

– Quicker recovery to injuries and auto accidents

– Stress relief

– Increased circulation

– Increased range of motion

– Decreased insomnia

– Decreased anxiety

– Decreases poor posture

A medical massage differs from a relaxation massage because the therapist uses a problem solving approach to reach the shared goal between the client and therapist to structurally change the body within to relieve pain. The massage is approached with the deep intent of improving conditions and achieving functional outcomes. In medical massage, it is necessary to receive multiple sessions to attain real results. That is why it is important to work with the same therapist as much as possible. Your therapist will get to know you, your background, and your body. They will know what modalities work best for you as an individual and be able to customize the massage so that you may get the maximum benefit from each session.

A unique advantage that Innovative Physical Therapy provides is having a massage therapist in house. With Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, Alissa Haight in the office, patients are able to continue muscular treatment after they are discharged from physical therapy. Many patients use massage as a way to maintain their recovery so they don’t relapse.   Patients may also couple it with their treatment to quicken their recovery time. The therapists are able to communicate with each other to come up with the most effective treatment plan.

A medical massage at Innovative Physical Therapy is not limited to patients. It is open to anyone seeking a quality massage that can change their life for the better. Please speak with our front desk or ask for Alissa Haight for more information.

Healing Times

Dr. Jared Brown, DPT, takes us through some healing times for various muscle, ligament and tendon injuries.

Dr. Jared Brown, DPT, takes us through some healing times for various muscle, ligament and tendon injuries.

When Lower Back Pain Turns Into A Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc – MRI Findings and Low Back Pain So you’ve been recently diagnosed with a herniated disc, bulging disc, or disc protrusion. That’s okay! First off herniated discs are commonly treated with conservative approach of physical therapy, corrective exercise and activity modification. Also is the herniated disc causing your pain or is it due … Continue reading “When Lower Back Pain Turns Into A Herniated Disc”

Herniated Disc – MRI Findings and Low Back Pain

So you’ve been recently diagnosed with a herniated disc, bulging disc, or disc protrusion. That’s okay! First off herniated discs are commonly treated with conservative approach of physical therapy, corrective exercise and activity modification. Also is the herniated disc causing your pain or is it due to another impairment or movement limitation? In a study done by Brinjikji et. Al it was shown that 3,110 people ranging from 20-80 years of age had a herniated disc but none of them reported having low back pain! Some of us right now could be walking around with a herniated disc and not experience any symptoms what so ever. It is important to be evaluated for movement impairments if you are experiencing low back pain to isolate the cause of your symptoms.

Patient Inspiration: Carrie Miller

  From Carrie Miller to Dr. Jared Brown, DPT on April 17th: ” Jared! I made it! I’ve run 32 marathons and that was the most insane weather I’ve ever run in! 30mph winds in our face the whole way and upper 30s and constant downpour of rain. I felt pretty good though! I just … Continue reading “Patient Inspiration: Carrie Miller”

 

From Carrie Miller to Dr. Jared Brown, DPT on April 17th:

” Jared! I made it! I’ve run 32 marathons and that was the most insane weather I’ve ever run in! 30mph winds in our face the whole way and upper 30s and constant downpour of rain. I felt pretty good though! I just ran by feel and went with it. My mantra was “overcome”. I stayed positive and ran with a poncho for 24 miles! I qualified for next years Boston by nearly 10 minutes and did better than expected. Shoulder is doing ok too! Now onto the London marathon on Sunday!!  “

Dr. Jared Brown, DPT’s patient Carrie Miller has been keeping busy running 32 marathons! She most recently qualified for the Boston Marathon by 10 minutes and did better than she anticipated. With 30mph winds in the upper 30s and constant downpour of rain, Carrie persevered and came out on top.

Carrie was post op RTC (return to clinic) repair on her shoulder. She was unable to actively lift and with the help of Dr. Jared Brown, DPT and the Innovative Physical Therapy team, Carrie got her shoulder back to full range of motion and could run again. Congratulations Carrie, IPT is beyond proud of you and your accomplishments.

  

Not only is Carrie an avid endurance runner, she is also a coach! Carrie holds two certifications — she is USA Track and Field (USATF) Level 1 certified by the National Council of Accreditation of Coaching Education as well as certified by the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). Learn more about Carrie, her life and coaching at http://www.onpacecoaching.com/

Time Heals All Wounds

How Long Will it Take My Injury to Heal? One of the first things most people think about after an injury or surgery is, how long will the recovery time be? While sometimes recovery can only take a couple days or weeks, more intrusive injuries can take months or even a couple years to fully … Continue reading “Time Heals All Wounds”

How Long Will it Take My Injury to Heal?

One of the first things most people think about after an injury or surgery is, how long will the recovery time be?

While sometimes recovery can only take a couple days or weeks, more intrusive injuries can take months or even a couple years to fully recover from.

Below is a chart based on AVERAGE recovery times for different injuries (photo image courtesy of @drcalebburgess via Instagram)

As you can see muscle soreness has the shortest recovery time with only a few days of recovery. To relieve muscle soreness remember to always stretch before AND after workouts, roll out sore muscle areas with a foam roller, ball or stick, adding ice/heat when needed for extra relief.

Muscle strain and ligament sprains will take longer; anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks depending on the severity. Resting, switching between ice and heat, and staying elevated are essential for initial strains/sprains. You can go directly to your physical therapist to assess.

Tendon and bone injuries are more severe than a strain or sprain. Seeing a physician for this type of injury should be done immediately after injury occurs. An outpatient program of physical therapy will most likely be part of your recovery which will give you the tools needed to regain muscle strength, movement and overall health.

Cartilage repair and ligament grafs are the most time sensitive on this chart. This will have required surgery and outpatient programs including physical therapy. Your physician and physical therapist will have created a specified program for you and your specific injury filled with manual therapy, at home exercises, ice/heat/electrical stimulation sessions and possible massage therapy.

Always speak to your physician/physical therapist directly when it comes to your injury/situation. All issues can heal differently and on a different timeline than above. It is important to give yourself the right time and care needed to fully recover.

Sleep Tips for Lower Back Pain

Best Sleeping Positions For Low Back Pain Sufferers Sleeping position and sleeping posture are very important for all of us to be aware of. A poor sleeping position can worsen and even be the underlying cause of neck and low back pain. Certain positions can place unnecessary pressure on our necks, hips, and low back. … Continue reading “Sleep Tips for Lower Back Pain”

Best Sleeping Positions For Low Back Pain Sufferers

Sleeping position and sleeping posture are very important for all of us to be aware of. A poor sleeping position can worsen and even be the underlying cause of neck and low back pain. Certain positions can place unnecessary pressure on our necks, hips, and low back.

It is most important to maintain the natural curve of the spine when lying in bed. This can be accomplished by ensuring the head, shoulders, and hips are in alignment, and that the back is properly supported keeping your spine in a neutral position. For people experiencing neck and/or low back pain at night, trying out the following postures may provide relief.

1. Sleeping on the back with knee support 

Lying on the back is usually considered to be the best sleeping position for a healthy back. This position allows for even distribution of weight along the full length of the body’s largest surface. It also minimizes pressure points and ensures proper alignment of the head, neck, and spine. Try placing a small pillow under the knees to provide additional support and help maintain the natural curve of the spine.

2. Sleeping on the side with a pillow between the knees

 Although lying on the side is a popular and comfortable sleeping position, it can pull the spine out of position. This can strain the lower back and neck. Correcting this is easy. Anyone who sleeps on their side can simply place a firm pillow between their knees. This raises the upper leg, which restores the natural alignment of the hips, pelvis, and spine.

3. Sleeping in the fetal position

A curled-up fetal position may help those with spinal stenosis or tight lower back. Adopting a curled-up fetal position may bring relief during the night, because lying on the side with the knees tucked into the chest reduces  extension of the spine and helps open up the joints.

Feel It in Your Bones

Osteoporosis literally means porous bone.  It is characterized by low bone mass, micro-architectural disruption, and increased skeletal fragility. It often leads to fractures of the wrists, hip, and spine. The first step in the prevention of osteoporosis is ensuring adequate nutrition, particularly maintaining an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D … Continue reading “Feel It in Your Bones”

Osteoporosis literally means porous bone.  It is characterized by low bone mass, micro-architectural disruption, and increased skeletal fragility. It often leads to fractures of the wrists, hip, and spine.

The first step in the prevention of osteoporosis is ensuring adequate nutrition, particularly maintaining an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are essential to building strong, dense bones when we are young and to keeping them strong and healthy as we age.

Calcium is a major building block of bone tissue. Our skeleton houses 99% of our body’s calcium stores. The calcium in our bones acts as a reservoir for maintaining calcium levels in the blood.  Calcium is essential for healthy bones, nerves, and muscles.

Vitamin D helps to increase the absorption of calcium in our intestines, building stronger bones. Normally, only 10-15% of available calcium is absorbed by our body in absence of vitamin D. When vitamin D is added, the absorption of dietary calcium increases to 30-40%.  Vitamin D also improves muscle function, which in turn improves balance and decreases the likeliness of falls which can lead to fractures.

How much calcium and vitamin D do we need? The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following:

 Women age 50 and younger 1000 mg calcium and 400-600 IU vitamin D

Women age 51 and older 1200 mg calcium and 800-1000 IU vitamin D

Men < 50 years old 400-600 IU vitamin D

Men > 50 years old 800-1000 IU vitamin D

Men age 70 and younger 1000 mg calcium

Men age 71 and older 1200 mg calcium

The amounts recommended include sources of calcium from both your diet and supplements.

Calcium is found in many of our foods. Well known sources include dairy – mild, yogurt, cheese, ice cream. Dark, leafy vegetables are also a good source – kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy.   We now have many fortified foods (calcium has been added) – cereals, orange juice, almond milk. Did you know nuts, beans and seeds also contain calcium? Almonds, canned and dried beans, and sesame seeds all add calcium to our diets.

Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in your skin in response to sunlight. We may not have enough exposure to the sun because of where we live, using sunscreen and clothing to prevent exposure, spending more time indoors, or having darker skin (increased melanin in our skin decreases absorption of vitamin D.) We may need to supplement vitamin D in our diets to prevent vitamin D deficiency that could lead to osteoporosis.

Please check with your physician before taking any supplements.

April: Foot Health Awareness Month!

Did you know it is estimated that by the age of 70 the average person has walked approximately 26,000 miles?! Our feet take quite a beating which causes many changes in our foot structure and gait over time. With April being Foot Health Awareness Month, we want to talk about the most common foot and … Continue reading “April: Foot Health Awareness Month!”

Did you know it is estimated that by the age of 70 the average person has walked approximately 26,000 miles?! Our feet take quite a beating which causes many changes in our foot structure and gait over time. With April being Foot Health Awareness Month, we want to talk about the most common foot and ankle problems along with specific footwear that can aide with some of these problems.

  1. Plantar Fasciitis– an inflammation of the long band of connective tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot. Heel spurs are bony overgrowths on the heel bone. Painful steps first thing in the morning are common to 83.5 % of patients with plantar fasciitis or heel spur
  2. Achilles Tendinitis-an irritation and inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone
  3. Ankle Sprains– Most common injury caused by activity. Walking, jogging, running along uneven surfaces and sports can cause this injury
  4. Bunions– an enlargement at the base of the big toe, caused by a misalignment of the joint. They tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot
  5. Athlete’s Foot and Onychomycosis– Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the skin characterized by itching, scaling, redness and the formation of small blisters. Onychomycosis is a nail fungus causing thickened, brittle, crumbly, or ragged nails, which can start from Athlete’s Foot
  6. Hammertoes– these are hereditary skeletal issues, affecting any toe on the foot
  7. Flat Foot/Fallen Arches– a structural deformity that causes the lowering of the arch of the foot. Painful fallen arches or high arches may need treatment such as custom orthotics or surgery. People with flat feet may have ankle, knee or low back pain
  8. Neuroma-an enlarged benign growth of nerves, commonly between the third and fourth toes. This can result in pain, burning, tingling or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. Poorly fitting shoes, high heels, trauma and heredity can all be causes

Shoes – What to Avoid and What to Wear

The obvious shoes to avoid- high heels (stilettos), tall wedges, very flat shoes with little to no support. The obvious shoes to wear- sneakers, or shoes with a cushion/support. If you cannot avoid a heel, look for something no higher than 2 inches. Chose a lace up shoe versus a slip on. Avoid plastic or vinyl shoes and opt for something more breathable. A flexible sole in a shoe is important so it allows your toes to bend when you walk.

How do You Find the Right Shoes?

  • Try shoes on at the end of the day when your feet are at the largest they will be
  • If you own orthotics make sure to bring those with you
  • Ignore sizing and pay attention to how your foot actually feels
  • There should be a 1/2 inch space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe
  • Walk around the store in them

If you are experiencing any of the above foot/ankle problems or have some concerns please contact your physical therapist, doctor or local podiatrist for more information.