Tag Archives: Sports Physiotherapy

Heat therapy

Heat and Cold therapy

How it works

When we apply Heat therapy, it improves circulation and blood flow to  that area due to increased temperature. Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue.

Heat therapy

Types

  • Dry Heat therapy includes sources like heating pads, dry heating packs, and even saunas. This heat is easy to apply.
  • Moist Heat therapy includes sources like steamed towels, moist heating packs, Theratherm heating pads that take moisture from the air, or hot baths. Moist heat may be slightly more effective as well as require less application time for the same results.

Contraindications

  • diabetes
  • dermatitis
  • vascular diseases
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)

 Heat is useful for relieving:

  • osteoarthritis
  • strains and sprains
  • tendonitis, or chronic irritation and stiffness in the tendons
  • warming up stiff muscles or tissue before activity
  • relieving pain or spasms relating to neck or back injury, including the lower back

Cold therapy

How it works

Cold therapy is also known as cryotherapy. It works by Louis- hunting reaction theory. When we apply Ice to an injured site, it reduces the blood flow by vasoconstriction. After some time, it causes vasodilatation and increases the blood flow to the area. This process goes on continuously. This reduces inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or a tendon. It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain.

Types of Cold Therapy

There are a number of different ways to apply cold therapy to an affected area. Treatment options include:

  • ice packs or frozen gel packs
  • coolant sprays
  • ice massage
  • ice baths

Cold treatment can help in cases of:

  • osteoarthritis
  • a recent injury
  • gout
  • strains
  • tendinitis, or irritation in the tendons following activity

Contraindications

  • people with sensory disorders
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • You should not use cold therapy on stiff muscles or joints.
  • Cold therapy should not be used if you have poor circulation.

Here’s a general guide that helps you to decide which to use heat or ice : https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-pain/treating-pain-with-heat-and-cold#cold-therapy

In General,  use ice for the first few days after an injury.  Beyond that, heat usually does the trick.  There is some evidence that suggests that using ice beyond the first few days can actually slow down injury healing.  It pushes away the healing agents that help you to get better.

If you have been injured and need advice or treatment, please call PhysioNow today.  We are always happy to help!

Concussion

Concussion

The topic of concussion has been in the media quite frequently in the last several years. Top athletes, like Sidney Crosby, have definitely put concussion in the spotlight.

Crosby was unable to return to his game for almost a whole year because of persistent symptoms related to concussion. Furthermore, research has shown that 96% of deceased ex-NFL players have a form of brain damage called Chronic Traumatic Encephelaphathy (CTE), which may be related to repeated head traumas like concussions.

Safety Of Athletes Involved In Contact Sports

Concussion

This calls into question the safety of athletes involved in contact sports. In contact sports, there seems to be a higher incidence of these injuries.

However, concussions do not just happen to the famous pro-athlete. They can happen to athletes playing at any level or any age. They can do more than take away playing time.

Rowan Stringer, a high school rugby player, sadly made headlines in the media in 2013 after she lost her life to Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). This occurs when multiple concussions occur in rapid succession. SIS specifically affects the peadiatric and adolescent populations.

Concussions can also happen to anyone who is involved in an accident involving some form of head trauma. This includes falls and motor vehicle accidents. It is important to understand, that concussion is a serious injury.

If not managed appropriately, it can lead to persistent symptoms. Concussion can prevent you from returning to your beloved sport and/or regular life activities including work and family.

What Exactly Is Concussion?

So, what exactly is concussion and why does it have such a major impact? The changes that happen with concussion happen at a deep cellular level of the brain.

The injury starts with some form of trauma to the head, which creates stretching of the cells in the brain. These changes are microscopic and most often not picked up on imaging exams. As a result, concussion is often labelled as an invisible injury process.

Symptoms of Concussion

These chemical processes produce symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and fogginess that are classic to concussion injuries.

Another major hallmark symptom of concussion is fatigue. This feeling of persistent tiredness is due to the energy crisis in the brain that results from the initial cellular stretching. These symptoms can wreak havoc on a person’s life and take them out of their sport or work.

How long do Concussion symptoms last?

Although the chemical reactions from the initial trauma take about 7 to 10 days to stabilize, the symptoms that are experienced by the patient can last for several weeks and months or even years. The lasting symptoms happen as a result of the changes that have been made to the different processing systems of the brain.

These changes produce an inability to make sense of either the visual or vestibular information in our environment. This overwhelms the brain and further aggravates the symptoms. It is vitally important, that appropriate management strategies have to be in place to treat these symptoms in an effective and timely manner so that an individual can return to their life.

How Do You Treat Concussion?

So how do you treat concussion if it is an invisible injury? The mechanism may be invisible but the symptoms are definitely not. Therefore, it is important to do a thorough assessment. This helps to understand what the exact symptoms are and which brain systems are at fault.

imPACT Testing

During the initial assessment, the patient will most likely be starting the appointment with a computerized test called imPACT, which is a heavily researched and validated neurocognitive test. This test looks at a variety of categories including verbal memory, visual memory, speed and reaction time. At completion it provides important information on a patient’s performance.

The test can be repeated over time and it can be used to check if there has been any meaningful change in performance. Once the imPACT test is completed, the patient will be assessed by the physiotherapist.

The Physiotherapist will go through a detailed history of the injury and symptoms to get an understanding of what the patient is going through and which brain systems are affected. The Physiotherapist will then go through a series of physical tests that test the visual and vestibular systems.

The therapist will be looking at how the patient is performing on the test and what symptoms are produced with the tests. If there are any other injuries present, such as neck pain, the physiotherapist will assess these issues as well.

Concussion Treatment

With the information gained from the assessment, the therapist will start providing the appropriate treatment to start reducing the symptoms of concussion. The treatment provided will vary from person to person because each case of concussion is unique.

Therefore, there cannot be a cookie-cutter approach to treating this complex injury. A large component of the initial treatment plan will involve education to rest and reset the brain and modify work/home/sport activities to allow for appropriate healing.

FOLLOW UP VISITS

On follow up visits, the therapist will prescribe specific exercises to start healing the affected systems in the brain. These exercises are important to be continued at home. Consistent and regular practice of these exercises will ensure improvement in the symptoms. It is important to understand that these exercises will produce some of the symptoms of concussion but they are meant to do so.

It is in this manner, that the visual and/or vestibular systems are retrained. Once the exercises are mastered at one level, the physiotherapist will continue to progress them to be more and more challenging until the patient is able to perform them without any symptoms. It is through these progressions that the therapist will be able to help the patient return to work and/or play and just life in general.

SUMMARY

Concussion symptoms can be very debilitating and can go on for a long time. It is important to seek out a qualified Physiotherapist trained in concussion management as soon as possible so that these symptoms are not affecting a person’s quality of life and taking them away from the things that they love.

At PhysioNow, we have highly trained Registered Physiotherapists ready to assess and treat Concussions.  Call today to get started on your recovery!

Symptoms of ACL tear

Symptoms of ACL tear

Signs and Symptoms of ACL tear

This blog will talk about signs and symptoms of ACL tear. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, or ACL, is a very important structure of the knee joint. Its main function is to stop the shin bone from moving too far forward when the knee is straightened. The ACL also prevents the knee from rotating too far inward. As a result, a tear to this ligament can have very negative effects on knee function and stability.

A potential injury to the ACL has fairly easily recognizable signs and symptoms.

Mechanism of injury of ACL Tear

  • The mechanism of injury is very important in identifying an ACL injury. The ACL ligament is often injured when the leg is pivoted with the foot planted. It can also result from a direct blow to the outside of the knee. It is common to see ACL injuries in soccer and basketball because these types of movements happen quite often with these sports.

    Symptoms of ACL tear

  • Signs and Symptoms of ACL tear

  • A key sign of an ACL injury is the distinct “popping” or snapping sound that is heard at the time of the injury.
  • The presence of intense pain near the top of the shin bone also relates to the ACL.
  • The immediate presence of a lot of swelling within 2 hours of the injury is another important symptom of ACL tear.
  • With some other common knee injuries, swelling is very minimal or occurs much later.
  • The inability to weight bear on your knee is another clue that it might be an ACL injury.

How to know for sure if it is an ACL tear

The degree of ACL injury can vary from a partial tear to a full rupture. There are special tests that can be done to confirm the presence of an ACL injury and test the extent of the tear. However an MRI will provide the most detailed information about this type of injury.

Treatment for symptoms of an ACL tear

Surgery may be recommended if it is a full ACL tear. However, some individuals will opt to not proceed with surgical intervention. Instead, they proceed with conservative treatments such as Physiotherapy and Custom Knee Bracing. Patients with partial ACL tears will definitely require Physiotherapy treatment. This will promote healing, regain strength and optimal function.

Symptoms of ACL tear
Custom Knee Brace

Check out this link for further information regarding symptoms of ACL tear.

A fully trained Registered Physiotherapist will be able to guide you through an appropriate rehabilitation program so that strength and stability is restored in the knee. The goal is to return you to play and competition as quickly as possible!

If you or someone you know has suffered from symptoms of ACL tear, please call PhysioNow today. We have fully trained, Registered Physiotherapists ready to help! We also have fully trained staff able to guide you in your decision if you decide that you would like a knee brace. Both off the shelf and Custom Knee Bracing is available at all of the PhysioNow offices. Call today to get started on your recovery.

ACL REHAB

ACL REHAB
Knee Injuries

ACL REHAB

ACL REHAB is very important for you to get back to your normal life! injuries lead to pain, inflammation, internal bleeding and instability.

Mechanism of Injury

The mechanism of injury is a sudden rotational force that occurs when the foot is planted on the ground.

Symptoms of ACL tear

During certain movements you may feel instability and pain such as when walking and coming down stairs.

Muscles may get weak because they respond to stress put on them during weight bearing activities.

After injuring the ACL, people tend to to avoid pain.

This can lead to decreased balance, strength and control in the muscles.

It may further lead to locking of other structures that are also involved with an ACL tear. This includes meniscus and medial collateral ligament injuries.

Is Surgical Repair required?

Surgical repair may be needed for a fully torn ACL depending on the level of physical activities you want to return to. It is possible to avoid surgery completely if proper physiotherapy is done with a skilled Registered Physiotherapist.

Custom Knee Braces for ACL REHAB

ACL REHAB
Custom Knee Brace

In addition, wearing a custom knee brace can allow you to fully support your knee without having to do surgery. Custom knee braces can be very helpful once the swelling goes down. They can allow you to return to all or most of your previous activities without surgery. A Custom Knee Brace provide the support for the torn ACL ligament. There are several types of Custom Knee braces available in the market. The most popular brands are DonJoy, Bledsoe and Ossur. At PhysioNow, we carry off the shelf knee braces and Custom Knee braces from all of the major suppliers.

Check out this link for a few of the braces we currently offer at PhysioNow in Mississauga.

How can Physiotherapy Help after an ACL tear?

Role of a physiotherapist after an ACL tear is:

– to control pain,

-increase/maintain ROM,

– stretching tight structures,

and strengthen the weak muscles

How is Pain controlled?

Pain is controlled by using different modalities such as ultrasound and interferential therapy. A graduated exercise program will help you to improve your movement.
Here is another interesting article about ACL REHAB.

Exercises will focus mainly on:

– strengthening quadriceps and gluteal muscles,

– proprioception techniques (you will likely lose some of your natural ability to balance after an ACL tear),

-and stretching of the hamstring muscles.

ACL REHAB
Possible ACL REHAB Exercises

Please do not attempt these exercises at home without the advice of your doctor or a skilled Registered Physiotherapist!

If you or someone you know has had an ACL tear, we at PhysioNow would be happy to help! If you want to discuss Physiotherapy Treatment or to see if a Custom Knee brace might be helpful for you, please call and ask to speak with Sharon. Call today!

Baker’s Cyst

Baker's cyst

A Baker’s Cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a fluid-filled swelling that causes a lump at the back of the knee. This leads to tightness and restricted movement. The Baker’s Cyst can be painful when you bend or straighten your knee.

ϖ Causes of a Baker’s Cyst

Synovial fluid is a clear liquid that normally circulates through the spaces in your knee joint. Sometimes the knee produces too much of this fluid. The increasing pressure forces the fluid to the back of the knee via a one-way valve. This creates a bulge. This  swelling of the knee causes a Baker’s Cyst to form.

The most common causes of a Baker’s Cyst are:

  • damage to the knee’s cartilage (meniscus)
  • arthritis of the knee
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • other knee conditions that cause joint inflammation

ϖ Symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst

Some patients may have no pain and may not even notice the cyst is there. However, the signs and symptoms of a Baker’s cyst can include:

  • Swelling or lump behind the knee (the main sign) – this is more evident when standing and comparing one knee to the other. It may feel like a water-filled balloon.
  • Knee pain.
  • Calf pain.
  • Accumulation of fluid around the knee.
  • The knee joint may click or buckle.
  • The knee joint may lock.
  • ϖ Diagnosis of a Baker’s Cyst

    • Your doctor will examine your knee and feel the swelling. If the cyst is small, they may compare the affected knee to the healthy one and check your range of motion.
    • Your doctor may recommend non-invasive imaging tests if the cyst rapidly increases in size or causes severe pain or fever. These tests include an MRI or ultrasound. An MRI will enable your doctor to see the cyst clearly and to determine if you have any damage to the cartilage.
    • These tests will determine if some other form of growth, such as a tumor, is causing the swelling.
    • Although the cyst won’t show up on an X-ray, your doctor may use one to check for other problems, such as inflammation or arthritis.

    Web MD has additional info on this condition.

    ϖ Treatment

    A Baker’s Cyst doesn’t need treatment. It will go away on its own. However, if the swelling becomes large and causes severe pain, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments.

    • Fluid draining

      Your doctor will insert a needle into the knee joint and may use an ultrasound to help guide the needle to the correct place. They’ll then draw the fluid from the joint.

    • Medication

      Your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid medication, such as cortisone. Your doctor will inject this drug into the joint, and the medication will flow back into the cyst. Though it may help relieve the pain, it doesn’t always prevent a Baker’s Cyst from recurring.

    • Physiotherapy

      Regular, gentle exercises may help increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around your knee.

    If you think you or someone you know may have a Baker’s Cyst, please call PhysioNow today!  We would be happy to help! We have highly trained Registered Physiotherapists ready to see you Now!