PTC Blog

Summer is the perfect time to kick off your socks and shoes and just let your feet be free.  After a long, cold winter (especially here in Minnesota anyway), kicking off boots or closed toe shoes and slipping into a nice pair of sandals. For some of us though, this can be kind of tricky.  Are you like me and love flip flops, but notice that your heel hurts when you wear them? Do you need extra support, but not sure what to look for in a sandal?  

  • Choose sandals with a back that hold your foot securely. Any type of sandal that is loose on your foot (including a Birkenstok) will cause you to contract your foot slightly with each step to keep it in place. This causes increased tension in your feet that can lead to plantar fasciitis, knee pain and poor spinal health.
  • Ensure that you have proper arch support in your sandals.  If not, speak to one of the doctors about an inexpensive “Superfeet” insert that can be placed on the foot-bed of your sandal. Be careful about bare feet. Many of us love to kick off our shoes this time of year, however, if you are on your feet in the kitchen for long periods of time this can be hard on your joints…and they may start to talk to you. 

Flip-flops, Crocs, and other flat sandals can cause stress and strain on the arch of the foot. These types of summer shoes lack arch support, and can lead to pain in the heel, arch or ball of the foot. You do not have to completely avoid flip-flops, but do not make them your main footwear choice. Wear a supportive tennis shoe whenever possible, or choose a sandal with a sturdy arch. Never go barefoot, especially if you are prone to developing inflammation of your heel, known as plantar fasciitis.

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

May 15th, 2019

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The future or work and the workers performing it is shifting. One noticeable change is the shifting of the median age of the labor force. The number of people performing labor jobs later in life continues to increase. In 1995 the percentage of employed adults planning to work past the age of 65 was 14%, in 2017 it increased to 39%. The significant increase in the median age of the workforce can be attributed to the overall population aging. The “baby-boomer” generation that was a result of surge in birth rate between 1946 and 1964 find themselves working past the age of retirement for a number of reasons. These include maintaining/restoring financial stability, maintaining employer benefits, and the social/work family circles that come with the workplace.

Workers continuing there job later into life have unique factors that must be considered. Veteran workers have knowledge of the job that only experience can create. These workers often are more cautious and often perform job tasks more safely, but also tend to have to work closer to their physiological limitations. It becomes important that the natural effects of aging are addressed to keep these employees working optimally. That is where the Fit for Work Boomer Programs fits in.

The Fit for Work Boomer Program decreases age-related limitations and manages those limitations that may exist. Our experts create individualized and group interventions to help workers. The Fit for Work Boomer Program addresses cardiorespiratory fitness and musculoskeletal health while understanding the effects of chronic health conditions. Our experts also work with employees and employers to create appropriate workplace accommodations when necessary.

For more information contact Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc. at 1-888-THERAPY.

Dustin Eslinger, MA, LAT, ATC
Director of Athletic Training Services
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

May 8th, 2019

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Headaches can be caused by a variety of symptoms including lights, sounds, stress, or even tension through jaw and neck muscles. Headaches can lead to decreased productivity, trouble sleeping, and even a bad mood. Here are 5 exercises that can help relieve headaches caused by increased muscle tension.

  1. Upper Trap Stretch: Keeping your nose pointed straight forward tilt your head to the side, bringing your ear to your shoulder until a gentle stretch is felt on the outside part of your neck. Don’t try to bring your shoulder up to your ear. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2
    times on each side.
  2. Scalene stretch: Place 1 hand on your breast bone, to keep your shoulders down. Gently tip your head back and to the side until you feel a gentle stretch on the front/side of your neck. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2 times on each side.
  3. Levator Scapulae stretch: Gently turn your head down, like you are trying to look into your armpit until a stretch is felt. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2 times on each side.
  4. Chin Tucks: Sitting nice and tall, keeping your nose pointed straight forward, gently pull your head back (like you are trying to create a “double chin”. You should feel still on the back of your skull. Hold for 3 seconds and complete 10 repetitions.
  5. Scapular retractions: Again sitting nice and tall, gently pull your shoulders blades back to pinch them together. Try not to raises your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold for 5 seconds. Complete 10 repetitions.

If you are suffering from headaches, these are great beginning exercises to try! If these don’t seem to help or you want more information, give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you feel better!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

May 1st, 2019

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“Arthritis” is not a single disease, but instead an informal way of referring to many types of joint disease and pain. Its hard to know the true number of individuals with arthritis since many don’t seek treatment until their symptoms become severe. However, recent studies say that as many as 91 million Americans suffer from arthritic changes.

There are different risk factors that increase your risk of developing arthritis over time. These include:

Gender: Females typically suffer from arthritis more.
Genetics: Arthritis can be linked to certain genetic components, making it more common within certain families.
Nutrition: Being sure to eat a diet full of calcium and vitamin D is important for bone and joint health.
Obesity: Individuals with extra weight, tend to wear down their joints quicker due to increase force.
Occupation: High manual labor jobs with repetitive movements take a toll on our joints

There are different types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. This is a chronic condition that is caused by “wear and tear” of the cartilage. The breakdown of the cartilage in the joint can lead to pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint. There are many other types
of arthritis; including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous, Sjorgen’s syndrome, and scleroderma, just to name a few.

No matter what type of arthritis you are suffering from, it is important to diagnosis early. Research shows that there is a “window of opportunity” and if we can catch the joint changes earlier, we can help preserve joint function & prevent other serious health problems.

So where do you go for help? Physical therapy is a great place to start! Physical therapy can help by increasing the strength surrounding the affected joint which will offload the arthritic area, helping decrease pain. Movement is also key with this condition, since movement and exercise help to increase the joint fluid, lubricating the joint and making range of motion easier.

Your treatment in Physical Therapy may include:

Pain relieving modalities (hot/cold pack, electrical stimulation, ultrasound)

  • Manual therapy
  • Trigger point dry needling
  • Cupping
  • Aquatic/pool therapy
  • Functional activities
  • Balance activities
  • Paraffin wax treatments

Jenna Woelfel, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Ramsey Physical Therapy

April 24th, 2019

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Facts about Physical Activity and Health as an Older Adult

As we age, it can be harder to feel the desire to stay active. Heck, even as a young adult there are days that exercising sounds more like a chore. Below are a few facts about why it is important to stay active as we age.  

  • The nice thing about exercising, you can start anytime! Consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine to ensure safety.
  • A lifestyle balanced with aerobic activity, muscular strength and flexibility exercises helps decrease the higher risk of diseases such as diabetes, colon cancer, and hypertension.
  • Can lower and control blood pressure which reduces overall stress on the heart decreasing atherosclerotic build up.
  • It does not need to be strenuous! (walking, aquatics, cycling, etc.)
  • Keeping physically active can help decrease memory loss, problem solving skills, maintain spatial awareness. –Think of it like this – What’s good for the heart, is also good for the BRAIN!!
  • Decrease the development of balance issues. Stronger muscles help reduce the risk of falling and improve the ability to perform daily life tasks. Continue to live independently!
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety which helps improve mood and feelings of well-being.

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

This blog contains information form the American Council on Exercise and the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention)

April 17th, 2019

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A fun Easter treat that teaches children (and adults!) the real reason behind the holiday of Easter. These resurrection rolls are so easy to make and absolutely delicious! This scrumptious Easter dessert are made of marshmallows wrapped inside a crescent, which become hollow as they bake, it represents the tomb of Jesus on Easter morning. When you break them open they are empty inside! Serves: 8 rolls


  • 1 can Pillsbury Crescent Dough
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • water
  • cinnamon & sugar mixed together in a bowl


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Unroll crescent dough and separate each triangle.
  3. Have children dip marshmallow in water. Roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  4. Place marshmallow in the top of the crescent roll and roll into a crescent roll shape, then secure the sides by tucking them under and pinching them closed. (Don’t worry about how they look! They will be yummy!)
  5. Place on prepared cookie sheet and repeat with remaining 7 rolls.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes and then let the children pick a roll to open up. The marshmallow has disappeared!

Start a new tradition with your family this year and make these Resurrection Rolls. Your family will learn from them and have a delicious treat, too!

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
Physical Therapy Assistant
St. Francis Physical Therapy

April 10th, 2019

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Having availability to industrial healthcare professionals is a big asset to companies. Here are a few of the most important reasons to consider such services.

1 Return on Investment – Companies investing in industrial health services can see a 3:1 to 6:1 return on investment.

2 Safety Training – Industrial healthcare professionals can educate and train employees on workplace ergonomics to ensure they are using their bodies in the safest manner possible when performing their work tasks.

3 Lower Number of Injury Claims – Early onsite management of discomfort can decrease the likelihood of that condition progressing to become a recordable work injury.

4 Building Employee Trust – Having availability to interact with a industrial healthcare professional is a benefit to employees not only for work related conditions, but they can advise on “weekend warrior” questions.

5 Increased Productivity – Industrial healthcare professionals specialize in creating wellness and exercise programs for employees to keep them in top form. This is especially beneficial to the aging workforce.

Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc. offers a very customizable program to fit your businesses needs. Our services are designed to increase workplace safety through Education, Preparation, Wellness and Rehabilitation. We focus on injury prevention, but also have the expertise to help injured workers recover more quickly.

Learn more at

April 3rd, 2019

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It’s finally spring! According to the calendar, which living in Minnesota we know we can’t always rely on! But the warm sunshine and longer days mean we can emerge from our winter hibernation! That means we will be spending more time outside enjoying the warmer weather! Do you want to get outside and enjoy the weather but aren’t sure how?

Here are some tips to get outside and soak up the vitamin D!

Go for a Walk
Explore your neighborhood and say hello to your neighbors you haven’t seen since before Christmas! You might find a hidden gem you didn’t know was in your neighborhood!

Explore a State Park
There are over 60 state parks in MN! Check out one or many that sparks your interest here

Do Yard Work
Yard work is physically demanding, as it activates muscles throughout your entire body and you have the satisfaction of cleaning up the yard that has been hidden by snow for too long. Raking or shoveling the last of the remaining snow can burn up to 400 calories per hour. Make sure to stretch prior to completing yard work. Here’s a previous blog post from 2018 on great stretching tips prior to completing yard work

Play a Round of Golf
Golf is great workout, especially if you walk the course instead of using a cart. You get your steps and a full body body workout with swinging a club. Some courses can be expensive, but there are usually cheaper city owned/community courses that can introduce you to the sport.

Play a Round of Frisbee Golf
Frisbee golf requires less equipment than regular golf. Courses can be found at city parks and they are usually free. There are a few more elite courses that might have a small entrance fee, but most course are totally free. The only equipment required is a frisbee. These can be found at sporting good stores or even Walmart or Target for less than $10 a piece!

What is your favorite outdoor spring activity? Share in the comments below! As always if injuries occur during your favorite activity, or pain is preventing you from completing your favorite spring activity give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY to schedule your initial evaluation today!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

March 27th, 2019

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Raise your hand if you’re able to recall images of residual purple circles located on the upper back and shoulders of Michael Phelps during his debut at the 2016 summer olympics in Rio. If not, just “Google” the phrase “Phelps and cupping” and you’ll see the impact that was made on the internet 2.5 years ago. This is arguably when “cupping” first became apparent to most Americans. However, “cupping” has actually been around much longer than when Olympians popularized it a few years ago. In fact, it has been used in ancient Chinese medicine for hundreds of centuries. The technique involves placing cups of various size on the skin. A little air pump is placed on a valve to create negative pressure, which results in the suction of skin to be pulled away from underlying muscle. A common side effect of the technique is the famous purple circles that members of the US olympic teams sported in 2016. If the concept still seems foreign, realize that the purple circle side effect is the same reason that a person gets a “hickey.” Like a hickey, the bruising should go away within a couple of days.

What does “cupping” do?
Physiologically, cupping promotes an increase in blood flow to the affected area, which therefore increases the healing rate of sore or injured tissues.

But wait! Don’t we already have modalities that are thought to increase blood flow? Why can’t I just throw a hot pack on my back?

You could just kick back and try to relax with a hot pack, but there is another unique physiological response to cupping that promotes healing that traditional modalities do not offer. The medical term for cupping is “myofascial decompression.” This is because the suction created by the cup creates separation between the muscle and fascial connective tissue layers. This process is thought to break up adhesions and scar tissue and thus decrease myofascial dysfunction in a manner that other modalities cannot.

Another unique and beneficial property that cupping aka myofascial decompression allows for that a hot pack does not is that it can be combined with other therapies at the same time, essentially giving you “better bang for your buck.” Reduced muscle pain is usually experienced immediately while the cups are applied, allowing for increased participation in movement exercises while keeping the cups on. Moreover, when used correctly, cupping can even allow for neuromuscular feedback to the brain to promote healing. In other words, the brain is being re-programmed to relax one muscle (the cupped muscle) while concurrently activating the other muscles that need to be recruited. Don’t worry as much about this part, this is where your movement expert (your Physical Therapist and/or Physical Therapist Assistant) comes into the equation.

Okay, does it work?
Yes! Over the last several years, there has been a surplus of emerging clinical evidence that supports the use of cupping for various orthopedic conditions. There are several randomized control trials with outcomes such as less pain and improved range of motion, both short term and long term, when a group of individuals received myofascial decompression as an adjunct to their treatment plan than if groups had not.

Are there any people for whom cupping should not be performed?
Also, yes. Precaution should be used if a person is taking blood thinners due to concern of bleeding and cupping should not be performed on a person with hemophilia (a specific blood clotting disease). Talk to your physician or doctor of physical therapy about concerns you may have and to find out if cupping is right for you.


Holly Kramer, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

March 20th, 2019

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Every year January 1st rolls around and like most, we make some sort of resolution. Approximately 50% of those resolutions are about weight loss and by the end of February 80% of those resolutions have gone to the back burner. It is great to have goals and strive to be the best you but instead of getting stuck on “I need to lose 20 pounds in 2 months”, try making these simple life style changes to keep things running more smoothly and less stressful. Now that it is March let’s start over!

One of our fabulous physical therapist assistants spoke to us a few weeks ago about some of the changes that can be made:

  • Drink plenty of water; shoot for half your body weight in ounces.
  • Stay away from processed and fried foods.
  • Eat complex carbs, like fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Stay away from simple carbs, like sugar, cookies, candy, pop, etc. (Fact: Two medium chocolate chip cookies equal close to 400 calories. To burn 400 calories, the average person must briskly walk at least 4 miles.)
  • Get enough sleep: 7-8 hours. Sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to strong carvings and poor eating habits.
  • Eat more fatty acids, Omega 3’s. FISH! FISH! FISH! (at least twice week).
  • Eat BREAKFAST!! Skipping causes 40%fewer calories toe burned during the day.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Standing burners 20% more than sitting. Stand whenever you can!!
  • Turn down the thermostat: your body has to work harder to help keep normal body temperature, so you burn more calories.
  • Get 10 minutes of direct sunlight daily when possible.
  • Have a protein with each meal. It helps kick up our metabolism by 25% to boost up your energy level.
  • Exercise! Your muscles are your metabolism. They are the only things that burn fat for fuel in our body. Whenever you strengthen or tone a muscle, you automatically increase your metabolism to increase your ability to lose weight and create energy! On average, a sedentary person will lose about ½ a pound of muscle tissue each year from the age 35 on.
  • Control stress. Whenever stressed, your body makes and overproduction of cortisol (stress hormone). This will cause your body to produce more fat cells which your body will store away usually around the waist line.
  • Relaxation techniques: “Time out for you!” Try to incorporate things daily that make you HAPPY! Examples: reading a book, listening to music, conversation with a friend, hot bath, getting a massage, yoga, meditation, or any form of exercise!

Find a friend or partner to make these changes and work together to keep each other accountable.

Kerra Pietsch , LPTA and Brenda Cowles, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistants
Andover Physical Therapy

Janice Novak, Licensed Dietitian
American Council on Exercise: article on Metabolism, Tiffani Bachus, RDN
Obesity, Diet and Behaviour: Michael Howard, Ph. D

March 13th, 2019

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