PTC Blog

Happy 4th of July! The Independence Day holiday usually means days full of BBQs, sun, family and friends, and time spent on the water. With increased lake and boat activity, there is an increase in accidents and injuries. Here are 5 tips for a safe 4th of July weekend:
  1. Make sure to have enough life jackets for everyone aboard your boat. MN law requires children under 10 to wear a life jacket at all times. A life jacket must be readily accessible for all other passengers aboard boats (this includes canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards).
  2. Be aware of your surroundings. The holiday weekend increases activity on lakes and rivers. Swim, boat, and play responsibility. Watch out for swimmers and other boaters, especially in crowded areas. 
  3. Drink Responsibly. The risk of boating accidents significantly increases when alcohol is involved. The legal limit for operating a boat is the same as operating a car (Blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater). Drivers can be cited for a BWI (Boating while impaired)
  4. Apply sunscreen. This tip applies to more than just people spending time on the water. If you spend time in the sun, apply sunscreen and reapply every 2-4 hours. This will help prevent nasty sunburns!
  5. Watch the weather. Weather can change quickly, especially when on the water. If you start to see dark clouds, or if you hear thunder or see lightening get off the water immediately. 

I hope these tips help you have a safe and fun 4th of July weekend! Enjoy the sunshine and time spent with family and friends! 

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Isanti Physical Therapy

June 28th, 2017

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Now that summer is in full swing and the weather for the most part has been great, it is time to get outside and enjoy it.
There are a couple different water parks near the Andover area that we love to take advantage off that satisfy adults and kids alike.

Bunker Beach located in Bunker Hill Regional Park has many attractions to keep all ages entertained for hours!

  • The Wave Pool 
  • Twisted Towers and Splash Cove 
    • Riders must be at least 48” tall to use the water slides. Parents of small children are not allowed to take them down the water slide on their lap or catch them at the bottom of the slide. No life jackets are allowed on the water slides.
  • The Lazy Loop  
  • The Adventure Pool 
  • Plunge Pool 
  • Rocky Bay 
  • The Sand Box 
  • The Volleyball Court 


Guests Over 48″ – $15 per day
Guests Under 48″ – $12 per day
Senior Citizens (Age 62+) – $12 per day
Guests Under Age 1 – No Charge
All persons entering Bunker Beach, including spectators, are required to pay the daily fee. A paying adult (age 16+) must accompany children under the age of 12.


Guests Over 48″ – $11 per day
Guests Under 48″ – $9 per day
Senior Citizens (Age 62+) – $9 per day
You can rent a large locker for  $8 per day or a small locker for $5 per day. There is also tube rental for $3 (2 hours) or $1.50 (1 hour). Concessions are available for additional charge. To enter the regional park there is a $5 parking fee or an annual permit of $25 good for 12 months from date of purchase. 
Bunker Beach also offers the Cardio Club! Go walk against the Lazy River current for a low impact workout. Water shoes are recommended.
Free to regular season pass holders. 
Cardio Club Season Pass – $40
Cardio Club Hours
June 17-August 27:
Tuesday & Thursday: 7:15 pm-8:15 pm
Monday & Wednesday: 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Saturday & Sunday: 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Visit their website for more information regarding the whole complex!
Another fantastic place to go is the Anoka Aquatic Center!
  •     12′ Climbing Wall 
  •     200’ waterslide
  •     1 meter diving board
  •     Adventure walk
  •     Zero-depth entry
  •     Huge shallow play area
  •     Slide for youth under 42” tall
  •     Water play structure with sprays & fountains
  •     Large concession stand
  •     Sand volleyball court
  •     5 large shade umbrellas
  •     Over 250 lounge chairs
  •     Picnic area and playground adjacent to the facility in George Green Park 
Regular Season    June 9 – August 27
Monday – Thursday   12 – 7 p.m.
Friday – Sunday   11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Open swim times are weather dependent.
Air temperature must be at least 66 degrees for the pool to open for open swim. 

Adults and Youth over 42”   $7.00
Youth under 42”     $5.00 
Senior’s (62+ years)   $5.00 
Children Under 1 year      Free
Twilight Discount   $1.00 off
all admission rates
Twilight discount applied at 4 p.m. on days when open swim ends at 7 p.m.
and applied at 5 p.m. on the days when open swim ends at 8 p.m.
 *Daily Admission rates include sales tax
Open Swim Rules…
  • Children 6 years of age and under (including all children under 42″ tall) must have an adult in the water with them at all times. The zero depth area increases in depth from 0″ to 51″ at its deepest point.  
  • Coast Guard approved life jackets are the only flotation devices allowed. The individual wearing the life jacket must have an adult in the water with them at all times. There will be a stamp on the inside of the life jacket indicating that is is “Coast Guard Approved” and will have a rating of Type I – V.  
  • Everyone planning to swim must wear a swim suit. 
Lap Swim
Note: There is always 1 lap lane (width of deep pool) available during open swim. This lap lane is also used by lifeguards to administer deep-end/diving board swim tests during open swim. Please share the lane. 
1 – 2 lap lanes (25-yards) will be available from 8:00 a.m. – 8:55 a.m. Monday – Thursday during the weeks that swim lessons occur . Lap swim will NOT be available on Friday or during weeks when there are no morning swim lessons. Please refer to the swim lesson schedule for dates. Lap swimmers must be season pass holders. There is no drop in fee established for lap swim.
 Also visit their website for more details!
I hope these are helpful and you get out and ENJOY the summer!!
Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Andover Physical Therapy 

June 22nd, 2017

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Beyond the S’mores:Tasty and Healthy Recipes 
Around the Campfire

          Everyone loves Summer camping, right? I sure am psyched about it..especially the yummy treats we cook up by the campfire. Are you a campfire fan looking for an alternative to s’mores??? If so, pull out your sleeping bag and join us on a camping trip that’s full of deliciousness. Here are a few healthy treats to take s’mores beyond the end of Summer without the guilt. 
Baked Apple Bliss
Ingredients you’ll need: Apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and aluminum foil.
Instructions:Remove the apple core and place apple on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the apple. Fill the core cavity with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Wrap the foil around the apple and place near coals. Check and turn periodically, done when soft. 
Tortilla Banana Boat
Ingredients you’ll need:Flour tortilla shells, bananas, chocolate chips, peanut butter, aluminum foil.
Instructions:Peel banana, cut it in half lengthwise and set in middle of tortilla shell. Spread with peanut butter and top with chocolate chips. Wrap in foil and bake near coals. Done when banana softens to your liking. 

Hope you enjoy these treats as much as I do!!
We would like to know your favorite treats by the campfire (other than s’mores please).  Please share with us below!

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA 

June 16th, 2017

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It’s officially summer time! One of the first things we like to kick off summer to is the topic of proper hydration. We all know being hydrated is good for us – but I don’t think we all realize JUST how beneficial it really is to be hydrated! 

Below are some of the key benefits of being hydrated: 
  • Keeps your body cool. This is especially helpful in the summer when we are sweating and burning more calories. We need to replace this water amount and THEN some to stay on top of our game. 
  • Helps muscles and joints heal faster and work more efficiently. This is very helpful especially if you have had an injury you are trying to recover from. If your muscles do not have the proper hydration, they will be struggling to recover and it will take a lot longer vs. if you were to be getting adequate hydration. 
  • Cleanses toxins from your body. Another GREAT one. This is very beneficial when you pick up a virus like a cold, studies have shown drinking more water has the ability to shorten the duration of your illness.. Flush it out! This also ties into helping your muscles – say you get a massage or are doing PT, the reason we push each and every patient to push fluids after each appointment is when your muscles are worked out, toxins build up and it is important to flush these toxins out to keep your muscles moving freely. 
  • Gives you energy! I mean really, who in their right mind wants to feel fatigued all day?! 
  • Helps keep your skin hydrated and healthy! 
  • Slows the aging process & helps keep weight off… BONUS!!! 
We all want to be hydrated but…. Water is so BORING! 

…… Right? Wrong! There are so many ways to increase your water intake that are DELICIOUS! Aside from getting hydrated from beverages themselves- here is a chart of the highest water content fruits & veggies!Image result for foods with most water content
Image result for urine color chart

So, just how much water should we be drinking? 
As a general rule of thumb, about half your body weight in oz. For example, if you weigh 135 lbs – try and drink at least 68 oz of water a day. However, because everyones body is different, listen to what your body is telling you. You will be able to tell if you’re drinking enough water or need more. Another way to tell if you are drinking enough water is to monitor your urine color throughout the day. Take a look at the chart to the right, it is a great reference to approximately what shows hydrated and what is not.  

Along with eating foods with an already high water content, you can also make water itself more flavorful. Below are some fun ideas:
  • Infuse your water with fruit! Fill a jug with water and some sliced fruit (like apples, citrus, berries or melons), throw in some ice and refrigerate overnight. My personal favorite is to mix slices of granny smith apples along with a stick of cinnamon and let that sit overnight. Tastes delicious, helps you stay hydrated & is also GOOD for you! 
  • Freeze juice into ice cubes and use in your water for added flavor as they slowly melt. You can also freeze fruit and use them as ice cubes! 
  • Use herbs – you can mix in mint or crushed basil for a great flavor kick!

There are SO many options to make your water more flavorful and FUN! What are your favorites?? Let us know in the comments section below for a chance to win a FREE Physical Therapy Consultants water  tumbler!!!  

Alyssa Hart
Clinic Coordinator
Physical Therapy Consultants 

June 5th, 2017

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Exercise during Pregnancy

Staying active throughout pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. Women’s bodies go through many physical and emotional changes during pregnancy and keeping a regular exercise routine may assist you in coping with these changes. There are many benefits to continuing or starting a program during pregnancy:

  • ·         Boost your energy.
  • ·         Sleep better.
  • ·         Reduce pregnancy discomfort- low back pain, swelling in legs, restless leg syndrome, etc.
  • ·         Reduce stress.
  • ·         Improve self image.
  • ·         Get your body back quicker after childbirth.

If you were physically active before becoming pregnant, you should be able to continue your routine in moderation, making accommodations for your growing body. If you have never exercised before, you can safely start a program after consulting with your doctor.
Low impact exercises are the safest during pregnancy such as swimming, walking, and stationary bicycling. Performing light weight training exercises will also keep your muscles tone and strong to maintain good posture to accommodate for your growing front side. Following these guidelines will help you and your baby stay safe during exercise.

  • ·         Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after to keep your body well hydrated.
  • ·         Listen to your body. If you cannot hold a conversation while exercising you may be pushing yourself to hard. Your heartbeat should not exceed 140 beats per minute.
  • ·         Warm up and cool down approximately 5-10 minutes.
  • ·         Do not exercise in hot, humid weather.
  • ·         Avoid lying on your back, especially in second and third trimesters due to extra pressure on the Vena cava (the vein that returns blood to your heart.)
  • ·         Avoid bouncy, jerky movements which can cause you to become unbalanced. (Your center of gravity is constantly changing as your baby grows.)

Although exercise is important and can be beneficial during pregnancy, it needs to be monitored closely. If you start experiencing any nausea, dizziness, sudden changes in body temperature, shortness of breath, swelling in calves, vaginal bleeding, sharp pains in abdomen and chest, fluid leaking and blurred vision, stop exercising immediately. Remember to consult with your doctor about starting an exercise routine even if you have been active prior to pregnancy.

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA, CFNC
Andover Physical Therapy 

May 17th, 2017

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No-Bake Cheesecake Flag Cake

      American holidays such as Memorial Day and 4th of July are the perfect time to make easy and delicious red, white and blue desserts. You can make this lovely, sweet treat below without turning on the oven. Besides the taste and mousse like texture, your guests will enjoy the stars and stripes provided by the fresh blueberries and strawberries. 
      1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and melted butter in a bowl until mixture is thoroughly combined and crumbly. 

       2. Transfer crust mixture to a 9×11-inch baking dish. Press crust into bottom of dish until smooth and even. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

       3. Mix cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract into mixture.

      4. Whisk 1/3 cup sugar into whipping cream in a separate metal or glass bowl until the cream is fluffy and forms soft peaks. Add whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently whisk until filling is soft, fluffy, and well combined. 

     5. Spoon filling on top of the graham cracker crust, spreading and smoothing the top. Tap the pan gently on a work surface several times to settle the crust and filling. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 3 hours. 

     6. Starting at the bottom long edge of the cake, arrange strawberry halves in a horizontal line with the pointed bottoms of the strawberry halves pointing to the right. Start a second stripe of strawberry halves at the top right of the cake, arranging strawberries with the bottoms pointing right in a line stretching about 2/3 of the length of the cake. 
      7. Continue to make strawberry stripes, starting about 3/4 inch up from the bottom 
stripe and laying down 3 more stripes stretching the full length of the cake. Make 1 more line of strawberries beneath the short stripe to leave a square space for the blue field of stars. 

      8. Lay a line of blueberries with the blossom ends pointing up in the upper left square 
       space. Continue to lay down blueberries in lines, berries touching the previous line, 
      until the square is filled with blueberries. Cut cake into squares to serve. 
      Hope you all enjoy this festive treat! We would love to hear what your favorite American 
     holiday dessert is. Please share below!

    Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA


May 15th, 2017

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I love this time of year for many reasons, but one of them is it is peak time for strawberry rhubarb. My all favorite spring time dessert is strawberry rhubarb crisp, and it’s SO easy to make! I will post my favorite recipe below!

Image result for strawberry rhubarb crisp
  •   4 cups rhubarb cut into approximately 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of quick cooking tapioca 


  • 2/3 cup of flower
  • 1/2 cup of quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup of chopped nuts 
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of butter 


  • Heat oven to 350. 
  • Mix strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and tapioca and spread in a lightly greased 8×8 baking dish.
  • Combine flour, oats, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Mix butter in and sprinkle on top of the filling. 
  • Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. 
  • ENJOY!!            

***you can also top it with vanilla ice cream, pairs together perfectly while still warm!! 

Let me know what you think, or if you have a different way of preparing this I would love to hear it!! Happy Spring!! 
Alyssa Hart 
Clinic Coordinator 
Physical Therapy Consultants 

May 9th, 2017

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What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of physical therapy?? 
I hear so many people tell me that physical therapy is “just exercise”. In fact, recently I was speaking to a group of people (some who had no idea what I did for a living)… one woman, lets refer to her as Sarah, was talking about how her back was really bothering her and her doctor wanted her to go to physical therapy. I was so proud to hear the suggestion from the doctor but before I could get a word out, the next statement from her was “I don’t want to go to therapy, all they are going to make me do is just exercise” 
HALT!!! PUT ON THE BRAKES!! One of my friends made eye contact with me… she knew I was going to take this opportunity to provide some education to Sarah. 
Me: “Have you ever been to physical therapy before?”
Sarah:  “No, but I know a lot of people who have”
Me: “Why do you think they just make you exercise?” 
Sarah: “Because my dad went to physical therapy after his knee replacement and that’s all they made him do”
Me: “Would you believe me if I told you that not all physical therapy providers and facilities are alike?”
Sarah: “yeah, I suppose that would make sense” 
This now opened the door to speak more about more openly about physical therapy. I told Sarah that I was a Physical Therapist Assistant and have been working in the field for 8 years. We talked about her back pain and how she was limited. She talked about how picking up her baby from the crib was painful and how it was harder for her to clean the house because some days her back would be hurting. I knew that PT could definitely help Sarah overcome some of those challenges and get her feeling better quick!
To make a long story short, I spoke specifically to Sarah about what PT can do for her and that the intervention would most definitely include more than “just exercise”. Because physical therapy is so much more than “exercise”. We are blessed at our facilities to have many tools in our tool box when it comes to treatment interventions for our patients. 
What does that include?? (I am so glad you asked!)
-Manual Therapy (massage, muscle energy techniques, joint mobilizations etc)
-Modalities for pain relief (Ultrasound, TENS, electrical stimulation, hot packs, cold pack, light therapy etc)
-Aquatic Therapy (performing exercises in a pool with decrease impact on the joints)
-Trigger Point Dry Needling (this is not as scary as it sounds!) 
-Functional Strengthening
-Traction for the low back and neck
Seriously, I feel like I could go on and on. Now, not every one of these interventions is appropriate for every diagnosis but the point is, there is a lot more to PT than “just exercise”. The beauty of physical therapy is that we have many tools to help an individual reach their goals and get back to the life they want to live. 
I should also mention that I am happy to report that “Sarah” did decide to go to physical therapy and is well on her way to feeling better! 
Now hopefully when you think of PT, you will remember that physical therapy is really about using many tools/interventions (exercise included) to help get an individual back to feeling their best and doing the things they enjoy doing. We are more than “just exercise”. 

Share your PT experiences with us! We would love to hear from you! 

Jackie Giese, LPTA 
Physical Therapy Consultants

April 27th, 2017

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Bring on Spring!!

Spring is finally here, which for my family means more cooking outdoors! Don’t get me wrong, I love the comfort food Winter brings! Soups, chili’s and casseroles, YUM! But, there is something about having more fresh fruit and vegetables available that you just can’t beat. Add the grill and some sunshine to that and now we are talking about a great way to spend time with family! 

I recently did a talk at the local Snap Fitness about basic nutrition and I wanted to share some of the information with you all. Starting to eat healthier anytime of year is fantastic but having more foods available in the Spring can make it much easier. 

Let’s start with the group that gets a bad rep. CARBOHYDRTES!! Eating carbs is not only ok to do, but encouraged! It is just picking the right ones.  Aim for more whole grains, brown rice, whole fruits and vegetables. 

Carbohydrates includes sugars, starches and fibers.

They are Simple and Complex

  • Simple- quick energy sources: table sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, etc.
  • Complex- derived from plants and contains both starch and fiber: vegetables, potatoes, grains and fruits.
  • Adults recommended to consume between 45%-65% of daily calories.

Fiber is a part of the carbohydrate family that cannot be digested but it is important to keep the digestive tract healthy.
Dietary Fiber: Soluble or Insoluble: found in beans, whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

  • Soluble- absorbs water, slows nutrient absorption and helps reduce blood cholesterol levels.
  • Insoluble- not broken down and adds bulk to intestinal contents.
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.
  • Recommended for Women 19-50 y/o 25 grams, Men 19-50 y/o 38 grams.

Which now brings me to lipids or fats. A diet complete with healthy fats such as avocado, olives, nuts and fish oils are great. Fats are made up of saturated and unsaturated fats. 

  • Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as meat, milk and cheeses. Some are found in plant products such as coconut and palm oils. They are used in foods (crackers, cereals, dressings, cookies) to create longer shelf life. Diets high in saturated fats are associated with risk of heart disease. 
  • There are a few types of unsaturated fats: Monounsaturatred fatty acids (MUFA) which include olive, peanut, and canola oils. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which include corn, soybean, and safflower oils. Diets high in these types of fats are associated with reducing the risk of heart disease. Trans fats are more problematic, in which they are “super whipped” changing them from liquid to solid form at room temperature. They are called hydrogenated fats when looking at food labels.
  • Suggested daily intake for adults is between 20-35% of total calories.

Last but not least comes protein. Adding lean meats, eggs, nuts, greek yogurts, beans, etc. is a nice way to get a well balanced diet.

  • Protein is used for building, maintaining, and repairing muscles, skin and blood.
  • 10-20% of total calories should come from protein for sedentary individuals and 25-30% for athletes or physically active individuals.
  • 40 grams per day for females, 55-70 grams per day for males.
The FDA has more transitioned from using the food pyramid to using Choose MyPlate to help with portion control. 

My favorite Spring and Summer meal is grilled cod fish with grilled veggies on the side and maybe some brown rice. It’s light with great flavor and filling!! 

What is your favorite meal come the Spring time?

 Kerra Pietsch, LPTA, CFNC
Andover Physical Therapy 

April 17th, 2017

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Happy Rainy Days 
         Spring is here and Minnesotans are better prepared than most for whatever weather change comes our way. Here are a few suggestions of where to take the kids the next time mother nature has a change of heart. 
           Head to the Science Museum in St.Paul where you and your family can explore through hands on exhibits and watch films projected onto a 90 foot screen at the Omnitheatre.

          Take a tour through the Sea Life Aquarium at the Mall of America where you can experience the underwater tunnel exhibit and see thousands of sea creatures. The aquarium has several different adventures including snorkeling with the fish and behind the scenes tours. 

         Plan a trip to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre where you can enjoy a musical performance while being served a table side dinner. “Grease” returns to the main stage this year for the first time in a decade. 
       Minnesota is home to The Walker Art Center’s “Sculpture Garden” . The Sculpture Garden is a top destination for visitors as it is home to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. You can take a tour around the 11 acre site and visit 40 sculptures created by notable modern artists.

       When the clouds roll in and the downpour starts, try one of these fun activities rather than staying in the house. They’re all guaranteed to provide some fun for the whole family. Make those rainy days into sunny days!! 
Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA 
St.Francis Physical Therapy 

April 10th, 2017

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