PTC Blog

Summer is finally in full swing! It’s the season of picnics, BBQs, trips to the beach, and other outdoor activities that revolve around food. With all of the outdoor eating activities, here are some tips to keep your food safe and everyone feeling well throughout the summer months!

  1. Keep cold foods cold. Refrigerated foods should be kept at 40°F or below. They shouldn’t sit out for more than 2 hours or more than 1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F. If leaving food out place over ice.
  2. Keep hot foods hot. Hot foods should be kept at over 140°F. Just like with cold foods, they shouldn’t sit out for more than 2 hours or more than 1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F.
  3. Keep coolers closed as much as possible. This will help maintain optimal temperature of the cooler and allow for foods to last longer. Consider bringing a separate cooler for beverages and perishables.
  4. Wash your hands. Wash your hands prior to preparing food, even when you are outside. Can use wipes or hand sanitizer prior to cooking outdoors if water isn’t available.
  5. Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep meat and raw foods securely wrapped, so they don’t contaminate cooked foods

Enjoy these outdoor food safety tips and happy barbecuing! Where is your favorite place to eat outdoors? Let us know in the comments below!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

July 10th, 2019

Posted In: General

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A young Little League baseball player is wearing a baseball uniform and holding his baseball glove while smiling and looking at the camera. He is playing on a warm summer day in Utah, USA.

Youth sports injuries have been on the rise for years, and baseball players are not immune to this trend. 1 in 5 players between the ages of 9 and 15 will have an injury each year. The good news is that only 5% of these injuries result in surgery, or being unable to continue to play baseball. More good news comes when you learn that the majority of injuries are preventable with proper training and awareness.

Many of the injuries seen in baseball are common to other youth sports and include things like:

  1. Sprains and strains
  2. Fracture
  3. Minor injuries like bruises, scrapes, abrasions, and muscle cramps

Keys to preventing these types of injuries are making sure that players have a proper base of strength and fitness to participate, adequate warm up before practice and games, and making sure that players have enough recovery time built into their schedules throughout the season.

Injuries Unique to Baseball/Softball

In addition to the common injuries above, baseball sees a large number of injuries due to overuse. These most commonly occur in the shoulder and arm, typically in a pitcher. Parents of athletes who pitch need to be aware of the risks of pitching and guidelines to minimize them. Studies have shown that pitchers who average more than 80 pitches in a game are 4x more likely to get injured. They have also found that pitching for more than 8 months out of the year, causes your injury risk to increase by 5x.

Tips to prevent pitching injuries

  1. Pick a team to pitch for -if you play on multiple teams, choose oneto pitch for and play a different position on the other to reduce the chances of injury
  2. Don’t play a position that requires a lot of throwing on your non-pitching days, like catcher
  3. Take 2 to 4 months off each year from pitching to rest your arm
  4. Keep your arm healthy and strong. The thrower’s ten was developed specifically for throwing athletes and is a good place to start.
  5. Stop pitching if you feel pain, or fatigue. Throwing through problems will change your mechanics and put you at risk for serious injury
  6. Follow the guidelines for rest days and total pitches below.

If you’re 14 or under: 

Pitches ThrownRest Days
1-20 No rest day required
21-351 rest day
36-502 rest days
51-653 rest days
66+4 rest days

15 and under can throw a bit more

Pitches ThrownRest Days
1-30 No rest day required
31-451 rest day
46-602 rest days
61-753 rest days
76+4 rest days

Finally, you should aim to keep under the maximum number of daily pitches set by Little League Baseball and Softball:

AgeMax Pitches Per Day
7-8 50

Article first published by The Private Practice Section of The American Physical Therapy Association.

July 3rd, 2019

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Working in the garden can be both physically and mentally therapeutic. For the average 150 lb. person, you can burn anywhere between 204-340 calories per hour while at the same time mentally unwinding.  It is important to keep proper body mechanics in mind while perform gardening tasks, such as raking, pulling weeds, lifting heavy bags of soil, etc. Having good body mechanics will decrease the risk of injury. 

Here are some tips to help limit that risk.

• Take 5-10 minutes before and after you garden to warm up the muscles and stretch. Stretch the major muscle groups such as hamstrings, quadriceps, back and shoulders.

 • Change your body positions frequently and take breaks.

 • Avoid repetitive bending and twisting which could increase strain on your muscles and joints. Pivot your feet or set up your workspace to limit such motions.

• Get close to your task and use a pad if kneeling. 

• When lifting, bend at the knees leading back with your hips and pull your belly button to your spine to decrease overuse of back muscles. In other words, keep your back straight and use your legs to lift and squat.

• Drink plenty of water throughout the day. 

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

June 26th, 2019

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Recent research is showing that surgery might not be needed as often as we think. A large review estimates that 10% to 20% of surgeries might be unnecessary and that in some specialties such as cardiology and orthopedics, that number might be higher. The reasons for so many unneeded surgeries being performed are varied, but the most common are that more conservative options aren’t tried first, or lack of knowledge by the operating physician.

Physicians undergo long and rigorous training programs to become surgeons, but if they don’t work hard to keep learning, their knowledge often stops growing when they leave residency. Recent research is showing that certain common surgeries aren’t any better than a placebo. Two such examples are kyphoplasty – a procedure for spinal compression fractures, and partial meniscectomy – a procedure used to treat tears of the meniscus in the knee. If a surgeon hasn’t continued to learn, they won’t know that these surgeries often don’t offer any more benefit than a non-surgical treatment and will continue to perform them.

Every surgery, even “minor” ones carry risks. These include complications from anesthesia, blood clots after surgery, delayed healing of the incision, infection, and unintended damage to nerves or other organs near the surgical site. Some of these risks cause discomfort for a period after surgery and go away, but others can result in permanent disability or even death. For some patients and conditions, surgery is a great treatment option, but with all the associated risks, when surgery can be avoided, it should be.

For musculoskeletal problems like back and joint pain, sprains, and strains, seeing your PT before a surgeon can help keep you out of the operating room and get you back to life without surgery. Studies have shown that physical therapy is just as good if not better than surgery for a multitude of conditions and carries less risk. Some examples would include rotator cuff tears, meniscal tears, spinal stenosis, low back pain, and osteoarthritis.

Physical therapy can’t fix every problem, and for some patients surgery is the best choice. However, research is showing that surgery isn’t a cure-all, and is sometimes just a very expensive and risky placebo. In most cases, starting with physical therapy is the right choice, and for many patients, PT is the only treatment necessary.

Article obtained The American Physical Therapy Association Private Practice Section June 2019 Newsletter

June 22nd, 2019

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Rock climbing is a great full body workout incorporating upper body, lower body and core muscles! For beginner climbers, you can rent the proper safety equipment required (shoes, harness, helmet, and chalk bag) at an indoor climbing facility, such as Vertical Endeavors, for relatively cheap. For more experience climbers, it gets little more expensive as climbers usually purchase their own gear. Experienced climbers can also transition to climbing outdoors! Disclaimer: I DO NOT recommend climbing outdoors unless you know what you are doing and go with someone who knows how to safely set up routes. Anyway, it’s important to strengthen between climbs to improve your form and help you reach the top of your goal route!

Here are 5 exercise to make you a better climber.

  1. Pull ups: Start by grabbing the bar from underneath, with your palms facing you. Set your shoulder blades and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Set a goal to complete 5-10 in a row!
  2. Planks: Planks are a great core strengthening exercise. Start on your elbows and toes. Contract your abdominal muscles and glutes. Maintain a neutral spine by not letting your hips drop. Hold for 1 minute.
  3. Single Leg Squats: For climbing you often need to push up from 1 leg to reach the next hold, instead of trying to pull yourself up with your arms. Standing on 1 leg, bend your knee toward the floor, sticking your bottom out lie you are sitting down in a chair. Don’t let your
    knees go past your toes. Complete 15 reps on each leg.
  4. Heel Raises (Single leg and double leg): Again you often have to push up from 1 leg, so the foot and calve muscles also have to be strong. Start with both feet on the floor as close together as possible. Keeping your legs straight raise up onto your toes and slowly lower toward the ground. You can also try them while only standing on 1 leg! Complete 20 repetitions.
  5. Push ups: With your arms slightly outside of shoulder width apart and elbows bent. Maintain a neutral spine, by tightening your abdominal muscles. Push up while maintaining a neutral spine, until elbows are straight. Slowly lower back down. Complete 15-20 repetitions.

Do you have any experience with rock climbing or would like to try it? Let us know! As always if pain is limiting you from doing things you enjoy give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY.

Happy Climbing!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

June 5th, 2019

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Whether you are currently a runner or you are thinking about getting into the sport as a fun spring activity to reach your health and cardiovascular goals, you may have to recharge your program and start slow and low to avoid injury or return to previous level of fitness.

Sometimes this can be hard to know where to start. One of the main objectives with setting up a return to running program is starting at a slow pace and building up your endurance to avoid injury and build your tolerance to increased activities. Many times we will want to push through
our pain because we believe that will get us to reach our goals quicker. A lot of times this can result in burn out and pain which can lead to dropping off your program all together.

It is important to find a realistic starting point in your fitness level and build up from there. Many times an interval training program is a good way to start. In this way you can build your cardio endurance and strength slowly with out feeling like you are pushing past your limits. The following link is a good resource to an example of an interval training program that can get you moving in the right direction. Many times it is smart to start slow, even at a brisk walk and build up your pace as your program progresses.

Return to Running Progression

Along with an interval program to slowly build up endurance and strength it is good to also strengthen the muscles surrounding the lower extremity joints and core to reduce stresses through these areas with over use. Here are a couple basic exercises to build both strength and flexibility.

-heel raises
-side laying hip abduction
-planks (forward/side)
-hamstring stretch
-quadriceps stretch
-piriformis stretch

It is also important to point out that cross training with other activities like yoga, cycling, and weight lifting is a good way to improve strength and health while also mixing up your program to avoid over use injuries. Also, don’t forget to add in a good warm up before jumping into your activities. Good blood flow and muscle extensibility before asking your muscles to preform strenuous tasks with help to reduce the chance of injury.

Lauren Rood, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Isanti Physical Therapy

May 30th, 2019

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Now that we have turned the corner and are hopefully getting away from snowflakes, it’s time for patio season. Here is a refreshing drink for adults and kids alike to enjoy all Spring and Summer long and it even has some health benefits!!

Strawberry Watermelon Cucumber Juice!

You will need:

– a juicer or blender

– 8-10 strawberries

– 1 cup of cut, cubed watermelon (remove seeds if not using a seedless watermelon)

-1/4 peeled cucumber

Place all ingredients into juicer or blender and mix well. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour then enjoy!

Health Benefits of the 3 ingredients:

– Strawberries: a great source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

  • Boost immunity function
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Helps arthritis by decreasing inflammation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Digestive health
  • Helps regulate mood from omega-3 fatty acids in the seeds

-Watermelon: high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants

  • High water content helps keep you hydrated and improve digestion
  • Improve heart health
  • Brain health from the antioxidant lycopene
  • Help relieve muscle soreness

-Cucumber: high in vitamins and minerals

  • Also with a high water content to keep you hydrated and decrease inflammation
  • Lower blood sugar

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

May 22nd, 2019

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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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