Is It Really “Bursitis?”

Diagnosed with bursitis?

I have heard many aches and pains described as “bursitis” over the years. Many of my clients consider bursitis a chronic medical condition typically saying something like this, “Oh, I’ve had hip pain for 10 years. My doctor says it’s just bursitis.”

I often wonder, does this person know what bursitis is? Are they sure that it is something you can even have for 10 straight years? Well, it depends on the circumstance for their visit to me, but every chance I get I try to set the record straight. After all, education is key. Plato said, “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.” How true, right? Especially if your bursitis is in your hip! Continue reading “Is It Really “Bursitis?””

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Ankle Twist or Sprain, No Big Deal?

What is an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain is a pretty common injury that occurs when the foot is taken beyond its normal range of motion, usually forcefully, to one side or the other. A sprain (as I discussed in my Basic Self Treatment Guide) is an overstretch or small tear of the ligament (band of tissue that holds bones together).

Ankle injuries typically occur to the outer ligaments of the foot/ankle and less commonly to the inner foot/ankle. Ankle sprains happen to thousands of people daily but, of course, are more commonly experienced by athletes playing sports that require frequent “cutting” movements, jumping, and/or when multiple players are involved. I have seen many other populations of people, however, that experience ankle sprains.

Wait it Out?

In my experience the most common response to this common injury is to just “wait it out.” “It’s just a little sprain, I thought it would get better on its own, I put ice on it right after it happened” are usually what I hear when I see these patients several weeks after their “little sprain” doesn’t improve.

Continue reading “Ankle Twist or Sprain, No Big Deal?”

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Kinesiology Taping 101

Who uses kinesiology tape?

Kinesiology taping has evolved into a widely used and accepted treatment for many people, including professional and amateur athletes. It works great for the elderly, children, and all of us everyday people too! You may think you don’t know what kinesiology tape is, but more than likely you have seen the blue, black, tan or pink strips on Olympic swimmers, volleyball players and track athletes.

In the physical therapy setting, kinesiology tape is used to assist in the treatment of many different injuries. I use it frequently on shoulders, wrists/elbows, knees, and ankles with great success. My ultimate goal is also to teach the client or family member to tape themselves. This helps them to learn to manage their pain or symptoms on their own.

Where can I find kinesiology tape?

Kinesiology tape has become available to purchase over-the-counter. It comes in 50 or more brand names! It was originally created by Kenzo Kase, a chiropractor, to influence the skin and prolong the effects of his treatments between visits. His brand of tape is called Kinesiotape or Kinesio Tex Tape. Continue reading “Kinesiology Taping 101”

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Heads Up on a Total Hip Replacement

The hip functions as a ball and socket joint. The top of the femur (thigh bone) fits into the acetabulum (part of the pelvis) to form this “ball and socket” that can move in many different planes of motion. Common signs and symptoms of the need for a total hip replacement or arthroplasty (THR or THA) are severe, limiting pain in the front of the hip or groin area or on the side of the hip, deep aching or throbbing with increased activity, pain that radiates down the side or front of the leg, weakness of the leg causing tripping or falling, walking with a limp, no relief of symptoms with conservative measures such as physical therapy for pain management and strengthening or anti-inflammatory injections and/or medications. These signs and symptoms can be as a result of joint deterioration from osteoarthritis or other issues such as trauma or avascular necrosis (loss of blood flow to the femur or “ball” of the joint). Continue reading “Heads Up on a Total Hip Replacement”

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Physical Therapy: No Age Limit, No Fun Limit!

Pediatric physical therapy was a large focus of about a year of my PT schooling. I was able to assist my classmates in treating some special little patients. And I had several experts in the field teaching me the challenging but rewarding task of treating children. Wow, what an experience!

I never thought I would ever treat kids again after school, as my heart was in orthopedic care, and that’s what was exciting to me. I’m sure many of you have experienced, as I did, the distinct sound of God laughing when I made those plans. 🙂

So, fast-forward to this “orthopedic career” that I dove into and lo and behold, little bitty feet are consistently walking or being carried through my door. It’s great. I’ve found that when you are a physical therapist in a rural area, you just treat whomever comes through the door with all the knowledge and compassion you have, and the outcomes are always as they should be. Continue reading “Physical Therapy: No Age Limit, No Fun Limit!”

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It’s Called a Rotator Cuff and SOMETIMES It Needs Repaired…

rotator cuff injury

I’ve heard the muscles of the shoulder called many things including “rotary cup or rotor cup,” but the correct term is actually rotator cuff, and it is a very commonly treated area of the body. Whether torn or sprained, pre or post-surgery, the diagnosis of rotator cuff injury comes across my desk frequently as a physical therapist.

What a rotator cuff is and what can make it hurt:

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that work to stabilize the shoulder joint when you move your arm. In other words, they hold the ball in the socket. Probably their most important job is to keep the ball of the joint from being raised up too high, causing the rotator cuff to be pinched or impinged by the top of the shoulder joint. This joint is also known as the acromion (or that bony point on the top of your shoulder). Continue reading “It’s Called a Rotator Cuff and SOMETIMES It Needs Repaired…”

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A Day in the Life of a DPT Student

This week’s blog post is brought to you by my sidekick for the last 8 weeks, Bryson Jarman. Bryson is a Doctor of Physical Therapy student on his third of four clinical rotations before graduating from physical therapy school. He has been a joy to have in my clinic and to treat alongside for the last two months. He will be greatly missed. If you or someone you know is considering PT school, he has some great information and insight to share. Enjoy!  — Kelly

Throughout my time in physical therapy school and especially now that I am finishing up my clinical rotations there have been only a few constants in my life. My friends, family and the inevitable question that all patients ask when they find out I am a student: “How long do you have to go to school to become a physical therapist?” Too which I normally reply, “Well if takes 4-5 years of undergraduate studies and then 3 years of non-stop physical therapy school.” I have found most patients are really surprised by my response, most having no idea it takes such a long time to become a physical therapist. With that being said the following is a very small sample of what physical therapy school is really like. Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a DPT Student”

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What “Engage Your Core” Actually Means

Promoting health and wellness goes beyond my profession into my everyday life. As a healthcare professional it is important that I set a good example of healthy living, so I exercise daily. I usually exercise at home and I’m frequently guided by an instructor on my TV or computer. I could create my own workouts, but I am the type of person who, like many of my patients, needs someone to push me to do more.

I listen to many of my “celebrity trainers” say “engage your core.” “Do a lunge and engage your core.” “We’re going to side plank for one minute — oh, don’t forget to engage your core!” “You should be engaging your core throughout this whole workout!” I’m sure there are many of my fellow home or gym exercise enthusiasts thinking, “Wait, what exactly does that mean!?” Thankfully, it’s not complicated, but it can easily be done incorrectly. Continue reading “What “Engage Your Core” Actually Means”

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Physical Therapy and the Treatment of Vertigo: The Cure When Your World is Spinning

Have you ever experienced severe dizziness that stopped you in your tracks? Dizziness can be the result of many different things including vestibular (inner ear), neurological (brain/spinal cord, for example, after a stroke), medical (high blood pressure, hypoglycemia), and psychogenic (anxiety, depression).

The origin of about half of all dizziness is vestibular dysfunction. Dizziness originating in the inner ear is frequently called vertigo. Vertigo is the illusion of movement of the self or the environment that most people describe as “the room is spinning.” The most common type of vertigo is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV and it generally means that the vertigo you experience is based on the position of your head. So if the room only spins when you lay down on your right side, for example, it’s probably BPPV. (Please see your doctor for an official diagnosis.) Continue reading “Physical Therapy and the Treatment of Vertigo: The Cure When Your World is Spinning”

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