Does Physiotherapy Help Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition caused by the breakdown of cartilage on the contact surface of a bone in the joint. Cartilage is important to provide a smooth surface for movement.  Therefore as the cartilage breakdown deteriorates, inflammation kicks in resulting in swelling and pain. The rough cartilage surface affects the fluidity of movement. The chronic joint pain, joint swelling, joint stiffness hence affects mobility and quality of living.  

Risk factors

There are many risk factors that are unmodifiable1 :

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Family history
  • Female sex
  • Race

There are also a range of risk factors that are modifiable.  Our physios are trained to identify the modifiable factors and work with you to improve symptoms as well as prevent further decline in functions. These modifiable factors1  include:

  • Previous injury

Physios at capital physiotherapy are trained to assess, diagnose and rehabilitate your injuries to ensure you achieve the best outcome.  In doing so, we are taking a proactive approach to prevent osteoarthritis.

  • Obesity

Sports physios carefully assess your current level of functions and mobility, then prescribe you with exercises of suitable level to assist with weight control.  Capital physiotherapy particularly emphasis on strength and conditioning to encourage you to live a active lifestyle.

  • Occupational overuse

Physio has the knowledge to optimise your occupational health.  We can advise on modifying your work environment or desk setup. This allows your body to efficiently perform tasks at work and hence putting less stress on your body joints.

So make an appointment with our physios at Capital Physiotherapy today to discuss any osteoarthritis related symptoms your have and start to feel stronger and better!

 

Reference:

1 March, L. M., & Bagga, H. (2004). Epidemiology of osteoarthritis in Australia. Medical journal of Australia, 180(5), S6.

 

When To Ice And Heat

When to use Ice vs Heat

Are you suffering from an injury and wonder if ice or heat can help?  When used properly, ice and heat can be therapeutic modalities that are easily accessible by all of us. A general rule is that ICE is for any injuries that are fresh, red, swollen and hot whilst HEAT is for anything chronic, stiff and achy.

Ice

Acute injuries such as a contusion (or more commonly known as a corky), a rolled ankle or a fracture generally elicits a cascade of inflammatory response.  Inflammation is our body’s natural mechanism to protect and repair, by bringing extra blood flow (hence the swelling) and sensitising the pain to stop you from using that injured structure.  Excessive inflammation, however, increases pain and reduces mobility. Ice calms down the inflammatory response by controlling the swelling and numbing the pain. Sports physios also use ice for muscle soreness post-exercises/ post-sports for pain relief.

Heat

As you may be able to picture, if heat is applied to a freshly rolled ankle, it will only bring more blood flow and make a balloon out of an already swollen ankle.  The therapeutic properties of heat to encourage circulation and relax muscles make it useful for chronic pain. Athletes with tight muscles, or any structures with tension in it find it improves elasticity of soft tissue.  It also has good pain-relieving effect on arthritic joints which is beneficial in the more senior population.

In short, use ice on anything that looks fresh and angry but heat for more long term painful structure,

If you need to see a sports physio for any advice regarding your injury or sports performance.  Feel free to contact Capital Physiotherapy, our friendly physios are more than happy to help!

Know When to Change Your Shoes

Commonly, manufacturers have advised to change your runners after 500-800 km; this is an extremely rough guide. While this figure has some use, we’re going to let you know of other signs that will help you find out if your shoes are still good to run in.

But before we get to WHEN you should change your shoes, let’s talk about WHAT makes up a shoe.

Shoes Anatomy

Your shoe is made up of an: upper, midsole and outsole. The upper can be made from cloth (like Adidas’ Primeknit or a mesh material). The midsole of a shoe is usually made of EVA, which is basically a type of foam. The outsole of the shoe, meanwhile, is made of hard rubber which helps to protect the midsole from the ground.

So now that we know what makes up a shoe, let’s talk about WHEN and, more importantly, WHY you need to change your shoes!

Changing Your Shoes

Quite a lot of people that come into our rooms at Capital Physiotherapy, would say that their shoes are fine. They would show how the outsole is minimally worn out (especially if the shoe has good quality outsole like Continental), or they would show how there are no tears in the upper. While these are good indications the shoe may be ok, you must look at the midsole.

The function of the midsole is the most important part of the shoe. The EVA foam is there to ensure that when you land on your feet, it can absorb any impact forces (so that your bones and joints don’t have to!) EVA foam can be likened to a kitchen sponge. When you squeeze a fresh sponge, you can feel the springiness as it returns to its original form. But over time, the physical properties of the sponge degrades.

Similarly, as you pound the pavement or the treadmill, the midsole of your shoe degrades over time. Here are the signs of when you should change your shoes:

  • Visible and permanent horizontal creases along the midsole of your shoes.
  • The presence of compression marks from where the insoles are.
  • You would also see the outsole ‘digging’ into the midsole.

Basically the EVA foam has been compressed from the top and bottom! The result is, with each step you take in your run, the forces are not being absorbed by your midsoles anymore; but to the joints and muscles in your feet, knees and hips. So here’s another sign to look out for: if you start to feel more aches and pain than normal, it’s probably your shoe not giving the support you require anymore.

Continuing to wear your shoe could result in muscle and tendon injuries, including tears!

Hopefully that has helped you to find out when to change your running shoe. As much as we want to use the shoe until the upper is torn and your toes are showing, or the outsole is worn out completely, the truth of the matter is that your midsole will usually be the first to go.

Come into Capital Physiotherapy and our friendly and knowledgeable physiotherapists would be happy to help you!

KIM K WORKOUT- HOW TO GET YOUR DREAM BOTTOM

Youtube Video for this blog

What are gluteal muscles?

The muscles of the gluteal region can be broadly divided into two groups:
• Superficial abductors and extenders – A group of large muscles that abduct and extend the femur. Includes the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fascia lata.
• Deep lateral rotators – A group of smaller muscles that mainly act to laterally rotate the femur. Includes the quadratus femoris, piriformis, gemellus superior, gemellus inferior and obturator internus.

Why are gluteal muscles important?

You might be concerned about how to make your bottom looks toner to have a better fit for your jeans however, there’s so much more to glutes strength than the way your pants fit! This important group of muscles extends the hip (pulls the thigh behind you), abducts the hip (your lateral movement to the side), and does internal and external rotation of hip. In short, they’re incredibly important.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, they are often weak and under work.In this first work society, spending time in front of the desk becomes an inevitable task. Long hours sitting caused our glutes to “turn off” or stop firing. This in turned caused the muscles to weaken without us realising it.
Once our glutes stop firing, our hip flexors (the muscles that pull the thigh forward) get tight and can lead to injury. When you build a stronger booty, here are a few of the benefits you can expect.

Having a strong glutes can help:

Prevent back pain: Your glutes work to stabilize the pelvis and keep integrity of movement in the hip joint. When they’re strong, your lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of your motion.

Increase athletic performance: If you want to be a stronger athlete, it’s time to start working your glutes! Stronger glutes will improve your speed, agility, and jumping skills, and quick side-to-side movements will also become much easier.

Prevent knee pain: Strong glute keep the pelvis stable from swaying side to side. When your pelvis isn’t stable, it puts a lot of pressure on your knees and ankles to compensate. When your glutes are strong, it helps prevents this naturally, keeping you safe from injury.

Exercises to help gluteal muscles strengthening

There are many exercises that help strengthen our glutes. In our video, we demonstrate the 3 basic exercises that we normally start our client with, and progress to more sports specific gluteal exercise as required.

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Shoulder Blades Sticking Out? Is it Bad?- Ask a Physio

What is scapula winging?

Scapula winging is when the borders of the scapula (shoulder blade) stick out away from the ribcage. Normally the scapula is meant to lie flat against the rib-cage. Scapula winging usually results from muscle imbalances of the muscles attaching to the scapula. Imbalances commonly occur between the pectoralis minor, upper trapezius, lower trapezius and serratus anterior muscles.

Consequences of scapula winging:

Scapula winging can result in inefficient movement of the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint. The scapula and shoulder joint are connected. If the resting position and movements of the scapula are not in optimum position, it can lead to restricted movements of the shoulder joint. This in turn can lead to impingement of the rotator cuff tendons and associated pain and dysfunction.

Weakness of the cervicothoracic postural muscles and subsequent scapula winging can also lead cause increased tension and pain in the muscles between the shoulder blades and the muscles attaching from the scapula to the neck. This in turn can lead to joint stiffness and potentially tension-headaches in more severe cases.

How can Capital Physiotherapy help reduce scapula winging?

After thorough assessment to determine which muscles are contributing to the winging scapula, our physiotherapists may use a variety of different treatment to try and relieve symptoms associated with scapula winging and reduce the winging itself.

Treatment options include:

  • Postural education and correction
  • Postural taping
  • Massage to relieve tension of tight muscles
  • Dry needling to relieve muscle pain and tightness
  • Muscle strengthening and re-training to correct muscle-imbalances causing the winging
  • EMG activation prior to strengthening to help activate muscles that have difficulty firing due to altered neuromuscular activation patterns

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HOW TO FIX GROIN/HIP PAIN? TIGHT HIP FLEXOR!

HIP FLEXOR TIGHTNESS

The role of the hip flexors:

The hip flexor muscles include the iliacus and psoas major. Together these muscles act to lift the thigh up closer to the abdomen, which is the movement known as hip flexion. Excessive tightness of the hip flexor muscles is more likely to occur in certain people. It can lead to biomechanical abnormalities and be a source of pain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People that are more prone to hip flexor tightness:

People that have occupations that involve prolonged periods of sitting are prone to hip flexor tightness as the hips are in a sustained flexed position during sitting. People that engage in regular exercise such as running and cycling are also more prone to tight hip flexors. Sportspeople playing kicking sports such as soccer and football are also more likely to experience excessive flexor tightness as the kicking motion involves repetitive hip flexion movements.

The consequences of tight hip flexors:

Tight hip flexors can be a local source of pain around the hip joint which can be present during prolonged periods of sitting or during sporting activities that utilise the hip flexor muscles. Excessive tightness of the hip flexors can change lumbo-pelvic posture as it pulls the pelvis into an anteriorly tilted position. Increased anterior pelvic tilt increases the curve within the lumbar spine (lordosis) which in turn can cause the facet joint of the lumbar spine to be compressed more and tighten up surrounding back extensor muscles such as the erector spinae; this can lead to associated lower back pain.

Tight hip flexors and altered alignment of the pelvis can also lead to over-activity of the hip flexor muscles and altered neuromuscular activity of the gluteal and core muscles which can further be a source of hip pain.

What can we do to reduce hip flexor tightness?

Our experienced physiotherapists at Capital Physiotherapy can help to reduce hip flexor tightness and associated aches and pains through various treatment options which include:

  • Massage and trigger point release
  • Gluteal and core strengthening to improve lumbo-pelvic stability
  • Neuromuscular training
  • Stretches

What can you do to reduce hip flexor tightness?

To manage tight hip flexors stretch the hip flexors daily, try and stand up every 30-60 minutes to avoid sitting for prolonged periods.

Drop down into lunge position. Tilt pelvis backwards to activate glutes. Then lean forward at the hips, keeping the back in a neutral position. A stretch should be felt near the groin/front of the thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat up to 4 times a day. Stretch at least once a day.

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What people don’t tell you about PLANK/PUSH UP/SQUAT

Correct Exercise Technique

Correct technique is crucial to ensuring the correct muscles are recruited during specific exercises. Poor technique leads to increased risk of injuries.

Correct Squat Technique:

  • Straight back
  • Knees behind the toes
  • Stick the bottom out
  • Keep heels on the ground

Common mistakes performing squats:

  • Not sticking the bottom out far enough
  • Arching the lower back
  • Slouching the upper back
  • Knees going over the toes
  • Heels coming off the ground
  • Weight on the toes rather than the heels

Correct push-up technique:

  • The head, back and bottom are aligned to form a straight line
  • When going down towards the ground, the chest should move forwards so that it lies in front of the shoulders
  • The shoulder blades should be stabilised before descending so that they don’t stick out relative to the upper back

Common mistakes performing push-ups:

  • Arching the lower back
  • Dropping the head down towards the ground
  • Shoulder blades sticking out
  • Chest going straight towards the ground rather than moving forward as the body descends

Correct plank technique:

  • Head, back and glutes should be aligned to form a horizontal line
  • Glutes and core should be engaged
  • Shoulder blades should be in line with the upper back

Common mistakes performing planks:

  • Arching the lower back
  • Head/neck drop down towards the ground
  • Shoulder blades sticking out

At Capital Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists can create a personalised workout program just for you. Capital Physiotherapy will tailor to individual needs and wants. We will make sure that the program is challenging yet safe to do.

All our therapist are highly trained, prevention is always better than cure! Get fit? Start today 🙂
Hope that through this video, viewer can gain a better understanding on tips to improve your exercise technique. If you like our video please do like, subscribe and share 🙂

5 Steps to Fixing Tennis Elbow Pain

Tennis Elbow/Lateral Epicondylitis

One of the most common causes of elbow pain is the dreaded tennis elbow or, as it’s formally known, Lateral Epicondylitis. Tennis elbow affects predominantly the wrist and finger extensors that is located on the outside part of your forearm; specifically the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis and Longus). These muscles originates from the small bone bump on the outside of your elbow, and attaches to different parts of your hands.

The usual cause of a tennis elbow is usually due to a repetitive movement; specifically gripping activities. This is the reason why it’s called tennis elbow, this involves gripping a racquet. However, there usually is an issue with the person’s hitting technique. A common mistake is to use wrist extension to hit the ball. Your physio at Capital Physiotherapy can assess you in this regard.

Other common ways you can get tennis elbow are: prolonged computer work (typing), home renovations (hammering, painting) as well as carrying/lifting objects. In some cases, tennis elbow may also be as a result of some neck issues, including stiffness and nerve root irritation.

As you can see, it is important that you seek professional help when you have elbow pain. Inappropriate care will result in worsening of your symptoms as well as delayed healing. This may result in you requiring corticosteroid injections.

Your physio at Capital Physiotherapy is well equipped to look after you. They will spend the time that it takes to ensure you are cared for and get the results you need. They will make sure all contributing factors are considered and assessed. A thorough assessment is required so that you receive the correct treatment to get you back to your activities quickly!

Hope that through this video, viewer can gain a better understanding on tips to help with your tennis elbow pain. If you like our video please do like, subscribe and share 🙂

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5 Key Areas That Runners Need to Train

The physiotherapists at Capital Physiotherapy believe that in order to be able to run efficiently with improved performance and reduce risk of injuries, the following 5 factors need to be incorporated into your regular weekly training routine.

Length of the hip flexor muscles

The hip flexor muscles can become very tight with regular running. This can lead to pain at the front of the hip and tilting the pelvis forward which can then lead to jarring of the joints of the lower back whilst running. Tight hip flexors can also lead to reduced hip extension during running which reduces efficiency of running technique. To prevent hip flexor tightness, runners should stretch the hip flexors daily and after exercise.

Strength/control of the intrinsic foot muscles

The small (intrinsic) muscles of the foot are responsible for helping the balance and stability of the foot during running. If these muscles are weak then the larger muscles around the ankles and calves can become overworked to try and stabilise the foot. Overworked muscles risk becoming tight and injured and can lead to injuries in other areas of the body, which is why it is important to ensure the small muscles of the foot are strong.

Exercises for the intrinsic foot muscles include:

Toe swapping and Doming

Control/strength of the gluteal muscles

The gluteal muscles are responsible for stabilising the hip during activities where one leg is lifted off the ground, which occurs during running. Weakness or incorrect activation of the gluteal can lead to increased stress on other areas of the lower limbs which can lead to pain and risk of injury. It is therefore important to incorporate regular gluteal strengthening exercises into your workout regime. Exercises that work the gluteal muscles include bridges, clams, squats, crab-walking and hip-abduction exercises.

Core control

The core muscles lie deep behind the rectus abdominus muscle. It acts to stabilise and protect the spine during movement. Core strength is critical for running as it helps to prevent injury to the spine and other areas of the body that may be overloaded when core strength is inadequate. Core exercises need to be performed at least 2-3 times a week to maintain core strength and endurance. Correct technique is critical for core exercises.

Other Running videos:

Principles of Natural Running with Dr. Mark Cucuzzella

Different type of running style

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Stretches For The Office Warriors

Sitting for several hours a day working away at a desk can lead to adverse effects on the body. The human body is not designed to withstand seated postures for more than an hour at a time. When seated for extended periods of time, muscles around the hips, spine and legs can become tight as they are in stationary positions and not being utilised through active movements. Muscles in the wrists can also become tight if the hands and wrists are constantly being used for activities such as typing. Muscle tightness can progressively get worse over time and lead to aches and pains. These aches and pains can then result in reduced activation the muscles which can lead to reduced muscle strength and subsequent movement impairments.

It is important to manage muscle tightness in order to prevent and/or reduce associated pain and movement limitations. At Capital Physiotherapy our physiotherapists can help reduce the aches and pains in the office-worker through targeted treatment strategies. Our physiotherapists also emphasise the importance of self-management of reducing tightness through regular stretching in the workplace. Capital physiotherapy have devised a series of stretches that can be performed regularly in the workplace to reduce muscle tightness and discomfort. Our physiotherapists recommend stretching every hour or two, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

Watch our previous Video on
5 quick and easy way to make your work station more ergonomic

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By Leah Christoforou