Hot tips for summer running

July 21, 2014

As the weather heats up this summer, so does marathon training. Be sure to use caution when running in the heat. High temperatures can lead to overheating and dehydration—two problems known to harm health and performance.

According to a recent study in the Journal of Athletic Training, runners who began a 12K race on an 80-degree day already dehydrated completed the race about two and a half minutes slower than when they ran fully hydrated.

Kate ReicherDehydration occurs when too many fluids are lost through sweat and/or not drinking enough. In the process of sweating, water and electrolytes are lost and, after prolonged periods of time, body functions are compromised. Common signs of dehydration include thirst, headache, confusion and abnormal fatigue.

Overheating occurs when your body is unable to cool itself due to the amount of water evaporating from your skin. The most common symptoms of overheating are headaches, fainting, dizziness, and after long periods of time, heat stroke.

According to Denise Smith, Accelerated Physical Therapy running specialist, dehydration and overheating can cause serious symptoms, but simple adjustments to your training schedule can help you avoid these conditions altogether.

She suggests these five tips for hot weather running:

  • Run at the right time–Even at the hottest time of the year, temperatures are coolest in the morning and at night when the sun’s rays aren’t as strong.
  • Wear appropriate clothing–Running gear that is a light color, lightweight and is breathable will help cool you down significantly. Light colors absorb less heat and clothes with vents or mesh will allow for air-flow and breezes to decrease your body temperature.
  • Consume sports drinks–In high temperatures, electrolytes are so crucial and just drinking water isn’t enough. Many sports drinks increase your water-absorption rate and replace the electrolytes lost through sweat. Drink a sports drink about one hour before your run to fill your body’s electrolyte stores. Always drink again after you run.
  • Be smart–It can take some time for bodies to fully acclimate to the high temperatures and humidity. Instead of starting your training with high intensity runs, take your time and gradually increase the length and speed of your runs.
  • Embrace the breeze–If possible, begin your run going with the breeze and finish your run against it. The wind will cool you down when you are running into it, so use that to your advantage when you are at your hardest part of the run… the end.

If you would like to discuss your summer training program or are experiencing pain that concerns you, call Accelerated Physical Therapy at 877-97-REHAB and ask for a running specialist. We can schedule you for an appointment within 48 hours at your nearest Accelerated location.


New Techniques Give Runners a Leg Up

July 3, 2014

Running is a great way to stay healthy, but too much running can lead to overuse injuries. A recent study by Harvard University shows that up to 74 percent of middle and long distance runners sustain injuries each year.

The Accelerated running team is comprised of experts who understand the biomechanics of running and are available to help runners who have sustained an injury and want to get back in the race. The team also works with runners who want to prevent an injury from occurring. They are certified to teach the best methods for increasing speed while remaining injury-free.

Here are some new techniques and methods Accelerated physical therapists are using to help patients accomplish their goals:

IMG_1102 edittedThe Pose Method®. Accelerated Pose Method-certified physical therapists enjoy working with runners who, after adopting this new technique, can experience greater efficiency while running—and fewer experience injuries.

Developed by three-time Olympic running coach Dr. Nicholas Romanov, the Pose Method uses gravity, key body poses and body weight to increase efficiency. It consists of three elements: “Pose – Fall – Pull” and uses gravity as the primary force for forward movement instead of muscular energy.

Guided by an Accelerated physical therapist certified in the Pose Method, runners learn how to adjust their body position and use gravity to conserve energy and increase speed. This is typically done in in an Accelerated center, but can also be taught outdoors. The Sproing® cardio/strength training machine is often incorporated into the evaluation, which includes video analysis of the patient’s gait and form.

The Pose Method emphasizes a whole body pose, which vertically aligns shoulders, hips and ankles with the support leg, while standing on the ball of the foot. The runner then changes the pose from one leg to the other by falling forward and allowing gravity to do the work. The support foot is pulled from the ground with efficient use of the hamstring, while the other foot drops down freely, in a change of support. This creates forward movement, with the least amount of energy use and effort. This simple sequence of movements: the fall and the pull, while staying in the pose, is the essence of this technique.

In addition to increasing efficiency, the Pose Method can help reduce the incidence of some of the most common running injuries.

Sproing is the first soft-platform training machine that absorbs impact as runners train. The machine offers the softness of an elliptical and the workout of a treadmill. Using bungee resistance instead of a moving platform, Sproing has two interchangeable platform surfaces—one filled with air for easier training and the other filled with special high-density foam for an intense beach-surface workout. These platform types allow for customized workouts consisting of cardio, strength and power movements.

Sproing is great for rehabbing an injury, endurance training or full-body workouts. Specifically, it is designed to:

-       Allow athletes to train at various speeds

-       Improve running form and cadence

-       Help prevent injuries with its low impact technology

-       Unload force on the lower body

-       Improve strength, balance and stability

-       Provide handrails and harness to help patients feel more comfortable

 

Alter G®*. The Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill is great for runners with lower body injuries and patients with neurologic conditions alike because its gravity-altering mechanism customizes the force with which your feet strike the ground. It can help you:

-       Walk or run with no pain at a normal gait

-       Reduce stress on joints and injured areas of the lower body

-       Give you confidence and ability to walk or run longer—and recover faster with less pain

*This is only available now in the Accelerated North Naperville (115 E. Ogden Avenue, Naperville) location.

In addition, Accelerated running specialists offer training packages for runners of all levels whose goals may include: running faster, running longer and running without pain. The packages include a Runner’s Evaluation.

Runner’s Evaluation. This assessment tool helps identify mechanical deficits in runners of all ages and skills. It includes a full gait analysis by a licensed physical therapist trained to identify a runner’s flexibility, range of motion, muscular strength and running pattern. It can also detect whether the patient has injury-prone areas and/or gait deficits that can be corrected through individualized training and exercise programs.

Using state-of-the-art video analysis software, a physical therapist will videotape a patient running to identify his/her physical condition and movement dysfunction during activity. Each runner receives a copy of his or her video analysis, making it easier to visualize mechanics and follow the physical therapist’s instructions.

The lessons include a combination of a musculoskeletal screen, multiple video analyses and varied drills and exercises that will address deficits found.

The running packages are in four-week increments and can be completed in large or small groups, as well as in one-on-one training. Performance in any sport that involves running will benefit from this program.

Other therapies used to treat injured runners are:

Dry Needling

Astym®

Graston Technique®

FMS

For more information on any of these treatments or to schedule an appointment with an Accelerated running specialist, please call 877-97-REHAB.

To download a free brochure with running injury prevention tips, click here.


TIPS TO ALLEVIATE MIGRAINE AND HEADACHE PAIN

June 24, 2014

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month – a great time to discuss headaches and how simple lifestyle changes and physical therapy can help.

Migraines, often considered to be the most debilitating of all headaches, are believed to affect approximately 37 million people in the U.S. Sufferers frequently live in fear of the next headache onset, experience a disrupted sense of well-being, have a restricted ability to work and can develop family and other relationship problems.

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For relief, many turn to over-the-counter pain medication, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin while others utilize prescription medication. However, if taken too often – or incorrectly – for prolonged periods of time, these medications can sometimes lead to ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and medication-overuse headaches.

Accelerated Rehabilitation encourages headache sufferers to visit their physician and consider physical therapy as an integral part of treatment.

“We see many headache patients in our centers,” explains Denise Schneider, PT, head of the Accelerated headache program. “As specially-trained physical therapists, we are very successful in evaluating and treating headaches and, in some cases, reducing the pain to a point where medical intervention is no longer required.”

Physical therapy can sometimes enhance and prolong the pain-reducing effects of pharmaceuticals. Also, medication sometimes does not resolve headaches caused by mechanical or soft tissue dysfunction or postural deficits.

“There are specific techniques we use, including soft tissue massage, head/space orientation exercises, deep neck muscle exercises, manual traction and joint-specific mobilizations that are highly beneficial,” Schneider explains.

See one headache patient’s story here.

Schneider offers these tips for migraine and other headache sufferers to try at home:

  • Eat regular meals
  • Get regular sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid known triggers such as foods and smells
  • Use a good pillow
  • Try hot showers or heating pad
  • Try cold pack or ice
  • Watch your posture
  • Drink plenty of water

Schneider recognizes that physical therapy can’t treat all headaches. “It has to have a musculo-skeletal or mechanical component,” she explains. This is also why she recommends a medical evaluation first to rule out causes that may require medical intervention, such as a tumor, vascular disease or infection.

 

If you would like to schedule an Accelerated Free Injury Screen* to discuss your headache, call 877-97-REHAB.

*Not for federally-funded payers.


The Alter G and Runners

May 14, 2014

Whether you’re excited to lace up your track shoes or you’re apathetic about that first step toward running a mile, there are several reasons to train on the Alter G.

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Accelerated Naperville Physical Therapist and avid runner, Shilpi Havron, has several reasons for why she uses the Alter G. “When I got back from a trip in the Smoky Mountains I had sustained a slight fracture in my right foot from the running I had done in the high topographical prominence. I wanted to keep running but I could not tolerate running with my full bodyweight. I spoke with my doctor and he said it would be good to run with fewer loads, like in water.” But unless you’re Patrick Swayze or Jennifer Grey, you probably don’t want to jump into a pond to train and condition. “So I ran in the Alter G” said Shilpi “and I was able to keep my mileage at 40+ miles per week without having any pain and without slowing down my recovery process” because no one put’s Shilpi in the corner.

Since recovering, Shilpi has used the Alter G for improving her runs as well as training for speed. For every 10% of body load that you remove when in the Alter G you can increase the speed by .6 MPH to get the equivalent workout. So basically, you can train just as hard, without increasing pain from bodyweight impact. “I have been working on improving my speed and then slowly adding back bodyweight to be able to perform at my competitive level” said Shilpi about her current training regiment on the Alter G “I can run faster and I can do more mileage per week.”

For more information or to check out the Alter G at our Accelerated Naperville North Center, stop in at 115 E Ogden Ave., Ste. 127,Naperville, IL 60563 or give Shilpi a call at 630-637-0144.

 

 


Is Tommy John surgery becoming an epidemic?

May 6, 2014

In 1974, pitcher Tommy John was having a phenomenal season helping the Dodgers win their first National League pennant in eight years. Before he was able to finish the season, he tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), now referred to as the ‘Tommy John’ ligament. Thanks to the innovative work of the late Dr. Frank Jobe who reconstructed this ligament on the inside of his elbow, Tommy John was able to return to pitching at the highest level just two seasons later. Following his elbow repair, Tommy John astoundingly won another 164 games over the next 15 years following his surgery.

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Just since the end of the 2013 MLB season, there have been at least twenty Major League pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. The first month of the 2014 season has already generated 14. Not only is this injury affecting the majors, but every year more and more youth and high school players are suffering UCL injuries and requiring extensive rehabilitation to return to throwing.

It’s time to ask: what is causing these injuries in youth throwers and how do we prevent them?

Personally, I think that there are two major factors that lead to elbow injuries in young baseball players. First is the volume that young pitchers throw all throughout the year and secondly is the mechanics with which they are throwing. Every year, more throwing academies and field houses open up in cold weather climates, allowing pitchers to throw year round. When the cold Chicago winter sets in, for example, players no longer have to stop throwing and play another sport, they simply move inside and continue to pitch. Many athletes now pitch on two or possibly three different teams at one time. This phenomenon results in young pitchers increasing their weekly pitch counts above the acceptable limits. There are plenty of research studies which show the negative effects of overuse caused by pitching above recommended counts and the harmful effects of pitching through fatigue.

Many players hear that every pitch has enough force to tear their Tommy John ligament and that is true. If it wasn’t for the muscles, soft tissues and bones around the elbow joint, this fragile ligament would tear with just one pitch. When a player experiences mechanical flaws in the pitching motion, these extreme forces placed on the ‘at risk’ elbow increase substantially.

Therefore, ensuring that pitchers throw with proper mechanics at a young age is essential in their development and in reducing injury risk. Proper mechanics allow pitchers to optimize the kinetic chain, allows their legs and core to do more work and reduces the demands on the shoulder and elbow tissues. As a sports medicine rehabilitation specialist focusing on the overhead athlete, I suggest a slow motion video analysis for any youth pitcher who decides to pitch competitively. Such an analysis performed by a sports biomechanical expert allows for an all encompassing view of the throwing mechanics with an eye towards injury prevention thereby ensuring that young pitchers are not putting themselves in greater danger for severe injuries.

The professionals at Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers are dedicated to preventing these injuries with our Overhead Throwing Program Video Analysis. Over the past year, Accelerated experts have analyzed the mechanics of over 400 youth pitchers in the Chicagoland area, identifying flaws, and when needed, provided corrective drills and instruction to coaches, parents and others on the medical team in order to help these young throwers break bad habits and reduce their risk of long-term severe injuries. As sports medicine specialists, our goal is to identify those young pitchers that are at risk and prevent these injuries before they occur.

Tommy John surgery is a highly involved invasive procedure that requires extensive rehabilitation. In fact, the recovery after surgery takes least 12 months before one can resume competitive pitching. In order to reduce the risk of severe injuries and surgery, we advocate taking as many preventive measures as possible so that pitching is safe and fun for children of all ages and skill levels.

Some suggestions I have for all throwers are:

 

  • Do not throw more than 9 months a year
  • Do not throw through pain or fatigue
  • Abide by pitch counts
  • Have a sports medicine specialist assess at your pitching mechanics

 

Scheduling a video analysis to analyze your biomechanics is easier than you may think. Simply call to schedule it at a center convenient to you: 312.523.4064. A trained overhead throwing specialist will help keep your player safe and on the mound.

 

Terrance Sgroi, PT, DPT, MTC

Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers

 


YOUTH BASEBALL PLAYERS: WHAT IS TOO MUCH THROWING

April 16, 2014

You may have played Little League baseball as a kid, and/or taken part in summer pick-up games with neighborhood friends. Those were the days before travel teams, pitching coaches, year-round training . . . and sky-rocketing college tuition.

As parents today, the last thing on our minds is the list of injuries young athletes are susceptible to from playing too much baseball. After all, Little League officials have developed age-appropriate pitch counts and rest guidelines. So, there’s nothing to worry about, right?

Wrong. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 20 percent of children ages 8 to 12 and 45 percent of 13 to14 year-olds experience arm pain during a single baseball season.

Frequent overhand throwing can put tremendous stress on the shoulder and elbow, leading to debilitating injuries later in life. These injuries include tears of the SLAP, bicep and/or rotator cuff, as well as bicep tendonitis, shoulder impingement and instability. Typically, these painful conditions stem from improper mechanics and/or overuse.

Experts agree that a young player can greatly reduce the chance of elbow and shoulder injuries by learning the proper mechanics of an overhead throw.

Terrance Sgroi, a former high school baseball player and co-director of the Accelerated Overhead Throwing Program, explains, “A thrower should never play with pain. In fact, he or she should engage in a strengthening program before the baseball season starts. It’s also advisable to take a two-to-three month break from throwing each year to play other sports.”

Sgroi has developed the Overhead Throwing Program to evaluate and correct the pitching and throwing biomechanics of young players. The program, which doesn’t require a physician’s prescription, offers:

  • 20-point biomechanical analysis
  • Professional indoor (youth and adult) mound and net
  • Use of high speed camera capturing 500+ frames per second and slow motion analysis
  • Take-home DVD
  • Functional Movement Screen to identify strength and flexibility impairments
  • Identification of risk factors
  • Return to play protocols
  • Techniques for improving control and velocity
  • Strengthening and conditioning techniques

To download a free brochure or to schedule an overhead throwing evaluation for your player(s), team or club, please call 845-893-2354 or visit www.acceleraterehab.com and click on specialty programs, then Overhead Throwing Program.

 


Hand Therapist on Hand Therapy

April 12, 2014

As Accelerated Rehabilitation celebrates occupational therapy month during April, I think it’s a great opportunity to reflect on what let me to the discipline and profession of occupational therapy and what continues to drive me to be the best clinician I can. As an undergraduate student with interest in the fields of occupational and physical therapy, exposure to both professions was required for application to most programs. Observation hours allow students to interact with practicing therapists and to observe their interactions with and treatments provided to patients. It was in an inpatient pediatric setting that I was able to observe the evaluation of a child requiring both rehab services, and the holistic approach that the OT took with the child in framing how his functional deficits had an impact on his daily life really drove home to me the importance of viewing the patient as a whole entity and not just the injury or illness that let to the need for rehabilitation services.

As a hand therapist, it’s very easy to focus on the injury that was the purpose of the client to seek care in the first place, be it a finger tip injury, a broken wrist, or a wound requiring surgery (significant trauma or a burn), but the core foundation of OT reminds us to view that injury in the context of the patient’s life and how their functional ability is impacted. The phrase Activities of Daily Living is a term used by OTs to describe all aspects of a person’s life, including home, work, play, child care, hobbies, etc. We can choose to focus on the objective findings (how much an injured wrist moves or how many pounds of pressure is generated in gripping), but it’s how those objective findings contribute to overall function that truly has an impact on how that person interacts with the world around them.

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Accelerated Hand Therapist Bryan Carlson works with his patients to return to normal activity.

I’m fortunate to work with a very dedicated and experienced group of clinicians, and that allows not only collaboration with a talented group of therapists but also raises the level of the care that I’m expected to provide, not only from an organizational standpoint, but from the patient’s expectation as well. Our therapists have on average 19 years of experience and we have one of the highest concentrations of Certified Hand Therapists in the area with well over 60% of our hand therapy staff holding the CHT credential, as well as many with advanced degrees and other certifications such as upper extremity manual therapy and lymphedema. The Accelerated Hand Therapy Team offers free injury screens as well as comprehensive hand care from the shoulder to the fingertips, and our services are offered in a broad geographic area through our coverage map. Please visit www.acceleratedrehab.com for further details and locations.

Resource links:

Hand Therapy Certification Commission, American Society of Hand Therapists, The American Occupational Therapy Association Inc., Illinois Occupational Therrapy Association


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