What Your Physical Therapist Has to Say About Keeping Knee Injuries From Occurring


October 17, 2018

If you’re an athlete—either someone who competes or just a weekend warrior—chances are pretty good that you have experienced some kind of knee issue. In fact, knee injuries are one of the most common reasons people seek out treatment such as physical therapy. Not only do knee injuries hurt, but they can prevent you from participating in the sports you love—and they can make life difficult in general. Before your healthy knees become unhealthy knees, read on to find out what a Cheyenne, WY physical therapist has to say about how you can protect your knees from injury.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Even just the stress of walking can harm your knees if you are carrying around extra pounds. Then if you had sports into the mix, you are really adding to the burden your knees must handle. Keep your weight at an appropriate level for your height to keep your knees from being unduly stressed.

Find Low-Impact Activities

If you are carrying around a few extra pounds that you want to lose, or if your knees have a tendency to be tender, sticking to low-impact activities can really help the impact on your knees while still keeping you active. If you are looking for cardio options, there are plenty of machines at the gym, such as the elliptical, that can give your heart a good workout and keep your knees protected.

Warm Up Before and Stretch After Each Work Out

Both of these are easy to skip when you are eager to get started competing or working out, but both are important to your routine. Warming up will loosen up muscles and tendons, making you less prone to injury. Stretching after your workout will help with mobility, and also help to protect you from injury.

Wear Good Quality Shoes

If you are on your feet a lot—whether for sports or for everyday life—wear the right shoes for the job. If you stand a lot for your job, the proper footwear can protect your knees as well as your back. They can also keep you more comfortable all day. If you are into a sport such as running, go to a professional running store so they can recommend the proper shoe. This article has good information on appropriate shoes for both walking and running: 10 Best Walking and Running Shoes for Bad Knees and OA Knee Pain.

Strength Train

Strength training—as long as you are using proper form—can strengthen the muscles and tendons in your legs, making less prone to injury. Have a coach or personal trainer give you training on proper form as this is essential to prevent injuries. 

Seek Physical Therapy When Needed

Sometimes injuries and strains happen, and when they do, don’t hesitate to seek out the help of a physical therapist to help you get past the pain. You can find out more about seeing a physical therapist and learning what to expect by reading here.

At North Platte Physical Therapy, we want our patients to have healthy knees and live a pain-free life. If you have suffered an injury, we invite you to contact North Platte Physical Therapy to learn more about how we can help you recover. Our staff is well known throughout Wyoming because of our strong commitment to our patients. We can fulfill comprehensive physical therapy services, and we look forward to creating a custom a treatment plan based on your needs. Contact us today!
 
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When to Use Ice Versus Heat for Injuries


October 10, 2018

When you are hurting from a muscle strain or an injury, you might be wondering if you should treat your pain with ice or heat. Treating chronic pain with either can be highly effective, but it’s crucial to know which situations call for which treatment—and which call for both. Take the advice of a physical therapist to ensure you are using them effectively.
Let’s take a look at when you should be using ice versus heat.

Use Heat for Muscle Pain or Stiffness

There are two different types of heat you can use for muscle pain or stiffness: dry heat and moist heat. If you have ever used a heating pad, then you know how easy it is to apply dry heat. Moist heat can come from a source such as a steaming towel or a hot bath.
There is also heat from an ultrasound, which can be highly effective. Sitting in a sauna is another option.
Heat therapy can soothe muscles and damaged tissue because it increases blood flow and temperature in the area, which promotes healing. Be sure you are using warm heat rather than hot.

Be sure you do not use heat therapy for the following:
  • There is a bruise or burn in the affected area.
  • There is a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, dermatitis, multiple sclerosis, or vascular disease that can be negatively affected by the heat.
  • If you are pregnant, use of a hot tub or sauna for heat therapy is not recommended.
Applying heat therapy to the affected area for 15 to 30 minutes is often enough to relieve pain and stiffness.

Use Ice for Injuries, Pain, Inflammation, and Swelling

Cold therapy does the opposite of heat therapy in that it draws blood flow away from the affected area. This can help reduce swelling and inflammation. It also numbs the area, temporarily relieving pain.
You can purchase ice packs at the drugstore, which you keep in the freezer to use when needed. They come in all different kinds of shapes and sizes.
There are also coolant sprays available. Ice baths are another option that athletes often use to reduce potential swelling after a particularly tough workout.
Don’t use cold therapy if you have sensory disorders or poor circulation.
Never apply a cold pack directly to the skin; wrap it first in a towel or cloth or it can damage the skin and tissues.
Cold therapy is most effective when it is used several times throughout the day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, applied to the affected area.
If you need more information about treating pain or injuries with ice or heat, give us a call today. North Platte is your go-to local physical therapist in Douglas, WY to provide the services that will get you feeling better and stronger. Our expert staff is respected throughout the Wyoming and Nebraska areas for providing superior and customized physical therapy services. We can handle any of your physical therapy needs. Fill out our contact form to get started and to find a location near you.
 
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Casper Physical Therapy Tips to Combat Sedentary Lifestyles


October 3, 2018

If you have a desk job and a commute into work every day, you are like many people who spend too much time sitting all day. Some experts are calling this the “new smoking” because it is having such a detrimental impact on our overall health—similar to the negative effects of smoking cigarettes. A lot of people are even suffering from chronic pain because of this unhealthy way of life. There are things you can do, however, and here are some tips from a Casper physical therapy expert.

Take Frequent Walking Breaks

It’s easy to sit at your desk hour after hour without getting up, but frequent walking breaks is good for your health. Instead of instant messaging someone in your office, get up and walk to speak face-to-face. If you forget to get up, get one of the popular fitness trackers on the market and set up reminders to get up for a few minutes every hour or so. (These trackers can also help make sure you get a minimum number of steps in each day.)

Take the Stairs

If you have the opportunity to choose the stairs or an elevator, always take the stairs. Stair-climbing burns a lot of calories—and it is good for your heart.

Stand Up When You Can

When you are a phone call stand up and walk around, if possible. Or ask your company to invest in a standing desk for you. Most of them are affordable and adjustable so you can move back and forth between sitting and standing.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is good for your body—and it will mean more frequent trips to the restroom, which will get you moving more. If you are wondering just how much water is enough, take a look at this article: How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

Park Far Away

Don’t look for the closest parking spot; find one that will force you to walk a bit farther—whether you are at the office or the mall. This is a good way to incorporate more walking into your day.

Hit the Gym or the Trail

If you aren’t already working out, make it a part of your normal routine. You don’t need to spend hours each day at the gym or run 10 miles at a time to benefit. Even just 20 minutes a day will go a long way toward improving your health.
If you can incorporate the above tips into your life, you will be well on your way to staying in motion, which is crucial for your overall wellbeing.

Contact North Platte Physical Therapy to learn more about the effects a sedentary lifestyle can have on your body. Our staff is admired throughout the Wyoming and Nebraska areas because of our commitment to our clients. We can fulfill comprehensive physical therapy services, and we are happy to customize a treatment plan that can help you go to your job every day without serious health ramifications. Give us a call!
 
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Advice on Warming Up Versus Stretching Before Your Workout


September 26, 2018

For most people, when they hear the terms “stretching” and “warming up” they consider them to be the same thing. But the fact is that they are two different things that serve two different purposes for your body. When it comes to your workout, both are important and should be a part of your routine. Let’s take a look at how a Cheyenne, WY physical therapist defines the two and explains when it is appropriate for both in your training program.

The Difference Between Stretching and Warming Up

Warming up is the act of increasing your core temperature and getting blood to flow to your muscles. Stretching is designed to help increase your flexibility as well as your range of motion. Warming up should be done before your workout whereas stretching should be done afterward—or when you body is already warm.
Read what the experts at Fitness Magazine have to say about getting your body warmed up prior to a workout in this article: The 5-Minute Warm-Up You Need Before Any Workout.

The Benefits of Stretching and Warming Up

Warming up—When you warm up before working out, you increase your heart rate, which means your muscles get more blood and oxygen. It also raises your body temperature so that your muscles and tendons will work better during strenuous exercise. If you have any tightness in your muscles before working out, a warmup will help decrease that. It will also improve your range of motion.
Most experts recommend that you warm up the muscles you plan to focus on during your workout. For instance, if you are at the gym to do back squats, air squats should be part of your pre-workout warmup routine.
Stretching—It’s best to stretch when your body is already warmed up, so it often makes the most sense to stretch after your workout rather than before. Stretching will help increase flexibility, which can decrease your chance of feeling pain—after a workout or on a daily basis. Stretching one part of the body often impacts another part. For example, if you stretch the hamstring area regularly, this can lessen the chance that you’ll have a sore back from sitting at a computer all day. 
Whether you are a serious athlete or a weekend warrior, injury prevention means that you can enjoy your activities rather than sit on the bench. Be sure to warm up and stretch every time you work out.
Find out more about the importance of stretching and warming up, as well as Sportsmetrics, which is a scientifically proven program designed to help prevent serious knee injuries, by contacting our office.
If you have suffered an injury and want to add physical therapy to your routine, North Platte is your go-to local physical therapist in Cheyenne, WY to provide the services that will get you feeling better and stronger. Our expert staff is respected throughout the Wyoming and Nebraska areas for providing superior and customized physical therapy services. We can handle any of your physical therapy needs. Fill out our contact form to get started and to find a location near you.

 
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Hiking and Biking Tips from Physical Therapy Experts


August 8, 2018

Denver has some of the best biking and hiking trails in the state! Those who love the outdoors enjoy all there is to explore. Whether you’re looking for a short trail to enjoy a nice walk or a long one to enjoy a day out on your bike, the city has miles and miles of premier paths. No matter if you are a seasoned veteran or new to the sport, it never hurts to brush up on safety and general skills. In addition, when you tie in local physical therapy in Cheyenne, WY, you will perform at the best you ever have.

Hiking 101


When it comes to the perfect day path, Denver is loaded with options. Spend your afternoon at Chautauqua Park exploring the nearly seven-mile trail. You will enjoy your view of the Flatiron Mountains and beautiful, wild grassy fields. For a breathtaking experience, make the just over five-mile trek in Rocky Mountain National Park to see the Alberta Falls. This picturesque atmosphere has gorgeous rocks and views. As you prepare, make sure you have everything you need on your day hiking checklist. This includes things like quality compasses and maps, food, water, fire equipment (and retardant), sun protection, and more. Even if you plan to walk, be sure to stretch before your hike. This will loosen up your body, so you are ready to go.

Biking Tips


Denver has so many biking trails both in the city and in the scenic countryside. Locally, you can explore 40 miles of the city along the Cherry Creek Trail. Make a few stops to shop or enjoy all the city has to offer. For something a little more scenic in nature, spend a day along the High Line Canal path. It is a path that is more than 60 miles long with trees, wildlife, and more. When biking, especially near the mountains, always wear a helmet. In addition, ways keep on reflective clothing and stick to the trails. Avoid venturing off. Make sure to pack essentials similar to hiking, as well as emergency equipment in case you get a flat or run into an issue on your bike. It is also important to stretch before biking as well.

Get Stronger with Physical Therapy


One of the go-to ways you can improve your hiking and biking skills is to visit a quality physical therapist. You can rely on North Platte Physical Therapy for common sports injuries, especially when it comes to preventing them. When you take advantage of top sports medicine experts, you will learn proper form and technique to ensure you are safe and successful. Plus, if you are suffering from any pain, through a custom plan and exercises, a physical therapist can help reduce or even eliminate that pain.

To help you achieve your fitness goals, North Platte Physical Therapy as you covered. Our team of experts will help you become a better hiker and/or biker, allowing you to feel more fulfilled and accomplished on each path you travel on. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.
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