Peak Health Calgary, Author at Peak Health & Performance

Unlock Your Full Potential: The Power of Clinical Pilates in Physiotherapy

clinical pilates physiotherapy calgary south

Written By Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Provider Janelle Juss

Pilates is becoming increasingly popular despite being around for over 100 years! The creator, Joe Pilates, was inspired to strengthen both the mind and body, drawing from yoga, martial arts, and Greek and Roman exercise principles. This Classical Pilates repertoire of exercises is still taught to this day. 

What Is “Clinical Pilates” vs “Pilates”? clinical pilates physiotherapy calgary

Pilates is typically taught in a group setting, going through general exercises. Clinical Pilates are one on one sessions, which allow each session to be tailored to specific restrictions and limitations, but also specific goals. By having the session be led by your Physiotherapist you can feel confident you are doing the exercises correctly, effectively and safely. The attention to detail and individualized approach can allow you to get more out of your sessions. 

Clinical Pilates appointments are spent moving and exercising through the majority of the session, but the option for some manual therapy that you may be used to having with your Physiotherapist is also available to finish off your appointment. 

During an appointment, we can utilize our Pilates equipment, the Tower, Reformer and Wunda Chair. The equipment is designed to provide resistance in some exercises, and assistance and support in others. Teaching your body to experience new exercises with novel equipment can be an engaging way to exercise and challenge yourself. With the physiotherapist’s guidance, you can work together to find where your strengths and possible weaknesses are. 

Clinical Pilates can be billed as Physiotherapy through benefits or personal insurance plans. 

Benefits of Clinical Pilates:

  • Improves Stability
  • Strengthens Core Muscles
  • Rehabilitation After Injury
  • Corrects Posture
  • Reduces Neck and Back Pain
  • Improves Flexibility
  • Tones Muscles

Common Conditions and Injuries Treated With Clinical Pilates

  • Low back pain: Through improving control of your range of motion of your spine and it’s range of motion. Increasing core control and support from the hips and legs are beneficial as well. 
  • Tension Headaches: Improving neck and shoulder strength and control through exercise can build resilience in those muscles which can be helpful for decreasing the frequency of headaches. Increasing upper back mobility can also be beneficial. 
  • Hypermobility: When you have a lot of flexibility, gaining control of your full range of motion through muscle strength is even more important. The use of the equipment can provide feedback to your muscles which can help you learn to control your flexibility. 
  • Postpartum Recovery: General body strengthening postpartum, but often with a focus on regaining core and pelvic control. 
  • Chronic Pain or Post Car Accident: Exposing yourself to exercise gradually, with the support and guidance of the Physiotherapist, can be a safe way to start reconnecting with your body. Learning to trust and gradually challenge it again. 
  • Post Ankle Sprain or Fracture: Learning how to connect with your foot again and coordinate with the whole body. Focusing on increasing your range of motion, balance and strength. 

Who Is Clinical Pilates Good For? 

  • New to exercising and not sure where to start.
  • Seeking a low impact exercise option.
  • Have an area of chronic tightness or pain.
  • Crossing training for any sport and looking for a challenge
  • Excellent for dancers, yogis, gymnasts and hypermobile people. 
  • Prefers 1:1 attention and support when learning exercises to make sure it’s being done correctly and is appropriate for you specifically.
  • Age: 13 years old is typically the earliest age that we see this intervention being helpful for, however, there are some exceptions.  There is no age limit!
  • No pain, or obvious issues and are looking for a way to continue feeling good, and maybe find areas they could focus on as preventative care

Final Words

Clinical Pilates can take your physiotherapy experience to the next level, and help you progress your rehab, strength, and overall fitness. If you are curious about Clinical Pilates, book in for a free discovery call to learn what the best treatment option might be for you! To get started with your Clinical Pilates journey, book HERE

Hand Injuries from Climbing

chiropractic for climbing injuries calgary south

Written by Dr. Kevin Fox-Chen

Climbing may be a full body sport, but the most common injuries sustained involve the upper body. This generally includes injuries to the shoulder, elbow, wrist or hand. Whether you’ve struggled with an injury for the past few seasons or have a new one that you’ve been unable to bounce back from, a chiropractor or physiotherapist is well versed to get you back on track! 

What Is The Most Common Hand Injury in Climbing?chiropractic for climbing injuries calgary

The most common injury in climbing is a finger pulley sprain. Finger pulleys are the annular (ring shaped) ligaments that wrap around the bones in our hands and keep tendons strapped down while allowing them to glide back and forth.

Other common hand injuries include tendinopathies or tenosynovitis.

What Causes Finger Pulley Injuries?

Evidence suggests that volume, not necessarily intensity, of climbing contributes the most to pulley injuries or even climbing injuries in general. Climbing athletes find themselves going back for “one last go” while working on a project even though we likely should have packed it in many attempts earlier. Finger pulleys, like any other tissue in the body, respond to load (they are trainable!) but also require rest to adapt properly. If you’re climbing at your max, ensure your sessions are short and/or you take significant rests between attempts.

How Long Do Pulleys Take To Heal?

Like all injuries, this depends on the location and severity of the sprain. A general guideline is that an incomplete tear will take 6 weeks to heal if everything is done correctly. This includes stress reduction, good nutrition and progressive, graded functional loading of damaged tissues. For a complete rupture, it may take significantly longer.

How Can a Chiropractor or Physiotherapist Help With Your Finger Injury?chiropractic for climbing injuries

A chiropractor or physiotherapist is able to perform a comprehensive history and physical exam to determine which structures are injured, what the degree of the injury is and give you a roadmap to recovery.

A program of care will provide you with expectations for how fast you can get back to pulling on plastic or rock and optimize your recovery as well as help prevent future injury!

How Do I Prevent Finger Pulley Injuries?

Specific warming up, cooling down and load management. Are you working a 45 degree crimp fest on the kilterboard five days a week with 3 hour sessions? Talking through your training schedule with a professional may be a good idea to get a second set of eyes on just how much load (and rest!) you’re giving your body.

In Summary…

Appropriate diagnosis and treatment of hand and pulley injuries is your best bet for a rapid return to climbing and avoiding future injuries. One important takeaway from this is that if you believe that you have been following a timeline and you still haven’t felt improvement, the pulley injury may be a tendon or tendon sheath issue as these can present similarly! If you’re experiencing finger pain or hitting roadblocks to your recovery, consider booking an appointment HERE.

Concussions: What Are They and How Do I Fix It?

concussions calgary south

Written by Dr. Riley Sjodin, Chiropractor

 

Concussions used to be thought of as a product of a high-impact sport or major accident, however, a concussion can actually be caused when there is no impact to the head at all. To learn a bit more about concussion management, read this summary below! 

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a functional brain injury where a sudden acceleration/deceleration to the head, neck, and body results in forces being transmitted to the brain. This causes a shearing or twisting of the brain cells which ultimately leads to a concussion.

Symptoms of a Concussionconcussions testing calgary

There are upwards of 20 different symptoms that can occur from concussion, but the most common symptoms are headache, pressure in the head, neck pain, trouble concentrating, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. 

Concussions are simply diagnosed by a mechanism of injury that has significant deceleration or acceleration of the body, followed by immediate symptoms or within hours of the injury. There is no such thing as grading a concussion (mild, moderate, severe) in the early phase. We always err on the side of caution so a patient does not put themselves at risk by going back into a dangerous sport/activity/environment.

The main signs of a concussion are a blank/vacant stare, delayed verbal & motor responses, confusion, inability to focus attention, disorientation, slurred speech, gross observable incoordination, inability to walk in tandem, memory deficits, or being knocked unconscious. 

When Should I Seek Medical Attention?

If you suspect you have had a concussion you should monitor for deteriorating symptoms and go to emergency if you have any of the following:

  • Severe or worsening headache
  • Short-term memory loss or increasing confusion, 
  • Multiple episodes of vomiting
  • Fluid coming from ears, nose, mouth, eyes
  • Numbness or weakness in arms
  • Lack of motor coordination, slurring speech

If you do not have any of these, then rest for 24-48 hours with no strenuous activity, take naps throughout the day as needed, have a proper balanced diet, and get assessed by a healthcare practitioner as soon as possible to ensure the proper recovery going forward.

The primary things to avoid if you suspect you have a concussion are:concussions testing calgary south

  • Do not play sports or return to activity before being cleared by a healthcare practitioner.
  • Do not do any intense cognitive activity for 24-48 hours which may involve taking some time away from work/school.
  • Do not take pain medications as this can “mask” your symptoms and make it difficult to assess your concussion. Talk to your medical doctor first.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours just to ensure you are medically stable before getting behind the wheel.

How Long Will My Concussion Last?

In 60-70% of people, symptoms will resolve within 3-4 weeks, but for 30-40% of people, they can be longer. Fortunately, early treatment and assessment after an acute concussion greatly reduce this timeline.concussions testing

The best way to ensure someone has fully recovered to their pre-injury levels is to have a baseline measure. This is very helpful in making informed and safe return-to-play decisions and is why Baseline Concussion Testing is recommended for anyone undergoing a high-risk sport (10 years of age or older). Whether you are an athlete or not, there are a multitude of tests & protocols to return someone to their daily routine safely.

Rest is no longer considered the only way to manage a concussion. Although it may be required in the initial steps, we often want patients doing low-intensity (sub-symptom threshold) activity around the house for the first few days. From there, we treat concussions in many ways and can include exercise physiotherapy, manual therapy (soft-tissue therapy, acupuncture, mobilizations), visual/vestibular therapy, diet/nutritional interventions, and education & reassurance.

Concussion Testing

If you or someone you know participates in impact sports, you may want to consider a Baseline Concussion Screen for accurate and personalized return-to-play guidelines should you sustain a concussion. If you are experiencing concussion symptoms and have not yet been assessed by a healthcare professional, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. 

Therapy Intensives: How They Can Benefit YOUR Child

therapy intensives calgary south

Written by Physiotherapist Emma Bolt 

 

“Hey Emma, what are therapy intensives and why do some of these kids seem to live in the clinic for a few weeks?”. Thanks for asking! In this blog post, we’ll be talking about all things therapy intensive. The why, the how long, and the when.

What Are Therapy Intensives?

Therapy intensives are blocks of time where a child participates in a high-frequency therapy program – think of it like a bootcamp. I have met and worked with families from all across Canada, as well as the United States, and even as far as Croatia, who have sought out therapy intensives for their child. 

As an intensive completion present, the family is provided with a comprehensive and customized home exercise program so that the gains made during the intensive can be maintained and progressed at home. Typically, the final few sessions are dedicated to the teaching and coaching of the exercise program to ensure the family is comfortable with the program prior to the intensive end date.

How Long Should a Therapy Intensive Be?

At Peak Health & Performance, we offer therapy intensives of 2 or 3 weeks in duration where the child participates in 1 to 2 hours of physiotherapy each day. I like to explain the 2 to 3-week reasoning, based on my clinical experience, to families like this: 

  • Week 1: The first week is for the child to get to know me and for me to get to know the child. What do they like? What do they dislike? What is the primary focus of this intensive to achieve the family’s goals?
  • Week 2: This is when I begin to hone in on the child’s current skill set. If you were to go to a boot camp for a week, would you show the trainer your maximum effort on day one knowing full well that they’ll make things extra hard for you as a result? Probably not. A lot of kids I’ve worked with try to play a similar trick. “Let’s pretend I can’t do X, Y, or Z so this lady I’ve never met before makes things easier for me”.
  • Week 3: The primary focus of the intensive, and the child’s true current skill level, has been identified which means the final week is dedicated to building a comprehensive home exercise program based on the child’s full achieved potential during that intensive.

therapy intensivesIt is important to point out that even after a 2 week intensive, a comprehensive home exercise program can still be created. This is especially true when the child and the therapist providing the therapy intensive have a pre-existing relationship. 

The number of hours each day is dependent on the child’s age, level of endurance, goals, and familiarity with an intensive therapy structure. If a child is younger with no previous experience of intensive therapy, or DMI therapy, it would be preferable to start with 1 hour a week. If the child is on their 6th intensive, or if the family feels confident that their child could participate in 2 hours of therapy each day, then a greater number of hours is appropriate.

A great way to help support the decision-making process of how many hours per day your child’s therapy intensive could be is to try a few DMI sessions prior to booking your intensive. This decision would be based on how your child participated during the session, as well as how they recovered following the session in regards to mood, energy, and sleep. 

When Is The Ideal Time To Do An Intensive?therapy intensives calgary

If your child has been close to achieving a new gross motor milestone, but hasn’t quite seemed to figure it out, a therapy intensive might be for you. If your child has just been cleared for physiotherapy after a surgery and is deconditioned, a therapy intensive might be for you. If you feel the town or city where you live does not have knowledgeable or skilled physiotherapists to work with your child and are interested in receiving DMI therapy, an intensive might be for you!

If your child’s condition is progressing requiring frequent hospitalizations, or if they have had a recent change in their baseline resulting in increased seizure activity, increased fatigue, reduced appetite, or reduced sleep quality, a therapy intensive may not be right for you at this time. If your child is participating in a research study, please discuss whether a therapy intensive would be appropriate with the research team. 

Key Takeaways

A therapy intensive is like a bootcamp for gross motor milestones. An exercise program is developed and provided to the family to support maintenance and progression of the gains made during the intensive. While almost any time is a good time to have a therapy intensive, it is hard work! Any child starting an intensive should be in reasonably stable medical health to ensure their safety and to optimize the gains made during the intensive. 

TheraTogs: Have You Heard of Them?

theratog calgary south

Written by Physiotherapist Emma Bolt

 

“Hey Emma, what’s with those gold suits I see on kids during your DMI sessions?”. Thanks for asking, it’s a TheraTog! This blog post is all about the compressive garment used to act like a second set of therapist hands during DMI sessions. 

What Are TheraTogs?

TheraTogs were designed by a pediatric physiotherapist named Beverly “Billi” Cusick to act as an extra pair of hands to help a child have more optimal posture and alignment while participating in activities. TheraTogs are an undergarment and are meant to be worn under the clothes in direct contact with the skin. 

However, this is not ideal for a clinical setting both for sanitary reasons, but also for the practicality of dressing and redressing children during a 45 or 60-minute session, so we use them on top of the children’s clothing. 

What Are The Benefits of Wearing a TheraTog?theratog

TheraTogs are customized by a therapist based on the child’s unique musculoskeletal, postural, balance, or movement correction needs. Some of the concerns that TheraTogs may be used to address include:

  • Leg positioning concerns such as excessive in-toeing, out-toeing, or scissoring walking patterns.
  • Abnormal tone (including hypotonia and hypertonia).
  • Abnormal trunk postures that can be manually corrected (TheraTogs are not used to address scoliosis).

TheraTogs are compressive in nature, so they provide a high level of proprioceptive input, or joint compression input, to build a child’s awareness of their body. By providing support to the trunk, a TheraTog may increase the quality of movement or level of participation a child is able to achieve while wearing the suit.

For example, a child who has a weak core or low trunk tone may tend to lean on their arms for support while sitting, but is able to reach for and play with toys while wearing a TheraTog. When used daily, a TheraTog provides live-in postural correction so that they move, play, and interact with the world in more optimal alignment. Since the suit is fabric, as opposed to a hard plastic that doesn’t bend or flex, a child will not become dependent on the TheraTog to be able to perform daily tasks.

Are There Any Conditions That A TheraTog Should Not Be Used With?

Yes, as mentioned previously, TheraTogs are compression garments. When compression is applied to the body, the pressure in our blood vessels is increased. A TheraTog should not be used for children with tachycardia or other cardiac arrhythmias, or for children with a VP shunt. Please inform your physiotherapist if your child has either one of these conditions.

How Do I Get A TheraTog of My Own For My Child?theratog calgary

Prior to discussing the potential of a family purchasing a TheraTog for their child, I ensure a TheraTog is supportive and appropriate through assessment and monitoring during DMI sessions. For some children, the benefit is obvious and immediate. 

For other children, the benefit is minimal when considering the financial and time commitment using a TheraTog requires. If a TheraTog is determined to be beneficial and the family would like to purchase one for home use, Peak Kids is able to support families in this process. 

Once a family has received their TheraTog, I provide in depth education on how to apply the TheraTog, store it, clean it, and lots of helpful tips and tricks to increase a parent’s comfort with the TheraTog. 

When I put on a TheraTog for the first time, it took me 15 minutes to put on and 5 minutes to fall off. It is a skill, but with practice and the support of a knowledgeable therapist, families are able to provide their children with live-in postural correction to support improved stability and movement skill capabilities. 

Key Takeaways 

A TheraTog is a compressive undergarment used to improve posture and provide stability to the trunk. It can also improve a child’s awareness of their body. TheraTogs are customized for each child and can be purchased for home use.TheraTogs should not be used as a device to correct scoliosis, or for children with tachycardia, other cardiac arrhythmias, or VP shunts.

Concussions and Sport: 5 Quick Questions

concussions and sport calgary south

Written by Scott Cyr, Physiotherapist

 

When it comes to concussion management, the most common question we hear is about the return to sports and when athletes can get back into the game. Although that will greatly depend on the case, we can offer some general information that might help you understand what goes into the post-concussive rehab decisions! Here are 5 quick questions and answers for you regarding concussions that I am working on Physiotherapy in Calgary South working in post-concussive care.

How Long After a Concussion Can I Return to Sport?concussion assessment

 

Timelines for concussion recovery can vary from person to person! In order to return to full sport, it is recommended you progress through a stepwise graduated return to sport protocol. Each step is to have 24 hours between to ensure no recurrence of symptoms with increased activity. If you experience symptoms at a specific stage, you must go back to the previous stage. 

The return to sport protocol consists of 6 steps, therefore a minimum of 7 days is required to advance through the protocol, as long as there are no setbacks. It is advised that medical clearance is provided prior to re-engaging in any contact drills. It is not uncommon for recoveries to last between 14-21 days on average.

What Happens If You Return to Sport Too Soon After a Concussion?

Coming back too early from a concussion can lead to detrimental effects. It is highly important that an athlete be asymptomatic and progress through a graduated return to ensure they are safe to return to sport. By returning too early, an athlete puts themselves at significant risk. These risks include worsening symptoms, further injury to the brain/other body parts or even second impact syndrome – something that can have detrimental effects and is life-threatening.

Can You Play Sports After Two Concussions?

Yes! Although once someone has a concussion, it is more likely they will sustain another compared to their peers who have never had a concussion. Returning to sport after two concussions is the same protocol and step progressions after your first. You should no longer have symptoms and once you have received medical clearance, you may return to sport!

What Is The “3 Concussion Rule”?concussion rehab

The 3 concussion rule is an outdated “rule” that was developed in the 1940s. This arbitrary rule stated that if you were to get 3 concussions in a sporting season, you would sit out for the rest of the season.

No literature has been developed to support these claims. If you have sustained multiple concussions, especially in a single season it is important to have discussions with your medical team for further planning on recovery or potential referrals that may benefit you.

Can I Play Sports With A Concussion If It Is Only A Mild One?

NO! A concussion is a concussion and they are no longer graded or categorized (mild – severe). If you have a concussion, you should report to your medical team and complete a graduated return to sport, regardless of how minimal the symptoms are! That way, you can ensure your safe and effective return to sport.

Final Wordsconcussion discussion

 

In any case, it is absolutely best to seek medical attention if you suspect that you or someone you know has suffered a concussion. The sooner that you can seek professional advice, the sooner you will get back to doing what you love! To book a concussion assessment today, click HERE.

 

For further information on concussions including signs and symptoms, return to school/sport and a breakdown of the recommended step-by-step protocol, please access the following resource:

parachute.ca/en/injury-topic/concussion/

An Intro To Vestibular Physiotherapy

vestibular physiotherapy for vertigo calgary south (1)

Written by Jordan Knapman, Physiotherapist 

 

Vestibular therapy, or vertigo treatment by a physiotherapist, is one of those topics that you likely don’t come across unless you or someone you know has been impacted by vertigo or severe dizziness. One of the most common misconceptions about vertigo is that it is something you ‘just need to live with’.

This is not the case at all! As a physiotherapist in Peak Health who is trained in vestibular rehabilitation, I can set that myth straight and say there is lots we can do to help you or your family member. Whether you are facing chronic dizziness, experience intermittent vertigo symptoms, or are unsure if what you have is even classified as dizziness, we are here to help. If you’ve been experiencing dizziness, or know of someone who has, you’ve come to the right place!

What is Vestibular Physiotherapy?vestibular assessment

Vestibular Physiotherapy is a type of rehabilitation geared specifically for dizziness and balance. We have three senses that contribute to our balance and equilibrium, one of which is the vestibular system. This is a small organ in the inner ear that detects how fast we move our head position and in what direction. 

Often, when we have a problem with this organ we can have a sensation of spinning, which is referred to as vertigo. Since information coming from the vestibular system is combined with information coming from our vision and foot sensation, a Vestibular Physiotherapist will often look at all 3 systems to determine the best course of action.

Can a Physiotherapist Use Tests to Diagnose My Dizziness?

No matter the cause of dizziness or vertigo, the tests that are needed will often bring on symptoms. Most commonly, the Dix-Hallpike Test is used to test for a common type of dizziness. In this test, the Physiotherapist will lie down a person on the treatment table quickly, while looking for a specific type of eye movement while you wear special goggles with infrared cameras. 

vertigo assessment

Other tests may include balance with eyes closed on a foam pad, fast head movements, or even holding your breath! Unfortunately, these tests will often bring on similar symptoms to what you’ve been experiencing, as the Physiotherapist will need to determine what is responsible for your issue. This feeling is most often very short-lived and should dissipate quickly.

However, the most important test is your story as some problems cannot be tested for. A skilled Physiotherapist with training in Vestibular Rehab will spend time in careful discussion with you about what your symptoms feel like, how long they last, when they happen, and how they affect you. All of this allows the Physiotherapist to determine the most likely cause of your symptoms and determine the next steps to confirm their thoughts.

Does Vestibular Therapy Get Worse Before It Gets Better?

This is sometimes possible! Certainly, during treatment for one cause of vertigo, called BPPV, it is very common to feel worse both during and immediately after treatment. This subsides quite quickly, and most feel much better soon after. For other, more complicated causes of vertigo, it is possible to feel slightly worse during the first week of home exercises. 

Thankfully, not everyone experiences this and we know that it does not mean things are moving in the wrong direction! Your Physiotherapist would help in making this determination and adapt your treatment plan if necessary.

How Long Does It Take For Vestibular Therapy To Work?

As with any type of rehabilitation, this largely depends on the underlying cause of your symptoms. For the aforementioned BPPV, the most common cause of vertigo symptoms, may resolve in as few as 1-3 treatments. 

For most other vestibular causes rehabilitation may take an average of 6-12 weeks, depending on how long symptoms have been ongoing. Regardless of how long the dizziness has been occurring, Vestibular Physiotherapy can often make a difference (even if it takes a bit longer!).

So… Does Vestibular Therapy Actually Work?vestibular physiotherapy for vertigo calgary

Vestibular Rehabilitation can be very successful! For many vestibular conditions, Clinical Practice Guidelines mention that this therapy “provides a clear and substantial benefit” and has a “strong recommendation” when used appropriately. 

That said, while an improvement in symptoms is expected in the majority of cases, not everyone will achieve a complete resolution of symptoms for every cause of dizziness. Your physiotherapist will help to determine a management strategy in the case of a long-term condition to deem if vestibular therapy is right for you.

Final Words

At Peak, we believe that through a thorough, in-depth assessment we can get you feeling confident with a plan to help you feel your best. Living with dizziness or balance issues should not be your normal, so let us help you feel your best again! Click here to book in for a vestibular assessment today.

 

References

Bhattacharyya N, Gubbels SP, Schwartz SR et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (Update). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;156:S1-S47.

Hall CD, Herdman SJ, Whitney SL et al. Vestibular Rehabilitation for Peripheral Vestibular Hypofunction: An Updated Clinical Practice Guideline From the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2022;46:118-177.

Running and Gait Analysis: The Answers You’ve Been Searching For

running and gait analysis calgary south

Written by Dr. Claire Wells, Chiropractor

 

Maybe you’re an experienced runner who’s been dealing with the same recurring “niggle” during long runs for years. Or maybe you’re thinking about doing your first 10k but you’re not sure if your body is ready to take on the training. Or maybe you feel great when running, but you want to see if there is anything you could improve on! A gait analysis, or a running assessment, is often a great place to start when you are stuck on an injury that keeps resurfacing, you’ve hit a plateau with your running, or you are new to the sport and you want to get off on the right foot. 

Gait Analysis 101running assessment

A running assessment is not simply watching you run! It involves a thorough assessment of your entire body, in addition to a gait analysis performed via video analysis. This is because as practitioners, we know that running is a full-body sport and we can’t ignore deficits or findings in other areas of the body when we are looking at a runner. The basic breakdown of a gait analysis involves 2 primary sections:

1. Screen for Deficits in Range of Motion, Strength, and Stability.

Based on the mechanics and demands of the sport, there are certain requirements of the body. If we don’t meet these requirements, we are more likely to create adaptations that could lead to injury, or make you less efficient when running. You need to have a solid foundation before you add speed and movement into the mix! From the amount of movement in your big toe to the amount of rib expansion you have, we are looking at it all. There is a misconception that you need to be on a track to pick out running abnormalities when really having a patient stand on one leg can tell us a lot about what we may see when we add the running movement into the picture. 

2. Screen for Deficits in the Essential Qualities for Running.

When you add speed and movement to the basics, this is when we are able to see how you are able to piece it together on the pavement. Gait analysis with slow-motion video allows us to identify what you’re doing well, and what could be better in your running technique. 

We can identify potential injury risk factors, or reasons why you might be experiencing pain as well as break down biomechanical factors and compensations that are snowballing into less than favorable results. Having a proper gait analysis performed by a trained physiotherapist or chiropractor will give you the confidence to know the practitioner is assessing you head to toe, finding anything that may be contributing to your presentation.

Gait Analysis, Running, and Tapping Into Your FULL Potential

Your chiro or physio can also triage your needs based on your goals and obstacles. We are excellent at diagnoses, manual therapy and exercise prescription, but you may have more specific needs that would be more effectively addressed by different professionals or additional resources. We can help point you in the right direction depending on what we find during your gait analysis. For example, you may need or want:

gait analysis consultation

  • A strength and conditioning specialist
  • Run Coaching
  • A dietician or nutritionist
  • Sport psychology
  • Lab testing with an exercise physiologist in Calgary
  • Massage therapy
  • A visit to your medical doctor for blood work
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Resources such as book recommendations 

Who Should Get a Gait Analysis?

Running assessments are for anyone who runs!  Whether you are brand new to running, are wanting to get into new distances for racing, or have been running at a high level for most of your life, you will get something out of it. Here are some examples of when a running assessment might be especially valuable:

  • You Are New to Running or Want To Get Into It.

This is sometimes the best time for a gait analysis, as we can stop bad habits before they arise, and get you on a tailored strengthening program to best support running injury prevention. 

  • You Have a History of Running Injuries or Any Overuse Injury.

The biggest risk factor for an injury is a prior injury. If our brain asks our body to do a task, it’s going to find a way to do it. When we have an injury or pain, our body will adapt so it can still achieve the movement goal while reducing the threat to the compromised area. Often we maintain these adaptations long-term, and this can set us up for new issues. Getting assessed can help to see if you’ve created compensations for your movement deficiencies. 

  • You Have a Current Injury That Is Causing You Pain or Preventing You From Running As Often, Far, or Intense As You Want To.

Let’s figure out why! The location of your pain is often NOT the location of the problem. This is especially true when pain has a gradual onset or if you seem to get the same pain that comes and goes repeatedly over a long period of time.

  • You Are Looking To Improve Performance.

Because the things we check in a running assessment are factors that contribute to running economy and tissue health, identifying deficiencies (and of course, then working to improve them!) can positively impact your performance in training and racing.    

What Does a Running Assessment Look Like?

This will vary based on the clinic you go to and the practitioner that you see, not to mention the individual being assessed. But the essential components of a running assessment include the following:

1. Mobility and Strength Assessment

  • Ranges of motion of the spine, shoulders, and lower extremities 
  • Strength of the core and lower extremities
  • Stability testing of the core and single leg   
  • Breathings mechanics 
  • Movement pattern competency 

2. Gait Analysis on the Treadmill

  • Slow motion and real-time video analysis of your run from multiple angles 
  • Real-time practitioner-led cueing for trial-and-error type corrections and recommendations based on findings  

3. A Summary of Findings

  • At the end of your assessment, you will receive a plan of care outlining all of the findings, patterns, and relevant information as we often go over A LOT in these sessions! 
  • This summary of findings will also include outcome measures to monitor and progress throughout your treatment plan and running journey 

4. An Action Plan for the next steps. This might include:

  • Recommendations for manual therapy, if you are experiencing pain or lacking range of motion.
  • An exercise prescription to resolve any deficits identified in the assessment. 
  • An individualized warm-up and/or cool-down protocol. 
  • A timeline for when to follow up for treatment and/or new exercises.
  • A referral to an additional service provider, if needed. 

Final thoughtsrunning assessment results

These appointments are also great to just connect with a practitioner who understands your sport and can relate to what you’re doing. It’s helpful to have a professional in your corner who not only shares your enthusiasm for running but also has your back when it comes to supporting your goals. 

Our Running Assessment practitioners at Peak have combined experience in track, road running, and trail running, and we can’t wait to help you! Whether you are a novice runner, a long-distance runner, a track athlete, or someone who is curious if you could ever become a ‘runner’, we have someone who is ready to help you. To book your running assessment today, click HERE.

Torticollis and Plagiocephaly – Pediatric Physiotherapy Can Help!

pediatric physiotherapy for torticollis and plagiocephaly calgary south

Written by Gina Rolf, Physiotherapist

 

As a peak health physiotherapist who works with kids, I am frequently asked about two common conditions in babies: torticollis and plagiocephaly. While they may sound like tongue twisters, these conditions can have significant impacts on a child’s development. In this blog post, we will explore these conditions, including their causes, effects, and treatments.

What Is The Difference Between Torticollis and Plagiocephaly?

First, let’s define what these terms mean. Torticollis is a condition in which an infant’s neck is tilted to one side, resulting in difficulty turning the head in the opposite direction. Plagiocephaly, on the other hand, is a condition in which an infant’s head becomes flattened on one side, due to various factors such as a preference for sleeping or turning to that side.

Is Torticollis Associated With Plagiocephaly?

So, are these two conditions related? The answer is yes. In fact, torticollis is a common cause of plagiocephaly. When an infant’s neck is constantly tilted to one side, the weight of their head can cause flattening on that side, leading to plagiocephaly.

Does Physical Therapy Help Torticollis and Plagiocephaly?consultation with a kid's physiotherapist

The answer to this one is also yes! Physical therapy is often recommended as the first line of treatment for both torticollis and plagiocephaly. 

In the case of torticollis, physical therapy can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the neck, allowing for a better range of motion and improved head control. During an appointment, your physiotherapist will review the specific stretches prescribed for your child, as well as ensure all developmental milestones are being met and not being adversely influenced by the torticollis.  

For plagiocephaly, physical therapy can help to improve the baby’s overall alignment, reduce the asymmetry in the head shape, and promote the use of both sides of the body. In some cases, treating in conjunction with a remolding orthosis (more commonly known as a helmet) may be recommended to help direct the growth of your baby’s head. If this is the case, your pediatric physiotherapist will help facilitate this process with other clinics in the city. 

At What Age Is Plagiocephaly Permanent?

It’s important to note that physical therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each baby’s treatment plan will be tailored to their specific needs, based on the severity of their condition and their age. The good news is that plagiocephaly is not usually permanent, especially if it is caught early and treated appropriately. In fact, most cases of plagiocephaly will resolve with a combination of physical therapy and repositioning techniques before the baby turns one year old.

What Happens If Torticollis is Left Untreated?

Unfortunately, untreated torticollis can lead to a host of other problems, including delayed motor development, difficulty with visual tracking, and even facial asymmetry. That’s why it’s so important to seek treatment as soon as possible if you suspect your child has torticollis.

What Happens If You Don’t Correct Plagiocephaly?

While plagiocephaly is not usually permanent, leaving it untreated can lead to long-term problems, such as facial asymmetry, jaw misalignment, and even developmental delays. Again, seeking treatment as soon as possible is key to ensuring the best possible outcomes for your child.

Key Takeawayskid's physiotherapist helping an infant

In conclusion, while torticollis and plagiocephaly can be concerning for parents, it is rarely permanent. With the right treatment, such as the stretches and exercises learned during physical therapy, most infants and young children can overcome these conditions and go on to develop normally with an improved quality of life.

So, if you suspect your child has torticollis or plagiocephaly, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or anyone from our team at Peak Health Kids. Together, we can help your child achieve their full potential! Click HERE to learn more. 

Knee Pain and You: What You Need to Know

physiotherapy for knee pain calgary south

Written by Chiropractor Dr. Nathan Boone

 

Maybe you remember what happened: a twist, a step, a fall. Maybe you don’t! Either way, the discomfort in your knee has morphed from a nuisance into an unrelenting and gnawing pain, present during even the simplest day-to-day tasks.

physiotherapy assessment

Knee pain, unfortunately, appears to be a universal consequence of having knees (of which most of us have two!). In fact, a recent review reported that nearly 25% of adults are likely to report an episode of non-traumatic knee pain in a given year. 

Infuriatingly, many episodes of knee pain appear to have no specific source, and patients report symptoms of generalized or “moving” pain in the front of their knee that may be aggravated during activities such as squatting, sitting, running, or climbing stairs. 

Persistent pain that interferes with activities you love can be a physically and mentally draining experience, leaving you with questions like: What is causing it? How long will it be here? And most importantly: What can I do about it?

PFPS: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome 

In the absence of a clear mechanical or structural issue, health care professionals often provide an intentionally vague diagnosis of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), sometimes referred to as Runners Knee. PFPS describes this nonspecific experience of pain in the area in front of the knee that can range from annoying to debilitating and may prevent or impair participation in activities from running to working out, to just sitting and watching a movie. 

For those experiencing PFPS, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that it can be dealt with. Remember that many people develop knee pain, but most don’t currently have it – this is a testament to its ability to improve! The bad news is that for many people, PFPS is a persistent and recurrent issue that may take time to deal with. 

Due to the vague nature of PFPS, we lack a clear picture of all the factors that may be involved; however recent research has dramatically improved our understanding of the condition, what causes it, and how we can manage it!

What Causes Knee Pain?

The most common question patients ask is: why does my knee hurt? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a bit foggy – but researchers have some good ideas. The leading theory suggests that the pain stems from irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap). 

Abnormal, excessive, or repetitive stresses may lead to softening or deterioration of the top layer of this cartilage exposing the more sensitive surfaces beneath. Although our bodies typically thrive under stress, these persistent forces on the patella don’t allow for the necessary recovery time needed to get stronger, leading to a degeneration process that ultimately results in pain. 

Am I At Risk for PFPS or Knee Pain?

“My sister runs every day and doesn’t get knee pain, why does MY knee hurt?” Although these answers are highly individualistic, and you should consult your health care professional regarding your specific situation, there does appear to be some consistent observations amongst PFPS sufferers. 

Consistently, those who have, or develop, PFPS demonstrate abnormal biomechanics during lower limb activities as well as deficits in lower limb strength. In other words: they move differently. As the knee joint is a simple hinge connecting the ankle to the hip, it is at the mercy of what goes on above and below it. Poor control and strength of the hip and knee, especially during single-leg activities (like climbing stairs), place the knee in a disadvantaged position which may result in those increased patella forces mentioned earlier! 

How To Manage Your Knee Pain

physiotherapist guiding patient during exercise

So, what does this mean and what can be done? Any time you experience continued pain or discomfort, visiting your local chiropractor or physiotherapist is always a good idea to get an accurate diagnosis of your knee pain to ensure you are implementing the correct management strategies. Other potential causes of knee pain must first be ruled out before we can call it PFPS! Your professional should work with you to identify the activities that aggravate or relieve your pain, as well as determine any potentially predisposing strength or movement impairments. 

Although our understanding of the development of PFPS is sometimes cloudy, the evidence supporting exercise as a treatment tool is crystal clear.

Strengthening programs targeting the muscles of both the thigh (quadriceps) AND the hip (glutes) appear to have the largest benefit for PFPS patients in the short and long term. 

Because weakness and poor movement control are culprits in the development and progression of PFPS, the strategic application of strengthening activities should come as no surprise. Ensuring you have an exercise plan that is right for you is the first step. 

Although exercise is the most effective single method of managing PFPS, manual therapy techniques including soft tissue massage, joint mobilizations, taping, and even orthotics may be included in treatment plans to help relieve pain and improve function in the short term. 

How Long Does it Take to Make Knee Pain Go Away?

Timelines for managing PFPS can range from weeks to months. Many factors may play a role in the duration of PFPS, including duration of symptoms, strength levels, types of activities, genetics, and prior injuries to name a few. Developing frustration with slow progress and persistent symptoms is common, so demonstrating patience is key when beginning the journey of managing your knee pain. 

As our understanding of PFPS improves, so will our management techniques. For now, one thing is clear: early intervention of relative rest, exercise, and targeted manual treatments are the best tools we have; but a healthy dose of optimism goes a long way as well. 

Final Thoughts

If you are experiencing knee pain and are in search of what direction you should go, book your discovery call today to find out what next steps may be appropriate for you. Our team is always just a phone call away to get you on the right path! 

knee angle assessmentPeak Health & Performance can help you recover from a wide range of common conditions including:

  • Impaired range of motion
  • Chronic injuries
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries
  • Neck pain
  • Knee injuries
  • Joint pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Rotator cuff issues

Peak is a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place. Be yourself, we like it that way.