Do you or a loved one have a prescription for Home Health Physical Therapy from your primary care physician? On Track Physical Therapy and Performance, P.C. does not contract with Medicare patients directly, but we can see patients through our partnership with Feldcare Connects. Request Services here to get your Physical therapy started and ask for Blake Russell, MPT for your Physical Therapy needs in the Monterey Bay area.
It’s tiny joint, but your big toe joint (MTP) can be an important one. Yep, you probably don’t often think of your big toe unless you are stubbing it on some concrete path or whacking it on some furniture, but it’s a key joint for balance and locomotion- not to mention running. As you push off, your big toe must extend which causes your plantar fascia to tighten which helps to stabilize the foot. This rigidity it causes in your foot as it extends is good because it makes a strong lever for propulsion.
Oh my knees!
If you do a lot of running, you’ve probably experienced some sort of knee pain at one point or another. There can be lots of reasons why your knees hurt…Soft tissue restrictions, joint irritation, spinal alignment, or strength and stability to name a few. Often it may be a hip or ankle issue that is contributing to your pain. It’s a good idea to get your whole body checked out and even assess your running form to make sure you address the route of the problem rather than the site of the pain.
If I find a patient has a stability issue, a good exercise to begin with is a mini squat with your heel elevated. Having your feet in an elevated position will mimic the position your foot is in as you are running downhill. I like to start patients with both heels elevated and have them bend to about 20 degrees (or in a pain-free range). Start first with 2 sets of 15-20 daily, then progress to 1 leg at a time to make it more challenging. Running is an endurance sport, so higher reps with good form are key.
As always, consult your Primary Care Physician with any conditions you are concerned about and exercise in a pain-free range.
Tennis elbow is a repetitive-motion injury that is caused when the wrist forearm muscles (extensors and supinators) are overloaded. When the tendons cannot handle the load, small micro tears begin to occur and eventually you feel pain and weakness. Common activities like the following can evoke your symptoms:
- playing tennis
- using tools (plumbers, painters, cooks, etc…)
- holding a coffee mug
- turning a door knob
- shaking hands
- gripping anything
Get your body ready
The best way to get ready for your workout or sport is to incorporate a dynamic warmup. The purpose of taking a few minutes beforehand is to stimulate the nervous system, increase body temperature, work on range of motion, flexibility and address any limitations. Getting your joints, muscles and ligaments ready to start taking load and speed is necessary for optimal performance and will also help decrease your risk of injury.
The Hip Hinge:
The hip hinge is a fundamental movement that all humans should know how to do. It is the backbone for all athletic movements as there is no way to jump, land, change directions or train power without being able to get in this position. Spinal bending (flexion) is fine for certain motions like tying your shoes, but not for movements that require a greater load or more explosion.
Keeping your arm fresh between innings
Throwing a baseball is one of the most demanding movements you can do with your shoulder. Making sure your arm is warmed up properly is important for safe throwing. Obviously, it’s a full body movement, but baseball throwing requires strength, mobility and stability at extreme end ranges of the gleno-humeral joint into external rotation. In addition, you must have good thoracic mobility and core control.
Warming up your throwing arm
Working on you shoulder and thoracic mobility and stability are key components for proper arm care. Start with spinal mobility, concentrating on thoracic extension and rotation. Scapular stability is key to throwing and safe over-head arm mechanics, so make sure to address the sequencing of these muscles routinely.
The video below has a few specific mobility and stability exercises designed to do just this. Keeping your full range of motion in your thoracic spine and shoulder joint is important and needs daily attention particularly as your strength training and season progresses.
Erickson, B. J., Thorsness, R. J., Hamamoto, J. T., & Verma, N. N. (2016). The biomechanics of throwing. Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine, 24(3), 156-161.
Faries, M. D., & Greenwood, M. (2007). Core training: Stabilizing the confusion. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 29(2), 10-25.
Hurd, Wendy J, PhD,P.T., S.C.S., & Kaufman, Kenton R,PhD., P.E. (2012). Glenohumeral rotational motion and strength and baseball pitching biomechanics. Journal of Athletic Training, 47(3), 247-56.
Jeran, J. J., & Chetlin, R. D. (2005). Training the shoulder complex in baseball pitchers: A sport-specific approach. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 24(4), 14-31.
Kibler, W. B., Ludewig, P. M., McClure, P. W., Michener, L. A., Bak, K., & Sciascia, A. D. (2013). Clinical implications of scapular dyskinesis in shoulder injury: The 2013 consensus statement from the ‘scapular summit’. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(14), 877.
W, B. K. (1998). The role of the scapula in athletic shoulder function. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 26(2), 325-37.
Wilk, K. E., Williams, R. A., Dugas, J. R., Cain, E. L., & Andrews, J. R. (2016). Current concepts in the assessment and rehabilitation of the thrower’s shoulder. Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine, 24(3), 170-180.
Why is Yogic Breathing so important?
Breathing is a simple, but powerful function. In recent years, the Polyvalgal theory has shown the vagus nerve has implications on everything from complex cardiac functions to more discrete aspects of attention, motivation, feeding, communication, emotion, vocalization, and the entire muscle array of the human face, head, throat and neck. Since human primary emotions are directly related to various autonomic functions, right brain activity has shown how important breath is in regulating the body’s response to stress. Who doesn’t need a better way to control the stress in their life?
Here’s the latest Monterey Herald Article with a simple breathing exercise at the end. Proper breathing dynamics is so important. It balances the body, helps with alignment and proper muscle activation, and decreases stress levels. I focus more on proper breathing in preparation for exercises, and find it fundamental for pelvic issues, musculoskeletal issues, and chronic pain. I also love the stress relief and mindfulness it can offer with just a few minutes a day. I am liking the Headspace app for guided meditation for anyone interested.