Grace Tang is the new owner of Strive Physical Therapy & Fitness in Morrisville. She holds a doctorate in physical therapy from New York University and is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedics. She specializes in the treatment and prevention of orthopedic and sports injuries with a focus on manual therapy. Strive also provides personal training and sports performance training programs tailored to individual needs.
If you have osteoarthritis or any other painful joint conditions, take advantage of the warm weather and head to the pool. In waist-depth water, buoyancy can support 50 percent of body weight so that you may reap the benefits of exercise with minimal increase in pain and decreased joint impact. Water aerobics is a great way to strengthen your muscles, improve cardiovascular endurance and socialize with others.
Flip-flop season is a time when physical therapists see an increase in patients who complain of lower limb joint pain. Know your foot type and wear shoes with appropriate support. Shoes with poor support may increase biomechanical stresses in the joints of the lower limbs and may even exacerbate joint degeneration. Get shoe recommendations from a quality running outfitter that examines your feet and evaluates your running/walking mechanics.
A foam roller is a great and simple tool that can be used for soft tissue mobilization, core training and stretching. If you have runner’s knee, hip bursitis or tendonitis of the hips or knees, a foam roller may be helpful to manage these injuries.
ADVICE ON STRETCHING:
Stretch before or after exercise?
Recent studies have shown that static stretching prior to exercise can be detrimental to performance and does not always prevent injury. Static stretches involve reaching to a point of tension and holding the stretch, versus dynamic stretches, which use sports-specific movements to gradually increase speed and reach. Warm up fully before exercise or a game, and try some dynamic stretches. If you lack flexibility, leave the static stretches for after your exercise, when your muscles are warm. If you have recurrent injuries, you may benefit from seeing a physical therapist.
WHEN STARTING A NEW EXERCISE PROGRAM:
If you are starting a new exercise program, be sure to get proper instruction and medical clearance. Listen to your body for warning signs and stop the exercise if you experience pain. Although muscular soreness is expected from intense exercise, “No pain, no gain” is not a good motto to follow. Physical therapists are now encountering many folks who injured themselves while exercising at home, using the latest trendy fitness programs.
If you suffer with joint inflammation and pain, try adding turmeric to your diet. Among the many health benefits of using this spice, it has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and may help to reduce your joint pain. You should check with your doctor before starting any dietary supplementation.
Physical therapists can help improve or restore mobility and strength and can also help prevent injury and surgery. Physical therapist-developed exercise programs can reduce athletes’ risk of injury by 41 percent according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine. At Strive Physical Therapy & Fitness, clients are transitioned to a supervised and effective exercise program whether you are recovering from major surgery or you are an athlete looking for improved performance.