Comstock Physical Therapy

165 Lilly Rd NE, Suite B, Olympia • 360.455-8014

Running Shoes… Keep it Simple

How to select running shoes

How to select running shoes

Do you have questions about what to look for in new running shoes?  Well try to keep it simple!  Here are a few ideas and things to think about when picking out your next running shoe. 

  • Make sure your toes and forefoot have enough room.  When you run your foot spreads and swells slightly so you want to have room for that to happen.   It might even be good idea to try on shoes after running when your foot might be the biggest for this very reason.
  • Fit the shoe to your longest toe so you won’t be at risk for rubbing or blisters.
  • If you have a bunion make sure there are no seams or irritating areas over that area.   Check the inside of the shoe with your hand to be sure. 
  • The heel is one area that should be snug.  Your heel should not move up, down or side to side when running.  If it does, you will be prone to blisters.
  • If you wear orthotics, make sure they will fit comfortably in the shoe.
  • The shoe should bend easily behind the ball of the foot.  This is necessary for pushing yourself forward.  If it is too stiff here, you will be wasting energy bending your shoe instead of getting to the finish line. 
  • If you are a trail runner, you might need more rigid sole for protection from the elements otherwise don’t worry too much about the bottom of the shoe. 
  • But most importantly try on several pair and run in them.  Most running shoe stores have a treadmill for the very reason.   

 

2-year-old-jogging(2)

In summary, your body will really do the picking.We all come in slightly different shapes and sizes and you should always pick the shoe that FEELS the best.Most likely the one that feels the best in the store will feel the best on your run.And above all don’t buy a shoe for color, style, price or because it’s the latest fad.Buy a shoe that feels like your favorite pair of jeans.It should be comfortable, supportive and did I mention comfortable!

Get your glut muscle workout with every day activity!

Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus maximus muscle-get your workout with everyday activity

Do you want to strengthen your gluteus maximus during day to day activities? Why is it even important? The gluteus maximus is important in preventing hip, knee and foot pain. It supports the thigh, knee and foot when you shift your weight onto your leg when you walk or run. It is absolutely essential for good balance. The gluteus maximus also supports the hip by keeping the ball and socket of the hip held closely tight, instead of allowing larger, longer muscles such as the hamstrings to pull ball towards the edge of the socket. At the image below, from “Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes” by Shirley Sahrmann PT PhD FAPTA, it can be see on the top image, that the

Glut max versus hamstring

Gluteus maximus versus hamstring

that the gluteus maximus, the muscle on the top of the thigh, hugs the ball into the socket. In the lower image the hamstring can be seen pushing the ball forward in the socket, which can cause groin pain in the short run and hip arthritis in the long run.

To strengthening the glut with day to day activity do the following:
1) get in to a sitting position in a chair (or even on a toilet) and tuck your feet under you
2) reach around behind you to your buttocks
3) activate (tighten) your gluts
4) use your gluts to push you into standing
5) when moving from standing to sitting reverse this procedure

If you have in leg or back problems, be sure to check with your health care provider before attempting this exercise.

Vertigo Treatment

Vertigo  taken by "Vertigo 08018" by Nevit Dilmen - Own Photograph. Licensed under " href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Vertigo taken by “Vertigo 08018” by Nevit Dilmen – Own Photograph. Licensed under Wikimedia Commons.

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Have you ever felt like the world is spinning around you?  Do you feel nauseated when you move too fast?  Does it take a minute for you to feel stable when getting out of bed because you feel unsteady?  Do you find yourself closing your eyes when you roll over because things start to move?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have positional vertigo.

 

Although feeling like this is scary, the good news is that positional vertigo CAN be treated effectively no matter how long you have had it.  A physical therapist that has been specially trained to assess vertigo will test you to see if you might have a problem with the “level sensors” in your inner ear.  These level sensors are called the semicircular canals.  You have 3 of them in each side of the skull.  It might sound strange but inside these canals are crystals or “rocks” and they sometimes get where they do not belong.  When they are in the wrong place, and you move your head (up, down, right or left), the crystals will continue to send signals to your brain that you are moving even after you have stopped moving the head.  So the brain gets 2 different messages: one from the ears saying that you are moving and one from the eyes saying that you have stopped moving.  The brain is used to getting the same message from the eyes and ears and so it doesn’t know what to do with the different signals and thus it feels like you are spinning.  The spinning sensation does subside usually within seconds as the brain quickly realizes that the eyes are the ones with the correct information. 

 

Of course there are other reasons that you might be feeling vertigo, dizzy, or unsteady but positional vertigo is a very common reason.  And the good news is that it can be treated quickly and easy.  Nearly 80% of patients with positional vertigo only require one physical therapy treatment session. 

 

Come in to Comstock Physical Therapy to learn more about positional vertigo and get fully assessed to see if vertigo is truly the reason that you are spinning or feeling off balance.  Don’t think that you just have to live with it because it might be possible to get rid of it and be stable once again! 

 

 

 

Better Balance

Balance

Balance

Do you ever catch your toe on a floor rug or maybe a slightly raised curb?  Do you find yourself grabbing onto the walls or furniture when you lose your balance?  Do you feel like you should use a cane but don’t want to?  Do you want to prevent a “bad” fall before it happens? 

 

Well you’re in luck because balance CAN be improved if you work on the right things; no matter your age.  You might wonder, “How can my balance get any better?  It just seems to be getting worse with time.”  It’s true, balance does seem to deteriorate over time but only because our ankles, hips and reaction times get to be less than optimal.  But the good news is that you can improve in all these areas.  The physical therapist will look at your flexibility, strength and reaction time to assess your specific balance needs.  Is it surprising that these few little things could help?  Well here are the basics on HOW it will help:

 

Flexibility is important in order to “catch yourself” when becoming off balance.  If you are too stiff in the ankles or hips, you won’t have the flexibility to do this with even a small loss of balance which could lead to a fall.  Better flexibility will assist make it easier to get dressed, get in and out of the car as well as moving around the kitchen or workshop. 

 

Strength is important in both the ankles and hips to regain your steadiness.  The stronger the ankles and hips are, the better your chances of being able to balance yourself with small and larger stumbles.  More strength makes it easier to go upstairs, garden, and travel.  You can always get stronger no matter your age, come in and we will show you how. 

 

Reaction time will help you react to a stumble quicker and thus making it easier to regain your balance.  We can help you regain that quickness with specific practice on unsteady surfaces.  This will help you when you are on uneven or rocky terrain, and even dancing.  

 

Come to Comstock Physical Therapy to learn the right exercises to improve ALL these areas!  Don’t be discouraged by your age; anyone can get stronger, faster and more limber if you do the RIGHT exercises.

 

We can also discuss home hazards that may be putting you at risk for unnecessary falls.  Remember PREVENTION is the best INTERVENTION!

Does physical therapy HURT?

Running

Are you thinking of becoming more physically active but you are afraid increasing your activity will cause pain? You have heard that physical therapy can help but sometimes is painful.

If you are I’m thinking of starting physical therapy, you are probably wondering: “What methods does the physical therapist use?” “What is physical therapy really like?” “Does it hurt?”

The physical therapist’s will start by evaluating how you ARE moving and find the problem areas compared to what would be your ideal movement.

The first step is the therapist sits down to meet you. Imagine you are in the physical therapy office, the therapist will take you back to a evaluation room or area and begin by asking you questions about how you were hurt (if you were or not), where you are hurt and other questions about your history. Importantly, the therapist should ask you what YOU expect out of physical therapy, in other words what is YOUR goal?

After the therapist has met you understood your concerns, history and expectations, he or she will ask to change into clinic appropriate clothing if necessary. For example, if you have an ankle problem the therapist may ask you to pull up your slacks or skirt above the knees so she can see HOW you move below the hip. The therapist may want you to change into shorts (which the clinic usually have on hand or you can bring your own) if you have knee, hip or back problems. If you have a shoulder problem the therapist may ask you to change into a gown, open in the back and under the armpit of the bad shoulder. The therapist will then leave the room to allow you to change if it is required.

The therapist now will watch you walk (if you have a lower body problem) or raise your arms (and watch from behind to check your shoulder blade position, motion and strength) if you have an upper body problem. She will check each joint’s amount of motion AND strength (unless you are too painful). The therapist will focus in on HOW the motion and strength work together to make you move, either poorly and well. Sometimes you can be sore after an evaluation; the soreness can last for about a day. Tell your therapist if something is painful so he or she doesn’t push you too far.

NOW the therapist is ready to come to a conclusion about where your body moves well, and where it needs improvement. The therapist will again sit down with you to explain the findings and educate you about your condition. The therapist will show you pictures of the anatomy, and what your specific problem is.

On this visit or at the beginning of the next visit the therapist will start you on an exercise program to begin to correct the problem, and probably use specific massage or joint stretching techniques to loosen tight, guarded or spasmed muscles. A few exercises may hurt and if they might but are necessary the therapist will tell you in advance. Most exercises should not hurt and if you have pain with your exercises, please tell your therapist.

If your pain is on the lower end, you will probably be seen about 1 time per week, so the therapist can make the exercises harder as you gain more movement and strength. If you have had a recent surgery, you may need to come more often, or if you have a higher level of pain.

There is good news AND bad news: the good news is you have the power to improve your problem by doing the exercises the therapist gives you and the bad news is you have to do the exercises to get better.

Usually you will get better in about 8 – 10 visits if you have a lower level of pain to start with. If you have had recent surgery or more severe injury you may need therapy for 2-3 months. Either way, your progress will be gradual, and sometimes almost imperceptible. You used to have pain when you walked for 2 miles, now you don’t hurt after 2 miles. You used to have pain bringing in your groceries, now you don’t.

Physical Therapy sounds scary and the good news is it is usually not painful and can get you back to where you want to be!