What the heck is a running analysis?

Hey runners!

Perhaps you have read about a running analysis, seen it done somewhere, or know someone that had one done.  They are pretty cool (I love doing them here at the office) so I wanted to share with you my take on a running analysis.  I know that a lot of the running stores do “running analysis” but from my experience, these are only looking at your feet and trying to determine which type of shoe you should wear.  My take on it is much more comprehensive.

First, a running analysis is PERFECT for any runner that is having some pain during or after running.  From my experience, 9 times out of 10 it is due to a fault that is visualized on the running analysis.  It’s also really great for runners that want to improve their performance and shave time off their PR.  Or maybe you’re both…you have some pain and want to improve your times because maybe your goal is to train for a half marathon.

So, a running analysis consists first of a full evaluation to look at muscle strength, mobility, restrictions or limitations.  This helps me pull together all of the pieces of the actual video analysis.  Then I have the runner run on the treadmill and we record it on video at various stages and placements.  After that, I use a software system to slow the video down to a fraction of the speed and analyze every aspect of the runner and generate a report based on the findings. From there, it depends on what we found but the majority of runners I see, typically require a few drills to implement or a few sessions at the office to train the muscles.  Other times, we have to alter the running mechanics to eliminate the pain.

Below are a few pictures from analyses that I’ve done that show important findings.

If you want to learn more about the slow motion video analysis (we also do golf, baseball and cycling), email us at Brenda@Revitalize-PT.com or visit our website.  We love working with runners to help them achieve their goals without having to run through pain constantly and train for their goal (one of ours went to Boston!).

KH Run Back-valgus 2

Knee alignment is poor and runner complaining of significant knee pain during running

knee flexion stance

Measuring knee flexion angle during the stance phase of running to determine power and running economy

knee flexion angle

Measure knee flexion angle to assess running economy

heel strike angle

Angle of heel strike and amount of knee flexion as the foot is hitting the ground

4 ways your body changes during menopause (and what you can do!)

Menopause is such a downer hey?  It seems like that should be the time in your life that you are living it up and doing everything you enjoy.  And most of you still are!  But there are these pesty things that always seem to get in the way (you know I’m talking about those darn hot flashes)!

We just recently held our first “Your body without estrogen” talk last week where we covered these topics in much greater detail and gave solutions for these issues.  It was a great group of women and they all learned a ton at the talk.  If you are in the greater milwaukee area, franklin, greenfield, muskego, hales corners, or mukwonago area and are interested in learning more, come check out our next talk on October 4th at 7:00 PM.

So as many of you maybe already know some of the changes that occur with menopause, we are going to talk alittle more in depth about them.  During menopause, estrogen levels drop and is the main culprit for these symptoms.  While having hormone replacement therapy is one solution, we will be focusing on more natural ways of alleviating symptoms.  Keep reading to learn how!

1.Hot flashes and insomnia: How annoying, hey?!?  Both of these are caused primarily by the drop in estrogen that occurs in the body.  Although there isn’t a great solution, exercise can help alleviate both hot flashes and insomnia.  Hot flashes can also be controlled by diet to some degree so avoiding triggers such as alcohol and coffee.  Insomnia can also be influenced by stress in your life so trying to manage stress and unwind before bed can also help you get some extra ZZZ’s.

2.  Dryness:  Experiencing vaginal dryness is common as women age but it can lead to other issues such as painful intercourse and incontinence.  It’s caused by the loss of estrogen which ultimately slows down mucous production in those areas creating the dryness.  Using a topical estrogen cream can help this by giving you just alittle bit of the hormone to that specific location.

3.  Weight gain:  As estrogen levels drop, it can contribute to increasing body fat and decreasing muscle and bone mass.  A lot of women that come into our clinic want help to build up muscle again because of this.  When you lose muscle mass, it slows your metabolism down which can make it much harder to keep excess weight off.  Exercising will help increase your muscle mass and burn more fat.  It will also keep your bones strong depending on the type of exercise you do which is important for long term health.

4.  Incontinence:  Nobody likes having to run to the bathroom, wear a pad, or worse, having to bring a change of clothes along in case of incontinence.  We tend to see women coming into the office with this issue as they are hitting menopause but it is not due entirely to the decrease in estrogen.  Often times it is multi-factorial and festers for many, many years.  Having dryness can exacerbate the incontinence as well so trying to resolve that can make incontinence alittle better.  Since it is often times complex, it is best to see a pelvic physical therapist that specializes in it to make sure you can fully resolve the incontinence.  If you are near Hales Corners and have questions, feel free to reach out to me otherwise I can also help you find one in your area.

Having a steady routine with exercise and a healthy diet will help you navigate the waters through menopause and if you want extra help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.  Life is too short to suffer on a daily basis!  Have a great week everyone!

 

One single drill to improve your golf game

Hopefully you have been enjoying the nice weather out on the golf course lately!!  Since we are about halfway through the golf season, you may have begun to notice some issues with your game.  Perhaps you aren’t hitting as far as you’d like or as straight down the fairway.  Let’s face it, we’ve all been there!  Before you start playing those mental games with yourself (you know what I’m talking about…), consider this: perhaps your body is lacking mobility and control which is ultimately affecting your swing.

In order to achieve power out of your golf swing, the body must act like a whip.  Each segment must rotate starting from the hips and working it’s way up the chain to your hands.  Often times, people lack movement throughout their thoracic spine which is located in the middle of the back where all of your ribs attach.  This happens a lot when a person’s posture isn’t the great and with prolonged sitting.  When this region is stiff, it makes it much more challenging to rotate the torso in order to get adequate power and performance out of your swing.  Most will find a way to compensate and it often times shows in their golf game.  Try out this drill to loosen up the middle back and start nailing it off the tee!

Thoracic mobility drill

  1. Begin kneeling on the ground on hands and knees.  Place right hand on the back of your head then rotate right arm up as if you are trying to look to your right side.  Do 10 reps on both sides.

ER Reachback 1

ER Reachback 2

2.  Then place the back of your right palm onto the right side of your low back.  Again, rotate to the right side as far as you can without moving the rest of your body.  Do 10 reps on both sides.

IR Reachback 1

IR Reachback 2

Don’t forget that posture is also important, so make sure you aren’t slumped over at your desk and you are trying to keep your shoulders pulled back and sit upright.  If you want more help with your golf swing and are in the Hales Corners, Franklin, New Berlin or Mukwonago area, call us at (414) 331-2323 for a slow motion analysis or check out our website.

3 ways to stay injury free as a weekend warrior

The weekend warrior.  Let’s admit it, we probably all fall into this category at some point in our lives.  I know I’m guilty of going out to race motocross with very minimal practice time outside of competition.  While it’s awesome that people want to stay active and involved throughout their life, it’s challenging on the body when it isn’t used to that level of activity.  While the best way to avoid injury is to train more for your sporting event so your body is adjusted, let’s be honest, most of us are short on time and it just doesn’t happen.  So follow the tips below to help you avoid injury if you are part of the weekend warrior ranks.

Proper warm up and cool down.  It’s important to give your muscles enough time to get warmed up before jumping into your sport.  This way they can be alittle more pliable and you decrease your risk of straining the muscle or tearing.  It’s similar to starting your car up in the middle of winter then driving balls to the wall right off the bat.  Chances are, your car is NOT going to like that and your muscles sure wouldn’t like that either.  Make sure you incorporate a dynamic warmup that begins to activate the muscles rather than just stretching.  An example is the inchworm exercise where you move from plank into a hinged position.

Inch-Worm_Exercise1

Cross training during the week.  Even if you don’t get a chance to go out and practice your sport during the week, making sure you get some type of activity in is a good idea.  Cross training is the technical name for doing other types of activities or sports, different from your main sport.  It’s great because it will still work your muscles and cardio endurance but challenges your body slightly differently than the sport you do.  This makes the body more well-rounded in regards to strength, stability and eliminating imbalances.  Ultimately, it helps you avoid injuries so make sure you’re going out over the week and doing some activity!

Give your body recovery time.  After a competition, it’s important that you give your body appropriate rest, especially if you are sore.  Do some easy stretching and foam rolling to aid in recovery and decrease soreness.  This will help your muscles get back to an optimal state for the next competition.  And it’s okay to take a day off for rest, but try to still do something active such as walking or the recovery aids above so you don’t stiffen up.

I hope this tips help you out for your next competition and keep you healthy and injury free.  If you are having pain or concerned about an issue, don’t hesitate to email us at Brenda@revitalize-pt.com or check out our website for more information.  Goodluck out there!!

Where to start after having a baby

Having a baby is such a wonderful thing and definitely an adventure!  But let’s talk today about a few things that not many people talk about – how to get back to exercise.  I’ve seen so many ladies that were basically told, wait 6 weeks then you’re good.  Well, what does that really mean?  As you know (or maybe will know soon), your body went through a lot to have that baby and there’s a lot of trauma that occurs to the pelvic floor muscles and core muscles.  Often times, it is not as easy as “wait 6 weeks then you’re good”.  So here are some tips to help you and give you an idea of where to start.

Take your time.  Everyone is different and everyone recovers differently.  The best thing you can do is to listen to your body and take your time easing back into exercise.  Sometimes there is a lot of pressure on women to get back into shape after having a baby but it is important to do what feels right to you.  Start off slow and gradually increase your exercise and your intensity.  There’s no “right” guideline and if you don’t feel ready, that is okay!  For others, they tend to be over zealous and need to remember that it is better to go slow than jump back in and end up injured.

Find the right exercise.  You may find that it is difficult to return to what you enjoyed doing such as running, right off the bat.  And to be honest, it’s best to go back to the basics and get a stable core and base (see next point) before doing high intensity exercises.  You will need to find an exercise that you enjoy and that feels gentle enough to you to start with.  For example, maybe try walking or swimming since they are alittle easier on the body and aren’t as demanding on the core and pelvic floor.  And do something you enjoy because life is too short to suffer through workouts that you can’t stand.  Nowadays there are always articles on the internet such as “do this exercise to lose baby weight”, etc, etc but if you don’t enjoy it, then don’t do it.  Find something that you can stick with.

Focus on your pelvic floor.  Most women aren’t quite as aware of the trauma that occurs to the pelvic floor during labor.  And some don’t consider it “trauma” if they didn’t tear and need stitches.  However, the muscles take quite a beating with getting that baby out of there!  And when women push too hard and/or too long, it can also put even more stress onto the muscles.  When you have  an epidural, it makes it difficult to gauge how much to push because you can’t feel anything (typically) so that sometimes puts a lot of stress onto the pelvic floor muscles.  It’s important after having the baby to take care of those muscles since they can have trigger points and weakness.  The best thing you can do is be evaluated by a pelvic floor physical therapist to determine the best plan for you individually.  Do it sooner versus later so you don’t end up with issues down the road such as urine leakage with jumping or sneezing.

DO NOT DO CRUNCHES.  I repeat, DO NOT DO CRUNCHES!  This exercise is just all wrong for you.  It works the superficial core muscles, not the important ones that are deeper and provide support and stability for the trunk.  And it also increased the pressure inside of your abdomen, which can make issues such as incontinence and diastasis recti worse.  Trust me, you don’t even want to waste your time with this one.

no-crunches

If you’ve recently had a baby and are in the Hales Corners, Franklin, Mukwonago, or New Berlin area and would like some individualized guidance on how you can get back into exercise, give us a call at (414) 331-2323 or email us at Brenda@revitalize-pt.com.  We specialize in pregnancy and helping new moms return to activity without getting hurt.

Put an end to back pain during your pregnancy

Can I just start off by saying that I really truly enjoy working with all the pregnant ladies out there and it is so rewarding to help give them relief during their pregnancy!  I’m sure you have heard of people complaining about back pain while they are pregnant and maybe you’ve had it yourself in the past (or currently which is pretty likely since you are reading this right now).  But what bothers me is that so many ladies are just told to “deal with it” because they’re pregnant so supposedly that’s just supposed to be a thing.

Granted, it is common to have low back pain when you are pregnant.  In fact, I have seen statistics as high as 80% of women have low back pain during pregnancy.  And it makes sense that many have back pain because there are changes in your posture due to where the baby sits, weakness in the muscles as they stretch to accommodate your growing baby, and also the fact that you have to carry around extra weight that you typically wouldn’t.  But with these changes come a lot of muscle tightness and weakness.  The abdominal muscles get stretched and stop working properly so many ladies lack the stability from the core muscles.  And the low back muscles get tight due to the changes in posture.  Luckily, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to suffer from it.  Try the following tips to help alleviate your pain and enjoy this stage!

Try some stretches.  To help loosen up the muscles that tend to get tight, try stretching both the back muscles and leg muscles.

  1. Child’s pose stretch: Space knees wider apart as needed, hold for 1 minute.  Repeat 3 times.childs pose
  2. Hamstring stretch:  Keep knee straight and hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat 3 times.hamstring

Focus on your posture.  Since the growing baby grows primarily forward (hence the “baby belly”), it shifts your center of gravity forward.  In order to avoid toppling over, women must arch back more to shift that center of gravity.  However, you want to make sure that you aren’t overdoing it and arching in the lower back more than necessary.  Also trying to hold your shoulders back and not slumping will help alleviate pressure on the low back.  It will also help you engage those core muscles that we want to work on as well.

Work with a Physical Therapist to create a stabilization program.  As I mentioned above, the core muscles will give you support and stability.  Making sure they are strong and functioning properly will not only help you avoid low back pain, but it will help make delivery easier and also recovery after baby.  Since everyone is at different levels with strength and stability, it is important to work with someone that is trained in this area such as a Physical Therapist that specializes in women’s health. It also varies based on what stage of your pregnancy that you are in and what you can tolerate so it’s best to have a personalized home exercise program that targets your specific needs.  If you are in the Greater Milwaukee or Hales Corners area, feel free to contact me for your personalized program.

Try to follow these tips daily and you should notice a difference within the first few days.  If your pain persists, please don’t suffer through it because you don’t need to.  Find a women’s health Physical Therapist in your area that can help you out.  Have a great week!

 

4 ways to get rid of shoulder pain

Have you been experiencing this nagging, dull, achy pain in your shoulder or upper arm lately?  And it might hurt more so when you lift your arm up overhead?  Chances are, you have an irritated rotator cuff which are four muscles that help stabilize the shoulder joint.  Most of the time, those tendons and muscles get worn out after years and years of use, similar to an old clothesline hanging outside for years (do people still use those nowadays?!?).  And let’s face it, your posture has probably not been that great because the human body is great at finding easier ways of doing things and having good posture requires work.

When the shoulders are rounded forward due to poor posture, this puts the shoulder joint in a bad position and as you lift your arm up, the bone “hits” the rotator cuff tendons and makes them irritated and painful.  It’s best to try to stop this pain as quickly as possible because the longer you let it go on for, the harder it is to resolve and the longer it takes.  Follow these tips to help alleviate your shoulder pain.

shoulder2D

Stretch your chest.  When the chest muscles get tight, they pull the shoulders forward into that bad posture position.  Loosening these up with take some of the pain away and help you improve your posture.  Try a chest stretch on a foam roller in order to loosen the muscles up.  Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.

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POSTURE.  Making sure your shoulders are pulled back and chin is tucked in will allow for better positioning of the joint with arm movements.  Try this: squeeze your shoulderblades together as much as you can.  Then relax them just slightly.  This should be the position that your shoulders should me in throughout the day.

1403009306165

Avoid overhead movements.  If you are getting pain when you raise your arm, then stop doing it!  The more and more you do it, the more it’s going to continue aggravating the shoulder.  Avoid painful movements as much as you can.  This will allow the tendons to heal.

Ice.  With continued irritation of the rotator cuff, there’s inflammation at the tendons.  Ice will help get rid of the irritation and decrease pain.  Try icing for 15 minutes at a time, 2 times a day.

If the pain continues or you find that you aren’t able to move your arm as much as the other one, you should have it checked out by a medical professional like a physical therapist.  They can help you regain the lost mobility and give you a long term program so that the pain does not return.  If you want help with this, email me at Brenda@Revitalize-PT.com or check out our website at http://www.Revitalize-PT.com