News - Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy
Saturday December 1, 2018

ENHANCING FOOT AND ANKLE MOBILITY

Astym deep tissue massage Des Moines

How to eliminate back pain (Part 4)

Enhancing foot and ankle mobility

by Dr. Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

It’s time for part four of our series: 5 Reasons Why Your Back Hurts When You Walk. This month, we’re focusing on how to eliminate lower back pain by focusing on limited foot and ankle mobility.

Astym deep tissue massage Des MoinesStudies demonstrate that every time your foot hits the ground, your body absorbs forces equivalent to two-three times your body weight. If your foot is stiff and does not flatten when you walk like it is designed to do, increased forces are transmitted to your spine, which increases pressure on the spine and can irritate the joints and nerves in the spine.

The following activities are a good start if you need to enhance foot and ankle mobility, but it is always wise to seek the advice of a lower back pain specialist to assess your specific needs and find the exact program to overcome your unique issues. Remember, if you want good outcomes, it is always better to assess than to guess.

  1. Foam Rolling & Massage Sticks – The same foam roller you use for thoracic mobility can be used to enhance foot and ankle mobility. Just sit on the ground and place your calf on the foam roll with your other leg on top. Roll over the calf while actively moving the ankle for a minute or two, stopping briefly on any trigger points you feel.

If you have difficulty creating enough force through the calf on the foam roller, you can also purchase a massage stick. Get in a half kneel position, lean forward, and push through the calf with the massage stick like Mike Reinold of Champion Physical Therapy & Performance in Massachusetts demonstrates in this short video.

  1. Calf Stretching – There are many ways to stretch the calf, but a method that works for nearly everyone is to get close to a wall and place the toes on one foot up on the wall while your heel touches the ground. Bring your body close to the wall until you feel a stretch on the back of your calf and hold for 15-30 seconds, like the people at Next Level Physical Therapy (Hamilton, NJ) demonstrate in this video.

  1. Simple Ankle Mobility Exercise – Hockey training expert Kevin Neeld shows how you can turn the previous calf stretch into a simple ankle mobility exercise by adding a dynamic movement element to the stretch in this video. If you look closely, you can see that his knee moves towards the wall in three planes: straight forward, slightly inward, and slightly outward.

  1. Advanced Ankle Mobility Exercise – Canadian chiropractor Jeff Cubos demonstrates another variation on ankle mobility in the half kneeling position using a dowel. Place the dowel just outside the fifth toe of the front foot. When you lean forward, bring the inside of your knee outside the dowel while keeping the bottom of your foot firmly planted on the floor. Check it out in this video.

In part five of this series, the Kinetic Edge team and I will continue to provide practical information on how to eliminate back pain by managing spine arthritis and/or stenosis. If you can’t wait for that information to be released and you have health insurance benefits that are scheduled to renew at the beginning of 2019, I welcome you to contact us today to set up a thorough evaluation with one of our lower back pain experts.

Even if you’re not experiencing pain currently but have dealt with it in the past, you’d likely benefit from the help of a knowledgeable physical therapist who can find and fix the issues that contribute to the pain. Fixing those root problems will reduce the likelihood of your pain returning.

Want to learn more about eliminating back pain? Check out the other articles from this series:

Tuesday November 27, 2018

TODD’S 44TH BIRTHDAY RUN

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imageFor the past 19 years, I have run the minutes of my years on my birthday. For some, this is no bid deal, as some people run their years in miles. For others, the thought is crazy, especially in the middle of December.

At age 25 I felt let to start this tradition that I felt I could sustain for many years.  The run for most years has been pretty easy.  As I got closer to 40, I realized that I would need to start training for my birthday run and be more prepared as the years brought more minutes.  For the past several years I have been trying to do the run with others, as my goals with endurance sports have been shifting to be more around community instead of just competition.  This is not just because I am getting older, but because I have learned that doing activity with others is quite fulfilling.

This year, the tradition continues. Please join me for a 44 minute run at 7:00 AM on Monday, December 17th. We will be leaving from our Des Moines clinic at 516 3rd Street, Suite 100. To RSVP, email us or call 515-309-4706.

I challenge you to start your own health traditions. Don’t forget to invite others to join you on the journey!

Thursday November 1, 2018

HOW TO ELIMINATE BACK PAIN (PART 3): DECREASING UPPER BACK STIFFNESS

Stiff Upper Back

How to Eliminate Back Pain (Part 3): Decreasing Upper Back Stiffness

Dr. Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

In our June 1, 2018 article entitled 5 Reasons Why Your Back Hurts When You Walk, I outlined the most common root causes of this type of back pain: poor hip mobility, decreased hip strength, stiff upper back, limited foot and ankle mobility, and spine arthritis. In this month’s follow-up installment, I will highlight the problems often caused by stiffness in the mid- to upper back and what you can do to eradicate those problems.

As I often say, a lack of stability at a particular link in the kinetic chain causes your body to display dysfunctional movement at that joint. Likewise, a lack of mobility at a particular joint (or set of joints) also has consequences, but these consequences most often affect neighboring regions, particularly the closest neighbors. This is the case at the mid- to upper back. Poor mobility in this area increases movement demands below at the lower back and above at the neck.

Stiff Upper BackSo, once again, we see that the body part that experiences pain isn’t really the true problem. It is simply the part that is experiencing increased mechanical stress because of the root problem.

The thoracic spine is an area of the spine that has the least amount of mobility primarily because it is surrounded by the rib cage, which exists to protect several important organs in the thorax. The rib cage is also a connection point to many critical core muscles.

The end result is that, by its design, the thoracic spine area does not move excessively, but that does not mean that movement in this region is not important. It is vital! Poor thoracic mobility can affect the lower back, hip, shoulder, and neck. Unfortunately, though, our daily postures make most of us prone to thoracic tightness.

The following activities are a good start if you need to enhance upper back mobility, but it is always wise to seek the advice of a lower back pain specialist to assess your specific needs and find the exact program to overcome your unique issues. Remember, if you want good outcomes, it is always better to assess than to guess.

  1. Foam Rolling – There are a ton of ways to use a foam roller to enhance thoracic mobility, and thoracic extension is one motion that can be accentuated. Watch the video below produced by Dan Pope, a physical therapist and certified strength coach. Remember to relax the spine as you move over the roller, because the goal is to gain mobility in multiple vertebral joints. You can accomplish relaxation by focusing on deep breathing techniques. Don’t hold your breath.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=68&v=khUFQseeMMc

  1. Seated Trunk Rotation – This exercise (demonstrated below in a video produced by Jeff Cubos) is done sitting with a tall posture on the front of a chair. An object is placed between the knees, and this object is squeezed to engage the core, which stabilizes the lower back and emphasizes movement at the thoracic spine. If you are doing this exercise correctly, you will feel limitations to rotation with minimal trunk movement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=27&v=LUrgex1xevY

  1. Quadruped Trunk Rotation – There are few people who understand the importance of a balance between mobility and stability than Eric Cressey, who owns baseball training facilities in Massachusetts and Florida. In the video below, Cressey drives trunk rotation with his arm while in on all fours. To limit lower back rotation, a person should flex the hips (and therefore the lumbar spine) by moving the hips closer to the heels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=FeORipksAlU

In upcoming installments, the Kinetic Edge team and I will continue to provide practical information on how to eliminate back pain by enhancing foot and ankle mobility (Part 4) and managing spine arthritis and/or stenosis (Part 5). If you can’t wait for that information to be released and you have health insurance benefits that are scheduled to renew at the beginning of 2019, I welcome you to contact us today to set up a thorough evaluation with one of our lower back pain experts. And remember, poor thoracic mobility may also be the root cause of your shoulder or neck pain as well.

Even if you’re not experiencing pain currently but have dealt with it in the past, you’d likely benefit from the help of a knowledgeable physical therapist who can find and fix the issues that contribute to the pain. Fixing those root problems will reduce the likelihood that your pain will return.

Thursday November 1, 2018

PHYSICAL THERAPIST OF 25 YEARS GETS PT FOR THE FIRST TIME

Matt Scotton enters Kinetic Egdge Physical Therapy in Newton

PHYSICAL THERAPIST OF 25 YEARS GETS PT FOR THE FIRST TIME

by Lindsey Klyn, Marketing Manager at Kinetic Edge

Matt Scotton Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy in NewtonStar Wars fans are familiar with the concept of the student becoming the master, but at Kinetic Edge, we’re doing things in reverse these days. Clinic Manager, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainer (Can we call him the master of our Newton clinic?) Matt Scotton underwent surgery to replace his ACL on October 18 after tearing it while doing a backward lunge.  Now he’s become a physical therapy client for the first time ever.

This isn’t the first time Scotton has gone through ACL surgery though. As a 14-year-old, he tore his ACL playing football. Back then, a surgeon sewed the ligament back together and then after the surgeon placed him in a cast from his mid-thigh to his ankle for eight weeks. He was on crutches for almost three months.

Matt Scotton at age 14 after ACL surgery“I didn’t receive any physical therapy after my knee surgery at age 14, but I wanted to play baseball and football again so I studied leg strengthening exercises and realized that I loved studying anatomy and biomechanics,” shared Scotton. “Turns out, that ACL tear was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It helped me find the perfect career for me.”

Since then, doctors learned much about the importance of early motion and prescriptive exercises from physical therapists so recovery from an ACL surgery looks much differently for Scotton this time around. He currently wears a locking knee brace and uses one crutch. Plus, his first physical therapy appointment occurred on October 22, just four days after surgery. Now he’s on the physical therapy schedule at Kinetic Edge twice per week, just like his physical therapy clients.

Matt Scotton Initial Evaluation for Physical Therapy in Newton“Our entire team participated in Matt’s initial evaluation,” shared Physical Therapist Jared Gerber. “We rarely do evaluations together, and we all do things a little differently, so it was cool to all work together to develop a plan.”

Scotton has worked alongside hundreds of teams in his lifetime as an athletic trainer for over a quarter of a century. Now, he’s learning another example of the power of teamwork as he experiences being a physical therapy client of the team at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy in Newton.

“I have learned that teams with great chemistry and common goals can accomplish much more than any team who has a few superstars and lacks tight-knit people who work together toward the same goals,” commented Scotton. “Both my knee and my heart feel better after working and learning from my teammates at Kinetic Edge because of how talented they are, the chemistry we share, and the genuine care they show.”

Already, his teammates have suggested modifications to some of the basic exercises that helped Scotton reduce swelling and regain his range of motion more rapidly. Scotton is confident his team will help him gain strength faster and get rid of his crutch sooner too.

Scotton’s counting down the days until he can resume his passions of biking and running without pain. Even little things like walking on uneven ground without knee instability are anticipated soon as a result of this surgery and physical therapy at Kinetic Edge. Scotton expects this ACL surgery will be even better than the one he did at age 14, giving him a stable knee for another 35 years or more.

Physical therapy is a well-kept secret from many people, and many people don’t realize you don’t need a doctor’s referral to see a physical therapist in Iowa. Statistics report that 75% of people have muscular or joint pain during the year and less than 20% receive physical therapy.

At Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, we’re committed to transforming lives and restoring hope through movement for each person we treat, whether you know nothing about physical therapy or you’ve been practicing it for 25 years like Scotton. If you have muscular or joint pain, give us a call at 866-588-0230 to see what Kinetic Edge can do for you.

Monday October 1, 2018

COLLEGE RUNNER OVERCOMES ONE IN A MILLION BONE TUMOR

Cross Country Runner, Rachel Peter

COLLEGE RUNNER OVERCOMES ONE IN A MILLION BONE TUMOR

by Lindsey Klyn, Marketing Specialist at Kinetic Edge

Cross Country Runner, Rachel Peter Rachel Peter always loved to run. After running track and cross country at PCM (Prairie City/Monroe) High School, she went on to compete at Central College in Pella, Iowa. During last year’s cross-country season, Peter started to feel pain in her left leg. The junior dismissed the pain thinking it was a muscular problem, but when the pain gradually grew worse, she knew something more serious was going on.

Peter scheduled an appointment at Pella Regional Health Center where an X-ray revealed a large black circle around her bone.

“I felt very overwhelmed and shocked when the doctor described what was wrong,” said Peter. “I mainly was just worried about when I would be able to run again and if it would ever be the same.

To Peter’s relief, Giant Cell Tumor of the Bone is a noncancerous tumor that most often develops at the ends of the body’s long bones like the femur or tibia. Given the uniqueness of her situation, Peter went on to see a specialist at the University of Iowa Hospital. Surgery was the only option she faced to remove the tumor. Without surgery, the tumor would continue to grow and destroy her bone.

They scheduled surgery for November 7, 2017, just a few weeks after the tumor was discovered. Surgeons spent hours removing the tumor from the bone and replacing the area with bone graft. Post-surgery, Peter spent six weeks without putting any weight on her left leg.

Around four weeks after surgery, Peter started physical therapy with John Lenderink at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy. Therapy first focused on restoring Peter’s range of motion and then progressed to focus on restoring her strength and weight bearing tolerance.

“I can’t describe how happy I was during the physical therapy session with Physical Therapist John Lenderink when he took my crutches away and I was able to walk on my own again!” exclaimed Peter. “When I left physical therapy sessions with John, I felt confident and determined to recover faster. I believe I could not have recovered as quickly as I did without physical therapy.”

Cross Country Runner, Rachel Peter In March, the news Peter anticipated for four months came: she could start running again! As of September 2018, Peter happily reports she’s healthy and back to running like she used to with no pain, averaging 45 miles a week during the current cross-country season.

“I am very grateful to be back to running and competing in cross country,” shared Peter. “Reflecting back on where I was just a half a year ago, I am amazed at the progress I have been able to make.”

Peter will never take another step or stride for granted now, saying the entire experience in the past year has made her so grateful to be healthy and to be able to run again.