News - Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy
Wednesday April 3, 2019



My hand hurts. It must be carpal tunnel. 

by Occupational Therapist Elise Spronk

As an occupational therapist, I hear this all the time. There are many myths Ashley-OTsurrounding hand and wrist pain, and I’m here to debunk one of them! The most common one I hear is that if your hand hurts or if you experience numbness or tingling in your hand, you must have carpal tunnel. While carpal tunnel does affect 4-10 million people in the U.S., pain or tingling in your hand doesn’t necessarily mean you have carpal tunnel.

In order to understand if you’re suffering from carpal tunnel or not, let’s first take a look at the symptoms of carpal tunnel.  

What symptoms are associated with carpal tunnel?

  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index finger, long or middle finger, and ½ of the ring finger.
  • Pain that doesn’t improve at night or with rest. This is a common tell-tale sign of nerve pain. Tendonitis will improve when you rest the muscle but nerve issues aren’t likely to improve with rest. In fact, nerve pain may cause you to awaken with increased pain and cause sleep issues.
  • Weakness in your hand, especially pinch strength. This is due to the fact that the muscles of the thumb aren’t getting adequate innervation. When looking at your hand the thenar muscles (muscle tissue at the base of the thumb) may actually be smaller or atrophied if you’ve experienced this issue for a prolonged time.

What causes carpal tunnel?

While carpal tunnel can stem from a variety of reasons, here are three of the most common causes of it:

  • Repetitive work, especially when working with fine motor tasks or in a position Hand Carpal Tunnelthat places your wrist in a bent or flexed position. This position causes compression at the carpal tunnel and takes up any extra space that may have been in the tunnel, thus cause compression on the nerve, resulting in increased numbness and tingling.
  • Working in a cold environment.
  • Working with tools that vibrate

How do I know if my wrist or hand pain isn’t carpal tunnel?

The best way to determine whether or not you have carpal tunnel is by having an examination with your therapist or physician. At Kinetic Edge, we’ll do a variety of tests to determine the root cause of your pain. If further testing is necessary, we may recommend a nerve conduction test.

However, if your small finger is the number finger, you can take a breath because that indicates you don’t have carpal tunnel! The ulnar nerve innervates the small finger and that side of the ring finger. Your pinky finger pain is more likely related to an elbow issue or inflammation at your wrist, just not at the carpal tunnel.

Another common issue often mistaken for carpal tunnel is arthritis, especially of the thumb. A therapist at Kinetic Edge can help determine if that is the issue by running you through a series of tests and then help you determine the best course of care.

What can I do to find relief?

Splinting can be used to help alleviate pain and improve your function. However, correct diagnosis is important to determine the best splint. Night time splinting will often decrease carpal tunnel symptoms. However, I would recommend a splint that keeps the fingers somewhat straight. In doing so, the tendon that attaches to the tips of the fingers is essentially pulled out of the carpal tunnel, creating increased space and taking pressure off of the median nerve.

If you wake up in pain and your hand is fisted, you may benefit from a specialized wrist brace to keep your hand open as this will not be accomplished by a standard canvas wrist brace. The other downside of a wrist brace with a metal insert is that it can add compression at the base of the hand, when in reality you should be trying to eliminate extra pressure at the base of the hand and wrist.

If arthritis is your issue, there are several splints that provide support to the base of your thumb to specifically relieve pain and improve stability. This helps improve your function when writing or using utensils and other tools.

How can Kinetic Edge help?

Most importantly, a therapist at Kinetic Edge will determine the actual cause ofTroy-OT your problem. This is crucial to determining the appropriate next steps and care. Based on the diagnosis, your therapist will prescribe exercises to work on either improving your mobility/range of motion or improving your stability. Not all exercises work for everyone so determining your specific needs is crucial to your success.

The therapists at Kinetic Edge also incorporate strengthening exercises progressively as necessary to improve your strength and get you back to the activities you love and need to do. We’ll also explore safer and more effective ways to do your activities to avoid re-injury and improve the lasting benefits of the skills achieved in therapy. For example, simply changing how you open containers, stir a hot pot of soup, or turn on a faucet can improve joint health in your hands over a prolonged time. Bad habits can be hard to break, but we’ll help you develop better ones for a lifetime of doing what you love without excruciating pain.

Want to find out if your hand pain is actually resulting from carpal tunnel? Contact us at 866-588-0230 to schedule a free 20-minute carpal tunnel screen. We have 10 slots available at each of our clinics this month, so call today to reserve your spot.

Wednesday March 6, 2019


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Tight Hip Flexors: How to Diagnose Yourself

by Dr. Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

Has modern technology impacted the way you spend your time each day either at home or work? No one questions the positive impacts the advancement of technology has on our world, but with these advancements also comes some consequences. For those of you who find yourselves sitting more behind a desk or while driving a vehicle or machine, you may also find yourself suffering the results of tight hip flexor muscles.

tight hips physical therapy amesWhat are your hip flexor muscles?

The primary hip flexor muscle is called the iliapsoas, a muscle that is made up of two parts. The iliacus portion originates from the pelvis, and the psoas originates from the lower lumbar spine. They both connect onto the front of the upper femur.

Another muscle that is part of the hip flexor group is the rectus femoris, which is one of the four quadriceps muscles, the only part of the quadriceps that crosses the hip joint.

Why are tight hip flexors a problem?

If you’ve read my articles over the past few years, you know that issues at one area tend to have consequences at neighboring areas. In this case, tightness of the hip flexor group can be a root problem that contributes to lower back pain because of the impact that tightness has on the position of the pelvis and spine. If these muscles are tight, the pelvis tends to lean forward and the lumbar spine may increase its inward curve when you move from sitting to a standing position. In other words, your back pain may really be a tight hip flexor issue.

Hip flexor physical therapist des moinesHow do I know if I have tight hip flexors?

It is important to note that though many people may feel like they have tight hip flexors, there may be other reasons for that sensation. It is important to determine if you have tight hip flexors before you start to work on hip flexor mobility. You can do this with a simple screen called the Thomas Test.

To test yourself, sit on the edge of a firm table or your bed and lie back. Pull one knee firmly to your chest, and let the other leg lower. The goal is to get the upper leg to fall parallel to the ground while bending that knee to 90 degrees. If you can accomplish this on both sides, you do not have tight hip flexors.

If your knee bends 90 degrees but the upper leg is unable to lay parallel to the ground, you likely have tightness in the iliapsoas muscle group. If your leg lays parallel to the ground but your knee cannot bend 90 degrees, you likely have tightness in the rectus femoris muscle. One other important note: if you can do both but your upper leg moves laterally, you may have tightness in another small but important muscle on the lateral hip, the TFL.

My Thomas Test is normal. So, why does my hip flexor feel tight?

Because the iliapsoas muscle originates from the lumbar spine and pelvis, they are involved in stabilizing the lower back. If you are lacking in core stability, these muscles may demonstrate some increased muscle tone. If that’s the case, it will do no good to stretch the hip flexors. Instead, you need a core stabilization program that will eventually help reduce hip flexor muscle tone.

What do I do about my tight hip flexors?

View More: are a variety of beneficial stretches that can work wonders for tight hip flexors. And this is important because it just might be the key to unlocking the solution to your lower back pain problem. The key is doing the correct exercise for your specific need.

If you would like to understand which exercises will be most effective for your specific issue, contact us at 866-588-0230 to schedule a free 20-minute hip flexor screen. We have 10 slots available at each of our clinics this month, so call today to reserve your spot.

Friday March 1, 2019


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Courtesy of Lindsey Klyn Photography & Design
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Klyn Photography & Design
Courtesy of Lindsey Klyn Photography & Design
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Klyn Photography & Design

After college sweethearts Tyler and Colette Schippers were married in 2016, they found out several months later they’d be adding a third member to their family. Kinsley Marie Schippers joyfully joined their family on August 17, 2017. Kinsley was a relaxed and mellow baby, so when these new parents started to notice a change in her behavior come April, they began to wonder if something more was wrong.

The first signs came when their daughter no longer wanted to stand up and would lift her right leg up when they tried to help. She also started to fuss when Colette would put her right leg into her sleeper at night. At first, Colette chalked Kinsley’s behavior up to being tired and a little fussy, but over time, the fussiness turned into a cry anytime they’d bend Kinsley’s right knee. They knew something was wrong.

The Schippers took their 8-month-old to the doctor where an X-ray revealed fluid on Kinsley’s right knee. Originally, their doctor wondered if a virus has settled in her joint, which he anticipated would work its way out in a week.

Kinsley’s pain persisted after that week, so the Schippers were sent to an orthopedic doctor. More X-rays and an MRI were ordered to rule out a bone or joint infection. The results revealed something different. This doctor feared Kinsley had a form of arthritis he had never seen in someone so young. An appointment with Dr. Sandy Hong, a rheumatology doctor at the University of Iowa, confirmed it. Kinsley was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile arthritis in her right knee, elbow, and wrist at just nine months old.

“For me, this diagnosis meant fear,” shared Colette. “It meant fear of not knowing when Kinsley would be able to stand, fear that she would live with restrictions, and fear that she would be in pain forever. Tyler and I would have given anything to switch places with her.”

At this point, Kinsley’s elbow and knee were so contracted they wouldn’t straighten. She couldn’t bear weight, let alone stand on her own. Doctors prescribed two immunosuppressant injections a week to help her body not attack her joints. After some movement was restored, physical therapy marked the next step. A friend recommended Whitney Vander Veen at Kinetic Edge who specializes in pediatric physical therapy, and so their first visit was scheduled.

Whitney’s initial goals started small: get Kinsley to stand with two hands supporting her for one minute. Goals progressed from there to standing on her own and walking with support. Whitney used toys or games to motivate Kinsley and help her achieve these goals.

“I could tell right away when I met Kinsley that she was smart and that she would stand and move and walk when she wanted to,” shared Physical Therapist Whitney Vander Veen. “We just needed to provide the right motivation for her to make that choice and succeed.”

The ultimate goal was to get this 17-month-old girl to walk, a feat which is normally accomplished between months 9-14. Fittingly, Kinsley’s first steps occurred during a physical therapy appointment with Whitney.

Kinsley's first steps 

“Everyone, including the office gals, came to see Kinsley walk,” reminisced Colette. “The entire team at Kinetic Edge were her cheerleaders as she took more and more steps that day. Those steps meant so much to me… They meant a future full of hope and potential for Kinsley to do anything she sets her mind to.”

Kinetic Edge’s mission is to transform lives and restore hope through movement. Kinsley is another one of the stories that attribute how they’re using movement to bring about hope. The Schippers say Whitney has become like family to them. She gave their daughter “normal” in being able to walk and play with her friends at daycare and also gave them peace of mind as parents.

Kinsley loves her appointments with Whitney!
Kinsley loves her appointments with Whitney!

“It’s a sweet sight now when Kinsley walks into her appointment with her arms out to hug me at each therapy session now,” shared Whitney. “I love working with kids of all ages during my day. Kids can take a longer amount of time to reach their goals, so it makes it extra rewarding when they do and also forces me to think outside the box to motivate them to complete their activities during a session.”

At Kinsley’s last rheumatology appointment, doctors declared Kinsley in medical remission! This means the Schippers will continue to go for checkups every three months and continue with Kinsley’s injections for two years before tapering off and spacing appointments out further. Both the Schippers and their team of doctors will continue to monitor for flares, but all are confident Kinsley should now live a fairly normal life.

Any child with delays in their milestones, pain, an injury, or coordination problems can benefit from pediatric physical therapy. These symptoms sometimes occur for no apparent reason and other times can be the result of a specific diagnosis like polyarticular juvenile arthritis, cerebral palsy, or toe walking. To find out more about pediatric physical therapy at Kinetic Edge, call 641-676-3535.

Monday January 14, 2019


Jordan - Jasper County Animal Rescue League - Copy

Marjie - Oskaloosa 3rd Grade ClassKinetic Edge celebrated their 20th year in business and another year of growth over the course of 2018. They ended 2018 on a high note by letting each of their team members donate $1,000 to a local non-profit of their choice for a total of $46,000 in donations. Plus, they’re gearing up to help their communities have their healthiest year yet by kicking off 2019 with a free screen day at each of their six clinic locations on January 24.

“Giving back and investing in our local communities is integral to who we are as a company,” shared CEO and Physical Therapist Troy Vander Molen. “As an owner in this company, I was so excited to deliver the news to our team members that they could choose where to donate $1,000.”

This atypical holiday bonus started in 2017 when the owners of Kinetic Edge decided to let each of their 37 team members donate $1,000 to a local non-profit as part of their holiday bonus. Over the course of 2018, their team grew to 46 people with the acquisition of a clinic in Centerville, Iowa and additional staff added to some of their other locations.

“We were thrilled to once again gift our team members and local communities with this unique opportunity to live out our mission to transform lives and restore hope in a different way than we do on a daily basis,” said Practice Manager and Assistant Financial Officer Renae Oppenhuizen.

Forty-six team members work out Kinetic Edge’s six offices and got to select local non-profits to bless with a $1,000 donation.

Lindsey - CrossroadsThose in Pella selected The Well, Lake View Camp, Families First of Pella, New Sharon Fire & Rescue Association, Freedom House, Pella Christian High School, Pella Christian Grade School, Union Street Players, Pella Dog Park Association, Marion County Humane Society, Crossroads, Pella Christian Grade School’s Music Department, Mobility Worldwide, Fields of our Future, Bethany Christian Services, and Christian Opportunity Center.

The team in Des Moines donated to Animal Rescue League, Train to Inspire, Central Iowa Shelter & Services, Disabled American Veterans, and Capital Striders.

Jordan - Jasper County Animal Rescue League - CopyThose in Oskaloosa selected Mahaska County Humane Society, South Central Iowa Youth for Christ, Oskaloosa Peer Helpers, Sonshine Preschool, Iowa 4H Foundation, Oskaloosa Lions Club, Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter, Oskaloosa Community Schools, Oskaloosa Middle School, and Central Reformed Church.

The team in Newton gave to Progress Industries, United Way of Jasper County, Care Bags Foundation, Jasper County Animal Rescue League, 517 Discover Hope, Friends of Newton Parks, Jasper County Take Away Hunger, and Camp Fire Heart of Iowa.

Ames’ team of three selected Warrior Wagons, Ames Christian School, and Youth & Shelter Services.

Casey -Youth and Shelter ServicesAnd our newest crew, the team in Centerville, selected Operation Santa, Furever Friends Rescue of Appanoose County, Everystep Hospice, and NAMI South Central Iowa Chapter.

While that’s a lot of giving for a small business, Kinetic Edge isn’t done. They’ve committed to giving away their time for free on January 24 to provide their communities and the surrounding areas with free 20-minute screens with a movement expert on their team.

“We know that many people are living with pain and that they aren’t sure what to do about it,” shared Clinic Manager and Physical Therapist Matt Scotton. “We are offering our knowledge and experience free of cost on January 24 so we can help each person we see find solutions to the pain or problem they’re experiencing.”

This free screen event is perfect for people who are having pain or problems with day to day activities such as walking, standing, sitting for long periods, going up or down steps, getting in and out of a car, sleeping, or driving. Kinetic Edge hopes many will take advantage of this opportunity to see one of their experts to find out the cause of their problem. A free screen on January 24 can be scheduled by calling 866-588-0230. These screens are free, but each clinic has limited spots available.

Kinetic Edge is excited for what’s in store for 2019 and hopes to help even more people so that they can continue to transform more lives and restore more hope throughout their communities.

Monday January 14, 2019


Facebook Event Banner

Facebook Event Banner

January marks the start of the new year, and we’re hoping to help our community have the healthiest year yet! To get us started off on the right foot, we’re having a day of completely free screens. So to thank you, our valued clients, and to start this year off right, we are having one day of free screens for:

  • All past clients who have not been seen in physical therapy in more than three months
  • All present clients who have another problem currently not being treated
  • All loved ones, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers of our past and present clients.

The day of free screens will be on Thursday, January 24 from 7 AM – 6 PM. Call 866-588-0230 to schedule your free screen.

Your free screen consists of a 20-minute one-on-one appointment with one of our movement experts! That expert will ask you about the history of your problem and then test your strength and how well you move.  After a thorough screening, they will give you a written copy of:

  1. The cause of your pain or problem.
  2. A plan for successful treatment.

The appointments are free but limited as each clinic only has 33 spots available.  Call 866-588-0230 now to schedule your free screen.

This free screen is ideal for people suffering with:

  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Knee pain
  • Problems walking
  • Balance
  • Hand pain
  • Wrist pain

If you are having pain or problems with day to day activities such as walking, standing, sitting for long periods, going up or down steps, getting in and out of the car, sleeping or driving, then this is an excellent opportunity to see one of our expert therapists and find out the cause of your problem.

Call 866-588-0230 to schedule your free screen for January 24.

PS – As a bonus, you get our free report: “The Seven Secrets to Permanent Relief for Neck and Back Arthritis” when you attend this free screen event.

PPS – In honor of our 20th anniversary, we’ll also be giving away five free CamelBak water bottles.  These are going to the first 5 people to schedule a free screen for January 24.