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Oct 21

Ask PT Pete: Lifting Weights with Knee Replacements

Dear PT Pete, 

I have knee replacements in both legs and scar tissue in one knee. My replacements are sound. I want to lift heavier weights at the gym to retain my muscle mass, but don't know if the downside of heavy leg lifting would wear my knee replacements out early. I am in my 60’s very fit and have lifted for 30+ years. Can I lift heavy?
- Jo from Boise

Thanks Jo! It is very important to keep up with good muscle tone and strength for the health of your knees, but that can be accomplished without having to lift heavy weights. Lifting too heavy can put unwanted stress on your knees and other joints. Ideally, weight lifting with a goal of 10-15 reps until fatigue is safe. The high-intensity, low repetition max approach is not ideal for any joint on your body after a certain age.  Please consult with your surgeon if you want to know the specific weight limit for your lifting program. As with 

Pete Garber is Viverant's co-founder and resident Physical Therapist. What questions do you have for PT Pete? 

Ask them here   

 

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. 
Please consult your health care provider, or contact Viverant for an appointment before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Viverant shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.


Aug 25

Ask PT Pete: Cracking Joints

Dear PT Pete,

Is it bad to crack my joints?

- Alec from Eden Prarie

Alec, commonly, joints make an audible cracking sound when the joint is stretched or manipulated due to normal gas inside the joint fluid called synovial fluid. As a rule, painless cracking of joints is not harmful especially occurring during normal range of motion or normal movements. However, I would suggest that the intentional and repetitive cracking of joints be left to the hands of a medical professional. Intentional cracking of your joints could be physically troublesome when it produces pain, but could even lead to long term issues.

If the body is moving efficiently and joints are supported by strong muscle groups your joints should generally not feel like they need to be cracked. 

If cracking is accompanied by pain, there could be underlying abnormalities of the structure of the joint, such as loose cartilage or injured ligaments. Some people with arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis notice “cracking” sounds due to the snapping of irregular, swollen tissues.

 

Pete Garber is Viverant's co-founder and resident Physical Therapist. What questions do you have for PT Pete? 
Ask them here 

The individual who submits the next chosen question will win a free Viverant t-shirt!

 

 The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. 
Please consult your health care provider, or contact Viverant for an appointment before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Viverant shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.

 


Aug 01

Ask PT Pete: Do Compression Socks Really Help?

Dear Pete,

Recently I have seen more people at the gym wearing compression socks. Do compression socks really help?

- Jordan from Chaska

 

Dear Jordan, yes compression socks have proven helpful from a medical and athletic standpoint.  

To understand how compression socks work, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how blood flows through the body. The heart pumps oxygen-containing blood to our extremities and muscles through arteries.  Once the cells use the oxygen and other nutrients from the blood, then the deoxygenated blood returns back to the heart. When the blood gets back to the heart, it’s oxygenated from the lungs and the process is repeated. 

Compression socks and sleeves provide graduated compression, meaning the compression is tighter at the foot and ankle and looser as it moves up the calf and lower leg. This type of compression helps to fight the effects of gravity by getting the blood flowing back up to the heart and reducing swelling. 

Compression socks also help reduce superficial veins in the leg from expanding and overfilling with blood.  This is important because it helps prevent blood in these veins from flowing backward causing congestion.  Congestion in the leg accounts for symptoms like leg aching, fatigue, swelling and skin changes common in a person with venous problems. 

From an athletic or performance standpoint, recent studies have shown that with an optimal level of consistent compression, the walls of the arteries will widen, increasing the blood flow through them. Arterial blood flow has been shown to increase up to 40% during activity and 30% during recovery allowing more oxygen and nutrient to flow through the body. Compression will also help stabilize the muscle and decrease the amount of muscular vibration during activity, resulting in decreased fatigue. 

Pete Garber is Viverant's co-founder and resident Physical Therapist. What questions do you have for PT Pete? Ask them here 

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. 
Please consult your health care provider, or contact Viverant for an appointment before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Viverant shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.


Jun 29

Ask PT Pete: Knee Pain When Running Downhill

Dear Pete,

Why do my knees always hurt when I run downhill, shouldn’t it be easier on my body than running on flat ground?

- Trevor from Hastings 

While much easier on the cardiovascular system, running downhill can cause a lot of wear and tear on the muscles and tissues surrounding your knees due to eccentric loading. Eccentric loading is just a complex word for when an outside force tries to lengthen and stretch the muscle and to control that stretch the muscle contracts. Every time your foot strikes the ground while running, especially downhill, your quadriceps and gluteal muscles have to work extra hard to contract and stabilize your knees. If your quads and glutes are not strong enough, most of the strain will be placed on the knees, which is why knee pain, such as ITB syndrome and runners knee, is very common in runners who do not run downhill often.

You can help prevent or minimize knee pain by:

  • Strengthening your quads and glutes: Strengthening these knee stabilizer muscles will put less strain on your knee and increase running speed and efficiency overall. 
  • Using correct running form: Don't lean backward while running downhill, though this may feel most natural, your body should be centered over your knees. Leaning slightly forward will put your body in a more stabilized position. 
  • Varying your terrain: Running downhill with correct form will help build strength and muscle endurance, but doing it everyday may not be the most helpful to your running game. Vary your run so your muscles have time to recover and rebuild. 
  • Warming up: Don’t jump right into running downhill. Make sure you spend at least 10 minutes running on flat ground before taking on the hills. 


Pete Garber is Viverant's co-founder and resident Physical Therapist. What questions do you have for PT Pete? Ask them here 

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. 
Please consult your health care provider, or contact Viverant for an appointment before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Viverant shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.


Jun 10

Ask PT Pete: Shin Splints

Dear PT Pete, 

The past few times I have went out on a run I get shin splints. What are shin splints and what are some ways to heal them?

- Sheri from Independence 

Shin Splints are one of the most common injuries to plague runners and athletes alike. There are few active individuals who have not experienced the dreaded pain associated with shin splints. So lets dive into what they are and how you can recover from them.

The medical known term for shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome, which is an inflammation of the muscles, tendons and bone tissue around your tibia. In more severe cases, the inflamed connective tissues can actually separate from the tibia causing intense pain and a slow healing process. Pain is typically along the inner border of the tibia, where the muscles attach to bone.  Shin splints often occur in athletes who have recently intensified or changed their training routines because the muscles, tendons and bone tissue become overworked by the increase in activity. Other reasons for shin splints are a change in the type of running surface, such as a treadmill to the street, or running in inadequately supported shoes. 

Remember, it is important to determine what caused your shin splints in order to find the right healing method for you. 

Methods for treating shin splints:

  • Rest is a key factor in recovery because shin splints are typically caused from overuse. Active rest is a good option, consider low impact exercises or cross training to let your shin heal. 
  • Ice your shin to ease pain and swelling. 
  • Flexibility exercises like stretching your calves and lower leg muscles can help decrease stress on your shins.
  • Strengthening core and gluteal muscles can give you more stability while doing an activity which decreases stress to the lower leg and shins.
  • Proper shoe wear. The ideal support for your foot type is critical in keeping good biomechanics and reducing the stress on your lower leg with activities and sports. Orthotics may be necessary for some people with flat feet or reoccurring problems with shin splints
  • Be sure to warm up and stretch thoroughly before you exercise and increase training slowly. 

Pete Garber is Viverant's co-founder and resident Physical Therapist. What questions do you have for PT Pete? Ask them here 

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. 
Please consult your health care provider, or contact Viverant for an appointment before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Viverant shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.


May 27

Ask PT Pete: Side Aches

Dear PT Pete,

Every time I go on a run I get an intense side ache that brings my run to a halt. What are these side aches and how do I keep them from happening?

- Joe in Minnetonka

Dear Joe, we have all been there, you are out for a run and out of nowhere an intense stabbing pain in your side comes on. So what are these side aches and how can you prevent them?

A side ache or side stitch is a muscle spasm in the diaphragm, which is the muscle that plays an essential role in breathing. Like any muscle, your diaphragm can cramp up and fatigue. If your diaphragm is undertrained and put under too much stress it tightens up to protect itself. This is why side aches most often affect beginning runners who have not yet trained their diaphragm for long runs. However Joe, there are several ways to help reduce the pain and eliminate those pesky side aches.

My tips to prevent side aches:

Breathing: Irregular and shallow breathing does not allow enough oxygen to the hard working muscles in your body, including the diaphragm. Controlled and proper breathing helps relax the diaphragm and stop side aches. Breathing in for two steps and out on the third step or breathing in-between strides can help reduce the chance of side aches.

Manual Massage: Pressing on the painful area with several deep breathes can help relieve the pressure and relax the diaphragm.

Water and Nutrition: Increasing water intake throughout the day and proper nutrition are both great ways to prevent side aches. However, drinking large amounts of water right before exercising can increase the chance of a side ache, intake small sips of water before and after a workout to stay hydrated and avoid side aches.

Stretching: Stretching when a side ache occurs can help relieve the tension in the diaphragm. Put your arms above your head and lean side to side extending a little further with each breath.

Keep Training: Like any other muscle you want to get stronger, it needs to be trained. Having a strong core helps prevent side aches and run more efficiently.

Don't let a side ache keep you from the activities you love. Check with your PT if you have any questions.
 

Pete Garber is Viverant's co-founder and resident Physical Therapist. What questions do you have for PT Pete? Ask them here 

 


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