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hand therapist

Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy

Patients can have numerous questions regarding physical therapy and hand therapy, what to expect and why it may be the best option for them. So, to help you answer those patient questions, we interviewed Noah Arenson, PT and Karen Thomas, OTR/L, CHT.


physical therapistWhy do you think physical therapy may be the best treatment plan for me?

Noah: The initial evaluation with determine that fact. The advantage of undergoing physical therapy is learning your body’s limitations and discovering how to address them to your

advantage. If we do not identify impairments we can address through physical therapy, we would discuss with your healthcare provider a more appropriate route for care.

How involved will you be in my day-to-day therapy?

Noah: Each session would involve hands-on manual treatments, as indicated, followed by progressive therapeutic exercise specific to your individual goals. I, or your assigned physical therapist, would be involved directly throughout the entire visit every visit.

Will I see the same physical therapist for each appointment, or will I be assigned a different therapist each time?

Noah: You will see the same physical therapist from the initial evaluation until your last appointment. You will not work with anyone but your assigned physical therapist.

What are some things I can do on my own, at home, to improve my condition?

Noah: Depending on what we discover through the initial evaluation, we will identify the specific muscle groups to strengthen, stretch or coordinate. A home exercise program is provided at the first session and progressed throughout your time of care. Open communication with your therapist is important in reaching your rehabilitation goals.

hand therapistWill I experience pain or discomfort during my visit?

Karen: This will depend on your diagnosis. If you have a condition such as a wrist or finger fracture and are coming out of a cast or brace, the wrist and fingers can be stiff or uncomfortable when motion is initiated. Certified Hand Therapists are trained to respect pain and the healing structures of the injury. Most patients tolerate treatment well & note improvement the first session.

How long will each hand therapy session be?

Karen: Sessions are usually 1-1.5 hours, allowing for one-on-one manual therapy, modalities of heat, ice and ultrasound as needed, and exercises and instruction in home exercises and care.

What are the most common injuries or conditions requiring hand therapy?

Karen: Conditions we commonly treat include fractures (shoulder, elbow, wrist & fingers), tendon lacerations and repairs, trigger finger or trigger thumb, carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel syndrome or release, rotator cuff syndrome or repair, deQuervain’s tendonitis, all upper extremity tendonitis conditions, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and infections.

How do you determine what course of hand therapy treatment is best for me?

Karen: During your first visit you will undergo an initial evaluation including questions about your pain, symptoms, functional abilities, range of motion and sensation and strength measurements. Your therapist will identify problems and work with you to set goals. In some instances, your diagnosis may have a set protocol for splint duration and when you will be able to fully move and strengthen your arm/hand. You and your therapist will then review your protocol, goals and plans.

mesa physical therapy

Men’s Health Awareness Month

fathersdayMen’s Health Awareness Month

Men tend to be more aggressively active on the weekend, which can lead to an increased risk of injury. To highlight Men’s Health Awareness Month, and Men’s Health Week (10th-16th), we’ve listed helpful tips on common male injuries to help you, or the men in your life, lead a healthy and safe life.

 

Ankle Sprains

It is common for men to turn or twist an ankle while playing a weekend game of basketball or football. Although these may be difficult to avoid in some cases, proper warm-up and stretches performed prior to activity can help reduce the chances of injury.

Groin Pulls

A quick side-to-side motion can sometimes cause a strain of the muscles on the inner thigh. These are very common in hockey, soccer, football and baseball. To treat a groin pull, ice and rest. These pulls often heal on their own, but if it doesn’t, consult a healthcare provider.

Hamstring Strain

Running sports and activities with a quick kicking motion of the leg can cause hamstring strains. Strains can also occur in water sports when there is a sudden forward bending motion. These injuries can take a while to heal, so it is imperative to ice, rest and consult a physical therapist on how to speed up the recovery.

Shin Splints

If a strenuous and sudden running program is started without proper planning, shin splints can occur. Running on different and uneven surfaces can cause pain down the front of the lower leg. Rest, ice and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications may relieve most of the pain. If it persists, see a healthcare provider to rule out a more serious injury such as a stress fracture.

ACL Injuries

One of the most severe injuries athletes may experience is an ACL injury. A sudden twisting while the foot is planted can cause an ACL tear. An audible ‘pop’ may be heard, followed by discomfort and swelling. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are important during the first stages of this injury. If the injury is sustained, it is important to see a physician for evaluation. To stay active, surgery is often required.

Tennis Elbow

Golfing and tennis are very popular sports for many men. Frequent swings and poor body mechanics can contribute to this overuse injury. Unfortunately, one of the most common remedies for this condition is rest, however there are some other treatments that may be of benefit. Be sure to ask a physical therapist or physician what you can do to manage your elbow pain for a safe return to sports.

physical therapy function

What does Function Mean to You?

physical therapy functionFunction means different things to different people. When a patient has a functional limitation, they have a restriction of the ability to perform a physical action or activity in an efficient manner. The goal at Contact Physical Therapy is to return patients to their level of function.

Children

Sprains and strains can affect children, but if treated correctly, we can get them back to playing their sports with little to no down time. Our physical therapists first concentrate on controlling any pain & swelling associated with the injury. Then, they may start functional activities such as running, jumping and climbing. Returning children to playing is returning them to function.

Young Adults

Young adults can be plagued with a variety of injuries. Whether they are a high school or college athlete, or the occasional runner, swimmer or hiker, injuries can occur & they need to return to function. Function for the young adult could mean returning them to their active lifestyle including sports specific activities or drills.

Adults

The adult may define function in a very different way. Sometimes the adult needs to work or drive ‘pain-free’. While working with the adult population, special attention may be made on postural exercises & activities and strengthening exercises. By the age of 40, adults begin to lose 8% of muscle every 10 years – therefore concentration on exercise & posture is critical in returning adults to function.

Geriatrics

By the age of 70, we have lost over 15% of our muscle, and oftentimes balance has significantly decreased. For the geriatric patient, we pay special attention to gait & balance activities, allowing them to be functionally unassisted while performing activities of daily living such as getting in & out of bed or a chair, up & down stairs, or simply navigating uneven surfaces.

noah arenson physical therapist

Noah Arenson Interviewed by Masters in Healthcare

Noah ArensonNoah Arenson from our Mesa Contact Physical Therapy clinic had the privilege of being interviewed by Masters in Healthcare to discuss his career as a physical therapist, and he was featured on their website!

Below is Noah’s interview:

What is it about your job that keeps you at it day in and day out?

Arenson: “There is an incredible variety of conditions that we treat at Contact Physical Therapy. I enjoy the investigative approach of rehabilitation to determine the unique origin of each patient symptoms and creating a treatment plan to meet their goals. It is very satisfying to assist patients on their journey to effectively diminishing their pain and restoring their function.”

How do you stay up-to-date in the field and maintain professionalism?

Arenson: “I am blessed to have colleagues around me to bounce ideas off and review my documentation. We also live in a state that offers a variety of continuing education opportunities to expand our treatment approaches.”

What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had, either as a student or in your professional career?

Arenson: “There have been several instances in my career where a patient initially is very doubtful that physical therapy would have any impact on their particular issue. To see them leave the clinic with appreciable improvement and knowledge to continue gains on their own is very rewarding.”

What advice do you have for people just starting their education or their professional career?

Arenson: “Volunteer at a variety of health professional settings. Get an appreciation of the demands of a variety of professions and see if they match your individual strengths and interests.”

Click here for more on Noah’s feature on Masters in Healthcare.

For more information on Contact Physical Therapy, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today!

sport safety

We Love our Children!

sport safetyWe Love Our Children!

Contact Physical Therapy wanted you to know how much we love our children, and how it is our passion to keep them safe and happy, by highlighting the National Awarenesses throughout April.

 

SPORTS SAFETY TIPS (National Awareness: 4/1-4/30)

• Be mindful of hot temperatures and cancel practice if the heat is too extreme

• Have your kids participate in flexibility and fitness programs to learn proper exercises.

• Make sure your kids are provided with adequate rest periods to prevent overuse injuries. (Modified from Healthline.com)

PLAYGROUND SAFETY TIPS (National Awareness: 4/21 – 4/27)

• Make sure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair. If it’s not, report this to your local parks and recreations office.

• Remove hood and neck drawstrings from children’s clothing and outerwear and don’t let kids wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground.

• Keep toddlers under age 5 in a separate play area, away from equipment designed for bigger kids.

• Actively supervise kids on a playground. Just being in the same area isn’t good enough – they need your undivided attention while playing on or around the equipment. Stay active and spend time at playgrounds, but always remember these tips not only during National Playground Safety Week! Modified from Safe Kids USA

NATIONAL SIBLING DAY (4/10)

Whether you are a brother or sister or have more than one child, celebrate that special relationship, not only this day, but every day!

TAKE OUR DAUGHTERS & SONS TO WORK DAY (4/25)

“Take your Daughters & Sons to Work Day®”, focuses on the ongoing challenges parents encounter while trying to integrate work and family. This day was designed to allow parents, guardians and mentors to share their work lives and introduce solutions these issues for our nation’s daughters and sons.

For more tips and information, please contact us today!

baseball injuries

Common Baseball Injuries and Fun Facts

Spring Training is here and we wanted to share some fun facts with you and common baseball injuries to look out for!

common baseball injuriesArizona Baseball Fun Facts

Chicago Cubs

Mesa has been hosting the Cubs since 1952. Previous to Hohokam Park and Fitch Park, the Chicago Cubs Spring Training facility was called Rendezvous Park.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have the first Major League Baseball spring training facility in the nation to be built on Native American land.

San Francisco Giants

The original Scottsdale Stadium was built in 1956 and served as the former Cactus League home of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and now the San Francisco Giants.


Most Common Baseball Injuries

In Children Eye Injuries are the most common baseball injuries in children, while as many as 45% of pitchers under the age of 12 have chronic elbow pain.

In Teenagers Other than lacerations and bruises, the most common teenage baseball injuries are sprains and strains. However, pitchers suffer the most from overuse injuries. About 58% of high school pitchers suffer from an overuse injury of the elbow or shoulder.

In Professionals Recent studies show the most common baseball injuries among fielders include hamstring & groin strains. While pitchers tend to strain/tear ligaments in the elbow or rotator cuff.


A quote from the Diamondbacks Strength Coach, Nate Shaw!

“From my perspective, the warm up is one of the most important parts of the day. It prepares athletes for a day consisting of reactive movements in every plane. Our goal with the warm up is to have athletes go through a series of planned movements, lubricating the joints and raising the body temperature enough to sweat. A rise in core temperature and preemptive motion in all directional planes are two of the bigger themes for us, especially during spring training.”

To purchase tickets to a Diamondbacks spring training game, visit The Arizona Diamondbacks website.

Are you or your child experiencing one of the above listed conditions? Contact Us today to schedule an injury assessment!

mesa physical therapy

Wise Healthcare Consumers

wise healthcare consumerThe Wise Healthcare Consumer

Below are 4 Tips to help patients be Wise Healthcare Consumers!

1. Wise Healthcare Consumers take time and effort when choosing a health plan

2. Choose your health care provider wisely, use care and talk to your family and friends about their experiences

3. Prepare and communicate with your healthcare provider when you make an office visit. Ask questions, share concerns and ask about cost negotiations

4. Analyze and evaluate all sources of health information Adapted from the American Institute for Preventative Medicine “Wise Health Care Consumer Toolkit”

The Affordable Care Act…What’s Coming?

Beginning October 2013, the Health Insurance Marketplace will begin open enrollment. Below are 4 ways to get ready now.

1. Make a list of questions you might have, such as “can I stay with my current doctor?” and “Will this plan cover my health costs when I’m traveling?”

2. Make sure you understand how insurance works, including deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, copayments, etc. You’ll want to consider these details while you’re shopping around.

3. Start gathering basic information about your household income. Most people will qualify to get a break on costs, and you’ll need income information to find out how much you’re eligible for.

4. Set your budget. There will be different types of health plans to meet a variety of needs and budgets, and breaking them down by cost can help narrow your choices.

Adapted from healthcare.gov “Checklist for Individuals and Families”
construction injuries

Work Comp Injuries and Facts

work comp injuriesEvaluate Year End Workers Compensation Key Drivers

With the end of 2012 approaching, now is a good time to assess your injury data. Unfortunately for businesses, trends are showing a slow incline in claim frequencies since 2008. Are you taking prevention measures to avoid the most common non-fatal work comp injuries? Pay attention to cost drivers such as severity of injuries, lost time and medical costs.

Examining the cause of the injury and injury rates by shift and position may help uncover possible risks and hazards when dealing with injury control information. Read our list below for the most common non-fatal work injuries and interesting facts from 2011.


MOST COMMON WORK INJURIES & INTERESTING FACTS

  • Most common nature of injury – sprains and strains
  • Most common injury by event or exposure – overexertion
  • Most common injury by body part – back
  • Second most common injury by body part – knee
  • Number of work comp injury claims filed in 2011 – 96,480

FACTORS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR WORK COMP INJURY COSTS:

  • Costs of medical services
  • Utilization (number of treatments per claim)
  • Aging workforce
  • Diagnosis mix
  • Rising prevalence of obesity

 

avoid injury this holiday

How the Holidays are like a Sporting Event

avoid injury this holidayThe Holidays are like a Sporting Event, take these Precautions for a Safe and Happy Season.

Remember to always reflect and appreciate what your Holiday Season is all about, and follow these tips to avoid injury this holiday season.

1. Pre-Shopping (pre-game)

Eat right, drink plenty of water, stretch and exercise.

Stay well hydrated. Try to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Stay away from sugary drinks.  On your shopping day (game day) you may want to drink even MORE water to be prepared.

Be sure to stretch before and after a long day of shopping. When you are tired and stressed, your muscles are less flexible than normal.

2. Wear the appropriate gear.

Comfortable clothes and shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact of walking long hours on those hard shopping mall floors are recommended.

If you carry a purse, leave it at home. Wear a light backpack instead. Pack only essentials, such as your driver’s license and credit card.

3. Injury timeout.

If you start to feel some pain, take care of it quickly. Apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes.  Take it off for a couple of hours and repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two.

4. Time Outs Needed.  Plan Frequent Breaks Into Your Shopping Day

During a long day of shopping, most people should take a break every 45 minutes. Those that may be more deconditioned may need to take more frequent breaks.

5. Get a locker to store your gear.

Use your car as your own personal locker.  Don’t carry around more than is absolutely necessary at one time, this can cause extra strain on your body.

6. Water break.

Take breaks, and try to eat light, healthy and hydrating options. A salad and fruit is a much better option that a burger and fries or pizza.

7. Wrapping Your Gifts (Post-game)

Remember to vary your position when wrapping gifts.  Stand at a counter, then sit at a table.  Avoid wrapping presents while sitting on the floor.

Stretch before and after wrapping gifts.  An important recommendation is to stretch the opposite way you are wrapping.  If you are leaning forward, then stretch backward when you are done.

Keep these things in mind this holiday season – since the holidays are like a sporting event – and stay injury free!

 

post offer screenings

Introductory Seminar Tomorrow

Have you ever wondered if your new hire really had the strength or fitness to do the job they were hired for?

Concerned about a new employee bringing an old injury to their position at your company?

Figure out how to answer these questions at our Introductory Seminar for PCP Testing tomorrow at 5:30pm in Mesa. Please see details below. Call today to reserve your spot.

post offer screenings