Sport Specific Injuries: Swimming

June 17 2011

As a farm boy growing up in Canyon County, I never had much reason to know how to swim. We might go wading in a ditch on hot summer days, but that was pretty much the extent of my aquatic experience. Then years later in college, I had an epiphany – what if my child was drowning? Would I be able to save them? I had aspirations of being a father someday, and that thought brought me to a cold sweat. Immediately I sought help from a friend who worked as a lifeguard. Three days a week for several months, we met before classes, and he taught me every stroke he knew. In learning to swim, I felt I’d taken an important step in my journey towards fatherhood. And I’m proud to say that when I finally did become a father, each of my kids learned to swim at a young age.

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Should You Try a Tri?

June 10 2011

This Saturday marks the fourth racing of the Ironman 70.3 Boise triathlon. Starting at Lucky Peak and ending in downtown Boise, this race challenges competitors to 70.3 total miles of swimming, cycling, and running through some of Idaho’s beautiful yet grueling landscapes. If you’ve never been, the event is a ton of fun for spectators, but the most fun is really had by the competitors. Even if you’re not ready to tackle 70.3 miles, that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at the booming sport of triathlon.

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National Trails Day

June 3 2011

Saturday, June 4, is National Trails Day. If you’re not normally the outdoorsy type, you may not realize that the Boise Foothills are known for having some of the best trails in the country with miles of beautiful paths perfect for hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding. With such a wonderful resource right in our back yard, there’s really no excuse not to get out and enjoy it. However, it’s good for both newbies and trail veterans to review safety and etiquette guidelines for trail use before heading out:

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Graduation Thoughts

May 27 2011

Graduation is always an exciting, emotional time – the joy of your accomplishments, the sorrow of saying goodbye to friends, the nervousness about the future. As I make the rounds of graduation ceremonies and parties, I’m reminded of my own graduations and of the graduations of my children. Each is a proud memory that I will never forget.

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The Little Finish

May 20 2011

J. R. R. Tolkien once said, “Little by little, one travels far.” It’s really true. Babies learn to walk one step at a time. Novels are written one word at a time. Mountains are climbed one foot at a time. But unfortunately, when we are faced with what seems like an insurmountable task, many of us quit before we even start. “It’s too much work” or “I have so far to go” or “I can’t” become our mantras when instead we should be reminding ourselves, “Just one step at a time.”

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Bike to Work Week

May 13 2011

May 16-20 is Bike to Work Week. During this time, people are encouraged to try out a more car-free lifestyle by biking to work and other errands rather than driving. The economical and ecological benefits of cycling over driving are huge (less wear and tear on your car, cheaper fuel costs, and a smaller carbon footprint), but perhaps the biggest bonus comes from the healthful profits of being active.

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National Runners’ Month

May 6 2011

It seems like every month is devoted to one or more worthy causes. January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, as well as National Mentoring Month. October is National Crime Prevention Month and National Physical Therapy Month (hint, hint). May is a particularly busy month; it celebrates National Bike Month, National Mental Health Month, and National Runners’ Month. I’m going to discuss the latter.

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Sleep On It

April 29 2011

I’ve never been a good sleeper. When I was in high school, I had a paper route that got me up at 3:30am, seven days a week, in addition to after-school sports and working on my family’s mint farm. In graduate school, I survived on three hours of sleep a night as I balanced my studies with a full-time job and three kids. Now I do a little better; I average about five or six hours of shut eye. In the mornings, I always tell myself I need to get to bed earlier, but fast forward 18 hours or so and it’s easy for me to find excuses why I can stay up a little later.

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Barefoot Running: Part 2

April 22 2011

In my last blog post, I discussed some of the history behind the barefoot running movement, as well as the biomechanics behind why many think it’s a good idea. This week, I’ll talk about what it takes to transition to a workout without shoes.

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5 Reasons to Participate in the Beat Coach Pete Fun Run

April 15 2011

I wanted to share my experience of this year’s Beat Coach Pete Scholarship Fun Run. I COULD tell you about how much fun I had, but instead, I’d rather give you reasons to sign up for the run next year and have fun yourself.

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Barefoot Running: Part 1

April 8 2011

During the original running boom of the 1960s and 70s, barefoot running was made popular by such athletic giants as Abebe Bikila (an Olympic gold medalist marathoner) and Zola Budd (a world class 5k racer). In 2009, the movement experienced a resurgence thanks largely to the release of Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, an exploration of barefoot running via the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico (natural runners who regularly cover hundreds of desert miles barefoot). Today, barefoot running has a small, but cult-like following of enthusiasts, most of whom claim it has changed their life by allowing them to be active in ways they never could in their shoe-wearing days.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Soccer

April 1 2011

Officially it’s about 150 years old, though its roots are much more long-standing. It’s the most popular sport in the world, and fans can participate through youth and amateur leagues, at the professional level, and even in video games. The passion surrounding this sport has been known to cause riots and even wars. I’m of course talking about association football – or as it’s more commonly called here in America, soccer.

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What’s Your Legacy?

March 25 2011

It’s funny the things that stick out in your mind. When I think of my granddad, I usually see him next to granny at the pinochle table, leaning back in his chair to light his pipe and sneaking a glance at granny’s cards. Three generations later, pinochle is now our family’s traditional game of choice, and granddad’s card legacy is fondly recalled at least once during each game.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Track & Field

March 18 2011

When you look at the huge mass of events held in modern Olympic competitions, it’s a little surprising to think that for the first dozen or so Olympics (hosted in ancient Greece in the original stadium in Olympia) the only event was the “stadion” run – the equivalent of a 200 meter sprint. Today’s track and field events can be as short as an indoor 50 meter dash or as long as a marathon. Athletes can be as specialized as a world-class shot putter or as versatile as a decathlete. But despite the variety of events, the basic mechanics of running, jumping, and throwing involved in every track and field competition can lead to injury if athletes do not take the necessary precautions.

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A Solid Investment

March 11 2011

The housing market crash, the stock market controversies, and the resulting economic slump have changed the way many people now think about investing in their future. Are banks still a safe place for my money? What if my social security is not there? With inflation on the rise, what if my savings aren’t enough? I wish I had the answers. But there is one thing I do know – if you want to make a foolproof, no-fail investment that will return rewards to you in spades, invest in your own health.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Baseball & Softball

March 4 2011

Known as the “all-American pastime,” baseball often appears in nostalgic montages alongside fireworks, apple pie, and the statue of Liberty. The sport’s heroes, such as Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, seem larger than life, propelling themselves and their sport into legendary status. And yet baseball has always been accessible to the Everyman. Anyone can play just about anywhere – all you need is a stick and a ball. From tee ball to the Special Olympics, from rec leagues to the MLB, just about everyone can find a game to participate in. That’s the greatness of baseball.

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Pronation or Supination?

February 25 2011

One of the wonderful design features of the human body is that we can do nearly any kind of activity without having to think about the functions in our body that must coordinate to make that activity happen. Even something as simple as walking or running is a complicated ballet of several structures – the muscular, nervous, skeletal, respiratory, and cardiac systems all must work together for you to keep your balance as you transfer your weight from one foot to the other.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Ice Hockey

February 18 2011

It seems like humans have been chasing a ball with a stick over ice almost as long as they can remember. Historical evidence shows that hockey-like games were played as far back as the middle ages and were spread between several continents. Today this popular pastime can be enjoyed on a variety of levels (youth, collegiate, semi-pro, professional, and even Olympic), and it’s also one of the few hard-hitting sports that is widely available to women.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Wrestling

February 4 2011

Wrestling is a sport that reaches back to antiquity. It’s written about in The Iliad and The Epic of Gilgamesh. It was made famous by the Greeks and Romans. The Pilgrims brought it with them to the New World – and discovered the Native Americans already knew it. Today wrestling can be as local as a youth wrestling club, as global as the Olympics, or as flamboyant as the WWE. Despite the varying ages and abilities of the world’s wrestlers, there are several common injuries that every wrestling athlete needs to be aware of.

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Do I Need PT?

January 28 2011

This week I was talking with a gentleman who was facing his second total hip replacement. He asked my opinion on physical therapy after such a surgery. “My doctor says I don’t need physical therapy, and that all I have to do to get better is walk,” he said. “But I want to get the best results I can from all this.”

I will never tell anyone to go against the advice of their doctor, but I do like to educate people on what physical therapy is, who it’s for, and when it’s appropriate.

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Sports Specific Injuries: Basketball

January 21 2011

In 1891, Dr. James Naismith invented a game to keep his P.E. students fit during the winter months. It involved a simple ball and a peach basket nailed to a gymnasium wall. In the almost 120 years since, basketball’s popularity has exploded. The sport’s influence ranges from basketball baby toys up to the NBA and even the Olympics, and it’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t know at least the basics of how to play.

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Reach For It

January 14 2011

You’ve heard the saying, “it’s like riding a bike” – meaning that once you’ve learned an action, it becomes so ingrained (becomes instinct in a sense) that you’ll always be able to do it, no matter if it’s been years since you’ve performed the action. I’m sorry to tell you, folks, but there’s not a whole lot of truth in that statement.

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A Clean Slate

December 31 2010

New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing. It makes just as much sense to resolve to better yourself on your birthday or at the beginning of a new school year or the start of a new month, or heck, even on the dawn of a new day. But without fail, promises to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthy, gain control of your finances, quit smoking, or any other number of things always crop up on January 1st.

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A PT Christmas

December 17 2010

My kids say my wife and I are hard to shop for. They don’t want to get me “just another piece of sports memorabilia” for our clinic walls, and they don’t want to get my wife “just another book” for her extensive fiction collection. But I think I’m pretty easily satisfied, gift-wise. In fact, here’s a list of physical therapist-approved gifts that I think are both thoughtful and useful – perfect for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list:

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You’re a Runner

November 12 2010

This past Sunday was World Run Day, a day designated to promote charitable giving, community, and you guessed it, running (you can tell from the picture that even our IPT Running Man got into the spirit of things)! As I went out for my celebratory run in the rain, I was a little disappointed to see that the streets of my neighborhood were completely deserted. I know World Run Day is far from the realm of top-tier holidays that most people concern themselves with, but I was still surprised to not see more people out and active on a beautiful, if slightly damp, fall day.

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October 22 2010

In my career as a physical therapist, I’ve spent most of my time helping people rehabilitate AFTER – after surgery, after an injury, after an illness – and I can say without a doubt that the people who recover best were the ones who prepared their bodies BEFORE the event. This is called pre-habilitation.

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Slow and Steady

October 8 2010

I don’t really watch TV. With the exception of certain sporting events (BSU games and the softball College World Series!), I’m pretty proud to admit that my time spent in front of the tube is waaaaay below the American average of 4 or so hours a day. However, if I do sit down to watch a little TV, it’s hard to avoid promos for reality shows. Dancing, cooking, modeling, remodeling houses – there seems to be a reality show for every interest. While they’re definitely not my entertainment of choice, I do feel the need to speak up about the influence of one show in particular.

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Active Therapy

October 1 2010

When people come to physical therapy for the first time, they’re often surprised to learn that they will be exercising throughout their treatment (and hopefully beyond). Nearly all of the healthcare we experience in our lives requires little more of us than to simply show up and receive treatment; it’s a passive experience. But unlike a trip to the dentist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, masseuse, or various types of doctors, physical therapy is an active experience. I sometimes think it should be renamed active therapy.

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Budget Fitness

September 3 2010

These days, most everyone is short on resources – time, money, or both. Unfortunately, many people allow this to impact their exercise plans. Late night infomercials and gym ads have us believing we must join expensive clubs or purchase costly equipment to get the fitness results we desire. And because it takes time to get in shape, our hectic schedules persuade us to give up before we even start.

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Exercising with Issues

August 27 2010

If you’re like most people (myself included), it’s really easy to find excuses why you should skip your workout. I overslept, I didn’t sleep enough, I’m hungry, I ate too much, my favorite show is on, there’s nothing good to watch while I’m on the treadmill – the list goes on and on. But when you combine these everyday distractions with real physical ailments, it can be even tougher to convince yourself to lace up your sneakers and get going. The good news is that with a few precautions and some common sense, it’s possible for almost everyone to be physically active.

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Serious About Stretching

August 13 2010

I think the world would be a better place if people got serious about stretching. One of the unfortunate side effects of our modern, 21st century world is an increase in body breakdowns due to a sedentary lifestyle. This includes weight gain (and its various complications), joint problems, and muscle shortening. When muscles shorten, we feel stiff, lose full range of motion, and become much more prone to injury. Generally speaking, we feel old. Remember the first time you got down on the floor to play with your kids or grand kids and realized it was much harder to get back up than it used to be? Exactly.

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Fall Sports Advice for Parents

August 6 2010

Though it’s still early August and the air is far from crisp, it’s not too early to begin getting your junior high or high school student athlete ready for fall school sports. Football, volleyball, soccer, cross country, and cheerleading are all exciting, fun activities, and although younger children generally do not start their season until school begins, for some older kids, tryouts may only be two short weeks away. Here are my tips for parents to help their athletes get the most out of their sports experience:

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Strength Building 101

July 30 2010

In my last few posts, I’ve discussed the building blocks for a comprehensive fitness program. Such a program should include strength building exercises (or strength training), in which muscles gain power and endurance by working against a form of resistance (like weights, gravity, or body weight). Depending on your goals, there are several ways to approach this, but the primary concern is always to avoid injury (unless you’re eager to be a patient of mine).

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Muscle Man

July 23 2010

If I mention the words “muscle man” to you, what comes to mind? Maybe Speedo-clad weight lifters on Muscle Beach? How about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Universe days? Now what if I said that YOU are a muscle man (or woman)? That’s right – you are in possession of approximately 640 skeletal muscles grouped into 320 identical bilateral pairs that range in active function from moving your arms (the deltoids, biceps, and triceps) to raising your eyebrows (the occipitofrontalis). That’s a lot of muscle power!

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Cardio Basics

July 16 2010

After getting your doctor’s okay to begin your fitness program, I know you’re eager to get started, and cardio is an easy place to begin. As I discussed last week, an essential component of a complete fitness program is cardiovascular exercise (also known as aerobic exercise or “cardio” for short). Named for the Greek word kardia (meaning heart), cardio is any activity which raises your heart rate for a period of time. As with any muscle, your heart needs to work to become stronger, and when done properly, cardio strengthens your heart, increases your aerobic efficiency (your body’s ability to utilize oxygen), and boosts metabolism.

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Getting Started

July 9 2010

If it’s been years since you’ve engaged in a regular exercise program, or if you never really learned how to exercise in the first place, the prospect of getting in shape can seem very intimidating. Where do you start? What should you do? If you have other health concerns, how do they fit into the exercise equation? By learning a few basics, you can create for yourself a safe, comprehensive, and effective fitness program. Just remember to get your doctor’s okay before beginning any exercise plan.

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