Learn how a hands-on therapy program can help address your knee pain in Springfield based on a recent study

Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we understand that when it comes to deciding the best course of action for your injury or painful condition, there are many options available. However, based on our own experience within the clinic and the evidence found in research studies, we firmly believe that physical and occupational therapy is the best possible choice you can make. To help you better understand the advantages of the treatments we provide, our physical and occupational therapists do our best to bring you examples of some of the most important recent studies that highlight the many benefits of our services.

This month, we’d like to discuss a recent study that evaluates a hands-on treatment used by physical and occupational therapists called manual therapy for individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the leading cause of disability and pain in middle-aged and elderly people throughout the world. It can occur in any joint in the body, but is most common in the knees and hips. In knee osteoarthritis, cartilage that normally protects the ends of bones slowly disappears, which results in knee pain in Springfield, along with difficulty walking and running.

There are many treatments available for knee osteoarthritis, and manual therapy is one of the more popular approaches used today. In manual therapy, a physical or occupational therapist uses only their hands to move, massage and manipulate the injured joint in various ways to reduce pain and other symptoms. Although manual therapy is frequently used for treating knee osteoarthritis, it’s not completely clear just how effective it is for reducing patients’ symptoms. For this reason, a powerful pair of studies called a systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted on all the available research on this topic.

To conduct the review and analysis, researchers performed a search and identified 14 randomized-controlled trials, which are high-quality studies considered to be the gold standard for evaluating if a treatment is effective or not. The findings of these studies were then evaluated and compared to one another to determine if manual therapy is in fact beneficial for patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Results showed that manual therapy significantly reduced pain, alleviated stiffness and improved the physical function of knee osteoarthritis patients. These positive effects occurred with less than four weeks of treatment, but a treatment course that lasted longer than four weeks led to even greater benefits. In addition, only one patient experienced increased discomfort from manual therapy in all of the studies reviewed, which shows that the treatment is extremely safe and negative effects are quite rare.

Our physical therapists commonly use manual therapy to address your knee pain in Springfield

This study serves as yet another example of how a treatment commonly used by our physical and occupational therapists can lead to several benefits for injured patients. So if you’re dealing with knee pain in Springfield that may be due to osteoarthritis, manual therapy could be the ideal intervention to address your pain and improve your quality of life in the process. Contact us at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment for any painful conditions you may be experiencing, or click here to read the abstract (summary) of the featured study.

Springfield physical and occupational therapists advise you to skim on the water safely to avoid wakeboarding and water skiing injuries this summer

Summer. It opens the doors to a seemingly countless number of outdoor activities and pursuits, and the only problem is that it might feel like there’s not enough time to take advantage of them all. For some of you lucky enough to have a boat or a friend/family member that owns one, your summer activity-of-choice may be wakeboarding or water skiing—or both—making you eager to get on the water as soon as possible. At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, our physical and occupational therapists are big fans of both sports—owner Jason Furia is actually a wakeboarder himself—but we also want you to be aware of some of their associated injury risks and what you can do to prevent them.

Water skiing has been around since 1922, while wakeboarding had a much more recent berth in the mid-1980s, but both have grown to be incredibly popular sports for many individuals with access to a body of water and a boat. In their evolution, technology of the board/skis and boots/bindings has advanced significantly and improved the safety of the sports, but the risk for injury is still present just like every other sport. Most water skiing and wakeboarding injuries result from the impact of a fall on the water while being towed at high speeds, which can be especially dangerous if the fall occurs in an awkward position.

By far the most common water skiing injuries are strains and sprains to the ankle. These injuries occur because the feet are bound to the skis, so the impact of a fall can place a great amount of pressure on the ankles as the skis go in one direction and the skier’s body in another. Ankle sprains and strains account for about one of every five water skiing injuries, and more serious injuries to the ankle like fractures and ligament tears are also possible when falls occur at extremely high speeds. Other common water skiing injuries include shoulder sprains, strains and dislocations, Achilles tendinitis and tendon tears, concussions, ACL injuries and other knee injuries, back pain and lacerations.

The stance for wakeboarding is different than it is for water skiing—with the boarder’s body facing sideways instead of straight— and the most typical injuries are therefore a
bit different as well. Ankle injuries are fairly common, but not nearly as common as they are in water skiing. Instead, injuries to the head and neck, as well as ACL sprains and tears, are seen most frequently in wakeboarders. Head and neck injuries are usually due to “catching an edge” and hitting the water head-down first, while ACL injuries result from landing an air in a bad position. Other common wakeboarding injuries include shoulder strains, sprains and dislocations, other knee injuries, hip injuries and fractures.

Just as in every other sport, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk for injury in water skiing and wakeboarding, but there are some basic steps you can take to significantly lower it. Our physical and occupational therapists recommend the following:

  • Use proper safety equipment and make sure the board/skis and boots/bindings are in working shape and fit properly
  • Keep a reasonable speed at all times—based on the skill level of the skier/boarder—and steer clear of other boats and people in the water
  • Make sure there is always at least one additional person on the boat aside from the driver to take the position of spotter; the spotter watches the rider and communicates with both to help avoid any hazards and to guide the driver on whether to change the speed of the boat or keep it steady
  • Always check the towline (rope) to make sure it’s not caught on the skier or propeller before starting each ride
  • If you’re new to either sport, get some advice on how to use proper form and technique; be sure to keep your knees bent and don’t lean too far forward on water skis to avoid a fall

At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, our physical and occupational therapists invite you to bask in your time on the water if wakeboarding or water skiing is up your alley, but just be sure to exercise caution while doing so to avoid being sidelined for the rest of the summer. For additional guidance on how to prevent injuries in these or any other sports, or to address any nagging pain you may be dealing with, contact us at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today. Click here for more information on water skiing or wakeboarding injuries.

Circuit training is another great way to maximize your time when working out

Last month, we discussed the many benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a quick and convenient way to burn calories in a short amount of time with all-out bursts of exercise. As we mentioned in the blog, HIIT is not for everyone, and its aggressive nature with minimal rest may be too much for some individuals.

For those of you who fall into this category, you may want to consider circuit training as an alternative. Circuit training is another emerging fitness trend that is based principles similar to those of HIIT, but with less of a focus on the intensity of the workout and more focus on constantly changing up the type of exercise being performed.

Circuit training is essentially a turbo-charged workout routine that mixes a variety of cardio and strength training exercises—usually between 5-10—with the goal of getting your heart rate up while strengthening your muscles at the same time. In going through the circuit, each exercise is performed one after another with little to no rest in between, depending on the type of circuit. The circuit can then be completed again for as many repetitions as the person prefers, allowing flexibility in the duration chosen.

Similarly to HIIT, circuit training workouts can be done in as little as 10 minutes—but may last up to 45 minutes—and may include a wide range of weightlifting and non-weightlifting exercises. One of the defining elements that sets circuit training apart is its focus on working out many different muscle groups throughout the body in the circuit.

Other benefits of circuit training include the following:

  • It can be completed either at the gym or at home, and with or without equipment
  • Improves conditioning and muscular endurance
  • Burns calories faster than most traditional workouts
  • Provides maximum benefits in minimal time
  • Customizable to your fitness level, workout preferences and goals

If you’re looking for a novel way to exercise and it sounds like circuit training may be right for you, we strongly encourage you to give it a try. But if it’s your first time getting into circuit training, keep these tips in mind to reduce your risk of overworking yourself:

  • Before you begin a circuit training workout, consider your fitness level, and check with your doctor if you are concerned it may be too much for your body to handle
  • Start slowly and allow adequate rest time (about 30-45 seconds) in between exercises
  • Look for a circuit training workout that combines flexibility, aerobics and strength training exercises
  • Start with light cardio exercises and then work your way into stretching exercises before moving on to more challenging exercises you may not be familiar with
  • Always allow more recovery time if you’re using heavy weights

At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, our physical and occupational therapists always recommend keeping active regularly as a core component of maintaining good health, and we believe that circuit training is a great way to help you accomplish this. For more information on circuit training, click here, or for any aches or pains you may be dealing with, contact us at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today.

New research shows that a physical therapy treatment delivered by the hands is helpful for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome

Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we understand that when it comes to deciding the best course of action for your injury or painful condition, there are many options available. However, based on our own experience within the clinic and the evidence found in research studies, we firmly believe that physical and occupational therapy is the best possible choice you can make. To help you better understand the advantages of the treatments we provide, our physical and occupational therapists do our best to bring you examples of some of the most important recent studies that highlight the many benefits of our services.

This month, we’d like to discuss a recent study that evaluates a physical therapy treatment called manual therapy for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that results from pressure being placed on a nerve in the wrist called the median nerve. This nerve compression is usually due to swelling in the wrist, and when it occurs, it causes numbness, weakness, tingling and other problems in the hand. CTS affects up to 3.8% of the population, and its symptoms often make it difficult for working individuals to complete their jobs. This may lead to absence from work and/or a decline in work performance.

Effective treatment is therefore needed to address CTS, and there are a few options available to accomplish this. Occupational/physical therapy is one approach that may be used on CTS patients, and a treatment plan will usually include manual therapy. Manual therapy consists of an occupational/physical therapist using their hands to perform a series of movements and manipulations to the wrist to reduce pain and other symptoms. Unfortunately, there is not much evidence to support manual therapy, and these treatments are often ignored in reviews. For this reason, a powerful study was conducted that compared manual therapy to another type of treatment called electrophysical therapy for CTS.

In the study, 140 patients diagnosed with CTS were randomly assigned to either the manual therapy group or the electrophysical therapy group. Treatments took place in 20 sessions over 10 weeks, and in the manual therapy group, an occupational/physical therapist performed massage and various mobilizations to the median nerve. In the electrophysical therapy group, laser therapy and ultrasound were applied to the wrist of each patient. Both of these treatments apply different forms of energy to the patient with the goal of creating changes in the body that will in turn reduce their symptoms. All patients were evaluated before and after receiving treatment to determine which was more effective.

Manual therapy brings about greater improvements

Results showed that both treatments led to improvements, as patients experienced less pain, greater function and fewer symptoms after completing the interventions. But the patients who received manual therapy reported even greater improvements in all three of these measurements than those who received electrophysical therapy. The manual therapy group also experienced an average reduction in pain of 290%, compared to only 47% in the electrophysical therapy group. Based on these results, it appears that manual therapy is more beneficial for patients with CTS than electrophysical therapy.

This study serves as yet another example of how occupational/physical therapy can bring about positive changes in patients who have a painful condition. So if you’re dealing with any type of pain, we strongly recommend coming in for a visit, where our physical and occupational therapists can identify your problem and formulate a treatment program that’s based on your unique condition and goals. Contact ARS Hand & Physical Therapy at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to read the abstract (summary) of the study featured in this blog.

According to a recent study, a supervised Springfield occupational/physical therapy program is best for a broken wrist

Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we understand that when it comes to deciding the best course of action for your musculoskeletal injury or condition, there are many options available. However, based on our own experience within the clinic and the evidence found in research studies, we firmly believe that physical and occupational therapy is the best possible choice you can make. To help you better understand the advantages of the treatments we provide, our physical and occupational therapists do our best to bring you examples of some of the most important recent studies that highlight the many benefits of our services.

This month, we bring you the details of a recent study that compares two different types of occupational/physical therapy treatments for a broken wrist in older patients.

The radius is the larger of the two bones of the forearm, and the end of this bone closest to the wrist is called the distal radius. Distal radius fracture is the technical term for a broken wrist, which is one of the most common injuries that can occur. These types of injuries are especially common in individuals over the age of 60, where they are the second most common type of fracture behind hip fractures.

Occupational/physical therapy is always necessary after the cast is removed

Treatment for a broken wrist typically consists of a physician realigning the broken bone and then putting the patient in a wrist cast. After the cast is removed, patients are usually instructed to follow a course of occupational/physical therapy. This can either be accomplished with a supervised program within an occupational/physical therapy clinic or with a home-exercise program designed by an occupational or physical therapist. Although both of these programs are commonly used, it’s not completely clear which is more effective for patients. For this reason, a powerful study called a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) was conducted that compared a supervised occupational/physical therapy program to a home-exercise program for older adults with a broken wrist.

For the study, 74 patients over 60 years old with a broken wrist were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: the supervised occupational/physical therapy or home-exercise group. Both treatments lasted six weeks, and patients in the supervised occupational/physical therapy group attended 12 sessions that consisted of various exercises to improve the flexibility of the hand and wrist hand, as well as manual treatments performed by the occupational/physical therapist. For the home-exercise program, an occupational/physical therapist instructed patients on how to perform a set of exercises for the hand and wrist at home, which lasted 20-30 minutes and were to be completed twice a day.

Results showed that overall, patients in both groups improved in all of the measurements taken. However, the participants who followed supervised occupational/physical therapy experienced significantly greater improvements in their wrist function. They also reported less pain and better wrist flexibility compared to the group that followed a home-exercise program. These improvements were noticed immediately after treatment, as well as six months later, which shows that they last in the long term.

Our Springfield occupational/physical therapy treatment programs contain similar components

These findings suggest that a supervised occupational/physical therapy program will lead to better outcomes for individuals older than 60 who have a broken wrist. At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we see patients with broken wrists all the time, and we offer a supervised Springfield occupational therapy program to treat them that includes many of the same components used here. So if you’re dealing with a wrist injury or any other painful condition, give us a call at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment and find out how we can help you improve today.

To read the summary (abstract) of this featured study, click here.

High-intensity interval training allows you to get more out of your time compared to traditional ways of working out

As physical and occupational therapists, one of the most common recommendations we give our patients is to find ways to exercise and become physically active more regularly. But in our overwhelmingly busy world, we also understand how difficult it can be to find enough time to commit to exercising every week. This is why we are always on the lookout for new forms of exercise that can more easily fit into our patients’ schedules, and one new development that we’re particularly fond of is high-intensity interval training.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been around for years, and has rapidly grown in popularity to become the third biggest fitness trend so far in 2017. Essentially, HIIT is a training technique in which you give an all-out, 100% effort through quick intense bursts of exercise, which are then followed by shorter recovery periods.
Since your body is working so hard during a HIIT workout, it increases your heart rate and helps you burn more fat in less time. HIIT workouts also increase the body’s need for oxygen during these extreme efforts, which leads to an oxygen shortage. This will cause your body to require more oxygen during the recovery period, and over time, the intense workout will help increase your cardiovascular ability and strengthen your heart.
Better cardiovascular health is just one of the many benefits that proponents of HIIT stand by. Other attractive qualities include the following:

  • Helps build endurance: HIIT adapts to the cellular structure of the muscles, which enables you to increase your endurance while doing any type of exercise; one study showed that people who participated in HIIT for eight weeks had doubled the length of time they could ride a bike while keeping the same pace
  • Quick and convenient: HIIT workouts can be done just about anywhere and at any time, and only require as little as 10 minutes or no more than 30 minutes to complete
  • Equipment is usually not necessary: though dumbbells may be optional in some HIIT workouts, most only use your body weight, since the focus is usually on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there
  • Helps you lose fat, not muscle: most steady cardiovascular exercise is associated with losing muscle, but since HIIT workouts also include weight training using your own body weight, it will help you preserve muscle while shedding fat

Even with all of these apparent benefits, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that HIIT workouts are right for you. Just like with any new exercise routine, it’s crucial that you check with your doctor before beginning HIIT, and due to their intense nature, you should be in adequate shape in order to complete them. It’s also important to understand that HIIT workouts may not be for everyone and that they don’t necessarily have to be a substitute for all of your other workouts. Instead, HIIT should be seen as an alternative approach to working out that might be a great use of your time, especially if you don’t have too much of it.

To learn more about the possible benefits of HIIT workouts, click here, and for any aches or pains you may be experiencing, contact ARS Hand & Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today.

You should see a physical therapist for foot pain in Springfield, unlike most patients in a recent study

Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we understand that when it comes to deciding the best course of action for your musculoskeletal injury or condition, there are many options available. However, based on our own experience within the clinic and the evidence found in research studies, we firmly believe that physical and occupational therapy is the best possible choice you can make. To help you better understand the advantages of the treatments we provide, our physical and occupational therapists do our best to bring you examples of some of the most recent studies that highlight the many benefits of our services.

This month, we discuss the details of a recent study that evaluates how many patients with a common foot injury actually seek out the services of a physical therapist.

Physical therapy typically recommended for common foot injury

Plantar fasciitis is a very common foot injury that affects about one million people each year and roughly 10% of the population at some point in their lives. The injury involves the plantar fascia, which is a strong piece of tissue that normally absorbs shock and supports the arch of the foot. Patients with plantar fasciitis typically experience a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel, which tends to be particularly bad upon taking the first few steps of the day.

Patients with plantar fasciitis should be treated with stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as bracing and a hands-on therapy called manual therapy, which is usually administered by a physical therapist. There is strong evidence that shows manual therapy and other physical therapy treatments are beneficial, but it’s not completely clear if patients are actually taking advantage of this type of care. For this reason, a study was performed to investigate how many patients with plantar fasciitis receive physical therapy and what types of treatment they are given.

To conduct the study, researchers used a large patient record database. This database provided details on 819,963 patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, who were billed for a total of 5,739,737 visits to a medical professional over four years. Additional data on these patients was then analyzed to determine what proportion sought out physical therapy services.

Of the more than 800,000 patients in the database, only 7.1% were actually evaluated by a physical therapist within 30 days of their plantar fasciitis diagnosis. Of the patients evaluated by a physical therapist, 87% received manual therapy and 89.5% received supervised rehabilitation as part of their treatment program. Further investigation showed that patients who were treated with manual therapy had shorter lengths of care and paid less overall for their care than those who did not.

These findings show that although physical therapy is strongly supported by evidence as a beneficial treatment for plantar fasciitis, the vast majority of patients with the injury do not seek out this type of care. There are several possible explanations for why this is the case, including lack of education, financial concerns and poor geographic location, all of which can limit patients’ access to physical therapy. This study highlights the need for better patient education that shows why physical therapy is usually the best possible intervention for plantar fasciitis, as well as wider access to these services. Patients with plantar fasciitis should also be encouraged to seek out care from a physical therapist, since it can lead to a quicker recovery at a lower cost, as seen in this study.

Patients with foot pain in Springfield from plantar fasciitis should come in for a visit

Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ, we perform manual therapy techniques and a variety of other interventions to effectively manage patients with foot pain in Springfield from plantar fasciitis. If you’re currently dealing with this condition, we strongly urge you to not follow the lead of most patients in the study and instead come in to see us for an evaluation. Doing so will significantly reduce your pain and put you back in action as quickly and safely as possible. Contact us at 973-379-7006 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

To read the summary (abstract) of this featured study, click here.

Shoulder pain in Springfield is common this time of year for baseball players, but our physical therapists can offer an effective plan to address it

With action in spring sports now getting underway, most involved athletes are primed to rush out of the gates and push themselves—and their teams—towards a successful season. While this eager spirit is certainly welcomed and crucial for morale, it’s also important to remember that every athlete has limits. For baseball players, and especially pitchers, training too hard and too fast is a recipe for shoulder pain in Springfield. Many players develop a condition called shoulder impingement as a result, but the good news is that physical therapy can help with treatment and prevention.

To understand shoulder impingement, it’s important to first get a basic idea of how the shoulder works. The shoulder is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The humerus and scapular are surrounded and connected by the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles and tendons that keeps the shoulder stable and allows for the ball-and-socket movements of the joint. There is also a fluid-filled sac called the bursa between the rotator cuff and a bony prominence on the top of the scapula (acromion), and its function is to provide a cushion during movement.

In shoulder impingement, the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed—or “impinged”—as they pass through the narrow space beneath the acromion. Over time, this causes the tendons to become irritated and inflamed, and will lead to bothersome symptoms. The most common symptoms of shoulder impingement are:

  • Pain, which may be present both at rest and when moving the shoulder overhead, behind the body or to the side
  • Pain when sleeping on the injured shoulder and with throwing motions
  • Restricted shoulder movement
  • Loss of shoulder strength
  • Swelling and tenderness

Shoulder impingement most frequently occurs in individuals that perform a lot of overhead activities on a regular basis, which is why pitchers and other baseball players are so highly prone to develop it. Athletes involved in golf, swimming, tennis and other racquet sports, as well as those who paint or do construction for a living are also vulnerable.

For pitchers, it’s a matter of frequency and intensity. Pitching too often and too intensely without taking sufficient breaks in between will increase stress on the shoulder joint and can likely lead to impingement. If nothing is done about this, more serious injuries like rotator cuff tears could occur down the line.

How our physical and occupational therapists will manage your shoulder pain

If shoulder impingement does develop and you experience shoulder pain in Springfield, it’s important that you get appropriate treatment as soon as possible. At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we have an effective treatment approach in place for shoulder impingement that typically includes the following components:

  • Activity modification/functional training: our therapists will teach you how to avoid painful movements and to correct your pitching or throwing form if baseball is responsible
  • Range of motion exercises: since shoulder movement will be limited, these exercises will help increase your flexibility gradually to get it back to normal
  • Strengthening exercises: weakness is another problem, and these exercises will increase rotator cuff and scapular muscle strength to improve your functioning
  • Manual therapy: your therapist will also perform joint and soft-tissue mobilizations, range of motion and massage to help your shoulder move properly again
  • Posture education: having rounded or forward shoulder posture can contribute to impingement, so your therapist may educate you on how to improve your posture

With so much potential ahead in the spring sports season, the last thing any athlete wants is an injury that can sideline him or her for an extended period of time. If you’re an athlete or you have developed shoulder impingement pain, we are here to help. Contact ARS Hand & Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on shoulder impingement.

Springfield physical therapists break down recent study that shows why strengthening and stretching are best for a pain syndrome

Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we understand that when it comes to deciding the best course of action for your musculoskeletal injury or condition, there are many options available. However, based on our own experience within the clinic and the evidence found in research studies, we firmly believe that physical and occupational therapy is the best possible choice you can make. To help you better understand the advantages of the treatments we provide, our physical and occupational therapists bring you examples of some of the most recent studies that highlight the many benefits of our services.

This month, we break down a recent study that evaluates a number of different treatment methods for a condition called myofascial pain syndrome.

Physical therapy often used to address painful condition

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common and chronic (long-lasting) pain disorder. It occurs when pressure on sensitive spots in the muscles called trigger points causes pain in different areas of the body. MPS can occur for many reasons and may be aggravated by performing certain motions on a repetitive basis or develop for unknown reasons, and it usually tends to get worse over time.

There are several treatments commonly used to manage patients with MPS, and many are offered in a physical therapy program. Some of these include massage, ultrasound, heat therapy, stretching exercises and strengthening exercises, but unfortunately, it’s not clear how effective many of these treatments are. This is due to the fact that there are only a limited number of studies on the topic, and these few studies suffer from certain flaws, which reduces the validity of their findings. For this reason, a powerful study called a systematic review was conducted to answer the following question: does exercise reduce the intensity of pain and disability in individuals with MPS.

To conduct the review, investigators searched through six major medical databases and found eight studies that fit all the necessary criteria for the review. These studies, which included information on 255 participants ranging in age from 21-56 were then evaluated in detail and their findings were compared to one another. The goal of this process was to identify a common trend and establish a clearer understanding of the role of exercise for treating MPS.

Overall, the studies supported exercise as a beneficial treatment for MPS. Exercise was found to significantly reduce the intensity of pain in the short term when compared with minimal or no intervention. In addition, the researchers particularly recommended combining strengthening exercises with stretching exercises in order to achieve the most significant improvements for patients.

Our Springfield physical therapists and occupational therapists prescribe these exercises in all treatment programs

At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, strengthening and stretching exercises are an integral component of every treatment program we create for patients. This study serves as yet another example of the wide-ranging benefits of these fundamental physical therapy protocols, and offers further support for the treatment decisions our Springfield physical therapists make. If you’re dealing with pain throughout the body or a recent injury, come in to see us as soon as possible for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment program. Contact us at 973-379-7006 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

To read the summary (abstract) of this featured study, click here.

Strengthening your kinetic chain will reduce your risk for injuries in Springfield

You might think it’s a rather obvious observation to say that in our bodies, everything is connected. This point is plain to see without even giving it much thought, but what may not be as apparent is just how deep these connections go and how each one can affect our overall performance. The interaction of all of these different parts is what’s called the kinetic chain, an essential concept when it comes to understanding how the body works. And by strengthening the kinetic chain, you can reduce your risk for injuries in Springfield.

The kinetic chain, or kinematic chain, is the system of all the moving parts in our body. It consists of bones, muscles, joints, connective tissues, nerves and gravity, which are designed to work together in order to make the body move effectively and efficiently. As you can imagine, this means there are countless different pieces that all serve a purpose in the collective whole of the kinetic chain. Every action within our body creates a ripple effect across this chain, and no movement is limited to the area it occurs in.

Since each part of this chain relies upon the rest to do its part successfully, a problem in one spot can throw the entire system out of whack. Biomechanics is a term used to describe how the kinetic chain is functioning. Healthy biomechanics enables us to move efficiently by properly supporting all the elements of the kinetic chain, while poor biomechanics cause the body to overcompensate for links that are failing. This results in increased energy spent on certain movements, as well as muscle fatigue and pain.

When our bodies consistently function with poor biomechanics, various parts of the kinetic chain will eventually become stressed and damaged. If nothing is done to correct these issues, over time it will lead to injury. As the saying goes, the chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, and this rings especially true for the kinetic chain. The kinetic chain lessens the load on the skeleton—especially when running or performing any other aggressive movements—and the stronger the chain, the less stress on your bones and joints.
This is why it’s essential to strengthen your kinetic chain and keep your risk for injuries in Springfield to a minimum.

Kinetic chain exercises to help you avoid injuries in Springfield

There are two types of kinetic chain exercises: open and closed. Open kinetic chain means that the segment furthest from the body (usually your hand or foot) is free, whereas closed kinetic chain means it is fixed, or stationary. Open chain exercises are better at isolating specific muscles, while closed are more functional and good at mimicking many of the movements of our daily lives. Nonetheless, both are beneficial in their own way. Here are some key examples of open and closed chain exercises to get you started:

  • Upper body
    • Open chain: biceps curls, lateral raises, triceps extensions, shoulder pendulums
    • Closed chain: push-ups, pull-ups, forward planks
  • Lower body
    • Open chain: knee curls, knee extensions, hip abduction, hip adduction, seated calf raises
    • Closed chain: squats, lunges, stair climbing, deadlift

Most of these exercises should already be familiar if you work out regularly, but there are plenty more options if you’d like to take it to the next level. At ARS Hand and Physical Therapy, we can help identify if any part of your kinetic chain is weak and recommend specific exercises to strengthen it and reduce your risk for injuries in Springfield, NJ. Contact us at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on the kinetic chain.