Injury Free Summer Sports

With record high temperatures occurring it seems that summer is right around the corner, and with it, the return to outdoor sport and recreation. Baseball, soccer, running and hiking seasons are ramping up and soon outdoor water sports will follow!

It is important for all athletes from professional to recreational to avoid injury, not to mention post-exercise soreness. Aside from maintaining a high level of fitness in the colder months, an important factor in injury prevention and delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS) is appropriate warm up and cool down.

Proper warm up and cool down involves five to ten minutes of mild to moderate levels of physical activity – preferably a lower intensity version of your sport. For example, a brisk walk to warm up and cool down from running, slower walking and lunging for hiking, jogging and footwork patterns for soccer and baseball and of course throwing for baseball.

Warming up and cooling down appropriately will reduce your risk of muscle injury and soreness following sport.

If you are uncertain of what type of activity or movement patterns are appropriate for you and your sport, or if you are interested in optimizing your performance, Summit Sport Physiotherapy is here to help!


How Can Dry Needling Help Reduce my Pain?

Dry needling, also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), is a treatment that can help to stimulate tissues and blood flow, release tight muscles and alleviate pain. It relies heavily on a thorough physical exam of the neuromuscular system to determine the source of pain and dysfunction. Many physiotherapists are trained to utilize dry needling in conjunction with other manual physical therapy interventions.

Dry needling uses small, sterile, acupuncture needles. It allows physiotherapists to get right to the site of dysfunction. When releasing shortened, sensitive muscles, clients may experience a local ache or cramping sensation. Dry needling works by stimulating the tight muscle to cause relaxation and lengthening of the muscle. The needle also encourages blood flow to the area, which helps to initiate the natural healing process. Lastly, it allows the nerve that innervates the muscle to function normally again. It reduces pain and facilitates an accelerated return to activity and function.

For more information on dry needling and/or to find out if it may benefit you, ask our physiotherapists at Summit Sport Physiotherapy.


Rotator Cuff Injuries

The Okotoks Dawgs baseball team have sprung into action, baseball season is here at last!

The upcoming season is sure to be action packed and exciting, and hopefully injury free for all athletes.

Unfortunately, research shows that overhead athletes are at risk for rotator cuff injuries at a rate of about 20%. Even in the general population, the rotator cuff is at risk of degeneration injuries, with about a 60% rate of abnormality in of those over 80 years of age.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles in the shoulder: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. These four muscles assist in rotating, elevation and stabilizing the gleno-humeral joint. During daily life and especially with overhead activities like throwing, the rotator cuff is placed under a large amount of mechanical stress which can lead to injury. Research has shown that an exercise program of strengthening and stabilization training for the shoulder is effective in relieving pain and restoring function in those experiencing rotator cuff injuries.

If you are in the sadly large percent of the population experiencing pain in your shoulders, Summit Sport Physiotherapy is here to help.


Gardening For Health

Gardening and yard work can provide endurance, flexibility and strength. Activities such as lifting, pushing wheelbarrows and shovelling all provide resistance training. Reaching for weeds or tall branches, bending and extending a rake involve stretching. It is suggested to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be a physical benefit.

Here are some tips to help prevent injury during your gardening and yard activities. Tackle a few small projects in your yard first to “warm up” and avoid exercising too vigorously. Alternate light projects with heavier ones throughout the summer. While digging and raking, engage your core to protect your back and use your legs and lower body for strength. Bend at your knees or sit on a stool versus bending your back when working at ground level. Be careful when lifting heavy objects. Plan your lift ahead of time. Adopt a stable position and keep the load close to your waist. Don’t twist your back when lifting and move smoothly. Know your limits; especially if you have a history of back pain. Take breaks and don’t forget to hydrate!

Most importantly, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine! For further information on injury prevention, visit Summit Sport Physiotherapy so we can help keep you moving!


How important is core strength?

Our core is made up of multiple muscles. Our deep core stabilizers involve our deepest abdominal muscle, our pelvic floor, our deep back stabilizers and our diaphragm.  These muscles stabilize and support our low back and pelvis. The more superficial core muscles include our outer abdominal muscles, buttock muscles, hip muscles and back muscles. They all work together to increase our strength and are especially needed for activities such as lifting, physical labor and dynamic sports. A strong core is a pre-requisite to allowing our trunk and extremities to function optimally.

If we let poor posture or improper movement patterns cause muscle imbalances, our core muscles may no longer function well together, which can lead to injury and dysfunction. For those who have had back injuries or pain, often our core stabilizers weaken and deep back stabilizers atrophy. This makes it extra important to work on strengthening these muscles to protect your back.

There are many exercise options for core strengthening. For further information or for your individualized core exercise program, visit us at Summit Sport Physiotherapy.


What is physiotherapy?

What is physiotherapy, really?

Physiotherapists are movement specialists, which mean we have a variety of practice areas. Physiotherapists can specialize in any area of the body, or with a specific type of patient. For example, physiotherapists work with patients with brain injuries or strokes, heart surgeries or organ transplants, burned or wounded or cancer patients.

Physiotherapists can work only with children, only with elderly, only with athletes, in hospitals or home care, with corporations or in private practice. In short, physiotherapists are everywhere!

Likely many of you reading this have had some experience with private practice physiotherapy. This is a clinic in the community, working with any patient that can make it to the door. Most of us in private practice do not restrict ourselves to an area or patient type.

Physiotherapists use many techniques within a treatment session to assist you with pain and movement, but the largest part of rehabilitation from a physiotherapist is movement analysis and a tailored exercise program.


How can you help prevent injuries from spring yard work?

Any activity that your body is not accustomed to will likely cause muscle soreness, but the following are some tips to help manage muscle pain and prevent injuries. Warming up before beginning your work with a short walk is a good start, aim for 10 to 15 minutes.

Watching your technique with lifting, shoveling and raking is very important – work close to your body, avoid bending and twisting simultaneously, lift with your legs, not your back and ask for a hand with heavy loads. To manage sore knees, kneeling on a foam pad is helpful.

To cope with muscle soreness in your forearms – stretch by straightening your elbows and bending your wrist, palm towards your body, then away from your body. Apply more pressure on your wrist with the other hand if desired and hold for several seconds to a minute. If any other areas are bothersome or you find yourself unable to manage, come visit us at Summit for more advice. Good luck with your greenery!


Spring is in the air!

Spring is the season of fresh starts, which for many means an increase in activity. If you have resolved to be more physically active, good for you! Your body will soon become stronger and healthier for your efforts.

However there is also a large drop-out rate after several weeks of exercise, for multiple reasons. To avoid an injury forcing you to stop before you have built good habits, remember to: warm up and cool down – about 5 – 10 minutes of moderate cardio, incorporate gentle static stretching, and avoid going too intense, too quickly.

Building strength and fitness requires a large commitment of time and effort and results come gradually. Be kind to your body and know your limits: increase exercise and weight by small increments – beginning with your own body weight may even be the best option, try to avoid “competing” with others you see at the gym – follow your workout plan and try to improve based on your own performance.

Consult your Summit Physio if any problems occur, good luck out there!


What are the proper office ergonomics?

If you spend your work day at a desk or in front of a computer, poor posture can cause repetitive overuse and strain injuries. Early signs of injury include fatigue, pain, tingling, numbness, tightness, swelling or weakness. To help prevent pain and injury, good posture and proper office ergonomics are the key!

First, actively use your core muscles to maintain neutral posture of our spine and reduce joint stress. Second, adjust your work station to help support your body in the proper position. Sit back in your chair, ensure your feet are supported and your weight evenly distributed on both hips, keep your head and neck upright, your arms relaxed by your side, and elbow angle around 90 degrees.

Components of your office desk, chair, computer monitor, mouse and keyboard can be changed to help support your body. Standing work stations are a great option to offload your back. Remember to move frequently, change your position regularly, and stretch periodically.

For more on how to prevent or treat injury or make ergonomic changes for your work station, contact Summit Physiotherapy



True or False?

Is the old saying: “No Pain, No Gain” true or not?

When it comes to physiotherapy and rehabilitation, the saying is typically not true, the truth is more complex. Avoiding activity because of the fear of pain is associated with poor outcomes following injury. Continuing on in the face of obvious damage and injury is dangerous to your whole body, as well as the injured area.  The majority of injuries require moderate levels of activity – cutting out painful activities in the short term, but not avoiding activity all together.

Unfortunately, most people visit physiotherapists because of injury or ongoing pain, so pain is already present, and there can be some discomfort with strengthening exercises, or stretching to increase mobility. If you are suffering an injury and uncertain how to proceed, your physiotherapist can help you find the middle ground – activity levels that will keep you strong while allowing you time to heal.