Physiotherapy Clinic in Ville-Saint-Laurent

Injury Prevention as Gyms Reopen

For most of us it’s been months since we’ve been able to exercise at the gym, and as a result workout routines have fallen by the wayside. As Canada starts reopening its gyms, it’s important to understand how to safely reboot your exercise regime.

Injury Prevention Tips

It’s very easy to injure yourself as you begin working out – even if your body was used to intense exercise prior to the shutdown. Injuries can come in many forms, including:

  • Muscle strains
  • Joint injuries
  • Tendinopathy

At particular risk are the knees and shoulders, and high impact exercise has greater risk than low impact options. Eagerness to get started may mean you want to jump right back on that treadmill, but remember that your body is no longer used to vigorous exercise and has lost some of its elasticity. This is especially true if you have been unable to work out at all during the past few months. To ensure you’re properly taking care of your body as you return to the gym, follow these simple steps:

1. Warm Up and Cool Down

Warming up slowly increases your heart rate, while warming your muscles and joints, and properly prepares your body for exercise. Similarly, cooling down helps your body to recover after a workout, and gently reduces your heart rate in a safe manner.

2. Stretch

Stretch after your workout, as it’ll help increase flexibility and decrease the chances of delayed muscle soreness.

3. Vary Your Exercise

Overuse of one set of muscles makes repetitive strain injuries more likely; so as you return to the gym, remember to vary your routine, and do something different each day. Maybe run one day, then lift weights the next, then swim the next.

4. Quality Over Quantity

It’s likely your form has deteriorated as you have been away from the gym, so pay attention to how your body is positioned as you exercise. This is especially important when lifting weights. Make sure you are prioritizing correct form, over simply completing as many reps as you can. Use a mirror, a friend or a trainer to help you keep an eye on your posture.

5. Get Your Health Provider’s Approval

If you have any health concerns, or if you have been inactive for months, it’s a good idea to get approval from your health provider’s before restarting at the gym. If nothing has changed with your health, they will likely just advise you to go slow, but if anything has changed or if you have been sick, ensure you are safe to workout.

6. Pace Yourself

Lastly, remember to pace yourself. Keeping the same level of fitness with home workouts as you had at the gym is nearly impossible, so it’s likely you won’t be in as good a shape as you were a few months ago. Don’t beat yourself up about this; take rests as you need to, and don’t overdo it. An injury will set you back far more than simply going a little more slowly!

If Injury Occurs

If you do find something hurts after a workout, remember to:

● Ice the affected area

● If needed, Wrap the injured area in a bandage or compression wrap

● Rest it

● Take anti-inflammatory or pain killers if required, but do not take continuously without seeing your doctor

● If pain persists, see your doctor or physio

Staying Safe in Public Spaces

Lastly, it’s worth remembering that returning to the gym won’t be business as usual, for anybody. New measures will be in place at all gyms to ensure everyone’s safety. Follow all of the guidelines your gym lays out, wear face masks wherever possible (and remember that sports face masks are available for those engaged in heavy cardio), and sanitize your hands and equipment thoroughly before and after use. It is possible to stay active and healthy, with just a little extra thought!

Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

With the start of the summer, we tend to see more people suffering from heel pain. Either because of the use of sandals or the sudden increase of walks, you may be one of the 10% of people who experience plantar fasciitis. But just because it’s a common problem doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it! Let’s take a look at this troublesome ailment, and see how you can alleviate your foot pain.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the flat band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes (known as the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed. This can happen in both feet, or only one, and exhibits as sharp pain in the centre of the heel. The pain is typically worse first thing in the morning, and after long periods of use. The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot, and problems with it can affect your whole foot health, including your ability to walk comfortably.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

As plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition, there are no specific causes; anything that puts this part of the foot under stress or strain could in theory result in plantar fasciitis. However, there are factors that make development of the problem more likely, such as:

  • Obesity
  • High arches
  • Overly tight calf muscles
  • Repetitive activities that stress the heel, such as running
  • Age – middle aged people are more at risk
  • Poorly fitting footwear

How Do I Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Proper treatment starts with diagnosis. There is no imaging test that will diagnose plantar fasciitis, and if an x-ray or MRI is suggested, it may be because more serious problems (such as a fractured bone) need to be ruled out first. Plantar fasciitis is usually diagnosed via a medical history, discussion of symptoms and physical examination.

Although the issue is relatively simple to recognize, treatment forms can vary, as no single treatment is guaranteed to work for everyone. Most commonly recommended are:

  • Load management of injured foot
  • Anti-inflammatories modalities such as icing application
  • Physiotherapy modalities such as Ultrasounds
  • Proper footwear or supportive orthotics during acute phase
  • Exercises including stretching

Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

A physiotherapist (or a podiatrist) will be able to both diagnose and suggest treatment options for your plantar fasciitis. Regulating activity that may worsen the problem and engaging in helpful stretches can significantly decrease recovery time. Stretches that may help  include:

  • Foot flexes
  • Ankle circles
  • Stretching calf muscles
  • Stretching hamstrings
  • Towel stretches for the bottom of the foot

Many of the above stretches can be worked into a routine for before you get out of bed in the morning, to warm your foot up before putting pressure on the affected area. As well as the above, you may need to use a night splint to hold your foot in place while you sleep, massage the bottom of your foot to relieve pressure, and perform more specific stretches before  strenuous activity. You may also need to engage in other foot exercises to help strengthen the ligament and prevent the problem from recurring.

You don’t need to suffer in vain; although plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful, it is also eminently treatable. If you have undiagnosed foot pain, talk to your doctor or physiotherapist to understand your options.

Staying Healthy While Working From Home

Many people are suddenly facing the need to work from home for the first time, but doing so can be stressful. It’s vitally important to stay healthy during this difficult period, so proper self-care and exercise should be top of your priority list. Here are some easy ways to stay well (and sane!) while stuck at home:

 

Stay Active

 

It may sound counter-intuitive – after all, you’re rooted in one place all day – but there are some simple ways to make sure you still get your steps in:

  • Use your usual commute time to exercise. It doesn’t need to be an intensive cardio workout (although that’s great if you have the ability); some gentle yoga, a walk, strength training with home weights, tai chi – just find a way to use the extra time to warm up your joints and muscles and mentally prepare yourself for the day (or unwind at the end of it).
  • Take regular breaks away from your desk. Between your laptop, your phone, usual household chores and demands of family, it may be tempting to stay sat at your desk while having lunch or a quick coffee. But don’t. Use the opportunity to take an actual break: stand, or walk about the house (or yard, or neighbourhood). The fresh air and change of scenery is of psychological benefit, and the movement has physical benefits.
  • Remember to stretch. Take regular, short breaks every hour to stretch your back, your legs and your neck. Sitting at a desk all day (whether in-office or at home) can cause stiffness and back issues, so ensure you’re regularly changing position and not hunching over.

 

Invest In Proper Equipment

 

A few smart decisions when setting yourself up for remote work can make the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy work environment. Here’s some simple rules to follow:

  • Choose a good chair. You may not have the luxury of the expensive, ergonomic chair you had at work, so look round your home for the best chair for all-day use. It should have a supportive back and align you well in front of your desk. Avoid anything that encourages slouching.
  • If you’re comfortable doing so, ditch the chair completely and set up a standing desk. Research shows that this can reduce your long-term mortality risk and it allows more movement throughout the day.
  • Designate a separate “working” space away from other activities in the house. This prevents distractions but also means you can maintain the optimal set-up for your needs. It also means you can walk away from work at the end of the day, and maintain good boundaries between work and home.
  • Consider investing in an exercise stability ball. It’s great to simply sit on, as it helps with core strength and balance, and provides some relief from your regular chair.

 

Mental Health Is Important Too

 

  • It may be hard to avoid feeling trapped or isolated while working from home, so remember to take mental health breaks as well. This is best done by setting a schedule that clearly separates working time from relaxing time, and sticking to it.
  • Put away your phone! Checking the news or social media constantly will harm both work productivity and your ability to relax. Turn your phone off (or turn off notifications) whenever you are actively doing something else – even if that something else is relaxing.
  • Snacking can be tempting while working from home – after all, you stocked the cupboards – but it can quickly lead to unhealthy eating habits. Plan your meals and any snacks at the start of the day. Get them out of the fridge or set them aside somewhere if you have to; just be sure to ring-fence what you’re planning to eat, and don’t deviate when you get the munchies.

 

Working from home takes some adjustment, so don’t beat yourself up if you struggle initially. Good habits take time to build, but once set can ensure your home and work life both flourish!

 

 

COVID-19

Dear Patients,

 

As part of a collective effort to preserve the health of the population and limit the spread of the virus, the clinic will be open for urgent cases* requiring « physical » care:

 

  • a history of trauma or accident;
  • significant pain or movement limitation;
  • postoperative patients;
  • the presence of neurological signs and symptoms (sciatic pain, numbness, tingling or major muscle weakness)

 

*Please contact us to clarify if this is the case for you.

 

Our goal is to support the health system by offering an effective therapeutic option for these patients while contributing to reduce the congestion in the public system.

 

So if you absolutely must consult us on-site, it is important to declare if you have suspicious symptoms of COVID-19 (fever or dry cough), if you have been in contact with infected people, or at risk of being infected (e.g.: recent trip).

 

Note that we are happy also to offer you a Tele-rehabilitation service. Several appointments have already been made and patient experience is positive.

 

As you know, our approach is based on EXERCISES and EDUCATION. These are easy treatment methods to offer you from a distance.

 

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions at 514 375-5348.

Why Consult a Physio After Childbirth?

Everyone knows that having a child could be painful, but most assume that once labour is over, the hard work is done. Unfortunately, a significant number of new mothers experience pelvic issues after childbirth. Luckily, seeing a physiotherapist can alleviate complications, and prevent future injuries.

 

What are the risks?

 

Vaginal birth can impair pelvic health, and postpartum pelvic dysfunctions are common. 35% of new mothers experience urinary incontinence, and 20% suffer from severe pelvic floor muscle injury. This is after normal vaginal birth, when all of the body – but especially the abdomen and pelvis – goes through a lot of physical change and stress. Muscles stretch and weaken throughout pregnancy, and can tear or suffer nerve damage during labour. Complications are not limited to vaginal birth though; mothers delivering via caesarian can also suffer from pelvic floor issues, although it is less likely.

 

You are more at risk from postpartum pelvic floor issues if you:

  • Have twins or triplets
  • Have had children before
  • Are an older mother
  • Suffer from obesity
  • Have had pelvic surgery in the past
  • Suffer from constipation or a chronic cough

 

Although pelvic floor issues are common, they are not normal side effects of childbirth, and so symptoms should be investigated and treated. Without proper care, pelvic floor issues can escalate.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Postpartum pelvic floor issues can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Urinary or bowel incontinence, including small leaks (for example, when sneezing or coughing)
  • Increased urinary frequency or urgency
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain in general, which can exhibit in the lower belly, tailbone, or in the lower back
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

 

If you experience any of these symptoms later than six weeks after childbirth, or have any other unusual pain or discomfort, consult your doctor.

 

How can a physio help?

 

The simplest and easiest way to treat pelvic floor dysfunction is with the help of a qualified physiotherapist, who can assess the root cause of the problem, and lead you through exercises that help resolve symptoms by strengthening muscles and restoring function. The initial assessment may include an internal exam, which is the best method for determining the condition of the pelvic floor. It may also include some bowel and bladder screening to identify any associated concerns.

 

Pelvic floor exercises are the best way to strengthen and retrain pelvic floor muscles; these can include kegel exercises, as well as some others focussed on core strength and bladder training. A physiotherapist can also educate you on how to safely return to normal exercise.

 

In very severe cases, pelvic surgery may be recommended to repair damaged muscles or to rectify organ prolapse.

 

Physiotherapy isn’t just helpful after childbirth; it can also assist with posture, back pain, breathing techniques and protecting the pelvic floor during pregnancy, which in turn reduces the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction postpartum.

 

Choose the Right Shoes for your Child

Choosing the right shoes for your child isn’t just a matter of fashion; correct footwear is part of a healthy lifestyle, and can make a huge difference in a kid’s posture, safety and comfort. Let’s take a look at the hows and whys of picking out the best shoes for your little ones.

 

Why Do Shoes Matter?

The choices you make for your child now will extend into their adulthood; while 98% of us are born with healthy feet, only 40% of us will still have them by the time we reach 18. Clearly, finding the right footwear can make a big difference.

 

The advantages of proper footwear – both in form and fit – include:

  • Improving posture
  • Protecting joints
  • Supporting and cushioning feet during activity
  • Aiding comfort
  • Preventing avoidable slips, falls and injuries
  • Protecting soles of the feet from hazards

 

Of course there are many options when shopping for kids shoes, but whilst many of them are adorable, not all are practical or safe.

 

How do I Pick the Right Shoes?

 

Picking the right shoes need not be a challenge. There are some simple guidelines to follow to ensure you make the right decision:

1. If the Shoe Fits

Children’s feet grow, a lot – up to 12 sizes in their first three years of development. But almost half of kids are wearing the incorrect shoe size. This can cause some serious problems while the feet are still growing, so it’s vital to always measure your child’s feet before buying any new shoes.

 

As they can change so rapidly, frequent size checks are recommended by physiotherapist at the following rate:

  • Every two months for children under two years old
  • Every four months for kids aged three to four
  • Every six months for kids over the age of five

 

And no matter what the measurement is, always have your kids try shoes before buying them; their feet should not be squashed across their width, and their toes should be able to move freely. If your little ones are mobile, get them to walk around in the shoes to test their comfort level and identify any areas of tightness or discomfort.

2. Different Shoes for Different Stages of Development

Shoes for infants differ greatly from shoes for kindergartners, so bear in mind your child’s stage of development. Infants don’t need much support as they won’t be walking.. Toddlers are mid-development, but on their feet all day, so they need room to grow and some cushioning. Older children have less fragile feet but are using them in more varied ways, and generally for higher impact activities, so shoes with a mix of flexibility and support are better.

3. Consider the Activity

For older kids, as with adults, it’s important to remember what activity the shoes will be worn for. Running shoes are built differently than walking shoes. If your child plays a specific sport, consider buying shoes that are designed for that sport, as they will offer more protection and support in the specific ways required of that activity. If you’re simply searching for good all-purpose shoes, check the soles for thickness and grip, the flexibility of the material, and above all else the fit.

4. Material Considerations

Children’s feet sweat more than twice as much as an adult’s, so look for shoes made of light, breathable, natural materials, so your their feet don’t overheat. This can prevent blisters as well as unpleasant odours. Canvas is a great option, as it is also washable, while still being durable. Avoid plastics and synthetic materials.

5. Fasteners

The shoes you’re considering may come with laces, velcro, or something else entirely. Generally it’s recommended to avoid slip-ons and backless shoes for kids, as they don’t offer adequate support. Choosing between fasteners is a matter of ability for your child; wherever possible choose a shoe that they can get on and off themselves.

 

The better prepared you are before you head out in search of children’s shoes, the easier your shopping trip will be. Always remember, if they’re not comfortable in the store, they won’t be worn at home!

 

Benefits & Risks of Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing is one of Canada’s most popular winter sports, with about 2.6 million people taking part annually. It has the double benefit of being both incredibly exhilarating and excellent exercise. It does come with risks though, so if you’re a regular skier, or considering taking up the sport, here’s what you need to know:

Benefits of Alpine Skiing

1. A mix of exercise types

Skiing is a great way to get some exercise, in particular because it combines both endurance and resistance training. This means that, compared to other sports, it packs more punch for the time spent; and it doesn’t even feel like work!

2. Boosts healthy heart

Research by cardiologists shows that alpine skiing is equivalent to cycling or rowing in terms of its benefits to heart health. A leisurely descent on a smooth run may not have quite the same impact as a heart-thumping hop through deep powder, but in either case you are helping your body to improve insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, lower blood pressure and lipids, and improve body composition.

3. Strengthens bones and joints

Skiing means bearing your weight on your legs, and using your knees to turn and move. This strengthens the larger muscles in the lower part of the body and the bones and joints in your legs, knees and hips. This can decrease the risk of osteoporosis and knee damage in the future.

4. Improves balance and coordination

Skiing is all about balance, and learning how to remain upright by using your core strength is a great way to retain your sense of balance as you advance in years – which can help you avoid falls. You also get to practice coordination and flexibility as you ski, which allows you to avoid strains and sprains more effectively too.

5. Boosts mood and improves sleep

Spending the day outside in the sunshine, breathing in the crisp air and experiencing the thrill of alpine skiing is sure to put a smile on your face. And the natural fatigue that comes after such exercise improves sleep duration and quality. Research shows that engaging in alpine skiing is also a great indicator of a generally active, healthy lifestyle.

Risks of Alpine Skiing

There is obviously a risk of injury when engaging in any type of skiing (or indeed any sport), but the risks can be significantly ameliorated by:

 

  1. Proper use of equipment
  2. Staying within your ability levels
  3. Consideration of the conditions

 

Changing weather, uncertain snow or ice conditions, busy slopes, or the presence of obstacles all make injury more likely and potentially more severe. It’s advisable, if you are a new skier, to take things slowly, remember to warm up beforehand and to stretch afterwards, and if possible seek the help of an instructor to ensure your form is designed to protect your body. Falling need not be injurious, as long as you know how to do it safely!

Benefits of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is not just for one-off, serious injuries, and it’s not a form of alternative medicine either. Many people mistakenly assume physiotherapy is not for them, when in fact it is one of the most effective tools in relieving everyday aches and pains. There are many ways in which physiotherapy can help with a range of injuries and illnesses; here are some of the most significant:

1. Back Pain

Back pain has many causes, from injury to poor posture, and up to 85% of Canadians will experience it at some point in their lives. Physiotherapy treatment depends on the root cause of the pain, but in general it relies on strengthening the affected and surrounding muscles, improving posture and mobility, and reducing stress on the area. An experienced physiotherapist will also be able to provide guidance on how to avoid future back issues.

2. Knee Pain

Physiotherapy and medication have been found to be as effective as surgery for combating knee pain. Knee pain can be caused by muscle tightness, arthritis, specific injury or obesity, and can severely restrict mobility. Treatment focuses on identifying and treating the source of the pain, thereby relieving the aches that come with normal everyday use.

3. Obesity

Obesity is a major source of discomfort, as it puts enormous pressure on many of the joints. But exercising when obese, and when your joints already hurt, is incredibly difficult, making this a self-reinforcing problem. Physiotherapists are able to help patients develop exercise routines that don’t stress their joints but still allow them to make meaningful progress towards weight loss and increased mobility, which in turn relieves the aches and pains of overworked joints.

4. Pain Associated with Aging

For many seniors, chronic pain seems like a natural part of the aging process, but it need not be. Whether it’s from arthritis, nerve pain or muscular deterioration, pain associated with aging can be relieved. A quick-fix solution is not possible, but quality of life can be vastly improved with a course of physiotherapy.

Research has shown that quality of life, need for surgery, use of medications and re-occurrence of injuries are all improved with the help of a qualified physiotherapist.

Make an appointment today with one of our physiotherapists to help you relieve your pain.

Physio Proactive, 2018.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and How Physiotherapy Can Help

What is it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, found in the arm, gets trapped and squeezed by swollen tendons as it passes through the wrist to the hand. It can be quite uncomfortable and causes numbness, pain and tingling in the thumb, index and middle finger of the affected hand. Over time, if untreated, it can lead to muscle weakness, loss of grip and chronic pain.

Who can get it?

Anyone can get carpal tunnel syndrome, but women are more at risk than men; it is most often related to work activities, including repetitive movements, but can also be due to genetics, arthritis, thyroid disease, obesity or pregnancy. It is most common for both hands to be affected and for symptoms to start gradually and worsen through the night.

What are my treatment options?

Surgery is only an option for carpal tunnel syndrome in the most severe cases. Frequently non-surgical measures such as medication and physiotherapy are more useful and practical. Steroidal injections, splints and anti-inflammatory drugs are all used to help alleviate the symptoms.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy can be instrumental in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. A physiotherapist can:

  • Assess the possible causes and educate patients about how to avoid aggravating the affected area.
  • Provide exercises to lessen pain, increase muscle strength and release the trapped nerve.
  • Provide ultrasound or TENS therapy to decrease pain.
  • Recommend additional therapies or medications, such as massage therapy or acupuncture.

How to avoid getting it?

Steps to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Being physically active.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Taking frequent breaks when performing repetitive tasks.
  • Regular hand and wrist exercises.
  • Correct form when repeatedly using hands and wrists – for example, do not grip objects too tightly for long periods of time, or stay immobile in an awkward position.

Not all factors that cause carpal tunnel can be avoided, so the key to preventing long term pain is to recognize symptoms early, and seek professional help immediately when there’s a problem.

Make an appointment today with one of our physiotherapists to help you relieve your pain.

Physio Proactive, 2018.

How to Prevent Falling in Winter

Falls are more than just embarrassing – they are the primary cause of non-fatal injuries in adults over the age of 45. Winter is full of falling hazards, so knowing how to prevent falls is crucial. Here are some tips to help you stay active, even in the coldest weather.

 

1. Appropriate Shoes

High-heeled or slick-soled shoes do not work well on ice. The best choice in winter are flat, rough or rubber-textured soles that offer plenty of grip. You can also attach temporary shoe covers with ice grips. These are inexpensive, re-usable, and readily available from sporting goods or shoe stores.

 

2. Accessories and Rails

Assistive devices such as canes and walking sticks can be modified with a spiked tip to help dig them into the ice. And for those walks around populated areas, handrails are a simple but effective way to steady your balance and stay upright. They’re there for a reason, so use them!

 

3. Look Where You’re Going

Watching your step is the number one way to avoid mishaps. You can circumvent slick patches and trip hazards if you pay attention. Often a clearer route is available, but if not, knowing the lay of the land will inform you how to proceed safely. To this end, get your eyes checked. You can’t avoid a hazard if you can’t see it!

 

4. Slow Down

Falls are significantly more likely when you’re rushing or multi-tasking. Slow down; take small careful steps. When in doubt, walk like a penguin. Looking at your phone affects your balance and increases fall likelihood, so steer clear of distracted walking.

 

5. Avoid Unnecessary Risks

Lastly, use some common sense about when it’s safest to go out. If there’s a freezing rain storm forecast, you may be better off delaying your plans to another day wherever possible.

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the winter weather and stay healthy, as long as you remember to put safety first.

 

Did you already experienced a fall and you are still feeling it on your body?

Make an appointment today with one of our physiotherapists to help you relieve your pain.

Physio Proactive, 2018.

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