With icy sidewalks and streets, falls during the winter can become more prominent. One injury that can occur is ankle sprains.  Have you ever sprained your ankle before? Wondering if you should seek physiotherapy? Lets look at a case history of one example of an ankle sprain and what physiotherapy may involve…

Ankle Sprain: Case Study

A 35 year old woman attends the clinic after she was walking her dogs outdoors when they lunged suddenly, causing her to slip on some ice. She fell, rolling her right ankle to the side and was able to get back up and weight bear through her injured ankle, although limping back home. Her ankle was pretty sore with some noticeable swelling so she went to see her family physician the following day. X-rays were taken of the ankle and she was advised she did not have a fracture, but rather sprained her ankle. She was recommended to rest the ankle for the next 3 days and to limit her weight bearing as tolerated using a lace up brace. She was also prescribed anti-inflammatories and referred to physiotherapy.

Dance Ankles and Feet

For the assessment she was weight bearing with a lace up ankle brace. The ankle was noted as still sore but improving.

Some mild swelling over the lateral ankle and some tenderness to touch over the ankle ligaments were noted. With in-clinic testing it was determined she was dealing with a moderate ankle sprain. She was prescribed some basic neuroproprioceptive and gentle strengthening exercises. These early phase exercises set the base foundation for return to regular activity and sports and she was eager to get back to her regular routine with her dogs.

The client was seen for 6 further follow ups over the next 3 months.  During this time she was provided with some manual therapy techniques to the ankle. She was also given a progressive home exercise program which included progressive strengthening, balance and proprioceptive training. The client noted full resolution of symptoms at the conclusion of her treatment and return to her activities which included walking her dogs and her dance class.

Often people find that their ankle will feel “good enough” part way through rehabilitation but ensuring that all systems are truly “go” will help prevent a recurring injury from incomplete rehab programming.

What is the current evidence for acute lateral ankle sprains and the role of physical therapy?

If required a short period of immobilization may be used, however exercise and a functional support (either bracing or taping) is recommended over immobilization. Clinical practice guidelines support the inclusion of an active exercise rehab program following an acute lateral ankle sprain as soon as possible to help prevent recurrent lateral ankle sprains. 1

It is commonly misunderstood that someone must wait a certain period of time before attending physiotherapy, however, keep in mind that physiotherapists can assess injuries right from the moment of impact; just like when an athlete becomes injured. Coming for an appointment early in healing can give you the right tools to start with immediately. Alternatively, the body is capable of healing and change even after extended periods of time so it is also never too late to start.

If you have unfortunately sustained an ankle injury, we at Warman Physiotherapy and Wellness have trained physiotherapists who can offer a progressive rehabilitation program to help you on the road to recovery and return you to your activities/sport!

 

References:

  1. Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ankle sprains: update of an evidence-based clinical guideline. BJSM. Volume 52, Issue 15. August 2018. Gwendolyn Vuurberg, et. al.

Lightning Crotch. Ouch! Our pubic symphysis is the point where the two halves of our pelvis meet in front – the bone at the top and front of the groin. For those that have had pubic symphysis dysfunction (PSD) or “lightning crotch” you well know that this can go from slightly irritating pain to WHAT IS GOING ON HERE! B(#%P! pretty quickly.

Commonly associated with pregnancy, we well know that individuals suffering with PSD can get to a point of despair and resignation that this pain will become a new normal; often because that is what we are being told about pain during pregnancy! “This is just part of becoming a woman” is a term I have heard yet again this past week from a client. I urge us to think of pain in pregnancy (any pain, but in this instance PSD), as something that although is common is not normal.

We wouldn’t tell someone who has just started running that has developed knee pain that “this is just part of becoming a runner – it will go away when you stop

 

There is research now that shows that pain in pregnancy can often be addressed with physiotherapy (1,2) – from PSD to back pain, and that staying active during pregnancy (3) has many benefits (which is hard to do when you are painful!). When there is pain, there is usually something we can do about it!

 

Case Study

An active mother of 28 comes into the clinic complaining of groin pain – it’s sharp, shooting, sometimes take your breath away pain that is getting progressively worse as her pregnancy continues on. She is only 26 weeks gestation and has been struggling with pain since about 16 weeks and finally decided to come to an appointment after talking with a friend about it. She is having difficulty rolling in bed (she tries squeezing her knees together because that is what she read on a few blogs on google) which has helped a little but not much, standing on one leg, and she sometimes notices popping and clicking with movement that really hurts as well. She tried kicking an empty laundry basket out to the side the other day and found that extremely painful as well.

Although there are many reasons for PSD, we will go through some of the things that may be found during a physiotherapy assessment of this type of pain

Assessment

Upon evaluation the client was clearly limping while they were walking, more on the right than the left leg, they had pain with standing on the right leg more than the left leg, and had difficulty bringing their knee toward their chest on both sides in standing. Generally speaking these individuals will have some restriction of movement on one side (same side as pain or the opposite – everyone is different!), significant muscle tightness of the inner thigh, and poor coordination of the gluteals. We also often see a change in posture – the individual may be hinging backwards (rib cage back over the pelvis), but there is a huge variation in the changes seen here depending on the underlying cause.

What can I do NOW?

In many instances our protective mechanisms related to pain may end up being one of the additional driving factors of our pain – your groin hurts, and when you hurt you tend to ‘protect’ the area (curling in) and the muscles around the area will tighten. Increased tension often doesn’t help serve us to feel better or less painful, but may drive a continued pain cycle! Squeezing the knees together to roll like in this instance, may help initially, but overall results in increased tension and often stops being helpful over a short period of time. Relaxing the muscles – particularly the inner thigh – and activating the gluts can go a long way to improving PSD pain. As always, an individual assessment is best, but when you are rolling over, try pushing yourself over with a bent knee (leg straight to the side you want to roll to), and spending some time in a ‘butterfly’ position.

At Warman Physio we have experienced physiotherapists that will use a variety of hands-on treatment while you are in-clinic, as well as home programming and exercises so that you can continue to help yourself to feel better between appointments!

PSD can be a draining, exhausting, and very painful experience for some people, and merely annoying, irritating, and minorly problematic for others. Let us help you, help yourself!

 

Haylie has been practicing pelvic health and focused in prenatal and post-partum care since graduating from the U of S MPT program in 2011. She officially added to her practice pediatric pelvic floor therapy in 2017. Haylie has been advocating for treatment for women, ensuring appropriate and effective care throughout pregnancy and post-partum, and helping all expecting and post-partum moms ultimately brought her to open her family-friendly clinic since opening in 2014. She now adds to this education and treatment provision her knowledge and experience in pediatric pelvic health providing workshops and presentations in addition to assessment and treatment. At Warman Physio clients are encouraged to bring their infants and children to treatment. Haylie was recognized as YWCA Women of Distinction for Health & Wellness in 2017, the ABEX Young Entrepreneur Award Recipient in 2018, and has been nominated for the 2019 SABEX and WMBEXA Awards.

 References:

  1. E Vermani et al (2009). Pelvic Girdle Pain and Low Back Pain in Pregnancy: A Review. World Institute of Pain. Volume 10, Issue 1 (60-71)
  2. E Richards, G van Kessel, R Virgara, & P Harris (2012). Does antenatal physical therapy for pregnant women with low back pain or pelvic pain improve functional outcomes? A systematic review. Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (ahead of print)
  3. MF Mottola et al (2019). 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Volume 52, Issue 21

SIJ pain – sacroiliac joint – that lower than low back pain that is off to the side but not quite your butt… This pain is commonly aggravated by rolling in bed, standing on one leg (getting dressed!), walking, and getting into/out of a vehicle… Check out the case study and information we have on Pelvic Girdle Pain (SIJ version)

Pelvic Girdle Pain

A 35 year old individual began experiencing pain in the low back off to the left side. Their pain was worse with rolling in bed, standing on one leg to get dressed and is now to the point that they need to sit to get dressed, having pain and difficulty with stairs, the pain gets worse the longer they walk, and they always feel it just in the one spot at the back to start and then it radiates around the hip and into the groin as it gets worse.

Although there are many reasons why someone may have pain with rolling, stairs, and walking, let’s go through some of the possible reasons WHY this happens, what we can do about it, and how you can start your road to recovery TODAY! 

What causes pelvic girdle pain?
When we are thinking of pelvic girdle pain we are specifically thinking of the pubic symphysis (right in the front of the pelvis), the SIJ (the joints between the pelvis and sacrum at the back), and the hips.

For this particular case study we are thinking of the SIJ at the back of the pelvis on one side being more problematic than the other. Why does this happen? For some people pain may stem from an area moving more than the other side, and for others it will be from moving less. In some instances we will have pain due to extra muscle tension across the joint (the gluts), or not enough support, stability, and strength by the muscles… why you have pain will boil down to the change in movement, and the change in tension and how your brain interprets that difference.

Often SIJ dysfunction and pain can arise without a particular cause or injury, and sometimes starts after an injury or particular instance of “ow! That hurts!”

If you have pelvic girdle pain, a physical therapy assessment could benefit you!
What you may expect from this appointment is a postural assessment to look at your alignment, flexibility of the lower extremity muscles, mobility of the spine, pelvis, and hips, and evaluation of how you walk and move. You physiotherapist will often do some manual techniques to evaluate joint mobility and muscle tension throughout the hips and pelvis as well.

In many instances by the end of the assessment there is a clear driving factor to the pain that can begin being addressed by home programming. This will put you in charge of feeling better, and not relying solely on having to come to the clinic to improve. Your therapist may provide you with a variety of homework items including stretching/re-education of muscles that are providing too much tension, strengthening of muscles that aren’t providing enough support, and exercises to help you move with more symmetry to restore balance.

A common question we are asked is how long until I’m better?

The recovery period usually varies from client to client, depending on the severity and frequency of signs and symptoms, the duration of symptoms, the activity level the client is needing to maintain, and the ability to be able to practice their home exercise program. Typically, with a straightforward case we tend to see client’s 1x every 1 to 2 weeks for a total of 4 to 6 sessions. These sessions include manual therapy/hands on treatment, as well as progressing exercises for your home program to help you help yourself.

Need to know what can help RIGHT NOW?!

Without an assessment we are unable to determine what will specifically help you with your specific pain (it could be that you don’t have an SIJ problem after all!) Since some SIJ dysfunction may come from muscle imbalance, resting in a “butterfly” position (modified cobblers pose as pictured above), and working on activating the glute muscles (your butt!) may prove helpful. However, if something is painful and doesn’t seem to be improving (quickly!) find ways to move that are pain-free (or less painful), and schedule an appointment to have it checked out so we can target the underlying cause and give you tips!

Do I have to stop working out?

Probably not. Some things may need to be modified or swapped initially, but if you are a regular exerciser and have goals you are wanting to achieve, then it is our job to help you reach them, pain-free!

Don’t delay! Schedule your assessment today to get started your journey to recovery!

 

Haylie has been practicing pelvic health and focused in prenatal and post-partum care since graduating from the U of S MPT program in 2011. She officially added to her practice pediatric pelvic floor therapy in 2017. Haylie has been advocating for treatment for women, ensuring appropriate and effective care throughout pregnancy and post-partum, and helping all expecting and post-partum moms ultimately brought her to open her family-friendly clinic since opening in 2014. She now adds to this education and treatment provision her knowledge and experience in pediatric pelvic health providing workshops and presentations in addition to assessment and treatment. At Warman Physio clients are encouraged to bring their infants and children to treatment. Haylie was recognized as YWCA Women of Distinction for Health & Wellness in 2017, the ABEX Young Entrepreneur Award Recipient in 2018, and has been nominated for the 2019 SABEX and WMBEXA Awards.

As with many issues, often we aren’t sure if what we are experiencing is normal and expected, if it will just go away, or if we need to have it looked at. For many women who are pregnant and postpartum, this is made even more difficult as we are often told that symptoms we are experiencing are normal because “you’ve had kids” and that “this is just how it is now” which can delay effective treatment of these issues! Here you can see a case study on Prolapse, which outlines some of the issues that someone may experience.

The presenting symptoms:

A 31 year old woman attends the clinic mentioning a history of intermittent pelvic floor heaviness “feeling like things are falling down” and discomfort. She has noticed that the heaviness has been worse since starting back with weight lifting at her gym 1 month ago. She has two children ages 2 years and 4 months old.  She had continued to go to the gym throughout her pregnancy (symptom free), but notes she had reduced her weights somewhat during her third trimester.

She hadn’t returned to the gym until now, as her life has been quite busy since the delivery of her second child! No pelvic floor pain, urinary or fecal incontinence is reported.  She had felt like now was a good time in her life to return to the gym and is quite devastated at this setback. Going to the gym and working out had been an

important part of her life-mentally, socially and physically and she is worried she won’t be able to do any activity at all anymore.

She went to see her family physician as was concerned about her symptoms and was referred to pelvic floor physiotherapy for prolapse. She reports no symptoms first thing in the morning, but these progressively worsen as the day goes on.  Some days are better than others with her symptoms.  Lifting weights at her gym and lifting her children aggravate her symptoms.  She notes she did just get over a bad cold and had been coughing/sneezing quite a lot during the past month. She also identifies that she has always had issues with constipation.  Both of her deliveries were vaginal with no instrumentation (forceps or vacuum) or complications. She is currently breastfeeding.

Assessment and Treatment

The client was assessed with an internal pelvic examination by a pelvic floor physical therapist. A Grade 1 cystocele was found. (A cystocele means the prolapse was from the bladder descending into the wall of the vagina and a Grade 1 prolapse means the organ descent was halfway to the vaginal opening). The pelvic floor muscles were weak with a Gr. 2 strength (a weak squeeze and no lift of the pelvic floor muscles) and tight.

The client and the therapist worked together to increase her pelvic floor strength and coordination, as well as to optimize her intraabdominal pressure management systems. Toileting positions and discussion around constipation management were discussed and the client was able to implement these at home. Optimizing postures during breastfeeding and throughout the day were discussed to reduce strain on the pelvic floor and discussed on how to successfully get them implemented at home.  Education on anatomy of the pelvic floor and the pelvic organs/their supports as well as POP was provided which will help the client to take control and understand the why behind the recommendations.

Activity modifications were implemented but keeping her active was part of the plan and exercises were progressed as appropriate.  The client returned to her gynecologist for a pessary fitting to use intermittently during heavier weight lifting at the gym. She was seen in follow up 2 weeks after the initial assessment and then 1x/month for 6 months. She was able to return to her weight lifting and was symptom free with all tasks and activities at the conclusion of therapy, although her Grade 1 prolapse remained.

Have you been struggling with prolapse symptoms? Not sure if your symptoms could be part of prolapse, please feel free to contact us and we will help chat you through what you are experiencing as best we can.

Don’t delay start your road to recovery today!

Maja Stroh is a physiotherapist that has a particular interest in pelvic health and perinatal care. She graduated from the U of S MPT program in 2009 and has been working with pelvic health populations since 2013. Maja’s interest in helping her clients and spending quality time with her family has brought her to Warman Physio where she will be providing services in the Saskatoon and Warman locations.

Physiotherapy Case Study

Carpal Tunnel

A 28 year old individual came into the clinic with right sided dull forearm pain, tingling with pins and needles into the hand. The pain started without any cause and has just gotten worse over the last two months. It also seems that the hand is worse at night and in the morning.

They have started having difficulty holding heavy pots and pans, and opening tight jars – which they don’t recall having difficulty with before.

 

Although there are many reasons why someone may have pain in the forearm, wrist, and hand, let’s go through some of the possible reasons WHY this happens, what we can do about it, and how you can start your road to recovery TODAY! 

 

What causes carpal tunnel?
To have a true Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the issue is specifically coming from the wrist – the tunnel in which one of the nerves (the median nerve – see above) of the arm goes through and into the hand. More often than not, there will be other contributing factors to wrist and hand pain!

The median nerve is the culprit in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and although there can be issues in only one spot causing problems, the nerve is kind of like a garden hose… the hose starts at the tap (the neck), and then runs to the end (the hand). You can lose pressure at the end of the hose by pinching it right at the end (hand symptoms), but you can also lose pressure by pinching it just a little bit on other points through the hose, ending up with the same reduced pressure (hand symptoms!)

So how can we determine what the contributing factors are? Some people will find that if they are looking one direction that their hand symptoms will get better or worse. Others will find that the chair that they are sitting in will seem to impact their symptoms.

If you have hand and forearm symptoms like pain, tingling, or numbness, a physical therapy assessment could benefit you!
What you may expect from this assessment is a postural assessment to look at your alignment, flexibility of the upper body muscles, mobility of the spine and neck, shoulders, elbows, and wrist, with an evaluation of how you move.

In many instances by the end of the assessment there is a clear driving factor to the pain and symptoms that can begin being addressed by home programming. This will put you in charge of feeling better, and not relying solely on having to come to the clinic to improve. Your therapist may provide you with a variety of homework items including stretching of muscles that are providing too much tension, strengthening of muscles that aren’t providing enough support, give exercises that will help the nerves slide and glide, and to help the joints move with more symmetry to restore balance.

A common question we are asked is how long until I’m better?

The recovery period will vary from client to client, depending on the severity and frequency of signs and symptoms, the duration of symptoms, the activity level the client is needing to maintain, and the commitment to their program. Typically, with a straightforward case we tend to see client’s 1x every 1 to 2 weeks for a total of 4 to 6 sessions. These sessions include manual therapy to help restore joint, neural, and muscle mobility as well as progressing exercises for your home program to help you help yourself.

 

Treatment Results for our Case Study

This individual having experienced pain for a relatively short period of ended up having stiffness in the neck and the position of the head changed their symptoms quite a bit. Getting started with some stretches and movements to help the neck, shoulder, and forearm move better, was the first step along with some manual therapy in clinic. The client at the next appointment the following week had a significant improvement in symptoms and found the stretches very helpful with managing their pain. Treatment continued to progress and included range of motion, stretching, and strengthening. When the client came in for their last appointment (a short 5 weeks later!) they were pain free, and able to manage their symptoms quickly themselves if things started to get sore.

Don’t delay! Schedule your assessment today to get started your journey to recovery!

Haylie has been practicing pelvic health and focused in prenatal and post-partum care since graduating from the U of S MPT program in 2011. Officially adding to her practice pediatric pelvic floor therapy in 2017. She has been advocating for treatment for women, ensuring appropriate and effective care throughout pregnancy and post-partum, and helping all expecting and post-partum moms ultimately brought her to open her family-friendly clinic. At Warman Physio clients are encouraged to bring their infants and children to treatment. Warman Physio has been nominated as a finalist for the 2018, 2017, & 2016 WMBEXA, is a WMBEXA award recipient of 2017 New Business Award, and a finalist in the ABEX 2018, 2017 & 2016, and Haylie was recognized as YWCA Women of Distinction for Health & Wellness in 2017, and has been nominated for the 2019 SABEX and WMBEXA Awards.