Arthritis can cause stiffness, pain, deformity and loss of function of the joints in your body. Physical therapy can help to decrease pain and restore mobility with the use of exercises and modalities.

A physical therapist can instruct you in exercises to help increase flexibility and improve muscle strength around the joint. Working daily on a home exercise program, will help to prevent loss of the use of your joints and preserve muscle strength.
If you suffer from arthritis, see your local physical therapist to create a home program to help improve your quality of life.

Long Term Consequences of Wearing High Heeled Shoes

Trying to look your best may not be the best thing for your body. Wearing high heels alters your posture which can lead to many back, neck, leg and foot problems.
Wearing high heels pushes your center of gravity forward. This causes your back and calf muscles to work harder to keep you standing up straight. This in turn shortens your back and calf muscles.

When you wear high heels, your knees stay slightly bent and your shins turn inward. These compressive forces can cause pain on the inside of your knee which can lead to degenerative joint disease.

Your calf muscles are shortened when wearing high heels. This puts a lot of pressure on your forefoot while you are walking. This can increase your chances of getting hammertoes, bunions and neuromas. And don’t forget about corns, callouses and blisters that can occur from wearing pointed toed shoes.

Over a long period of time, wearing high heels can permanently damage your Achilles tendon. While wearing high heels, your Achilles tendon is shortened. This can result in heel pain.

And lastly, one could develop “pump bump”, otherwise known as Haglund’s deformity. This is a bony enlargement on the back of the heel caused by straps and rigid backs of pump type shoes which causes rubbing on the back of the heel.

Physical Therapy can help decrease pain associated with wearing high heeled shoes. Please contact Harbor Physical Therapy for more information.

How To Use A Heating Pad Safely

The colder weather is upon us and many people have an increase in chronic joint or muscle pain. Are you using heat or rubs to treat your pain? If you find relief with these items it is important that you know how to use them safely.

A hot pack can provide pain relief to the chronic aching joints that accompany arthritis. Here are some tips on safe use of a heating pad.

• Do not sleep with a heating pad or you may get a burn.
• Only use a heating pad for 15-30 minutes per hour.
• Be extra careful if you are using a heating pad on an area of your body where you don’t have as much feeling and avoid heating numb areas. If you can’t feel the heat as strongly, you might not realize if
you burn yourself.
• Placing towels between the heating pad and your skin can help reduce the risk of burns.
• If you are using topical rubs and ointments like BenGay, only use after applying a heating pad.
• If you have an acute injury (one which is less than 3 days old), you should use ice instead of heat. Heat is appropriate for chronic injuries or pain more than 3 days old.

If you find that your chronic pain is limiting your normal functional activities, or if your acute injury doesn’t begin to get better with ice and rest, visit your local Physician or Physical Therapist.