Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City speaks on the value of increasing pelvic floor muscle strength for everyone

If you know about pelvic floor muscles, there’s a strong chance that incontinence is the first thing that comes to mind, which may or may not be related to giving birth. The truth is, while the muscles are most commonly associated with these issues—and strengthening them can lead to significant improvements—it’s important for everyone to work on pelvic floor muscles regardless of your gender or condition.

Most people think of the body’s core as the abdominal muscles, and some tend to include the muscles of the lower back as well. In actuality, the real core is your pelvic floor, which is a collection of muscles located at the bottom of the pelvis that wrap around the underside of the bladder and rectum.

As your true core, the state of your pelvic floor will affect the rest of the body. Good pelvic stability will have a positive effect on spinal alignment, knee stability, hip function and many other areas of the body, while poor stability can throw the whole system out of whack. Ensuring your pelvis is properly stable is therefore the first stage in maintaining optimal strength and support for the rest of your body.

Good core stability will also protect your spine and pelvic organs from pressure and repetitive stress, and is especially important for anyone who has regular episodes of back pain. A healthy pelvic floor is one that is strong, flexible and coordinated, and to accomplish this, the muscles must be targeted with specific exercises that will add strength and flexibility, and address any incontinence issues, if you have them.

That’s where Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City comes in. If you’re interested in improving your pelvic floor, we recommend the following:

  • The easiest way to engage your pelvic floor is to pretend you have to urinate, and then prevent yourself from doing so; the muscles you use are those of your pelvic floor, and by engaging that reflex, you’ll be targeting them
  • Once you have a grasp of controlling those muscles, try this: with an empty bladder, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold it for 10 seconds, then relax for a count of 10, and repeat for 10 repetitions, 3-5 times a day
  • The exercise is easiest to perform while sitting or lying down
  • Be sure to relax your abs, buttocks and thighs while performing these, and you shouldn’t feel any discomfort in the abs or back during the exercise
  • Increase the length of time you hold it for as your muscles begin to get stronger
  • Yoga and Pilates, as well as a number of other exercises such as leg squats, lunges and step ups, will also help target pelvic floor muscles

At Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we can give you additional guidance on how to perform exercises that will help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, and we encourage everyone to consider addressing them. Call us at 212-317-8303 for more information on the pelvic floor or to schedule an appointment.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City recommends staying active and keeping off the pounds on Thanksgiving and through the holidays

It won’t be long now until temptation is presented to us in the form of turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie and just about anything else imaginable that can fit on the table. That’s right, Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means the first of many celebrations filled with food and spirits that are characteristic of the holiday season.

We know the drill and expect it every year, but try as we might, for many of us this means falling victim to the many opportunities to let our taste buds run the show.

If this sounds at all familiar to you, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. The holiday season is a dangerous time for weight control, as gatherings and feasts of all kinds take precedent over healthy eating and exercise. It all starts with Thanksgiving and the cornucopia of tasty and often calorie-filled treats presented to us. In fact, a typical Turkey Day dinner contains a whopping 4,500 calories, which is more than double most people’s daily calorie needs.

Thanksgiving may only be one day, but it’s also a chance to start a trend for the next few weeks of the holidays. Why not get the season started on the right foot by using self-control, practicing healthy eating habits and exercising regularly during this time and keeping it up into the New Year?

Better yet, try to focus on losing weight during this time while everyone else is gaining it. You’ll thank yourself for it down the line and will be ahead of the game when everyone else starts making New Year’s resolutions. Below are some tips to help you conquer the holiday temptation season and actually lose some weight:

  • Begin a new exercise program now or increase the intensity/frequency if you already have one going; find a workout buddy to help you stay motivated during what’s sure to be a difficult time
  • Exercise will lower your blood glucose levels; this can lead to dizziness, nausea and increased appetite, which can cause you to overeat during your next meal; to prevent this, eat a well-balanced meal at least an hour before and/or a snack within an hour afterwards high in carbs or protein
  • Before big meals like Thanksgiving, eat a small breakfast high in protein and fiber so you’re not too hungry when you get to the table
  • Appetizers can be especially dangerous, so try to make safe snacking choices before the big meal; raw fruits and veggies and pretzels are smart
  • Survey the table or buffet before filling your plate, and go with small portions of healthy foods only available during the holidays; avoid seconds
  • Regulate your alcohol intake, which can also add to calorie intake quickly
  • Go for a brisk walk with family or friends after any big feasts

Regardless of how much willpower you have, there’s no denying that the next few weeks will be tough. But if you create a plan to exercise regularly and approach the big feasts carefully, you’re giving yourself a great chance of getting through the holidays without the extra pounds. For more information on weight control during the holidays or to schedule an appointment for any exercise guidance, contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City warns you to be careful about footwear selection as the weather warms to avoid pain from overpronation

Warmer weather generally means less clothing and a noticeable shift in footwear selection.  Boots and other restrictive shoes necessary for the winter are quickly being replaced with sandals and sneakers as people embrace being outside with the approach of summer.

Comfortable as they may be, incorrect or prolonged use of sandals and other unsupportive footwear can lead to painful problems with foot stability and may exacerbate a tendency called overpronation.

Pronation is a normal part of running and walking that helps the foot absorb shock and adapt to uneven surfaces.  If the foot rolls too far inward, however, that’s called overpronating, which can cause problems throughout the rest of the body since the foot isn’t properly absorbing shock and passes it on to other regions.

Nearly 80% of the population overpronates to some degree, and people with flat feet, low arches or overly flexible arches are more likely to do so.  Overpronation can degrade performance and lead to a host of problems like shin splints, tendinitis, stress fractures and knee pain.

Most sandals aren’t designed for extensive walking since they lack sufficient arch support, heel cushioning and shock absorption.  Wearing the wrong sandals for extended periods of time can thus make overpronation worse by providing less support and increasing pain in the foot and elsewhere.

But by being smart about footwear selection, you can increase foot stability and control overpronation.  Keep these points in mind to help treat your feet properly:

  • For runners that overpronate, make sure your shoes are suited to your tendencies and get fitted at a running store if you are uncertain
  • Any time you’re walking for long distances, wear appropriate footwear and don’t use sandals unless they are made for walking
  • These types of sandals should be designed to control for pronation with an adequate support system and straps that can be adjusted to your foot
  • Flimsy, old or worn-out sandals should be avoided entirely if possible
  • Try spending a lot of time walking barefoot, which will help coordinate a muscular response in the foot that will help better control pronation
  • Stand on one leg and do squats, heel raises, balance and reach exercises

Physical Therapists at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are glad to provide you with exercises and additional advice on how to control overpronation with smart footwear selections.  Call 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment, and click the following links for visual examples of overpronation and supination, or underpronation.

Therapists at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are equipped with the Functional Movement Screen to assess your injury risk

Injuries happen.  All the training, prevention and strategic planning in the world can’t eradicate them entirely.  But that’s not to say they cannot be reduced significantly, and it turns out the best way to accomplish this is by identifying risk factors and addressing them individually.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is an injury risk assessment system that does just this, and physical therapists at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are trained to use the FMS to help steer patients away from injury.

Based on years of innovation and the most current scientific research, the FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns key to normal function.  In screening these patterns, it helps to identify muscle asymmetries, tightness, weakness and other risk factors for injury by examining mobility and stability of the hips, core, shoulders, knees spine and ankles.  Once identified, these risk factors are then used to design a corrective exercise program intended to restore proper movement and build strength, helping to retrain the body to move in the most stable, efficient way possible.

As a comprehensive system with a thorough evaluation, the FMS eliminates the need for extensive tests and analysis, and it also uses simple language so patients and physical therapists can communicate clearly on progress and treatment.

The FMS works by testing 7 different movement patterns, scored on a scale from 0-3, with 0 signifying extreme pain during the pattern and 3 meaning an unquestioned ability to perform the pattern.  If any of the 7 movements is mechanically unsound, there are limitations or asymmetries somewhere.

The 7 movement patterns of the FMS

  • 1) Deep squat: Screens hips, shoulders, knees, spine and ankles
  • 2) Hurdle step: Screens hips, knees and ankles
  • 3) Inline lunge: Screens ankle, knee stability, abductor/adductor weakness
  • 4) Shoulder mobility: Screens shoulder’s range of motion, external and internal rotation, and posture
  • 5) Active straight-leg raise: Screens hamstring and calf flexibility, hip mobility, and pelvic stability
  • 6) Trunk stability pushup: Screens trunk stability and core strength
  • 7) Rotational stability: Screens core stability and asymmetry

Since no human moves completely perfectly, anyone can benefit from being screened, and the FMS system can be applied to any fitness level.  To get yourself screened and lower your chance of injury, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.  Call 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment.

As March Madness comes to a close, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy reminds you that ankle sprains common in basketball can be prevented

For college basketball fans, March has been a whirlwind of a month.  As one of the more exciting and unpredictable NCAA tournaments in recent memory, after a number of upsets, barnburners and buzzer-beaters, the field of 68 has now been whittled down to the highly coveted Final Four.

The action picks back up again this Saturday in North Texas as Kentucky, Wisconsin, Florida and UConn battle it out to bring home a championship to their respective universities, and if the tournament up to this point is any indication, we’re in for a thrilling final weekend of basketball.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all the intense entertainment, injury risk is always present and can easily sideline a player or end a team’s run in an instant.  In honor of the conclusion of the tournament, we at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy would like to educate our patients on common basketball injuries, and most importantly, explain how they can be prevented at all levels of play.

While overuse injuries that occur from repeated stress like patellar (knee) or Achilles (heel region) tendinitis are fairly prevalent in basketball and can occur over time, traumatic injuries, especially ankle sprains, are one of the most common injuries for all basketball players.  Ankle sprains occur primarily due to the constant cutting and pivoting involved in basketball, so much so that the term “break one’s ankles” has become a popular way of describing a quick move past a defender.

Despite the fact that ankle sprains are so common, they can be prevented.  One of the best ways to prevent these injuries is by improving ankle stability through single leg stance/balance exercises.  Here’s an example anyone can perform:

  • Stand behind a chair and hold the back of it with both hands
  • Slowly lift one leg off the ground, then try to maintain balance standing on one leg for five seconds
  • Return the leg to the starting position, and complete this four more times
  • Repeat the same set of motions with the other leg
  • As balance improves, try integrating the following: holding the chair with only one hand, stand near but don’t use the chair for assistance, or raise your leg one inch higher than normal

Performing this single leg stance exercise on a regular basis will improve balance and lead to better ankle stability, which will reduce the chances of ankle sprains and other injuries.  If you play basketball and are concerned with your injury risk, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City can offer a single leg balance test to predict your risk and also create a prevention program if your risk is high. Call 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment.