Facts on Running Injuries

March 29 2017 by Dana Ranahan

This is the time of year where we are doing free talks to Vancouver Sun Run participants to help avoid and or learn how to treat injuries with running! I am looking forward to a presentation tonight in North Vancouer to a Sun Run group at Parkgate Recreation centre.

Did you know that up to 70% of all runners competitive or recreational will sustain an injury within a 12 month period?

Here are some facts for you!

 

Facts on running injuries

Running has one of the largest participation rates. Statistics from the Australian Sports Commission’s 2006 survey showed an estimated 1,224,100 Australians aged 15 years and older participated in running in the 12 months prior to being surveyed. Running is a popular fitness activity because of its health benefits, affordability and convenience. However running can cause injuries, often due to overtraining – people doing too much, too soon.

How many injuries?

  • Up to 70% of recreational and competitive runners sustain overuse injuries during any 12-month period.

The causes and types of injuries

  • 42% of all running injuries are to the knee, followed by 17% to the foot/ankle, 13% to the lower leg and 11% to the hip/pelvis.
  • Overuse injuries can occur from training errors (running frequency, duration, distance, speed and lack of leg strength and flexibility) and inappropriate surfaces, terrain and footwear.
  • Overuse injuries, as a result of training errors, are more common than acute injuries such as ligament and muscle sprains and strains.
  • The most common overuse injuries are patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee), iliotibial band friction syndrome, plantar fasciitis, meniscal injuries, tibial stress syndrome and patellar tendinopathy.
  • Reducing the distance, frequency and duration of your run can prevent injury

Safety tips for running Good preparation is important

  • Before running, see a professional to identify potential musculoskeletal and health problems that may contribute to injury.
  • Always warm up and cool down by jogging slowly.
  • Injured runners should consult a professional about how to prevent re-injury.
  • Hydrate prior to running and consider taking water on longer runs.
  • Good technique and practices will help prevent injury
  • Avoid doing too much too soon. Establish a graduated training program. Allow 24-48 hours rest and recovery between running sessions. Cross training, cycling or swimming can be done on ‘rest’ days.
  • Start slowly at a pace where you can have a conversation without breathlessness.
  • Gradually build up running speed and distance (no more than 10% per week).
  • Cut down if you experience pain. Pain is a sign that the body is not adapting to the exercise load.
  • Include lower leg strength and flexibility exercises in your training program.
  • Avoid running when you are tired and at the hottest part of the day. Schedule runs for early morning or late afternoon and run in the shade, if possible.
  • Drink water or a sports drink before, during and after running

Check running surface

  • Run on a clear, smooth, even and reasonably soft surface. Avoid uneven surfaces, sand and concrete.
  • Gradually introduce surface changes.

Wear the right protective equipment

  • Wear shoes specifically designed for running that match your foot type. When buying new shoes, have them fitted by a professional and take your old ones with you so the salesperson can identify where your shoes wear the most.
  • Wear light clothing, sunscreen and a hat to protect against sunburn.
  • Wear reflective clothing so you are visible to motorists.
  • Use a head torch when running where there are no streetlights

Personal Safety

  • Always tell someone where you are going, your exact route and how long you will be.
  • If using an iPod or headset, do not have the music too loud – stay alert and aware.
  • Carry identification, a whistle, a mobile phone or loose change for public payphones. Know the location of public payphones on your usual route/s.
  • Choose well-lit, populated routes and avoid dangerous and isolated areas.
  • Whenever possible run with a partner, in a group or with a dog

If an injury occurs

  • Rest or modify your activity to allow overuse injuries to heal and inflammation to subside.
  • Gradually return to running (10% increase in distance per week) once flexibility, strength and endurance have returned.
  • If you suffer severe or continuing pain, swelling or loss of motion, seek medical attention from a sports medicine professional.

 

Information taken from:

Smartplay – Sports Medicine Australia

Visit www.smartplay.com.au or www.sma.org.au

Athletics Australia

Phone: 03 8646 4550
Website: www.athletics.com.au


Should I Apply Ice or Heat after an Injury?

December 18, 2016 by Dana Ranahan

This is a common question that we are asked in the clinic, and always a good simple topic to cover so people know how to best deal with acute and chronic injuries.

After an acute injury you should always follow the RICER and No HARM principle for a minimum of 48 hours or as long as inflammation is present (redness, warmth, pain hypersensitivity, bruising and swelling).Ice Therapy for Acute Injury and Pain_

R – Rest,

I – Ice,

C – Compression,

E – Elevation,

R – Referral to a Physiotherapist or other healthcare provider.

 

Always avoid:

H- Heat,

A – Alcohol,

R – Running/Intense Exercise to the area,

M – Massage.

Following these simple rules will prevent secondary damage to the injured tissues and will reduce healing times. Icing should be done for 20-30 minutes every 2 hours approximately and can be applied as a bag of ice or frozen peas, frozen gel packs, breakable icepacks (chemical kind) or ice-water emersion. Always wrap ice in a towel and check skin regularly. Application of ice directly to your skin can result in an ice burn which will look like white blotches that turn red and may blister.

After 48 hours post acute injury, if swelling continues to be a problem, you can combine heat and ice to the injured area. By alternating the two temperatures you encourage blood vessels to dilate and constrict. This combined with elevation of the swollen part will encourage fluid movement out of the damaged tissues and will in turn improve pain and movement of the affected area. Alternate hot and cold by applying each modality for 5-10 minutes for a total of 30-40 minutes will create a pumping like action to help reduce swelling.

For non-acute and chronic conditions such as muscle pain, tightness or joint stiffness then heat can be applied. Heat helps to relax muscle and joint tissues by increasing blood flow to the area and improving extensibility of tissues. Heat can be applied for as long as needed and in the form of wheat bags, warm baths/whirlpools, heat packs/stick on pads, or electric heating pads but it is recommended to be 20-30 minutes at a time. Never apply heat to areas where your sensation or circulation is compromised because you will not be able to tell if you are overheating the area, and burning or damaging the skin is a possibility.

For more information, please contact our clinic and we would be happy to help.

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My Experience Working with Professional Ballet Dancers through the The Dancer Wellness Program at the National Ballet of Canada 

ballet-dancer-feetby Sarah Kantarzhi, November 1, 2016

As a physiotherapist, there are many different populations with which I am lucky to work.  When the opportunity to join the Dancer Wellness Program at the National Ballet of Canada as an intern in physiotherapy presented itself, it was not an opportunity to be missed!  The therapy team included physiotherapists, kinesiologists, sports doctors, and athletic therapists, as well as specialists working with feet and shoes.

As a ballet-dancer growing up, a yoga instructor, and now a physiotherapist, I am fascinated by movement, the human body, and the ways in which movement can facilitate health or disease.  Working with professional athletes, whether dancers, soccer players, rock-climbers, or any other sport really highlights the capacity of the human body and the amazing ways in which the body can adapt and heal.

Ballet for me is a specifically exciting sport in which to work, not only because of my interest in dance, but also because of the rigour and demands that the sport imposes on the body.  Ballet is unique among professional athletics in that the skills are incredibly challenging – but having the skills themselves is often not enough – a professional dancer needs the technical skill and also the capacity to make their movements seem effortless and fluid.  Imagine if hockey players or downhill skiers had to maintain a calm smile and perfect line while completing highly difficult moves!

Ballet Nutrcacker photo - Physiotherapy

Dancers also require every last joint and muscle in their body to be at its peak, working in a beautiful harmony.  For jumps, leaps, and spins, all aspects of the body need to be involved and trained.  The eyes have to be spotting to avoid dizziness which requires stability in the neck and shoulders.  The arms need to be flexible to reach all positions and also strong and stable to lead the body in turns.  The hips, legs, and feet must all be long and strong to support the dancer in jumps and landings while allowing flexibility for the perfect long lines that create a beautiful balletic performance.

As such, treating dancers is always a full-body, holistic endeavor!  If there was one key lesson that I learned for my time as an intern with the company, it is this: injury never happens in a vacuum and neither does healing.  When a dancer has an injured knee, it’s critical to treat locally, but also to take a step back and look at the other joints in the body and how they can help to correct and rebalance the body.  In this way, the dancer can restore function and return to their performing peak.

Sarah Kantarzhi ballet point photo Sept 2016

Working with dancers was amazing, because it allowed me to think critically and strategize in a very high-demand environment with professionals that were determined to dance.  It is amazing to be able to take the lessons from that experience to help many others regain balance in their bodies and return to whatever it is that they feel passionate about doing.

 Sarah Kantarzhi no shoe ankle ballet point photo Sept 2016

 


The IronMan Whistler Experience!

By Dana Ranahan, Registered Physiotherapist and Sports Physiotherapist

August 7, 2016

I was fortunate enough to be asked to be part of the medical team for the Iron Man event in Whistler July 24th 2016. I was the only Sports Physiotherapist present! What an honour.Ironman Whistler Medical Tent July 2016Ironman Medical Tent inside July 2016

My experience began with the medical team orientation the evening before the event started. I was overwhelmed by the number of medical volunteers who had come out for this event. There was at least 100 people there. The people who volunteered for the medical team ranged from general volunteers, first aiders, nurses, doctors and of course myself, a physiotherapist. I was the only physiotherapist there, but there was also a Physiotherapy student there who worked with me and he was a great help.

I was surprised and amazed at the number of people IronMan Finish Line Whistler July 2016involved and the amazing level of organization needed to make this event a success from a medical perspective.

The Ironman race started at 7 am with a swim in Alta lake. After a 3.8 km swim, the athletes transitioned to their bikes for a grueling 180 km bike ride, and then finishing with a full marathon. The finish line was open until midnight!

This required long hours of coverage and various stages of staffing. Some of the medical staff were required to be at their shift at 5 am to set up and be there in case any medical assistance was needed prior to the race and/or during the race. There were medical staff positioned at various points along the race to assist as needed. There were even motorcycle first aiders on the bike course to help out. With the highway being largely closed for a good portion of the race, this was needed to ensure those could get help if needed on the course.

I was stationed in the medical tent, which was located right after the finish line. Since my role would be largely to help those who needed help after the race, or who had experienced an injury and could not finish the race, the medical tent was the best place to be. I started my shift around 1 pm and ended about 12:45 am.

Th medical tent was set up with numerous cots and loads of medical supplies to deal with all sorts of medical issues. It sort of looked like a mash operation! I had a Physiotheraoy treatment table to use, but also had to treat some athletes on their cots as they were unable to move.Dana Ranahan at the medical tent for IronMan Whistler providing physiotherapy services to athletes at the finish line.

Throughout the day, I saw a range of health concerns come into the tent, from heat exhaustion, hyponatremia, dehydration, muscle cramping a number of musculoskeletal injuries. The medical staff were amazing at efficiently dealing with medical and health issues that came into the tent and helping athletes to get back on their feet and back to their hotels to rest and recover. We even had ice bath kiddie pools, cool spray bottles and ice packs in the medical tent to help people cool down. With regards to musculoskeletal injuries, athletes came in with foot pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and bursitis, muscular strains and tension/cramping, and lower back pain as the primary injuries. I also treated hip pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and headaches. Not surprising one would have a headache after such a grueling race and with the hot conditions that day. Ice packs were also used for injuries of course!

The medical staff and I worked together to treat athletes who had both health issues and musculoskeletal concerns.  It was a great multidisciplinary interaction that benefitted staff and athletes alike and helped each health discipline to understand the other’s role in more detail.  I learned a lot!  Thanks!

Overall, during my time in the medical tent,, I provided physiotherapy treatment and consultation for a number of athletes and heard their amazing stories of triumph and defeat and injury. Athletes had come from all over the world to be there – all over the USA, England, France….. What an amazing and determined group of athletes. Truly so motivational to see. One of the biggest motivations was at the end of the night where a 69 year old athlete came onto the medical tent. It turns out he had done 75 iron mans in his life. WOW! How Incredible is that?

To see the final racers come into the finish line just before midnight was also an amazing experience, where hundreds of fans cheered them on to the finish where the announcer yelled out “You are an IRONMAN!”

Here is a video of the Ironman End just before midnight – listen to the crowd cheering!

To be an Ironman or woman requires hours and hours of training and planning. I am amazed and truly in awe of the efforts and grit that these athletes displayed. I have worked as a sports physiotherapist at numerous high level sporting events, but this will certainly be one to remember.

Here’s looking to see you at Ironman next year!

Thanks again for the invitation Dr. Tom Greene!


Why I Choose Physiotherapy

July 25 2016 By Rick Heyden, Registered Physiotherapist

Rick Heyden

Rick Heyden, Registered Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a healthcare discipline that most people are aware of, even if they have not had a personal experience with it. It is however, far more wide reaching than most people expect, and this diversity can cause it to be difficult to define.

“the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery”

The classic dictionary definition is oversimplified and old fashioned, glossing over the wide variety of populations that benefit from physiotherapy, and neglecting the fact that physiotherapy is often used in conjunction with drug therapy, in order to offset its side effects or provide enhanced benefit. Furthermore, physiotherapy is extremely helpful in order to increase one’s strength before surgery, and absolutely integral to recover quickly from orthopedic surgeries such as joint replacements and rotator cuff repairs. Looking beyond the world of orthopedic surgery, physiotherapists are vital in getting individuals moving and independent after abdominal, respiratory and even neurosurgery.Rick Heyden doing manual therapy on patient - neural mobilization

People often ask what it’s like to work as a physiotherapist, why I enjoy it, and what drew me towards it as a career. A day in the life of a physiotherapist looks wildly different depending on the setting in which they work, whether it’s a long term care home, hospital, neurological rehabilitation centre, private practice or sports medicine clinic. The reason I feel so passionate about physiotherapy, is that regardless of setting, physiotherapists spend their days empowering individuals to take an active role in improving and maintaining their health and quality of life.

As a physio working in a sport focused, orthopedic clinic, clients come in with a problem and ask for my help to solve it. Sometimes the cause of the problem is obvious, but more commonly it’s unknown. Each individual comes with a different story, a different lifestyle and a different anatomy, and through a detailed assessment the physio arranges signs and symptoms to uncover a narrative explaining what’s going on, how the problem started, and what needs to happen to prevent or manage it in the future.

Spending the day interacting with individuals, critically thinking and solving problems keeps work fresh and prevents boredom. Compared to other disciplines, physiotherapists are lucky to spend more time interacting individually with clients, and this allows a greater chance to listen, build rapport and really understand how an injury is impacting an individual’s life. This is an aspect that we at Body Works Sports Physiotherapy feel strongly about, and the reason why we have chosen to prioritize longer sessions and private treatment rooms where all of the time is spent in direct contact with the physiotherapist.

In short, physiotherapy is a career that always keeps me thinking, continually encourages further learning, and allows the chance to connect with people and help them to solve problems and improve their quality of life. All of these aspects combine to make it easy to come to work every day.

Rick Heyden, Physiotherapist at Body Works, working with a patient in our gym

Rick Heyden, Physiotherapist at Body Works, working with a patient in our gym

 

Give us a call to set up an appointment to meet Rick!  He looks forwards to working with you to help you achieve your goals and get your body working again!

 


May 9 2016 Blog post

May is National Physiotherapy Month!

Find out what inspires Registered Physiotherapist and clinic owner Dana Ranahan in her answers to the Proust Fitness Questionnaire.

What kind of fitness/exercise do you do now regularly?

Road and mountain biking, running and hiking, and pilates

What new sport/exercise would you like to do in this lifetime?

Ultimate frisbee

What is your idea of a perfectly ‘fit and healthy’ day?

Getting up early and going for a great bike ride or run! Then home to relax with coffee.

What is your biggest fitness and well-being obstacle ever?

Grand Fondo Whistler twice, biking Moab, Chekamus Challenge from Squamish to Whistler.

What is your greatest motivation to get out the door and moving?

Because it make you feel so great and alive and we live in the best city ever to be active!

What would you say to people who have not yet discovered the mental and physical benefits of a regular fitness regime?

Exercise is an amazing tool to feel better and stronger. It is like a natural happy pill!

What is the best fitness / well-being advice you’ve ever given to a client?

Work at your own pace and enjoy what you can do.

Who has inspired you to grow & change in your physiotherapy practice?

I love helping people to achieve their goals and overcome injury. It is very rewarding seeing people get better and achieve goals they thought they could not.

How will you inspire others to be fit this year?

By being active and encouraging those to find their passions and enjoy being active, whether high level or recreationally.

Dana Ranahan fitness proust questionnaire PDF file


April 1, 2016 – Press Release

Body Works Sports Physiotherapy in North Vancouver is pleased to announce that they have been chosen as the Official Physiotherapist for the Canadian World Championship Latte Art team.

The team will travel to Dublin, Ireland in June 2016 for the World Barista Championships. Body Works Physiotherapist and Clinic Owner, Dana Ranahan, reflects on what this great news means for the clinic, and how the Body Works physios will work with these talented baristas to prepare them for the rigors of the World Champs. ”While you may think of preparing a latte as a simple task – the baristas who compete at the world level are highly trained athletes. They have to prepare over 16 different coffee beverages within a time frame of 20 minutes – so you can imagine that their wrists and arms must be strong and flexible. They have to peer down at tiny gauges and dials to observe water pressure and temperature, putting great strain on their neck, shoulders and upper back. Finally, they have to reach awkwardly to fill the group head with ground beans, tamp the ground coffee to the exact consistency, and install the group head onto the espresso machine. In the 2014 competition, in the manual grind category, one barista suffered a repetitive strain injury to their wrist after grinding a particularly challenging roast. Here at Body Works, we will be working daily with these ‘lathletes’ [latte athletes] to strengthen wrist, forearms, triceps and shoulders. We are installing 3 state-of-the-art espresso machines at the clinic as practice stations. We will have the ‘lathletes’ doing burpees, squats, lunges and planks to strengthen their core and torso. Don’t worry though, we will still make time for our regular clientele. Although you might find us to be a little jittery from all the coffee we will be sampling!

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 6.11.30 PM

Now lets hear from one of the ‘lathletes’ Avril Pazzo – who has been to the World Championships in the past. This is the first year that the Canadian team has worked with physiotherapists. “I’m really happy to be working with Body Works Sports Physiotherapy before the World Championships. Coffee is my life, and I want to do all that I can to make sure that I am prepared for this event. I want our team to show up at Worlds as fit as we can be – to stare down the competition and show them that they are up against fierce contenders. The exercises that Dana and are team are making us do – they are tough. But we know that it will be worth it, come June. I am already noticing differences in my arm and wrist strength and flexibility. I no longer wince when I tamp the grind into the group head and I’ve shaved 15 seconds off of the time it takes me to prepare the perfect latte. Thanks to Dana and her team at Body Works Sports Physiotherapy.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 7.21.31 AM

Latte Art Champion Avril Pazzo

 


 

Becoming a PhysiotherapistJamie-Snow-Headshot-300

By Jamie Snow, Physiotherapist

February 12, 2016

Patients often ask me if I’ve always wanted to be a Physiotherapist.

Truthfully, the answer to that question is “no, definitely not.” Having been involved with sports for most of my life, and enduring my fair share of injuries along the way, I naturally developed an underlying interest in the way the body works, how injuries affect us, and how we can recover most efficiently. I was always impressed by the way my physiotherapist was able to determine what had gone wrong and guide me through rehab to get me back to playing shape, but I hadn’t actually considered physio as a career for myself until taking an elective course in Human Anatomy during my first year at university. I was fascinated by the intricacies of the human body and how it was constantly changing, moving, and adapting. After that course, a light went on; I just knew that physiotherapy was going to be the right career path for me. I switched out of Biology, diving into a Kinesiology degree before completing a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy, and I’ve never looked back.

Body Works Jamie Snow hiking with Dog Chief

Jamie hiking with his dog.

Fortunately, being a physiotherapist has turned out to be exactly as satisfying as I had hoped it would be when I made that early switch. In fact, most days at the office don’t even feel like work. Here are some of the reasons that I enjoy going into work each day:

1) I get to leave the clinic knowing that I have made a significant difference to the quality of people’s lives. The most gratifying part of working with people is seeing them progress, improve, and eventually return to their normal lives.

2) Being a physiotherapist offers new challenges every day. Every person that comes in will have their own set of circumstances and specific needs to be met in order to get better. I always tell people that I believe the human body is the most complex machine there is, and working to figure out the source of their issues and how to make them better is something that drives me to improve my understanding and abilities every day.

3) The face-to-face interaction with people from so many different backgrounds and professions is a great way to connect with new people. I feel that spending quality time with clients presents an opportunity for both the client and therapist to learn from one another.   I’ve been lucky enough to treat a variety of clients from all walks of life, and as a result I am able to improve as a therapist. Whether it’s working with a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or someone who just likes to get out for a casual stroll, working with a variety of people and getting to know them on a personal level is another reason I feel very fortunate to work as a physio.

This is just a little insight into my journey to becoming a physiotherapist and continuing to develop as a practitioner. I hope it helps you to understand a little bit more about where my passion for the profession comes from and how it keeps me motivated.

Jamie in clinic with patient on reformer Feb 2016


 

How Manual Therapy Works – aka the Answer to the Question:

“What exactly are you doing when you push on my joints?”

manual therapy close-up Shoulder Taylor

Taylor performing a shoulder mobilization technique.

By Taylor McCabe, Physiotherapist

January 22, 2016

Physiotherapists are experts on what the parts of the human body are and how they work. When you tell us that something hurts or that you can no longer do something you normally do, we are good at figuring out why and getting you moving again.

We ask you lots of questions, we watch you move your joints and we move your joints ourselves. Once we figure out the cause(s) of your problem, we draw on many different treatment methods to resolve it. Most of the time these are specific exercises and manual therapy techniques to help you get more control or movement at a joint.

I graduated from the University of Toronto with an MSc in Physical Therapy in 2014. Like any good physiotherapist, I am always trying to further my knowledge and hone my skills so that I can help you, my patient, more effectively. So, shortly after I joined Body Works, I started taking a series of manual therapy courses through the Orthopaedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. While I’m expanding my knowledge on the topic, I thought I would help you do the same.

Manual Therapy: Breaking Down Movements into “Sub-movements”

For every movement your joints can do, there are small, corresponding “sub-movements” that happen between the surfaces of the bones in the joint. You can’t consciously control these movements, and you can’t move normally without them. Manual therapy is about restoring these “sub-movements” when they become limited.

Consider the shoulder. You have a ball (the top of your arm bone) moving in a sideways shallow bowl (the shoulder socket). When you raise your arm out to the side, that ball rolls up the side of the bowl. As you raise your arm higher, the ball would keep rolling right out of the bowl and pinch the muscles above if it wasn’t for another sub-movement that happens. While the ball rolls up, it also slides down, effectively keeping it in the socket.

Shoulder anterior view schematic

http://www.massagetherapycanada.com/technique/essentials-of-assessment-1268

shoulder mobilization close up

Closeup manual therapy of shoulder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if you are wondering why we push the top of your arm bone down when the problem is that your arm won’t go up it’s because you may be missing that part of the movement right now. Our pushing is meant to recreate that downward slide in your shoulder joint.

Different Parameters, Different Goals

We can push on your joints in slightly different ways depending on what we think is limiting the movement. We might do really tiny repetitive pushes to relax the muscles close to the joint. We might do larger pushes and hold them for longer to stretch the joint capsule (the sac of tissue around the joint that helps holds it together).

shoiujlder joint anatomy

Shoulder anatomy and joint capsule http://www.delhiarthroscopy.com/frozen-shoulder.html

Sometimes we push with more force and sometimes we push with less. This usually depends on how long you’ve had the problem and how you are tolerating the treatment and what your joint needs.

Manual Therapy: In a Nutshell

  • We test your movement.
  • We push the joint surfaces in the direction that matches the movement you are having trouble with.
  • We test your movement again.
  • Voilà – if all goes according to plan, you can move more and with less pain. We call it manual therapy. You call it magic.

Manual therapy photo Taylor

The effects of manual therapy may only temporary unless the cause of the bad movement pattern is dealt with. To maintain the restored movement, we will work with you on exercises to get good alignment, strength, and conscious movement strategies at the joint. We will get you moving better again!

If you have questions about manual therapy or want to experience how it can help you move better, give us a call at 604-983-6616 or check out our website at www.body-works.ca. We have a team of therapists that work together and work to keep you moving!

And for even more information you can check out the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy website.

Keep calm and physio on.

– Taylor

 

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Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 11.11.10 AMby Alex Thicke

January 15 2016

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! You usually see me behind the front desk or teaching some of our free classes at Body Works Sports Physiotherapy, and as many of you know, I also play field hockey for Team Canada.

Between these two things, I am kept quite busy! For the month of December however, my team had a bit of a break! This meant that I was able to do some other activities that I enjoy!

After a disappointing snow fall last year, the month of December proved to be fantastic for snow in (and around) Vancouver! It didn’t take much to convince me to buy a Whistler Edge Card!

On December 27th, I finally found a full free day that I was able to get up to Whistler for! Driving the Sea to Sky Highway at 6:30am in the dark and snow wasn’t the most fun, but the sunrise was well worth it!

Conditions were great that day! Lots of powder, decent visibility and virtually no lines at the chair lifts. My friends and I mostly skied the Symphony Bowl on Whistler. As a snowboarder, Whistler can be tough as there are many flat sections, made more challenging with heavy snow, so there was some time spent stuck in powder! The day passed way too quickly, and before I knew it, we were downloading and headed to Dusty’s for some post-skiing snacks! It was such a great day with such amazing conditions that I can’t wait to use my next couple passes and get back up there!

Alex Skiing Whistler 2016

Even though I got to enjoy the snow and wintery weather around Vancouver over Christmas, I was fortunate enough to go on a family vacation to Barbados! We flew out the evening of December 30th and arrived mid afternoon on the 31st. It was such a great feeling walking off the plane to heat and warmth!

Alex in Barbados for Blog 2016 Jan

This was my first trip to the Caribbean, and it totally lived up to my expectations! On New Year’s Eve, the family was so exhausted from our travels that after a quick swim in the ocean and some dinner, we napped till about an hour before mid-night… We eventually rallied, and walked out to the beach to ring in the New Year. At midnight we jumped into the ocean and were surprised by 3 different firework shows at hotels near ours! It was a very cool experience to be swimming beneath fireworks!

We spent a lot of our time at the beach; swimming, body/boogie boarding, reading, kayaking, paddle boarding, and playing beach ball! The water was so warm it was easy to stay in the ocean for ages! Personally, I spent a lot of the beach time hiding under and umbrella because I was too scared of getting burnt!

Alex rum photo from Barbados for Blog 2016

Throughout the 10 days, we also did a few day trips. We visited Mount Gay Rum Distillery, where we got to try a few of their signature rums and learn about one of the earliest rums created in the world! We visited a local pottery shop to get an idea of the local art. Driving around to the East coast of the island, we explored some of the beaches on that side, which were beautiful! Unlike the beaches on the southern west coast where we stayed, these beaches were alcoves in a shore of coral cliffs, and the waves and currents were significantly stronger! The family also did a walking tour of Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, and learned a lot about the history of the country. We drove north up the island to St. Nicholas’ Abbey. This is an extremely old sugar cane plantation that has been running for a few hundred years, and is still in operation. We were able to explore the abbey, which has been made available to the public and has many historical artifacts. An of course we got to try some of the rum they produce on site!

It has been a bit of a shock to the system to return to rainy Vancouver! I am looking forward to some more ski days as well as some Vancouver sun! And back to training for Field hockey and working!

Alex Thicke - field hockey shot solo 2015

Alex Thicke playing Field Hockey for Canada

Let us know what you did over the holidays and what you are looking forward to most this upcoming year!

See you in the clinic!

Alex

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Fall 2015 Blog      

 View from a Pan Am Games Athlete

by Holly Stewart

Hello everyone,

You usually see me behind the desk at Body Works Sports Physiotherapy, but you may not know that I also have another job (although Dana does like to tell people frequently— much to my embarrassment).  I play field hockey for Team Canada, and have been playing with the team for just over two years now.  I recently got the opportunity to play in the Pan American Games in Toronto in July.

pan am Games - group photo opening ceremonies

Playing field hockey at the international level exposes you to the vast amount of research and money that is now being put into sport performance. Teams and/or athletes are now recognizing that investing money into sport performance has a huge return on interest, and leads to winning. As someone with an undergrad degree in kinesiology, the science of winning in sport is fascinating to me. Often, the extra 1-2% that it takes to win is derived from being in the best shape physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Achieving this peak performance state is no easy task. This maintenance of peak state becomes a game in itself: a game of balance that is maintained by a team of professionals with knowledge of this sport research.  On my team, this includes a head coach, an assistant coach, a physiotherapist, an athletic therapist, a sport physiologist, a strength trainer, a nutritionist, and a video technician.

In the next couple of paragraphs I am just going to outline what some of these measures look like in a daily training environment and at major tournaments.

When we are at home between tournaments for a few months, our training is “cycled”. This means that the intensity of practice progressively gets harder usually over a 3 or 4 week period, before having a rest week with no field hockey. This type of program has been shown to reduce overtraining syndrome and the injuries that are associated with it. It seems to be working for our team too. In 2.5 years since this style has been applied, there have been no serious soft tissue injuries (ie ACL rupture).

Team training Pan Am games

At training, we are required to wear heart rate monitors.  The heart rate monitors are wirelessly connected to our sport physiologist’s iPad.  Each of our heart rates at any given moment of training is displayed on the screen. Since heart rate increases as exercise intensity increases our staff is able to see exactly how hard we are working during a training session. If we need to work harder in order to make our heart rates match where we are in the training cycle, the intensity of practice can be ramped up. Similarly, if our heart rates are through the roof during a drill in a “light week”, we may end the session early.  The final thing we use our heart rate monitors for is to monitor trends in heart rate when you are sleeping/ first wake up in the morning (resting heart rate).  A high resting heart rate can indicate overtraining syndrome.

When we are at major tournaments we have added measures to insure we are well prepared and feeling good.  We measure our hydration status by checking our weight pre- and post-game.  Fluctuations in weight over that short of a time indicate water lost through sweat during the game.  The amount of weight we lose is plugged into an equation in order to find out the amount of water we need to drink to become hydrated again.  Post-game, we have a very set routine. Before cooling down, we must grab a snack that is both a rich carbohydrate and protein source.  On my team, chocolate milk is a huge hit and on the days it is provided we don’t need to be “reminded” to refuel.  Next, we do a cool down routine with the help of our physiotherapist (more to come on him in the next paragraph).  After the process of cooling down and weighing in comes the most dreaded part: the ice baths.  We have been experimenting with two different protocols. The first is spending 10 minutes shivering in the cold water (can you tell how much I like them?). The second involves alternating between cold water and hot water tubs in one minute intervals for 14 minutes.

ice tubs and hot baths pan am games

Icebaths and more icebaths!

hot tub pan am games

Our team physiotherapist plays a huge role in our success on the field.  Our physiotherapist’s most apparent job is to fix us up from whatever ailment has occurred during competition and practices.  Frequent injuries are turf burn (less severe) to broken hands (happen a surprising amount).  On top of this, our physio is responsible for creating our warm up and cool down routines.  Our warm up consists of dynamic stretching, light resistance exercises using therabands, agility work, and accelerations.  If you are interested, or have a lot of time to kill, you can watch our warm up routine HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxf2dTm8mME. Our cool down involves a series of dynamic stretches that progress into more and more static stretches.

treatment at pan am games

Team Physiotherapist doing physiotherapy on players.

A proper warm up is essential in preparing us physically for a game, as well as giving us time to mentally enter our “game zone”. Our physio also does an individual physical screen two or three times a year.  This screen helps him to identify movement deficiencies and muscle imbalances.  He uses the results of the screen to prescribe exercises and stretches to correct these inefficient patterns, which hopefully will help us avoid injuries.

Other teams I have played against or have been a part of utilize GPS units, sports psychologists, etc.  As technology improves, I’m sure we will be seeing a larger array of tools to monitor the human body during sport.

My coach has a saying “do the little things right”. What he means by this is that every athlete should take the time to make sure that your body is the very best it can be, in order to help you achieve big goals.  This saying can be applied to athletes of any level. Now, I don’t mean that everyone needs to go out and buy a GPS and start weighing themselves 3 times a day.  Just make sure that you put the conscious effort into warming up well, stretching after exercise, or packing a snack to eat after your workout. If you have exercises that your physio has prescribed, make sure you actually set time aside to do them.  Because when you do the little things right, the big pieces tend to fall into place.

Field Hockey Canada Team Photo at Pan Am Games

Field Hockey Canada Team Photo at Pan Am Games – CONGRATULAIONS

Opening Ceremonies at the Bell Centre for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games

Playing field hockey at the international level exposes you to the vast amount of research and money that is now being put into sport performance. Teams and/or athletes are now recognizing that investing money into sport performance has a huge return on interest, and leads to winning. As someone with an undergrad degree in kinesiology, the science of winning in sport is fascinating to me. Often, the extra 1-2% that it takes to win is derived from being in the best shape physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Achieving this peak performance state is no easy task. This maintenance of peak state becomes a game in itself: a game of balance that is maintained by a team of professionals with knowledge of this sport research.  On my team, this includes a head coach, an assistant coach, a physiotherapist, an athletic therapist, a sport physiologist, a strength trainer, a nutritionist, and a video technician.

In the next couple of paragraphs I am just going to outline what some of these measures look like in a daily training environment and at major tournaments.

When we are at home between tournaments for a few months, our training is “cycled”. This means that the intensity of practice progressively gets harder usually over a 3 or 4 week period, before having a rest week with no field hockey. This type of program has been shown to reduce overtraining syndrome and the injuries that are associated with it. It seems to be working for our team too. In 2.5 years since this style has been applied, there have been no serious soft tissue injuries (ie ACL rupture).

At training, we are required to wear heart rate monitors.  The heart rate monitors are wirelessly connected to our sport physiologist’s iPad.  Each of our heart rates at any given moment of training is displayed on the screen. Since heart rate increases as exercise intensity increases our staff is able to see exactly how hard we are working during a training session. If we need to work harder in order to make our heart rates match where we are in the training cycle, the intensity of practice can be ramped up. Similarly, if our heart rates are through the roof during a drill in a “light week”, we may end the session early.  The final thing we use our heart rate monitors for is to monitor trends in heart rate when you are sleeping/ first wake up in the morning (resting heart rate).  A high resting heart rate can indicate overtraining syndrome.

When we are at major tournaments we have added measures to insure we are well prepared and feeling good.  We measure our hydration status by checking our weight pre- and post-game.  Fluctuations in weight over that short of a time indicate water lost through sweat during the game.  The amount of weight we lose is plugged into an equation in order to find out the amount of water we need to drink to become hydrated again.  Post-game, we have a very set routine. Before cooling down, we must grab a snack that is both a rich carbohydrate and protein source.  On my team, chocolate milk is a huge hit and on the days it is provided we don’t need to be “reminded” to refuel.  Next, we do a cool down routine with the help of our physiotherapist (more to come on him in the next paragraph).  After the process of cooling down and weighing in comes the most dreaded part: the ice baths.  We have been experimenting with two different protocols. The first is spending 10 minutes shivering in the cold water (can you tell how much I like them?). The second involves alternating between cold water and hot water tubs in one minute intervals for 14 minutes.

Icebaths, icebaths, and more icebaths… and no shortage of pictures either!

Our team physiotherapist plays a huge role in our success on the field.  Our physiotherapist’s most apparent job is to fix us up from whatever ailment has occurred during competition and practices.  Frequent injuries are turf burn (less severe) to broken hands (happen a surprising amount).  On top of this, our physio is responsible for creating our warm up and cool down routines.  Our warm up consists of dynamic stretching, light resistance exercises using therabands, agility work, and accelerations.  If you are interested, or have a lot of time to kill, you can watch our warm up routine HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxf2dTm8mME

Our cool down involves a series of dynamic stretches that progress into more and more static stretches.

A proper warm up is essential in preparing us physically for a game, as well as giving us time to mentally enter our “game zone”. Our physio also does an individual physical screen two or three times a year.  This screen helps him to identify movement deficiencies and muscle imbalances.  He uses the results of the screen to prescribe exercises and stretches to correct these inefficient patterns, which hopefully will help us avoid injuries.

Other teams I have played against or have been a part of utilize GPS units, sports psychologists, etc.  As technology improves, I’m sure we will be seeing a larger array of tools to monitor the human body during sport.

My coach has a saying “do the little things right”. What he means by this is that every athlete should take the time to make sure that your body is the very best it can be, in order to help you achieve big goals.  This saying can be applied to athletes of any level. Now, I don’t mean that everyone needs to go out and buy a GPS and start weighing themselves 3 times a day.  Just make sure that you put the conscious effort into warming up well, stretching after exercise, or packing a snack to eat after your workout. If you have exercises that your physio has prescribed, make sure you actually set time aside to do them.  Because when you do the little things right, the big pieces tend to fall into place.