Progressive Overload: A Strength Training Model for The Rehab Professional


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By Teddy Wilsey, DPT, CSCS

It is well known that the body must be broken down in order to build up. This is the fundamental principle of exercise: stress adaptation occurs in order to strengthen our bones, condition our cardiovascular system, maintain our joint range of motion, and optimize our muscular function. If you don’t use it, you will lose it. This idea of invoking stress is an area that rehabilitation professionals often fall short in. The physical therapy curriculum is designed to prepare a generalist who can work with all levels of patients including pediatrics, hospital work, and neurological rehab. These are all very important aspects of healthcare, however, the major downfall of a generalized therapist degree is a lack of knowledge in sports rehab and basic strength and conditioning. This article will touch on the need to stress the system in orthopedic rehabilitation and the idea of progressive overload within a linear periodization rehabilitation model.

Performance is a relative term, as the performance ceiling for a 75 year old recovering from a knee replacement is vastly different than that of a college basketball player recovering from an ACL rupture and patellar tendon autograft. Either way, they are both knee injuries and the principles remain the same. Regaining quadriceps strength will be an integral part of both of their programs, and the exercises might be very similar at the beginning phases. As mentioned in the introduction, physiological adaptation and increases in performance require stress to the system. It’s important to understand that stress is relative. An exercise or weight load that might cause stress and elicit strength and gains for the 75 year old would probably not be of the same benefit for the college basketball player. This same weight could even create negative adaptations over time if it is not sufficient to stimulate the system. For example, if a 400 lb. squater is only doing goblet squats with 25 lb., they will actually get weaker while working with you.

The therapist’s job is help their patients increase function. From an orthopedic recovery standpoint, therapists must cause some amount of stress in order to help their patients improve function. Most therapists typically see their patients for 2-6 months at the most, depending on the injury. Although linear progress is not a long term solution to training, it lends itself well to this shorter time period and rehabilitation type of recovery where exercise selection is constantly being progressed. Strength and conditioning periodization models are helpful to understand from a theoretical standpoint, but are typically more complex than we need for therapy. In the simplest of terms: just make sure your patient is doing more than they were two weeks ago.

To examine progressive overload, stress, and a linear model, let’s look at integrating the squat into rehabilitation for both of these patients. Outside of gait, the squat is arguably the most functional movement that exists. Standing up is an essential skill for nearly everyone. To start with the 75 year old patient s/p total knee, their sit to stand would likely begin with an upper extremity assist and a very short range of motion to a high box. Loading the knee will assist in gradually restoring range of motion and alleviating stiffness. Manual therapy, stretching, and other passive modalities can help with managing pain and improving range of motion as well. This patient’s knee will likely be stiff, and the soft tissue structures surrounding the knee may be weak and shortened as well. The typical arthritic knee experiences months to years of progressive weakening and range of motion loss prior to surgery. Rehabilitation prior to surgery should focus on maintaining and regaining full range of motion and improving strength to tolerance.

The first day or two after surgery for these two patients might look very similar. The college basketball player ACL repair will also start a squat with a TRX. After the second or third PT session, the college athlete will require much more challenge to make progress. They might be more comfortable achieving parallel depth sooner, as their tissue was supple prior to surgery. In this patient, there will also be a need to be emphasize slowly increasing the stretch across the patellar tendon. This is due to the patellar tendon autograft. The squat will start with a vertical tibia, and the therapist will gradually cue the patient and modify exercises to allow more dorsiflexion and knee flexion over time in order to rebuild the surgical site and increase patellar loading.

By 6-8 weeks, both of these patients should be squatting with weight. The total knee might be nothing more than 10-20 lb. goblet squat, or it could be up to a 50 or 60 lb. goblet squat, depending on their prior function. The basketball player might be in that 40-60 lb. range for a goblet, or even back squatting 135 lb. or more. Again, this depends on prior strength levels.  Both of these patients should be exposed to similar relative stressors. They should both feel muscular soreness at times. They might both even feel some increased knee soreness during periods of introducing new movements or taking big steps forward. That’s usually OK. The important distinction here is that the stress for a college athlete’s rehab needs to be significantly higher than that of a knee replacement patient in order to evoke adaptation.

Rehabilitation professionals often fall short in is creating enough stress and adaptation for their higher level athletes. The typical outpatient therapist’s caseload is probably only 10-20% athletes, at the most. Hence, the potential blind spot and need for a greater understanding of how to help challenge athletes. The concepts are the same across the board, but there needs to be a greater understanding of the nuances of higher level and more challenging exercise and movement. Remember, without stress and progressive overload, there is very minimal adaptation.

To learn more about how to challenge athletes and what exercises to use, check out my instagram at @strengthcoachtherapy.

Healthy-Baller-Teddy-300x300Dr. Teddy Willsey, DPT, CSCS, is the director of sports medicine at Healthy Baller, a sports performance gym located in Rockville, MD, a suburb of Washington D.C. In addition to his daily practice, Teddy writes, speaks, and posts on social media regularly with the goal of educating therapists, fitness professionals, and recreational exercises on practical approaches to exercise and rehabilitation with a sports medicine and performance focus. Teddy’s work can be found on Instagram: @strengthcoachtherapy

Meniscal Tears & Consideration of PT Instead of Surgery

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By Greg Louie, DPT

The menisci lie between the tibia and femur. They stabilize the knee into flexion and extension, assist in joint lubrication and nutrition, and distribute compressive forces to reduce stress on the articular cartilage with load-bearing and load transmission.(1) Meniscal tears are quite common,the mean annual incidence of meniscal injuries are 66 for every 100,000 individuals.(2)

There are two classifications of meniscal tears: traumatic and degenerative. For a meniscus tear to classified as traumatic, the meniscus must be healthy and there must be an injury to the knee as a result of a forced movement.(3) These types of tears are higher amongst young adults because of an increased percentage of this population participating in high-level activities and sports.(4) A forced twisting movement with the knee bent is the common mechanism of injury for traumatic lesions. Degenerative tears occur in the absence of trauma and result from deterioration of the meniscus from abnormal loading forces to the knee.(3) Individuals with a body mass index greater than 25, those who are older then 60, and those who work in jobs requiring increased kneeling, squatting, and stair climbing are at a significantly higher risk for degenerative meniscal tears.(4)

Meniscus injures are often accompanied by other ligamentous injuries of the knee.(3) A combination of injury to the meniscus, medial collateral ligament, and the anterior cruciate ligament is known as the unhappy triad of the knee.(5)

In the United States, partial meniscectomies are the most common orthopedic surgical procedure(6) but does this mean everyone with a torn meniscus should opt for surgery? Several studies have found that surgery is not always necessary and that physical therapy should be considered prior to surgery. Sihvonon and associates found no difference in partial menisectomy compared to sham surgery.(7) Katz and colleagues found no difference in outcomes with arthroscopic partial meniscectomy combined with physical therapy compared to physical therapy alone.(8) Surgery should be considered as a last resort when all other interventions (including physical therapy) have failed.

A physical therapist will assess the severity of the tear and provide interventions to control the pain, inflammation, and swelling. As the knee beings to heal, they can help you regain full range of motion, get you back walking pain free, and build strength and coordination to prevent reinjury.

Greg Blog post written by Greg Louie, DPT Student from University of St. Augustine. At the time of publishing Greg was in a clinical rotation at Catz PTI. Follow him on Instagram @sportsperformancerehab

References:

1. Makris EA, Hadidi P, Athanasiou KA. The knee meniscus: structure-function, pathophysiology, current repair techniques, and prospects for regeneration. Biomaterials. 2011;32(30):7411-7431.

2. Hede A, Jensen DB, Blyme P, et al. Epidemiology of meniscal lesions in the knee. Acta Orthop Scand. 1990; 61:435–437.

3. http://www.physio-pedia.com/Meniscal_Lesions

4. Snoeker BA, Bakker EW, Kegel CA, Lucas C Risk factors for meniscal tears: a systematic review including meta-analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 43: 352–367. 2885

5. Sbourne K, Nitz P. The O’Donoghue triad revisited. Combined knee injuries involving anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament tears. Am J Sports Med. 19(5):474–7.

6. Englund M, Guermazi A, Gale D, et al. Incidental meniscal findings on knee MRI in middle-aged and elderly persons. N Engl J Med. 2008; 359:1108-1115.

7. Sihvonen R, Paavola M, Malmivaara A, et al. Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy versus sham surgery for a degenerative meniscal tear. N Engl J Med. 2013; 369(26): 2515–24.

8. Katz JN, Brophy RH, Chaisson CE, et al. Surgery versus physical therapy for a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis. N Engl J Med. 2013; 368:1675-1684

Rotator Cuff Rehab Management

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By Garrett Holle, DPT Student

The function of the rotator cuff is colossal in the performance of our athletes and everyday individuals.  So much so, in fact, it has formerly been called the kiss of death for the career of overhead athletes.  Rotator cuff injury in sports is climbing in part due to an increased emphasis on strength in college programs. Moreover, in a study of NCAA college football players, rotator cuff injury was the 3rd most commonly reported shoulder injury (1). This high rate of occurrence holds true in the general public as
this study showed that of a random sample, 20.7% of patients had full-thickness rotator cuff tears (3).

As you can see, the ability to treat rotator cuff injuries and treat them well is going to be a valuable skill in your practice. The rehab is not easy, but we can make a huge difference with our patients if we handle them correctly.

How to Avoid a Common Oversight of Rotator Cuff Rehab

When prescribing exercise for the small intrinsic muscles of the cuff, it can be easy to throw the typical 3 sets of 12 to a patient.  However, I think we should reconsider this.  In addition to the typical explanation that every patient is different, there is also physiological evidence that supports this notion. This study explored the fiber composition of the rotator cuff muscles, indicating a mixed composition of fast and slow twitch (2). Although 44% of rotator cuff fibers labeled positively as slow twitch, the remaining fibers lie somewhere on the fast-twitch continuum.

Now if that study is a little too far into the physiology for you, let me make this applicable.

This knowledge of fiber type composition allows us to better determine and prescribe exercise volumes and intensities that satisfy the demands for muscle development. This concept aligns with the strength and conditioning principle of specificity. In the training realm, if you’re working with a sprinter, you’re going to utilize high intensity, low volume and if you’re training an endurance runner, you will use lower intensity with higher volumes. This example applies to training of the rotator cuff as well.

This concept is no nuance in the strength and conditioning realm, and it is a great illustration of how we can successfully begin to close the chasm between our two professions.

Garrett 2 Garrett Holle is a DPT student at the University of Kansas Medical Center. You can find him on all social media platforms @Holle_Per4mance 

References

1. Kaplan, L. D., Flanigan, D. C., Norwig, J., Jost, P., & Bradley, J. (2005). Prevalence and Variance of Shoulder Injuries in Elite Collegiate Football Players. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 33(8), 1142–1146. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546505274718

2. Lovering, R. M., & Russ, D. W. (2008). Fiber Type Composition of Cadaveric Human Rotator Cuff Muscles. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 38(11), 674–680. https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2008.2878

3. Yamamoto, A., Takagishi, K., Osawa, T., Yanagawa, T., Nakajima, D., Shitara, H., & Kobayashi, T. (2010). Prevalence and risk factors of a rotator cuff tear in the general population. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 19(1), 116–120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2009.04.006

4. Rotator Cuff Image: Henry Vandyke Carter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Groin Strains

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By Ashley Pena, DPT

Groin strains make up 8- 18% of all soccer injuries and also occur in many other high intensity sports such as Ice Hockey, Football, Basketball, and more. They are typically found to occur during kicking, cutting, pivoting, changing directions, or when planting the lead foot. In a prospective research study looking at the athletic population, Serner et. al. found that in soccer players, kicking was the most common mechanism of injury at 40%. In other sports, changing directions was the most frequent mechanism at 31%. In addition, Serner found that 66% of these groin strains resulted in injuries to the Adductors (primarily Adductor Longus). Iliopsoas and Proximal Rectus Femoris were also found to be frequently injured with 15-25% of the groin strain participants sustaining these injuries.

Some factors which have been found in past research to be related to an increased risk of groin strains include older age, level of competition or experience, decreased range of hip abduction and rotation, isometric adductor muscle weakness or high abductor/adductor strength ratio, and poor performance in vertical jump tests. Specifically, in a cohort study done by Moreno-Perez et. al. it was found that players with groin injuries showed weaker isometric hip adductor strength and smaller Adductor/Abductor strength ratios than those without groin injuries giving evidence that screening for adductor strength deficits or Add/ Abd. muscle imbalances may be helpful in avoiding groin injuries.

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​❗️Groin Strains❗️ A study by Moreno-Perez et. al. found that athletes with groin injuries showed weaker isometric hip adductor strength and smaller Adductor/Abductor strength ratios than those without groin injuries. 🏈🏀⚽️ Screening for adductor strength deficits or Add/ Abd. muscle imbalances may be helpful in avoiding groin injuries. 🎥🎥🎥 Above are some advanced SL bridge variations that can help with controlling hip Add/Abd & ER/IR control. 💻 Blog Coming 🔜 ❤️💬Share 📚📚📚 Moreno-Pérez et al. Comparisons of hip strength and countermovement jump height in elite tennis players with and without acute history of groin injuries. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice. 2017 🎵.rl

A post shared by Chris Butler, MPT, CSCS (@cbutlersportspt) on

ashleyBlog Post written by Ashley Pena, DPT Student from Cal State Northridge. At the time of publishing, Ashley was in her final clinical rotation with me at Catz PTI.

References:

  1. Elattar O, Choi H-R, Dills VD, Busconi B. Groin Injuries (Athletic Pubalgia) and Return to Play. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 2016;8(4):313-323. doi:10.1177/1941738116653711.
  2. Moreno-Pérez V, Lopez-Valenciano A, Barbado D, Moreside J, Elvira J, Vera-Garcia F. Comparisons of hip strength and countermovement jump height in elite tennis players with and without acute history of groin injuries. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice. 2017;29:144-149. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2017.04.006.
  3. Serner A, Tol JL, Jomaah N, et al. Diagnosis of Acute Groin Injuries. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015;43(8):1857-1864. doi:10.1177/0363546515585123.
  4. Tyler TF, Silvers HJ, Gerhardt MB, Nicholas SJ. Groin Injuries in Sports Medicine. Sports Health. 2010;2(3):231-236. doi:10.1177/1941738110366820.

Forward Head Posture


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By Ashley Pena, DPT Student

Although “forward head posture” (FHP) has long been regarded as a problem leading to pain and disability, with increased time spent on smartphones in recent years, it is becoming a very common source of pain. In a study performed by Kim et. al. which studied the effect of duration of smartphone use on muscle fatigue and pain caused by forward head posture in adults using EMG analysis, it was found that prolonged smartphone use resulted in increased upper trapezius and cervical erector spinae fatigue.

As a result of FHP, compensatory motions occur such as severe extension of the upper cervical spine. Often seen in conjunction with FHP, rounded shoulder posture (RSP) occurs when the acromion protrudes anterior to the shoulder joint. Scapular elevation, protraction, and downward rotation are also seen. Several studies have found that this combination of FHP and RSP promote an imbalance in muscle strength and length leading to Janda’s Upper Crossed Syndrome:

  • Weakness of the deep neck flexors, middle and lower trapezius, and serratus anterior
  • Stiffness of the pecs, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, SCM and suboccipitals.

Together, these impairments can lead to dysfunctions at the OA joint, C4/C5 segment,  CT junction, or GH joint resulting in neck and/or shoulder pain and increased disability.

Below is a 3 part video series to help you gain mobility and build postural strength to combat our love affair with cell phones and laptops.

Blog Post written by Ashley Pena, DPT Student from Cal State Northridge. Ashley is currently in her final clinical rotation with me at Catz PTI.

References:

  1. Kim E-K, Kim JS. Correlation between rounded shoulder posture, neck disability indices, and degree of forward head posture. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2016;28(10):2929-2932. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.2929.
  2. Kim S-Y, Koo S-J. Effect of duration of smartphone use on muscle fatigue and pain caused by forward head posture in adults. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2016;28(6):1669-1672. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.1669.
  3. Kwon JW, Son SM, Lee NK. Changes in upper-extremity muscle activities due to head position in subjects with a forward head posture and rounded shoulders. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2015;27(6):1739-1742. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.1739.
  4. Upper Crossed Syndrome. Muscle Imbalance Syndromes RSS. http://www.muscleimbalancesyndromes.com/janda-syndromes/upper-crossed-syndrome/. Accessed June 13, 2017.

Is Your Lack of Ankle Mobility Increasing Your Risk for Knee Injury?

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By Ashley Pena, DPT Student
 According to the NCAA Injury Surveillance system, knee internal derangements accounted for the highest percentage of more severe injuries sustained by college athletes (44.1% in games and 25.5% in practices) and approximately 70% of all game and practice injuries affected the lower extremities. As a result of these studies, much thought has gone into what factors contribute to this in an attempt to prevent, or rehabilitate these injuries while decreasing pain and improving performance. Although there are many factors which have been found to contribute such as muscle weakness, body type, training factors and others, little thought is given to the ankle joint unless it is giving the athlete pain.
When a person lacks dorsiflexion range of motion, often times compensations begin to manifest such as excessive pronation or “fallen arch”,  hip external rotation or “out-toeing” during walking, or lack of knee flexion with landing, all of which can increase the valgus forces on the knee and decrease shock absorption which can place a person more at risk for ACL injury, meniscus injury, or collateral ligament strains. In a systematic literature review done by Mason-McKay et. al, strong evidence was found that a restriction in DF ROM alters landing mechanics with specific studies reporting that altered frontal plane ankle motion (inversion and eversion), reduced sagittal knee excursion, and greater peak knee valgus.
 Blog Post written by Ashley Pena, DPT Student from Cal State Northridge.  Ashley is currently in her final clinical rotation with me at Catz PTI.

Sources:

  1. Arendt E, Dick R. Knee Injury Patterns Among Men and Women in Collegiate Basketball and Soccer. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 1995;23(6):694-701.
  2. Dick RM, Putukian M. Descriptive Epidemiology of Collegiate Women’s Soccer Injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System, 1988–1989 Through 2002–2003. Journal of Athletic Training. 2007;42(2):278-285.
  3. Kerr ZY, Marshall SW. College Sports–Related Injuries — United States, 2009–10 Through 2013–14 Academic Years. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6448a2.htm. Published December 11, 2015. Accessed June 5, 2017.
  4. Mason-Mackay A, Whatman C, Reid D. The effect of reduced ankle dorsiflexion on lower extremity mechanics during landing: A systematic review. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2017;20(5):451-458. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2015.06.006.
  5. Taunton JE, Ryan MB, Clement DB, McKenzie DC, Llyod-Smith DF, Zumbo BD.  A retrospective case-control analysis of 2002 running injuries.  Br J Sports Med 2002; 36: 95-101.

What is Turf Toe?


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By Meggie Morley, DPT

During Game 3 of the Clipper’s series against the Utah Jazz, Blake Griffin suffered an injury to his toe that would rule him out for the remainder of the playoffs. He recently underwent surgery to treat his injury, which was reported as an injury to the plantar plate of his big toe. This injury is also known as turf toe, and even though it may seem like a small injury it can greatly affect the ability to participate in sports, recreational activities and even walking.

Toe Anatomy

Turf toe typically refers to an injury to the big toe. The big toe is comprised of two bones, known as the distal and proximal phalange. The proximal phalange attaches to the metatarsal bone in the foot, forming the metatarsal phalangeal joint (MTP). Underneath the MTP is the plantar plate, a small sesamoid bone, and various ligaments and muscle attachments.   Turf toe 2

Mechanics of Injury

Turf toe typically occurs when the first toe is hyperextended. In other words, when the toes are planted on the ground and the rest of the foot is lifting off the ground. This position places strain on the bottom of the MTP joint, causing damage to the plantar plate and surrounding structures. This injury occurs commonly on turf due to the harder surface, which can cause the toes to be stuck in place. The symptoms of turf toe include pain, tenderness, bruising, stiffness and swelling at the joint.  Parents should watch for avoidance behaviors and painful gait patterns in their children.

Ligament Sprain Grade

Grade I: The ligament is stretched and there may be small tears

Grade II: Large tear, but the tear doesn’t completely go through the ligament

Grade III: Complete rupture of the ligament

Recovery time depends on the grade of the sprain, and in the case of complete tears surgery may be necessary. For any turf toe injury, rest is required in order to allow for healing.  Bracing, splinting and taping are often used for weight bearing tolerance so it is important to prevent adhesions in the injured structures. Passive ROM can be initiated within a few days of Grade I and II injuries along with non-impact activities. Grade III injuries require immobilization but even if surgery is needed, ROM can be performed at 5-7 days post op.  Make sure to see a PT and find out what you can be doing throughout all phases of recovery.

FullSizeRender 9Blog Post written by Meggie Morley, DPT.  At the time of posting Meggie was in her final clinical rotation with me at Catz Physical Therapy Institute.

References

1. Stanley, Laura. Physical Therapist’s Guide to Turf Toe. Retrieved from http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=6db543a6-7a53-4dcd-8141-3137c4391f07

2. McCormick JJ, Anderson RB. Turf toe: anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment. Sports Health. 2010; 2(6):487–494.

3. Garguilo, C. (2015). Foot and Ankle Orthopedics (Power Point slides). Retrieved from https://courseworks.columbia.edu/access/content/group/PHYTM8610_081_2015_2/Lectures/Ankle/Camtasia%20Foot%20and%20Ankle%20Lectures/Camtasia%20Lecture%20Foot%20Ankle%20Disorders%20Handout%202015%20Section%203.pdf