Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gluteus Medius Strengthening - Bridge II

Featured Physician of the Month - Dr. Petrie

Dr Kent Petrie, MD
Specialty: Family Medicine
Colorado Mountain Medical

At Ascent Physical Therapy, we know how lucky we are to have such talented medical professionals in the Vail Valley. We welcome and encourage collaboration and would like to recognize this month's featured physician, Dr. Petrie. Take a moment to read about Dr. Petrie's contribution to the Valley's health-care system and his commitment to your health.....

After graduating from University of Virginia School of Medicine, Dr. Petrie completed his residency at St. Paul Ramsey Hospital in Minnesota.

Dr. Petrie has been with Colorado Mountain Medical since 1979. He specializes in Family Medicine, with a particular interest in maternity and newborn care.

In 1995, Dr. Petrie was awarded the Colorado Family Physician of the Year. Not surprisingly as he travels on medical missions to Honduras and Tanzania in between seeing his large patient population in Eagle County. or speaking about his published articles on Family Centered Maternity Care.

When he is not at work, Dr. Petrie enjoys hiking, snowshoeing and traveling with his wife. Dr. Petrie also likes amateur astronomy and teaching adult Sunday School.

Monday, December 6, 2010

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - How to avoid snow shoveling injuries

The snow has finally arrived, and for some of us this means dusting of the skis or snowboard and heading to the hill. However for others it means dusting of the snow shovel and removing the mounds of snow in the driveway!! While this seasonal activity may seem mundane, it can also be dangerous.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission:

  • In 2007, more than 118,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings for injuries that happened while shoveling or removing ice and snow manually.
  • Types of injuries can include sprains and strains, particularly in the back and shoulders, as well as lacerations and finger amputations.

Snow shoveling can be compared to weight lifting, and in some cases, the aerobic aspect of this activity is similar to a workout on a treadmill! So to help your body function on demand, consider the following tips:

  • Fresh snow is lighter - so clear snow as soon as it has fallen. Snow becomes dense as it compacts on the ground. Wet snow is very heavy. One shovelful can weigh 20 pounds or more!
  • If the ground is icy or slick, spread sand or salt over the area to help create foot traction. Be aware that some areas may be uneven and could cause you to slip, trip, or fall.
  • Warm-up your muscles. Shoveling can be a vigorous activity. Before you begin this physical workout, warm-up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise.
  • Pace yourself. Snow shoveling and blowing are aerobic activities. Take frequent breaks and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, stop shoveling/blowing and seek emergency care.
  • Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.
  • Try to push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine. Never remove deep snow all at once. Do it in pieces.
  • Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.

If you do experience a snow shoveling injury contact Ascent Physical Therapy on 970.949.9966 to learn about your treatment options.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Achilles Tendinosis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body and is very vulnerable to injury, probably because of its limited blood supply and the variety of forces to which it is subjected during activity. If treatment and rest is not implemented in the early stages of tendon injury and pain, known as Achilles Tendonitis, and chronic overload of the tendon continues, the tendon eventually develops microscopic tears in it. This is known as Achilles tendinosis and because of the poor blood supply to the tendon, the ability to heal these microscopic tears is limited and tearing of the tendon continues. Enlargement of the tendon, weakness and scar tissue formation results, which causes further pain and potential for tendon rupture

Undue strain to the Achilles tendon results in over 230,000 Achilles tendon injuries per year in the U.S. alone. The undue strain could be caused by a variety of factors, including:
  • tightness or weakness of the leg, knee, hip, or back muscles
  • high or low arches, poor foot biomechanics
  • uneven leg lengths
  • alternating between high (2”) heels and exercise shoes
  • sudden (rather than gradual) increases in training, such as running faster, further, or up steeper hills.

Treatment focuses on addressing any factors which could be contributing to undue strain, such as providing customized orthotics to correct poor foot biomechanics, a very carefully designed program of stretching and strengthening, and modalities to encourage increased blood supply to the tendon, such as laser therapy and soft tissue mobilization.

For more information on Achilles tendinosis or treatment options for Achilles tendon pain, please contact Ascent Physical Therapy at 970.949.9988


Its that time of month again to take advantage of our free laser clinic. Here at Ascent Physical Therapy we use low level laser therapy (LLLT), also known as cold laser to help treat a variety of conditions including carpal tunnel, arthritis, muscle and joint pain, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, heel spurs and swelling. It works by stimulating and energizing the cells in the injured area, to repair and strengthen at a remarkably fast rate.
The benefits include:

- It can relieve acute and chronic pain
- Increases the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair
- Increases blood supply
- Stimulates the immune system
- Stimulates nerve function
- Helps generate new and healthy cells and tissue
- Promotes faster wound healing
- Reduces inflammation

This month the clinic is being tonight, 30th November 2010, from 4pm-7pm. Call (970) 949-9966 to schedule a free ML830 laser treatment.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Featured Physician of the Month - Dr. Terrell Joseph

Dr Terrell Joseph, MD
Specialty: Hand and Upper Extremity/Knee Surgery
Vail-Summit Orthopaedics

At Ascent Physical Therapy, we know how lucky we are to have such talented medical professionals in the Vail Valley. We welcome and encourage collaboration and would like to recognize this month's featured physician, Dr. Joseph's. Take a moment to read about Dr. Joseph's contribution to the Valley's healthcare system and his commitment to your health.....

After graduating from Vanderbilt and LSU Medical School in 1999, Dr. Joseph continued his training at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans as an Orthopaedic Surgeon. In 2004, he went on to New Zealand to do Specialty Fellowship training in Arthroscopic Knee Surgery and Sports Medicine. Following on from this, Dr. Joseph completed a second Fellowship in Upper Extremity and Hand Surgery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dr. Joseph's orthopaedic interests include ACL reconstruction, arthroscopic meniscus surgery, ski and snowboard trauma. He also has expertise in treating tendinitis, carpal tunnel, hand and wrist problems.

When he is not at work he enjoys the mountain lifestyle with his wife and two small children. Paddling whitewater, making stained glass, as well as breeding and training Labrador Retrievers are some of his favorite activities!

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - Backpacks and Back Pain

Backpacks are frequently a necessary item for carrying school supplies as well as being a fashion accessory for today’s school children. They are also a frequent contributor to back pain in kids, and can lead to a life time of back problems. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission a 300 per cent increase in backpack related injuries has occurred since 1996.

Backpacks can contribute to pain when they are overloaded, packed incorrectly or worn improperly. The maximum weight carried in a pack should be no more than 15 per cent of the child’s body weight. For smaller children this may be only a few large text books. Improperly distributed loads can also increase chances for injury. Many kids hastily stuff the packs, increasing load on the spine. Wearing the pack over one shoulder unevenly distributes forces on the back.

When choosing a backpack a good design is important. Padded shoulder straps and a waist belt will distribute forces more appropriately. Multiple compartments allow smaller items to be found easier and allows better packing. Proper sizing is also important in distributing forces correctly.

When wearing a pack loading it correctly is important. Heavier items such as large books should be closest to the back and weights should be distributed evenly side to side. Both shoulder straps should be worn at all times along with a waist belt. These straps should be adjusted so they are snug but not overly tight. When standing for long periods taking the backpack off will relieve forces from the spine.

Taking time to get a proper backpack for your kids and teaching them how to use it can help them avoid a lifetime of back pain.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We Moved....

Its been a busy summer at Ascent Physical Therapy. After 5 years at The Lodge at Avon, we packed up our plinths, and have moved to the Avon Recreation Center. We are offering the same great services along with some exciting new ones, such as aquatic therapy, a lecture series and access to extensive gym equipment.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS is an increasingly common problem affecting the wrists and hands. This problem results in 2 million physician visits and 260,000 surgeries per year, affecting women 3 times more often than men. CTS is frequently caused by repetitive activities such as computer and tool work, but can be aggravated by sleep postures and daily household activities. If not properly treated, CTS can lead to nerve damage and permanent disability.

What Are the Symptoms of CTS?
CTS results in pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers, particularly the index and middle fingers. It is caused by decreased space in the carpal tunnel in the wrist, where the median nerve runs into the hand. This decreased space can result from inflammation or scar tissue formation in the tunnel. The nerve then becomes compressed and results in pain and abnormal sensation. Common activities which can aggravate CTS are use of vibrating tools, computer work, bicycling, knitting, and house cleaning. CTS can become severe enough to awaken people from sleep because of poor wrist postures.

Treatment of CTS
The most severe cases of CTS may require surgical intervention. Prior to surgery, however many options are available. Reducing the stress on the wrist is important. This can be done by maintaining the wrist in neutral posture while using your hands. That is keeping, your hands in line with your forearms and not bent up or down. Splinting can help with this, especially if you are having problems at night. Ergonomic evaluation of a work site can also be beneficial to put your body in the most optimum position. Decreasing repetitive hand movements that are forceful, awkward, or involve grasping and pinching will significantly decrease stresses on the wrist.

Cold Laser
One of the most fascinating and recent developments in treating CTS is the ML830 laser. In 2002 the FDA approved the ML830 laser for treatment of CTS because of its success in research trials. Cold laser is a non-operative pain free treatment which can be combined with other traditional forms of physical therapy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Featured Associate of the Month - Tammy Rodell, MSPT

Tammy Rodell, MSPT
Specialty: Pediatric Physical Therapy

Tammy received her Masters in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman's University in 1998. She has 10 years experience and has provided physical therapy services to the children of Eagle County for the past 5 years.

Tammy has experience with torticollis, plagiocephaly, cerebral palsy, prematurity, toe walkers, developmental delays and a variety of other pediatric diagnoses. Tammy works with newborns to school-age kids, helping them to achieve their full potential, and provides assistance to parents to help their child become as independent as they are able.

In addition to working independently, Tammy works with Child Find, a free resource for parents that evaluates children, age birth to 5, to determine if early intervention is warranted. Tammy is also contracted with Mountain Valley Developmental Services, which provides assistance to qualifying children, age birth to three, who are demonstrating a developmental delay, have an established condition, or who have developmental disabilities.

Tammy states, 'In my free time, I enjoy all that Colorado has to offer, and I especially enjoy spending time with my two sons'.

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - Cross-Training


Now the mountain has closed and spring is upon us, we are beginning to think about training for those fast approaching bike races, trail running events and 14er attempts! But before you don the cycling shoes – and start spending hours and many miles on the bike, think about incorporating cross-training into your training schedule. Cross training refers to training in different ways to improve overall performance.

The proven benefits of cross-training are:

• Greater aerobic fitness: Participating in a variety of exercise activities allows the body to recover from one beneficial stress, while being exposed to another. For example there is only so much running an individual can do in a week before they are at risk of an overuse injury, and as a result only so much aerobic fitness can be achieved. By adding a different exercise, such as swimming to the schedule, extra aerobic fitness can be gained, without increasing injury risk!

• Fewer injuries: Being involved in one sport alone can cause tightness or weakness in certain muscles – this can contribute to an array of injuries. Furthermore high impact activities such as running can lead to overuse injuries, such as stress fractures and shin splints. Cross training involving a non-weight bearing exercise can reduce the risk of injury occurrence.

• Reduces boredom and mental fatigue: Variety is the spice of life after all!! Boredom can potentially derail your exercise regimen. Mixing it up with a different activity once or twice a week can keep workouts from getting stale.

• Faster rehabilitation: Following an injury, you may not have to stop exercising. Instead, another type of exercise may be used that won’t aggravate the injury, but will still allow for maintenance of an appropriate training volume.

• Greater efficiency and power: By incorporating strength training, plyometric exercises, Pilates or Yoga into your schedule this will help build core strength and stability which in turn leads to more power for the athlete, and enhances efficiency of movements. This could potentially improve race times and also decrease the chance of developing an over-use injury.

If you would like more information about cross-training, an assessment to screen for muscle imbalances and potential injury risk factors prior to the start of your training schedule, and a specific exercise regimen to combat any deficits – please contact 970.949.9966

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK - Scapular Isometric

This is a great scapular exercise.

- Take an elastic band of sufficient strength and hold it in both hands palm up.
- Keep the elbows pinned to the side of the body.
- While keeping the shoulders depressed, contract the scapula and externally rotate both arms away.
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds. Slowly return hands back to starting position.
- Repeat 10-15 times

Featured Physician of the Month - Dr. Greg Poulter

At Ascent Physical Therapy, we know how lucky we are to have such talented medical professionals in the Vail Valley. We welcome and encourage collaboration and would like to recognize this month's featured physician, Dr. Greg Poulter. Take a moment to read about Dr. Poulter's contribution to the Valley's healthcare system and his commitment to your health...


Specialty: Comprehensive Spine Care & Surgery

Greg Poulter, M.D. joined Vail • Summit Orthopaedics in the summer of 2008. Dr. Poulter completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan and more recently, a fellowship in adult and pediatric spine surgery at the University of California San Francisco. He provides complete spine care for both children and adults, offering the most current minimally-invasive and fusion-sparing techniques.

Dr. Poulter says the active lifestyle of people living in the Colorado Mountains is part of what attracted him to the job. "People who love the outdoors are the best patients to take care of; they are truly vested in getting better so they can get right back out there doing whatever it is they like to do," Poulter said.

Dr. Poulter takes pride in building rapport with his patients, allowing them the time and opportunity to feel comfortable with their diagnosis and treatment plan. He provides individualized care based on the patient’s needs and lifestyle. At VSO, you are truly not just another number.

Dr. Poulter is an avid hiker and skier (formerly a ski instructor) and is excited that he can now call Colorado home. He enjoys spending time with his wife and son and looks forward to continuing to build upon his success with Vail • Summit Orthopaedics.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK - Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Any abnormality of the shoulder blade (scapula) position can result in secondary effects on the function of the shoulder joint. For instance, if the shoulder blade tilts anteriorly and laterally, the space available for the rotator cuff may be narrowed, resulting in tendon abrasion and injury, known as shoulder impingement syndrome.

Scapular stabilization refers to a set of exercises that strengthen the shoulder girdle muscles to restore normal shoulder blade motion and position. A great exercise to perform would be the Shoulder Blade Squeeze.

- Stand or sit with your back straight. Chin tucked in slightly and shoulder should be back
- Slowly move your shoulder blades back and down, so they squeeze together
- Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK - Chest stretch

There are many reasons why people develop shoulder impingement syndrome, but a major factor is poor posture. When individuals have poor posture, the shoulders tend to roll forward, the chest (pectoral) muscles get tight, and the Shoulder blade (scapular) muscles posteriorly become lengthened and weak. This stretch, using the foam roller is marvelous for stretching out the chest muscles!

(Terre's Photo)

- Sit on one end of the roller and then lay back. Your head should be resting on the roller and your knees should be bent with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart to provide balance.
- Drop arms out to the side. Let gravity stretch the muscles of the chest and shoulders. Hold for 1 minute.
- Bend both elbows to 90 degrees, forearms parallel to the ground. Hold this stretch for 1 minute.
- Move arms up, so they are becoming level with your ears, and hands are above the head (horizontally, not vertically). Hold this stretch for 1 minute.

Check out this video for more information and visual instruction:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common cause of shoulder pain. The symptoms can be pain with overhead activities, such as reaching, throwing, tennis serves, or putting clothes on. There may also be painful popping or clicking when you reach your arm overhead. Impingement can be caused by degenerative changes to muscles or bones in the shoulder and/or by shoulder instability and abnormal movement patterns of the joint.

The bony structure of the shoulder (glenohumeral joint) is inherently unstable and is the most commonly dislocated major joint in the body. Shoulder stability is due to a combination of ligaments, joint capsule, the glenoid labrum, and surrounding musculature of the rotator cuff and scapular (shoulder blade).

The cause of shoulder impingement varies from person to person. Repetitive overhead activities, either recreational (such as tennis, swimming, or baseball) or work related (such as construction, electrical work, or serving) are often contributing factors. Diagnosis of impingement syndrome can be made clinically based on symptoms, special tests of the shoulder for impingement, and, if necessary, diagnostic imaging to evaluate bony or structural changes in the shoulder.

Treatment for impingement syndrome has two primary phases. The first phase is to decrease pain and inflammation and the second phase is to change and restore the mechanics of the shoulder.

Initial treatment may include rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy modalities, and avoidance of aggravating activity. Low level laser therapy is also very effective to decrease the pain and inflammation.

Restoring the appropriate mechanics of the shoulder is achieved by an individualized program to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder and shoulder blade. Stretching short and tight muscles and joint mobilization may also be included in this phase of rehabilitation. Working to correct muscle imbalances of and surrounding the shoulder will allow the joint to again move in the ideal pattern and decrease the stresses on the irritated and impinged structures. By receiving the proper treatment most of the pain from shoulder impingement can be eliminated and can help reduce your risk for shoulder surgery in the future.

Monday, March 8, 2010

HOW IS YOUR POSTURE? (as featured in March's Newsletter)



A normal thoracic (mid/upper-back) spine has a naturally occurring curve. However, abnormal excessive curvature of the thoracic spine does occur. There are a few medical conditions that can cause this, such as osteoporosis, but the majority of people will experience excessive thoracic spine curvature due to poor posture!

With the growing amount of time we spend hunched over at the computer or slouched while driving or watching TV, excessive thoracic spine curvature is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. Even if you are one of the more active individuals, certain sports and exercises can also predispose you to this posture such as cycling.

This excessive curvature triggers chain reactions through the body, often leading to painful conditions:

• The resulting decrease in available movement of the mid/upper-back causes an increase in movement in the neck and low-back. This can cause these areas to become irritated and painful. So what you thought was a sore low back could be stemming from a stiff mid/upper back!

• Prolonged slumped sitting causes the pelvis to tilt backward which leads to a permanent lengthening and stretching of ligaments and muscles. Over a long period, the accompanying neural and connective tissue incorrectly adapt and this can be difficult to remedy.

• While standing, excessive thoracic curvature causes the low-back to compensate by excessively curving in the opposite direction. This causes increased pressure on the low-back spinal joints and discs, which could lead to disc degeneration and potentially disc prolapses, commonly known as ‘slipped-disc’.

• Pain and grinding under the shoulder blade is linked to excessive thoracic spine curvature. The shoulders roll forward which contributes to inflammation of the rotator cuff tendon, and to shoulder impingement pain experienced when the arm is lifted, making overhead exercises difficult.

Poor posture forces the neck and head to move forward which can cause neck pain and headaches!

So, what kind of posture do you have? If you have poor posture, it is imperative that you correct it before these injuries and conditions develop!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Its that time of month again to take advantage of our free laser clinic. Here at Ascent Physical Therapy we use low level laser therapy (LLLT), also known as cold laser to help treat a variety of conditions including carpal tunnel, arthritis, muscle and joint pain, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, heel spurs and swelling. It works by stimulating and energizing the cells in the injured area, to repair and strengthen at a remarkably fast rate.
The benefits include:

- It can relieve acute and chronic pain
- Increases the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair
- Increases blood supply
- Stimulates the immune system
- Stimulates nerve function
- Helps generate new and healthy cells and tissue
- Promotes faster wound healing
- Reduces inflammation

This month the clinic is being held on Tuesday, Feb 23rd 2010, from 4pm-7pm. Call (970) 949-9966 today to schedule a free ML830 laser treatment.

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK - Modified Superman

This is a great exercise to encourage thoracic extension, while also strengthening the extensor muscles of the back.

- Lie on the exercise ball, with the legs extended, and feet about hip width apart for balance. Rest your chin on the ball

- With a smooth movement, draw the shoulder blades back, while turning the palms up towards the ceiling, extending the arms

- Hold this position for the count of 5, and slowly return to the starting position

- Repeat 10-15 times, 1-3 sets

Stop if you experience pain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Our 5th Anniversary Open House event was a great success. Thanks to so many people for showing up and participating in our fun competitions!

We had many winners and we just wanted to acknowledge them and say a big congratulations!!

Elizabeth Berg was the lucky winner of a pair of custom foot orthotics from Sole Supports!!

Rebecca Ruck, Ray Maddison, Sheena Lee, Lori Turner and Dr. Kerry Ferguson all won a Physical Therapy or Fitness Session. While Lilian Myers and Ellie Mallon were the lucky winners of the free massage with our great massage therapist Abbie Kirscher!

Loren Dumont won the gift certificate to Avon Liquors.

Don Frye won the foam roller, while David Tucholke won the Exercise Ball.

Thanks once again to everyone who came, we really appreciate your support!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK - Thoracic rotation and Extension

Continuing on from last weeks exercise for thoracic mobility, this week we are looking specifically at thoracic rotation and extension - two movements that can become very restricted in individuals who sit at computers all day, or have a poor posture.

Check out this video showing the exercise:Thoracic rotation and Extension Exercise

- Get into the quadruped position (on your hands and knees, spine level like a table top).

- Place your left hand on your head, elbow flexed, so you are balancing on your right hand and knees. Move your left elbow up towards the ceiling

- In a controlled movement, drive the elbow down and underneath your chest towards the right knee. Slowly return to the starting position.

- Repeat 10 times, then swap sides!

Stop if you experience pain!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Ascent Physical Therapy cordially invites you to an Open House to celebrate our 5th Anniversary!

There will be competitions and raffles to enter for your chance to win some great prizes including:

- Physical therapy or fitness performance sessions
- Gift certificates to Avon Liquors
- Therapeutic foam roller
- Custom foot orthotics (valued at $250)
- Exercise Ball
- Massages

We will also be providing great food from Kirby Cosmos Barbeque and drinks.

So if you are in the area, pop by from 4-8pm on Tuesday 9th February!

We are located in the Lodge at Avon Center, 100W. Beaver Creek Blvd, Suite 204, Avon, CO, 81620 or call 970.949.9966 for more information.

Monday, February 1, 2010

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK - Thoracic mobility

Every week we will be bringing you a new exercise to try which is related to the topic of the month. This month the topic is thoracic spine!

Foam rollers are a great adjunct to traditional exercise therapy. They can be used for stretching, self myofascial release, core stability and balance training. The following exercise, with the use of the foam roller, is great for improving thoracic spine mobility because it encourages movement at each thoracic segment.

Place the roller perpendicular to your spine. Lie on the roller around mid back level - just below your shoulder blades. Bend your knees and lift your hips up, supporting your head with your hands.

Roll back and forth from the top of the shoulders down to the bottom of the rib cage - avoid rolling up your neck.

Start with doing this for 20 seconds, repeating 3 times; progressing to a minute as able.

If you are interested in purchasing a foam roller, contact (970) 949-9966 for more information.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Avoid Knee Pain (as featured in January's Newsletter)

Knee pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint that brings people to their doctor, and with today's increasingly active society, the number of knee problems is increasing. Fortunately knee pain can be relieved and possibly avoided with these simple steps.

1. Strengthen your gluts – research has shown that knee injuries, including ACL tears and ‘runners knee’ can occur when glut muscles, specifically gluteus medius, are weak.

2. Maintain a healthy weight – being overweight makes women four times more likely, and men fives time more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.

3. Stretch – The hamstrings and hip adductors often become tight, as a result of being overworked due to weak glut muscles. This muscle imbalance can result in compressive forces on the knee joint, leading to knee pain.

4. Strengthen your core – a weak core can result in poor spinal alignment, which has a knock on affect to the position of your knees. Strengthening your core muscles will allow your knees to be in the best position for movement without joint compression.

5. Pay special attention to your feet – Foot biomechanics has a huge effect on the rest of your body, especially your knees. Being flat footed, over pronating, wearing high heels (which can cause tight calf muscles) or not changing you running shoes regularly could increase your risk of developing knee pain.

If you have problems with your knees, make an appointment at Ascent Physical Therapy today – (970) 949 9966. We can evaluate the source of your pain and develop an appropriate treatment protocol to help relieve those knee symptoms.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an injury of the main ligament in the arch of your foot. The plantar fascia runs from heel to toe across the bottom of your foot and acts as the main soft tissue support of your arch.

The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain. Some people will feel pain throughout the entire arch of the foot. Frequently symptoms are worst first thing in the morning or the first steps after sitting for a prolonged time. As symptoms increase any walking or weight bearing activity can become painful and debilitating.

Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by repetitive stress on the arch because of abnormal foot mechanics. With over pronation the foot widens and elongates excessively pulling on the plantar fascia. With a high arch or supinated foot the plantar fascia becomes shortened and tight and is susceptible to abnormal force. In both cases extra tension on the fascia can cause abnormal force where it attaches to the heel bone causing tissue damage and inflammation.

Treatment consists of two stages. The first stage is decreasing any acute inflammation. The second stage is changing the mechanics of the foot to decrease stresses on the fascia and prevent re-injury. To decrease initial pain anti-inflammatory treatments are indicated, including oral anti-inflammatories, ice, taping, soft tissue mobilization, and physical therapy modalities such as low level laser. To improve mechanics of the foot stretching of the fascia and calf muscles are very important to reduce stress. Custom foot orthotics are also important in long term management of plantar fasciitis. Properly supporting the arch will reduce stress on the fascia, allowing it to heal and preventing future injury.

If you have questions about plantar fasciitis or custom foot orthotics, contact Ascent Physical Therapy at (970)949-9966 and one of our therapists will be happy to help.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pre-employment Screening

Keith McCarroll, PT and Owner of Ascent Physical Therapy will be speaking at a Safety Seminar for local businesses on how 'Pre-Employment Screening could help save on Workers Compensation'. The lecture is being held in association with the Vail Valley Safety Group, members of the Vail Valley Partnership. Companies, such as Pinnacol Assurance, Arrow Insurance, HUB International Southwest and Vail Valley Partnership are sponsoring this quarterly event. It is being held at 9:30AM at Edwards Ambulance District Building, in Edwards, CO, on Friday 15th January 2010. Please call Ascent Physical Therapy for more information - (970)949-9966, or Michelle Kobelan at Vail Valley Partnership (970) 477-4001

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year, New Team.

Ascent Physical Therapy is proud to announce two new members of our team, Helen Bradley, PT and Leigh Ann Bryan.

Helen is a graduate of Cardiff University in Wales. She has worked several years with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom specializing in Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy including extensive time doing spinal rehabilitation. Helen has also been involved in sports medicine with the Lincoln Rugby Club and Royal Navy Cricket Team. Helen is an avid snowboarder and works as an instructor at Vail Resorts in her free time.

Leigh Ann is the new Clinic Manager. After graduating with a BA in Bioinformatics from Houston, Texas, she saw the light and moved to Colorado in 2008. She will be attending graduate school to earn her MS in Physician Assistant studies in August. With an interest in Orthopedics, she is happy to be working in a PT clinic.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a painless, sterile, non-evasive, drug free treatment which is used to treat a variety of pain syndromes, injuries, wounds, fractures, etc. This treatment can be used for the control of pain when conventional therapies have been ineffective or the acceleration of healing from injuries is desired. There are no pulsating shocks felt or heat used. Statistically 75-80% of patients notice immediate improvement in their condition. The number of treatments depends upon the severity of the condition.

For more information on LLLT for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, read this interesting study by General Motors. For some recent research the blog by THOR has some great abstracts.

At Ascent Physical Therapy we offer a free laser clinic once a month.

This month the clinic is being held on Tuesday, Jan 26th 2010, from 4pm-7pm. Call (970) 949-9966 today to schedule a free ML830 laser treatment.