Rehab after surgery or injury

Taking part in a cyling endurance event this summer? Read our 10 top tips for staying injury free and making it to the end!

I recently spent the weekend with my brother, Anthony, and his wife who live just outside Salisbury. Anthony has recently given up full time GP practice and now just helps out one day a week at a lovely, little, local practice.

Alongside his long career as a GP my brother has worked as the doctor for many charity bike rides. This has combined his love of cycling, travelling, photography and medicine as well as helping to raise a huge amount for various charities.

He has also learnt a thing or two about how to avoid injury and make it to your final destination in one piece!

Exciting announcement!

I’m proud to announce that Physio on the River is going to be one of the sponsors for the parents of Barnes Primary School who have formed a team of 42 cyclists and will be riding to Amsterdam this June to raise money for the school. We are keen to help them every way we can. So when visiting my brother I asked him for his top tips for doing a long cycling event like the one to Amsterdam. Together with some of our own ideas, here are 10 pieces of good advice.

Our 10 top tips for staying the distance

1. Gears

Get used to your gears – REALLY used to your gears. Otherwise you will simply get exhausted and you won’t make the distance.

2. Speed

You should be pedalling between 60-90 revolutions per minute. If you are going much faster, you will never make it to Amsterdam or wherever your heading.

3. Handlebars

Don’t grip the handlebars tightly. Get used to holding them loosely and let your elbows relax. Otherwise you can end up with Tennis Elbow or Carpal Tunnel syndrome (irritation of the nerve that passes across the front of your wrist and supplies your thumb, index and middle fingers).

You might even consider wrapping more sponge around your handlebars so you can’t grip as tightly. The padding will also provide more cushioning, so you are less likely to develop Carpal Tunnel syndrome.

4. Bums are less important than knees!

If you suffer from knee problems, have your saddle a little higher. If it’s too low your knees won’t make it to Amsterdam, but your bum will and it’s no good if you can’t walk when you arrive!

5. Saddles

Don’t wear a saddle cover because they slip around and can blister your bum. Get yourself a gel saddle but not a gel saddle cover. Don’t get anything with hair on it. Anthony once saw someone with a tiger fur covered saddle and the rider only lasted two hours! It just creates too much friction where you really don’t want friction…..

6. Training tips

When training don’t forget to throw in some swimming, especially backstroke as it’s great for strengthening your back and your back will take a lot of punishment on the ride. You want it to be strong and supple. It’s a great antidote to all that crouching over the handlebars.

In fact, my physio team and I would recommend plenty of variety in your training – not just cycling. Just like any big sporting event, addressing all aspects of fitness will help your performance.

Something like yoga or a stretching regime can help with flexibility. Hip flexors which cross the front of your hips, can get very short and tight in cyclists.  

Pilates exercises are great for improving your core strength. For your legs to power you efficiently you will need a strong core from which your leg muscles can work.

As mentioned earlier swimming is both good for back muscles and good for fitness. Going to the gym to strengthen your leg muscles is essential and whilst there, work on your aerobic fitness with some cardio work like rowing, running and cross trainer. Perhaps not cycling as I’m sure you will be spending plenty of time on that in your training already!

Try and mix up your training so you include a selection of activities through the week. If you need any help both Physios, Richard and Dave, offer personal training at our clinic.

7. Bike fitting assessment

It’s important to make sure your bike is set up absolutely correctly for you. Our cycling ‘guru’ and Physiotherapist, Richard Game, is trained to carry out Bike Fitting assessments in our clinic.

The advantage of having a Physiotherapist carry out your assessment is that they can not only look at how the bike fits you – but also, how you fit the bike.

Very few people are completely symmetrical and most of us have areas of weakness or tightness in our bodies. For example, even though your bike may be set up correctly for you, you may cycle with one knee falling inwards. This may be because your buttock muscles are weak and have nothing to do with the bike set up. This is something that a Physiotherapist will pick up on and can help you address.

8. Working proactively on injury prevention

Bike fitting

Physio Richard can do a Physio screening assessment to identify any weak points in your body that could start to give you problems as you increase your mileage and up your training. Remember that cycling is a very repetitive sport! Once identified he can design a bespoke programme of strength and conditioning and flexibility exercises. You can be working on this programme alongside your normal cycling training. Prevention is so much better than cure.

9. Getting your soft tissues in tip top condition

Many keen cyclists have a very sedentary day job. Spending lots of time in front of your computer can often lead to poor posture and tight hamstring, hip flexors, neck and back muscles. Having some regular sports massages can help to get your muscles and other soft tissues in the best condition.

The Massage Therapist can work on your tight muscle groups and improve your flexibility. Massage is also a useful way to aid recovery following the event. We have a team of three Massage Therapists who are all experienced in pre and post-event massage. In fact, Rachel is a triathlete herself, so knows all about preparation and recovery for big events.

10. Hydration and nutrition

Especially when abroad, use a capped water bottle. You are far less likely to get stomach problems – it’s amazing what the front wheel flicks up!

Anthony recommends that nibbling long-burn carbs/protein (nuts and fruit) is more fun than putting additives into your water bottle. The latter is only necessary on rides over 100k. Anthony advises to avoid meat at lunchtime as it ruins afternoon performance and isn’t needed.

He stressed the importance of ensuring you are pre-loaded with water at the start of your day. If you have not peed by 11 o’clock you should be worried. If you haven’t peed by 12.30, stop riding as dehydration lurks.

We hope you find these tips useful and we wish charity teams all the best for their endeavours over the summer months!

Next steps…..

If you would like to book a Bike Fitting Assessment or a Cycle Screening Physio Assessment with Richard, or you are interested in a sports massage, personal training or our Yoga and Pilates classes, just:

Call us on 020 8876 5690

Email us here

Or simply pop in for a chat – we are always happy to chat things through first.

How Physio helps recovery from Anterior Cruciate Ligament skiing injury

With the Easter holidays underway, it’s that time of year again for skiing fun!

Hopefully you will have done your pre-skiing preparation but unfortunately, even with the best laid plans, injuries can still occur.

Katherine Ashmore is one of our team of Physiotherapists and a keen skier herself. In this blog she runs through the common mechanisms of ACL injury, how the diagnosis is made, the options for treatment and how Physio is vital to recovery whether you choose surgery or not.

Common mechanisms of injury

Common down-hill skiing injuries to the knees occur when landing from a jump or going over moguls, colliding with another skier as you exit the ski lift, or simply falling and twisting your knee.

We also see upper limb injuries when falling onto the outstretched hand or landing heavily onto the shoulder.  The injuries are often brought on by one too many at lunchtime, bad snow, tiredness at the end of a day or when bindings do not release!

The most prevalent types of injury are bone fractures, joint dislocations or soft tissue injuries such as ligament strains, tears and ruptures. The knee is the most common area to injure and more specifically –  injuries to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament) and medial meniscus (inner cartilage) tears being top of the list!  A combination of all three is called ‘The Unhappy Triad’.

Focusing on the Anterior Cruciate Ligament

sourced from www.sportsmedicineeuk.co.uk

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located deep inside the knee joint and attaches the thigh bone (femur) to the main shin bone (tibia). It keeps the knee stable by preventing the forward motion of the shin from going too far and the knee from rotating too much.

The vast majority of ACL injuries happen during slow-speed turns, often in sticky, slushy snow, towards the end of the day when the skier is distracted and tired. The ski goes one way and the skier’s body weight goes the other causing rotation of the knee. Because of the slow speed the bindings don’t release.

This tends to happen to beginners, but can also happen to experts who have their bindings very tight and get momentarily distracted in the conditions described above. At higher speeds, the bindings release and the injury is less likely; hence, the advice is to ski positively and ensure that the ski bindings set properly.

How do I know it’s an ACL injury?

With severe injury, one hears a loud pop or feels a snapping sensation, followed by intense pain and immediate swelling and difficulty walking.   Diagnosis is confirmed by a specialist (Physiotherapist or Orthopaedic Consultant) and MRI.  An arthroscopy can detect a partial tear. Much less usually very experienced skiers can carry on skiing after injury.

How can Physiotherapy help?

sourced from milfordphysio.co.nz

Once you have your diagnosis there are two routes – surgery versus non-surgery.

A surgeon will weigh up the factors with you: your age, lifestyle and sports interests and whether you wish to go through the surgical route.  The knee can be very strong and able without requiring a functioning ACL and these options will be discussed with you, including any associated risk of further injury or limitations in exercise or mobility.

Whether or not you opt for surgery, Physiotherapy is vital to strengthen the knee and get you back to full fitness. Without Physio the knee can remain weak and more susceptible to recurrent injury.

What is prehab?

Often if surgery is required, the surgeon will wait for the swelling to go down first.  This is a great opportunity to receive ‘prehab’. Our Physios will help you to strengthen your knee muscles prior to surgery and get you physically and mentally prepared for your operation. Having knowledge of the exercises you will need to do post surgery is a great help and we find our clients do better with this preparation.

Post op rehab

Where the prognosis indicates surgery, the surgeon will discuss with you whether you use one of your own tendons (commonly a bit of the hamstring) to repair the ACL or use a synthetic option. It is a very common procedure and depending on your level of exercise will take 8-12 months of graded physiotherapy rehabilitation to get back to full sport.  You may even be back to skiing within the year!

What does rehab involve?

Treatment will involve:

  • a carefully graded exercise programme
  • advice on swelling reduction measures
  • graded return to exercise (we can tell you what exercise, how much and at what stage) and
  • latterly sports specific exercise drills if required

Some surgeons have very specific protocols they like us to follow and others are not so prescriptive. but either way we have the expertise and experience to guide you through the process.

We work closely with Orthopaedic Consultants locally and in central London clinics and can fast track you to be seen quickly with one of them if necessary.

Should you receive a skiing injury we are here to help you with both diagnosis and treatment. 

Please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our Physiotherapist,  Katherine Ashmore, or another member of our Physio team. 

To book an appointment:

Call 0203 916 0286

Book an appointment online

Email us here

Or just drop in for a chat with one of our Physios!

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to read our other skiing blogs click here.

 

Are you considering joint replacement surgery? Read how we can help you prepare and recover!

This time of year is a popular time to consider having a hip or knee replacement – in the hope you will be fit in time for summer!

Many of our clients end up having both knees or both hips operated on and it’s noticeable how much quicker they recover after the second. This is usually because they know what to expect and are already familiar with the exercises and rehab that is required.

For this reason we would urge anyone considering the operation for the first time to come and see us about 3-4 months beforehand so that we can do some ‘prehab’. We can make sure they are as good as they can be before surgery and are fully informed about what the surgery and rehab will entail. Forewarned is forearmed!

What are the effects of having osteoarthritis?

 

Difficulty rising from a chair

Most clients awaiting surgery have had osteoarthritis in their joint for some years. The disease causes the following things to happen:

  • the muscles surrounding the joint become weakened and wasted
  • they lose some of their range of movement because of stiffness of the joint
  • the surrounding ligaments and muscles often tighten up further restricting movement
  • the pain and weakness causes the person to limp and usually limits their walking distance. They often resort to a stick or crutch.
  • Everyday activities such as getting up from a chair or ascending and descending stairs become harder to do
  • With activity levels limited people often take less exercise and put on weight which becomes a vicious cycle

How can Physiotherapy prehab help?

We carry out a comprehensive assessment of your range of movement, muscle strength, walking gait, posture and ability to do everyday activities. From this we can tailor a programme of exercises that will help to:

  • build back some muscle strength in your trunk, hip and knee
  • allow you to become familiar with the exercises that you will need to do after surgery
  • where possible restore some movement in your joint
  • improve your walking pattern and learn what a normal gait is and what you should concentrate on after surgery. Even practise using crutches in advance of your surgery
  • practise everyday activities and become better at performing them, as you gain more strength and flexibility

If you have limped for some time you tend to forget the normal way of walking as the limp becomes a learnt habit. People normally limp because they are in pain and because their muscles are weak. If you can strengthen the muscles that support the arthritic joint then the pain is often reduced and walking becomes easier.

We also give advice on:

  • footwear to reduce stress through the arthritic joint
  • some clients require an appointment with our podiatrist who can help them correct foot posture that may be having an adverse affect on their hip or knee – for example excessively rolling your ankle in or out too much
  • the benefits of low impact exercise which, although may be painful, does not have a harmful effect on the joint and will not make the disease any worse
  • the benefits of keeping your weight under control to reduce stress in the arthritic joint
  • what to expect after your surgery and a plan of how your rehab will progress

We do sometimes find that clients postpone their surgery as a result of working on their prehab particularly if they have not had Physiotherapy before being offered surgery!

Your post-op rehab

Sadly in many NHS hospitals patients are discharged with little or no Physiotherapy help with their rehab. It’s absolutely essential that the muscles surrounding the joint have their strength restored if you are to get the most potential from your new hip or knee. We see many clients who come to see us a year after surgery and who have failed to regain their movement and are struggling with everyday activities due to poor muscle strength.

The muscles that surround the hip and knee are some of the largest in the body. They waste very quickly and need focused attention to be restored to their former glory! They are the muscles that get you up from sitting, help you walk along the flat and up and down hills and help you climb the stairs. When these muscles are not retrained it’s common to develop lower back pain as the back will take much of the strain.

Retraining your walking pattern so you can shed your crutch or stick is an urgent priority. We will teach you drills to get you from climbing stairs one step at a time to climbing them normally. Our aim is to break all these tasks down into bite sized pieces and gradually progress the difficulty until you master the skill in question.

To book an appointment with one of our Physio team just:

Call 0203 916 0286

Contact us by email here

Book online

Or just pop in for a chat!

 

Read how new shockwave therapy can help those stubborn tendon problems and more!

Here at Physio on the River, we are always working to ensure we deliver the most up to date evidence based therapies to our clients.

We are very pleased to now offer Shockwave therapy . This is a very effective therapy for many chronic painful musculoskeletal problems, examples of which are: Plantar Fasciitis of the foot, Achilles Tendonopathy, Tennis Elbow and Calcific Tendonitis of the shoulder.

sourced from Complete Pain Care

This type of treatment is now recommended by the majority of Consultant Orthopaedic surgeons when muscular, connective tissue (the web of connecting tissue between structures) and tendon problems become chronic (i.e. lasting longer than 3 months).

What is shockwave therapy?

There are many different types of machines that use varying physical mechanisms to produce shockwaves. The machine manipulates these shockwaves to deliver the appropriate dosage to bodily tissues to achieve a therapeutic response.

The most recent mode of doing this is electromagnetic pulse shockwaves. Here at Physio on the River, we are excited that we can offer this type of shockwave therapy. It uses rapid electromagnetic pulses to create precise, low amplitude shockwaves directly to tissues. The major benefit of this is that it is far less painful than many other forms of shockwave production and delivery, for example compressed air.

Can it do any harm?

As well as having a large body of academic evidence for the positive outcomes of this type of therapy (e.g. Legat 2014; Loska 2017; Moya et al 2015), it has the added benefit of having very few risk factors or contra-indications.

The National Institute of Clinical Effectiveness (NICE) guidelines have been produced for the use of shockwave therapy for many common musculoskeletal conditions including: plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy and trochanteric (hip) pain syndrome. As you may have read in the press NICE are a hard nut to crack and endorsement from this organisation carries weight.

At initial assessment, if shockwave is for some reason not the best clinical option for you, the physiotherapist will discuss alternative options either at Physio on the River or referring you to a different healthcare provider, as appropriate.

What does the treatment involve?

The package of care for shockwave therapy will involve an initial Physiotherapy assessment followed by a package of as many treatments as required. The number of treatments required on average vary between 4 and 10, depending on area to be treated and the reaction to treatment.

The machine has  a small hand-held device through which the shockwaves are given. The treatment is quite noisy and can sometimes feel uncomfortable but is only given in short bursts of time. We only treat to a person’s tolerance!

How much does it cost?

Sessions of Shockwave are typically charged at £150 -£200 per session throughout the clinics in London that provide it. We are offering outstanding value – a block of 4 Shockwave treatments (typically 4-10 sessions are required) for only £300 – meaning a potential saving of up to £500!

Some health insurance companies, including Bupa, are now offering cover for this treatment so if you hold a policy it is worth checking with your company first.

If you would like to book an appointment:

Call the clinic on 0203 916 0286

Book online by clicking here.

Contact us by email here.

Or pop into the clinic in person – we’d love to have a chat!

 

 

  • Physio on the River

    The Old Ticket Office
    Barnes Bridge
    Barnes
    SW13 0NP
  • 020 8876 6152

  • Opening Hours

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    Tues: 8am – 9pm
    Wed: 7am – 9pm
    Thurs: 8am – 9pm
    Fri: 7.30am – 7pm
    Sat: 8am – 2.30pm
    Sun: Closed

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