The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team forward Jozy Altidore suffered a left hamstring strain in USA’s 2-0 victory against Jamaica on June 19, leaving him on the sideline for the next 4-6 weeks. This injury can cause problems for the U.S. due to specific CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament rules prohibiting replacing a player on the roster during competition.
A hamstring strain is caused by a tear in one or many of the upper leg muscles. There are three different grades of strains, which also come with their own pain levels. The first consists of minor tears in muscle, the second is a partial tear, and the third is a full rupture or rigorous tear in the muscle. There are many ways to treat this type of strain including active release technique, a patented soft tissue manual therapy technique which re-aligns the muscle fibers, stretching, and functional exercises. A physical therapist can also provide one with stretches and exercises to prevent a pulled muscle.
Here’s a short video on how to properly stretch your hamstrings to help prevent injury:
Spring has finally sprung! With the sunnier skies, warm-weather sports such as running are gearing up. People are out in droves trying to shed off the winter pounds and get into shape. Unfortunately, running and other fitness activities can bring on overuse injuries in people’s lower legs and ankles. Excel’s physical therapist, Joe Zazworskey, DPT, was recently interviewed by Advance, a physical therapy industry magazine regarding common ankle injuries he treats. Click here to read his and other therapists’ prospective on ankle injuries and learn how you can avoid them this season!
As Fightin039# Phils fans are aware, when September comes around there039#s a potential for some heated battles to decide the final 8 teams to make the playoffs and continue their quest for a World Series Championship. This means players are running faster, throwing harder, and swinging to knock the laces off of the ball. Unfortunately, with a grueling 162 game season, this may also mean that players are reaching points at which they may begin to break down.
For example, let us look at what039#s happened recently to Oakland A039#s pitcher Andrew Bailey. Tuesday morning, the A039#s organization decided to shut down Bailey due to elbow soreness that he has been experiencing throughout the year. Despite having a generally better year than his rookie season, he has produced less strike outs with a decreased ability to force a ground ball. With twelve games to go in the season, and the A039#s essentially out of the playoff hunt, it seems that shutting the young pitcher down is a good idea.
What exactly is tennis elbow? It is a condition in which the tendon which is involved with finger and wrist extension (opposite of making a fist) becomes overused. As this happens, the tendon exhibits multiple microscopic tears that then heal and create scarring throughout the tendon. The tendon/muscles then become strained further as their capacity is diminished, but the demand on them has remained the same. This can happen for many reasons, but is typically not the elbow039#s fault. According to the article, Bailey has had a rib cage injury that has plagued him throughout the season. This may cause him to decrease his trunk rotation, thus exerting more force onto his arm in order to throw hard. He may have some mild dysfunction in his shoulder mechanics that is causing undue stress at his elbow.
Regardless of the cause, the treatment for tennis elbow must start at the elbow. In order to resolve this problem, the scar tissue that has formed within the tendon must be broken down and remodeled so that it can begin to withstand strain again. A great way of accomplishing this task quickly and efficiently is through a manual therapy known as Active Release Technique (ART). This patented soft tissue technique effectively breaks up scar tissue and adhered muscle tissue.
The certified provider provides specific direct pressure to the scarred area while you move your wrist down- creating a release. The results are amazing and people can be back to activity typically within 3-5 sessions.
Prevention of an injury however is always the starting point. The wrist extension stretch can be a savior to anyone who does a lot of repetitive work with their hands.
She tells us that within as little as one visit, she has seen improvements in
shoulder flexibility that allows the individual to perform functional overhead activities. She has also seen reduction in elbow pain when the person is performing activities that involve using the wrist and hand.
Erica recently worked with a patient who had been dealing with shoulder pain and limited motion overhead for several years, with minimal relief from previous physical therapy treatment. Within four visits and use of Active Release Technique, the patient was able to reach overhead to touch the back of his head with improved mobility and little to no pain! This was his major reason for attending therapy and his goal was achieved in a short time.
“It is because of this that I love incorporating this manual treatment in my patients program and of course they love the quick results as well”, says Erica. Here is a quick demonstration and explanation from Erica on the benefits of Active Release Technique:
Active Release Technique® (or ART®) is a patented manual therapy technique that corrects soft tissue restrictions that lead to pain and decreased mobility. Combined with traditional rehabilitation activities, this technique is producing extraordinary functional outcomes with patients.
Patients with repetitive use injuries, frozen shoulder, tendinopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff pathology, restricted joint motion and sprains/strains are examples of diagnoses that respond well to ART®. Usually a patient will see significant results within just a few visits. ART® is not only the treatment of choice for high performance athletes and workers’ compensation managers, but also for top sports medicine physicians in the tri-state area.
Excel Physical Therapy & Fitness has more certified ART® providers than any physical therapy practice on the East Coast. Each of our eight locations has at least one certified ART® therapist. Click here for a list of Certified ART providers near you.
Active Release Technique is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system / movement based massage technique that focuses on evaluation and treatment of soft tissue injuries. Acute injuries and chronic micro-trauma tears (over-use syndromes such as tennis elbow and shin splints) develop scar tissue in the affected area and further entrap muscle and fascia that needs to move with our daily activities (work and recreation). If the tissue does not move freely, more tension is created and the tissue is once again adversely affected. Once an area of soft tissue injury is evaluated, the correct technique is applied and re-tested for changes in range of motion, strength, pain reduction and function.
Active Release Techniques (ART) have changed the way that I evaluate and treat soft tissue injuries (muscle, tendon, ligament, fascia and nerve entrapments). I have been using the techniques for 3 years and have noted a dramatic difference in the ability to get patients back to their functional goals quicker and with greater success. Patients are usually surprised the changes in motion, strength, quality of movement and reduced pain after the techniques are applied – and even more pleased at the lasting results. Patients have commented on the difference between ART and other conservative therapy techniques noting that it is generally more comfortable and provides immediate and lasting results – obviously something they are looking for when medical costs are rising and time outside of family and work has diminished.
Some common injuries that are treated with ART:
Back and Neck pain
Tennis and Golfers elbow
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Plantar fasciitis / Achilles tendinitis
Rotator cuff injuries
Sprains and strains
Click herefor some more examples of how ART can help you. If you have any questions or concerns, please read our FAQ section or contact a local ART provider.
Since becoming certified in Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) for the lower extremities (legs), I am amazed almost daily in the results my patients are obtaining. While ART is well known in the elite running and triathlon communities, these are not the types of patients I treat. I treat the weekend warrior with patellar tendonitis, the beginner runner sidelined with shin splints and the local teacher who has plantar fasciitis from standing all day. I now understand why top athletes have embraced this method of treatment. It works and it works fast.
From the time I began practicing PT, I have always believed in a manual (hands on) approach to injury treatment. What I like in particular about A.R.T is the participation factor of the patient. After I find the scar tissue in the tendon, muscle or ligament and apply specific pressure, the patient moves their leg in a manner that places tension on that structure. The patient039#s active movement and verbal feedback allows me to provide a much more focused therapy.
After I create the “release”, I follow the manual treatment with functional exercises that utilize the patient039#s new found range of motion. I have found that this combination of A.R.T and functionally-based exercises to be extremely effective. My colleagues have also recognized the effectiveness of A.R.T. and now 14 of us company wide are A.R.T. certified in the treatment of upper extremities (arms) and the spine. It is not the end-all –be –all of treatment for soft tissue injuries, but it sure is another tool in my treatment “kit” that I can now use to get my patients better, faster. For more information on A.R.T. go to www.activerelease.com
Contributed by: Brandi Feinberg, PT, ATC, CSCS, Cert. ART