Training in Planes

Many trendy buzzwords and catch phrases are often used in fitness circles, with the phrase “training in planes” heard quite frequently. The concept, which has nothing to do with aviation, sounds interesting, but what does it really mean?

Simply put, every move we make involves one of the following three planes of motion in the body: the sagittal plane, which involves a flexion or extension, such as squatting, walking or pressing a weight overhead; the frontal plane, which is an abduction or side flexion, such as a lateral arm raise or a side bend; and the transverse plane, which involves a rotation, such as a golf swing, a swing of a baseball bat or a throw.

The aim of training in planes is to prepare the body for any movement during activities, whatever they may be. Training in planes

  • exercises the body in a balanced manner
  • builds functional strength in virtually every major muscle group
  • keeps all movement in proper proportion
  • helps the body move more effectively because it emphasizes movement in three dimensions

Another important benefit is that training in planes usually benefits the core muscle group, also known as the midsection, which provides the basis for a person’s ability to move. This aids virtually everything we do, giving us strength, agility, balance and body control.

We will be happy to meet with you to develop an exercise program that involves all three planes and benefits your core muscle group while meeting your individual needs. Your body will thank you as it moves through its daily activities with increased agility, stability, endurance, strength and general fitness.

Physical Therapy for Skier’s Thumb

Thumb injuries are quite common, especially among skiers. During a fall, a skier’s thumb can easily catch against the ski pole, resulting in a tear of the ligament that stabilizes the thumb. This ligament, known as the ulnar collateral ligament, normally keeps the thumb from pointing too far away from the hand. When it is injured, typical symptoms include pain, bruising, swelling over the torn ligament and weakness when grasping objects.

Treatment depends on the extent of the tear. To repair a partial tear, wearing a cast or modified splint for four to six weeks might be sufficient. For a full tear, especially where a person experiences significant instability, surgery may be needed to reattach the torn ends of the ligament.

Usually, surgery performed within the first few weeks following the tear offers the best outcome. A cast afterwards provides protection while the torn ligament heals. This is an ideal time to see us to design a rehabilitative program. After your cast is removed, gentle motion can usually start. Suggested exercises typically focus on helping you to

  • normalize strength
  • regain flexibility
  • enhance coordination
  • improve range of motion

By following the program, you can expect to return to skiing or playing sports approximately three to four months after surgery. It is crucial that you avoid stressful postures or any direct forces during the rehabilitation phase to give the ligament enough time to properly heal.

Once you add physical therapy exercises to your treatment regimen, you can expect to get back into skiing and other sports soon. We can address your particular needs and help you attain your goals.

Elbow Excellence Through Tommy John Surgery

One of the major advancements in sports medicine in the last 35 years, surgical repair of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is named for Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, the first person to successfully undergo the procedure in 1974. John returned to the mound two years later.

This procedure, invented and pioneered by Dr. Frank Jobe, reconstructs a torn UCL by using a tendon from somewhere else in the body, such as the forearm or hamstring. The UCL, along with the lateral collateral ligament, gives the elbow stability. Before this operation, pitching careers usually ended when the UCL was damaged. The surgery is now common among collegiate and professional athletes in several sports, most notably baseball.

Tommy John surgery is necessitated when these two ligaments, which connect the humerus (the bone of the upper arm) to the ulna (the larger forearm bone), are

  • torn by injury or dislocation
  • damaged or overstretched from improper healing of an injury
  • stressfully overused, as would be typical of a college-level or professional pitcher

As important as the surgery itself is the rehabilitation period, which–to return to the previous level of expertise–can last approximately a year for pitchers and about six months for other baseball players and athletes. After a week to 10 days during which the elbow is immobilized, rehabilitation includes working back to a full range of motion, followed by gradual strength training at about four months postsurgery. Also crucial during this period are exercises to improve flexibility and coordination, as well as aerobic conditioning to improve overall fitness.

Contact us before surgery and then when you are ready to begin the physical therapy phase of your recovery. We can devise a course of exercises that will get you back on the athletic field, physically fit and ready to pitch strikes to retire the opposing team in short order–perhaps, winning the game!

Navigating Recovery After a “Ship” Fracture

A scaphoid fracture refers to a fracture of the wrist–specifically the bone shaped like a boat, which is why it is often called a “ship” fracture. A fracture of this bone can result from falling on an outstretched arm, sustaining a direct blow to the wrist or receiving a severe twist of the wrist.

A scaphoid fracture is commonly missed, which can lead to long-term weakness and a poor hand grip. For this reason, it is important to receive early diagnosis, treatment and physical therapy.

If you initially suspect a broken wrist, see a physician immediately for an x-ray to assess whether your scaphoid bone is involved. Treatment depends on the location, fracture type and fracture location in the bone. Because the scaphoid bone has an unusual shape, blood supply can be obstructed, thus slowing down the healing process. For those patients who suffer from delayed or poor healing, surgical intervention may be needed to ensure bone fusion.

If you undergo surgery, your wrist will be placed in a cast and then in a splint for several weeks afterwards to hold the bones in place as they heal. Once your cast has been removed, it is important that regular physical therapy be performed on a gradual basis, to enable you to slowly return to previous physical activities. For some people, this process may take one month while for others it may last longer.

Physical therapy facilitates recovery from a scaphoid fracture through exercises that promote stability, along with stretching and strengthening. These exercises will help to

  • improve your range of motion
  • reduce stiffness from immobilization after surgery
  • build strength
  • increase coordination

With our support, most patients can expect a positive outcome after treatment for a “ship” fracture. Since so many daily activities require use of the hand, we can design a program specially suited to your rate of recovery and your individual requirements.

The Case of the Wandering Kneecap

Kneecap dislocation occurs when the patella, or kneecap, slides to the outside of the joint, thus stretching and possibly tearing the ligaments that hold it in place. The patella is probably the most commonly dislocated bone in the body, with kneecap dislocation occurring most often in teenage athletes and adult women.

Kneecap dislocations fall into two categories. Those involving an accident, such as a blow to or a twisting of the knee, are called traumatic dislocations. Atraumatic dislocations occur when the person is “loose-jointed” or the kneecap is misaligned (tilted or shifted), thus making the joint less stable.

 

 

Symptoms of a dislocated kneecap include

  • bleeding under the patella
  • bruising around the patella
  • swelling of the kneecap
  • tenderness along the edge of the patella
  • pain and clicking when the patella pops out of its groove and then moves back into place
  • actual dislocation of the patella when it moves out of the groove and gets stuck out there

Surgery is required when significant damage, such as muscle rupture, bone fracture or detachment of the ligaments, occurs or when kneecap injuries become recurrent. When recurrent injuries or serious damage are not involved, however, the patient usually engages in protective rehabilitation for three to five weeks to prevent the kneecap from moving laterally and relieve pain.

The second phase of kneecap rehabilitation, which should take anywhere from two to four months, involves rebuilding and strengthening the quadriceps muscle to prevent dislocation from happening again. We will be glad to design an individual rehabilitation program that will address your particular needs and get this complex joint functioning smoothly and strongly once more.

 

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