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The hidden benefits of learning a new skill

When thinking about getting fit and exercising more, our first thoughts are usually that we should join a gym or start jogging. While these are both worthwhile activities, studies show that if you dislike the activity you’re doing, the long-term benefits are usually not enough to keep you committed. There are a few things that are often overlooked when talking about exercising more, particularly the fact that you can often improve your life in more than one way if you find the right activity.

Finding the right activity can boost your confidence and increase your daily activity levels.

We all have different tastes in food and the same is true for exercise. Some of us chase the thrill of learning a new skill; others prefer the challenge of pushing their limits of endurance while others love being surrounded by nature. Exercise is good for everyone, but finding the right activity for you is going to make it much easier to make it a committed part of your lifestyle.

We are also more likely to enjoy doing activities that we are good at. Some people have great balance, while others have great hand-eye coordination, others have great rhythm and someone who is an excellent dancer might be a terrible runner. Consider what you are personally good at and try to choose your activity based on this. Finding something that suits your routine is also an important component to making a new activity a part of your lifestyle.

Sometimes it is simply a lack of imagination that fails to get us off the couch. Jogging’s not for everyone, but one of these sports might be. Here’s a quick list of less common activities that you may not have thought of trying: rock-climbing, volleyball, soccer, hula-hooping, slacklining, golf, mountain biking, hiking, standup paddle boarding, roller skating, skateboarding, dancing, Pilates and yoga, just to name a few.

Learning new skills can be good for your brain.

Many people think that as they get older, learning new skills becomes too hard. The truth is, that with a bit of patience, you can surprise yourself with your ability to learn new things at any age. The brain is capable of incredible change and adaptation to new stimulus. Learning new things can be a great source of confidence and exercise has been shown to improve your brain function overall.

Many activities can help you meet new people and open you up to new communities.

Even solo sports often have well-connected communities. Surfers have surf clubs, or often meet each other in the water, rock climbers are always looking for more people to take adventures with and people who wake up at 5am to do boot camp together become great friends. As we leave high school and university, it can be harder to create new social connections. Using exercise as a way to make new friends can have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing. In many activities, the communities are extremely supportive of beginners and you might be surprised at how friendly they are to newcomers.

Ask one of our expert physios for advice on which activities might suit your ability level and tips to ensure you stay injury free when starting your new hobby!

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre - serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.

Patella Dislocations: What are they and how can your physio help?

What is it?

The knee joint is composed of the thigh bone, (femur) and leg bone (tibia) and a small floating bone at the front, commonly known as the kneecap (patella). The interaction between these bones allows for smooth movement of the knee as it bends and straightens.

During movement, the kneecap sits in a groove at the front of the knee and acts as a mechanical see-saw. This protects the knee joint and improves the efficiency of the muscles working to move it. When the patella moves out of this groove it is called a subluxation. If the patella moves far enough out of this groove it becomes a dislocation.

What are the symptoms?

The first time the patella dislocates is usually the most traumatic and painful. The knee may give way, and a visible lump can be noticed where the patella has dislocated. There will often be bruising, swelling and the knee may feel unstable. First-time dislocations may also cause a heamarthrosis or bleeding within the knee joint. If there is damage to the ligaments of the knee, subsequent dislocations can happen more easily, and from everyday activities, causing the knee to give way suddenly.

What are the causes?

First-time dislocations often occur due to a traumatic event. The most common cause of patellar dislocation is a non-contact injury to the knee with a twist of the leg (the thigh bone rotates internally on a fixed leg and foot). In addition, a direct blow to the side of the knee can also dislocate the patella.

If there is some instability of the joint, dislocations can occur more regularly and from smaller forces.

Dislocations usually occur when the knee is bent and the kneecap slips back into place when the knee is straightened again. While the kneecap can be dislocated in both directions, it usually dislocates towards the outside of the knee.

Certain factors can make dislocation more likely, including overall hyper-flexibility, damage to the ligaments of the knee and muscular imbalance of the quadriceps. The structure and angle of the knee joint itself can also make dislocation more likely. This can be seen in the increased prevalence of dislocations for women as they have a slightly different angle of femur compared to the tibia than men. A traumatic dislocation can cause instability that can lead to future dislocations.

How can physiotherapy help?

An acute patellar dislocation should be treated like any traumatic injury and assessed by a medical professional to reduce pain and swelling, make an accurate diagnosis and check for fractures. While the kneecap may relocate itself quickly, ensuring that it is able to heal correctly to prevent further dislocations may require immobilization for up to six weeks.

Your physiotherapist will be able to identify any factors that may predispose you to further dislocations and provide you with a personalized treatment program to address any stiffness, weakness or instability surrounding the knee. Balance and proprioception (your sense of where your body is in space) are often reduced following an injury and your physiotherapist will help to rehabilitate these. Your therapist may provide you with education and advice regarding bracing or taping. In severe cases of instability, surgery may be recommended to stabilize the knee however this is usually not considered unless there has been a fracture or until a full rehabilitation with physiotherapy has been completed.

This info is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Please get in touch with one of our expert physios for advice on your individual condition.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre - serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.

Tennis Elbow: signs, symptoms and how physiotherapy can help

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis, is a common condition characterised by pain at the outside of the elbow with movements of the wrist and hand. The pain is usually localized to the tendon of a small muscle of the forearm just below the elbow called Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB). This muscle is responsible for extending the wrist back into a “stop” position and is active when gripping and moving objects.

While the term ‘tennis elbow’ is used because this is a common injury for tennis players, anyone who performs repetitive tasks with their hands and wrists can be susceptible, including office workers and manual labourers.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The cardinal sign of tennis elbow is pain felt on the outside of the elbow, particularly when making wrist movements or when gripping an object. Symptoms may occur suddenly or appear gradually over time. In the early stages, pain may be present with activity and quickly go away with rest, however, as it progresses the pain may be more constant, lasting for longer and occurring with smaller movements. If pain has persisted for three months then it is considered to be a chronic condition.

As with most injuries, the longer an issue has been present, the longer it usually takes to resolve. Other symptoms can include night pain, stiffness in the elbow and forearm, weakness, numbness and pins and needles. As symptoms progress, simple tasks such as lifting a cup can be painful, which can have a significant impact on your lifestyle.

What causes it?

While tennis elbow was originally thought to be due an inflammation process, it appears that this is not the case, rather there is an increased sensitivity to the area along with changes to the blood supply and disorganization of the collagen fibres that make up the tendon. These changes are an adaptation to excess loading of the tendons attaching to the elbow, particularly the ECRB.

Most of the time, this happens because of small repetitive movements that are done with poor ergonomics or technique. If the health of the tendon tissue is compromised, this can also contribute to the development of tennis elbow. Poor nutrition, disuse, inflammatory diseases and aging can all mean that the tendon is less able to adapt to forces and are a risk factor for the development of tennis elbow.

How can Physiotherapy help?

Your physiotherapist will first confirm that you are indeed suffering from tennis elbow, which is an important step as some neck conditions can present with similar symptoms. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, they will determine the severity and causes of your particular condition, likely testing your grip and individual muscle strength.

Your physiotherapist can also identify any muscle tightness, postural or ergonomic flaws and joints stiffness that may be contributing to your condition. Treatment may include, fitting of a brace, dry needling, strengthening with eccentric exercises and stretching. Depending on the cause of your tennis elbow, your physio may suggest a change in the setup of your desk, workplace, or grip technique of your racket or hand-held tool. Eccentric exercises load the muscles in a very specific way and research has shown that these exercises can help strengthen tendon tissues, reducing symptoms of tennis elbow.

It is normal for tennis elbow to take a few weeks or even months to heal. If conservative management is not having a good effect, your physio can help you speak to your doctor about other management techniques. As tennis elbow is a progressive condition that generally does not resolve on its own, it is recommended to seek treatment sooner rather than later, as recovery is much faster when started early.

The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Get in touch with one of our Physios for an assessment of your individual condition.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre - serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.

Three reasons to see your Physio

Most people associate physiotherapy with pain and injury management.

While helping you recover from pain is our specialty, physiotherapists are also able to help with many more issues. Here are three reasons that you may not have thought to visit a physiotherapist.

Stiffness and Inflexibility

Almost all of us have experienced pain and stiffness after a day of increased or unaccustomed exercise. This kind of stiffness usually wears off quickly and is referred to as DOMS (delayed onset muscles soreness). If however, you find yourself feeling stiff for longer periods, or even most the time – it might be time to see a physiotherapist. There are many different causes of stiffness and inflexibility; by far the most common is lack of movement. Our joints and muscles both lose flexibility if they are not regularly moved all the way through their range. Muscles can feel short and tight with a bouncy feeling of restriction and joints are more of a hard ‘blocked’ feeling when you try to move.

For this kind of stiffness, you may not even notice that you have lost range, as it can be very easy to adapt your movements to compensate. Your physiotherapist can help you to identify where you have areas of inflexibility and help you to exercise, stretch and mobilise your joints to get them back to a healthy range. Disease processes such as Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis can also cause prolonged stiffness and your physiotherapist is well equipped to help you deal with these conditions.

Reduced Strength or Weakness

There are many reasons for weakness in the body, from generalised disuse, weakness in one muscle group following injury, neurological weakness or structural weakness of joint following an injury. Weakness of any kind can predispose you to future injury and can be surprisingly difficult to resolve without targeted exercises. Your physiotherapist is able to determine the cause of your weakness and determine the best treatment to restore your muscle strength.

Reduced Balance

Keeping your balance is a very complicated process and your body works hard to make sure you stay on your feet. Humans have a very small base of support for our height and we use all our senses together to determine which movements we should make to stay upright, including our visual, vestibular, muscular and sensory systems. As balance is so important, if one part of our senses begins to weaken, the others will quickly compensate, so you may not notice that your balance has worsened until you fall or trip over.

As a general rule, our balance deteriorates as we age but this does not mean that falls should be an inevitable part of aging. Actively working to maintain or improve your balance can have a significant effect on your quality of life and confidence in getting around. Your physiotherapist is able to test all the aspects of your balance and provide effective rehabilitation to help keep you on your feet.
The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Get in touch with the Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre for an assessment of your individual condition.

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre - serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.
Workplace Ergonomics and your working posture

Workplace Ergonomics 101 – Your working posture

With an increasing number of jobs requiring you to sit in front of a computer for long periods of the day, it is important to address your working posture to protect your spinal health.

Here are a few simple adjustments that you can make to your workstation to help improve and protect your spinal health. Start with: 

  1. Adjusting your seat height so that your forearms can rest comfortably on the desk with your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Support your lower spine with the lumbar support of the chair sitting in the curve of your lower back.
  3. Have the screen/monitor sitting at a suitable height to prevent pushing your chin forward or having to look down to see the screen. (At a minimum, the bottom of the screen should be at eye level or slightly above).
  4. Where possible, try to have documents resting on an angled stand rather than sitting on the desk. This will prevent hunching over to read.
  5. Remember to take short breaks throughout the day. Stand up and stretch, this will assist in managing any lower back pain.

These are just a few strategies to prevent postural issues or spinal pain, our physiotherapists can offer further advice specific to each individual’s needs.

We also offer workplace ergonomic assessments, where our therapists will come to your work and assess your workstation. For more information, or to make a booking, phone one of our friendly staff on 5495 3255.

Below is an example of correct work posture:

Workplace Ergonomics 101

Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre - serving people in need from the following areas: Caboolture, Morayfield, Elimbah, Wamuran, Beerburrum, Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains, Toorbul, Donnybrook, Ningi, Woodford, Kilcoy, Bribie Island, Goodwin Beach, Sandstone Point, Banksia Beach, Bongaree, Bellar, Woorim, Burpengary & Beachmere.