Category Archives: Physiotherapy

What is your Achilles Tendon?

Tendons, bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, cartilage….

There are so many terms and word to sort through when it comes to our bodies. Skeletal muscles are contractile. They contract and shorten to produce movement. They contract to hold and joint in place. They lengthen under force as well eccentrically (picture lowering down stairs).

Ligaments connect bone to bone and help secure your different joints.

Cartilage covered the joint surfaces between joints. It provide shock absorption and helps with smooth movement.

Your tendons are an extension of the skeletal muscles that connect muscles to bone. They act with a pulley and lever system to help produce movement.

Forces in and on your body don’t take place in a vacuum. These structures as well as the bones help move you, stop you and absorb forces.

Your achilles tendon is the strongest and largest tendon in the body. It is vulnerable to injury due to its limited blood supply, age related changes and specific activities.

Foot Care, Oakville, Milton, Foot clinic, podiatrist

Injury to the Achilles Tendon:

Tendonitis

Tendonitis is the acute inflammation of the tendon. In this case the achilles tendon connecting he calf muscles to the heel bone becomes irritated and inflamed. This is often associated with overuse. This is often from doing more or too much too quickly for our bodies to adapt. For many people there is a sudden increase in exercise activity or intensity.

Achilles tendonitis can cause local pain and stiffness. The first steps after sitting or laying down may cause pain in the achilles area. Walking down stairs can also sometimes be painful or stiff feeling in the area of the achilles tendon.

Achilles tendonitis can be common in athletes like runners, soccer, basketball, and volleyball athletes with running and jumping repetitively. Sudden increases in volume as well as a persons body structure can play a role. It can be helpful to have the area looked at by a Physiotherapist and / or Chiropodist to provide specific treatment.

This type of treatment may include things to address the inflammation and pain in the short term. It will also likely include long term suggestions of strengthening, footwear modifications and possibly custom orthotics.

Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is a longer term overuse injury of the achilles and excessive chronic stress. Due to the chronic nature of this issue, there may be a range of changes to the tendon. These changes are more likely to happen when there are repeated bouts of tendonitis that are not treated, managed or prevented.

Higher risk factors are obesity, high blood pressure, sudden load changes to the achilles tendon, Type II diabetes, prolonged steroid use, inappropriate footwear, and a family history.

Rupture

Rupture or tearing of the achilles tendon is the most common rupture in the lower body. It its most common in those aged 30 to 50. Patients often describe this injury as feeling like someone has kicked them. They may hear a “pop” or “snap” sound.

Achilles tendon ruptures, like many injuries are multifactorial.

Achilles tendon ruptures are most common in people who are active “on occasion”. This could mean mild activity during the week and some weekends playing a couple games of floor hockey or soccer. There is a small percentage of people (~10%) that report having tendinosis prior to the rupture.

Ruptures tend to happen around 2-4cm from where the tendon attaches to the heel bone.

Achilles tendon ruptures may happen from sudden and forced plantar flexion (pointing), direct force on the area or longstanding tendinosis.

Foot and ankle position as well as systemic factors can predispose someone to achilles tendon issues. It is important to treat and have best control of all factors for best healing of the area. Some system issues predisposing a person to achilles issues are diabetes, renal failure, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, thyroid issues etc.

If you have been having heel or achilles pain that is ongoing, progressing or off and on, one of our North Oakville Physiotherapists or Chiropodists would be happy to assess you. They will take your health history, watch how you stand, move and walk and assess the area.

This thorough and individualized assessment will provide them an idea of factors leading to your achilles pain / dysfunction and allow them to give you individualized advice and treatment. Most insurance benefits cover physiotherapy and/or chiropodist assessments and treatments. At our Oakville clinic we are able to provide direct billing to most insurance companies.

Contact us to book your in person physio or Chiropody appointment at our North Oakville Clinic or virtual physiotherapy appointment.

C-Section Pre-hab and Rehab

While many people experience a pivot from an expected vaginal delivery to an emergency Cesarean Section (C-Section) birth. There are also many people who have a planned or scheduled C-Section.

If this is the case, Physiotherapist can help prepare you in advance for the birth as well as the first few days. While many people try and soften the process by titling it a “C-Section birth” and a view point that it is as valid of a birthing process as a vaginal birth (which it IS!). A C-Section is still a surgical procedure that has different considerations when it comes to recovery than a vaginal birth.

It is possible to have have pelvic floor issues post c-section even when / if a person has not laboured, had to push, or delivered vaginally.

yoga stretching poses from an oakville virtual physio
Postnatal Physio-C-Section
These pelvic floor issues post C-Section may be:
  • Pain / discomfort with urination
  • Stress or urge urinary incontinence
  • Pelvic floor pain or discomfort
  • Bowel issues / constipation
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)

In the early days post C-Section your pelvic floor focussed physio can provide you with a plan in how to set your home environment up to best help your own recovery as you care for a newborn.

Once your C-Section incision is healed, your pelvic floor focussed physio can assess and gently treat your scar / incision or the surrounding area. Your Physio can also assess your pelvic floor. You should be provided with some education and a plan of how you can self treat at home and how to fit it into your new life!

If you have not had your scar massaged or worked on by a physio and you are further down the road of your recovery, if is never too late. People are often surprised by how much C-Section scar work as part of physio treatment can help with low back issues and pelvic floor tension / issues as well as in the local area.

If you are interested in a pre-hab or prenatal physiotherapy session for a schedule C-section we are here for you. We are able to see you in person in our North Oakville Physio clinic. We are also able to “see” you virtually via Telehealth if you are residing or have a permanent address in Ontario.

Contact us to book in!

We are able to provide direct billing to most insurance companies.

What “kind” of grandparent are you or do you envision yourself being?- from an Oakville Physio

Picture your child having kids. What kind of grandparent do you want to be?

Did you have a vibrant fun grandparent in your life? 
Do you picture yourself wanting to play at the park or on the floor with your grandchild(ren)?
Do you see yourself during visits carrying your grandchild up and downs the stairs?
What about a quick jog to keep them out of danger outside?
Do you see yourself feeling good and not in pain after your visits? or taking a few days to “recover?

It’s true that we start losing muscle mass as we age. But this change is not inevitable, nor should we just accept it. Other changes may include decreased endurance, and balance.

The focus on working out and lifting weights and other forms of strength training for aesthetic reasons does a disservice for the amazing functional and health benefits that gaining and maintaining muscle can provide!

Who hasn’t seen advertisements for workouts, workout clothing or other activity activities where it seems to be unattainable and beyond reach to even start?

Do you have barriers that have been holding you back from starting?

There are many reasons people may avoid strength training. It could be fear or the idea of who lifts weights. It may be that an injury or health issue has stopped you in the past. It may be that you have been too sore after doing a workout video etc.

Physiotherapy and physiotherapists can help you get started with strength training that works for you.  They can address these barriers and work with you towards your goals.

Dumbells showing oakville physio clinic near Bronte

The bonus is that many barriers that may prevent you from beginning a strengthening program or routine exercises actually BENEFIT from strengthening.

As a Physio, we would call this exercise prescription BUT potato potAto…

These include but are not limited to:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post- total knee replacement / total hip replacement
  • Having a “bad back”
  • After cancer treatment (breast cancer, colon cancer etc.)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Kyphosis
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Kyphosis
  • Parkinsons Disease

In order to gain strength and mobility, your system must be challenged. This does not mean pushing through or beyond you physical limits, but rather inching forward.

We don’t make positive change by staying in one place!

Your physiotherapist will work with you on your goals.

Carrying your grandchild may be one.

Getting up and down from the floor safety and confidently may be another.

Going skating or playing soccer with the little ones in your life may be another.

Showing family activity in oakville from an oakville physio blog

Being an active and involved parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle is an amazing way to enhance bonding and enjoy time together.

Contact us to book in with one of our amazing north Oakville physiotherapists. We service Oakville, Milton, Burlington in clinic and Ontario through virtual / Telehealth physiotherapy. We are able to provide direct billing to most insurance companies.

Golf Prehab – Palermo Physio and Wellness

It’s hard to think that golf season may be just around the corner when you go outside today. It’s COLD in North Oakville and Halton and we still have ton of snow on the ground.

BUT

Spring really is just around the corner. Often when seasons change and the weather is nicer we jump right into our new activities. Whether it is running outside or golf, it’s easy to get excited and spend a few days a week on our activity.

Our North Oakville Physio’s, RMT’s and Chiropodists often see people complaining about issues because of this leap into activity. Sometimes it even creates problems that keep people from the very activity that provides them so much enjoyment!

NOW is the time to begin “spring training” for golf to make this transition smooth and prevent injuries. Your Oakville Physiotherapist can help provide a full assessment of your range of motion, mobility, function and strength.

Golf course logo showing oakville Physio doing virtual physio for golfers

After a full assessment, including discussing your goals, they will provide you with a treatment plan that will progress until golf season starts for you.

Don’t let elbow pain, shoulder pain, hip back, low back pain or knee pain keep you from getting out a golfing at some of or awesome local Oakville, Milton and Burlington courses and driving ranges!

You may be surprised, as you build resilience to prevent injuries, your golf game may benefit as well!

Contact us to book in with one of our sports medicine oriented physiotherapists.

Let’s Talk Snow Shovelling and Beyond

After a large snowfall, we often see patients in our clinic. From Physio to Massage, to Yoga, our practitioners are helping people with injuries and aches and pains.

We have shared blog posts in the past with snow shovelling tips (Click Here) to help prevent injuries.

While the advise still stands, it is often a surprise to people how challenging clearing the drive and sidewalk can be. People are often surprised by how they feel afterwards as well. The snow we got in North Oakville and the surrounding areas of Burlington and Milton was A LOT at one time on January 17, 2022. The Halton School Boards have their schools closed for a second day now.

BUT.

It is a good opportunity to be honest regarding how robust and resilient you are. Is there any activity you do in your week that helps to increase your robustness and resilience for tasks like this MASSIVE snow fall?

While going for walks and doing steady state cardio is fine. It is good for your heart, lungs, brain etc. It is NOT strength training. Including exercise that challenges your muscles in your week is what will prepare you for these types of tasks.

Snow shovel showing Oakville Physio and massage clinic

Whether you lift large amounts of snow all at once or do repeated smaller shovels, the net amount of snow is still the same.

If there is one thing our North Oakville Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Yoga Therapists can encourage people to do, it is to add global strengthening activities to your week.

PUSH

PULL

SQUAT

LUNGE

HINGE

CARRY

If you are new to these types of activities, are recovering from a surgery or health issue, or recovering from a surgery or are post part, our Physiotherapists are here to help get you started safely.

Kettlebells at Physio clinic in Oakville

If you are injured from this past snowfall our Oakville RMT’s and Physio’s are here to hep you recover with the goal of preventing the same thing from happening in the future.

Contact us to book in at our North Oakville Clinic serving Oakville, Milton and Burlington in person. We also treat physiotherapy patients virtually all over Ontario!

What if my child has scoliosis?

What is Scoliosis?

A normal spine has three main curves: cervical lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis. These curves occur in the frontal plane, meaning they curve front to back. A scoliotic curve curves to the side.

Therefore, a scoliosis refers to when the vertebrae in the spine do not follow a straight line but are curved sideways. Sometimes they can also rotate, or twist, like a corkscrew.

A small scoliotic curve may be barely noticeable by eye, or it might be so slight that an X-ray (or MRI) would be needed to measure it. In those cases, the scoliosis is unlikely to cause any issues.

However, when a scoliosis is present in children, the curve may continue to grow until their skeleton is fully developed. This means that if the curvature becomes significantly large, it can cause more than just bad posture.

It can lead to headaches and back pain, loss of normal range of motion, digestive issues, affect breathing, and eventually cause early arthritis due to the unusual pressure on some of the joints, etc.

Observable symptoms of Scoliosis

  • The head is not centered with the rest of the body
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Constant leaning to one side
  • Difference in hip height
  • Difference in shoulder blade height or position
  • Uneven arm position as the arms hang on both sides of the body when the child is upright
  • A sideways curvature of the spine when the child bends forward
Signs Of Scoliosis. Normal healthy spine and curved spine with scoliosis.Scoliosis in children

Causes of Scoliosis

Most commonly (80-85% of the time), scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning the cause of it is unknown. In some cases, the development of idiopathic scoliosis can be due to a genetic predisposition.

While it can be diagnosed at any age, it is usually diagnosed in kids 10 and older.

There may be a correlation with poor posture as well. This is where we can differentiate if a scoliosis is functional or structural.

  • A functional scoliosis develops due to certain postures and compensations that are likely due to muscle tightness and imbalance. In those cases, the spine appears to be curved but is not actually.
  • A structural scoliosis originates in the spine and cannot be corrected by correcting posture and muscle imbalance

Less commonly, scoliosis can be:

  • congenital, meaning that there were problems in the spine before a baby is even born. Usually, the spinal bones are either not fully formed or are fused in ways they should not be.
  • neuromuscular, meaning that conditions that affect the nerves and/or muscles of the body (such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy), will affect their ability to support the spine, leading to the development of a scoliotic curve
Oakville Paediatric physiotherapy, massage, yoga therapy

Severity of Scoliosis

Mild – Curve is less than 25 degrees, and risk of progression is 22%

Moderate – Curve is between 26-40 degrees, and risk of progression increases to 68%

Severe – Curve is above 40 degrees, and risk of progression is quite high at 90%

What to do about scoliosis?

In mild cases, if there are no symptoms or cosmetic concerns, then often the course of action is nothing.

However, until the child or adolescent is fully grown, the risk of progression is there. This means that the scoliosis should be monitored regularly (usually annually) and a referral to physiotherapy might be appropriate for preventative strategies and education.

In moderate cases symptoms are more likely, such as headaches, back pain, digestive issues, and fatigue with activity. A brace is often recommended to reduce the risk of progression and give the organs more room.

Physiotherapy and sometimes other disciplines, such as registered massage therapy and chiropractic, may also be an effective adjunct to bracing to help with symptoms and postural correction / education.

In severe cases, especially if a curve is above 50 degrees, a brace is not going to be able to able to slow progression, and surgery is likely to be recommended. Surgery usually involves spinal fusion to realign the vertebrae.

There have been many advances in surgical correction of scoliosis so the kind of surgery required will depend on the type of misalignment, the severity of symptoms, and the location of the scoliosis.

Overall, surgery has good outcomes.

What can Physiotherapy do about my child’s scoliosis?

In mild cases, treatment is preventative:

  • Postural correction and education
  • Postural exercises to correct muscle imbalances that have developed due to the scoliosis
  • Manual therapy (soft tissue release, joint mobilizations) to help improve flexibility and restore range of motion that have been impacted by the scoliosis
  • Postural taping to give proprioceptive feedback to the body and provide awareness to the child so they can better self-correct as they become aware of how their body is sitting in space

In moderate cases, treatment also helps to eventually wean off bracing while managing any associated symptoms.

In severe cases, physiotherapy might be helpful post-operatively to correct the muscle imbalances that had developed pre-operatively.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information!

Can my child still play sports?

Yes, exercise and sporting activities (especially ones that focus on core strength) are encouraged!

In the severe cases, there may be some sport restrictions following a surgery. This is usually because after a fusion there will be some permanent loss of overall range of motion. However, kids often are able to return to sporting activities within 6 to 9 months after surgery.

baseball player showing post ACL reconstruction rehab at Oakville Physio clinic

Importance of Tummy Time!

Today we are going to talk about babies!! 😊

Infants (0-12 months) have many important milestones to hit during their development. Sometimes it seems like every week they’re learning something new!

Their brains and bodies are integrating so much information about their environment and how to interact with it. This includes sensory information (sight, smell, sound, touch).

There are different kinds of milestones:

  • social and emotional skills,
  • language and communication skills,
  • feeding,
  • sleeping,
  • sensory such as hearing and vision,
  • gross motor and fine motor skills…

Today we will focus on the importance of gross motor skills, specifically in regards to tummy time!

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy time is when infants spend a certain amount of time, playing (or at least staying) on their tummy.

It is important to note that during various stages of development the term “tummy time” can be a lot broader. It does not exclusively mean placing babies on their stomachs. It can be modified so that they are on their knees and leaning on to / playing on an inclined surface or toy. But for the most part today we will talk about being on their tummies!

Paediatric Physiotherapy in Oakville, massage yoga, foot specialist
Modified plank onto a bolster is great for developing arm strength and still counts as tummy time!

Why is this important?

Time babies spend playing on their tummy can hugely impact their gross motor development. It is basically a workout!

  • As they learn to push up through their hands, they develop upper body strength.
  • As they learn to move their neck against gravity, they develop neck strength and control.
  • As they eventually learn to get onto their hands and knees (and crawl), they develop core and hip strength.
  • By spending less time on their back, this improves neck tightness issues such as torticollis, and any skull deformities such as Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome) which develop as a result of the one-side head turning preference typical of torticollis.

Tummy time is also a gateway to transitional movements.

Initially, babies begin to learn rolling over from back to tummy and back again. Being on their tummies is more interactive than being on their stomachs, and they get a better view of their surroundings.

But rolling over is not a very efficient way of getting around. By pulling up through their arms (the army crawl), they can get further in a straight line. By getting onto hands and knees to crawl, they can do this much more quickly and efficiently.

Building up the strength in their core, neck, arms, and hips lays the foundation to learn to transition from four-point position (hands and knees) –> pulling up to kneel –> pulling up to stand –> cruising –> walking.

Modifying tummy time to high kneeling and leaning forward to play with a toy… the important thing is still weight-bearing through arms and legs!

Transitioning from hands and knees to hands and feet (“bear” or plantigrade position) is how they eventually learn to stand up on their own.

Ideally, they are learning all of these new transitions and movement patterns symmetrically on both sides. Hand and side dominance will begin to show at its earliest around 18 months (but is more solidified between 2-4 years of age), which means that during their development, infants should learn and demonstrate all movement patterns symmetrically.

Think about what tummy time entails… pushing up through the hands, army crawling, and eventually hands and knees crawling. Infants are using their whole bodies and in order to move around to reach an object of interest, they are learning symmetrical and reciprocal movement on both sides of their body to achieve this goal. The reciprocal motion of crawling later becomes a natural reciprocal motion when walking: opposite arms and leg motion!

This symmetry also means that infants are not developing tightness/weakness more on one side than the other, leading to muscle imbalances.

In other words, if your little one is not spending a lot of time on their tummy, you can expect their motor milestones to be more delayed.

When can you start Tummy Time?

You can start super early! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can even do it the first day home from the hospital! (Of course, making sure to support their head as you change their position.)

How often should infants spend in Tummy Time?

Initially, you’ll be doing very short bouts. Even 3-5 minutes, 2-3x day is okay. Gradually, as your baby gets stronger and more comfortable, you can increase the time duration and frequency throughout the day.

How to do Tummy Time?

In the beginning, when your baby is still newborn (0-2 months) and does not have the strength to lift up much against gravity, you will be providing them with support.

  • This could be resting on your chest (skin-on-skin is a great way to bond!). This way they are inclined rather than fully horizontal which is harder, and you are able to assist them with your hands.
  • It could be on their playmat but bolstered at the chest with a rolled towel, small pillow, or Boppy Pillow so they are still inclined and have the support under their chest that their arms cannot yet fully provide.
  • Gradually, as you notice they are starting to rest more effectively onto their forearms and are lifting up their heads higher and for longer periods of time, you may sometimes skip using the pillow support and increase the time spent on their tummy.
  • If colic, or other issues, are limiting your baby’s ability to practice tummy time, speak to your physician and/or local physiotherapist for alternative strategies!
yoga stretching poses from an oakville virtual physio
Get creative with tummy time 😉

Where to do Tummy Time?

Everywhere! Exposure to different textures, surfaces, and environments is great practice.

You may notice that even their clothing makes a difference. Some infants do not tolerate being bareskin while others may dislike tummy time in their clothes. This can be a sensory issue, or perhaps the clothing (or carpet / duvet, wherever they are practicing) may be cumbersome and making it hard to move around.

Different places to try:

  • Chest on chest
  • Lay baby across your legs, raising one knee higher to raise their chest
  • Tummy-down carry
  • Floor
  • Bed

Is it ALL about Tummy Time?

Of course not!

While it is important that babies spend time on their tummies, having an equal opportunity to practice sidelying, sitting, side sitting, high kneeling, etc. (as appropriate for their age) is also important. Otherwise, they will get overly strong with one set of muscles and not develop others.

Lastly, the most important thing of all is giving them the opportunity to learn on their own! If you are always picking them up place them somewhere, or handing them their toys instead of having them try to get there on their own, then they won’t have the opportunity to problem solve and get stronger. 😊

What IS exercise? Part Two…

Welcome back to Part Two of what is exercise! Here is quick link to Part One for a refresher on what counts as exercise and whether it may or may not be enough of what you need.

This time we answer some burning questions like…

Why do some of us hate to exercise?!

The problems we often encounter with exercise can be that:

  • It is usually hard work, which makes the body feel uncomfortable, and therefore, can often feel punishing rather than enjoyable!
  • Unlike work, groceries, paying bills, or driving kids to activities, an exercise routine is not a mandatory part of life… we have to carve that time out for ourselves!
  • Depending on our relationship with physical activity growing up, we may not have had the opportunity to develop enjoyment of sports, unlike someone who may have played soccer or baseball growing up.
  • Maybe we learned to associate exercise as something we were not good at, e.g. always being picked last in gym class. It either didn’t interest us, or it didn’t make us feel good about ourselves.
  • Maybe exercise does not feel possible if we already have chronic pain or a recurrent injury that flares up every time we try.
  • If we don’t have a lot of experience with exercise and sports, maybe we just don’t have the confidence or knowledge to know where to start.
  • And for some, exercise may seem to be a financial luxury they are not able to afford.
picture of someone playing baseball in palermo physio blog about how to overcome obstacles to exercising in our busy lives
Did you play any sports growing up? Early exposure to sports can make us feel more confident and comfortable with exercise later on…

However, I’d like to offer up some solutions to the problems listed above. After all, every problem implies a solution! 😉

How to start liking exercise…

If exercise is hard work and feels like punishment, maybe it doesn’t have to be! Let’s forget for a minute what you think exercise should be and let’s brainstorm what would help you enjoy the activity instead…

  • Do you prefer cycling or the treadmill? A specific sport or using weights?
  • Would you rather exercise at home or do you feel more motivated at the gym?
  • Would you like it to be a solo or a social activity?
  • If you are a beginner, or it’s been a really long time, don’t put pressure on yourself. Something is better than nothing, so even a moderately-paced 30 minute walk, a half hour yoga video, or 20 daily squats can be a place to start!
  • Also, consider combining exercise with something you enjoy, like listening to music or an audiobook. In that case, limit your time listening to the audiobook unless it’s when you’re exercising. Research shows that pairing something you like with something you procrastinate can help improve the habit! 😊
  • Consider using a tracker app or having a small reward for every time you exercise to help motivate you! Starting a tally of how many weeks in a row you’ve been exercising can boost your sense of accomplishment and the desire to keep the streak going 😉
image of someone biking in palermo physio blog about how to incorporate exercise in our adult lives
Do you prefer biking to running? Do you prefer cardio to strengthening as a form of exercise?

Is exercise a priority for you?

Once you select an activity that seems more enjoyable and achievable, let’s talk about priorities

  • As (somewhat) proficient multi-taskers, we have a lot of priorities in our day. How many of them are for your personal self-care?
    • Self-care includes proper nutrition, decent quality and quantity of sleep, time for deep and meaningful connection with family and friends, alone time to enjoy meaningful hobbies such as gardening or reading or knitting, etc… but it should also include your physical and mental health.
  • Not everyone can make time for 30 minutes of daily exercise. What about 20 minutes, 3x week? Or any other schedule that works for you.
    • When would that be? Where will you exercise? Who will you be with?
    • Tell your family in advance you won’t be available during that time, and remind them again right before you start!
    • Is there someone, or something (like a tracker app), that will be keeping you accountable?
Woman in a reclined butterfly restorative yoga poseat oakville physiotherapy clinic in blog post about how to incorporate exercise in our lives and how to make physical and mental health a priority
Make your physical and mental health a priority too!

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself…

If you didn’t grow up playing any sports, or don’t feel you are the “sporty” type, then don’t worry…

  • Exercise isn’t something you have to be good at.
  • It doesn’t require a certain body type or a special discipline.
  • That is why we brainstorm what we might actually like doing and that is why we prioritize time for ourselves during the week to actually try it and see how it goes.

If you don’t know where to start, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by the options!

  • Start simple… like a 20-minute free YouTube video for pilates, or yoga, or cardio!
  • Ask friends and family about their preferred exercise routine!
  • Ask yourself what your fitness goals are… why do you want to exercise… what do you want to exercise… what do you picture exercise looks like. The answers to these questions may help guide you.
  • Consider asking your PT for an individualized program, especially if you are dealing with an injury or chronic pain. We would love to help!
  • Otherwise, consider taking a class or two when gyms open up, or maybe doing so virtually. Maybe consider hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions to get you started and to make sure you have good technique to avoid injury!
image of a yoga class in blog post at palermo physio about adding exercise to our routine
Do you feel more motivated in group classes? Do you have a friend you can go with? Have you tried virtual exercise classes?

Exercise does not have to cost you…

Even if you cannot currently afford a gym membership, a personal trainer, or fancy equipment, something is better than nothing!

  • Walking and running only require a decent pair of running shoes!
  • A lot of workouts can be done solely with body weight… e.g. squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, crunches, etc.
  • There is a ton of free content on YouTube, or even some apps like the Nike App. You will find a wide selection from cardio and dance workouts, to body weight exercise routines, to pilates and yoga.

The hardest part is getting started which is why you should start small and don’t overthink it!

image of palermo physio doing yoga birddog pose for core strength in blog post about starting to exercise
If you are still unsure where to start, our physiotherapists and yoga therapist can help!

What’s happening with my feet after pregnancy?

During and after pregnancy many women notice changes in their feet.

No, this is not your imagination. Pregnancy has been shown to be associated with permanent foot changes. The arch drops, and there is a loss in rigidity. There is a also an increase in foot length. In a nutshell your feet get bigger.

This has been shown to increase the likelihood of musculoskeletal issues in post-partum people.

The bases that we have been standing and walking on for years have all of a sudden changed. Our North Oakville Physiotherapists and Chiropodists (foot specialists) see may of these people experiencing arch pain, pain at the ball of the foot, and heel pain. We also see women complain of knee pain that wasn’t there before and hip pain. If there were these issues prior, they may even be worse.

There is nothing that can be done to prevent these changes. BUT, we can offer these structures support. During pregnancy, our bodies produce relaxin this is to help accommodate changes and shifts in the pelvis to prepare for birth. The body continues to produce this hormone for those who continue with breastfeeding.

Wearing supportive footwear even in the house will help support the arch and prevent the ligaments from stretching. Adding arch strengthening exercises to allow the muscles to provide support to the ligaments is helpful. Strengthening the hip and large leg muscles may also be helpful for control from above and shock absorption.

Don’t make the mistake of squishing your larger feet into your old shoes. This can make us grip out toes and walk differently. It may increase the progression of things like bunions and hammer toes as well. There is also an increased possibility of bruised and ingrown toenails with wearing shoes that are too small.

Custom orthotics can also be helpful to help support the changing foot structure.

Our North Oakville Chiropodists and Physiotherapists are happy to help with any questions or issues involving pain and discomfort. Contact us to book.

Low Back Pain isn’t all Equal

Not all back pain is the same, so why would you follow generic exercises online?

Having a personalized Physiotherapy assessment allows your Physiotherapist to provide you with specific advise and specific exercises tailored for you and your issues. Whether it’s pain, stiffness, weakness, we are here for you. 

A physiotherapist will often work in collaboration with a Registered massage therapist or acupuncturist to help you optimize your recovery or management.  

There are many structures in your back that can lead to your pain or discomfort. 

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Muscles- skeletal muscle help with movement. They can also help with stiffness (think someone trying to push you over). There are muscles that help with both. The muscles can be injured through getting pulled or a strain. It maybe from asking them to produce more force then they are able to all at one time (like lifting a car tire) or from repeated smaller lifts that make the muscles tired and can injure them at lower levels (shovelling dirt in the garden). The low back muscles can spasm or tighten aggressively to protect themselves or the other structures around them.

Joints – our spine is made of multiple joints. They slide over one another to provide movement when the muscles pull on the bones they are attached to. They help absorb force as well. In the low back the joints help with more flexion and extension (forward and backward bending), in the upper back the joints allow more rotational movements. The joints of the spine are largest in the low back around the pelvis because they are responsible for carrying more weight. They are smallest in the neck or cervical spine. When a person does head stands they are putting more force on these joints that was intended by our evolutionary development. Joints may, but not necessarily cause us pain when they have arthritis, they can also become acutely sore with a sudden injury like a car accident.

Discs- the discs are between the bodies of the vertebrae. They help absorb force and keep the joints nicely spaced apart. They give nutrition to the vertebral bodies above and below them. The outside of the disc is called the annulus it is very strong. Discs in the low back tend to be injured with heavy lifting type injuries that our bodies are not prepared for or when fatigued. 

Nerves – nerves send messages to and from the spinal cord and brain. They are generally irritated or injured with compression force, stretch (burner or stinger), or chemical irritation (inflammation). They are involved in sending pain messages. If the spinal nerve roots have one of the above issues, we can have motor (muscle strength /control) problems and /or pain /numbness in the area that those nerves supply. 

Brain-your brain is the keeper and senser or information. It is closely involved in how we experience pain. 2 people can have the same issue and have a very different pain experience. It’s important to address our thoughts and feelings about our pain and injury and how it affects our life. Previous life experience can also drive pain.

Organs – our organs actually have little local sensation and rather send messages further away. This is called visceral pain. Then most well known is probably the experience of a heart attack. It can be felt in the mid back, jaw, left shoulder and arm etc. When pain doesn’t make sense with a Physiotherapists assessment they will with your permission send information back to your primary health practitioner for potentially a closer look by them.

These sources of pain do not happen in a vacuum. Often there are a variety of sources of discomfort and one main driver. 

Your physio helps distinguish which is the driver of your issue and provides a treatment plan. Their role is to help in the acute (fresh /new) stage and help with function and management beyond that. 
Once you have had an injury or issue it is often true that it is more likely to happen again. This does not mean that you are damaged forever, or that you have a “bad back”. 

This may be because a person doesn’t optimize recovery and maintenance. Physiotherapists and massage therapists can help you with this. 

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Read our next blog post for tips on optimization.

Remember, not everyone is the same what works for you may not be of benefit to the next person. This is why an individualized assessment and treatment plan is important.

Contact us to get started with one of our North Oakville Physiotherapist’s, Acupuncturist and Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) (905) 582-9700