Tuesday 9 December 2014


I am gradually but steadily improving and feeling much happier about my knee.
During this time the bend (flexion) in my knee, is steadily improving and I am feeling far less general fatigue.

I gradually increase what i'm doing and join the gym and start to initially do cross trainer and light bike work, together with some upper body work and towards week eight, I bring in some work on the rower, which further improves my knee bend and progress the weight on the leg press, to around 40kg.

I am also gradually increasing the swimming, so in total, by the end of week ten I am trying to do four or five sessions a week. I am amazed that although I feel quite confident on the cross trainer and on the bike, I still feel miles away from being able to jog or kick, in any way.

When swimming, I am avoiding any kick motion and when doing breastroke I avoid the traditional way of moving my legs and draw my legs up towards my chest, but this is difficult, as my bend is limited. If I walk for any distance, my leg tires and I have to be conscious not to limp, but this steadily improves during this time and by the end of the phase, I can walk reasonably well for a few miles.

I start to cycle on a cycle lane, at about seven weeks and my Physiotherapy is slowly improving, with Alison 'putting me through my paces' and we work hard on balance, including single balance leg work. The most difficult thing, in terms of confidence,is stepping down, as I go downstairs and this is sometimes still painful around my knee cap.

I look forward to doing things, such as playing tennis or even just to have a gentle hit and I feel that this will soon be achievable, not playing but just having a gentle hit, as part of my rehabilitation, perhaps by mid-January! I am also thinking about mountain biking with my friends, which again I hope to achieve by the end of January.

There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Bone-Patella Tendon-Bone ACL Graft.

Which Graft should you consider for ACL reconstructive surgery?

This is an often debated question and the literature has many references to which is most appropriate for an individual.

The broad categories include

Autograft (Patients own tissue)
Allograft (Harvested tissue from a donor)
Synthetics (Manufactured material)

I will not drag open the debate but simply point each individual to the internet for interest and to discuss with their surgeon, the most appropriate graft for their reconstruction. Ultimately it is the patient’s choice.

My reasons and beliefs for my choice of graft are set out below.


I reserve this for revision surgery in my practice but will also offer autograft in revision should the patient prefer (sometimes using he opposite limb to harvest the graft). Allograft is expensive, has a slightly higher risk of failure in young people and possibly has a higher risk of infection. However there is no donor site morbidity (discomfort and some loss of function associated with autograft harvest from the patient).


This must be the graft of choice for first time ACL reconstruction. Typical grafts include, Bone-Patella tendon-Bone (BTB), Hamstring, and quadriceps tendon.

I choose BTB as my graft of choice as I have most experience with this graft. My harvest technique through small cuts and tunnelling out the graft allows a reduced level of discomfort on kneeling and ache at the front of the knee (a common complaint from patients who have a long midline incision to harvest the graft).
The fixation of BTB is very strong and if a patient is unlucky enough to suffer a rupture of the graft, there is good bone and not tendon within the placement tunnels making revision surgery easier.
Perhaps more importantly in professional footballers, there is now growing evidence of a reduced failure rate with BTB compared to Hamstring. This is perhaps the most compelling reason to use BTB over Hamstring.
It is important to understand that this is a personal choice and has worked well for my patients.


These can be used to augment an auto or allograft but rarely used at present as the main choice.

Will we ever know which is the most appropriate? In the UK now, a registry has recently been set up to record outcome after ACL reconstructive surgery. In time this should give us more evidence of the best graft choices in a set of circumstances and in any one particular surgeons hands. Visit www.uknlr.co.uk for more details.


Work is becoming easier towards the end of week 4 and I am looking forward to being able to stop wearing my brace, as I feel it is becoming too much of a ‘security blanket’.

Robin likes his ACL patients to wear the brace, which limits the amount of bend you can get in the knee to 90 degrees, for four weeks after the operation.

Surgeons vary with this, some not liking their patients to wear a brace at all and others advising two weeks of wearing it, but Robin stresses that the research shows that in the long run, the wearing of the brace for four weeks, increases the long term stability of the knee, but this may be more for only the type of re-construction I have had (patella tendon-see above).

The brace runs from the thigh to the ankle and you tighten it with straps and it does give you a lot of support and confidence. The down side is that your muscles don’t have to work as hard and so you lose more tone and bulk, which you need to compensate for, by doing plenty of exercises.

Another down side is that when you put the brace on in the night, for example if you need the loo, the velcro makes a terrible noise, when you take the brace off again, waking anyone in the vicinity!

On the Thursday of this week, so four weeks post op, I remove the brace and I do feel much weaker than I have done!

But I also feel much freer and I go for my first swim.

I am careful not to do any kicking movement but I am an ok swimmer and love the feeling of being able to do front crawl, with my legs just dragging behind me.

It feels fantastic, a re-gained freedom, something I can do. I also enjoy just gently bending and straightening the knee, with my back to the pool wall.

I am feeling that things are improving but I am very aware of the fact that ACL re-constructions are very vulnerable at the four to six week period, as the blood supply is starting to reduce in the graft, before the graft becomes re-vasularised, after about the six week period.

As I got into the water and out, I was very aware of this and wore a pair of wetsuit shoes, to help me grip and I moved very carefully.    

Pain is not really an issue now and I am improving all the time, with my Physio, with Ali, although swelling around my knee cap, is still a big problem, which is worse in people who have had the patella tendon graft and not really an issue in people who have a hamstring graft.


I hobble onto the train and walk up through the park, with my crutches,( of course) and go to work, for the first time, since the operation.

Over the weekend I have been able to do a short amount of walking, without my crutches, but only indoors.

I deliberately have a very light day, with only four or five patients and I have gone in to work a bit later than normal.

My feeling is one of happiness, to be back to work and I am glad I have broken in lightly and for me it would have been harder to leave work for longer. I am pleased to be back and have found it a little easier than I expected.

My second day back at work ,is extremely tiring and I realise that I had been existing on adrenalin, by the end of the day, although it is a light one, I am shattered. If you can take three or four weeks off work, after an ACL, do so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I struggle through the week, but I am helped massively by Alison Orchard, as I start my Physiotherapy with her, in earnest and she gets me through the week.   
The physio involves her helping to mobilise my knee cap and get me used to the scar being palpated and helping me achieve closed chain exercises, which basically means exercises, where you have your foot on the ground, as you are not meant to do any open chain exercises, where your foot is off the ground.

With the physio, I improve, achieving more flexion (bend) of the knee and extension (straightening) but I am still struggling with swelling. 


Rest is helped by terrific weather and the Ryder cup! but my nature still inclines me to try and do more than I probably should!

I manage to get carefully down onto Hove beach, with, I must say, some pretty expert usage of crutches, so all my teaching of how to use crutches, which I have dispensed to patients over the years, has come in handy!

I lie on the beach in the sun and as i’m dosing I hear a woman say to a man, ‘how did he get down on the beach’ and i’m not sure if it’s an accusation or a compliment!

The pain is lessening, although I am still having to take codein and paracetamol four times a day, and sometimes more at night.

My wife is having to do a lot of driving, to make up for my inability to drive and I am extremely grateful, for all the extra things which she is having to do. Never underestimate the effect that surgery or illness, have on those around you!

I am trying to walk as normally as possible, with the aid of the crutches and I am still using my ice compression unit, a few times a day. I also do my exercises three or four times a day,

Friends are great and I go out to a few cafes, with them, but I feel so tired and sleep a lot in the day, which seems less uncomfortable than my attempts to sleep at night, when I fidget and disturb my poor wife.

It is, however, now possible to spend a bit of time lying on my side, as I can now bend my knee about thirty degrees and this is a huge improvement. I tend to use a ‘neck’ pillow for this as the shape seems ideal.

The swelling is still bad but I understand that this varies between patients, but the pain in my shin, which was the worst, is lessening, especially when I first get up, after having it elevated.

It is getting easier to shower but I still feel very vulnerable about slipping over!

On the Wednesday I visit the nurse at my GP practice and she removes the dressings and checks the wound and on the Friday I visit Robin (the surgeon) and he is satisfied with the progress.

I am never bored and relish the time to catch up on some reading.

Tuesday 14 October 2014


Autumn news from the Physiotherapy Centre
Breaking News
One of our physio's has damaged his cruciate ligament in his right knee and has undergone surgery to re-construct it.

Here he writes up his experiences and gives some insight into the structure of the ligament, why it may have snapped on him and what the reconstructive surgery involves.

My name is Nigel Howell and I am one of the physio's at the Physio Therapy Centre in Haywards Heath.

I play football twice a week, once on a gym floor and once on astro turf, or at least I used to!
On the day I ruptured my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), I played a 'one off' game on a '3G' surface, which is a matted surface, resembling grass, which I am not normally accustomed to playing on.

The format was a 'round robin' competition for charity, run by the Purple Carrot Cafe in Hassocks.
Half way into the competition I twisted my knee and I felt as if I had been struck by a fast moving cricket or hockey ball on the outside of my right knee; indeed this was my first irrational thought.
I soon realised that this was not the case and being a physio, I realised that I had probably caused some major internal structural damage to the knee.

I hoped it was not the ACL and I was pleased that there was no immediate and severe swelling, as this is often a sign of a ACL rupture.

After a few moments I got up and realised that I was in big trouble and that my knee felt completely untrustworthy.

Soon after the incident I went to visit a consultant, who authorised a MRI scan.  I went to see him for the results two weeks later and it confirmed what we had both been thinking, the ACL had ruptured.
On a scan the ACL normally looks straight and runs diagonally in the knee, but my ruptured ACL looked 'crinkly' and only ran about half way up.
I knew the options, from experience.

a) Try to rehab the knee, without surgery …. By building up the musculature around the knee and improve control and co-ordination. This works for many people, but, you must wear a brace if you ski or play football as twisting/turning sports can be very difficult.  There may also be an increased risk of osteoarthritis in the knee, as the ACL helps to make the knee joint operate in a normal bio-mechanical way.

b) Opt for the operation, either a hamstring graft or a patella graft, which both have reported advantages and disadvantages.

My consultant offered me the choice but my gut feeling was to go for the operation and the Consultant I saw does the ‘patella tendon’ type of ACL reconstruction.
A week later I was heading to the hospital for the operation!
If this ever happens to you, you do need to think carefully about your options and whether you feel the operation is for you!
This will depend a lot on your lifestyle.
If you don’t do much sport or you tend to do ‘straight line’ sports, such as cycling, running or walking, you may well find that you have enough stability in the knee, after you have done some rehabilitation exercises, which will be directed by your Physiotherapist.
You should not enter into the operation lightly, as it is not a small operation.
If you do opt for surgery, comically you would consider things such as cutting your toenails, before surgery, having good but easy shoes to slip on & off and have a space in your work diary to take a few weeks off and if you drive as part of your work, a month, unless you can negotiate working at home, from two weeks to a month, when you can normally drive again. Even if you are planning to work from home and your work is mainly desk based, you will still need two weeks off work.
Operation options
1) Patella tendon graft.  You have a tendon, which lies just below your knee cap and in fact blends with your knee cap, called the patella tendon.  If you feel directly below your knee cap, you can easily squeeze it between your thumb and index finger.
At its lowest most point, the tendon attaches on the shin bone (tibia) at a place called the tibial tuberosity.
The surgeon cuts into this tendon and takes  a rectangular shape out of the middle of it, ‘a window’.  They also take a plug of bone from the tibial tuberosity and a plug of bone from the knee cap (patella).
The surgeon then goes inside the knee with a camera and removes the remnants of the old ligament with specialised tools and ‘tidies up’ any damage that you are likely to also have done to the meniscus, which are the two semicircular discs, one on the medial side of the knee and one on the lateral side of the knee.  Normally these structures help to deepen a  joint slightly, provide shock absorption between the bone ends of the femur and tibia (thigh bone and shin bone) and help to provide fluid for the joint.
After ‘tidying’ the space within the joint, the surgeon now uses other specialised tools to drill a hole in the femur and one in the tibia, one for each of the bone plugs on either end of the Patella Tendon mentioned above.
With lots of clever techniques, the surgeon then manoeuvres the new ligament into place, inserting the two plugs of bone into the two bony holes, with the attached tendon between them. The two plugs of bone are held in place by small ‘silk screws’.
  This is the new ACL and the operation is complete, once the surgeon has sewn up the ‘portals’, which are the holes made by the camera and small specialised tools. Then an injection is put into the knee containing steroid and analgesics, to help with swelling and pain.
Immediately after the surgery, people have various reactions to the anaesthetic and surgery, some people will feel very queasy and others will feel fine and have a good appetite.
After my operation I felt fine and I was also fortunate enough to have a ‘game ready’, applied to my right leg, which is basically a top of the range cold compression unit, which intermittently inflates and deflates and surrounds the joint with very cold water.  Personally I found this very relieving.
Depending on your surgeon you will either have a brace on for two weeks, six weeks or not at all.
On the day of the operation or at the latest the next day (if your operation is in the evening) you must get up, with crutches and start to put a bit of weight through your leg. You can put maximum weight through it if you wish, with your brace on, if fitted with one.
You can go to the loo and shower, but not bath; you have waterproof dressings over your wounds.
Once the Physio has been and checked that you can mobilise well, including stairs, if you have them at home and the nursing staff have checked that they’re happy, you can go home.
Foot note: You wear a T.E.D.  stocking on your un-operated leg, which will help prevent any blood clots, which can ‘roam’ into your circulatory (blood) system and cause problems, where the moving clots can cause blockages in sensitive areas, such as the lungs, heart or brain and cause problems.
You can now follow Nigel’s blog on his progress ….

Monday 29 September 2014

Overweight and obese people with knee arthritis tend to report more pain than slimmer people with the same degree of joint damage

Past studies have found that heavier people, especially women, are more likely to develop osteoarthritis and often have more severe osteoarthritis (OA). This study goes a step further. It suggests that people with a higher body mass index (BMI) may have more pain than normal-weight people with the same amount of arthritis-related damage.

Overall, 1,390 participants had already been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, 3,284 did not have the disease but were at risk of developing it, and 122 did not have osteoarthritis or related risk factors.
Weiss analyzed X-rays to determine the severity of patients' arthritis and used the health records to gather information on their BMI and pain levels during everyday activities.
She found that patients with a higher BMI reported more pain, even after adjusting for the severity of their joint damage. For each category of arthritis severity, pain scores were substantially higher among obese patients than among normal-weight patients. Scores for overweight patients fell somewhere in the middle.
Even though osteoarthritis is a progressive disease and its effects are irreversible, losing weight should help reduce pain related to the condition, Weiss wrote online June 17 in Rheumatology.
Losing weight could jump-start a healthy cycle, Weiss said: a decrease in body weight could lessen pain, which in turn might make people more likely to take on more physical activity, resulting in even more weight loss.
It might be difficult for a person who is already experiencing a high level of pain to become active in order to lose weight, however. Weiss suggested trying to lose the weight before starting exercise.
"It is easier to lose weight through dietary changes than through exercise. Small changes can sometimes make big differences," she said. "For example, drinking water rather than cola or finding ways to increase activity that will become a habit, like parking further from the store entrance or taking stairs instead of an elevator."
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1mK8QcO
Rheumatology 2014.

Knee Osteoarthritis (OA): Daily Walking Maintains Function

Patients with knee OA can gain significant benefits and avoid physical function limitations by simply walking more.
"As clinicians, we should be promoting walking in our patients with knee OA. We should have them measure their physical activity with a pedometer, much like people measure their weight with a scale. Those starting on a walking program should get to a target of at least 3000 steps/day and ultimately try to reach 6000 steps/day. This is well below the popular anecdote of 10,000 steps/day, which may be good news to those starting out. It doesn't take much to get to 3000 steps/day," Dr. White told Medscape Medical News. He is research assistant professor, Department of Physical Therapy & Athletic Training, Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Massachusetts.
Long-Term Study Documents Benefits of Walking in Patients With Knee OA
The researchers measured daily steps taken by 1788 people with or at risk for knee OA who were part of the Multicenter Osteoarthritis (MOST) Study, a large multicenter longitudinal cohort study of community-dwelling adults. Mean age was 67 years, mean body mass index (BMI) was 31 kg/m2, and 60% of participants were female.
The researchers measured the number of steps patients walked with an ankle monitor over 7 days. They measured functional limitation at baseline and again 2 years later. The researchers defined functional limitation as walking speed less than1.0 m/s 
The authors reported, "Among study participants who did not develop slow walking at the two-year follow-up (<1.0 m/s), 80% walked at least 5300 steps/day." The minimum for preventing functional decline was between 3250 and 3700 steps/day. Walking an additional 1000 steps each day was associated with a 16% to 18% reduction in incident functional limitation 2 years later.
"Our findings add to the idea that walking is good for people with knee OA. Specifically, walking that occurs during unstructured activities, a few steps here and there, add up and do seem to make a difference in terms of prevention of functional limitation in this patient population. I hope that these findings will lead to clinicians encouraging their patients to use a pedometer to measure their physical activity and work towards the 3000 then 6000 steps/day goal," Dr. White said.
 Physical activity stimulates the expression of lubricin, a lubricant molecule of synovial fluid that is important for cartilage growth and that contributes to the delay of OA development.
More Walking Might Reduce Healthcare Costs Associated With Knee OA
According to Dr. White, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that 80% of patients with OA have some limitation in movement and that 11% of adults with knee OA need assistance with personal care.
"Our findings strongly suggest that walking does work to prevent the onset of problems with physical functioning in the future in people with knee osteoarthritis," Dr. White said.
Arthritis Care Res. Published online June 12, 2014. Abstract

Saturday 5 July 2014

Treatments for Chronic Low Back Pain

An Update of the Cochrane Review

Luis Enrique Chaparro, MD, Andrea D. Furlan, MD, PhD, Amol Deshpande, MD, Angela Mailis-Gagnon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Steven Atlas, MD, Dennis C. Turk, PhD
Spine. 2014;39(7):556-563. 

Abstract and Introduction


Study Design. Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Objective. To assess the efficacy of opioids in adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP).
Summary of Background Data. Opioids for CLBP has increased dramatically. However, the benefits and risks remain unclear.
Methods. We updated a 2007 Cochrane Review through October 2012 of randomized controlled trials from multiple databases. Use of noninjectable opioids in CLBP for at least 4 weeks was compared with placebo or other treatments; comparisons with different opioids were excluded. Outcomes included pain and function using standardized mean difference (SMD) or risk ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and absolute risk difference with 95% CI for adverse effects. Study quality was evaluated using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation criteria.
Results. Fifteen trials (5540 participants), including twelve new, met the criteria. Tramadol was better than placebo for pain (SMD, −0.55; 95% CI, −0.66 to −0.44) and function (SMD, −0.18; 95% CI, −0.29 to −0.07). Compared with placebo, transdermal buprenorphine decreased pain (SMD, −2.47; 95% CI, −2.69 to −2.25), but not function (SMD, −0.14; 95% CI, −0.53 to 0.25). Strong opioids (morphine, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and tapentadol), were better than placebo for pain (SMD, −0.43; 95% CI, −0.52 to −0.33) and function (SMD, −0.26; 95% CI, −0.37 to −0.15). One trial demonstrated little difference with tramadol compared with celecoxib for pain relief. Two trials (272 participants) found no difference between opioids and antidepressants for pain or function. Reviewed trials had low to moderate quality, high drop-out rates, short duration, and limited interpretability of functional improvement. No serious adverse effects, risks (addiction or overdose), or complications (sleep apnea, opioid-induced hyperalgesia, hypogonadism) were reported.
Conclusion. There is evidence of short-term efficacy (moderate for pain and small for function) of opioids to treat CLBP compared with placebo. The effectiveness and safety of long-term opioid therapy for treatment of CLBP remains unproven.
Level of Evidence: 1

Thursday 15 May 2014

Does Eye Colour Predict Response to Pain?

The colour of  our eyes may predict our response to pain

Pain is known to be linked to many factors including gender; age; hair colour and so on and is likely to be governed genetically. For instance having red hair can mean an increased resistance to anaesthetics and and increased propensity to anxiety.

A recent study looking at pre and post partum women wanted to see if eye colour had a link to how these subjects responded to pain. The subjects included 24 dark eyed ( brown and hazel) people and 34 light eyed individuals(blue and green).

Those with dark eyes had increased levels of anxiety; sleep disturbance; pain  on rest and with movement and an increased likelihood of depression.

This indicates a genetic control the molecular physiology of pain.

American Pain Society 33rd Annual Meeting

Thursday 27 February 2014

Chiropody and Podiatry at the Physio Therapy Centre, Haywards Heath

When your feet hurt you hurt all over.
Our Foot Specialist takes great pride in the quality of professional advice and treatment you receive. Our aim is to ensure total foot health for you and your family through preventative, routine and corrective treatments.
As well as offering traditional Chiropody care of nail and skin conditions we also offer specialised services to treat foot Pain including Heel/Arch/ Ball of Foot Problems, Arthritic/Diabetic Problems, Foot & Ankle Disorders and Sports Injuries.

We treat problem nails (including painful, ingrown, thick and discoloured nails), corns and callus, verruca pedis and plantar warts (by herbal, chemical and freezing therapy), cracked heels, athletes foot, blisters and sweaty feet. We also offer diabetic foot assessments and advice. In addition we offer vascular and neurological assessments of the feet in relation to medical complications when indicated. Advice and education will always be offered to prevent reoccurrence of any of the above problems.
We specialise in treating the following conditions by diagnosing the problem, identifying the cause and prescribing corrective treatments including special shoe inserts called orthotics and shoe recommendations: Heel spurs/ Plantar Fasciitis (pain on the sole of your heel often worse in the morning), Metatarsalgia (generalised pain in the ball of the foot), Morton’s Neuroma (nerve entrapment causing pain in the ball of the foot extending into the toes), Bursitis & capsulitis (inflammatory conditions where pain is felt in one or more of the metatarsal heads), sore ankles, Achilles tendonitis, heel bumps, shin splints, arthritic joint pain (pain in the toe joints when walking and or pain on the top of the foot), Bunion problems (where a swelling of the bone and stretching of the tendons occur on the big toe joint causing pain when wearing shoes and walking).
If you have heel/arch pain, corns and callus, inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis or bursitis, joint problems or a sporting injury Biomechanics is the key to discovering why you are suffering these symptoms. By examining the complex movements of your foot joints and the relationship between your pelvis, thigh, hip, knee and leg, abnormality and compensatory problems can be identified and appropriate treatment or referral can be initiated. Podiatry Treatment can include the use of prefabricated insoles or bespoke prescription foot supports as well as a stretching and strengthening regimen.
Orthotics – What are they? Also known as arch supports/ appliances etc they are fully custom made comfort devices made to your exact prescription that readily fit into regular shoes. State of the art, lightweight materials such as carbon graphite and thermoplastics may be used in their construction.
Orthotics – How do they help? They support weakened structures of the feet, deflect pressure from painful areas of the feet, re-align the feet and ankles. This therapy results in an improved posture – beneficial to so many leg and foot problems.

Orthotics – Are they for me? A biomechanical exam and gait analysis is always required before orthotic therapy is prescribed.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Arthritis sufferers listen to professional advice related to exercise and how it helps them

It was found that there is an association between health care providers' recommendations for physical activity and adherence to physical activity guidelines among adults aged 45 or older who had arthritis. This was less in those with other health problems and were overweight.
Subjects who received providers' recommendations were more likely to adhere to physical activity guidelines than those who did not. The rationale for why people follow providers' recommendations for physical activity can be explained by Parsons' traditional sick role perspective, which states that people respond to pain, discomfort, and overall sense of well-being. They consult health care providers when symptoms interfere with their ability to function in their daily activities and seek providers' care and cooperate with them in the process of recovery. The difference in knowledge between the health care providers and patients justifies both the providers' assumption of authority and the patients' trust, confidence, and norm of obedience. Hence, with the debilitating pain that interferes with their daily functions, people with arthritis are more likely to adhere to physical activity guidelines when they receive providers' recommendations.
It is recommended to take 30 minutes of low- to moderate-level physical activity 5 days per week for people with all forms of arthritis.  The low adherence to physical activity among people with arthritis can be addressed with providers' recommendations in clinical settings.
Providers may ask patients about their engagement in physical activity and advise them about the benefits of physical activity during their visits. Providers can assess patients' readiness to engage in physical activity and develop strategies to facilitate patients' physical activity engagement. Furthermore, providers may assist patients in planning and including physical activity in their daily schedule. Finally, in every subsequent visit, providers may follow up on patients' adherence to physical activity.
These results indicate that health care providers should be aware of the effect of their recommendations on patients' adherence to physical activity guidelines and should promote physical activity engagement in clinical settings. Future research should focus on the influence of race/ethnicity on the association between providers' recommendations and adherence to physical activity guidelines among people with arthritis and strategies to promote physical activity, especially in minority populations.
Shamly Austin, PhD, Haiyan Qu, PhD, Richard M. Shewchuk, PhD
Preventative Chronic Diseases. 2013;10 

Monday 24 February 2014

Risks of running in minimalist shoes

Advocates of trendy "minimalist" running shoes promise a more natural experience, but runners in a new study reported higher rates of injury and pain with the less structured shoes.
Three months after switching from traditional running shoes to the minimalist variety, study participants had two to three times as many injuries compared to runners who stuck with traditional shoes.
Be aware of the risks of running in minimalist running shoes. If you are going to go running in these shoes break them in over many weeks; say at least 6. Walk around in them for 6 weeks; don't attempt to run and then slowly build up the distance. This is likely to reduce the risk of injury initially and improve the quality of running form and reduce injuries in the long term. Ideally get expert advice to learn proper running form.

Br J Sports Med 2013.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Tai Chi and feeling free and falling

Tai Chi,  another form of exercise, is  not only great for flexibility and strength but also for improving balance and has been shown to help prevent falls. A recent study looked at adults aged 65 or more and it showed that those that practiced Tai Chi reported higher degrees of confidence, better balance and the ability to carry on with life activities.
The positive effects of tai chi included lower extremity strength and flexibility, changes in proprioception (joint position sense)  which has been seen to improve even in patients with peripheral neuropathy, and reductions in anxiety or fear of falling, which itself is a risk factor for falls.
American Public Health Association (APHA) 141st Annual Meeting: Abstracts 279776, 282712, 289749. Presented November 3, 2013.

Physical activity helps prevent depression

Even a little bit of exercise can help to reduce the onset of depression. The latest look at previous studies showed that physical activity positively helped reduce the likelihood of depresssion and that was more likely to be so in women than men. It was expressed in the paper that this may be due to the social aspect of activity. 

The research shows that activity is good not only for depression but for a large number of physical conditions. It has a lot of benefits. So recommend physical activity for all patients, regardless of current depressive symptoms or potential risk factors for these symptoms
To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help you with  exercises
 and keeping healthy please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.
Am J Prev Med. 2013;45:649-657. Abstract

Saturday 1 February 2014

Exercise and falls prevention

Exercise programs prevent falls among people older than 60 years . Such programs also reduce the likelihood of injuries when falls do occur, according to results of a meta-analysis published online  in BMJ.
Many older adults who live at home are vulnerable to injuries sustained during falls. Such injuries can cause pain and limit functioning, are costly, and may necessitate placement in a skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility. Even minor injuries can have long-lasting consequences if they lead to loss of mobility or cause depression or other psychological distress. Studies designed to assess the efficacy of exercise programs to prevent falls have not previously assessed prevention of injury from falls.
The studies were heterogeneous. For example, 14 trials administered exercise in groups, with 6 of them adding home-based exercise, whereas the other 3 trials only used individual exercise done at home. Seven studies included high-risk participants (older and with fall history). The studies also differed in the types of exercise: some used only tai chi, whereas others incorporated gait and balance and strength/resistance training to different degrees.
The researchers found that exercise programs had significant effects in all fall categories. 
The researchers conclude that exercise programs protect against both falls and fall-related injuries, with the most pronounced effect seen on the most severe injuries. They write, "the estimated reduction is 37% for all injurious falls, 43% for severe injurious falls, and 61% for falls resulting in fractures."

To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help you with  exercises
 and keeping healthy please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.
BMJ. Published online October 29, 2013. Full text

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Exercises for strength and balance are better than stretching, for preventing injury

Strength training and balance exercises are more likely to help prevent sports injuries than stretching, a new look at the evidence suggests.
"If you could do some kind of strength training ... that would be our best (recommendation) for now. But we need more studies to confirm these results in order to be totally sure," said Jeppe Lauersen, who led the review of past studies at the Institute of Sports Medicine Copenhagen at Bispebjerg Hospital in Denmark.
The researchers combined data from studies that randomly assigned people, mostly adult or teenage athletes, to groups that either completed certain exercises or did not. The studies followed participants to see who got injured over periods ranging from months to a year.
The final analysis included 25 trials and more than 26,000 participants, including soccer, basketball and handball players and army recruits.
Some of the studies tracked all possible injuries. Others had a more specific focus, for example, looking only at hamstring injuries or knee injuries related to overuse. Overall, researchers analyzed close to 3,500 injuries.
Lauersen and his colleagues found three studies that looked at stretching programs and showed no benefit for averting injury.
The limited data "do not support the use of stretching for injury prevention purposes, neither before or after exercise."

Br J Sports Med 2013.

Monday 20 January 2014

Chewing gum may be the cause of headaches

Treating some headaches in children may be a simple matter of getting them to stop chewing gum!
A new study suggests that excessive gum chewing may be an important but under-recognised trigger for headaches in older children.
Researchers believe that excessive gum chewing causes headache not through the ingestion of aspartame from the gum, as has been previously suggested, but by putting undue exertion on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
For this study, 30 youngsters (25 girls)were recruited, ranging in age from 6 to 19 years, who had recurrent episodes or chronic headache and were daily gum chewers. Their headaches were classified as migrainous (60%) or tension-type (40%).
Patients filled out a questionnaire that included information on medical and neurologic history, headache characteristics, family history of headaches, and known headache triggers. Researchers divided the participants into 4 groups according to gum chewing duration: up to 1 hour a day, 1 to 3 hours a day, 3 to 6 hours a day, and more than 6 hours a day.
Study participants were asked to stop gum chewing for a month. After this discontinuation, 26 patients responded (19 had complete resolution of headaches and 7 had some improvement in headache frequency and intensity). No improvement occurred in 4 patients.
The duration of symptoms before stopping gum chewing did not play a role in the clinical response. Some children who reported full or significant improvement had experienced chronic headaches for up to 6 years.
Patients were then asked to renew their gum chewing habit to the same extent as before discontinuation. All 20 of the 26 patients who first reported complete or partial headache relief and who reintroduced gum chewing reported relapse, within a week, of headaches of similar intensity as before they discontinued the chewing habit.
Research shows common headache triggers include weather, stress, menstruation, frequent travel, sleep disturbances, perfume, and lights. Triggers in children appear similar to those in adults, although they may also be vulnerable to video games, environmental noise, exposure to smoke, and school book reading. Specific foods, such as chocolate, alcoholic drinks, and cheese, are also associated with headaches.
Headache has been shown to be associated with and be provoked by TMJ dysfunction. Chewing gum, as well as other oral habits (such as excessive nail biting and teeth grinding), imposes a mechanical burden on the joint.
Pediatric Neurology. 2013;50:69-72. Abstract
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Tuesday 14 January 2014

Exercise and Dementia

Recent research says that keeping fit especially in middle age reduces the risk of dementia.

20,000 adults were looked at mostly in their 40s and 50s using a treadmill exercise. Up to 9% went on to develop dementia and 36% of the most fit were less likely to go onto develop dementia than those with a lower fitness level.

To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help you with exercise and keeping healthy please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.

Annals of Internal Medicine 2013

Monday 13 January 2014

Exercise and fall prevention

A recent systematic review of research related to fall-prevention programmes was undertaken. Fall prevention exercise programmes aimed at improving balance, gait, functional training, strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance will all benefit individuals. They will help with increasing muscle strength and improving reflexes which will help protect and strengthen bones.

People who follow specialist exercise programmes are less likely to fall and will have less severe injuries if they do.

To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help you with  exercise and keeping healthy please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.

BMJ 2013; To view this research paper go to http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6234