Health Masters PT January 2018

W hat an I njured L ittle G irl T aught M e A bout P ain


side from the optimism and anticipation that comes with each new year, the beginning of 2018 has me thinking a lot about the roots of my physical therapy career. Though I love what I do — today, more than ever — and am confident that I picked the right path in life, I wasn’t always so sure. My first job right out of college tested me in ways I never could have anticipated. But it also helped me form a central component of the approach that helped me become the therapist I am today.

those days was incredibly painful, as we removed their dead tissue and delicately replaced it with living, growing tissue. I grit my teeth and put her through the treatments with my team, telling myself that, despite the pain we were inevitably inflicting on this poor kid, it was all for her own good. And, of course, it was — but one thing she said stopped me cold. During a break in the treatment, she turned her head, looked me right in the eye, and told me “You remind me of my daddy.” It felt like the floor fell out from beneath me. Reluctantly, I asked her why? What about me reminded her of her daddy? To this day, I can still see every detail of her face in my mind as she said that. In the moment, I questioned everything. I was there, hurting that little girl as bad as her own abusive father — why was I doing this? Did I really belong in the field at all? Back at home, I couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d said. But after some thought, I realized a fundamental truth in the innocence of her perspective. Despite whatever noble goals or outcomes we’d achieved during her treatment, we’d hurt that little girl. I realized, no matter what my patients were trying to make it through, I never wanted to inflict that kind of pain again. I didn’t want to put my patients through agony just to get them to the light at the end of the tunnel. Today, I tell patients all the time that Health Masters is not a “no-pain- no-gain” shop. I try to intertwine every aspect of our clinic with a spirit of compassion and empathy. We do our very best to eliminate pain without causing more first. To me and my team, mitigating pain in a positive way is of the utmost importance. In many ways, it was a promise I made to myself while looking that poor little girl in the eye — one that’s shaped my most basic approach throughout my entire career. “Because you hurt me.”

Almost immediately after finishing school, I was thrust into a position that, I can say now frankly, I was completely unprepared for. In college, I’d received quite a bit of training treating burn patients, so when an opportunity arose to be the therapy director for the burn center at the top of Sun Towers hospital here in El Paso, I jumped at it. As detailed, complicated

Today, I tell patients all the time that Health Masters is not a “no- pain-no-gain” shop. I try to intertwine every aspect of our clinic with a spirit of compassion and empathy.

work with a lot of tangible benefit to the patients, I thought I’d love coming into the hospital each day. And for the most part, I did. But one particular patient challenged my very perception of the discipline I’d chosen. One day, a patient came into the burn center, a little girl who must have been no more than 8 or 9 years old. When I read her case file, I was shocked, but it still couldn’t have prepared me for when I saw her injuries firsthand. There were vicious burns all the way up and down her backside, spreading all the way from her bottom to her feet. Apparently, her father had become enraged and, after superheating the water in the bathtub, he held his daughter down in the water, despite her desperate attempts to get out. Though he’d been sent to jail, the consequences of his actions remained — there in front of me, in the surgical suite of the burn ward. It was unthinkable.

–Louis Zuniga

So now, this beautiful, innocent little girl who’d been through so much trauma required our aid. Regrettably, the way burn treatment went in

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From the Web to the Wall According to Gizmodo, Facebook users upload 300 million photos per day. Similarly, 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram daily. Social media is a great platform for sharing and storing, but what if you want to literally hold on to those memories? That’s where Free Prints and Social Print Studio come into play. Free Prints The most attractive aspect of the Free Prints app is right in the name. Users can download 85 free 4-by-6-inch photo prints a month (up to 1,000 a year). But you can only print one free copy of each photo. Additional prints will run you 9 cents each. Standard shipping costs $2.99, and your photos arrive within five to 13 days. Or, for an additional dollar, they can arrive in four to six days. If you choose to print photos in sizes other than 4-by-6 inches, you will have to pay more for the service. The app is well-designed and easy to use; you can print photos from your device’s library or link your accounts to print directly from Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, and Picasa. The app is free and available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. Once your photos are uploaded and saved, you can then browse, where you can order a variety of custom products, including magnets, canvas prints, and phone cases. Social Print Studio Functioning as both a website and a stand-alone app, Social Print Studio is a small company based in We Can Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis

Tools to Print Your Social Media Photos

San Francisco that has been printing social media photos since 2010. While this company is capable of printing photos of your social media posts, they can do so much more with your digital memories.

Social Print Studio’s products are divided into four categories: photobooks, the classics, wall art, and everything else. You can order your photos printed in soft, hard, or layflat book form. Their classic options include postcards, mighty prints, and photostrips. Or, turn your photos into beautiful wall art with metal prints, canvas prints, and wall calendars. You can even get greeting cards, stickers, and buttons. Pricing varies by item, but one thing remains constant: Social Print Studio is dedicated to offering the best products possible. The app is free and available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. While sharing photos on social media accounts is an easy way to store your memories, these apps will help you keep and display those memories for years to come. The next time you need to spiff up your walls or give an extra-special gift, pay them a visit! supported by a single band of ligament tissue called the plantar fascia. This connective tissue is vitally important to our gait, sustaining an enormous amount of weight throughout each day. But if it becomes strained, the fascia can become swollen and inflamed, resulting in persistent, sharp pain in the heel and the bottom of your foot. This injury is called plantar fasciitis, and it’s one of the most common causes of foot pain in America. The telltale sign of the disorder is pain radiating throughout the bottom of the foot, usually at its worst when you take your first steps after a long period of rest. Sufferers complain about getting up in the morning or standing up from their desk during the day. Plantar fasciitis can get so bad that it will stop you from walking at all. But luckily, it’s treatable through physical therapy. Following a diagnosis, our experienced physical therapists can guide you through a number of treatments and exercises, increasing the flexibility of your plantar fascia, and getting your feet back to baseline. If you have plantar fascia, you’ll be happy to know that most patients begin to feel relief within just a few sessions, leading to a full recovery over the following months. Don’t live with constant, debilitating foot pain. Let the therapists at HealthMasters heal your foot for the long run and get back to doing the things you love.

Most of us use our feet every day. Whether we’re taking a jog around the neighborhood, easing on the gas pedal down the highway, or standing up to stretch after a long day in front of the computer, our feet are almost constantly supporting us as we navigate the world. Since our feet seem so simple and consistent, it’s easy to take them for granted. That is, until they begin to hurt, and we realize just how much we depend on these humble appendages. As anyone with foot pain can tell you, an injury to the foot is a lot more than a minor nuisance.

Our feet seem relatively uncomplicated until we take a closer look. Each foot is an intricate bundle of muscle and bone,

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The human leg is a delicate and incredible instrument, developed and slowly perfected over millions of years of evolution. But complication comes with a price: a heightened risk of injury. Our knees, especially, can succumb to any number of issues. Chief among them is patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee. Normally, as you bend your knee, the patella, or kneecap, glides along the femoral groove, a track in our femur cushioned by cartilage. The muscles and ligaments of the leg work to keep the patella sliding normally along this groove. However, if something is amiss and the patella doesn’t ride normally

performing high-intensity training. This is usually the result of a muscle imbalance and tightness in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles. However, it can also arise from internal anatomical factors, such as naturally poor patellar tracking, improper foot posture, or weak hip control. Patellofemoral pain is localized in and behind the kneecap, but it can cause swelling and pain that may spread throughout the structure. This pain is usually the worst after climbing hills or stairs, squatting, running, hopping, or sitting for long periods of time.

through the track, it will begin to slide to the side. This forces the patella to rub and grind against the edges of the femur. As the problem worsens, it can irritate the joint, which results in kneecap pain and deterioration of the patellar surface. According to PhysioWorks, approximately 25 percent of the American population experiences aching kneecaps at one time in their lives, but it’s even higher in athletes. Often, pain will begin after a period of overuse, like after ramping up training or

Patellofemoral pain is complicated and extremely common, and it can easily lead to more serious conditions such as patellar tendinitis or arthritis. Luckily, it’s usually treatable with careful exercise and physical therapy. Treatment often involves the initial mitigation of pain symptoms, followed by exercises that restore range of motion, a battery of stretches, and a muscle- strengthening regimen designed to even out any imbalances. After a few months of treatment, most patients are able to return to playing sports and living pain-free.

Have a LAUGH



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1 cup rolled oats 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon coconut oil 3 tablespoons maple syrup 1/3 cup pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup coconut flakes 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup goji berries


1. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add oats in a thin layer and toast for 1–2 minutes. Add coconut oil and salt, then stir. Continue toasting for 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally. 2. Add maple syrup 1 tablespoon at a time; stir to coat. 3. Once oats are toasted, add pistachios, coconut flakes, and cinnamon. Cook slowly until pistachios and coconut flakes are toasted but not burned, about 5 minutes. 4. Remove from pan and stir in goji berries. 5. Let cool and enjoy as a snack or on top of your yogurt! • 3

Recipe inspired by


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INSIDE This Issue

Louis Reflects on His Work in the Burn Center

Hold On to Your Memories

Foot Pain? You May Have Plantar Fasciitis

Why Knee Pain Is So Common

Start the Day Right With This Granola

Books to Inspire You in the New Year

FOR 2018 spent on the International Space Station. From sharing everyday space adventures to letting us in on the physical toll space takes on the body, Kelly helps us understand what it’s really like to be in the great unknown. If you’re looking for inspiration in the new year, reading about Kelly’s harrowing year of challenges will surely give you the courage to overcome your own. If You Loved the ‘Divergent’ Series

Your Reading List Can you believe 2017 is behind us? Elections, weather, and just about everything on the news left us feeling uncertain. We could all use a dose of optimism in the new year. Here are some books that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit, even in the most challenging situations.

Finding Forrest When an actor tries their hand at other creative mediums, the results are varied, but the buzz about Tom Hanks’ new book, “Uncommon Type,” has been largely positive. His literary debut is a collection of 17 short stories, all featuring, in some way, a typewriter. At their heart, though, the stories are about human relationships, and Hanks manages to inject his

Veronica Roth brings us a new sci-fi/fantasy series with “Carve the Mark.” Roth whisks us to a planet where each person has a “currentgift,” a special power they develop. But for heroes Cyra and Akos, currentgifts are more of a curse. The two must work to overcome their distinctly different pasts and unite to save their world — or die trying.

most memorable character’s charm into his writing. As NPR reviewer Heller McAlpin puts it, “In a world where the news is unrelentingly bleak and much fiction tends toward the dystopian, postapocalyptic, dark, or edgy, this is a gentler, sweeter kind of storytelling than we’ve come to expect.” Overcome a Harrowing Year Few have done more to earn the title of modern-day hero than Scott Kelly, who has served as a military fighter pilot, an engineer, an astronaut, and now, an author. “Endurance” is Kelly’s memoir, and it recounts the year he

When You Need a Hero School is tough, and no one knows it better than George Heffley. In installment 12 of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, titled “The Getaway,” Jeff Kinney takes us on a tropical vacation with the Heffleys as they attempt to escape the cold weather and frenzy of the holidays. But the island isn’t the relaxing sanctuary it’s supposed to be. The suggested reading age is 8–12 years old, but this book would make an excellent listen for the whole family during a road trip of your own.

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