Willow PT_How TO Recover Quicker and More Completely


NEWSLETTER Health &Wellness


Who among us hasn’t run through the park when suddenly we find an uneven patch in the grass and wind up on the ground, clutching a foot or an ankle? That all-too-familiar pain is often referred to as a sprain or strain, depending on what structurewas injured(ligamentortendon).Butwhat isthedifferencebetweenthe twoconditions,andwhatcanhelp itheal?Most importantly,howdoyoukeepfrom re-spraining your foot or ankle on every uneven surface you run across? Types of Foot or Ankle Pain: • Foot or Ankle Sprain – A sprain happens when the ligament, the tissue that connects one bone to another, is stretched or torn. A sprain can also happen when there is damage to a joint capsule, the part of the ankle or foot that adds stability to the joint. Symptoms of sprains include pain, inflammation, muscle spasm or sometimes an inability to move your foot or ankle. • Foot or Ankle Strain – Wait. There’s a difference between a sprain or strain? Absolutely. While sprains happen when there is damage to a ligament, strains happenwhenthere isdamagetothemuscleorthetendon,thetissuethatconnects muscletobone.Strainsusuallyhappenwhenthemusclesuddenlycontractswhile it is stretched, like when you run or jump. The symptoms of strains are similar to those associated with sprains, making them difficult to tell apart without a thorough physical exam or an MRI or ultrasound. • Plantar Fasciitis – A thick band of connective tissue called your plantar fascia is located on the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Usually, this tissue acts like a shock absorber when you walk, run or jump. If the plantar fascia has too much tension on it, small tears begin to appear causing inflammation. This inflammation can send sharp, stabbing pains through your heel with every step, especially first thing in the morning . This condition, called plantar fasciitis, is common in runners, people who are overweight or anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet working on hard floors or while wearing non-supportive shoes.

Causes of Foot or Ankle Pain: Whetheryou trip, fall,step inanunexpected hole, or twist your foot or ankle “wrong”, foot or ankle pain from a sprain or astrain isoftentheresultofan injuryorevent.PlantarFasciitis,ontheother hand, tends to be an overuse injury, or a condition that happens gradually over time. However, foot or ankle pain is often the result of an underlying weakness in themusclesof the footor leg,not just the resultofan incident oraccident.Peoplewhosprainorstrain the ligaments, tendonsormuscles in their feet or ankles often find that they are continuously re-injuring that part of their body. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case. Howarefootandanklepaintreated? Footandanklepaintreatmentdepends on where the injury happens and how long ago it occurred. Compression and Elevation: If it is not possible to walk more than two or three steps without pain or if the joint looks out of place, it is important to visit a doctor as soon as possible. For most people, within a few hours of compression wrapping and elevation, most people notice that the swelling begins to subside and they can carry on with most of their daily tasks with minimaldiscomfort.However, this initial treatmentofa footoranklesprain does not help strengthen the area and prevent injury in the future. ExercisestoTry: Oncetheacutephaseofthe injuryhaspassed(thefirst3-7 days, typically), it is possible to prevent future injury by exercises targeted atstrengthening themuscles thatsurround theankleand foot.Trydrawing thealphabetwithyour toes to improve rangeofmotion,performcalf raises every time you stand at the sink, or raise your toes slowly off of the ground when you are standing in line.



In short, yes. Physical therapy is designed to relieve the pain of a foot or ankle problem, improve the range of motion, and strengthen your muscles so they become more flexible and able to take on the shock of normal activities. While most foot or ankle injuries heal on their own without long-term side effects, physical therapy is the best way to insure these injuries do not recur. A physical therapist will show you proper ways to stabilize your foot or ankle. This may include using orthotics in supportive shoes, wrapping your injured foot or ankle or using other modalities for pain relief such as ultrasound therapy or massage. They will also show you therapeutic exercises that target the muscles that keep the foot or ankle supported. They may even recommend a customized physical fitness program that can help you reduce stress on your feet and ankles. Whether you injured your foot or ankle or have been dealing with plantar fasciitis for a long time, physical therapy is the answer to achieving long-term relief. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or to find out more information about how physical therapy can help relieve your foot or ankle pain.


INGREDIENTS • 3 cups whole-milk plain Greek yogurt • ¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1½ cups sliced strawberries • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir yogurt, maple syrup (or honey) and vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread on the prepared baking sheet into a 10-by-15-inch rectangle. Scatter the strawberries on top and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Freeze until very firm, at least 3 hours. To serve, cut or break into 32 pieces. To make ahead: Freeze airtight between sheets of parchment for up to 1 month; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Equipment: Parchment paper


Try this movement if you are experiencing pain. EXERCISE OF THE MONTH STEP DOWN Stand on a step. Lower one foot slowly towards the ground. Keep your hips level! Step down and then off the step. Keep your knees aligned over your feet. Repeat 8 times on both sides. Strengthens Legs

Staff Spotlight

John is our newest P.T. He graduated from South Dakota State University. John served in the Air Force as an Acquisitions and Intelligence Officer for over six years. While on active duty, he sustained some injuries playing sports; physical therapy followed, which was his introduction to P.T. He saw a positive impact firsthand and made a career change completing his D.P.T. degree from Creighton University in 2014. He practiced in outpatient orthopedics in Colorado Springs from 2014-2017 at Colorado Sports and Spine Center, then moved to San Antonio where he provided onsite P.T. from 2017-2019 through Fit For Work. John moved to Alaska in 2019 and is excited to return to an outpatient setting and join the team at Willow PhysicalTherapy. He is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and certified in Level I and II Functional Dry Needling through Kinetacore. He enjoys treating orthopedic conditions, particularly the shoulders, spine, and is additionally interested in the neuroscience of pain. His wife Heather is stationed at Eielson Air Force Base and they have three children- Kya, Carson, and Landon and an Australian Shepherd, Ginger.They are eager to explore Alaska-camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, and all the adventures that come their way!! Willow Physical Therapy would like to welcome John Wempe to our Team!! Patient Spotlight I thought I’d try Physical therapy. It changed my life!! “I was limping after sitting for any length of time, that didn’t seem right. I thought I’d try Physical therapy. It changed my life!! I did’t realize howmany muscles I had. I have learned so much and feel ready to get back to life.“ - K. Lenniger

Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you are unsure of doing.


1. Always carry a water bottle. If you have a bottle within arm’s reach, it’s very likely thatyou’llmindlesslysip from it throughout theday,withouthaving to make a conscious effort. 2. When you’re feeling frazzled, grab a glass of cold water. Studies show that people instantly feel more alert after drinking H2O. 3. Sip on a mug of herbal tea every evening. If you make this a habit, you’ll add an extra cup of fluid to your body every single day. 4. Eat a diet rich in whole foods. By eating foods like vegetables, fruits, and yogurt, you’ll automatically up your fluid intake. Ifyou’reanelderlyadult, it’sespecially important topayattention tohydration. Aging impairs thebody’snatural thirstmechanisms,whichmakes iteasier to become dehydrated. Remember to always keep a water bottle as a physical reminder to drink even if you’re not thirsty.

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