Advanced Practice Physical Therapy - July 2020


Knee injuries are all too common for professional athletes and weekend warriors alike, but the problem may originate higher than you think. Many knee injuries can be tied to hip weaknesses. Because hip muscles play a big role in controlling the position of the knees, even slight imbalances can lead to problematic knee flexion or hyperextension during exercise. Many workouts later, injury and pain can result. If this describes your situation, don’t give up on running or soccer just yet. Try these two exercises to help stabilize and strengthen your knees. LATERAL WALKS Sometimes called monster walks, this movement targets the gluteus medius, an often overlooked muscle that is important

for strong running mechanics because it helps stabilize the knee. Wrap a resistance band around your ankles, place your legs shoulder-width apart (if this doesn’t create tension in the band, use a smaller one), and descend into a slight squat. Begin by taking one lateral step to the right with your right leg, followed by the left leg, keeping feet shoulder-width apart so there is always tension in the band. Take 10 steps to the right side, then repeat on the other side. Try for two sets. STEP-UPS Standing in front of a step or stable wood box that is 6 inches tall, step onto it with your right leg, putting your weight on your heels to engage your gluteal muscles. Tap the step with your left foot, then return it to the floor. As you step up, focus on not letting your right knee extend beyond your toes. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs. Try for three full sets. Once you feel confident with the step height, you can use a taller step or box — just make sure it’s no higher than your knees. Start slow and ease into these movements. However, before beginning any new exercise program, talk to your doctor to make sure you are ready for it. If you do experience any pain or if your knees continue to bother you while you’re exercising, then talk to a physical therapist. They can help you find the best movements and exercises to address your specific condition and help you get back to the activities you love.


A lot of people struggle to keep up with a regular wellness routine because they lack accountability to hold them to it. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or healthy eating, if you go through the process alone, it’s that much harder to will yourself to see it through. But at a time when isolation is still one of the best ways to stay healthy, how can you involve others in your wellness plan? The answer is simple: Create a virtual wellness challenge! UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS A wellness challenge cultivates healthy competition among participants that keeps them motivated to stick with their wellness regimens. Challenges can be fully customized depending on the goals and abilities of those participating, and when the challenge is carried out virtually, participants have more freedom and flexibility in their

routines without missing out on any of the social interaction that makes it fun.

GET STARTED Every challenge should have a

quantifiable goal depending on the theme. Challenges like working out for 30 minutes a day, getting seven hours of sleep at night, eating 1 cup of leafy greens with every meal, or meditating for 15 minutes every day are all great examples. Whatever it is, the target should be clear and reasonable in order to encourage maximum participation and low burnout. STAY ACCOUNTABLE Treat the challenge like you would a weekly book club. Set a time every week to meet via a video call to share wins and setbacks, discuss necessary changes to the challenge, plan for the next week’s challenge, and offer

encouragement. If you really want to up the inspiration, determine a prize to be awarded to the person who actively participates the most. Just be sure you have a tangible way to record and share those results, like video evidence of the activity. A wellness challenge shared among friends and family is a great way to work on your physical or mental well- being and stay connected with loved ones when you aren’t able to visit them in person. That kind of consistent personal connection can be wellness in and of itself.


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