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Occupational Physical Therapy

Most everyone is familiar with Physical Therapy. You are injured during an accident or rehabilitating from surgery, you work with a physical therapist to continue the healing and recovery process. Not as familiar to some but imperative to your health and well-being, Occupational Therapy ensures that you are able to conduct your activities of daily living in a healthy, pain-free and efficient way. If you have been injured on the job, or your workspace is causing you to experience pain, perhaps it’s time to see an Occupational Therapist.

PT vs. OT

When you see a physical therapist, you expect to see steady improvement in movement, dexterity and reach. You might be asked to do certain exercises, or undergo therapeutic massage or manipulations. To accomplish this, a physical therapist will conduct a thorough physical evaluation and diagnostic testing to customize your unique treatment plan. On the other hand, Occupational Therapy doesn’t use these direct methods to treat injuries. Rather, it uses evaluations and assessments based on your daily and work-related tasks and activities to customize treatment for each patient. Evaluations and assessments can be tailored to both home and work environment to ensure adaptability in each scenario. These evaluations will serve as a guide to reduce or prevent task- and work-related injury and damage.

When Do You Need Occupational Therapy?

In general, Occupational Therapy is recommended for those who are hurt on the job. Some workers may receive workman’s compensation for an acute condition, while others may have experienced a lifetime of wear and tear that finally has taken its toll. A variety of examples of task- or work-related conditions include, carpal tunnel syndrome, back issues, rotator cuff injuries, thumb joint arthritis, DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis and neck pain. Working with you, your occupational therapist will observe your work postures and habits, and will make recommendations as to how to work more efficiently by reducing strain on your body. Your occupational therapist may make recommendations as to how to make your workspace more ergonomic, or may offer certain accommodations, such as wearing protective or supportive gear or lifting less. Many times your occupational therapist will work with your employer to ensure these adaptations are in place. The goal is to create a goal-oriented plan that will restore your health and productivity, while lessening the risk of chronic pain and/or long-term injury.

Orthopaedic Experts in Colorado Springs

Orthopaedic care, physical therapy and occupational therapy all work hand in hand. If you are hurt on the job, you may require the expertise of an orthopaedist, as well as the support of a physical therapist to help you regain your full range of productivity. Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence is the first choice of active people in the Springs. Hurt on the job? Our occupational therapy staff is part of our dynamic team to ensure every day at work is pain- and injury free.Contact the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 or make your appointment online.

Physical Therapy to Treat Injuries

Physical therapy can help people of all ages regain motion or improve their function after suffering any of a variety of injuries and illnesses. The main aim of physical therapy is to get a person back to the point where they can perform normal, everyday activities without difficulty or pain.

If you have an injury, your physical therapist (PT) can design a customized program and work with you to regain your strength, flexibility, and range of motion after your injury. The therapist may suggest and demonstrate a variety of treatments, including aquatic therapy and acupuncture, as well as specific therapeutic exercises and stretches. The PT will also devise a home exercise program to aid your recovery.

Your physical therapist can work with you to find activities and lifestyle changes in order to improve your overall health and to help prevent further injuries. If you suffer from a sports injury, your physical therapist can design an appropriate exercise program to help you get back to your sport as quickly and safely as possible while also helping you to avoid re-injuring that area of your body.

How Can Physical Therapy Treat My Sports Injuries?

Your physical therapist will use a variety of treatments and techniques to aid in your recovery, including the following:

  • Exercising will help you improve muscle function and strength and increase your range of motion. Your physical therapist may also work on strengthening your core muscles (abdominal, back, and pelvic muscles), as this improves balance and stability and helps to reduce further injuries.
  • Stretching can help increase or maintain your range of motion and flexibility, especially after an injury. Stretching can also help you recover from surgery, where scar tissue has formed and has caused the tissue to contract and tighten.
  • Ice or heat helps to warm up or cool down the muscles. Your PT may apply heat therapy to help reduce stiffness and ice therapy to help reduce pain. These therapies can also stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling.

How PTs Treat Other Injuries

Injuries that can also benefit from physical therapy include muscle strains, joint sprains, and repetitive-motion injury. A physical therapist will show you how to do the proper exercises and stretches that you should continue repeating at home in order to heal. Be patient – many of these injuries can take many months to heal completely.

Age-related joint damage, such as in arthritis, can also be helped by physical therapy. Our therapists work with our doctors to ensure you are gaining the most from your therapy, and to determine whether you may possibly need more invasive treatments to alleviate your pain.

Physical Therapy in Colorado Springs

Physical therapy can provide many benefits to patients with injuries, including reducing or eliminating the need for surgery, improving mobility, reducing or eliminating pain, and improving balance and strength. At the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, we have a team of specialists providing comprehensive orthopedic care, physical therapy, and sports medicine in a compassionate manner.

To schedule an appointment, call us today at (719) 623-1050. You can also request an appointment online. We can help provide the relief you need in order to get back to doing the things you love.

Overuse Injuries – How Can You Prevent Them?

There are two basic types of injuries: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries happen as a result of a single, often blunt-force trauma to the body.

Overuse injuries are injuries that gradually develop over time. This occurs from doing a repetitive motion until some joint or body part begins to suffer the inability to perform a certain motion without pain.

How Do Overuse Injuries Happen? 

Overuse injuries develop gradually, especially from using improper form to do something. While many athletes assume that any injury is an acute injury, an overuse injury may be noticed suddenly but is actually caused by performing an activity over and over. 

The cumulative result of training errors, improper form or technique, and simply repeating a motion over and over will cause overuse injuries. These injuries can cause just as much or more damage than an acute injury. 

Several factors contribute to overuse injuries, including the following:

  • A lack of muscle strength or endurance
  • Having poor core stability, resulting in straining 
  • Inflexibility or poor stretching, leading to staggered movements
  • Poor technique that causes another body part to compensate
  • Errors in training, whether the issue is with form, equipment, or technique
  • Any activity that results in cumulative trauma

Avoiding Overuse Injuries

The best way to avoid an overuse injury is by starting out with proper form from the very beginning. Consider having a personal trainer give you advice and feedback before launching into a sport.

Form is crucial, and certain sports pose a greater risk caused by bad form. In weight-lifting, for example, form is critical – and because a person is pushing greater weight, using poor form will definitely cause a joint to wear out. 

Stages of Repetitive-Motion Injury

There exist roughly four stages of an overuse type of injury: 

  • First stage: Discomfort during warm-up
  • Second stage: Discomfort that disappears during warm-up, but reappears at the conclusion of the activity
  • Third stage: Discomfort that worsens during the activity
  • Fourth stage: Constant pain or discomfort 

Before an overuse injury worsens, see a doctor and stop performing the activity that is causing pain. The physician will likely explain alternative methods of performing the same task.

Experienced Orthopedic Physicians in Colorado

Overuse injuries do not happen overnight – they take time to develop. Anything that brings pain which did not in the past is cause to seek medical attention.

Pushing on through the pain might significantly damage the joint or eventually require surgical intervention, whereas the injury may have been treated with therapy if addressed sooner.

The doctors at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence have decades of experience treating all sorts of injuries on all levels of athletes. Call us today at (719) 623-1050 or schedule an appointment now. Don’t neglect the warning signs in your body – listen to them so you can prevent a simple problem from becoming a complex issue.

Preventing Falls at Home After Orthopedic Surgery

Thanks to advances in modern surgical techniques, many injuries today can be treated on an outpatient basis. Someone who undergoes a minor knee repair surgery, for example, may be sent home a few hours following the procedure.

While recovery at home is often far more comfortable than recovering in a hospital, it holds far more dangers for a patient – with the most dangerous area of the home being the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room. A patient’s home often lacks the benefit of professional medical supervision, with patients having to care for themselves and navigate around the house using crutches or a walker. This means dodging furniture, household items, kid’s toys, and possibly even rambunctious pets.

In contrast, a hospital room typically contains minimal furniture to permit easy access for medical professionals and reduce the chance of tripping over things. Someone is available with the push of a button to bring a bedpan or assist a patient to the bathroom. Meals are delivered and served in bed so the chances of suffering a fall are minimal.

Why Post-Op Falls are Dangerous

Even a relatively minor fall can greatly complicate matters for someone recovering from surgery. The repaired body part faces an increased risk of re-injury, tearing out of the stitches or other possible maladies. A person who falls may twist their bodies in an attempt to protect the treated area, potentially causing a secondary injury elsewhere.

Falling and being unable to get up is a real concern. No one wants to picture a loved one, home alone after surgery, falling to the floor, unable to get up or reach a phone to call for help. It is a horrific thought, but it does happen.

In addition, special care should be taken for seniors while recovering from surgery, as many will need someone to stay with them during recovery, or at least receive daily in-home visits from a nurse or therapist. Older adults are far more susceptible to falls and are more likely to suffer injuries from a fall.

How to Avoid Hazards in the Home

If you are anticipating recovering from surgery at home, there are things you can do to prepare to minimize the likelihood of a fall after your procedure. This preparation includes:

  • Clear areas that you will need to navigate by removing things like floor runners, loose wires or cords, and tables or household items in walkways.
  • Consider boarding pets for a few days to avoid the risk of tripping over them.
  • Set up a small cooler with snacks or refreshments for the day next to the bed and relocate phones so they are close by.
  • Ensure any rugs have nonslip backing on them or, even better, remove them.
  • Install handrails in the bathroom, especially if the patient is elderly or recovery is expected to take weeks or months.
  • To avoid the risks that come with having to climb stairs, relocate your bed to the first floor (if in a multilevel home) with access to a nearby bathroom.
  • Ensure house slippers have no-skid soles.
  • Arrange for regular visits by family or friends. Try to make your trips to the bathroom while someone is with you in the home and available to assist if needed. Nearly half of all falls recorded after surgery occur in the bathroom. Condensation or splashed water exponentially enhances the chances of a slip and fall in the bathroom, so be careful. 
  • Be aware of the possibility some medicines can cause dizziness, which can increase the likelihood of a fall, no matter how otherwise able you feel you are.

The kitchen is the second most dangerous room in the house because water figures prominently here as well, with spills and splashes from the sink or dishwasher creating hazards that can cause a slip and fall. Plus, the kitchen is home to many sharp, pointy objects designed to rend flesh from bone.

If you’re planning an at-home recovery, or even just thinking about adding new exercise to your routine at home, consult a medical professional first to learn how to avoid the particular hazard of falls. Call the team of professionals at the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 or request a consultation using the convenient online form to find out for yourself why the COE team is the best of the best. 

How Choosing an Orthopedic Urgent Care can Save You Time

Orthopedic injuries can happen at any time, but there is a good chance of having an accident that results in a broken bone, sprain, or strain over the weekend. Weekend warriors out there playing sports or participating in other outdoor activities run the risk of getting hurt. If you get injured over the weekend or even in the evening, choosing an orthopedic urgent care could save you valuable time in getting the treatment you need. 

When you go to an orthopedic urgent care center, you will be seen by either an orthopedic surgeon or a physician assistant (PA), who has had extensive training in diagnosing and treating orthopedic injuries. He or she would also have assisted in many surgeries, and have experience in determining which injuries need the care of an orthopedic surgeon. 

If you go to the ER, chances are you will get an X-ray and splint with instructions to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible. If you go to an orthopedic urgent care, in addition to getting to see an orthopedic PA, you can be seen by a surgeon much faster most of the time. Some facilities are able to schedule surgery right away at their affiliated outpatient center.

Here are some of the injuries that can be treated efficiently at an orthopedic urgent care:

  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Sprains and strains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Sports injuries
  • Foot or ankle injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Hand or wrist injuries

If you live in the Colorado Springs area, arrange to see the orthopedic experts at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence. From professional sports medicine including the US Olympic team, to treatment of osteoarthritis, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons provide the best possible care. Call (719) 623-1050 for a priority appointment with a skilled and experienced orthopedic provider.