Are you constantly dealing with pain after an accident or a sports-related injury? Experiencing any displeasure from post-operation procedures? Or is your overall well-being affected by your health, environment, and other external factors? Then worry no more as physiotherapists will get you back in tiptop shape.
Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is a known treatment that restores and preserves a person’s full potential through the science of movement. These include methods like exercise, massage, taping, hydrotherapy, and other mobile procedures. Electrical stimulation through Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and acupuncture can also be used during such therapy sessions.
Treatment methods depend if the complications affect the cardiovascular, respiratory, and neuromuscular systems. It also varies on the patient’s age, ailment, injury, or rehabilitation needs. But most physiological cases normally affect the musculoskeletal system of the body.
These include back spasms, neck pain, muscle strains, fractures, and other disorders affecting the muscles and skeleton of anybody. These also include issues like ankle sprains, shin splints, and carpal tunnel syndrome, which will be discussed in this article.
Ankle Sprain: The Basics
An ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries experienced by anyone. It usually involves the straining of the ligaments supporting the ankle joints. There are two known types of ankle sprains – lateral and medial ankle sprains.
A lateral ankle sprain is the most usual case as it directly affects the outside of the ankle where the stretched ligaments are found. This is also called inversion, wherein a person’s foot folds inwards beneath the legs. On the other hand, medial ankle sprain or eversion happens when a person’s foot rolled outwards. Lesser cases of this type are recorded since a greater force may be needed to injure this side of the ankle.
Most ankle sprains only last for several days and is typically left untreated. But experts believe that rehabilitation may be needed on the affected ligaments to reduce the chances of having similar injuries in the future.
Ankle Sprain: Physiotherapy Treatment
Physiotherapists follow the POLICE (protect, off-load, ice, compression, and elevate) protocol to ease initial symptoms of this injury. Patients with severe cases may be advised for an x-ray procedure to rule out any fracture or other damages.
The next phase will be a balance and strengthening exercise program, which focuses on neuromuscular exercises. These activities will help strengthen the ankle muscles, recover foot and leg movements, and regain a sense of joint position on the injured ankle.
They may also advise on the use of tapes and braces to support the injured ankle. These will be beneficial for the rehabilitation of the strained ligaments and muscles.
Shin Splint: The Basics
Shin splint is the common term used to describe the pain and discomfort concentrated at the front of the lower leg – where the shin bone is located. This is usually felt between portions of the knees and ankles. Medical experts also refer to this lower leg pain as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS).
This condition is caused by any trauma or fatigue directly implicated to the tendons, fascia, and muscles of the affected leg’s tibia and fibula. These muscles normally exert excessive pressure on these leg bones to keep the lower leg, ankle, and foot stable. Thus, this extreme force results in fascia and tendons, partially tearing away from the leg bone.
There are several known causes of shin splints. These include overload or training errors, usually from running and weight training sports. Improper activities like exercising on uneven or hard surfaces, a sudden increase in workout intensity, and wearing ill-fitting footwears can also cause such injury. Other cases involve biomechanical inefficiencies, such as having flat feet and pronation.
Shin Splint: Physiotherapy Treatment
The most common first aid for shin injuries is to apply ice on the affected areas to reduce any pain and discomfort. Practitioners usually advise heat application and deep tissue massages. These procedures can speed up the healing of damaged tendons and muscles in the lower legs. It is best to apply this process before and after doing any activity which may affect the injured shins.
Once the pain subsides, rehabilitation exercises and activities may be done to recover and to further improve the power, flexibility, strength, and endurance of the compromised muscles and tendons.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The Basics
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an illness that causes weakness and numbness on the affected hand. This happens when too much pressure is applied on the median nerve, which covers the arm length, passing through the carpal tunnel found on the wrist, then ending on the hand. This nerve usually controls the sensation and motion of the thumb and the movement of all other fingers except the little finger.
This condition, also known as median nerve compression, is usually caused by the repetitive wrist and hand movements. It specifically happens when the hands are lower than those of the wrists, such as during typing.
Other known causes of this ailment are pre-existing conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women may also experience this pain in hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Physiotherapy Treatment
Physiotherapists typically recommend gliding exercises for those who are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome. This exercise generally focuses on the affected tendons and nerves to reduce the discomfort and to increase the hand’s mobility. They may also suggest using hand braces, which will straighten the affected wrist to ease the pain and prevent further damage.
Other rehabilitation procedures include specialized traction devices to enlarge the affected carpal tunnel by stretching it, high frequency vibrations through ultrasound, and changes on hand activities which can reduce its symptoms.