Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope my physical therapy videos for common injuries and syndromes will help put you on the road to recovery. If you have a question, just ask! Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.


How to Get Rid of Scar Tissue

Any time you have a surgery or injury, the area scars up. Scar tissue is great for healing, but then it has nowhere to go and can cause problems in the long run. This video will show you how to get rid of scar tissue with scar tissue mobilization. Make sure to talk with your doctor or PT before doing this because you want the incision or injury site to be completely healed before you start.

To help break up the scar tissue, you can start with “warming up” the tissue in the area first. You can use a massage cream or lotion, but you don’t have to. Start off by pushing very lightly and make small circles directly over the scar. Then you can go up and down and side to side. Once you have done that about a minute, you can start pushing harder. This might be painful now, and you might feel some pops underneath. That is the scar tissue breaking up. It is normal and necessary.

Now you can actually take the top layer of skin and start twisting it up and down, side to side, and in circles. You are just trying to move that top layer around to break up the scar tissue from the layer below. Try doing this 3-5 minutes 1-2 times a day.

Venture Heat Infrared Back Heat Therapy Wrap Review

Doctor Jo tries out the At Home Back Heat Therapy Wrap from Venture Heat which uses FAR Infrared ray heating technology. This deep penetrating heat can help relax tight and achy muscles. To purchase this product, visit our product store.

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Sprained Ankle Treatment with Ankle/Foot AROM

Our feet and ankles can get stiff and have decreased range of motion for many different reasons including ankle sprains, ankle strains, ankle osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, surgeries, and overuse injuries. These active range of motion (AROM) exercises will help loosen up your feet and ankles!

The first exercise is going to be the ankle alphabet. Try to only move at your ankle, keeping the rest of your leg in one spot.  You can do uppercase, lower case, and even spell out words.

The next exercise is an ankle pump.  You are going to pull your toes up at your ankle, and then push down like you are pushing on a pedal. This is dorsiflexion and plantarflexion.  You can prop your ankle up on something if you want, but keep your heel free to move around.

The last one is an in and out movement, almost like a windshield wiper. Again, try to just move at your ankle and not your whole leg. This is inversion and eversion at the ankle.

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When, Why and How to Use a Walking Cane or Quad Cane

There can be many different reasons you should use a cane. A cane is mainly for balance, and should not been used for complete support.

One big reason why people don’t want to use a cane is because they don’t want to look old. My response is always, well if you fall and break something, you will need a lot more than a cane, and then you will definitely look old. 

So when, why and how should you use a cane? Canes come in many different shapes and sizes. Today we will talk about a standard cane and a pronged/quad cane. A standard cane should really be used to help with balance and to help you stand more upright when you walk. A pronged or quad cane has more support at the bottom, and can help stabilize you more if you need more help when walking, but it still should not be used if you are putting more than about 20% of your body weight on it. If this is the case, you should look into getting a walker or crutches.

One of the big things I see is furniture walkers. These are people who use their furniture to hold onto when they are walking at home. They will grab onto the couch or counter top, or even the walls. Since they are at home, they know where everything is, and that makes them feel safe. However, when they get out in the community, they don’t know where things are to grab onto for balance, and then they risk falling and getting hurt.

The other issue can be your pet on the ground. If you don’t have a lot of balance, you might trip over your pet or they might walk in front of you and make you fall. 

Sometimes people also drag their foot, which can cause someone to fall. You might also walk differently with a limp or favoring one side. Even if you can walk without falling like this, you risk causing muscle imbalances, and that can make other things hurt.

Once you pick out the cane that is right for you, make sure it is properly fit. The most important part to start with is to make sure your cane is the right height. Most canes have a pin you can push in to change the height. On your upper leg there is a bone that sticks out called your greater trochanter. It is just below your hip. This is where you want the top of the cane. You should have a slight bend in your elbow about 20 degrees. If the cane is too high, you might irritate your shoulder, and if it is too low, you might lean over too much.

Now for the walking part. The cane should be in the opposite hand of the injured side. The cane should always move with the injured side. If the injured side goes forward, the cane goes forward for support. Again, this is how our bodies naturally move; so don't think about it too much. Just move how you would normally move. The cane should be for balance and safety, and if you feel like you are pushing really hard on it, or if you can't walk smoothly, then you probably are not ready for a cane yet.

Once you get the hang of it, it becomes very easy and natural. When we walk normally, our opposite arm swings forward with our opposite leg. When using a cane, you want the same technique so you don't risk injuring something else while you are recovering.

The technique is similar for a pronged or quad cane. Since this one gives you a little more support, you might need to use a step-to instead of step-through pattern. This means instead of stepping all the way through with your step, you will bring the cane and injured side forward, and then just bring the good side right to the cane. This might be for a more serious injury or if you have suffered from a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

So basically, if you don’t feel like you are walking normally. If you are off balance or limping, you should use a cane.

 

Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Stretches

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) is a deep lower back muscle that sits over the kidneys. It can be hard to stretch since it is underneath larger muscles. Here are some stretches for your QL.

For the first stretch, you are going to sit on the ground with your legs crossed or out in front of you at an angle. Take your arm of the opposite side you want to stretch, and place your hand underneath and push out and away. At the same time, take the arm of the side you want to stretch, and take it up and over your head to the other side. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and do it three times.

For the next stretch, you are going to lie down on your back. Prop your knees up, and then rotate your legs to the opposite you want to stretch. Then take the leg closest to the ground, and hook it over the other leg on the side you want to stretch to help pull your leg over and down. Try to keep your hips on the floor and not rotate your back when you stretch. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat it three times.

For the last stretch, you want to roll over onto your side. This time the side you want to stretch will be on the ground. Put your legs on top of each other in a perpendicular position to the floor. Push up with your arms so your upper body is off the ground. Then roll your hips forward until you feel a stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat three times.

 

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DISCLAIMER: The videos, posts and comments contained on this website are not medical advice. Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy; however, she is not YOUR Physical Therapist and can't possibly diagnose you through the Internet. So don’t use this website to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they have given you. This website is only intended to show and discuss correct physical therapy exercises and information and should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you are not properly diagnosed, the information on this website won’t help, and it could make things worse. So seriously, check with your healthcare professional before doing any of the techniques discussed herein. If you experience any pain or difficulty while exercising, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.