Archive for July 25, 2011

Free Video Gait Analysis by a Licensed Physical Therapist

                                  Video Gait Analysis

Have you ever walked into a shoe store and wondered which type of shoe may ease your foot, leg, hip or back pain?  Or been running a race and wondered if different gait mechanics would allow you to run your personal best time?  Then come in and check out our new video gait analysis program!

Video gait analysis is a comprehensive way to study your body mechanics during running and walking.  It allows us to analyze each individual component of the gait cycle in a frame-by-frame fashion. We obtain video from four different views in order to determine ways in which your gait deviates from normative values and how one side of your body differs from the other.  Once deviations are identified, we can effectively determine the source of your pain and/or recommend ways to make your stride more efficient!

 People of all ages and abilities can benefit from this new service as it can take as little as 5-10 minutes. Time spent walking and/or running on the treadmill can be broken up into intervals if necessary to meet the needs of each individual patient.  The more advanced athlete may choose to be analyzed in different types of footwear in order to determine how to create their most efficient foot placement and stride.  This is a great tool for those exercisers that have been suffering from a chronic injury for months or years and don’t understand the source of the pain or how to rid themselves of it. Whatever your needs, let us help ease your pain and maximize your full locomotive potential with the region’s only video gait analysis program at Huntington Physical Therapy!

During the month of August, Kelly Akers, DPT will be performing video gait analysis targeting athletes who suffer from running related injuries.   Space is limited, so call today at 304-525-4445 and make your appointment with Kelly Akers, DPT for your free video gait analysis.

Preventing ACL injury is not impossible

June 09, 2011
The Herald-Dispatch
By: John Oxley, DPT

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are devastating injuries in young athletes, especially in female athletes. Young females are four to six times more likely to tear their ACL than men. The reported incidence of ACL injury is as high as 1.6 per 1,000 player-hours for elite female athletes playing soccer and there are about 38,000 cases in the United States each year. Therefore, prevention is an important component in reducing the effect on young athletes and their families.

Many theories have been proposed to explain the higher incidence of ACL injury in females. The three most well accepted hypotheses include anatomical, hormonal, and neuromuscular differences as compared to male counterparts. The research has focused on neuromuscular control which can be addressed through training.

The majority of ACL injuries, approximately 70 percent, occur with noncontact injuries and typically during deceleration, change of direction or landing after jumping. We obviously cannot prevent contact ACL injuries, but research has shown that incorporating plyometric, balance and strengthening exercises into a program can reduce noncontact ACL injuries.

Specific time and frequency prescriptions for these exercise programs have not been agreed upon in the research, but one thing is certain: there is a measurable decrease in incidence of ACL injury when players or teams are participating in these programs. Many different programs have been designed that vary with respect to intensity, duration and frequency of exercise and you must consult your local physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon to see what program they prefer.

Typically, young athletes and parents are reluctant to participate in preventative exercise due to cost or time investment but if the program can also be used to enhance performance they might be more amenable to the idea. Each program must contain plyometrics, balance, and strengthening components to be successful. Anecdotally, I would say each program needs to focus on jumping/landing training as well. This can be a tool for the future to prevent these catastrophic injuries to our young athletes.

Everyone has heard the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that saying by Benjamin Franklin is definitely appropriate for this topic. Too often, orthopedic surgeons are having to reconstruct young damaged knees that will inevitably have further problems in the future. We certainly can not prevent all of these injuries but with performance training directed by a qualified professional the research shows that we can decrease the frequency of this significant injury in our young athletes.

Herald Dispatch article on Wellness

Some employers helping workers get fit
June 05, 2011 @ 12:00 AM


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — In January, Huntington Physical Therapy and the HIT Center turned what they do for the outside world inside.

After years of caring for everyone else, owner and physical therapist Sally Oxley took a hard look at helping her employees take better care of themselves.

“I’d been reading about workplace wellness programs and decided we needed to have one because we are a health care facility and we need to practice good health habits,” she said. “We’re also self-insured so the added bonus is that we can save money, which means more money for our staff.”

A February 2008 study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that employers can save $1.65 in health care expenses for every dollar spent on a comprehensive employee wellness program. The federal government has even acknowledged the benefits of wellness programs, offering federal grant money to help small employers launch programs and allowing reductions on the cost of premiums to employees who participate, through the new health care reform bill, the Affordable Care Act.

Still, it is not always easy for employers to get involved in the health and well-being of their employees.

“By and large, employers aren’t in the business of the personal health of their employees,” said Dr. Brian Caveney from Duke University. “It’s one thing to buy a health plan. It’s another to change the daily personal habits of employees. It’s not as easily solved as smoking, because eating is something we all have to do every day.

“We have to empower each individual worker to know more about their situation with education and tools and resources to make better choices.”

Amy Hanshaw, executive director of the HIT Center, got to work on developing a program modeled after what the HIT Center already does in helping its clients eat healthier and exercising. That includes establishing initial testing, workout protocol, a point system and logs for tracking weight and exercise time.

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, employers who invest in worksite health promotion programs see improved morale, reduced turnover, healthcare cost containment and/or reduction and reduced absenteeism.

Sharon Covert at the Wellness Council of West Virginia said setting up such a program often depends on the size of the company.

“Small companies might set up challenges with another company or use incentives in their office. This gets the competitive juices flowing. The largest companies can set up workplace gyms, so they’re at an advantage,” she said.

The key, Caveney said, is reaching the right group of employees.

“There will always be a small group who think an employer’s going too far. People who already have extremely healthy outlooks and lifestyles are the most likely to sign up. The key is designing a program that reaches the people right on the edge of making changes who need that extra little push,” he said.

Oxley said the staff at the HIT Center would be happy to work with employers looking to set up a wellness program, and additional free resources are available through the Wellness Council of West Virginia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is another option, offering LEAN Works!, a free web-based program that provides tools for designing effective worksite obesity prevention and control programs.

The bottom line is the difference it makes to employees like the HIT Center’s Angie Slomke, who lost nearly 40 pounds and won her company’s three-month wellness initiative by being deemed the person who gained the “highest fitness level.”

“I knew I needed to have a healthier lifestyle and when they offered the program, it seemed like a great way to do it,” she said. “I had the support of the staff and I was happy with the way the program was set up. I wrote down everything I ate and worked out seven days a week.”

“Everyone considered this a lifestyle change, not a diet,” Oxley said. “We hope to have other employees join in and become healthier alongside us.”

HPT Welcomes Kelly Akers, DPT

HPT would like to welcome Kelly Akers, DPT to our staff.   Kelly is a 2008 graduate from Marshall University with a degree in Chemistry and a 2011 graduate from The University of Dayton with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  Kelly enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.    Call 304-525-4445 to schedule an appointment to see Kelly Akers, DPT for your physical therapy needs.

HPT Wellness Program

HPT started a Wellness program January 3, 2011 under the direction of Amy Hanshaw, HIT Center director.  We had 9 participants to complete the first three months with a total weight loss of 180 lbs.  Everyone participating in the program performed a Bod Pod, fitness test (pre and post) and was weighed in weekly by the HIT Center staff. 

Everyone in the program considers this a lifestyle change, not a diet.  We all have learned what we can and can’t eat to still continue to lose weight and become healthier.    Several of the participants have set higher goals and are continuing to loss weight to get to a much healthier state in their life.    The Wellness program is continuing in hopes of having other employees join in on the “lifestyle change” and become healthier along with everyone else.