Saanichton Physical Therapy Blog

Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Sore knees are a common complaint for British Columbians of all ages. Sore knees are often caused by a sudden injury, like a twisting motion that can tear a ligament or the meniscus, but knee injuries can also occur through routine overuse.

The knee joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move, so when any of these structures are injured, there will be knee problems and that will result in pain and difficulty moving. If you have pain in your knee either from overuse or through a sudden injury, your physiotherapist can work with you to minimize long-term damage and help you to heal faster.

1. Correct muscular imbalances. Most overuse injuries of the knee develop gradually due to muscular imbalances and poor movement patterns. Your physiotherapist can show you corrective exercises to address the muscle imbalances and improve the way you move.

2. Strengthen your hips. Strengthening your hips and improving core muscle strength will reduce the risk of adversely loading your knee joints. Stretching the muscles that attach into your hips/knees/ankles will also minimize compression of these joints. Your physiotherapist can show you how.

3. Protect your joints. If you have any degenerative changes in your knees (e.g. osteoarthritis) your physiotherapist can show you how to protect your joints during activities of daily living, prescribe exercises to improve the strength of supporting muscles, advise you on safe forms of exercise, and assess your footwear.

4. Correct movement patterns. Poor movement patterns during sports (e.g. incorrect landings during jumping) greatly increase the risk of traumatic knee injuries. Your physiotherapist can teach you how to move properly and minimize this risk.


Balance Tips, Prevent Falls

If you have fallen or fear you are at risk of falling, your physiotherapist can help.
Approximately 30% of older adults will fall at least once each year.
An injury, such as a fracture or sprain, will occur in 50% of those who fall.
This in turn can result in a new disability or loss of independence. The good news is that many falls can be prevented.
The risk of falling in older adults can be reduced when a physiotherapist prescribes specific exercises, activities or interventions.
Balance Tips
1. Try to be physically active every day.
Daily physical activity will help to improve your posture, muscle strength and balance. Enroll in a Tai Chi class
or supervised exercise program. Your physiotherapist will recommend therapeutic exercise that’s right for you.
2. Go for routine exams.
Have an annual physical assessment with your physiotherapist to detect impairments to your balance. Also,
ensure you visit your doctor for an annual physical and have your vision and hearing checked to help you keep
tuned-in as you move around.
3. Wear proper footwear.
Wear a good pair of lace-up shoes that will support your feet and ankles, and avoid high heels and slippers
because they can increase your risk of slipping and losing balance.
4. Use a cane or a walker.
Aids such as canes or walkers are important to help maintain balance both inside and outside your home. View
them as tools to help you keep active, not as signs of weakness.

Vertigo and Dizzyness

Dizzyness and Vertigo

There are many causes of dizziness & vertigo, some of which are treatable with physiotherapy. In particular, we can address problems with the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear, and dysfunction of the joints and muscles of the cervical spine, both of which can be a source of dizziness.

The Saanichton Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic has dedicated physiotherapists provide vestibular rehabilitation for dizziness and vertigo. Some of the conditions that can be treated include:

  • BPPV
  • Vestibular neuritis and labrynthitis
  • Cervicogenic dizziness

There are many other confusing names and terms used in describing dizziness disorders. If you are unsure if your condition can be treated, consult your doctor, or you may make an appointment with us directly for assessment.

Dizziness & Vertigo – Do you need to see a doctor before the physiotherapist?

Although it is not commonly the case, dizziness and vertigo can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition, such as stroke or heart attack. It is important that you consult your physician immediately if you experience sudden dizziness or vertigo. Once they have ruled out a serious concern, they may then suggest you see a physiotherapist for treatment.


Foot Orthotics

Foot Orthotics

When standing and walking, we are subjected to forces that produce stress and strain throughout our bodies. When a foot imbalance is present there can be abnormal forces on the feet, knees, hips, back and/or neck that lead to pain and poor function. The foot imbalance must be corrected to improve body alignment and therefore, decrease pain and improve function.

What are Custom Orthotics?

Custom orthotics are devices which are inserted into footwear to support or correct your foot function.

When appropriately prescribed, custom orthotics can:

  • Decrease pain, not only in the foot, but in other parts of the body such as the knee, hip and lower back.
  • Increase stability in an unstable joint.
  • Prevent a deformed foot from developing additional problems.
  • Improve overall quality of life.

How are custom orthotics made?

While orthotics can be made by several different processes, we take a foam impression of the patient’s foot in a “neutral” position and send it to a laboratory with the physiotherapist’s direction for correction.

At the lab, technicians pour plaster into the mould and, when it hardens, it reproduces the bottom of the individual’s foot. The technicians then use the physiotherapist’s directions to custom-make a device to meet the patient’s specific needs.

Who Can Benefit From Orthotics?

  • those in need of relief of painful foot problems or an injury
  • people who must walk or stand excessively on the job
  • those who are active in sports: orthotics will often increase endurance, performance and strength
  • overweight individuals: orthotics can help to counteract the extra stress on the feet, as minor problems are often magnified due to the increased weight
  • older adults who may have developed arthritis in their feet: orthotics are particularly effective in relieving foot fatigue and discomfort
  • orthotics may also be prescribed for children who have a foot deformity

Types of Custom Orthotics

Different types of custom orthotics are available for different uses. There are a number of sport specific orthotics designed for use in running/walking shoes, ski boots, skates, golf shoes and court shoes. Sandals come with the orthotic built in a way to prevent slippage. Dress shoes generally don’t have much extra space and therefore come with a thinner orthotic. There are also orthotics designed for special health needs such as arthritis and diabetes. Talk to us about what type of custom orthotic would best suit your needs!