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LET'S GET PHYSICAL

 

Wed
15
Apr

Let’s Get Physical...Therapy! Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Ilka Felsen
Staff Writer

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is an irritating condition that affects 1-3% of the general population. UCSF graduate students appear to be at an especially high risk for CTS, although published research has yet to demonstrate this.

CTS is characterized by numbness, tingling, burning or pain in the thumb, index and middle fingers. Often pain is not the immediate concern; rather, many individuals with CTS complain of numbness in the middle of the night, relieved by shaking the hand.

CTS occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed within the carpal tunnel. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men, thought to be due to their narrower carpal tunnel. Exam findings include slowing of median nerve conduction secondary to nerve compression, and decreased grip strength.

Thu
02
Apr

Let’s Get Physical...Therapy! Osteoarthritis and Running

By Ilka Felsen
Staff Writer

Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage lining the bone surface wears away. At its worst, OA leads to bone on bone contact, with debilitating pain that may eventually result in a joint replacement. While symptoms do not always correlate with disease progression, over 27 million individuals in the US are affected, with more than 7 million having received a joint replacement. OA is multifactorial, and sports participation, frequent squatting, previous injury, obesity, muscle weakness, genetics and old age are associated with an increased risk of knee OA in particular.

Wed
18
Mar

Let’s Get Physical...Therapy! The Utility of a Well Rounded Gluteus Maximus

By Ilka Felsen
Staff Writer

The human gluteus maximus is unique with respect to its substantial size and enlarged cranial portion compared to other primates. Our glute max is much thicker and larger—indeed, it is a whopping 1.6 times greater relative to body mass in humans compared to chimps. For those wondering what the point is of having such a well-endowed rear, keep reading!

Function
The human glute max arises from many sites (the iliac crest, posterior sacrum, fascial aponeurosis of the erector spinae on the sacrum, coccyx, and sacrotuberous ligament) and converges onto the iliotibial band and femur. It functions primarily to extend the hip backwards, although its anterior fibers can rotate the femur inwards, and posterior fibers can rotate the femurs outwards.

Thu
05
Mar
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Let' Get Physical ... Therapy

A physical therapist helps out a patient on crutches.

PT in Acute Care

By Ilka Felsen
Columnist

Many of my columns have focused on orthopedic issues in physical therapy: the lowdown on running shoes, scary postural deviations and how to strengthen your neck.

This time, I’d like to highlight the cool things that happen in the hospital. Ever noticed folks in green scrubs walking with patients on UCSF wards? Those are physical therapists, and their role is a bit more comprehensive than mobilizing patients. Here is what you should know about physical therapists who work in acute care:

The Gestalt

Physical therapists evaluate and treat movement dysfunction at its core. I think of therapists in acute care as performing three functions:

1) Evaluate the patient’s current movement: what can they do in bed, out of bed, and around the community.

2) Recommend the next destination following discharge.

Wed
18
Feb
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Let's Get Physical...Therapy!: Change Your Breathing—Now!

Columnist

Recently I attended the Anesthesia Grand Rounds’ “Updates in Pain Management.” (Yes—we physical therapy students are involved!) The event featured many well-known practitioners, and a psychologist in particular brought my attention back to the diaphragm. C3, C4, C5 keep the diaphragm alive, may be where some individuals’ knowledge of the diaphragm starts and ends—but not for UCSF students!

Diaphragm 101

Mon
02
Feb
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Let's Get Physical... Therapy! Is your bike responsible for more than getting you around? Five causes of bike pain

By Ilka Felsen
Columnist

As San Francisco continues to be blessed with occasional sun, biking remains one of the most popular ways to commute. However, pain with biking also continues to plague many of us.

If you are experiencing pain, consider the culprit. Injuries from biking typically fall into one of five categories:

Tue
20
Jan
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Let’s Get Physical... Therapy! Ringing in the New Year with Neck Pain? What to do about it

Left: Third-year PT student Aaron Ortiz has been spotted with forward head posture. Right: Third-year PT student Andrew Tran demonstrates stretching his right pectoralis major.

By Ilka Felsen
Columnist

The 411 on neck pain:

Similar to the low back, it’s difficult to determine the definitive cause of neck pain. However, neck pain can present with the following pain problems, with a likely cause listed next to the pattern:

  • Sharp pain localized to one side of the neck à  dysfunction in one of the cervical spinal facets
  • Stiffness around the neck, often with pain during rotation and side bending the neck à acute or repetitive muscle strain
  • Pain from the neck radiating down the arm à radiculopathy (i.e. cervical spinal root irritation)
  • Pain specifically with looking up and/or over the shoulder à discogenic (i.e. irritation from compression of the disc)

Four tricks to combat pain

Tue
06
Jan
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Let's Get Physical... Therapy! Why Walgreens orthotics are just as good as customized orthotics, and other secrets

By Ilka Felsen
Columnist

There are a few jewels I’ve come upon at my time here as a physical therapy student. Keep reading for my favorites.

Over-the-counter orthotics are just as effective as $300 ones.

Foot orthotics come in many flavors, ranging from ankle foot orthotics to accommodate foot drop, to simple heel pads to survive high heels. Frequently at UCSF, students complain of heel pain and plantar fasciitis, and are subsequently recommended an orthotic to remedy the issue.