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Optimal Physical Therapy helps patients with many different conditions. Please see the diagram below for information on common conditions we treat and how physical therapy can help you.

About Shoulder Fractures

Fractures in the shoulder occur for a variety of reasons, but typically from a fall onto the shoulder or an outstretched arm. Seniors can be more susceptible to fractures due to osteoporosis (thinning and weakening of bone).

The goal with fracture management is to provide a safe position for the bone to heal (typically around 8 weeks). At times, surgery may be needed to hold the bone together with plates or screws. While this procedure stabilizes the bone, it can disrupt normal muscle function and lead to weakness. Physical therapy is needed post operatively to restore normal range of motion and strength to the shoulder. Recovery times can vary, but traditionally take 12–16 weeks.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is a very important part of rehabilitation after a shoulder fracture. We work closely with you and your physician to make sure your fracture is protected while it heals. We then work closely with you to gradually restore your range of motion, relieve pain, soothe aching muscles, and improve your strength.

The goal of physical therapy is to return you to normal activities after the normal course of bone healing. We can prevent long-term damage and address any issues that may have caused you to fall onto the arm in the first place. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today  to learn more about how we can help you after a fracture.

About Shoulder Post-surgery Rehab

There are a variety of shoulder surgeries that may have to be done in order to stabilize the shoulder, repair damaged tendons, or cartilage. With the advances in arthroscopic surgery, recovery times for shoulder injuries have improved, however physical therapy is still needed to reduce pain, restore range of motion, improve strength, and return the individual to their normal activities.

How physical therapy helps:

Post-surgery recovery can be difficult due to adaptations needed to protect the healing structures while sleeping, bathing, dressing, and during many other daily activities. Our physical therapists work with you to teach you how to adapt to these activities of daily living while recovering.

Physical therapy focuses on providing you with inflammation and pain control during the early stages of treatment. The surgical process can often leave muscles cramped and irritated. Our hands-on approach helps to mobilize sore muscles and restore normal movement.

We work closely with your physician and their protocol to rehabilitate your shoulder after surgery. Every person’s surgery is unique and rest assured your recovery is treated as such. In accordance with your protocol, we will help restore your range of motion, increase your strength, and help you return to normal activities. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to find out more about how we can help you have a complete recovery after shoulder surgery.

What is Bursitis and Tendonitis?

The ending of the word “itis” is defined as inflammation. Therefore, bursitis is inflammation of a bursa and tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. A bursa is a fluid filled sac that is located between muscles or tissues to provide a cushion and reduce friction. In the shoulder, a common bursa that is inflamed is the subacromial bursa. This bursa can often become inflamed due to abnormal joint movements, poor posture, and weakness of the surrounding musculature. This causes strain to the tissues and excessive friction on the bursa. People tend to feel pain with movement and especially movement out to the side or reaching behind them.

Tendons connect muscles to bones. In the shoulder, common areas for tendonitis in the rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) and bicep tendons. Pain can be felt deep in the shoulder or in the front of the shoulder. Pain is usually felt as a sharp, catching sensation with certain movements.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is the first line of conservative treatment for bursitis and tendonitis. Since most bursitis and tendonitis is due to underlying abnormal mechanics of movement due to muscle weakness and impaired joint mobility, our trained physical therapists evaluate your movement to pinpoint the source of the symptoms. Modalities may be used to alleviate pain and discomfort, while hands-on therapy improves joint mechanics and movement.

Finally, strengthening and joint coordination exercises help to restore stability to the affected area and to prevent reoccurrence of the symptoms. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help you relieve your shoulder pain and get back to the activities you enjoy.

About Sports Injuries

Whether you are a professional athlete, high school athlete or just like to be active and play sports, injuries can occur. Many shoulder sports injuries occur because of a fall onto an outstretched arm or from repetitive overhead actions, such as with swimming or playing tennis. Another reason for shoulder sports injuries is if there is an imbalance in muscle strength within the shoulder. For example, an athlete that has strong chest (pec) muscles, but weak rotator cuff muscles can put themselves at risk of injury.

How physical therapy helps:

Our physical therapists are experts at caring for and rehabilitating sports injuries. Our goal is to rehabilitate you back to your favorite sports activities pain-free as quickly and safely as possible. Sports injuries require unique care and rehabilitation, therefore, know that you are in the right hands with us. From mild sprains to recovery after surgery, we have you covered. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can get you back in the game quickly.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles surrounding the shoulder. They are made up of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor muscles. While these muscles are small and individually not that powerful, they play a critical role in how the shoulder moves. Without your rotator cuff, you would not be able to lift your arm very far from your side. The job of the rotator cuff is to guide the humeral head and slide it down within the socket (glenoid) so that it clears the bony shelf above the socket called the acromion. When the rotator cuff is weak, the head of the humerus rides up rubbing against the acromion above it.

The rotator cuff takes a lot of abuse over a lifetime and tearing is very common as we age. Many factors can lead to early injury of the rotator cuff including sport injuries, falls onto the shoulder or arm, repetitive lifting or movements, or poor posture.

Rotator cuff tears can be minor, causing pain and inflammation, or major which can potentially require surgery. With surgery, depending on a variety of factors such as the quality of the tissue, the extent of the tear and other health factors, the recovery can take between 3-6 months. Physical therapy is a very important part of conservative management, preparation for surgery, and rehabilitation.

How physical therapy helps:

Often, with small tears, physical therapy can dramatically reduce pain, improve function and allow you to lead an active lifestyle without surgical intervention. Our physical therapists will work with you to improve your shoulder range of motion, restore proper joint mobility, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve the strength of your rotator cuff.

If surgery is needed, we work closely with your surgeon to follow his/her rehabilitation protocol. In the beginning of your course of care, treatment focuses on pain reduction, education on the protection of the surgically repaired tissue(s), and improving range of motion. Over time, as your surgeon protocol allows, range of motion is increased, joint mobility is restored, and finally strengthening is initiated.

As your shoulder heals and the surgeon’s protocol allows, strengthening exercises are progressed and functional activities are performed. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn more about how we help your rotator cuff perform better and relieve your shoulder pain.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a painful shoulder joint condition also known as adhesive capsulitis. The cause of frozen shoulder is not always well understood, it often occurs after a trauma, repetitive injury to the shoulder, or immobilization. Women and individuals with diabetes are more likely to experience frozen shoulder.

With frozen shoulder, the thick capsule of tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint begins to experience inflammation. The body begins a cycle of inflammation and scarring that causes the capsule around the shoulder joint to contract and become limited in its flexibility. This causes very painful range of motion in the shoulder when trying to move the arm.

At the beginning of frozen shoulder it is very painful and range of motion becomes limited. This can last approximately 4 to 8 weeks in duration. After that time, motion is still very limited in the shoulder, but often not as painful. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can take up to a year to resolve and improve range of motion.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy can make a big difference in shortening the time it takes to recover from frozen shoulder. By coming to physical therapy early, the inflammatory cycle can be significantly reduced, limiting scarring, and contraction of the shoulder capsule. In turn, physical therapy, along with medication can limit the pain and ensure a faster recovery.

Our physical therapists work with many frozen shoulder patients to reduce pain quickly and restore range of motion to the shoulder. Physical therapy treatments focus on hands–on therapy and specialized exercises to maintain as much range of motion as possible during the inflammatory phase of frozen shoulder. During the “thawing” phase, we work with you to improve range of motion in your shoulder and restore strength.

It can take time for the motion to be restored to the shoulder, but by coming to physical therapy, our staff can help you recover as quickly as possible. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to find out how we can help you relieve your frozen shoulder pain.

About Labrum Tears

The labrum is a thick ring of cartilage around the socket (glenoid) part of your shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint). The labrum acts like a cup for the head of the humerus to sit in, like a ball inside a cup. The labrum gives stability to the joint and also helps to cushion as the shoulder joint moves.

The labrum can tear with injury from a blow to an outstretched arm or from repetitive injuries overhead. Sometimes, a labral tear can be involved when the rotator cuff is torn. A common tear is called a SLAP lesion (Superior Labral Anterior-Posterior). This is a tear located at the top of the labrum from front to back. This often needs surgical repair and our physical therapists work with your surgeon and their protocol to rehabilitate your shoulder.

How physical therapy helps:

Most often, labral tears are surgically repaired and physical therapy is needed post operatively. We work very closely with your physician to follow their protocol. Physical therapy treatment typically begins with restoration of range of motion per the protocol and progresses towards strengthening exercises. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to find to find out how we can help you recover. 

About Dislocation and Instability

Dislocation of the shoulder typically occurs from falling onto an arm when it is either outstretched (abducted) or at your side (adducted), or a blow to the side or back of the shoulder when falling on it. This can happen in different sports activities or falls. Dislocations are managed medically to relocate the head of the humerus. Depending on the severity of the dislocation, your physician will typically prescribe physical therapy to help stabilize the shoulder joint and protect it during the recovery phase.

With frequent dislocations, shoulder instability can occur as the structures in the shoulder are repetitively overstretched. By strengthening the muscles around the shoulder, stability can be restored, decreasing the likelihood of future dislocations.

At times, dislocations can be quite severe and lead to tearing of cartilage, tendons, ligaments or muscles. In this case, surgery is often needed. After surgery, physical therapy is an important part of recovery and returning to normal activities.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is very important after a dislocation. Our physical therapists work with you closely to protect the joint while it heals, teach you how to function with reduced risk of reinjury, and rehabilitate your shoulder. 

If you require surgery to stabilize your shoulder, our physical therapists will follow your surgeon’s protocol. Initially, treatment will focus on range of motion and maintaining joint stability to allow for soft tissue healing. As your shoulder heals, strengthening exercises will be initiated to improve the muscular support around the shoulder. Ideally, full range of motion and strength is regained allowing you to return to normal activities and with the knowledge to protect your shoulder from future injury. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to find out how we can help you recover from a shoulder dislocation.

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is the most complex joint in the human body. It has to move in many directions, rotate, slide and spin. There are a variety of muscles that have to work in concert to ensure the shoulder joint tracks properly with everyday activities. It is made up of the humerus, scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collar bone). There are technically four joints that make up the entire shoulder complex.

Factors such as poor posture, weak muscles, impaired range of motion, and injury can cause shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is typically felt in the muscles between the shoulder and neck and on the outside shoulder radiating down the arm. Where your pain is located can help your physical therapist determine what structures are involved.

It is important to note that just because your pain is felt in one location, that is not usually the source of the symptoms. For example, pain on the outside of the arm can be from an impingement or injury to the rotator cuff muscles within the shoulder joint. By determining the source of the problem your physical therapist can treat the cause of your symptoms and help resolve your pain. 

How physical therapy helps:

It is important that when you have shoulder pain that you have our experts evaluate your motion, strength, coordination, and joint mobility. By determining the root cause of your pain, we can help to restore your normal shoulder movement without pain. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can resolve your shoulder pain and get you back to the activities you love.

What are Shoulder Sprains and Strains?

A sprain in the shoulder involves the ligaments, while a strain involves the muscles around the shoulder. Sprains and strains typically occur because the tissue has been overstretched too quickly, resulting in micro-tearing of the tissue. This results in painful inflammation, typically exacerbated with movement and use of the damaged tissue.

The damage from a sprain and/or strain can be minor or major, depending on the severity of the injury, a person’s health, and age. As we age, our tissue becomes less elastic and becomes more prone to tearing as compared to over stretching.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is a very important part of the recovery from a sprain and/or strain. First, the focus is on reducing pain and inflammation while maintaining or regaining range of motion. After the inflammatory phase ends, the focus shifts to attaining full range of motion and the gradual introduction of strengthening exercises. Towards the end of treatment, the focus is shifted to functional exercises and education to prevent future injury. If you have suffered a sprain or strain, call Optimal Physical Therapy to start feeling relief and getting back to normal activities.