Blog Archives

IT Band and Patellofemoral Syndrome: how did your knee pain turn into a ‘syndrome’?

photo: Ed Yourdon

Over the years, the medical community has created a need to give everything that can go wrong in your body a name; e.g. lateral epicondylitis (‘tennis elbow’),  patellar tendonitis (‘jumpers knee’).  A lot of the pain related conditions were defaulted to something ending in ‘itis’ implying an inflammation of a particular tendon or bursa, but these diagnoses only really apply to people in the acute phase of pain or injury.  Quite often people continue to experience pain or dysfunction for months in the complete absence of swelling or inflammation.  Labeling a five month old elbow or knee problem a tendonitis is just not accurate or helpful to the person in pain.  The solution became to call them a tendonosis which acknowledges the tendon is not actively inflamed, but there is ‘disorder in the tendon.’

People tend to seek a diagnosis, but what they are really after is an explanation of why.  When it comes to persistent pain, a diagnosis just gives you something to tell your family or employer ‘what you have,’ but typically does very little to help you get rid of it and can even hinder your progress.  Most persistent pains in your body develop from a combination of mechanical, cognitive and emotional reasons and where it actually hurts is just the symptom at the end of a chain of events.  Unfortunately most doctors’ knowledge level on musculoskeletal pain is limited to the area where it hurts and not the chain of events that made it hurt.

I try my best to not tell you ‘what you have’, but instead explain to you ‘what is going on.’  It is usually way more information than you were anticipating, but makes all the difference when it comes time to convince you that you may have to change some of your habits. 

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Posted in Blog, Feet, Hips, Knees, Pain Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
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Why Hips Hurt- An illustrated explanation


Why does your hip hurt if you didn’t do anything to injure it?

The short answer…you probably did a whole bunch of things to it, every day, for years and had no idea that you were doing something wrong.

The full answer… below…

Your hips are the centre of your universe.  They are the connection of your upper and lower bodies and most people have no idea where they are or how to use them properly.  It is a strange thing to suggest that someone doesn’t know where their own hips are, but take it from a guy that teaches people to move all day….most people have trouble distinguishing their hips from their pelvis or how to move in a strong, coordinated way through their mid-section.

There are way more moving parts to your body than you have the capacity to focus on at any given time so the best way to explain this to you is to simplify your body down to two pieces and then add on layers as you understand.  Start by thinking of your body as two wooden blocks with a round hinge connecting them in the middle.  Now remember that gravity pulls everything downward and imagine trying to balance the upper piece on the round hinge by holding onto the lower piece.  There are three likely scenarios:

To give these pictures some life, let’s add a head and neck onto them and see what happens.  You also need to understand that your brain has a head righting reflex that wants to keep your head and face looking straight forward, so if one part of your body is persistently leaning one direction your head and neck will accommodate for it.

So far we have block men with hips and necks; an upper body, a lower body and a head.  Read More

Posted in Blog, Hips, Pain Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Canucks limp into 2011/12 season: what Kessler, Nolan & Raymond should be doing

(photo: hockeybroad)

The Vancouver Canucks had an amazing season and playoff run last year.  They did everything they could short of winning the Stanley Cup and they did it being one of the most injured teams in the league all season long.  That speaks to the depth the organization, the heart of the players and the support of the medical and training staff to get players back on the ice.  But why were we one of the most injured teams in the league?  Hockey is a tough sport and injuries are part of the game, but some injuries are preventable and some don’t have to be recurrent.  I believe the Canucks have a great medical team behind them, but I think they are missing out on a hidden gem that the Vancouver medical and physiotherapy community has brought to the world….and that is IMS acupuncture.

I have been a physiotherapist in Vancouver for eight years and a Canucks fan for thirty two.  I write this article to educate the public on the nature of pain and injury as it relates to hockey injuries like groin pulls, back pain and labrum tears.  I am not affiliated with the Canucks in any way, but I do have interest in seeing them win the Stanley Cup this year and hope to see the players get the best possible care available.  I do not have access to their rehab programs, but if the following information is new to the athletic therapists and doctors in the organization, I suggest they pursue the help of a physiotherapist that can provide IMS to the players.

Ryan Kessler is the best two way player in the NHL right now, but he has torn his labrum in both hips in the past few years.  Your labrum is a rubbery piece of cartilage that surrounds the socket of your hip to effectively make it deeper and create stability.  Tearing it is similar to tearing your meniscus in your knee.  It can screw up the mechanics of the joint and lead to pain in the groin, hip and leg.  The labrum doesn’t have a very good blood supply to it, so if you tear it, the body is unable to heal it properly and surgery is usually required to get players functioning properly again.  Kessler has had both hips operated on and is training to get back into form for November as far as I know. Read More

Posted in Blog, Hips Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
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Basic Hip Anatomy

Here is my YouTube video outlining the basic relevant and functional
anatomy of the hip using an anatomical model.

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Posted in Anatomy, Blog, Hips Tagged with: , , , , ,
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