Arthritis Awareness Month: Providing Education and Hope

Arthritis Awarness tips

More than 50 million Americans live with the pain and discomfort of arthritis, making it the number one cause of disability in the United States. People living with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis alone miss a combined total of 172 million workdays every year. Not just a disease that impacts older adults, 300,000 children are affected by this often debilitating condition. Every May, we recognize National Arthritis Awareness Month in the hope of continually drawing attention and awareness to this chronic condition, and one day finding a cure to joint pain and arthritic suffering. If you are living with Arthritis, we’re here to offer care, support, and hope in the form of education and treatment options that can ease your daily discomfort.

The Search for a Cure

The Arthritis Foundation is committed to increasing education, state and federal advocacy efforts, and funding sources to help support clinical research. Its supporters aim to one day find a cure to this condition that impacts one in every five adults. Click here to get involved and help support the Arthritis Foundation’s efforts to find a cure.

Diagnosing Arthritis

If you are currently living with chronic pain, and believe what you are experiencing could be a form of arthritis, make an appointment to meet with one of our specialists. A doctor may use a variety of tests to determine if you have arthritis. Diagnostic procedures may include a physical exam of your joints, a mobility assessment, laboratory tests that analyze blood, urine, and joint fluid, or imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds.

Treatment and Hope

Until doctors and scientists find a cure or prevention for arthritis, know that hope exists in the form of successful treatment options. If diagnosed with arthritis, your doctor may prescribe a combination of the following treatment methods:

  • Prescription medications – Common options include:
    • Analgesics to reduce pain.
    • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
    • (DMARD) which slow or stop the immune system from attacking joints and are most commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Biologic response modifiers that target protein molecules involved in the immune response and often used in conjunction with DMARDs.
    • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.
    • Topical counterirritant creams and ointments that can interrupt the transmission of pain signals between your brain and joints.
  • Physical Therapy – Hand therapy may help relieve pain for those with aggressive pain in finger joints and wrists. Broader physical therapy efforts can help alleviate joint pain throughout the body.
  • Joint Repair – In cases where less invasive treatments are unsuccessful, surgical joint repair can smooth surfaces or realign joints to improve mobility and reduce pain.
  • Joint Replacement – If your natural joints cannot be repaired, a specialist may recommend a joint replacement surgery.

No matter the treatment plan recommended by your doctor, you can manage your symptoms and help alleviate chronic pain by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and using heat or cold packs during painful flare-ups. If you’re ready to get help for your joint pain, contact us today to make an appointment with one of our clinical care specialists.

Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention

osteoporosis awareness

A broken bone may be perceived as a common consequence of childhood or a symbol of mettle for athletes, but for older adults living with osteoporosis, it can be a devastating and unexpected injury that is painful and requires a lengthy recovery. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and an additional 44 million live with low bone density, placing them at an increased risk of bone damage or breakage. No matter your age, by understanding the causes, signs, and symptoms of osteoporosis, you can make the diet and lifestyle choices needed to mitigate your risk of developing this dangerous condition.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones, making them more susceptible to an accidental break. It is often called a silent disease because one can’t feel bones weakening, and if undiagnosed it can progress quickly until the patient is at a high risk of a sudden, painful break. Observed under a microscope, the cells of a healthy bone appear in a honeycomb shape. In cases of osteoporosis, the holes in the “honeycomb” are more substantial, making the overall bone composition weaker and less dense.

For those with a mild case of osteoporosis, a slip and fall could result in a painful break, notably a break of the hip, wrist, or spine. In more severe cases, all it takes to suffer a painful break is a sudden sneeze. The disease often affects bones in the spine, and can also result in chronic pain, reduced height, a stooped posture, and mobility issues.

Causes of Osteoporosis

An individual can develop osteoporosis when their body loses too much bone or makes too little. It can develop with age or lack of proper nutrition; however, it can also be a side effect of a variety of other health complications, such as:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Stroke
  •  Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Hyperparathyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  • Cancer, particularly of the prostate and breast, multiple myeloma, leukemia, or Lymphoma
  • Hematologic/blood disorders
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Digestive and gastrointestinal disorders
  • Lupus
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Weight loss surgery, gastrectomy or gastrointestinal bypass procedures
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Neurological or nervous system disorders
  • Spinal cord injuries or scoliosis
  • Blood and bone marrow disorders
  • Thalassemia
  • Mental Illness, including depression and eating disorders
  • Endocrine or hormonal disorders
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Irregular periods or premature menopause
  • Low levels of testosterone and estrogen in men
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or emphysema
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Liver disease, including biliary cirrhosis
  • Organ transplants
  • Certain medications

Who is at Risk of Osteoporosis?

Bones can weaken and lose density with age. Even those not living with the risk factors mentioned above, adults age 50 or older are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, with women being slightly more at risk than men.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis

You can reduce your risk of osteoporosis by taking the following preventive measures:

  • If you are a current smoker, get help quitting as soon as possible
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
  • Take precautions to prevent slips and falls

How to Diagnose Osteoporosis

A bone density test uses low-level X-rays to determine the proportion of minerals in your bones.

Obtaining a bone density test as recommended by your doctor is the best way to monitor your bone health and benefit from early detection.

Treatment for Osteoporosis

If diagnosed with Osteoporosis, your doctor may recommend a variety of age-appropriate therapies to help strengthen your bones and mitigate your chance of a break. Your doctor’s treatment plan may include dietary and lifestyle changes or medication such as bisphosphonates or hormone-related therapy.

When to Talk to A Doctor

If you’re 50 years old or older and have ever broken a bone, talk to your doctor about obtaining a bone density test. Such screenings can identify your risk so you can take steps to reduce the possibility of bone loss further and lower your chances of an unexpected, painful osteoporotic bone break.

Five Healthy Hacks for Maintaining Optimal Health

Achieving your health goals—be they weight loss, stress reduction, or kicking a nicotine habit—is only the beginning of what it means to have a wellness strategy. Wellness is not a short-term goal. It is a lifestyle and a long-term commitment, which is why once you achieve your goal, you need a strategy to maintain that optimal health. Don’t be so afraid to take a step back that you don’t put the time and effort into making the lifestyle changes needed to remain healthy. We’ve outlined five healthy hacks that everyone should follow to maintain optimal health.
  1. Stop Dieting. You read that right. The problem with dieting is that when you reach your goal or the end of your 40-day meal plan subscription, it can be tempting to consider the diet “off” and revert to the meal choices that led to weight gain over time. Rather than going into the mindset of dieting and taking a temporary break from high-fat, high-calorie, and low-nutrient foods while you seek a specific number on the scale, think of it as a lifestyle choice. That means not just taking a few months off from fast food and your habit of relying on a candy bar from the vending machine as an afternoon snack. It means a permanent split from your vices. That may feel like sacrificing an indulgence you love, but it’s necessary for long-term health.
  1. Be Active Regularly. Note that we said That means you don’t necessarily need a gym membership or a CrossFit class. It involves fitting in at least 30-minutes of cardio into your schedule at least three times per week. That activity could come in the form of walking your dog, a yoga class, participating in the office softball league, jogging around your neighborhood, or going to the gym. What matters is that you choose one—or a variety—of activities that you can make lasting parts of your routine.
  1. Understand your Risk Factors. Make an appointment with your primary care provider and talk about your potential risk for such chronic and complex health conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Then, work with your doctor to put a plan in place to reduce your risks. Remember, a healthy diet and regular games of three-on-three basketball with your buddies won’t protect you from a catastrophic event brought on by stress or smoking—and you can’t eliminate your risks if you don’t know what they are, so talk to your doctor.
  1. Reduce Stress. Eliminating all stress from your life may be impossible; after all, you can’t predict or avoid that inevitable traffic jam that always manifests when you are already running rate. However, if you have known, daily stresses in your life, talk to a wellness expert, life coach, physician, or friend about how to better cope or reduce the factors that lead to your stress, whether they be financial, family, or work-related. Stress can cause significant mental and physical health complications, which is why it must be a component of a long-term wellness strategy.
  1. Kick Your Nicotine Habit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States. If you are struggling to break your addiction to cigarettes, talk to your doctor. He or she can provide you with a list of resources, including nicotine addiction solutions, so you can begin the process of becoming a non-smoker—permanently.
Remember, optimal health is not a diet, a single fitness class, or a week off from smoking. It is a lifestyle choice that requires permanent changes. While change can be hard, remember your end goal is a long and healthy life with your loved ones. Now that’s something to work for.  

Seven Must-Follow Advice for Workplace Wellness

Steps to keep healthy at work

How many times have you found yourself saying—with a nasal voice and crumpled tissues in hand—”I’m sick…something has been going around the office.”

The office. Like a school classroom, it can quickly become a hotbed of germs. And if your office is a classroom, then we truly feel for you. To help protect you and your co-workers all year long, we’ve compiled seven must-follow advice to minimize the spread of germs and promote wellness in the workplace.

  1. Wash Your Work Clothes. According to research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), when someone sneezes, germs can travel up to 200 feet—or about two-thirds the length of a football field. Even if you don’t come in direct contact with a sneezing (or coughing) coworker, germs can cling to clothes and eventually make you sick. Always wash your work clothes, even if it means extra trips to the dry cleaners.
  2. Just Say No to Office Treats. Germs aren’t the only workplace hazard you should fear. You know that generous co-worker who always keeps a jar of candy stocked on her desk? If you get into the habit of grabbing a piece (or two) every time you pass by, it could result in a few extra pounds by the time the annual holiday party rolls around. Resist the urge to stop and taste the Smarties.
  3. Don’t be an Overachiever. You may have earned your last promotion through long hours and hard work, but you could be putting your health at risk. If you have a desk job, then working nine, ten, or even twelve or more hours a day means you’re likely not getting enough exercise and could be experiencing too much mental strain and emotional stress—all of which can negatively impact your overall health.
  4. Get Up and Move. Why not turn your morning stand-up meeting into a walking meeting outside if weather permits? Even an extra ten or fifteen minutes of activity in the form of a brisk walk can help to clear your mind, increase blood flow, and rejuvenate your mood.
  5. Get Your Flu Shot. When flu season rolls around in the Fall, protect yourself by getting immunized. If your office offers free flu shots for staff, make time for an appointment. That three hundredth email of the day can wait ten more minutes.
  6. Say Home When You’re Sick. We understand that your team needs you, but you don’t need to go into the office and power through feeling sick. Not only could you slow your recovery time, but you could also end up infecting others, which will have an even more detrimental effect on your team if half of them end up being out sick during the same week—because you didn’t want to impact departmental productivity.
  7. Clean Your Desk. Again. According to a report by CNN Health, the average workplace desktop has almost 21,000 germs per square inch, and the office desk phone has more than 25,000 germs per square inch. Make it part of your weekly ritual to disinfect your desk. Then share your cleaning supplies with your cubicle mates so they can de-germ their surroundings too.

The average worker will spend over 90,000 hours at the office throughout their lifetime. By staying vigilant about the threat of germs and practicing these workplace wellness tips, you can use your two weeks of PTO this year for that vacation to Hawaii you’ve always wanted to take—and not to battle bronchitis.


Visit One of Our Urgent Care Locations

Nova Health Announces Opening of New Roseburg Clinic Location

Nova Health, formerly Roseburg Urgent Care and Prime Care Partners, has announced that it will open a new health clinic at 780 NW Garden Valley Blvd in Roseburg on April 15. Conveniently located in the Garden Valley area, the clinic will offer both primary care and hand therapy services to scheduled patients from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.  As a result of the new Garden Valley clinic opening, Nova Health’s existing Roseburg facility, located at 1740 NW Goetz in Roseburg, will serve exclusively as an urgent care center, treating non-life-threatening illness and injuries for both scheduled appointments and walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

The newest Nova Health primary care and hand therapy location in Garden Valley will provide critical and convenient patient care and treatment for residents and families in the Roseburg area, expanding on Nova Health’s network of conveniently located quality health care facilities.

“Our name has changed, but we are still staffed by the same compassionate and knowledgeable health care professionals our patients have come to trust,” said clinic manager Brittany Shaver, referring to the facility’s recent rebranding as part of the Nova Health family of urgent care centers, primary care clinics, physical therapy and hand therapy facilities.

The newest Nova Health clinic location will be staffed by experienced and compassionate medical professionals prepared to provide treatment for chronic conditions, minor illnesses, primary care and well-patient care.

“We are excited for the opportunity to expand our number of locations,” said CEO, Bill Clendenen. “By moving our primary and hand therapy services to a new location, we will be able to serve a larger number of patients within the community more promptly when they are in need of compassionate care.”

Celebrating Earth Day 8 Reasons Why Being Green Keeps You Well

Celebrating Earth Day 8 Reasons Why Being Green Keeps You Well

How many times have you found yourself saying—with a nasal voice and crumpled tissues in hand—”I’m sick…something has been going around the office.”

The office. Like a school classroom, it can quickly become a hotbed of germs. And if your office is a classroom, then we truly feel for you. To help protect you and your co-workers all year long, we’ve compiled seven must-follow advice to minimize the spread of germs and promote wellness in the workplace.

  1. Wash Your Work Clothes. According to research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), when someone sneezes, germs can travel up to 200 feet—or about two-thirds the length of a football field. Even if you don’t come in direct contact with a sneezing (or coughing) coworker, germs can cling to clothes and eventually make you sick. Always wash your work clothes, even if it means extra trips to the dry cleaners.
  2. Just Say No to Office Treats. Germs aren’t the only workplace hazard you should fear. You know that generous co-worker who always keeps a jar of candy stocked on her desk? If you get into the habit of grabbing a piece (or two) every time you pass by, it could result in a few extra pounds by the time the annual holiday party rolls around. Resist the urge to stop and taste the Smarties.
  3. Don’t be an Overachiever. You may have earned your last promotion through long hours and hard work, but you could be putting your health at risk. If you have a desk job, then working nine, ten, or even twelve or more hours a day means you’re likely not getting enough exercise and could be experiencing too much mental strain and emotional stress—all of which can negatively impact your overall health.
  4. Get Up and Move. Why not turn your morning stand-up meeting into a walking meeting outside if weather permits? Even an extra ten or fifteen minutes of activity in the form of a brisk walk can help to clear your mind, increase blood flow, and rejuvenate your mood.
  5. Get Your Flu Shot. When flu season rolls around in the Fall, protect yourself by getting immunized. If your office offers free flu shots for staff, make time for an appointment. That three hundredth email of the day can wait ten more minutes.
  6. Say Home When You’re Sick. We understand that your team needs you, but you don’t need to go into the office and power through feeling sick. Not only could you slow your recovery time, but you could also end up infecting others, which will have an even more detrimental effect on your team if half of them end up being out sick during the same week—because you didn’t want to impact departmental productivity.
  7. Clean Your Desk. Again. According to a report by CNN Health, the average workplace desktop has almost 21,000 germs per square inch, and the office desk phone has more than 25,000 germs per square inch. Make it part of your weekly ritual to disinfect your desk. Then share your cleaning supplies with your cubicle mates so they can de-germ their surroundings too.

The average worker will spend over 90,000 hours at the office throughout their lifetime. By staying vigilant about the threat of germs and practicing these workplace wellness tips, you can use your two weeks of PTO this year for that vacation to Hawaii you’ve always wanted to take—and not to battle bronchitis.

Nova Urgent Care Donates AED to Ted Norman Memorial Baseball Complex

Young boy playing baseball

Nova Urgent Care, formerly Eugene Urgent Care, has donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) and protective device cabinet to the Ted Norman Memorial Baseball Complex, the home field of the Willamette Valley Babe Ruth (WVBR) Baseball league. Nova Urgent Care representatives will present the AED during the WVBR opening ceremony on April 20. The donation helps the Eugene baseball complex to enable a greater chance of survival from sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest or Commotio Cordis, the sudden arrhythmic death caused by a chest wall impact that puts athletes partaking in sports with projectiles such as baseballs at particular risk. This is seen mostly in athletes between the ages of 8 and 18 who are participating in sports with projectiles such as baseballs, hockey pucks, or lacrosse balls.  These projectiles can strike the athletes in the middle of the chest with a low impact but enough to cause the heart to enter an arrhythmia.  Without immediate CPR and defibrillation, the outcome of commotio cordis can be critically fatal.  This condition is extremely dangerous with rare survival. Access to an AED helps strengthen the “chain of survival” as described in Health & Safety Institute emergency care training programs by helping to prevent sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) from becoming irreversible death.

“On behalf of Nova Urgent Care, we are thrilled to offer an AED donation to WVBR and the Ted Norman Memorial Baseball Complex,” said Kristine Rice, Nova Health Marketing Director. “Providing access to this critical and potentially life-saving technology furthers our efforts to help safeguard the health and wellness of our community.”

Health and Safety Institute (HSI), headquartered in Eugene, Oregon will also donate an online cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) AED and first aid course to all WVBR coaches. This combination of AED access and associated training will help to ensure the greatest possible safety of players, team personnel, and fans by arming coaches with the skills necessary to provide an immediate safety response while awaiting emergency medical care in the event of a life-threatening incident.

“As a former HSI employee it is personally rewarding to partner with Nancy Liebig, VP of Client Services to provide this crucial emergency care and safety training for this initiative,” said Rice. “Hundreds of families visit the Ted Norman Memorial Baseball Complex every week. In the event of a potentially catastrophic event, access to an AED and use by trained personnel could make the critical difference in saving a life.”

Every year, SCA claims nearly 350,000 victims a year, leading healthcare experts to advocate placing AEDs in offices, schools, and community recreation facilities. With convenient access and proper training, AEDs can significantly increase the chance of survival in the event of a cardiac episode. Studies conducted by The American Heart Association have shown that sudden cardiac arrest victims who received immediate defibrillation have up to a 60 percent survival rate one year after SCA.

“We are pleased to be able to offer at minimum online awareness of CPR, AED and first aid training to help inspire people to act in their community,” said Anthony Corwin, General Manager of Emergency Care Brands from HSI. “The more people we can educate on the importance of CPR training and AED availability along with their proper use, the more people who will respond to an emergency and give someone a chance at surviving a sudden cardiac arrest. HSI always recommends participating in a skills training session after the online course to attain a CPR/AED and First Aid certification and be fully prepared to respond.

About Nova Health

Celebrating over ten years of serving patients throughout Lane County and Roseburg under the names Prime Care Partners, Eugene Urgent Care, Roseburg Urgent Care, and Atlas Physical Therapy we have established a new brand name and identity, Nova Health and Nova Urgent Care. Our look and name have changed, but one thing has been the same since the beginning: Our commitment to quality patient care and our commitment to each other. Nova Health is a medical company that provides urgent care, primary care, physical therapy services, and musculoskeletal clinic services in Lane and Douglas Counties. Our focus is providing high- quality patient care to the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Nova Health is a growing company that was established in 2008 with one clinic and nine employees and has grown to 13 clinics all within the Eugene, Springfield, Junction City, Veneta, Oakridge. Cottage Grove, Florence, and Roseburg areas. For more information, please visit novahealth.com.

About HSI and its Family of Companies

The Health & Safety Institute (HSI) is a family of well-known and respected brands in the emergency care and workplace safety training space. Its American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) and MEDIC First Aid brands offer award-winning CPR, AED, and first aid training that is recognized, accepted, and approved by, or meets the requirements of, federal and state regulatory bodies nationwide in more than 120 occupations and professions. For more information, visit emergencycare.hsi.com.

To learn more about the Community Giving Program with Nova Health click here

Nova Health Acquires McKenzie Primary Care Associates in Florence

Nova Health, formerly Prime Care Partners, Eugene Urgent Care, and Atlas Physical Therapy, has announced that it has acquired McKenzie Primary Care Associates (MPCA), located at 4480 G Hwy 101 N in Florence. All former MPCA providers will continue to provide primary patient care as part of the Nova Health family of care specialists.

The clinic will offer urgent care services in the late summer at the location, expanding patient care opportunities for existing patients and families in the Florence area.

According to clinic manager Brittany Elliott, the addition of MPCA to the Nova Health family of care facilities is an ideal partnership.

“MPCA has a long-standing tradition of providing quality medical care within the Florence community and surrounding areas, and that will never change,” said Elliott. “By joining the Nova Health family and adding urgent care services, we will be better able to serve our patients’ needs.”

Nova Health is focused on increasing access to care within rural communities. Bringing MPCA into its network of clinics provides a significant opportunity to make quality primary and urgent care available to a larger number of individuals and families in Florence and the surrounding areas.

“We are excited to add MPCA to the Nova Health family,” said CEO Bill Clendenen. “We are confident that our patients will value the expansion of urgent care services at our location, while still receiving treatment from the same care team they have come to know and trust.”

About Nova Health

Celebrating over ten years of serving patients throughout Lane County and Roseburg under the names Prime Care Partners, Eugene Urgent Care, Roseburg Urgent Care, and Atlas Physical Therapy we have established a new brand name and identity, Nova Health. Our look and name have changed, but one thing has been the same since the beginning: Our commitment to quality patient care and our commitment to each other. Nova Health is a medical company that provides urgent care, primary care, physical therapy services, and musculoskeletal clinic services in Lane and Douglas Counties. Our focus is providing high- quality patient care to the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Nova Health is a growing company that was established in 2008 with one clinic and nine employees and has grown to 13 clinics all within the Eugene, Springfield, Junction City, Veneta, Oakridge. Cottage Grove, Florence, and Roseburg areas. For more information, please visit novahealth.com.

Hand and Wrist Strengthening Techniques for Golfers, Celebrating the Masters

wrist-strengthening-golfers

Every April since 1934 some of the world’s most elite golfers gather at the pristinely manicured and outstandingly gorgeous Augusta National Golf Club for a chance to go down in history as one of the world’s best golfers and take home a classy green blazer. If you’re like us, then just thinking about this renowned tradition makes you want to put on your best pair of brightly colored plaid pants and hit the links. Before you begin swinging the irons, however, make sure your hands and wrists are strengthened and prepared for 18 holes after a winter of indoor relaxation. We’re providing hand and wrist strengthening techniques to help keep you out of our hand therapy offices this season.

Wrist Strengthening Iron Lifts

Stand straight and tall with your arm hanging by your side. Hold a short iron in your hand, placing the head of the club on the ground. Keeping your arm stationery, raise the club head upward as high as you comfortably can using only your forearm and wrist strength. Slowly lower the club back down to the group. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and complete the motion 12 more times. Practice this wrist strengthening routine three times per week.

Wrist Curls

This movement can help strengthen your grip and does not require significant weight to be effective. Sit on a bench or a stable chair, a dumbbell in each hand, with your forearms resting on your thighs, palms up. Extend your hands over your knees and then lower the weight as far as you comfortably can, then curl your wrist up toward your body. Complete ten repetitions. Then repeat the movement but switch your grip so that your palms are facing away from you. Reversing the action helps to strengthen all the muscles in your hands. Complete 12 repetitions.

Towel Pull Ups

You’ll need access to a pull-up bar for this advanced routine. Drape two hand towels over the pull-up bar with the ends hanging down toward you. Grip the towels with your thumbs facing you and the backs of your hands facing outward and pull yourself up using your arms and shoulder muscles. The need to squeeze the towels tightly in your hands while you pull yourself up will strengthen your grip, which is critical for hand strength.

Wrist Stretches

Stretching helps build flexibility and can mitigate your risk of injury. After every upper body workout, including a day at the links, stretch your wrists. Hold your arm straight out in front with your palm facing outward. With your opposite hand pull your fingers back toward your body. You should feel a stretch in your wrist and forearm. Hold for a few seconds, switch sides, and repeat three times.

By regularly strengthening your hands and wrists you can benefit from straighter and longer drives, more accurate putting, and long term comfort and enjoyment of a pastime. That sounds to us like a hole in one.

To learn more about hand exercises or if you are experiencing pain make an appointment with one of our therapists.

Embracing March Madness®? Learn to Protect Your Joints from Injury.

Protecting Joint Tips

We all have basketball on the brain this month. Whether you regularly hit the court with friends for some competitive three-on-three, or are just motivated to get out in the spring air and test your three-point range, know that basketball, while a great source of cardio and endurance, can put your joints at risk. Protect yourself while embracing the spirit of the season with these tips.

Never Skip Your Warm-Up

Never hit the court cold. Even college players participating in this year’s NCAA Tournament warm up before they start their game. Warming up helps to loosen joints, stretch muscles, and increase the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body. Begin by warming up slowly, and then increasing the pace and effort until your breathing has quickened and your body feels flexible. Jog some laps around the court, accelerating your speed with each lap, and then shoot some baskets before the full contact play begins.

Strengthen Your Knees

Knees and ankles are two joints at high risk of injury for basketball players due to the quick-moves and fast reactive nature of the game. Mild injuries can include knee sprains while severe injuries can consist of torn ligaments. Protect your knees with regular stretching and strength building activities such as wall quad stretches. Position yourself into a lunge with your hands placed flat on a wall and the balls of your front foot flexed up against the wall to stretch and strengthen your back knee. Hold for thirty seconds, switch legs and repeat.

Strengthen Your Ankles

Jumping up for a rebound and coming down on the edge of your foot can put you at risk of rolling your ankle, which could mean a sprain, strain, or six weeks in a cast. Protect your ankles with strengthening exercises such as ankle curls. ­Stand with the balls of your feet on the front edge of a step. Raise up on your toes and relax back down, extending your range of motion as comfortably as you can. Perform ten repetitions.

Wear Protective Gear

If you have experienced an injury to a knee or ankle in the past, or experience mild pain and discomfort due to arthritis, consider playing basketball wearing a knee or ankle brace to protect yourself from an overextension.

Basketball can provide a competitive and fun form of fitness at any age, but don’t take the risks too lightly. Every year, approximately 1.6 million injuries happen on the court. Protect yourself and your joints so that you can keep playing all year round. Game on.

Keeping physically active is key to a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it’s best to check with your primary care provider before you start to exercise.