Free Events in October @ CoachAmyPT

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At CoachAmyPT celebrating National Physical Therapy Month means giving back to an amazing community that has provided so much enthusiasm and support. During the entire month of October Coach Amy is offering some fun, free events. Whether you’re a past or current client of CoachAmyPT, or have never been to the clinic and are just interested in checking us out, please join in on the fun. Come for one event, or for all, and bring your friends! Health and wellness activities are more fun with more faces.

All events will take place at the CoachAmyPT clinic at 4573 Indian Creek Pkwy, Overland Park, KS 66207.

Free Group Runs every Saturday in October with Roadrunners of Kansas City.

This dynamic group of runners will motivate you shoulder to shoulder on some long routes, with stocked aid stations along the way. Mileage listed is the maximum mileage each course will be set for, but you can run any distance up to that maximum amount. All runs begin at 6:30 a.m.

  • Oct. 5th: 10 miles

  • Oct 12th: 20 miles

  • Oct. 19th: 10 miles

  • Oct. 26th: 20 miles

RSVP required on below link. Course maps and more details are provided on the Events tab of the RRKC website

Free Foam Rolling Clinic: October 7th

Foam rolling improves circulation and mobility, prevents injury and aids in recovery. Fewer pieces of equipment pack this much punch. However, knowing how and when to use a foam roller is critical for results.

Make friends with your foam roller at one of Coach Amy’s And This is How We Roll sessions where she’ll teach you how and when to roll out. Space is limited, registration required.

Thank you for being an important part of the CoachAmyPT and Roadrunners of Kansas City community this year. We can’t wait to see you in October!

And This is How We Roll

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Most of us have a love-hate relationship with the foam roller. It’s a bit of a sore ride but so worth it. Foam rolling improves circulation and mobility of muscles, tendons and fascia*. It also prevents injury in the back, hip, foot and shoulder, and aids in recovery.

That’s a lot of benefit from a piece of high density foam! However, knowing how and when to use a foam roller is critical. Foam rolling incorrectly, too frequently, or with too much compression can cause bruising and injury to nerves.

Coach Amy’s high level “rolling” tips:

Start WARM. Foam rolling is best with warm muscles. For athletes, this is AFTER a workout. The less active individual should warm-up for 10 minutes prior to foam rolling. A walk is a great way to get the blood flowing a bit first. 

Time is MONEY. Conveniently shorter is better. No need to roll for hours. 1-2 minutes per area is long enough.

Go SLOW. Moving too quickly on the foam roller causes the connective tissue to fight back and tighten up: the opposite of what we want. 

MEET the tension. Going too deep with too much compression can cause damage. We want to stimulate, not irritate.

Want to know more? Want to see a licensed PT demonstrate the proper technique, and watch you foam roll to ensure proper form? Coach Amy is hosting two foam rolling clinics in October during National Physical Therapy Month. These “one-time” clinics will be FREE in gratitude and enthusiasm for keeping Kansas City active and injury-free.

*what the heck is fascia? It’s a thick and strong spider-web like mesh of connective tissue that wraps around muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, nerves and even organs! 

Does Coach Amy Treat Back Pain? Why, Yes!

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Back pain can affect people of all ages. Up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Small aches and pains often come along with age, major life events, or increased and varied activity; but sometimes we have no idea what triggers pain at all.

Coach Amy helps identify triggers and provides treatment for patients with back pain that interferes with work, sleep, everyday tasks and hobbies. More importantly, once pain and function is restored she helps patients develop a strategy to prevent future occurrences.

Anna, a CoachAmyPT patient, suffered from back pain at various stages of her adult life. “I was experiencing severe lower back pain while training for a half marathon, any time I ran longer than 6 miles or so. It didn't hurt while I was running, but the day after I'd run it would hurt so much I'd be in tears. I had shooting pain down my hips and legs too. 

I started seeing Amy for physical therapy sessions, including Active Release Therapy (ART) and a lot of strength training. It made a HUGE difference for me. After a couple of sessions I was mostly pain free, and I was able to continue to run and train for my half marathon.”

After the arrival of her first baby, Anna’s lower back and hip pain returned. “The lower back pain ‘post-baby’ was similar - shooting pain in my hips wrapping around to the front. At first it started as an annoyance. When the pain peaked, making my daily tasks like rocking or nursing my baby really uncomfortable, I finally decided to go get treatment.” 

With more ART and functional exercises, Coach Amy was able to help Anna eliminate lower back and hip pain, and slowly get back to running. They also worked together on a long-term training plan to prevent future flair-ups. “Amy is so sweet and knowledgeable - she always reassured me that it would get better, and it did. She is the best!” 

Coach Amy’s patients graduate from PT armed with a better understanding of the causes of their pain and a personalized plan that may include home exercises to help prevent injury in the future. And yes, she does treat back pain!

Runner's World Magazine Interviews Coach Amy

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the mountains of data you get from your device after a run? Me too! I review my workout and run data, so I know where you're coming from. I also help all my local and Garmin Coach clients understand how to use their data to achieve their goals. 

Runner's World magazine recently interviewed me about this very topic. Check out the article to learn more! 

A Case for Changing Cadence: Injury Prevention

Caption: Coach Amy evaluating a client’s running form. Video taping the runner is always useful in a personal run evaluation.

If you’re a runner, you’re probably familiar with most running “lingo.” Cadence is a measurement of run gait that we can easily measure with our smart watches, but knowing what do with the data is a mystery to most runners. A quick Google search reveals debate among coaches and scientists creating even more confusion. Avoiding injury is a runner’s number one goal, but what about energy cost and efficiency?

Read the latest Roadrunners of Kansas City blog post to see how Coach Amy solves the case of what to do with Cadence data, with some run coaching clues! 

Should I Get a Cortisone Injection? Dry Needling vs. Cortisone.

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Many patients in chronic pain ask me whether they should get a cortisone injection. In some cases a cortisone injection can be helpful to break a vicious pain cycle. I recommend it as a last resort, as long as it is followed up with a thorough evaluation and treatment of the causes of the pain and dysfunction. Simply decreasing inflammation isn’t going to solve a problem long term.

I caution against multiple cortisone injections as it can break down connective tissues (muscle, tendon, ligament and nerve). As you can imagine, this can lead to worse problems down the road. Before a cortisone injection is entertained, I recommend dry needling. With dry needling there are biochemical changes that occur resulting in an increase of blood flow to the treated area, including white blood cells which is our bodies’ natural healing agent. Dry needling acts as a non-pharmacological anti-inflammatory.

In a study released in 2017 in the Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy*, researchers treated 50 painful hips. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either a cortisone injection or dry needling. During the 6-week study no other forms of treatment were provided. At the end of the study, patients in both groups had the same results for pain relief, ability to move and perform daily activities, and medication use. Patients who went to physical therapy for dry needling had the same outcomes as those who received a cortisone injection.

The results of this study show that patients can get similar results from dry needling as from a corticosteroid injection. Both groups experienced a decrease in pain and an improved ability to move and complete daily activities. Because the outcomes were similar, dry needling may be a good option for those worried about the potential side effects and risks of a steroid injection, or who want to try a lower-risk treatment.

*J Orthop. Sports Phys. Ther. 2017;47(4):240. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.0504

Physical Therapy or Surgery?

Ever been doing something you love with your kids, like shooting hoops or playing catch, and injury or pain strikes? You’re not alone! Repetitive motion over and over again can take its toll on joints and muscles, especially as we age. Muscle and joint damage that was a minor problem in our younger days can resurface as a major issue.

Most people want get back to “normal” life as quickly as possible and some perceive surgery as the quickest or only route to recovery, but it has its associated risks and is expensive. Is there an alternative to surgery? A way to eliminate pain and return to a full active lifestyle? Yes! Physical Therapy.

CoachAmyPT patient, Kirk E., a former pitcher, wanted to avoid surgery on his shoulder, "The pain in my shoulder began as a gradual soreness, but over a period of a few months the pain became more intense...and the lack of mobility kept me from playing golf and catch with my boys. It eventually got so bad that I had a difficult time sleeping and getting dressed.

An orthopedic doctor diagnosed my issue as Adhesive Capsulitis or Frozen Shoulder and recommended two options: Physical Therapy or arthroscopic surgery to clean it out. I decided to go the PT route first as I wanted to avoid surgery at all costs.

The first phase of my treatment with Amy was [mobilizations]. These sessions were painful, but my mobility improved after almost each session. After I regained some of my mobility we moved onto Active Release Therapy and a lot of...exercises that I did at her office and at home in between appointments.”

After a series of physical therapy treatments with Coach Amy including ART (Active Release Therapy), Kirk was able to regain “pain-free” mobility in his shoulder completely eliminating the need for surgery. "The pain and mobility issues have not come back. I still periodically do some of the...exercises she taught me to prevent any reoccurring issues.”

Kirk returning to doing what he loves with his kids.

Kirk returning to doing what he loves with his kids.

A thorough evaluation is necessary to determine whether physical therapy can help prevent surgery. Each patient is unique and therefore treatment plans and effectiveness can vary. Considering PT treatments as an alternative to surgery?

"Race for the Planet" with RRKC and Athleta Town Center

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Coach Amy would like to invite you to join Roadrunners of Kansas City in partnership with Athleta Town Center, for a “Race for the Planet” 10 mile Training Run on Saturday, August 24th. The event is FREE, and the first 25 to register will receive a $25 Athleta Shop Card to use after the run. Participants can also enter to win a $200 Athleta Shopping Spree at event check in. More information and registration are in the link below.

The course will be set up for 10 miles, but run as as little or as much as you want! Friends and family are most welcome, as this is a community event. Onsite registration/check-in begins at 6:00am, and the group run begins at 6:30am.

Details and course map at RRKC Events Page. Printed copies of the map will be provided at the run. See you at the starting line of this FREE fun event! Registration is required.

Power of "The Walk"

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When I suggest an athlete walk for cross training or an injured runner walk in lieu of a run, they typically respond with a furrowed brow and the stink eye. I get it. For most runners, walking is akin to quitting; it feels like a failure. It certainly doesn’t come with the same post workout Serotonin high, but hear me out. Walking is running’s first cousin. The mechanics are very similar with two major differences: at least one foot stays on the ground and there is no jump. These two factors considerably minimize the strain on the joints.   

Walking Benefits for Runners:

  • Recovery during and between workouts and races.

  • Adding volume safely for new runners.

  • Alternative for injured runners. 

  • Cross training for healthy runners.  

I didn’t personally experience the benefits of walking during my training season until recently. Last year, whilst training for my first half Ironman triathlon, I bought a puppy. Everyone told me, “It’s never a good time to buy a puppy.” At the time I was thinking this was especially dumb. Or was it? Walking the dog is important to their well-being, especially for a working breed like my Aussie.  

It turns out walking also became beneficial for my well-being! I enjoyed meeting new neighbors and noticing details in nature, landscaping and architecture in a way I don’t when running by at twice the speed. Even better, I noticed a significant improvement in post workout soreness and enhanced recovery between workouts (which were sometimes two per day). With improved recovery, one minimizes injury but also enhances performance by being ready for the next workout!  

There are lots of ways to add walking to your training regimen. Be sure to wear supportive footwear and use good form. Vary the terrain for maximum strength benefits. To add this to a current training regimen, consider walking a distance or time equivalent to twice that of a run distance or time (see below). Consult your coach if you need help. If you are injured, be sure to check with your physical therapist for how best to add walking to your “return to run” program.   

How to Boost your Run with a Walk: 

  • 10 min of walking = 5 min of running. 

  • Vary terrain for added strength benefits: steps, hills, technical trail.

  • Avoid over striding.

  • Wear run shoes e.g. not flip flops (you’d think I wouldn’t have to say this, but if I made that mistake, then someone else probably will). 

  • Consult your coach if you are a new runner using walking to increase fitness. 

  • Consult a physical therapist if you are injured and using walking as an alternative to running or as a strategy to return to sport.

Walking is highly beneficial for use in recovery, injury prevention and run strength, because it is similar to running yet less stressful on the joints. Take advantage of the “power of the walk” not just for your run health, but for your mind and soul. 

Stinky Shoes!?

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Running shoes got the funk after a muddy, sweaty or rainy work out? Read these quick and simple tricks of the trade to dry them out, freshen them up, and get them ready for the next run.

This works for drying out any athletic shoes. So if you packed lightly for vacation, and need to restore wet shoes for the next day’s adventures, these tips could save the day!