Latest News & Blog

Hand Therapy Can Eliminate Nagging Pain and Make You More Productive

February 13, 2019

At Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness, we’re no strangers to the numerous physical pains that we all encounter in our everyday lives. Our team of certified physical therapists, chiropractors, and athletic trains aid patients from across the Denver area with an entire gamut of physical ailments —achy knees from Littleton, tingly shoulders from Douglas, and even stinging backs from Adams. Our diverse team of specialists know exactly how to treat your injury, and can even offer you methods on how to avoid pain in the future. That’s why professional athletes, amatuer athletes, weekend warriors and competitive hobbyists have relied on our care for decades to keep them in peak performance.

One area of we treatment we offer is something you might not think of, but the part of your body that you probably use most everyday. That is: hand therapy treatment. You don’t have to be a violinist from Arvada, a carpenter from Thornton or a painter from Bennett to suffer from hand pain. 

In this era of rampant portable electronics, typing, and touchscreens, our hands are enduring a brunt of activity that other generations would have deemed unimaginable. If you use your hands for repetitive tasks, such as typing, and you regularly experience pain or cramping, consider visiting a massage therapist here at Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness for a hand massage. 

While the majority of our hand therapy patients come to us after suffering an injury to their hands —from fractures, dislocations and sprains to cuts, infections or sports-related injuries. Others who seek hand therapy treatment here at Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness include those who suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, or congenital defects. No matter what your medical history or profession, chances are your hands take a beating just from the day-to-day tasks they’re responsible for every day. How can occasional hand therapy keep your mitts in peak form? The ways are innumerable.

How Can a Hand Therapist Help Me?

The team of qualified hand therapy experts here at Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness provide non-operative interventions, preventative care and post-surgical rehabilitation for a wide variety symptoms. The goal of our professional hand care experts is always to return your hands to their pre-surgery condition and, if possible, give you greater range of motion and more comfort than you had before your injury. 

 Whether you’re a Denver-area patient who is recovering from a minor hand injury or suffering from a  chronic hand-related condition like as arthritis. Our hand therapists utilize a variety of hand massage techniques to soothe aching muscles and release tension in your hands and fingers. Their numerous techniques and tools range from activity and exercise programs, fitting you for custom orthotic fabrications, and can helping you with pain management and swelling around wounds and scars. Our expert hand therapists can also consult you how about to more safely and efficiently utilize your hands at work —regardless of your profession — in order to stave off unnecessary wear and prevent future injury while establishing healthy work habits that will protect your hands long term. 

Even if you have not suffered an injury or are not dealing with constant pain in your hands, an occasional hand therapy session can offer you a tremendous array of benefits. The human hand contains a wide variety of acupressure and reflexology points which are associate with various organs and tissues located throughout the body. Hand massage is a quick, relaxing way to experience immediate health benefits, including improved finger and wrist range of motion, enhanced circulation and reduction of your trigger points in your hand muscles.

Denver’s Hand Experts

Each of the hand therapists here at Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness have earned advanced certification as a certified hand therapist (CHT). The CHT credential is earned after a therapist practices for a minimum of five years, accumulating at least 4,000 hours of treatment for hand and upper extremity disorders. Certified hand therapists must also pass a rigorous certification exam to demonstrate their competency in treating hand and upper extremity conditions. Our team of Denver-based hand therapists work closely with regional orthopaedic and general surgeons who also specialize in the hand in order to stay abreast of modern treatment trends and preventative techniques.  The hand team here at Peak Physical Therapy also specializes in splinting. Splinting can be used to protect or immobilize a joint, stretch or mobilize a stiff joint with both static and dynamic progressive techniques, or to facilitate function.

Top Notch Physical Therapy in Denver

Whether you’re an active professional, an amatuer athlete, or a practicing competitive athlete, we welcome you to explore the wide variety of treatments available to you here at Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness. With nine care and treatment centers across the Denver metropolitan area and over two decades of experience, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness has established itself as the region’s premier source for musculoskeletal care.

What Running Analysis Can Teach You and How it Will Change Your Life

January 24, 2019

Athletes from across Aurora, Denver and Englewood know to rely on Peak Physical Therapy when it comes to healing and rehabbing from accident or injury. But what you may not know is how athletes from across Colorado also utilize our friendly and knowledgeable team of medical experts to prevent injury as well. One of the most specialized services we offer to athletes of all sports and skill levels is gait analysis. Gait analysis isn’t just a great way to see if you can minimize common aches and pains you experience from running, it’s also a way to improve your future running performance and to make it as pain free as possible. 

Your individualized running assessment —also known as gait assessment —will provide you all the information you need to to know to enhance your performance and prevent injury, through both adjustments to your gait and by providing the type of information you can utilize to invest in the proper equipment. In addition addressing prevalent musculoskeletal and biomechanical impairments that could be causing you pain, our team also provides patients with a a comprehensive video analysis of your running form which can be utilized to make any necessary adjustments. 

The process starts when one of our team members records footage of your movement on a treadmill. This footage —about thirty seconds long —allows us to see what type of pronation, or natural side-to-side movement of the foot as you walk or run. It is also known as “eversion.” There are three types on eversion, and our staff will help you to determine which category you fall under.

Overpronation: Around 70% of humans overpronate, which means their plant leg rolls inward as they step into their gate. You may overpronate if you have low arches or flat feet. 

Underpronation: Also referred to as supination, this occurs when the ankle strikes the ground at a steep angle. This pronation is usually common among athletes with high arches. 

Neutral: Neural pronation occurs when the food lands flat in a controlled manner, distributing weight evenly from the front of the foot up the leg. 

The Peak PT team will analyze your specific running gait in an effort to reduce pain, decrease your risk of future injury and even hope to improve your future performance. We can also recommended specific styles of running shoes In addition to offering you a range of therapeutic exercise tailored to your protonation, as well as manual therapy and soft tissue mobilization to help keep you running fresh. 

How to Reach Your Fitness Goals in 2019 From Your Parker Physical Therapist

January 9, 2019

The new year is upon us and with it comes a slew of new fitness goals for individuals seeking to improve their overall health. The new year is one of the biggest times when people seek to improve their circumstances, whether it’s financially, health-wise, or just general improvement. If you’re one of the many individuals who has made a new year resolution, it’s important to be aware of the ways in which you can make your resolution stick. Here are some of the ways to reach your fitness goals in 2019 from your Parker physical therapist.

Make Your Resolution Realistic

One of the biggest ways in which individuals fail to stick to their new year's resolution is due to the fact that they make resolutions which are completely unrealistic. Sure, it’s good to shoot for the stars and end up reaching the moon, but if your goals are completely out of touch with your current situation and not attainable, you are simply setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. That’s not a recipe for success, that’s a recipe for disappointment. If you want a chance of reaching your goal, it’s important to make your resolution manageable.

Break Up Your Resolution

If you’re seeking to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year, this goal can appear to be a bit too daunting for the average individual, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while. One way of overcoming this is to break up your resolution into more manageable chunks. For example, if you’re seeking to lose 30 pounds in a year, it’s a good idea to break it up into a 3-month segment, planning to lose seven or eight pounds by the end of March. 

Incentivize Yourself

Another helpful tool to be aware of in the battle to achieve your resolution is to reward yourself for reaching certain milestones associated with it. If you have a goal of working out 3 times a week and have managed to do so for a month straight, set a reward that you’ll go out to the movies with friends or have another pleasurable activity which helps motivate you to stay on track towards your resolution. Incentivizing yourself can make a huge difference in staying on track. 

If you are looking to improve your physical health situation and are in need of physical therapy due to an accident or other physical ailments, contact Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness today and we will be happy to assist you with your first steps towards recovery. We have an extensive team of qualified physical therapists and specialists who care deeply about their clients and go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest quality treatment in the industry. If you are looking for a therapist who will carefully assess your individual needs and formulate a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to your needs, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness is your preferred choice for the physical recovery process.

Proper Lifting and Safety Tips for Your Move from Your Denver Physical Therapy Team

December 26, 2018

While the end result is exciting, most Americans dread the moving process. The move itself can be so taxing it is easy to forget how to ensure a safe move. Often times some of the smallest of mistakes can lead to injuries that can last a lifetime. Don’t let that happen! As you gear up for your next home, review these tips from your local Denver physical therapy team. 

Gather Essential Tools 

When it comes to moving, boxes are usually the priority for items to obtain in the weeks leading up the big day. However, there is much more than boxes that are needed. Many movers only think about a few things, but it helps to be fully prepared as you transition into the moving process. Some of these essentials include: 
  • Dollies and other hand trucks:  Items with wheels enable you to easily move larger items, reducing the physical strain that comes with lifting and carrying boxes, furniture and more.
  • Packing materials and tape: Securing your valuables is not just essential for their safety, but yours too. Make sure to wrap items with newspaper, bubble wrap, or other packing material, then secure your boxes with packing tape. This will help your boxes from opening at the bottom, causing the items to fall and break—and avoiding a potential injury on your part in the process. 
  • Sliders: Did you know you can buy pads that can be placed on the bottom of your furniture? This will help you easily move furniture and other heavy items across the floor. This reduces physical stress on your body and protects your floors—a win-win! You can also buy covers to go on your furniture to protect from scuffing and provide a barrier between you and sharp edges. 
  • Scissors and knife: As you pack and unpack, you will be going through several things. Have scissors and a knife handy to cut open boxes or other items.  
  • Moving gloves: You can purchase gloves to wear while moving to help keep your hands safe from cuts, scrapes, and more. 

Packing 101

As you begin the process to move, it is the perfect time to get rid of unwanted or unused items. This can be done in a variety of ways such as having a yard sale, donating to local charities, or simply throwing certain items away. 

As you start to pack, work through items that you rarely use first. Choose a category system that works best for you, whether it is packing room by room, or by other methods. If space allows, contain all of your boxes to one place. 

When labeling your boxes, use a large permanent marker so you can clearly label what is in the box. It helps to label on more than one side, so you can easily identify once you are unpacking.  

As you pack the boxes, be smart. Do not overload large boxes with several heavy items. Find a good balance that is easy to carry and manage. For any clothing hanging in a closet, you can keep them on their hangers, then wrap them in a blanket or with garbage bags-just make sure you do not mistake them for actual trash! You may be able to leave certain items in dressers or cabinets as long as you can safely secure them. 

Create Your Plan

To ensure a successful move, you must have a plan. One of the initial questions you should ask yourself is, “Will I handle this move on my own, or would I like to enlist the help of a mover?” If you can afford it, movers can assist with every step in the moving process, taking some of the physical burdens off you. 

Once you have determined how the move will be handled, create a schedule and set deadlines. For instance, have all non-essential items packed by a certain date, or have all necessary packing items by a specific time. It also helps to have a schedule for moving day, too. While you cannot expect everything to go fully as planned, you can set times to start loading or have the movers arrive and reasonable goals for unpacking. Be sure to take advantage of Real Simple’s moving checklist, which will give you a complete two-month guide on everything you need to do leading up to the big day.  

Proper Lifting Techniques

Moving is a very labor-intensive process. It is exercise, after all! Many people who move often injure themselves due to improper lifting techniques. Your first rule of thumb to remember is to lift using your legs and not putting all of the weight on your back. When picking up boxes, bend and crouch down and hold the bottom and sides of a box. Moving gloves can help you have a better handle on the items. As you bend down, keep your feet at shoulder width. 

Once secure, lift using your legs and not your lower back. Keep the box or items close to your body, reducing strain on your arms. A great way to remember how to do this is to keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible. If you feel an item is too much to carry on your own, ask for help! 

Safety Tips

One can become injured in a multitude of ways during a move—not sure lifting improperly. A common mistake that happens is tripping or stepping on items out in the open. Before moving day, ensure hallways and open walk spaces are clear. This will help protect you and anyone helping you move stay safe. This also includes pets or children. They may be confused or bored, so make arrangements to have them outside the home or out of harm’s way. It is also important to properly dress for a move! Wear clothing that is comfortable and will not get caught on edges or items. Be sure to wear shoes that will support your feet all day. 

Are you wondering how you can make sure you are prepared to handle the physical activity of your moving day? Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness will help. We will show you proper lifting techniques and more or can help if you do sustain an injury after your move. Contact Peak PT & Wellness today to get started. 

Parker PT: Your Gait Dysfunction Might Be Slowing You Down

December 19, 2018

Nothing is more frustrating when you are training for a race—whether it’s a 5k or a full marathon—than being sidelined by constant injuries. If you are a Parker runner who is constantly plagued with problems in your shins, calves, or hips, you might want to consider a running analysis. 
Also referred to as a gait analysis, once the problem has been identified, you can be treated—and back on the road (or trail) feeling better than ever. Getting a professional gait analysis by an experienced clinician means a more efficient and accurate diagnosis. What this means for you is that you are running pain-free in a shorter amount of time.

What Does It Mean to Have a Gait Dysfunction?

When you have    a gait dysfunction, it means that the way you are walking or running is abnormal in some way. In some cases, they can be related to some kind of disorder of the inner ear, diseases of the muscle or nervous system, or musculoskeletal abnormalities. When these underlying disorders are treated, often the problem with gait is normalized.
There are common classifications of gait dysfunction, as follows:
Anatalgic. This is commonly referred to as a limp, meaning people are putting more weight on one leg than the other. This is usually because they are in some kind of pain.
  • Cerebellar ataxia. This gait dysfunction is displayed by erratic foot placement, such as in someone who is intoxicated.
  • Parkinsonian. These short, shuffled steps are often seen in those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
  • Steppage. With this dysfunction people cannot lift their ankle so they frequently lift the leg higher at the knee and hip
  • Vestibular ataxia. This is usually related to vertigo or inner-ear conditions and causes people to walk in an unsteady manner. 
  • Waddling. People with this pattern of dysfunction often walk on their toes, with a side-to-side movement.
  • These are some of the most commonly known dysfunctions. Yours might be different than what is listed here. You can find a more comprehensive list of gait abnormalities published by Stanford Medicine that offers a bit more insight.

How Is a Gait Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Although running shoe stores often offer a running analysis to determine the best type of running shoes, nothing compares to a gait analysis screening by a professional physical therapist. When you go in for an analysis, you will likely be asked a series of questions first, including:
Are you experiencing any pain while walking or running?

Did you recently have a fall?

When did you start to notice you were not walking the way you always have?
Is the problem with walking or running getting worse?
The physical therapist will also talk to you about your medical history, including whether or not you are on any medications. 
When you first meet with the physical therapist, be prepared to describe your pain and symptoms in as detailed a manner as possible. Before your first appointment, in fact, it might be a good idea to keep a journal that outlines what activities you are doing when you are experiencing pain—whether it’s just while you are running or if the pain exists while you are walking and doing other things. Try to be as detailed as possible.
  • The physical therapist will conduct certain assessments to help determine the cause of your gait problems, including:
  • The physical therapist will have you walk back and forth so he or she can observe any abnormalities in your gait simply by watching you. 
  • The physical therapist will check your balance to determine if you are at undue risk of a fall.
  • The physical therapist will see how fast you walk.
  • The physical therapist will test your strength and range of motion.
  • The physical therapist will test your reflexes.
  • The physical therapist will conduct sensation screenings.
Based on these assessments, he or she will try to diagnose the reason for the gait problems.

Can I Do Something to Prevent Gait Problems?

Whether or not your issue is preventable depends on the reason for it. But often getting treatment early means further issues can be prevented 

What Can a Physical Therapist Do to Improve Gait?

Physical therapy is crucial in helping people improve their gait so they can walk and run again without pain. Each treatment plan is different, depending on the issues you are having the reasons behind them, but a treatment strategy might include any of the following items:
  • Pre-gait training. These include activities and exercises that have nothing to do with, such as standing and lifting your leg. But they can give you insight into improving your gait. 
  • Gait training. This includes retraining the way you walk based on the underlying condition for your gait problems.
  • Balance and coordination training. These activities can help you get better balance, which will help stabilize the way you walk.
  • Neuromuscular reeducation. Your inactive muscles might need to be activated to improve your walking pattern.
  • Bracing or splinting. If a weakness in a ligament is part of your gait problem, a brace or splint might be able to help.
  • Manual therapy. Depending on the reasons for your gait problems, we might also recommend manual therapy and soft tissue mobilization.
  • Dry needling. Dry needling is crucial for pain control, muscle tension reduction, and improved biochemical motor functions.
Don’t be sidelined because of pain or discomfort. Talk to Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness about a Parker running analysis and treatment plan for runners of all ability levels. Our comprehensive running analysis has three goals: (1) tell you what you need to do to reduce your pain, (2) lower your risk of injuring yourself in the future, and (3) improving your running performance. At Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness, we will also talk to you about an appropriate training plan to help you achieve your running goals with a lot less pain.
Contact us today to find out more about a running analysis. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!