After Your Physical Therapy Visit: Short-Term Soreness Equals Long-Term Health

If you’ve suffered an injury, you most certainly wish that you could just click your fingers and have the pain be gone the next day. Of course, the body’s healing process doesn’t function that way and it takes time and proper care to get you back to feeling 100%. Oftentimes, physical therapy is an element to your recovery, stretching and activating muscles and other parts of our body that potentially haven’t been used or fully functional in quite a while. This movement will come as a slight surprise to that area of your body, as it may have been used to it’s new habit. While activity is necessary to get you back to your old self. this movement will cause resistance, and with this resistance will come soreness. So how can you deal with soreness after a physical therapy session? These three tips can help alleviate some of your discomfort:

  1. Ice the area >> Soreness typically means that the tissue of the body part is inflammed. Ice will work to cool and soothe the area – just as inflammation is a typical part of the healing process, ice should be a typical response to that inflammation. Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, applying as often as you feel necessary.
  2. Drink water >> Soreness after a physical therapy session may be related to local inflammation, which produces waste products the body needs to eliminate. Drinking water throughout the day after a session will enable your body to process any toxins that had released into your blood stream.
  3. Take notes >> It’s your body, and your soreness, so write down where you feel the discomfort, how (if at all) the feeling has changed, and even how you feel following a physical therapy session. Any feedback you provide your therapist can act as a guide for future sessions.

Healthy Tips and Tricks to Keep You on TOPS in 2017

With the beginning of a new year upon us, we all have one thing on our mind: WEIGHT LOSS. This is the time of the year when the gyms are packed and everyone is trying to find the next best weight loss scheme to help shed those extra holiday pounds. We have put together a few suggestions to help everyone stay on TOPS of their goals in 2017!

  1. Get Moving! – This is seemingly a no brainer, but we often forget that moving our body does not require a gym membership or several hours of our day. We can all add in extra cardio throughout the busy day by opting to take the stairs at work, to walk for 10-20 minutes during our lunch break, or to mix in some squats, lunges, or stretching every 1-2 hours at our desk or on our way to a meeting. Exercise is exercise regardless of whether it is performed in one chunk of time or if it is conducted in short bouts throughout the day, so stay consistent with working movement in some capacity or another into your regular day and you will notice an improvement in your mood, your productivity at work, and your waistline.
  2. Meal Preparation – As the old saying goes, you cannot out train a bad diet. We all try to find a quick fix to help stimulate weight loss, but instead of spending money on buying various weight loss products you should invest your time in good old fashion meal prepping at home. Plan on using one afternoon to shop and prep every meal for the week, which usually saves you time and money if you stick to eating your scheduled meals. By cooking meats in bulk and portioning vegetables, fruits, and healthy carbohydrates, you will be more apt to stick to the diet and less likely to overindulge. If you find yourself in a time crunch and you need a quick fix to avoid those ‘hanger’ pains, look for snacks that are high in protein with minimal ingredients. A good rule of thumb to follow is to opt for food choices with 5 ingredients or less (all of which you can pronounce), and be sure to look for snacks with no added sugars and no artificial colors or dyes.
  3. Relax – With the holiday hangover from all the hustle and bustle, it is important to remember to take some time for yourself and RELAX! All the stress from shopping, cooking, and hosting can really bog you down, so make sure you are allotting 7-8 hours per night for restful sleep. Not only is sleep important for mental clarity and total body rejuvenation, but it is also vital for hormone synthesis and hormonal balance. If you cannot find time to squeeze in 7-8 hours of sleep, make sure you are taking short bouts of time throughout the day to focus on performing mindful, diaphragmatic breaths to decrease your heart rate and return your body to homeostasis. Try it out: sit still and bring your attention to your breath. Deeply inhale through your nose for a count of 5 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds, and slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 7 seconds. You should be able to perform approximately 3 diaphragmatic breaths per minute, and after 1-2 minutes you should notice a decrease in your resting heart rate.

For more tips and tricks on staying motivated and rejuvenated in 2017, come in and see us at T.O.P.S.!


Running season in Arizona is upon on us with training for the P.F. Chang’s marathon. With the increased training and mileage comes potential for foot pain/injuries. During the running gait each foot must be able to stabilize and provide dynamic stability individually. Therefore, it is important to perform supplementary single leg stance loading in all three planes of motion. The three planes of motion are the sagittal plane (forward and backward movement), frontal plane (side to side movement), and transverse plane (rotational movement).

We have come up with four different exercises to perform 2-3 x per week to supplement your running that will encompass all three planes of motion:

  1. Nose to Wall: Stand on one leg with other leg in the air out front. Shift your body weight forward to the point where you almost feel your heel come off the ground on your stance leg and then shift your body weight back. Try to avoid the woodpecker type motion. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps alternating legs.
  2. Lateral bandwalk: Put a band around both ankles and start with your knees and hips slightly bent. Keep your feet pointed straight forward the entire time take 12 steps sideways. Stay facing the same direction and take 12 steps back, repeat the movement 2 more times down and back.
  3. Posterior medial step down: Stand on one leg with most of your weight on the heel, but still keeping big toe in contact with step. Sit back like performing a single leg squat focusing on more of a hip bend as opposed to a knee bend. Pay attention to your knee on the side you are loading to ensure that it is stable, not diving in too much and touch the floor with your opposite heel. Return to a fully extended position with the knee and hip completely straight focusing on squeezing your glutes and quads at the top.
  4. Doorway touches: Stand and balance on one leg with a soft slightly bent knee and touch the Left doorjam with Right hand and Right doorjam with Left hand. Perform this alternately for 10 on each side for 20 total touches. Repeat this for 3 sets.

This group of exercises can be best performed prior to running as a movement prep to engage your foot intrinsics and to get the posterior chain acitvated.

If there are any activities you are having difficulty with come in and see us at TOPS Physical Therapy and Osteopractics.


Ever have foot pain or discomfort and cannot find the right shoe for your foot? Feel like all of the cool name brand shoes just don’t quite cut it? If so, there have been many patients who have the solution to your problem! There are a variety of shoes that help to minimize many of the “foot-pain” issues. These include a wider toe box, zero-drop sole, and flexible sole. What do these things mean??

Toe box: the area where the toes reside. In general, the widest part of the shoe should be at the end of the shoe and not at the ball of the foot.

Zero-drop sole: The sole of the shoe does not have a build-up or larger heel as compared to the toe of the shoe. In many traditional shoes, the heel has a larger sole, which can sometimes be the cause of foot pain. This also contributes to a tighter calf muscle, which when wearing sandals, as we often do in Arizona, would cause increased pain. **Warning: if you are have not transitioned to a zero-drop sole yet, please talk to us or a trained professional prior to quickly transitioning out of an elevated heel. This will prevent pain from starting!

Flexible sole: The bottom of the shoe should not be rigid when bending the toe towards the heel, which allows for a more natural motion of your foot. There should also not be a crease that occurs in the toe box when bending the toe towards the heel. This also goes for orthotics that are placed in the shoe. If you experience increased toe pain after inserting orthotics, please inform the medical professional who suggested them, or bring them in and let us check them out!

There are a couple of brands that have withstood test of time: Altra and Lems. These two have been created for the active person while allowing the foot to remain in a natural, relaxed position across every terrain!

If you have any further questions or are curious if you could benefit from these shoes, please contact us and we will help you figure out what is best for you! Happy Shoe Shopping 🙂

Is Pain Hindering Your Holidays? Get On TOPS Of It!

Turkey stuffing, grocery stores, Christmas shopping, home decorating… Annnnddddd, great weather in Phoenix!  This is the time of year when we start to get back out and run, hike, bike, etc. At T.O.P.S., we believe that getting out and moving is essential to your physical and mental health. We also understand that you may have aches and pains that arise after hibernating all summer! Not only does this affect you physically, but it’ll take a toll on your mental well-being as well.

Don’t let that happen!

Especially as the holidays are approaching, there are meals to be cooked, lines to stand in, and family fun to be had. Aches and pains should not be on the forefront of your mind, or limiting your desire to do any of these activities!

Plus, your deductible is most likely already met! We have direct access, meaning you don’t even have to see a doctor before coming… you can come straight in and we will check you out, and get you started, on your FIRST appointment. We have an Osteopractor on site, which means you can get all of your dry needling, joint manipulations, or physical therapy done in one location.

Not to mention, once your physical pain is minimized, your mental clarity will improve, providing for shopping stamina, great gift ideas for those hard to shop for, and delicious meals!

As Saint Augustine said, “The greatest evil is physical pain.”

So, We invite you in, to come check out what we can do for you during these hectic holiday times, and get you running, hiking, or biking your way into 2017!!!

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About PT

  1. The National Physical Therapy Month is each October, celebrating and recognizing the work that physical therapists do to improve the health and restore the motion of our nation’s citizens.
  2. Physical therapists do not only perform their work in clinics or private practices. They can work in other settings such as hospitals, schools, and even nursing homes.
  3. There are over 200,000 physical therapists in the United States. (via
  4. Your physical therapist can treat you for vertigo. (via
  5. Yes, physical therapy can be as (or more!) effective than surgery to address a variety of conditions.
  6. Physical therapists formed their first professional association in 1921, known as the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association. (via
  7. What is a classic piece of equipment that your parent’s may have in their basement that is also widely used in physical therapy and rehab center across the US? The NordicTrack Classic Pro Skier. (via
  8. The ‘massaging’ of a muscle by a physical therapist will not be like the soothing massage you would expect at a spa.
  9. There are different types of physical therapy, which are: orthopedic, post-operative, cardiovascular, neurologic rehabilitation, or pulmonary rehab.
  10. Yes, many physical therapists hold advanced degrees!