SANDRA’S 8 FAVOURITE KNEE EXERCISES

To help knee osteoarthritis + other knee conditions

Did you catch our recent blog post on knee osteoarthritis? It can be a real pain in the backside, preventing you from moving as much as you’d like or doing the things you love. Surgery is very much avoidable if we commit to strengthening exercises. So, to get you started, Sandra has shared her favourite knee exercises.

The important muscles to strengthen for a healthy knee are:

  • Quadriceps at the front of the thigh
  • Gluteus medius in the buttock that help control hip rotation and knee alignment.
  • Hamstrings (back of the thigh),
  • Gluteus maximus (buttocks)
  • Calf muscles
  • Foot muscles in the arch

SANDRA’S 8 FAVOURITE KNEE EXERCISES

  1. Wall squat (for quadriceps) OR
  2. Mini squat with band OR
  3. Knee extensions over a towel
  4. Wall stand (standing clam) for gluteus medius
  5. Sit to stand with slow lowering back to sit
  6. Step up and step down
  7. Single leg calf raises
  8. Foot doming

 

< Wall squat

Can be done against the wall or with a ball behind your back. Feet should be about 30cm out from the wall and about 10 cm apart. Slide down to 60 degrees with your knees going over the second toe (you don’t have to go down to 90 degrees). Hold for 6-10 seconds and slide back up. If there is pain in the knee joint, you are too low. If you can’t do this one, try the knee extensions over a towel.

Mini squat with band >

Put an exercise band around your instep on both feet and take your feet slightly wide so that there is tension. Perform a small mini squat short of pain, keeping the knees in good alignment over the second toe.

< Knee extensions over a towel

Place a towel or foam roller under the knee. Keep the knee on the towel and raise your foot until your knee is straight. Hold for 6-10 seconds and slowly lower.

Wall stand >

Face side on to the wall and push your knee to the wall, while taking your weight on the other leg. Hold 6 seconds. To progress, push into the wall with your knee, then lift your foot. You can place a small, soft ball between your knee and the wall. For an advanced exercise, add a bend in the supporting knee. Keep your shoulders and hips facing forward and don’t lean on the wall.

Sit to stand

Choose a higher chair for beginners. Sit and then slowly stand, making sure your knee goes over the second toe and doesn’t sway inward. Lower slowly and you can pause just before your bottom goes onto the seat. To progress, try doing it one legged, but your knee must remain in good alignment over the second toe. You can also try it on a lower chair for an additional challenge.

^ Step up and step down

Choose a small step to begin and slowly step up and lower (knee over second toe)

Calf raises >

Beginners start with 2 legs – go up for 3 seconds, hold, then lower for 3 seconds. Progress to single leg and increase the number gradually. You should aim for 25-30 single leg calf raises. Avoid very hard surfaces like the tiles in the bathroom. Don’t rock forward as you raise up.

< Foot doming

This can be done standing or sitting. Put your foot flat on the ground and then lift your arch, keeping your toes down straight.

 

Things to note:

All exercises should be done in a slow, controlled manner; don’t build up momentum, rock forward, turn your body.

Keep the knee in good alignment – if the knee swings inwards, the exercise needs to be modified.

Keep the head and neck in good alignment too!

During the wall stand and wall squat, make sure the arch of your foot does not collapse inwards – lift your arch.

 

If you’d like one of our physiotherapists to help you with some personalised knee exercises, please call or book online.

 

All about knee osteoarthritis + how we can help (part one)

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic joint disease that causes pain, stops you doing certain activities and can cause you a lot of stress and distress. The symptoms can be pain, stiffness (especially after rest), swelling and tenderness. Often people find it harder to squat, kneel, walk up stairs, get up from a low chair and some have pain that stops them from sleeping.

Research shows that strengthening exercises improve pain and function. Surgery is not inevitable if we look after our knees by supervised exercise that progresses within limits.

Physiotherapists are the best heath and exercise professional to advise you about your knee exercises, where to start, how to adjust the exercises if your pain flares and how to progress your exercises safely to prevent further damage. We have studied the anatomy, the pathology (disease), the latest effective evidence based exercise regimes and we know how to treat the symptoms.

 

Physiotherapy can help in a number of ways:
  • We can conduct a thorough assessment of your knees and provide you with an accurate diagnosis as well as education to help explain why you are experiencing your pain and stiffness
  • We can mobilise (move) the joints of the knee. This can be for pain relief, to increase circulation to the area or to stretch tight structures.
  • We can teach specific strengthening exercises for the hips, knees, ankles and feet; especially the quadriceps and gluteals. This can improve joint alignment and correct muscle imbalances
  • We can strap the knee to improve movement, reduce pain and decrease swelling
  • We can use dry needling and western acupuncture to help release tight muscles around the area and relieve pain
  • We can use cupping to help release the ITB (iliotibial band) and other tight muscles
  • We can advise you on what activities that you can do that you enjoy (even if it is modified)
  • We can give you strategies to cope with the pain (like relaxation and distraction, local heat or ice).
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: SANDRA’S FAVOURITE KNEE EXERCISES, TO HELP KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS + OTHER KNEE CONDITIONS
Definitions:

Osteo = Bone Arthro = joint Itis = inflammation
Chronic = pain that persists for over 12 weeks
Femur = thigh bone
Hamstrings = Thigh muscle at the back that bends the knee
ITB (iliotibial band) = fascia at the side of the thigh that goes from the top of the thigh to below the knee.
Muscle imbalance = Often the inner (medial) thigh quadriceps weakens and the outer (lateral) quad pulls the knee cap towards it. This can happen for people who don’t exercise and for people who do a lot of fast exercises and no slow weight bearing exercise
Patella = knee cap
Quads (quadriceps muscle) = front thigh muscle that straightens the knee
Tibia = shin bone
Total Knee Replacement = a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability Parts the tibia and femur are replaced to create an artificial joint.
Knee Reconstruction = surgical procedure to replace the torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). This is not done for Knee OA.
VMO (vastus medialis obliquus) = the inner part of the quadriceps (front thigh muscle) that helps stabilise the knee cap

Matthew Reed physiotherapist at Stafford Physio and Pilates

Meet Our Team: Matt

We’ve recently welcomed Matthew Reed to the Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates team. Matt’s claim to fame is that he has treated members of the royal family! Now he’s joined our team and is ready to give you the royal treatment! 


What motivates you?
Keeping up to date with the latest research and trends in physiotherapy. This motivates me because the more I continue to learn, the more my patients benefit in the long term.

What’s your favourite 3pm snack? Peanut butter straight from the jar.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Making a difference to people’s lives by optimising their body to move pain free and efficiently.

What’s your favourite part of the day? Getting in an early morning surf (pic for inspo).

If you weren’t a physio, what would you be? A skipper on a charter boat in the Mentawaiis.

What’s your favourite restaurant/ cafe? The Yiros shop.

Would you rather dance, or do karaoke? Karaoke with some daggy dance moves to spice up the performance. Suspicious minds, Elvis.

Read more about Matt here. 

Meet Our Team: Greg

We’re very excited to welcome Greg Holmes to Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. Greg is a skilled physiotherapist with broad experience, including treating spinal injuries and sports teams. 


What motivates you? 
I’m motivated by working in a friendly and energetic environment.

What’s your favourite 3pm snack? If I could eat anything at 3pm it would be dark chocolate TimTams and an iced coffee.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I get a lot of satisfaction from problem solving and helping people feel their best.

What’s your favourite part of the day? My favourite part of the day is taking my rescue greyhound Honey for a walk along the river.

If you weren’t a physio, what would you be? If I could do anything, I’d start my own pizzeria or do something else related to food.

What’s your favourite restaurant/ cafe? Choosing my favourite restaurant is really hard, but if I had to pick one I’d say Sum Yung Guys at Sunshine Beach.

Would you rather dance, or do karaoke? I would dance to Mr Brightside by The Killers while obnoxiously singing along.

Read more about Greg here. 

Returning to running after pregnancy

When is it safe to return to running after pregnancy? You ran before you got pregnant. You might have continued running during pregnancy. And now you’ve had the baby and you’re keen to get your joggers back on and hit the pavement once again. So when is it safe to do so?

There is a general lack of evidence-based research around returning to running in the postnatal period. Running is a high impact activity which places a significant load on the entire body, especially the pelvic floor muscles. The most recent guidelines* are from 2019 and suggest waiting a minimum 12 weeks after birth. The guidelines also suggest that women meet a series of criteria for adequate strength of the pelvic floor and lower body muscles before hitting the pavement again.

The first 12 weeks after birth is commonly referred to as the 4th trimester. There is still a large amount of relaxin in your body, which means the connective tissue, such as ligaments, is still more stretchy than normal. Your body is still recovering from birth during this period, especially if you had perineal tears, episiotomies, a caesarian section or any other complications. The pelvic floor muscles are weak after pregnancy and birth and you may have symptoms that indicate these muscles need strengthening.

Symptoms of pelvic floor weakness can include:

  • Incontinence – leaking, inability to control bladder and/or bowel
  • Heaviness in the vagina
  • Dragging sensation in the vagina and perineal region
  • Pelvic pain

There is strong evidence to support an individualised assessment and structured exercise program for pelvic floor rehabilitation in the management of these conditions. Sandra is qualified to undertake pelvic floor assessments and can refer you to a specialised pelvic floor physiotherapist if needed.

It is also important to be assessed by a physiotherapist if you had a rectus diastasis (abdominal muscle separation). Our physiotherapists can screen for this.

Low impact exercise such as walking is encouraged in the first 3 months (12 weeks) of the postnatal period. Following this a graded return to a running program should be implemented to build lower limb strength and gradually introduce loading again to the pelvic floor muscles.

Call us today to get started!

* Reference: Returning to Running Postnatal – guidelines for medial, health and fitness professionals managing this population. Tom Goom, Grainne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell. March 2019

 

If you’d like one of our physiotherapists to help you get running again post-pregnancy, please call or book online.

 

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. 

Lucy’s back!

We’re very excited to share that Lucy will be back working at the practice shortly! She is looking forward to returning and to working with both current and new patients.

Physiotherapist applying rocktape | Stafford Physiotherapy CentreLucy has an impressive skillset with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy, a Masters of Sports Physiotherapy and further study in dry needling, muscle energy techniques, running biomechanics, kinesiology, taping, diagnostic ultrasound, strength and conditioning coaching, and sports rehabilitation. Read more about Lucy here.

Lucy will be working Wednesdays and Saturdays from July. Her hours are limited so bookings are essential!

 

To book in with Lucy please call or book online.

How to safely return to the gym post COVID

Now restrictions are easing and the gyms are back open, it’s really important that we transition our home workouts back into our gym routines safely, without overloading and injuring ourselves. It’s important that we restrain our excitement, for the moment, take an honest account of our loading in the past few months and plan before we return to lifting with heavier and regular weight again. Our strength will be reduced, so reduce your weight!

Warm up and cool down

Make sure you reintroduce a good 5-10 minute warm up before you commence your sessions. Try to target the area you will be training, if you are training an upper body resistance session for example, you should include some light weight or body weighted exercises targeting that area before loading up! It’s a good idea to have a dynamic stretch or use a foam roller if you have been static and sitting at work all day!

Cool downs are often neglected, however also very important now you are training again. Be sure to stretch after your sessions and grab the foam roller for a few minutes for your legs or upper back to reduce the extra tone that will build up in your muscles, just remember to wipe down after! #COVIDsafe.

Loading

If you haven’t been lifting during the past two months, your body loses strength far faster than you want to believe! Start conservative, reduce your weight to start and aim for higher reps.

Prioritise good movement patterns again first. It’s important to allow some time over the first few weeks for your stabilising muscles to remember how to lift again. If you load up too quickly these muscles can become tight leading to breakdown in movement patterns which can result in injury.

Contain your excitement; you can’t get back two months of minimal training in two weeks, so be patient! Aim for around 10-15% increase in load each week.

If you are unsure of your technique, book in a few sessions with one of our physiotherapists, or an exercise physiologist at the gym, for guidance around movement patterns. This can be much more cost effective than future dealings with an orthopaedic surgeon.

Rest

Rest is very important for any training, particularly if you are changing the loading (weight, frequency or type of training). Your body needs time to adapt and change. You most likely will experience some serious DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) during the first few weeks returning to gym. Listen to your body, it’s ok to experience these DOMS however, if you are feeling pain greater than 2 days post exercise, you should reign it in!

Space out your sessions, make sure you give the worked muscle group a solid 1-2 days recovery before loading up again. If you are training whole body workouts, have rest days between sessions, take time on these days to focus on cardio, stretching, trigger pointing and foam rolling.

It’s important to allow this rest for your muscles to recover and continue to build strength without being overloaded. It might be worthwhile booking in a few regular remedial massages in the next few months.

The biggest risk to injury is this period of load change and building up again. Listen to your body and make sure you follow up with your physio early if you are experiencing altered movement patterns and developing niggles greater than just DOMS. If you can extinguish these niggles early, it’s likely you can continue training and avoid any further time out of the gym.

 

If you’d like one of our physiotherapists to help your injury-free return to the gym, please call or book online.

 

This post was written by Mitch Esdale, Physiotherapist at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. 

COME WORK WITH US!

We have a part time physiotherapy position available from June/July 2020. The hours will be 15-20 hours per week and may include 3 afternoons until 7pm and some Saturday mornings. This will turn into a 3/4 (25-30 hours per week) or full time position in September 2020.

We are located in Stafford, on Brisbane’s northside, just 8kms (or 15 mins drive) from Brisbane CBD. We have a lovely clientele of recreational sports people, workers, school aged children and retired people. We’re close to cafes, restaurants, shopping, Kedron Brook Bikeway and Airport Link tunnel M7.

The case load is predominantly musculoskeletal and Pilates-inspired exercise. Experience in these fields is preferred. Mentoring, in-services and case discussions will be provided. Graduate physiotherapists are welcome to apply. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in house Pilates training will be given until a practical course is available. We will help you feel confident in your assessment, treatment and ongoing care of patients with manual therapy and exercise prescription.

Send your resume to Sandra Day, sandra@staffordphysio.com.au.

Check out our practice on Facebook and Instagram. This a wonderful opportunity to work in a small and friendly practice where the hours are flexible.

Baby and Me Exercises

No matter how much you’d like to exercise, it can be very difficult to squeeze into the day when you’re looking after a wee bub! Rather than using precious nap time (if there is such a thing!), or trying to keep bub occupied playing on their own, Lucy has put together some simple modified exercises that you can do at home with your baby!

Lunges (see pic above)

Baby can lie on the floor on tummy or back. You can dangle a toy over them to keep them entertained while you lunge up and down.

For extra resistance you can hold baby against your chest facing in or out, depending on age and head control. You could even use a baby sling or carrier. For an added arm challenge hold baby away from your chest.

 

Squats

Baby can lie on the floor on tummy or back. Tickle baby’s toes when you get to the bottom of the squat before you stand back up again.

For extra resistance hold baby against your chest facing in or out, depending on age and head control. You could even use a baby sling or carrier.

 

Chest press

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on ground. Hold baby around chest and use their body weight as resistance as you press your arms straight up towards the ceiling.

 

Tabletop Legs

Rest baby on their tummy on your shins. Hold this position and practice breathing or pelvic floor exercises.

 

Opposites/Horsekick

Position yourself on your hands and knees and then lift one arm and/or leg. Baby can lie on their back under you, or an older baby could sit facing you and be entertained by your moving arms.

Push Ups

Position yourself on your hands and knees and lay baby between your hands. When you lower your chest down kiss baby or blow a raspberry on them. If you’d like an extra challenge, lift your knees and hold your weight with your toes.

Everyday Exercise – Part One: Socks

With people spending much more time at home, social sports cancelled and gyms closed, we thought we would help you still get your exercise in, with a bunch of exercises you can do at home using simple items you’re almost guaranteed to have around the house! Introducing our Everyday Exercise series!

Part one: Socks

Gym closed? Can’t get hold of weights for a workout because everyone sold out weeks ago? Never fear, you can get a pretty solid workout with just a pair of socks on your polished wood floor or tiles. Check out these 12 exercises to get your body working! You can follow the video, and there are written descriptions below to assist.

1. Mountain Climbers

In a long plank position, slide your knees towards your chest, alternating legs.

2. Knee Tuck

In a long plank position, slide both knees together towards your chest and back out.

3. Cross Mountain Climber

From a long plank position, slide one knee in towards your opposite shoulder, alternating legs.

4. Plank Jack

In a long plank position slide your legs out and in again with straight legs.

5. Pike

From a long plank position, keep your legs straight and slide them in towards your hands, lifting your hips up towards the ceiling.

6. Arm Slides

On your hands and knees or plank position, alternately slide one arm forwards as far as you can. Let your chest drop but keep your support elbow straight. Lift your chest again pushing your support arm into the floor as you return.

7. Arm Circles

On your hands and knees or plank position, alternately slide one arm forwards as far as you can, letting your chest drop but keep your support elbow straight. Then circle the hand out to the side before returning to the middle as you lift your chest again pushing your support arm into the floor.

8. Thread the Needle

On your hands and knees or plank position, slide one arm underneath the other reaching through to the other side letting your upper body twist.

9.Hamstring Slideouts

On your back, knees bent up and feet on the floor. Lift your hips up into a bridge then slide both feet out as straight as you can get while keeping your hips lifted off the ground. Lower your hips to bring your meet back to start again.

10. Scooter

Standing with your weight on one leg in a mini squat, slide the other foot back keeping the stance knee pointing straight forward and your hips square.

11. Curtesy Lunge

Slide one leg across behind the other while lunging with the front leg. Alternate sides.

12. Side Lunge

Stand with your weight on one leg in a mini squat. Repetitively slide the other out to the side and back in again. Keep the stance knee pointing straight ahead.

 

If you’d like a personalised home exercise program, please call or book online to see one of our physiotherapists.

 

This post was written by Allyson Flanagan, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates.