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What Every Parent Ought to Know About Ride-On Toys

Child on Ride on ToyThere are so many new and exciting ride-on toys on the market.  Ranging from the simple rocking horse, to bicycles scooters and balance bikes.  These will provide your child with hours of pleasure and entertainment, whilst also helping them to develop lots of different skills and keeping them physically active in the following ways:

Gross Motor Skills

Your child will learn to coordinate their body movements in order to propel the toy. Whether this is pedaling, scooting or rocking their body backwards and forwards, these movements require using their leg and core muscles!

Fine Motor Skills

Manipulating steering wheels or handlebars requires children to use smaller muscles as well as teaching coordination between the hands, arms, legs, and feet.

Exercise

Ride-on toys help keep your child active and will help to increase their exercise tolerance without them even realising!

Balance

A ride-on toy requires your child to develop a sense of balance in order to stay upright.

Spatial Awareness

Your child will develop spatial awareness by planning how to move their toy around obstacles.

Play Skills

They can be used to develop independent play or can be used in a group situation to encourage sharing.

The summer holidays are the perfect time to invest in a ride-on toy so that your child can get outdoors, get exploring and develop all the above skills.  Ride-on toys can also be used for rehabilitation, and if you require any help or advice selecting an appropriate ride-on toy for your child, then please get in touch on 0207 884 0374 or email info@physiocomestoyou.com.

You may also wish to read our other blog post on Adapted Bikes for Children with Disabilities here.

Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.

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Top Tips for Your Baby to Take Their First Steps

It’s a special moment when your child takes their first steps – they are now ready to go off and explore the world!  The age at which they do this can vary greatly but between 10 and 18 months is considered normal.  To be able to walk, your baby needs to have good core stability, leg strength, balance, coordination and most importantly; the confidence to go for it!  As parents you can help encourage your child to reach this important milestone but it is not something that needs to be forced.  Once your child starts showing an interest in pulling to stand, you can start giving your child opportunities to develop their walking skills using the following techniques.

Cruising

Surround your child with surfaces to pull up on.  Sofas and coffee tables are the perfect height for this.  Start by placing toys out of their reach to encourage them to shift their weight and move their feet.  You may have to hold them at their hips to begin with but your child will then start to cruise along the furniture.

Squatting

You can help improve their core stability and strengthen their thigh muscles by putting toys on a slightly lower surface (at their knee height) to the side of them.  They will then try to rotate and bend their knees to pick up the toy.  Once they can do this, place the toys on the floor to encourage them to squat up and down.

Bridging

Once your child is confident at cruising along furniture, try to make gaps between pieces of furniture so that they have to let go of the surface with one hand to reach for the next surface.  Slowly increase the gap until they have periods where they are standing independently between the two pieces of furniture.

Walking with Support

Try to avoid using push toys, as this will encourage your child to lean forwards and to not take weight through their legs properly.  Instead hold them at their trunk and encourage them to take steps.  Try not to hold their hands as they can become reliant on this and reluctant to let go and take their own steps.  By holding their trunk you can also let go when you feel they have good stability.

Independent Steps

Encourage your child to take a few steps between yourself and someone else.  They may start by falling into the other person and think it’s a game, but once they take a few steps give them lots of praise and they will be more inclined to do it again and again until they are walking!

Every child is different and they will take their first steps when they are ready, but we can provide a safe environment for them to be motivated in.  If your baby is not making any attempts to take steps by 16-18 months, it is a good time to get this assessed and our specialist paediatric physiotherapists can advise on you on the next steps to take to get them going.  Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com.

Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.

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The Real Truth About Achieving your Physio Recovery Goals

One of the biggest challenges facing a physio is getting our patients to complete the exercises they need to do in order to recover, as well as get our patients to commit to the lifestyle changes needed to improve their symptoms. If you have never had physiotherapy exercises prescribed to you or you have ever been asked to change a lifetime habit in order to improve symptoms, you may find it hard to understand why patients find it so hard to stick to their exercises and make a change. Lots of different factors come into play to stop us from achieving our goals every single day. With every good intention we prioritise things out of our day time and time again.

Girl on wobble cushion and physio

Some of the biggest influencers are not enough time, avoidance of pain, habits being hard to break, poor motivation, poor understanding of the benefits, and fear avoidance (the idea that possibly because the exercise hurts it is doing more harm than good). Life often gets in the way, making a whole week pass by before you realise you haven’t completed one set of the required home exercises. Don’t beat yourself up about this, it happens to everyone at some point, and it is far better to identify and acknowledge this and discuss it with your physio earlier rather than later.

Here at Physiocomestoyou we are very aware of the factors that will come into play when prescribing exercises to clients or suggesting changes that might help their symptoms. We take into account all of these factors with our in-depth assessments, and have techniques to combat them. We can suggest ways to get exercises done in your normal working day, and importantly we feel it is vital that you understand exactly what an exercise or suggestion is trying to achieve for you as an individual. That way you know why you are performing it and how it is going to help you. From years of experience, we also know to set realistic short and long term goals. This enables both of us to see the desired improvement and it re-motivates you for the next stage of your recovery.

If you have struggled in the past to stay motivated with your rehab, or you haven’t seen the desired results, please give us a call to discuss how we can help you achieve your goals on 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com.

Post by Leanne Plenge, Physiotherapist and Bristol Manager.

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How to Treat Pes Planus (Flat Feet)

As we saw in How to Treat Pes Cavus (High Arched Feet) the high arched foot is a common condition, which physiotherapists deal with and treat on a regular basis.  We also have to regularly address foot arch deformity namely, the “flat foot” or pes planus.  Pes planus is where there is no distinctive arch on the sole of the foot.  This can cause just as much discomfort and issues as those with too much of an arch.  To diagnose an issue with your arches, your physio will observe your feet and walking pattern to identify any movement issues.

flat feet

The flat foot can be due to a large number of issues affecting the structures around the foot and ankle, some more common than others.  Inherent bone deformities can be the reason behind flat feet in children, but surprisingly, the adult-acquired flat foot is strongly correlated to muscle damage.  A tear or weakness in one of the muscles responsible for lateral stability can cause the ankle to roll inwards and causes this appearance of a flat foot. However, it doesn’t have to be a complete tear for feet to always present like this.  Over-activity in some calf muscles can also cause the same issues as chronic tightness in this area can position the heel to cause the arch of the foot to tighten, and be dragged down into this flat-footed position. This is often treated by your therapist with manual treatment, a strict stretching and flexibility program, as well as exercises to strengthen the muscles at the front of the shin.  Shoes orthotics can also be highly beneficial too as they can decrease the load on the medial (middle) portion of the foot, and place the foot into a more anatomically correct position.

If you are experiencing long-term pain in the sole of your foot, aching after lengthy periods of walking and instability around your ankles, consider being seen by one of our therapists. We visit you at your home or place of work and can often arrange the first appointment within 24 hours. Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com.

Post by Zoe Birch, Head of Orthopaedic Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.

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Do You Know How to Spot the Signs of an Inflammatory Condition?

Rheumatoid ArthritisThere are many types of inflammatory joint and soft tissue conditions that require effective, early management and treatment to stop them getting worse.  For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where the lining of the joints becomes inflamed and if not corrected, this can lead to joint deformity and lots of pain.  Conditions such as ankylosing spondylosis affect the spine, hips and shoulders in a similar way and fibromyalgia is a condition affecting the muscles of the body.

Spotting the early warning signs and getting advice and management early can stop the disease progressing too quickly and ensure you are able to carry on with your day to day activities and hobbies. Some of the effective treatments for inflammatory conditions include:

  • Medical management with specific and targeted medications
  • Splinting techniques to rest the joints
  • Physiotherapy to educate you on activity modification, appropriate exercises for joint protection and to ensure that you maintain the movements and flexibility you require.

Keep an eye on symptoms such as the ones listed below which are common signs of inflammatory disease. If more than one of these occurs and persists then consider contacting your doctor or making an appointment with a specialist physiotherapist for assessment:

  • Pain in multiple joints or areas in the body that has lasted longer than 3 months
  • You have a family history of inflammatory conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • You have swelling in multiple joints in your body
  • You regularly wake up with a significant feeling of stiffness in multiple joints that takes more than an hour to ease off
  • You have a lot of pain at night

If these symptoms sound familiar, think about contacting us for a specialist physiotherapy assessment to consider the best course of treatment, and to advise you on the quickest and best management plan.  An early treatment always equals a better outcome.  Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com

Post by Leanne Plenge, Physiotherapist and Bristol Manager.

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Top Tips to Get your Baby Sitting Independently

sitting-babyIt’s a proud moment when you watch your child achieve their gross motor milestones and watching your child sitting independently is a proud moment.  Once babies achieve sitting independently they can see the world from a new perspective and focus on playing with both hands.  In order for your baby to sit they need to have strong enough tummy muscles.  Babies usually learn to sit by 6 months but they may need some encouragement.  Here are some quick tips to help them achieve this milestone.

  • Start by sitting them between your legs with toys in front of them. Let them lean on you but then encourage them to lean forwards and prop on their hands.
  • Move on to sitting them away from you, but hold them at the trunk or hips and then slowly reduce the support until you can take your hands off for a few seconds.
  • Some parents may find that their baby pushes backwards looking for support.  If this is the case, then try placing pillows behind them so that they learn that there is not always support and that if they lose their balance they need to put their hand down to save themselves.
  • To help improve their tummy muscle, sit them on your leg sideways so that their feet are between your legs and give them a small amount of support with one arm behind them.  Now gently bounce them up and down and gradually try to reduce the support from behind so that they are sitting on your leg by themselves.

Some babies may need extra help to strengthen their tummy and back muscles to assist with sitting.  If you find that your baby is still having difficulty sitting independently by 7 months, then contact us to arrange for one of our paediatric physiotherapists to assess them on 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com.

Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.

Retiring from Work Shouldn’t Mean Retiring from Life!

Bristol Manager and Physio Leanne Plenge explains why staying active in older years helps us to do more of the things we love.

I recently visited The Hawthorns Retirement Village in Clevedon and met up with Jenny Hulme their Activities Co-Ordinator. It was a lovely sunny day and their position perched on the edge of the River Avon with views over to Wales was spectacular. Jenny tells me that a large majority of their clients retired from high demand business roles in London and Birmingham and have retired to Clevedon to be near relatives or by the sea, and you can easily see what draws them there when you visit. Jenny is a dynamic and passionate believer in the benefits of keeping busy into older age. She runs a full and varied programme of events at The Hawthorns with at least four or five different activities per day including Tai Chi, Pilates, Improve Your Balance sessions as well as dilemma discussion.

Exercise and rehab - older woman with weightI have been seeing clients between the ages of 65 – 100 over the last ten years and I completely agree with Jenny’s approach.  Over the years, I have realised that those that have kept themselves active by walking regularly, doing a favoured sport or local exercise group or merely stretching every morning as part of a regular routine, are the ones that spring easier out of the chair to greet me, have less falls and have less aches and pains in general. They are also the ones that stay sharper of mind and I think we can attribute some of this to regular exercise too, possibly due to efficient blood flow to the brain and a healthier cardiovascular system.

As we get older it is all too easy to drop those slightly harder day to day activities like heading out for a walk or attending a class, especially if a bout of illness sets you back for a few weeks. It seems all too hard to get back into regular exercise habits or confidence can be lost and be tricky to regain. So, what do we recommend? Stay as active as possible, incorporate balance exercises into your weekly programme by doing Tai Chi or exercises recommended by your physiotherapist and stretch regularly to stop your joints getting stiffer.  This will enable you to use your body to the best of its ability. It’s also a really good idea to do regular strength work of some form for your major muscle groups as these muscles do become naturally weaker as we get older.  However, there is no exercise that cannot be achieved at both 18 and 80, it just needs to be tailored to the individual and then it becomes very realistic.

If you want to discuss your current exercise habits or start up a new routine, give us a call to arrange an assessment and one of our highly trained physiotherapists can show you how you might stay healthy into older age.  Contact us today 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com.

Post by Leanne Plenge, Physiotherapist and Bristol Manager.

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Pain When Walking or Running? You May Have an Abnormal Gait

In this blog post, Bristol Manager and Physio Leanne Plenge, reveals what a physiotherapist looks for when analysing your walking or running pattern (gait). 

I met up with John Stephenson at AAA-Physio in Bristol recently to discuss his special interest in gait analysis and biomechanics. We discussed the benefits of truly getting to the bottom of a tricky persistent inner knee pain in a runner by carefully analysing their running technique, and correcting the faults you observe. This takes a trained eye and years of seeing the various differences that runners and triathletes present with. John uses a running machine with purpose-built video analysis equipment, so that he can slow the footage down and focus on the problem areas.  This can be really useful as even a professional assessment can often miss some important findings when movement analysis is not utilised.

John and I share a common interest in treating patients with lower limb injuries.  Whereas John uses movement analysis in his clinic, I treat my clients at home using body weight and functional exercise.  There are many different ways to assess whether your gait pattern is influencing your symptoms whilst running or walking. A Physiotherapist can utilise lots of different assessment techniques to identify what might need changing including gait analysis with video footage, as well as observation of you walking and breaking down the phases of your gait into stages to assess where the problems lie. Assessing the length and strength of the muscles used to walk and run, and how these muscles work in combination is important. It is also essential to analyse the neuromuscular connection as you may have strong muscles but if the messages to the muscles from the brain are not sharp and accurate, then they won’t work effectively when you need them to.

If you have a problem with your walking or running and you are getting pain when doing either, don’t ignore it, contact us now for an assessment.  Your physio will be able to provide a training programme to correct any problems in your gait pattern.  Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com.

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How to Treat Pes Cavus (High Arched Feet)

High Arched FootPes cavus is the Latin term to describe the condition the natural arch, or in-step of the sole of your foot, is higher than normal. If the arch of your foot is particularly high compared to the considered “normal” levels, it can cause you some considerable pain and discomfort.  There are many ways in which the foot can be pulled into this abnormal positioning, and quite a few structures can be damaged or weakened because of this.  Some genetic predispositions can cause the bones to be formed like this from birth. Other neurological conditions, such as Charcot Marie-Tooth syndrome, can cause a shortening of the muscles in the feet and hands, pulling them into abnormal and deformed positions. This obscure positioning can often lead to difficulty finding shoes that fit, or ones that do fit give severe pressure sores and ulcerations around the foot.

Different portions of the foot can contribute to the increased height of an arch. The front portion of the foot, near to the toes, houses various muscles deep within the foot, which can be affected. The bones of the ankle and the structures responsible for their stability can also be responsible if the articular surfaces (parts of bone that connect with other bones in a joint) are misaligned.  Occasionally, these structures can be so grossly affected by neurological or arthritic change that surgical intervention is required to make the foot functional. Releasing the tight tissues or transferring weakened tissues to pull the foot back into correct positioning are common surgical techniques. Occasional bone fixation or having portions of bone removed to correct anatomical angles are both common practices in the surgical treatment of pes cavus.

Current research shows that a combined conservative treatment program (i.e. podiatry, physiotherapy and orthotics used in unison) can be as, if not more effective in the early stages of management of the condition. This same research shows that even in later stages of treatment, if there is no significant bony deformity, it can be just as effective in preventing further development of the symptoms.  The main goal of any intervention, whether surgical or conservative, is to prevent deformity, avoid further trauma, reduce excess pressure (which results in ulceration) and obtain a “shoe-able” foot. This is usually achievable by following a stretching program, exercises to build up the strength in the weak muscles, as well as referral to other services to have inner-soles constructed for better positioning and stability of the foot.

Have you had any treatment for foot abnormalities? Did you see both your physiotherapist and another health professional? Let us know about your treatment in the comments section below.

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Based in Bristol? Want some free Physio advice?

Bristol Manager and Physio Leanne Plenge

Then get yourself down to Bristol Movement Space on 9th July!

Leanne Plenge our specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist will be at The Bristol Movement Space in St George, Bristol on Wednesday 9th July between 5pm - 7pm, and she will be giving FREE assessment and advice sessions to anyone who wishes to attend.

Have you had a niggling injury for a while that you keep meaning to get someone to look at?  Has a friend or family member been complaining of pain or injury and would benefit from an expert opinion?  Do you want a second opinion on your current management plan, or need rehab progressing and you are unsure how?

If any of the above apply to you, we look forward to seeing you there!

For full details on how to get to Bristol Movement Space, visit:  http://www.bristolmovementspace.co.uk/location.html

 

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