3 Reasons to Attend the Chicago Sports Summit

By Athletico Physical Therapy

We are proud to be the title sponsor of the third annual Chicago Sports Summit!   What better way to spend a morning than meeting pro athletes, Olympians and general managers of Chicago’s pro teams?

There are a lot of reasons to join us at the Chicago Sports Summit on October 3, but here are three of the best:

  1. Amazing panelists. Listen to Olympic medalists, professional athletes, Chicago pro team general managers and our very own Performing Arts Program Manager Julie O’Connell, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, as they get together to discuss hot topics affecting sports and sports business.
  1. Great networking. The Hyatt Crystal Ballroom will be full of 400 people you’ll want to meet, including Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush physicians, sports medicine industry reps and other valuable business connections.
  1. Support a good cause. Last, but certainly not least, the Summit benefits some amazing causes that support Chicago’s youth: After School Matters and Girls in the Game. Both organizations help students reach their academic potential and learn life skills through participation in after school programs.

For more information or to purchase a ticket or table, visit chicagosportssummit.com. See you on October 3rd!

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Back to Basics: 3 Injury Prevention Tips for Dancers

By Athletico Physical Therapy

As summer starts winding down, dancers are getting ready to transition to the fall program season. Preparing for the season’s big shows means long hours spent at rehearsals on top of other responsibilities, such as academics, work and household duties.

During this time of year, it can be easy to overlook some of the fundamentals of injury prevention when trying to fit in a rehearsal into a busy schedule. However, this is the time when the basics like proper warm up and nutrition matter the most. To help dancers minimize the risk of injury and stay ready for their big shows, we are highlighting three basic injury prevention tips below:

1. Warm Up

To minimize the risk of injury during practices and performances, dancers should incorporate dynamic warm-ups into their training routine. Dynamic warm-ups increase heart rate and get the blood flowing so that the muscles become more pliable and able to stretch. This helps prime the body for physical exertion and minimizes the risk of injury to muscles or joints. A few examples of dynamic warm-ups include body weight squats, jumping jacks, and forward and backward lunges.

Learn more about dynamic warm-ups, as well as cooling down after activity, by reading “Warming Up vs Cooling Down: Things to Know.

2. Cross Train

Although technique training is important, dancers should also consider adding cross training into their routine to improve endurance, strength and flexibility. Swimming or biking are activities that can help improve endurance, while strength training can improve muscular fitness. Additionally, incorporating exercises like Pilates into training can help dancers improve flexibility, balance and core stability.

3. Maintain Healthy Habits

In order to be in peak condition, dancers should focus on their general health in addition to their training. This includes maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. Since dancers don’t typically have an off-season, they are more likely to experience altered sleep-wake rhythms, which can increase the risk of illness and musculoskeletal injuries. For tips on how to get better sleep, read “Eat, Sleep, Dance, Repeat: The Importance of Sleep for Dancers.

These three tips can help both experienced and novice dancers keep their bodies healthy to minimize the risk of injury during practices and performances. Should an injury occur, make sure to schedule an appointment at a nearby Athletico location so our team can help you heal.

If you are a dancer who would like to learn more about our Performing Arts Rehabilitation program, please email performingarts@athletico.com.

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Treating a Different Kind of Achilles Tendon Pain

By Sarah Ryerson, PT, ATC, CSCS for Athletico Physical Therapy

Calf stretching, ice and activity modification are commonly used as treatment for those who suffer from Achilles tendinosis. However, when traditional treatment fails to relieve symptoms, the problem may be in the diagnosis.

Achilles tendon pain localized in the heel (known as insertional Achilles tendinopathy), can benefit from different treatment than when Achilles pain is present in the mid-portion of the Achilles tendon (known as intertendendinous Achilles tendinopathy). Mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy is primarily a tensile loading problem involving the ability of the Achilles to resist stretching, while insertional Achilles tendinopathy is a compression issue.

When the ankle is loaded, which occurs when placing full weight on the foot during walking, the Achilles tendon is stretched and becomes compressed against its attachment site on the heel. This flat foot loaded position, placing the ankle in a position of maximal dorsiflexion, is also the position for stretching the calf. It is easy to understand why calf stretching would only compress the tendon and exacerbate the condition further. Therefore the best treatment includes avoiding stretching the Achilles. Other helpful treatment strategies include:

  • Discontinue running, especially if symptoms are provoked for more than three hours following a run
  • Avoid running uphill or extensive stair climbing
  • Avoid wearing minimalist running shoes, flat shoes such as flip-flops or walking barefoot
  • Use a heel lift in shoes, wear shoes with a heel (wide sole tennis shoe or wedge < 2″), or tape the Achilles or ankle to avoid excessive stretch on the Achilles
  • Use ice as needed to manage symptoms
  • Strengthen the calf in a protected position

Once the symptoms have resolved during general walking and stairs, calf strengthening can be initiated. Begin with calf raises in a shorted position (small book placed under heel) and progress to single leg calf raises from the floor. Avoid calf raises incorporating a heel drop off the edge of a step. Instead work to develop the amount of load the tendon can withstand by adding weight using a weighted backpack or weight vest. Pain should always be a guide with avoidance of soreness for greater than 2-3 hours following exercise.

It is important to note that these guidelines provide a basic recommendation for treatment and all conditions are unique, so always seek a comprehensive examination should self-management fail to resolve the symptoms. The entire lower extremity often contributes to the cause of the pain and the tendinopathy may return if the source of the problem is not properly addressed. Therefore, an evaluation or free injury screening by an experienced physical therapist at Athletico Physical Therapy can help you target the source of the problem and get you back on your feet and running.


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4 Weekday Prep Tips for the Weekend Warrior

By Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTP for Athletico Physical Therapy

Weekend warriors are those that participate in higher levels of physical activity on the weekends with minimal activity performed during the week. In order to prevent injury, weekend warriors need to be aware of the risks their activity choices make on their bodies.

For instance, it is important to keep in mind that the body cannot go from inactive during the week to high intensity weekend warrior mode instantly. Exercise intensity and participation should be progressive to decrease the risk of injury. Here are some helpful tips to help weekend warriors stay fit for bouts of intense physical activity on the weekends:

1. Try to incorporate activity into your week

Oftentimes weekend warriors only participate in weekend activities due to time constraints during the week. However, if time does not permit a full workout during the week, even small bouts of activity can help the body with the demands placed on it during the weekends. Trying to fit in a couple of stretching sessions during the week is a good idea.

These sessions can be as short as 10 minutes but will help the muscles recover. Also consider trying strength training. There are some good strengthening exercises that require no equipment and can be performed quickly at home – such as planks or squats. These strengthening exercises will help the muscles adapt to the demands of weekend activities.

2. Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated.

Exercise requires energy and hydration. The best way to fuel the body is with a healthy diet throughout the week and weekend. Drinking water will also help performance, as dehydration can lead to overheating and potential heat exhaustion. Having protein rich snacks as well as water rich fruits and vegetables around throughout the week will help build healthy habits for activities on the weekend. 

3. Change it up.

Weekend warriors may find themselves only performing one type of activity and this repetition can leave them at higher risk of injury. Switching up routines can allow the body to recover and provide better overall benefits. Remember a well-rounded workout utilizes both cardiovascular and strength training. Use the weekdays to research new types of activities to try, from a new Saturday morning spin class to a Sunday afternoon tennis match.

4. Know your limits.

There are tons of different types of workouts to pick from and sometimes it is difficult to know where to start. Understanding limitations is key to decreasing injury risk. Do not plan to go from completely sedentary to extremely active right away. Find an activity that you like to do and gradually increase the difficulty level as you can tolerate.

  • Tip: Use the RICE method to help relieve pain and swelling for minor injuries.

Don’t Ignore Injury

If you are a weekend warrior suffering from an injury or lingering aches and pains after activity, make sure to request an appointment at your nearest Athletico location so that our clinicians can help with the healing process so you can get back to activity as soon as possible.


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