Lying ChEats: Foods You Thought Were Healthy That Aren’t

By Grace Wang and Dr. Chris E. Stout for ATI Physical Therapy

If you’ve been inside a grocery store lately, chances are you’ve been barraged by labelsgranola-bars like, “Made with All Natural Ingredients!” or “Made with Whole Grains!” You’ve seen ice cream claiming to be a great source of calcium or gummy snacks exclaiming in bright colors that they are “Made with REAL Fruit!”

The sad truth is, potato chips that come in earth-toned, papery bags are still potato chips. The FDA considers high-fructose corn syrup to be “natural”, and nutrition labels don’t have to be accurate in order to be compliant with national regulations. We’ve been tricked over and over, and it’s time to put an end to it. Here are a few foods you may have thought were healthy that really aren’t:

Dave Ensign, the Director of Workers’ Compensation Case Management at ATI Physical Therapy says, “You can’t expect your body to stay healthy when what you put into it is unhealthy.” His wife’s blog, “Good Food and Gratitude” is an excellent source of nutritious recipes.

  • Frozen Veggie Burgers. Most frozen veggie burgers don’t contain vegetables at all. Instead, they are made from highly-processed soy or a mysterious-sounding product called “textured vegetable protein”. Seriously, if Dickens had written a dystopian novel, “textured vegetable protein” would be eaten for every meal.

If you need your frozen veggie burger fix, try to find one that’s actually made of vegetables. That’s kind of the point, isn’t it? recommends Hilary’s Eat Well Adzuki Bean Burger.

Healthy eating can be a complicated business. Before your next shopping trip, ATI 300x250remember these three rules that will help you navigate through all the lies. First, companies aren’t trying to keep you healthy – they are trying to sell their products. Second, if they have to convince you that their products are healthy, they probably aren’t. Thirdly, and most importantly, instead of agonizing over whether or not the gummy snacks are really, truly made of real fruit…just put down the box and buy some real fruit.

Sports Therapy by ATI

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ATI Sports Medicine athletic trainers work with athletes at all levels of competition to prevent, evaluate and treat sports injuries.

One of the largest employers of certified athletic trainers in the country, ATI offers:

  • On-site services at practices, games and events
  • Communication with coaches, physicians, parents and athletes
  • Clinical evaluation and diagnosis
  • Immediate and emergency care
  • Treatment, rehabilitation and education
  • Organizational and professional health and well-being
  • Conditioning program development
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Nutrition programs
  • On-call accessibility
  • Comprehensive concussion management

Highly Qualified, Coordinated Care

ATI’s athletic trainers are allied healthcare professionals, and must meet qualificationsSports Therapy - Highly Qualified, Coordinated Care set by the Board of Certification, Inc. in most states. Also, our athletic trainers:

  • Coordinate care under the direction of a physician and other healthcare professionals
  • Are members of the healthcare profession and are recognized by the American Medical Association
  • Have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college or university, and must pass a comprehensive exam to earn their credentials and practice athletic training
  • Are experts at recognizing, treating and preventing musculoskeletal injuries

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The Importance of Multiplanar Training

By ATI Physical Therapy

The activities of running, swimming, and to a lesser extent, cycling all require somemultiplaner amount of movement and control in all three dimensions. Despite this, many cross training programs don’t include exercises that involve all three dimensions. For instance, many running programs focus on the sagittal plane (squats, lunges, leg press, and calf raises) and neglect the transverse (side to side) and frontal (rotational) planes.

Most natural human movement is executed in all three dimensions. These three dimensions, or planes of movement, are sagittal, frontal, and transverse. The sagittal plane is forward and backwards movement such as the leg movement with walking. The frontal plane is sideways movement such as jumping jacks. The transverse plane is rotational movement such as rotating your hip or shoulder during a throwing motion.

With running the primary movement occurs in the sagittal plane but one needs to be able to stabilize in the frontal and transverse plane in order to be efficient, powerful, and sustainable. Many of the injuries seen with running are related to too much movement in the frontal or transverse plane. Over pronation, inward collapse of the knee, or an opposite side hip drop are all problems of control in either the frontal or transverse plane.

Biking has its own challenges with lower extremity movement in the sagittal plane but stability needing to come from the upper body by controlling twisting and side bending forces. Many injuries are related to poor fit or alignment of the bike components but many others are related to the mismatch in lower extremity force production and stability of the torso.

Swimming (freestyle) requires sagittal plane lower extremity movement, transverse plane spinal movement/stability, and tri-planar movement of the upper extremities. Many repetitive strain injuries are related to poor stability or control of movement in the lower back and scapula area or a lack of mobility of the upper back or shoulder.

Improving strength and power output through resistance training can improve performance in all of these sports but neglecting the frontal and transverse plane is a common mistake that can actually increase ones risk of injury. Below are several options for developing strength and control in the frontal and transverse planes.


Lateral Lunge – Step towards the right sitting back with your hip to drop into a lunge position. Ensure that your hip does not advance laterally past your knee. Power through your right leg to push yourself back to the start position in one motion and repeat the opposite direction.

Lateral Lunge

Lateral Mini-Band Steps – With a resistance band around your ankles perform side steps while maintaining an athletic stance (hips back and body inclined forward). Try to pull your knees apart from each other so your knees are never closer together than your feet.

Lateral Mini-Band Steps

Skater Hops – While standing on one leg, in an athletic position, jump sideways from one leg to the other. Pause on the opposite foot and stabilize yourself before hoping back to the other side.

Skater Hops

Side Bridge – Support yourself on your outer knee and elbow. Raise your hips off the floor keeping yourself in a tall posture through your hips and spine. To advance the exercise you can lift your top leg slightly up and back.

Side Bridge


Single Leg Romanian Dead-Lift – Stand on one leg with a slight bend in your knee. Keep your good posture of your spine and your opposite leg straight while hinging forward like a “dipping bird.” Try to keep your pelvis square throughout the exercise so that your hips are level when in the hinged position. Return to the starting position and repeat, trying to keep your opposite foot off the ground the entire time.

Single Leg Romanian Dead-Lift

Palloff Press – Hold a resistance band or weight stack cable at your chest and stand in an athletic position. Without changing your body position reach your hands forward and resist the cable so that your body doesn’t rotate.

Palloff Press

½ Kneeling Diagonal Chop or Lift – Use a resistance band or weight stack cable anchored low for the lift or high for the chop exercise. Pull the handle diagonally across your body without letting your posture or body position change. For the chop the outside knee should be down and for the lift the inside knee should be down.

Half Kneeling Diagonal Chop or Lift   Half Kneeling Diagonal Chop or Lift

Half Kneeling Diagonal Chop or Lift   Half Kneeling Diagonal Chop or Lift

Single Leg Alternating Bound in Place – Start by standing on one leg with the opposite leg positioned behind your body. Bring the rear leg forward (shown in second picture) and jump off the ground, landing on the opposite foot with the other leg positioned behind you.

Single Leg Alternating Bound in Place   Single Leg Alternating Bound in Place

ATI 300x250Each of these exercises can be progressed or regressed to accommodate your current level of fitness and control. Including two sets of each exercise twice a week should provide a training effect to improve performance and reduce risk of repetitive strain injury.


Featured Body Part: Knee

By Nicole Domain and Cori Cameron for ATI Physical Therapy

The knee is both the largest and most complicated joint in our bodies. Whether we’reati-knee walking or bending, the knee plays a critical role in our motion. When injured, it can cause every day movements like going upstairs or even walking. Unfortunately, the older we get, the more chance we have to sustain some sort of knee injury. The more we know about common causes and conditions and ways prevent knee injuries, the better chance we have to avoid some of them.

Common Causes
Knee pain is typically caused by injury, but there are other causes as well.

  • Injury – Occurs when there has been damage to one, if not more, of the structures in the knee.
    • Sudden (Acute) Injuries – These injuries are typically caused by bending or twisting abnormally, a direct blow to the knee, or falling directly on the knee.
    • Overuse Injuries – These injuries occur when too much stress is placed on the joint by “overdoing” or doing an activity repetitively. Activities such as stair climbing, bike riding, jogging or jumping can all be causes of overuse injuries.
  • Other Causes – Some people are more likely to develop issues with their knees than others. Getting older, certain activities and jobs, and even dieseases such as osteoporosis or arthritis can increase the chance on knee problems.

Common Conditions
Knee pain can be caused by any one of these common condition

  • Osteoarthritis – The most common disease affecting the knee; pain and swelling is caused by the cartilage in the knee gradually wearing away.
  • ACL Injuries – A common sports injury, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are usually caused by a sudden twisting motion.
  • Patellar (kneecap) fracture – Fractures can vary in magnitude. With some, it’s a slight crack in the kneecap, but with others the kneecap is broken in many pieces. Many fractures are caused by high energy trauma, such as falls from significant heights and motor vehicle collisions.
  • Dislocation – This occurs when the bones of the knee are either completely or partially out of place. Dislocations can be caused by an abnormality in the structure of a person’s knee or by high energy trauma.
  • Meniscal Tears – Menisci are “C” shaped structures made of thick cartilage that cushion the bones in the knee joint. A common sports injury, meniscus tears can occur when twisting, cutting, pivoting, or being tackled. They can also occur as a result of arthritis or if the menisci have weakened with age.

Injury Prevention
Paula Savino, PT, MPT, and Clinical Case Manager, gives us some tips to help prevent and rehabilitate knee injuries:

  • Stay FlexibleMake sure to stretch your quads, hamstrings and hip flexor muscles daily. Hold those stretches for at least 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
  • Keep Your Legs Strong – Focus on quad, hamstring and gluteal strengthening. Don’t forget your hip muscles! They are the key to proper knee stability, so try some squats and lunges.
  • Avoid Overtraining – Make sure you vary your exercises.  Don’t always do the same thing.  So get out there and run, go for a swim or take a bike ride.  Then incorporate weight training to strengthen various muscle groups

If you have pain in your knee that isn’t going away, rehabilitation is a great step to take to improve your functionality. During knee rehabilitation:

  • Be Prepared to Re-educate Your Muscles – Focus is on strong gluteal, quad, hamstring and gastroc muscles.  This will help ensure good knee alignment with daily activities.
  • Be Balanced – Work on dynamic balance exercises to improve your proprioception and ability to stay upright.
  • Always think Proper Posture – Maintaining your center of gravity over your feet will reduce undue stress and strain on your knee.
  • Be Strong through Your Core – Your core provides for better overall stability of the knee by providing a foundation for proper movement patterns.

ATI 300x250When weighing your treatment options for knee pain and injuries, consider physical therapy. Physical therapy offers a wide variety of treatment options including strengthening, stretching, and sustainable home exercise programs. Stop in or call any ATI location for a complimentary injury screen or to learn more about how physical therapy can help you overcome your knee pain. Click here to schedule a complimentary injury screen.

We’ve got what you kneed!

Try PT First!

By Cori Cameron for ATI Physical Therapy

Did You Know . . . 

knee-painA recent study by ATI Physical Therapy, My Health First Network, BCBS and Greenville Health System (GHS) found that 70% of patients that utilized physical therapy first for spine, shoulder and knee pain were successfully treated without the use of imaging, prescription medicine or additional physician visits.

“This research partnership utilized a ‘PT first’ approach to manage musculoskeltal complaints to improve access to care while reducing treatment,” said Chris Stout, PhD and Vice President of ATI’s Department of Research and Data Analytics. “Our study found that the incorporation of physical therapy into the plan of care for patients presenting with back, shoulder and knee pain not only offered successful treatment for their pain, it also provided an effective alternative of costly imaging, unnecessary surgery and the use of unnecessary opioids.”

Complementing the findings found in the aforementioned study is a recent recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With overuse of opioids for the treatment of chronic pain becoming a national public health epidemic, the CDC released guidelines that recommend nondrug approaches such as physical therapy over long-term or high-dosage use of addictive prescription painkillers.

“Access to physical therapy is a simple, cost-effective way to address many commonATI 300x250 aches and pains that affect much of the population,” said Ed Maher, physical therapist and vice president of operations for ATI Physical Therapy. “At ATI, we have streamlined the entire process, giving our patients easy access to care within 24-48 hours.  In many cases, a doctor’s referral is not required, plus ATI will coordinate and verify all insurance benefits for patients, so there is no second-guessing.”

The Advantage of ATI Physical Therapy:

  • No doctor referral needed (insurance may require referral)
  • Scheduling of your first appointment in 48 hours
  • Locations close to home /work
  • Open 7 am – 7 pm to fit your schedule
  • Highly qualified / trained staff
  • Comprehensive, individualized treatment plans with hands-on therapy
  • Diverse, goal-oriented specialty services
  • State-of-the-art clinics and technology
  • Personalized communication with you and your doctor
  • Complimentary injury screenings

Schedule your appointment today with ATI Therapy and feel better fast!  Call 855-MY-ATIPT (855-692-8478).