A New Type of Balance Board Aimed at Peak Performance

By Brian Rog for ATI Physical Therapy

We mean it when we say “our team leads the way in pioneering the future of the industry”. Such is the case with Chad Franche PT, DPT, United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, and founder of the TherRex Balance Board. What initially started as an idea rooted from a practicum as a graduate student has now evolved into a game-changing product that is revolutionizing the health and fitness industry.

As someone who grew up wanting to make a difference in the lives of others, Chad felt the health and fitness industry needed a balance board that could truly facilitate all levels of motion without sacrifice. While in rotation at an outpatient clinic, Chad discovered that all the current balance boards took on a hemispherical shape on the bottom.

But while in a standing position, current boards give you more distance to shift your weight side to side (frontal plane) than front to back motion (sagittal plane). With this in mind Chad knew he could introduce a product with a base that would mimic this level of movement, but allow for full ankle range of motion without having to dismount from the board.

Fast forward a few years and this very idea was brought to life through the TherRex Board, which resembles a football shape to mimic the movement addressed above. The football shape also replicates the movement attained by a BAPS board (BioMechanical Ankle Platform System) in that it provides inward rotation of the ankle throughout flexion, but through a greater range of motion, which allows for the ankle to be exercised in the position sprains occur.

Chad originally intended for the board to be a pediatric balance board with an interactive gaming component, but after seeing the potential the football shape could provide, it was clear he needed to take this product to the next level.

“I knew with the football shaped base, if the board were to be used in the plank or seated positions there would be two different intensities at which exercises could be performed,” said Chad. “The board would just have to be turned 90 degrees to make it easier or harder (the shorter arc of the football shape is less stable and higher difficulty than the longer more stable arc).

I added a pair of handles at the ends of each arc and a flat edge lateral to the handles that projects underneath the board and stops it so a person’s fingers won’t get pinched against the ground. The flat edge also provides a stable surface for the board to be mounted and dismounted. Other balance boards with a round platform wobble against the ground and make it difficult to mount/dismount.”

With the product officially hitting the market a few months back, we met up with Chad to hear how things are going, see what’s next for him and the brand and get his perspective on this new adventure.

Who is the TherRex balance board intended for?

Our customers are primarily outpatient PT clinics, but we are also targeting gyms (Formula Fitness Club in Chicago as our most recent), schools, and direct to consumer. Ultimately, the TherRex board benefits anyone with a fitness goal or those rehabbing from an injury. Its greatest benefits are in joint stability, core strengthening, and of course balance. I actually use it each night as part of my daily workout routine.

For more information on TherRex Balance Board, please visit the official TherRex Balance Board website.

 

After 8 Failed Surgeries, Athlete’s Foot Gets Proper Care by Dr. Lin

Sept. POM Kelsie photo 1.jpg

Kelsie Hannigan, 17, was a typical high school student at Lincoln Way Central. She loved going shopping, hanging out with friends, and has been devoted to tumbling, gymnastics, and cheerleading since she was three years old.

While tumbling in cheer one day, Kelsie was practicing a full – a very impressive backflip with a twist – and abruptly landed on her left foot. She knew this was different from other times.

She sought advice from two or three doctors, all of whom told her to wait and see if it would heal on its own. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

One doctor diagnosed the damage as a Linsfrac fracture and agreed to perform surgery. About two weeks post-operation, however, she was still feeling severe pain in her foot and new pain in her ankle. Kelsie ended up being on and off crutches and in and out of the hospital for a year, unable to return to cheerleading, tumbling, or any physical activity. She underwent more surgeries to insert anchors, remove anchors, and repair bones.

One year and eight surgeries later, Kelsie had seen no improvement in her pain and didn’t know what to do. At this point, she had more injuries than she had started with, including recurrent popping in the lateral aspect of her ankle and chronic dislocation of her peroneal tendon.

Finally, six months after her last surgery, she discovered Dr. Johnny Lin at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. She was initially cautious about surgery, but refreshingly hopeful about this new surgeon.

“Dr. Lin told me everything he was going to do,” she explains. “I wasn’t scared about what was going to happen. He told me all the risks and reassured me that it would be okay.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Lin performed a left ankle fibular exostectomy, hardware removal, calcaneal hardware removal, peroneal tenolysis and debridement, peroneal groove deepening, and superior peroneal retinacularplication to repair Kelsie’s foot and ankle.

Kelsie was impressed at how capable Dr. Lin was and how quickly her recovery progressed – this experience was much different than her past surgeries. She spent six weeks on crutches and two more in a boot.

“It was amazing having just one surgery,” she says. “Before, we never knew if it would be the last one. This time, even right afterward, we knew.”

Kelsie continued with six weeks of physical therapy to get stronger and to rebuild the physical stability in her foot and ankle. She has gone running a couple times but is still cautious when it comes to cheer and tumbling.

Sept. POM Kelsie photo 2.jpg

Instead, she spends more time coaching gymnastics and tumbling for kids up to 11 years old. She has a blast teaching and is happy that she can be more involved in the physical requirements of her job.

Kelsie is relieved to be in less pain and looking forward to returning to her very active life. She is finally able to enjoy doing everyday things, such as going shopping or going out to eat with friends, that she missed out on because of severe foot and ankle pain. Less than two months post-operation, she even made it out of the boot for her mother’s wedding.

She is grateful to be progressing in recovery and returning to her life.

“Dr. Lin knew what he was talking about and knew he could make it better. He went in and fixed everything.”

The Healing Process of an Ankle Fracture

By Steven Sapoznik for Athletico Physical Therapy

As all NBA fans know, the first major injury of the 2017-2018 season occurred to star The Healing Process of an Ankle Fractureguard of the Boston Celtics, Gordon Hayward. Gordon suffered an ankle fracture 5 minutes and 15 seconds into the start of the season.

Gordon successfully underwent surgical stabilization of his fractured tibia and dislocated ankle and is on the road to recovery that will include many hours of physical therapy in hopes of resuming his professional basketball career. With ankle fractures catching the medical headlines over the last week, Athletico would like to shed some light on the subject.

Fracture vs. Break

Over the years as a physical therapist I’ve often gotten the question, “’What is a fracture and what is a break?’” Most are surprised to hear that they are one and the same. While both are acceptable, ‘fracture’ is the medical term to describe a break of the bone whereas ‘break’ is considered the layman’s term.

Types of Fractures

The ankle joint is made up of the tibia, fibula and talus. Ligaments, tendons and muscles surround these bones to add stability and function to the lower leg. Not all fractures of the ankle are the same. The classification of the fracture depends on the severity and bones involved in the injury. Examples include medial malleolar and bimalleolar fractures. A medial malleolar fracture involves the bony prominence on the inside of the ankle whereas a bimalleolar fracture involves both the inside and outside bony prominence’s of your ankle.

Surgery vs. Conservative Care

The determining factor for managing a fracture with surgical or conservative interventions depends on the extent and severity of the injury. If a fracture is stable and does not involve other structures surrounding the joint, a period of immobilization with modified weight bearing status may be all that is necessary before beginning physical therapy. Conversely, an unstable or compound fracture of the ankle will most likely require surgical stabilization before initiating physical therapy.

Physical Therapy Following Ankle Fractures

Physical therapy is initiated at the time that a fracture is deemed healed, regardless of surgical status. After a fracture and period of immobilization, muscle atrophy, loss of range of motion and difficulty walking on uneven surfaces typically occur.1

Timelines will vary based on individual patients, however standard physical therapy of an ankle fracture typically begins with gentle range of motion exercises, gait training, and strengthening.2 Once ready, balance and proprioceptive exercises are initiated at 4-6 weeks.2 Gradual return to normal activities usually begins around the 6-8 week mark and full return to activities is typically allowed in the 3-6 month range.2

Making a Comeback

While Gordon Hayward may be out for the rest of the season, he will be in a great position to make a comeback with physical therapy treatment in the coming months. The best part about physical therapy is that you don’t have to be the next NBA star to benefit from it. Physical therapists specialize in rehabilitation of conditions of the musculoskeletal system. If you have an injury or unusual aches and pains, schedule an appointment at a nearby Athletico clinic so we can help you feel better and make your comeback. 

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The 6 Main Causes of Dance Injuries

Dance Injuries

Dance injury rates are significantly statistically higher than that of other sports. A study by Wolverhampton University found that professional dancers are more likely to suffer injuries than rugby players.

Statistics show that 80 per cent of dancers incur at least one injury a year that affects their ability to perform – compared to a 20 per cent injury rate for rugby or football players. Whilst not a contact sport or explicitly high-impact, dance training is intensively challenging and highly demanding for even the most conditioned and able athlete. Here we look at the six main causative factors that result in dance injury.

1. Anatomical Causes

Natural physical limitations and constraints may limit the development of a perfectly correct technique. Correct technique – beyond being prerequisite for professional success – is a fundamental element of avoiding dance injury. This is evident in the fact that the communist anatomical cause of potential problems and injuries is limitation of turn-outs (external rotation) of the hips. As such it is vital that the dance student and teacher recognise any potential physical limitations early on, so that the dancer may learn to work within their true physical range.

2. Incorrect Technique

When dancers allow their technique to slip – usually due to fatigue – they put themselves at a much higher risk of injury. Commonly this becomes an issue towards the end of a long tour or performance run. Slipping technique is why, typically, injury rates among cast dancers increase throughout the duration of a tour. Quickly learning and performing new, unknown choreography can also create injury issues, as regardless of the ability of the dancer, they have had insufficient time to become accustomed to the movements and fine-tune their technique accordingly.

3. Poor Coaching

As with all sports and athletic disciplines, expert teaching and coaching for the development of technical knowledge is vital. It is the responsibility of an excellent and highly knowledgeable dance teacher to be able to recognise, and react accordingly to, any anatomical weaknesses, physical limitations or onset of injury evident in the dance pupil. Furthermore it is imperative that they correctly relay and instill the fundamentals of correct technique and advise upon supporting lifestyle and cross-training that ensure optimum health, well-being and physical performance of the dancer.

4. The Floor

The floor is an extremely important environmental factor to the health and performance of a dancer. Purpose-built dance floors are vital in rehearsal and performance spaces. Floors that are not built for purpose do not provide sufficient supportive impact. Sprung wood floors support dynamic movement; reinforced, concrete or non-sprung wood floors create unsupportive and unsustainable support for the joints, which is highly detrimental to the physical health of the dancer in the long term. Lack of spring in the floor can produce many injuries, notably foot problems, injuries in the lumbar region of the spine, and in the muscles which are associated with take off and landing – mainly the tibia and metatarsals, which may result in stress fractures.

5. Temperature

Ambient temperature of rehearsal studio and performance space is of utmost performance in avoiding dance injury. Dancers have to take extra care to not get too cold before or after practice in order to avoid muscular injury. A standard advised temperature for a training and performance space is 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit, and should not be allowed to drop below this range.

6. Excessive Practice

Unavoidably, dancers often adhere to grueling training schedules – a necessary requisite to master the art, and a mainstay of rehearsals for dance productions and tours. Obviously this presents a high risk factor for creating overuse injuries, particularly when a dancer must continue to train at high intensity with an existing injury. Clearly the combination aforementioned factors – excellent physical cardiovascular fitness, diet, training, technique, ability and training environment – greatly reduces the risk of injury under the demanding training schedules of a professional dancer, however dancers at the top of their game still frequently incur significant injury.

By SportsInjuryClinic