While running on trails, the angle and location of one’s foot contact is more variable, increasing the demand on the musculature that stabilizes the foot, knee, hip, and trunk. Adding in exercises that challenge these stabilizer muscles, while strengthening the muscles that propel us forward is a great way to improve performance and decrease the risk of injury.

While running on trails, the angle and location of one’s foot contact is more variable, increasing the demand on the musculature that stabilizes the foot, knee, hip, and trunk. Adding in exercises that challenge these stabilizer muscles, while strengthening the muscles that propel us forward is a great way to improve performance and decrease the risk of injury.

David Standifer, physical therapist and clinic director of Therapeutic Associates Central Point, says, “My purpose is to give my patients activities that will get them back to their regular lives. It’s important to me that people don’t simply live with the pain, but understand that they can do all the activities they love without that nagging discomfort in the background.” It takes hard work on the part of both therapist and patient, but is well worth the effort.

Dr. Christine Pollard, an Oregon State University-Cascades biomechanist and physical therapist found the maximal shoes curious. While much research had been dedicated to minimalist running shoes, Pollard’s new study on maximal shoes is the first to be conducted. Independent from any shoe manufacturer’s influence, Pollard enlisted more than 20 Central Oregon runners to participate in the study.

There is a growing trend to take a more active role in our own health and well-being. Many of us feel more comfortable questioning decisions that impact our bodies, and we don’t blindly follow the advice of our doctors as we may have done in the past. However, we still need to be aware of ways that healthcare providers can better interact with us to help us make decisions. Shared Decision Making is an important component to the ever-changing face of modern healthcare. On the most basic level, Shared Decision Making is a conversation between a patient and healthcare provider regarding treatment options, goals, and treatment plan.

Shared Decision Making also means reflecting on my thoughts with my patient. This is not a new concept; all good clinical reasoning involves reflection. But when I do this, I find myself sharing my patient’s narrative interpretation of the problem (and not just listing findings). Shared Decision Making involves transparency about misunderstandings and exposing both of our belief systems that often become a roadblock to recovery. All of this creates a closeness with my patients that I never expected. Not only are these the attributes of advanced practitioners, as evidenced in many research studies, but they also contribute to the most enjoyable way of practicing as a PT.

Physical therapists understand that pain and function are two different concepts. When we focus on understanding pain while simultaneously assisting patients back to doing what they love or need to do, pain often subsides. A theory toward pain and function was published in 2014 by the late Louis Gifford, a world-famous pain scientist. Those seeking more collaborative care can work together with their physical therapist to gain better control of their pain, and more importantly, their life and general function, by seeing their recovery as a two-phase approach. This is the essence of Shared Decision Making — patients and providers collaborating on the best plan and the desired outcomes.

In today’s healthcare environment, providers feel the pressure to do more in less time to combat a ravenous reimbursement landscape and ever-evolving healthcare system. The result? Patients feel frustrated and dissatisfied with their care because they do not feel like they have adequate (if any) input into the decisions that clinicians make about their health and their lives. At Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy, we believe there is another way. We believe in putting the patient first and making sure your voice is heard in your care. Our Physical Therapists use a concept called Shared Decision Making as one of the pillars of our approach. Shared Decision Making allows the patient to be a part of his or her own healthcare team.

It’s only a matter of time before the ice and snow melt and you’re ready to hit the hills again for some fresh air and exercise. In order to feel physically fit for your hike, and to avoid injuries that would cut your season short, it is important to ensure you are in proper shape before you hit the trails.