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If you have a specific question about a condition or symptom that you are unsure of, or even a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see our expert therapists address, please click the Ask A Question button below. Answers will be e-mailed directly to you and also posted below for future reference.

About Our Clinical Experts

All Therapeutic Associates therapists actively pursue ongoing continuing education to remain skilled and knowledgeable in the latest research and treatment techniques. Our Orthopaedic Residents are licensed therapists currently going through TAI’s most comprehensive and intensive advanced education offering, our APTA-accredited Orthopaedic Residency Training Program.  In most cases, Residents will reply to your Ask the Experts questions with guidance from our clinical expert clinician team.

Ask Our Experts Archive

Shoulder Pain - Physical Therapy

Why are my shoulders clicking?

Clicking and popping around the shoulders is not always indicative of something bad going on in the area, as the body is designed to move and adapt itself as we move throughout the day. These symptoms could be caused by muscles and tendons moving over each other or by moving over other structures in the shoulder area. They could also be related to the joints in that area themselves.

How long should I use ice packs after breaking ankle?

After an injury, ice can be helpful for the first week during the inflammation phase to help with pain and swelling. Icing can continue beyond the first week as needed to help with pain management. It’s not clear that icing beyond the first week or so after an injury will have a significant impact with swelling.

What could be causing my knee to feel weak/tired?

I have been running for a while now. I have a goal of training for a half-marathon, but I was never able to get above 5.5 or 6 miles because my knee started feeling weak towards the end of my runs. I took a break for a couple months to rest and because I rolled my ankle on the opposite leg, but now I can barely finish a mile.
person grabbing low back pain

Is the short arc quad exercise safe for those with low back pain?

In general, the short arc quad will place less strain on the low back compared to lying leg raises. The short arc quad exercises will also work to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. How much it strengthens the muscle will depend a bit on how your current strength is and how much weight you are adding at the ankle.
Closeup woman holding her wrist pain from using computer.

Can Physical Therapy help with mild tendonitis in wrist?

I have had mild tendonitis in my right wrist for almost a year now, and been out of work for 6 months of that. However, the rate of healing has been slow. I have discussed it with a local doctor and orthopedist and they both have sort of shrugged and said that all I can do is wait, with no indication of a prognosis. It has seriously damaged my quality of life and I do worry about overworking it.

Arm is sore for a day after working out

Muscle soreness following exercises that you are not used to doing or that are more difficult than your normal exercise routine can cause delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). In DOMS, symptoms may begin the same day as or a day or two after the workout and can last as long as five days. The affected muscle(s) can be tender to touch as well as painful to stretch or use.
Running Injury Screen

My hip feels like it is starting to give out

The sensation of the hip giving out can arise from a variety of causes. Structural changes in the joint, pain itself, or muscle weakness can contribute to the feeling of “giving out”. It is also possible that the low back or knee can be the source of “giving way” at the hip.

Pain in my shoulders that has lasted over a year

Shoulder pain is a common occurrence that we as Physical Therapists see a lot of. The shoulder is a unique joint that has many different structures that contribute to both movement and potentially pain. Sometimes shoulder pain will decrease with rest, other times it may require targeted rehabilitation to get it to heal and/or function properly.

Are there any exercises to reduce knock knees?

In general, knock knees refers to the position of the knees being closer to the body’s midline. There can be a couple reasons. Some people have structural differences in our bones and joints that affect how the hips, knees, and ankles are aligned. Muscular imbalances in the feet and hips can also contribute to being knock kneed.

Should I continue training after hip flexor popped?

I am a figure skater and I did a jump but when I brought my knee to my chest my hip flexor popped. It was painful for two days and now it is just tight. My hip painlessly pops every time I lift my knee to my chest and I am unsure whether I should be concerned or not. I am very tight in my legs right now so I am unsure if I should stretch out and then continue training again.

When to resume physical activity after surgery

The exact timeline for return to work depend on the specifics of the surgery and the demands of the job and should be discussed and cleared with the surgeon, the physical therapist, and any other involved health care professionals. It is common to be out from work for a short period of time after each of the surgical procedures mentioned.
hands holding knee knee pain osteoarthritis

Feeling tightness/stiffness with deep knee bending and rotating

My knee was impacted on the inside 4 months ago. I felt a pop. There was no swelling and I was back to pain free activity a week later. The only thing I noticed was that I couldn’t sit on my feet because my knee hurt. I’ve been running 30+ miles a week for three months with no pain. I went to a lacrosse practice two days ago and felt a pop when running sideways. I continued to practice and did a track workout afterwards with barely noticeable pain.

Tightness in the iliotibial band

When muscles cause a sensation of popping usually it is because there is increased tension in the tendon as it moves over bony bumps near its attachment point. It is important to make sure that when trying to stretch a muscle to hold a static stretch without bouncing for 30-60 seconds to allow the muscle enough time to change length.
Low Back Pain

How lumbar lordosis can potentially contribute to abnormalities in a person’s walk

Excessive lumbar lordosis can potentially contribute to abnormalities in the appearance of a person’s walk as well as the development of low back pain. However, it is also possible to have a very arched low back that does not result in pain. A physical therapist can assess a person’s spinal mobility and core muscle control to determine if the person has impairments that may contribute to abnormal walking patterns and/or low back pain.

How long does it take numbness to go away after ankle surgery?

After a foot or ankle surgery, the amount of time that patients typically feel numbness and have difficulty moving the toes is variable person to person. It depends on several factors including the anesthesia (numbing agent) used, the amount of swelling present, and what structures were involved in the original cause for surgery.

Thigh pain when performing a kicking motion

There are a number of structures that can cause pain in the thigh when performing a kicking motion. While those structures may be fine with slower and more controlled movements, faster or more explosive movements may be irritating. If an activity such as jogging does not cause any symptoms at the time of activity or in the hours or day after, it should be safe to continue.
calf achilles

Experiencing pain in the hamstring and calf area

Before I started my job as a Delivery Driver for Amazon I was stretching and foam rolling daily. About a month into the job I started getting some hamstring and calf soreness/ swelling I suspect from stepping in and out of the vans with one leg so many times throughout the day. I’ve been able to mitigate the symptoms through icing and heat compression, however, it’s gotten to the point where on my left leg I can’t lunge on it like I used to.

Exercises for a pinched nerve

When rehabbing nerve related issues it’s common practice to avoid aggravating motions as the initial goal is to get the angry nerve(s) to calm down. Performing overhead exercises can be irritating to an already angry nerve as they are demanding tasks for the spine and shoulders.

Can physical therapy help hammertoes and bunions?

There are several different toe conditions such as hammer toe, mallet toe, claw toe, and bunion formation, that can occur due to muscle imbalances, and for most of these conditions stretching of tight muscles and tendons is often a part of the rehabilitation process. Patients with toe conditions commonly have tight calf muscles and accordingly a calf stretch, performed for 30 to 60 seconds several times a day, is often a part of the stretching regimen.

Pain returning after recovering from mid tibia stress fracture

I'm finally back running after a right mid tibia stress fracture last fall. I've gradually been able to run up to 9 miles a week and as many as 6 at once. For the last 2 weeks (following the gym closing and my having to run exclusively outdoors) I've noticed mild pain just under my medial malleolus of my left ankle and brushing under both medial malleoluses.
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Exercises to help with mild hip pain

I'm experiencing mild pain on the outer side of my right hip, from just below my hip bone up into my right side body (feels like there is a muscle/tendon forming a line from hip up towards obliques and it is quite sore). I experienced similar hip pain while training for a 10k (after a long hiatus from running) about ~6 months ago. I took my time with my training, and it eventually cleared up.
hands holding knee knee pain osteoarthritis

Is my knee pain Osgood-Schlatter’s disease?

There are other causes of knee pain that can present similar to Osgood-Schlatter’s disease. For example, patellofemoral pain syndrome or patella tendonitis typically cause pain in the front of the knee and are seen in adults.
Therapeutic Associates North Creek Physical Therapy - Pain specialists serving the Mill Creek, North Creek, Canyon Park and Bothell communities

Knee pain is keeping me from exercise

I had a knee problem about 5 years ago. MRI showed nothing wrong, but I couldn't walk comfortably for fear I'd fall. I saw a PT who was kind but gave me boring exercises I did but didn't help clear the problem and another PT who just massaged the upper leg. I ended up "waiting it out" so to speak as it eventually just got better.
man gripping shoulder

Why do I have shoulder pain after doing push-ups?

I recently started working out more frequently, doing 3-5 hour long yoga sessions every week and trying to build arm strength by doing 30 push ups (with my knees down) every day. A few days ago, I noticed a sometimes-dull sometimes-sharp ache in my right shoulder when I'm going about my day - whether sitting on my computer during work, or making dinner, or even reading.
group of people lifting heavy barbells in gym

I'm experiencing pain while weight training after a six month hiatus

I’m beginning a weight training program after a long hiatus (6 months) from any kind of training. When I did my first lower body day, I had to stop after my first set of body weight walking lunges because of sharp pain in my glutes and the tops of my hamstrings. This was the 4th exercise of my workout and I warmed up and stretched beforehand.
Close-up of running shoes walking on road

Should I get customized shoes if I have a difference in leg length ?

Leg length differences can be difficult to fully appreciate. Some people have a "true" leg length difference which means that one of their bones (femur or tibia) is just shorter than the other. Other people have a "functional" leg length difference meaning it's from their pelvis or back like if they have scoliosis. Their legs are the same length, but one looks shorter because their spine is curved.

What stretches should I do to be able to touch my toes without pain?

When I try to touch my toes, I experience pain in the back of my knee. I'm told that this is the tendon in the knee and I should not be trying to stretch it. No matter how I try to stretch it (bent knees, back straight, bend at the hip, etc) I just get pain in my knees.

Can you help with treating chronic pain in the deep tissue muscle?

My mother has had chronic pain in the deep tissue muscle and/or bone on her right hip joint/buttocks muscle. I was thinking about purchasing a percussive theragun to loosen the muscle that is causing her pain. We have tried a foam roller but it is hard for her to get down on the ground to even use it and getting back up.

What are some the best bone building exercises you can do?

Most standing exercises are very effective as well, especially squats and lunges. The most important thing is to listen to your body and not to push into pain. It is normal to feel muscle soreness or fatigue, but you should never feel sharp or intense pain with exercise.
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Why is pain still present despite improved range of motion and strength after an ankle injury?

I sprained my ankle 4 - 5 weeks ago. I have no pain at rest or during daily activities, full range of motion (ROM) in the injured ankle, and greater than 90% of the strength/function, but there is still slight pain (about 2 out of 10) during functional tests (e.g., hop test). Is this normal despite full ROM and decent symmetry? Why is this pain still present despite improved ROM and strength?
Groin Pain - Pop in Groin - Physical Therapy Treatment - Oregon, Washington, Idaho

What to expect for recovery from a muscle strain injury

I believe I strained or partially tore a groin muscle 6 weeks back. I've tried to stay off it as much as possible, and ice the area several times a day, but I still experience some tightness in the area. Should I be pain and tightness free when it's time to resume exercise and activity on it?

Can I do upper body workouts while recovering from a lower extremity surgery?

I started working out about 4 months ago and found I really loved it! Unfortunately I recently had surgery and have very limited mobility on the left side of my body from the hip down to my knee. Is there any way to just work out the upper to middle parts of my body without having to move anything from the waist down?
Youth Athletics

Is icing good for recovery?

My 15 year old son is a catcher for a high school baseball team. He has caught 8 of 10 games so far. He didn't play in the game a few days ago because he said his arm is hurting.

Properly walk with a single arm assistive device

I have read that when you use a cane, you should have it on your good leg side but move it forward with your bad leg side. What if I feel that my left leg is weak and it may give out and I am afraid of falling? Can I then use the cane on the left side with that leg instead?

Would a PT be able to help with pain from a trimalleolar fracture?

I am ten days out of surgery for a trimalleolar fracture with displacement, due to severe trauma. One plate, many screws were placed in surgery, and  I am now in a boot with no PT recommended at this point. Would a PT be able to help in any way? Is there anything that can be done?
person grabbing low back pain

Could my back pain be from poor posture?

A few days ago I was doing computer work on my bed with no back support and now my upper spine is popping and feeling odd. For example, if I raise both shoulders, a sharp sensation happens that doesn't quite hurt, but feels uncomfortable. I am 18 and have never had any back related issues. Am I OK? Could it be from slouching?
Youth Athletics

Little league elbow and swimming

My 11 year old son is having a case of little league elbow. He also swims on a recreational summer swim team. Would continuing to swim every day be good or bad for his rehab? Should I have him rest from swimming as well?

Ask Our Experts: Lacrosse player with sharp pain on side of leg - What is it?

i! I’m a lacrosse player and during our warmups I was back-peddling and felt a sharp pain in the side of my quad and my leg kinda of gave out. Now when I’m laying on my stomach, I can’t lift my quad/hamstring. There is a sharp pain down the side of my leg whenever I try. What do you think the problem is?

Is it normal to feel tingling or heat spots following ankle surgery?

Hello, I had ankle surgery on March 8, 2019, after dislocating and breaking my right ankle in two spots. I now have a plate and 7 screws and I am in a boot with crutches and some weight bearing in the boot. Is it normal to feel sharp tingling and a rush of heat in certain spots for a quick moment, then it goes away?
man gripping shoulder

Lingering shoulder pain that won't go away. How can I fix this?

Four months ago, I was in a left arm sling for a different injury. I reached wrong, and felt and heard a dull pop in my bicep region, but no discoloring or sharp, lasting pain. Just a bit of soreness. However, the soreness turned into impingement syndrome, which I have since mostly dealt with....
Shoulder Pain - Physical Therapy

Should my baseball athlete be icing their shoulder every day?

My 15 year old son is a catcher for high school baseball team. He has caught 8/10 games so far. He didn't play in the game a few days ago because he said his arm is hurting. He thought he would be OK with only 1 day of rest between games last week, but he sat out the entire game. Should he be icing his arm everyday after throwing or should he be icing everyday regardless if he throws or not? I have read conflicting reports that say icing is not good for recovery.

My foot is swollen after an ankle fracture. When can I start walking?

It’s been 3 weeks and my foot is still swollen. My condition was made from a small ankle fracture on my left foot. On my first week I was in bed rest then half of my second week I was on crutches and later went to the walker boot. My question is, even though my foot is swollen , could I be able to start walking on my foot again or should I wait more until it’s full gone?

Groin Pain That Radiates Down Leg - What To Do?

Question: I have a stabbing pain near my groin area of right leg that radiates down the front of my thigh to my knee when I walk. It literally takes my breath away. I’ve been stretching it & rolling on a foam roller but it’s relentless. Answer: Thanks for reaching out. Without doing a detailed […]

Back Pain and Cancer Treatment - Can Physical Therapy Help?

I have back troubles that have never been addressed. I was diagnosed with cancer last year. I had uterine and cervix surgery a year ago. I’m currently having chemo and radiation treatment. I sit in this chair all the time I need help to get strong again. I can't get my doctor to OK rehab until I do two more Chemo's ... What do you think?
featured-ankle strength

Ask Our Experts: Recurring Ankle Sprain - What To Do?

Four years ago I sprained my ankle in a misstep off a riser. (My ankle turned inward.) Now I have rolled it 3 times in as many years, generally doing something that didn't hurt at the time but later made my ankle feel as though it should pop. That was followed by gradually diminishing pain. What can I do to stop this from occurring? I'm female, 65, 5'1",105 lbs. do a mix of Zumba, step and exercise 4 days a week. I also do quite a bit of hiking.

Ask Our Experts: Any Home Fitness Equipment For Plantar Fasciitis?

Question: Dear TAI Experts: What kind of home fitness equipment can a person with plantar fasciitis use? Answer: Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the under surface of the foot resulting from excessive forces and straining of the arch. This generally results from weakness of the muscles of the foot that support the arch and […]
knee pain physical therapy

Ask Our Experts: Can a Worn Meniscus Cause Hip Joint Wear?

Question: Can a worn meniscus in a knee joint which causes the leg to be out of alignment cause the related hip joint to wear out quicker? Answer: Depending on the direction of angulation resulting from a change in alignment at the knee, there could be several effects on the hip. In general, if there […]
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Upper Back Popping

I have a lot of “popping” going on in my upper back, especially when I sleep, turn over, and when I first get up. What could be causing this?

Ask the Experts: How Do I Get Rid of Tenosynovitis?

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I have been having ongoing problems with my right foot for over a year. It started as Plantar Fasciitis, which I had for a year and seems to have subsided with cortisone shot and stretching. I am now currently dealing with “tenosynovitis” of the postior tibilias tendon (diagnosed w/ MRI). The […]
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Ask the Experts: Knee Tight During Exercise After Meniscus Surgery

Question: I had knee surgery in which they removed a torn meniscus. I am ok from that, but when I exercise the back of my knee gets very tight. Why and what can I do to get better? Answer: Although I am unable to provide you with specific information on your knee without doing an […]
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Debilitating Neck Pain

Question: Dear TAI Experts: This is the third time in about eight years that I have woken up with debilitating neck pain. I haven’t been in any crashes and cannot think of any trigger. I can hardly get out of bed and must hold my head straight to stand up. Once standing I can only […]
featured- DOMS

Ask the Experts: Frozen Shoulder

Question: Dear TAI Experts: My mother has suffered from frozen shoulder for 8 months. She recently started experiencing pain and stiffness in her neck. She is visiting Seattle for 6 weeks and needs advice and what she should do. Answer: I am sorry to hear of your mother’s shoulder. Without performing an examination I am […]
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Ask the Experts: Pain After Low Back Surgery

Question: Dear TAI Experts: After low back surgery, I have right leg pain, numb toes, and spasms and cramps in right leg. What might cause it? Answer: Without performing a detailed evaluation I can only make a general comment. Generally, after surgery there is a normal process where inflammation brings various agents to the local […]
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Ask the Experts: Knee Pain While Running

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I have pain on the outside of my knee when I run- and only when I run. I’m 99% sure that it’s a ITBS, but, even with rest, it’s not going away. What would a physical therapist be able to do to expedite my recovery (that I couldn’t just do at […]
ask the experts_02

Ask Our Experts: Will a Back Brace Help with Posture?

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I am interested in purchasing a back brace that will help my posture permanently that I would most likely only wear at night. I have seen so many different types. Do you have any recommendations of a certain type? Answer: It is difficult to identify the best brace without first doing […]

Ask Our Experts: Would Exercise Benefit a Torn Meniscus?

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I have a minor tear in my right meniscus that has not been a major problem. It did not swell and my doc. did not recommend surgery. It gets painful (achy)but does not swell after playing tennis or kneeling with gardening or biking. I wonder if I should be doing knee […]
featured image-hip

Ask Our Experts: Exercises to Help Pain in Hips

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I have arthritis in both hips. The pain is excruciating. What exercise, if any, can I do to perhaps help this condition?? What can I do when I bend down, but then can’t get up due to the amount of pain? I don’t appear to have any strength there. Help please. […]
featured-elbow pain

Ask Our Experts: Why Can't I Straighten My Elbow After an Injury?

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I need some insight into a nagging injury that occurred back in Nov. 2008. I flipped over the handlebars of my bicycle and cracked both my right wrist and elbow. The hospital put me in a cast that immobilized my wrist but it stopped short of my elbow. The doctor said […]
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Iliotibial (IT) Band Injury Preventing Exercise

Question: Dear TAI Experts: How would you treat an IT Band injury? I want to get back to being able to sweat again (i.e. aerobic activity) ASAP. Can you help? Answer: Without examining you in person it will be difficult to make specific recommendations. In general an IT band syndrome has many contributing factors including […]

Ask Our Experts: Have Any Suggestions For Chronic Pain in My Heels?

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I have chronic pain on both the inside and outside of both heels (insertion) which is painful to touch most of the time. I do sprint triathlons and run through the pain. Rest does not help. I naturally supinate. I have tried orthotics, pt, a million different shoes, etc. Any other […]
free injury screen_featured

Bruised or Torn Patellar Tendon

Question: Dear TAI Experts: I was recently diagnosed with a bruised or slightly torn patellar tendon after a bike accident. The doctor did not prescribe physical therapy, but I was wondering if there was anything I could do to treat this, other than rest and icing. Answer: I am unable to comment on your condition […]
eastwind daily run

Ask Our Experts: Arthritis Foot Treatment for a Runner

Dear TAI Experts: Do you have a treatment for arthritis of the foot for a runner? Answer: Without examining your foot in person it will be difficult to make specific comments. In general, arthritis is caused by a combination of stiffness and weakness, which can lead to changes in the joint surfaces. These changes are not necessarily permanent, and even if they are permanent, a program of strengthening and flexibility to help support the joint is typically successful in decreasing pain and improving tolerance to activity.
knee pain physical therapy

Knee Pain: Could It Be Arthritis?

I have pain that radiates from outside of left knee and half way down the outside of leg. My pain levels are intermittent. I have severe knee pain after racquetball, although spin class does not seem to bother my knee. I’ve had this pain for 6-8 weeks. I am 59 years old. I recently saw an Orthopedic physician who found no issues with x-rays. He thought this could this be patella strain or an arthritic issue.

Information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. We cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered. Response times will vary.