Athlete's Care Ottawa Blog 

Avoiding Injuries At Home: A Checklist

By Athlete's Care on April 06, 2023

Avoiding Injuries At Home: A Checklist

Our Ottawa physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists help many clients get back to their normal lives after an injury. While there is a broad range of therapies available, many soft tissue injuries are notoriously difficult to treat. An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure. As the statistics show, out of all the types of accidents causing injury, including automobiles, the risk of getting injured at home, while doing things you do every day, ranges from more than 23% (18 to 64 years old) to more than 40% for those over the age of 65.

You let your guard down when you’re at home, and you relax. But, you shouldn’t relax when it comes to staying safe. Here are some guidelines to keeping your home safe from falls, spills, and other injuries.


  • Do you have a functional fire/smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector outside each bedroom, and in the main hallway?
  • Do all the detectors have batteries that you replace at least once every 12 months?

Trips and falls are among the most common accidents in the home, and elsewhere too.

  • Are your entrances, including the rooms in your home as well as the outside door, well lit?
  • Are the floors smooth and level, or do they have cracks and irregular surfaces?

If you have a home office, your Ottawa physiotherapist or chiropractor can also provide advice on how to make sure your furnishings are arranged ergonomically, to avoid injury from overuse and undue strain.

When it comes to floors and carpets, look for:

  • Uneven floors, cracks, exposed nail heads;
  • Rugs that don’t lay flat, are bunched or uneven;
  • Carpet edges that curl upwards.

Avoid putting cords under the carpet – tack them down along the wall or otherwise out of the way instead.

  • Do your stairs have functional railings that will support your weight?
  • Don’t forget to check the integrity and surface of the stairs, and any carpeting you have on them, too.

Fire and burn hazards may be located throughout the home.

  • Keep your hot water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Plug multiple appliances in different outlets.
  • Keep paper away from the stove and oven.
  • If a fire starts in your home/building, do you have an escape plan?
  • Check all the cords and cables you use for electrical appliances – are they whole and intact, or are there frayed areas?

There are appliances and gadgets that can make your home safer.

  • Rubber and/or non-slip mats for the bath and shower;
  • Grab bars for the shower or bath enclosure walls;
  • Two-way tape to secure small area rugs and mats.

A little forethought goes a long way towards keeping your home safe, and reducing your risk of injury.

If you have experienced an accidental injury, the dedicated staff at our Toronto physiotherapy, chiropractic and sports medicine clinics can help you get back to your normal. Call one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today for a consultation.


What Does Medical Acupuncture Feel Like? And Can It Help Me?

By Athlete's Care on February 16, 2023

What Does Medical Acupuncture Feel Like? And Can It Help Me?

What is medical acupuncture? It’s a question our Ottawa physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists hear often. Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medical practices that’s been adopted by Western physical therapy and sports medicine.

While it’s a practice with a history that dates back thousands of years, modern medical acupuncture adds an understanding of contemporary Western medicine for a win-win combination that helps many patients. It can be useful for managing and reducing symptoms as well as helping to promote healing for some people.

Here’s a little clarification.

What happens during a session – and does it hurt??

The main principle of modern medical acupuncture is that the needles, which are inserted just under the skin, stimulate muscles, nerves, and connective tissue. They help release the body’s own painkiller hormones, and that helps the affected tissues to heal.

  • The practitioner inserts 5 to 20 needles gently at specific areas which may or may not be close to the area of discomfort;
  • They are left in typically for 10 to 15 minutes;
  • During that time, the practitioner may move the needles around in various ways;
  • A mild aching sensation – or no feeling at all – is the most common reaction;
  • There may also be mild bruising or bleeding at the insertion site;
  • Most people feel nothing when they are removed.

Once the needles are removed, you may feel nicely relaxed. You may also feel invigorated and energetic. If you don’t feel any improvements to your symptoms at all over two or three sessions, your Ottawa sports medicine specialist should re-evaluate your treatment plan.  

Can it help me?

Most often, patients use medical acupuncture to relieve painful or uncomfortable symptoms stemming from various underlying conditions. Many people have found relief from:

  • Chronic headaches, including migraines;
  • Chronic pain relief;
  • The side effects of cancer treatments;
  • Lower back aches;
  • Neck pain;
  • Symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia;
  • Tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendonitis;
  • Among others.

There is a growing body of scientific research that shows the potential for medical acupuncture to help treat many more conditions, such as diabetes and depression.

Our Ottawa medical acupuncture practitioners combine the practice with other specialties, just as the treatment is used in combination with other therapies. It means your treatment comes from a professional with a thorough understanding of the human musculoskeletal system and its components.

If you have any questions about medical acupuncture or wonder whether it might help your condition, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Ottawa physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics today for a consultation.



Common Myths About Physiotherapy Debunked

By Athlete's Care on January 13, 2023

Common Myths About Physiotherapy Debunked

Many people could benefit from the services of our Ottawa physiotherapists, but they may not realize it. There are many misconceptions about physiotherapy, what it does, and simply what it is.

Here’s a look at the common myths—and the truth of the matter.

Physiotherapy hurts!

One of the most common misconceptions about physiotherapists and the treatments they offer is that they actually cause pain. As a matter of fact, one of the main goals of physiotherapy is to reduce pain and any discomfort. Physiotherapy treatment helps the body heal and restore mobility and range of motion after injuries, surgery, and often, simple wear and tear over time. If your condition is already painful, physiotherapy treatment will help you minimize and manage it so that you can get back to your normal as soon as possible.

It's the same thing as as chiropractor or massage therapist

At our Ottawa sports medicine clinics, we can offer all three options—but they are definitely different disciplines. The musculoskeletal specialist who can best serve your needs will depend on the nature of your condition, and in some cases, it’s a combination of two or all three. A chiropractor focuses on the spine, including mobility issues as well as neurological function. Massage therapy focuses on the soft tissues. A physiotherapist will consider the whole body, including function and body mechanics, and particularly the joints. They can treat issues such as muscle weakness and imbalances, and treatments most often involve targeted exercises.

I can do it at home!

While it’s true that targeted exercises are a cornerstone of physiotherapy treatments, it’s not a simple matter of choosing the right workout regimen. Your physiotherapist will first take the time to properly diagnose the underlying cause of the condition that caused you to seek treatment, and also take your general health and physical conditioning into account. The exercises they prescribe will be specifically targeted at your situation, and include a hands-on component by your practitioner to assist the process. You won’t find the instructions online, in other words.

It’s only for athletes—I have a desk job

Many people outside the world of professional and/or elite level athletics assume that physiotherapy services are not for them. But, physiotherapists can help anyone with issues that involve the musculoskeletal system, including helping to foresee problems that might be developing in the future. Because they work with the body’s mechanics, they can help their clients with many common issues, including back aches, headaches—even shoulder pain from sitting at a computer.

When something hurts—that’s when you see a physiotherapist

Reducing and even eliminating pain and discomfort is one of the primary goals of physiotherapy, but it’s not the only one. You certainly don’t have to wait until something hurts before you make an appointment. Physiotherapy can help you regain and/or improve your range of motion, and help you stay mobile as you get older. It can help you prepare for surgery by strengthening key muscle groups, and prevent injuries with good advice.

Physio is only for injuries like a sprained ankle

Helping their clients heal from injuries to the musculoskeletal system is one of the main functions of any physiotherapy practice. But, physiotherapists can also help their clients heal, restore movement and mobility, and in general help them to help their own bodies to perform better—and that can apply to many different situations. They can help their clients heal after surgery, as well as manage many conditions caused by wear and tear over time such as arthritis, muscle weaknesses and imbalance, postural problems, and bursitis, among many others.

If you are experiencing any issues that involve mobility or your musculoskeletal system, or have any questions about physiotherapy services, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Ottawa clinics for a consultation today.

Running After 50: Whether You're Starting Or Continuing

By Athlete's Care on November 10, 2022

Running After 50: Whether You're Starting Or Continuing

Many of the clients at our Ottawa physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics have questions about staying active as they get older. When it comes to running at any age, running's benefits have to be balanced against the reality that it does tend to be taxing on joints and muscles.

But, that doesn’t mean you have to stop – and even if you’ve never run before, it’s still feasible to start.

The key is to be realistic via accurate knowledge. First, it’s true, as we all know, that physical functions diminish as we age.

  • Cardiovascular endurance is diminished;
  • Muscles shrink – the individual fibres decrease both in number and size;
  • Balance, coordination and strength are impaired;
  • You are more prone to injuries caused by overuse, including strains of the knee, and pulled muscles.

However, staying inactive can actually contribute to the above. That’s the best reason for continuing, and for getting active at any age. Just remember:

  • Listen to your body;
  • When you need to take a break, do it.

If you haven't run before...

Recovery from injury will take longer as you get older – so the goal is to avoid it. Our Ottawa physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists can help you set goals that are realistic for your age and lifestyle. If you are truly starting from scratch, and it's been years since you've been physically active on a regular basis, you should think about a full physical before you begin.

As you age, you'll lose:

  • Aerobic capacity;
  • Muscle strength;
  • Capacity for quick healing.

Above all, be realistic. You won't pick it up the way you would have in your 20s and 30s. Learn to listen to your body, and pay attention to unusual pain and discomfort. Take whatever down time you need.

Consider your starting fitness level. Would it be more appropriate to start with brisk walking, moving up to running as your endurance increases? You'll be using the same muscles and structures, just at a gentler pace.

  • You can start as slowly as you need to, alternating 30 seconds of running with the 2 minutes of walking for about 20 minutes total to begin with;
  • Increase duration of running weekly, but by no more than 10%.

The importance of good footwear can't be over-emphasized. Get a professional to fit you, and take your biomechanics in mind. Your shoe needs to fit as you run, from heel to toe, and allow you to move comfortably.

Add-on fitness

Starting from nothing or continuing, there are other activities and training you can use to optimize your results.

  • Adding strength training to your routine is a no-brainer. It can help you combat the natural attrition of muscle fibres that occurs as we age, as well as add to your capacity to run longer and more safely.
  • Swimming is a good complementary activity if you're looking to build up cardio capacity.
  • Think about strength training for one day a week, and flexibility training for another two days a week.

Be sure to eat properly. One of our Ottawa Registered Sports Dietitians can advise you on the best diet for your needs.

If you have any concerns or need advice about exercise or activity, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Ottawa physiotherapy, chiropractic and sports medicine clinics today for a consultation.



Blog Archives