Honoring Saratoga WarHorse On Memorial Day

By: Sports PT Staff


Memorial Day is dedicated to remembering and honoring the men and women who have or are currently serving in our Armed Services. Today, we’re proud to say thank you for your service, and to honor the family members who “serve and sacrifice” when their military family members are deployed.

Saratoga WarHorse is an outstanding program in Saratoga that uses thoroughbred horses to help veterans with their transition back to civilian life. Veterans who are having difficulty with images, panic attacks, and more can participate in the Saratoga WarHorse program for healing. The thoroughbreds, who no longer race at the track, find their next gift in the form of helping those suffering.

Sports PT is pleased to help raise much needed funds for this worthwhile cause. Kristen, a patient in our Saratoga clinic, shares this story:

“Saratoga WarHorse has a special place in my heart. Living with someone after they come back from war, whether they are physically or mentally traumatizing, is traumatizing to the family unit. The program was extremely helpful for me and I am eternally grateful for it.

I have an equally special place in my heart for Sports PT. It is not a surprise to me that Sports PT is committed to giving back to their community; after all, you help so many people get back to a better quality of life every day. I’m not sure where I would be without either one of these services.  So, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. You guys are an amazing crew there from your front office staff to every single physical therapist. I love you guys. Thanks for giving a little bit to the veteran community.”

To learn more about Saratoga WarHorse, visit: http://www.saratogawarhorse.com/. You can contribute to our fundraising efforts by calling our Saratoga clinic at 518-583-7537.


Minimize Your Risk Of Falling On Ice

By: Jeremy Plochko, SAT


As a certified athletic trainer, prevention is one of our main focuses. Whether you’re walking on an ice hockey rink or your slippery driveway, here are a few tips to help keep you safe:


1. Proper footwear is the first line of defense against slips and falls. Boots with rubber or Neoprene composite soles provide better traction on ice and snow than leather or plastic. Specialized slip-on traction additions for shoes are also another great option.


2. Brace yourself by holding onto a stationary object (car, hand rail, etc.) and slide one foot on the surface before stepping on it to determine if it is slick. Continue to hold onto stationary objects as you walk, if you can, to support yourself.


3. Avoid walking with heavy objects if you can. If you have to carry anything, carry with both arms as close to the body’s mid-line as possible, keeping your center of gravity over your feet.


4.  Walk like a Penguin! Keep your knees loose, point your feet slightly out, extend your arms to the side for balance and take short, slow strides. Don’t keep your hands in your pockets!


5. Know how to fall. If you do slip, try not to catch yourself by reaching out your arms.  Fall on your buttocks and protect your wrists.


Also keep in mind that exercise and physical therapy can help improve your gait, balance and core strength helping to reduce your risk of falls by 13% alone. Be safe out there!


Exercise boosts concentration while studying

By Allyson Long, ATC, DPT


As a college student, the value of time management becomes extremely important when trying to juggle combinations of class and lab work, internships or part-time jobs, and managing a social life in between. When is there time to exercise and stay healthy? Luckily there is some good news for many collegiate students. Getting even a little bit of light physical activity during the week can help boost your mood and energy levels to inspire increased memory retention and better study time.


Is it better to exercise before you learn something new? What about during? Should the exercise be vigorous or gentle? Research published in The New York Times has determined that light-intensity exercise helps to prepare the brain for the consumption and retention of new information. In 2006 The Journal of Neuroscience highlighted a study with mice as subjects. The study’s findings suggested that exercise can help overcome memory declines associated with aging.


So let’s get down to it! Thirty minutes of light cardiovascular exercise 4-5 days a week, prior to sitting down with your books, combined with some total-body exercises targeting major muscle groups, can help improve your memory and concentration while studying. This will help you navigate even the most strenuous times during the semester.



  • Get into a pushup position on the floor.
  • Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Brace your core by contracting your abs and keep your body in a straight line.
  • Hold this position while breathing deeply.


Side Plank

  • Lie on your left side with your knees straight.
  • Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm.
  • Brace your core by contracting your abs and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line.
  • Hold this position while breathing deeply.
  • Turn around and repeat on the right side.



  • Lie flat on your back with your hands by your side and your knees bent. Place feet around shoulder-width apart.
  • Pushing mainly with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight.
  • Breathe out as you push up and hold at the top for a second.
  • Slowly go back to the starting position as you breathe in.
  • Repeat ten times.


Chair Squat

  • Stand in front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly lower yourself toward the chair without actually sitting down. Keep your knees over your ankles and your weight in your heels.
  • Straighten your body upright and repeat.


Shoulder Blade Squeezes

  • Bend your arms and raise them to your sides at hip height.
  • Keep your shoulders down and squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you.
  • Hold this position for 2-3 counts.
  • Slowly release this position and repeat.


For more information on stress management and exercise, contact us at info@sptny.com.




Fractured Clavicle: How Long Does It Take to Heal?

By Alanna Pokorski, PT


If you watched the Buffalo Bills game last Sunday, you likely held your breath as you saw running back C.J. Spiller land very hard on his left shoulder and fracture his clavicle.


A clavicle fracture is a painful bone fracture that occurs from a high force due to a fall on an outstretched arm, a fall on the shoulder, or a direct hit to the clavicle.


The clavicle, more commonly known as the collarbone, is an S-shaped bone that connects the trunk of the body to the arm and is positioned right above the first rib. On one end, it attaches to the sternum or breastbone, and on the other end, it connects to the scapula, or shoulder blade.


Following the fracture, there is typically extreme pain and swelling over the clavicle and upper chest. There is often pain in the surrounding muscles, and severe pain with any movement of the shoulder. On Sunday, you could see how much pain Spiller was in immediately after his injury.


Following the diagnosis by X-ray, the shoulder is typically placed in a sling, and an orthopedic physician determines the course of treatment.  Depending on the location of the fracture and the extent of the break, surgery may or may not be indicated. In Spiller’s case, surgery was indicated.


Recovery time varies, but for adults who have had their collarbone repaired, six weeks of sling immobilization is the recommended initial treatment for healing.


This of course is a challenge for any athlete who wants to resume competitive activity. After immobilization, the athlete starts to restore active motion and strength training, with the goal of returning to their sport.


For a football athlete, rehabilitation strongly focuses on strengthening, closed kinetic chain strengthening (when the arm is essentially in a weight-bearing or pushup position), end ranges of motion, and the ability to handle direct collision to the shoulder pain-free.


The general timeframe for returning to competitive football is anywhere from six weeks to three months, depending on the pain level, location of fracture, surgical intervention, and severity. Some articles have shown that surgical repair may take a few weeks longer to return to a sport; however, the chance for re-injury is less.


In C.J. Spiller’s case, Buffalo Bills fans are crossing their fingers and hoping for a quick recovery. The running back is a key player, and this is also his contract year.


For more information on how Physical Therapists help clavicle fractures, please contact us at info@sptny.com.






Preventing Weather-Related Falls

By Joshua Hibbard


Autumn can be a dangerous season, with its wet slippery leaves, and the winter months can pose a danger with black ice. Both of these weather-related scenarios make many people scared of falling.


The good news? Falls are preventable! Working with a skilled physical therapist is a great way to assess and reduce your risk for falls. Physical therapists are experts trained in identifying and treating risk factors such as weakness, poor balance, and difficulty walking. By designing a customized exercise program as well as providing hands-on treatment, a physical therapist is equipped with all of the tools to prevent potentially disabling falls.


Most falls occur due to a combination of risk factors, but can be reduced with a level of awareness and some extra planning. Some prevention actions you can take during the colder months include:

  • Wear anti-slip footwear and proper clothing to keep warm. Shoes with plastic soles or other slippery-soled shoes are quite hazardous when dealing with already slippery surfaces.
  • Keep the walkway from your driveway to your door or garage free of debris.
  • Melt down icy pathways by covering with salt or something gritty and non-slippery.
  • Keep the floors inside your house clean, especially around where people walk into your house. Use floor mats for your shoes or rugs to dry your feet off.


For a complete list of risk factors for falls in general, visit Falls Prevention and Physical Therapy: What You Need to Know.


As part of an effort to reduce the occurrence of falls within our community, Sports PT is proud to offer a Falls Prevention Assessment. For more information, call your nearest Sports PT location or contact us at info@sptny.com







Protect Your Back When Doing Fall Cleanup

By: Alanna Pokorski, PT


Fall is here and so is the chance for a garden and yard cleanup! Soon, the leaves will be blowing off the trees and before we know it, we’ll be spending the entire day raking or cleaning the yard. This can cause excessive strain on the body, especially if good form isn’t used consistently throughout the day.


The good news is that your yard can get cleaned up without causing injury or pain to your body.


Here’s how:


  • Warm up before you begin. Take a 10-minute walk to get your blood flowing and to loosen your muscles.
  • Take frequent breaks, and if you feel fatigue or strain, slow down or stop.  Don’t overdo it.
  • Use a wheelbarrow to move tools or heavy bags of leaves.
  • Don’t kneel on both knees. Keep one foot on the ground to give your back more stability. If you have to kneel, use kneepads or a pillow to absorb some of the pressure.
  • Change positions and take frequent breaks to avoid stiffness or cramping.
  • Practice proper body mechanics. Bend at your knees when you grab something or pull up a weed. While bending your knees, also contract your abdominal muscles to avoid straining your back.


Physical therapists are experts in posturing and lifting techniques. Before you start a project around your house, consider contacting your Sports PT expert to help you prevent injury. If it’s already too late, and you have pain from a household activity, contact us at info@sptny.com to see how we can help get you back in action!




Our Doctors of PT Honor ‘Doctor’s Day’ by Celebrating their 5th year as Direct Access Providers in NY

By Lisa Martin, PT, DPT


Do you need a referral to see a Physical Therapist?


In November 2009, New York State passed a law that allows patients to have “Direct Access” to Physical Therapists. This permits an individual to gain access to a Physical Therapist’s expertise without seeing an MD first. Physical Therapists are movement specialists that can diagnosis, treat, and work on existing pain and help you prevent future injuries. Most Physical Therapists have their doctorate degree, and are fully equipped to advise on and treat a wide range of conditions.


Can you see any Physical Therapist?


You can be seen by a licensed Physical Therapist with at least three years of experience for ten visits or 30 days without a referral (a.k.a. a script) from your physician. The majority of insurance companies support Direct Access. If you aren’t sure if you have Direct Access benefits, Sports PT can verify that ahead of time as a courtesy.


What are the primary benefits of Direct Access?


  • Prompt access to orthopedic evaluation and treatment within 24 hours
  • No need to go through the formality of seeing a Medical Doctor or Urgent Care facility first
  • Time and co-pay savings
  • A PT can quickly determine if an physician consult is required
  • Quicker recovery time


We’ve had several patients take advantage of the Direct Access benefit with great results!  Direct Access is an excellent way to speed your recovery and streamline your healthcare needs. Contact us for more information.




http://www.apta.org/StateIssues/DirectAccess/. Updated 7/23/13.



Why We Chose The American Red Cross As Our Corporate Charity

By: Lynn Steenberg, President


Community involvement is as much a part of the Sports PT culture as therapeutic exercise! At Sports PT, we believe that we are responsible for helping make the world a better place. There is no better charity that helps in times of personal crisis or disaster than the American Red Cross. We know this first hand. Our staff across New York State immediately took action after Hurricanes Irene and Katrina by raising much needed funds to support the relief effort. When Super Storm Sandy hit our 15 downstate locations in 2012, devastating homes of our employees, patients and colleague healthcare professionals, our staff didn’t hesitate—we were once again connecting with the Red Cross. Our connections continued to hit closer to home. In late 2013, the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan. And, our employees with family who had been displaced due to the Typhoon immediately jumped to action to raise much-needed dollars. Shortly thereafter, upstate New York was hit with flooding.  Many vans were filled with cleaning supplies collected in our clinics. Then, one of our Sports PT employees experienced a house fire, resulting in the total loss of her home and displacement for over 4 months. We know the importance of the services of the American Red Cross. We have needed them numerous times.


It’s not enough for companies to raise funds and supplies. Volunteer engagement is also key. Our employees have volunteered at numerous Red Cross events and two members of our Executive Team currently serve in roles on a Chapter Board and a Regional Board. Providing leadership and guidance helps non-profits accomplish tasks they might not be able to afford on limited budgets. In addition, we hold blood drives in our clinics and do year-round fundraising. Every little bit helps.


With March being Red Cross Month, we encourage you to join us in supporting their efforts. Your gifts and talents help much-needed services like blood donation, emergency preparedness, resiliency, services to the Armed Forces, and disaster relief continue in our neighborhood, our state and across the globe. Clara Barton saw the need for the American Red Cross while she was providing medical care on a battlefield. We salute her efforts and continue her legacy in fulfilling these important services. Visit www.redcross.org to get involved!


Giving Back Across NY State


John Andrew Holmes once said, “There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” At Sports Physical Therapy, we take Mr. Holmes’ call-to-action seriously. You will find every location of ours actively engaged throughout the year in helping others.


For example, after Superstorm Sandy devastated so many last October, you found all 21 of our clinics collecting donations of cleaning supplies, clothing, food, and small appliances to give to those impacted. There were over 10 carloads of items collected and delivered to the New York City area.


During the holidays last December, 17 of our clinics participated in Salvation Army programs such as Toys for Tots and Adopt-A-Family, or supporting local agencies trying to help underserved populations enjoy their holidays.


Each month, our Administrative Office holds a $2 Tuesday lunch. All the money raised at these lunches goes to a non-profit organization in need. To date, we’ve raised over $300 to help agencies like the American Red Cross, Vera House of Central New York, and the Central New York Food Bank. And, if that’s not enough, the staff in this office sells tickets for staff to wear jeans to work. That effort has raised over $500 and has helped agencies like North Area Meals on Wheels (Liverpool, NY), University Methodist Church Food Pantry, and others.


We have numerous employees who are active with community walks and runs, helping to raise money for agencies like the Arthritis Foundation, American Heart Association, and Juvenile Diabetes. Their efforts have helped raised hundreds of dollars just in the last year!


We thank you for your support of our efforts. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many!


Make Physical Therapy Your First Stop for Orthopedic Injuries


A cheerleading injury scare! My daughter is a flyer for her high school varsity cheerleading team and with that responsibility comes many hours of practice each day, including separate sessions of tumbling. While performing a back handspring, she landed off balance and the pain began.


After applying general first aid to her ankle overnight, it became very apparent that the injury was more than a slight bruise. Her orthopedic doctor didn’t have an available appointment for nearly 3 days and we were worried the situation would get worse, especially if she continued to practice with her team.


Fortunately, I learned about Direct Access from Sports PT and knew we had other options. I immediately called the Liverpool, NY clinic and they saw her that day! After a thorough initial evaluation, it was evident that her ankle may have been broken in the landing, and the physical therapist recommended a visit to the orthopedic urgent care that evening for x-rays. Her ankle was broken, but due to the immediate attention provided by Sports PT, we had already begun the healing process.


So what is Direct Access?


It is legislation enacted by the NYS Education Department in November 2006 that allows a licensed physical therapist to provide a patient with treatment in the practice of physical therapy without a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist or nurse practitioner, for 10 visits or 30 days, whichever occurs first, provided the licensed physical therapist meets specific requirements. It was designed to be a first line of defense where patients could start treatment immediately to begin the healing process. It also allows for patients to be seen sooner by expert medical professionals rather than clogging up emergency rooms and urgent care centers with these types of issues.


Did you know that physical therapists are some of the best qualified individuals to evaluate an orthopedic injury, next to Orthopedic Surgeons? There is even a research study that presents data supporting the diagnostic accuracy of physical therapists.


At Sports PT, we have physical therapists who meet the requirements in nearly every clinic. If you have an acute or chronic injury or condition that impairs your movement, such as back and neck pain, sprains and strains, hip, knee or ankle pain, tendonitis or a sports injury, I encourage you to contact us to make an appointment! It will save you precious time and may result in lower out-of-pocket insurance expenses.1 We’ll check your insurance policy for you to make sure your insurance carrier allows for Direct Access. We look forward to helping you soon!


By:  Dot Hall, Mother of Patient