How Exercise Can Help Combat Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis is a growing problem in the American population with very serious consequences. Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time due to loss of calcium and phosphate, which make the bones strong. Osteopenia is the loss of bone density, but not severe enough to be classified as osteoporosis. In the United States today, 10 million individuals already have osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for this disease. One out of every 2 women and 1 in 4 men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in his or her lifetime. (1)


One of the best methods to increase bone health and mass is performing exercise. Certain types of exercise are more effective at building bone than others, most notably weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing does not mean lifting weights, but rather performing exercises in standing positions where your bones have to carry your body weight. Bones will get stronger when they are subjected to increased stress. Good bone building exercises include: walking, jogging, dancing, stair climbing, and tai chi. These exercises should be performed for 20 minutes, 3 days a week for best results. Poor bone building exercises include: swimming, biking, spinning, and light stretching.


Of course, if you have osteoporosis or bone loss, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Most people are able to exercise very safely and increase their bone mass effectively through exercise.


Brooklyn Here We Come


Today we travel to Brooklyn, NY to hang with Mr. Andrew Labbate, Jr. Andrew received his bachelor’s degree in Human Movement Sports Science/Athletic Training and his master’s in Physical Therapy from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.  He has been with Sports PT since 2006 and is the Facility Manager at our Flatbush Avenue location in Brooklyn.


Kelly: What’s your favorite part of patient care?  

Andrew: Regardless of condition, seeing someone get a little better every session.


Kelly: Has there been a patient who has impacted you the most?

Andrew: On my last clinical affiliation as a student, I worked with a young woman who suffered from an acute case of Transverse Myolitis, which paralyzed her from the axillary down. My clinical instructor let me take the lead on this case and I worked with her mostly solo. When I met her, she was confined to a wheel chair. Eight weeks later she walked out using a walker and leg brace. Her success really made me believe I was doing the right thing with my life.


Kelly: You’ve been with Sports PT for 6 years now. What’s keeping you here?

Andrew: I truly believe in what this company stands for. They truly care about their people, putting them first and having the individual’s best interest in mind. Over the course of 6 years, I’ve been afforded many unique opportunities that other companies couldn’t provide, such as in-house lectures with CEU’s, being named head trainer for the NY Titans lacrosse team in their inaugural season, and the chance for career advancement.


Kelly: Good stuff Andrew. Enough about work already, talk to me about the photo!

Andrew: That was taken at my daughter’s 1st birthday. The theme was obviously Elmo/Sesame Street. I am not usually that goofy, but for my little one I will be!


Kelly: If I have one day to spend in Brooklyn, where should I go?

Andrew: The Zoo and Botanical Gardens are a must see. If you like sports, go see a Cyclone’s game and in a year from now you’ll want to check out the Brooklyn Nets. You can’t come to Brooklyn without stopping at Junior’s for cheesecake. Lastly you have to, at least once, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.


Kelly: Okay, real quick – tell me a few things I wouldn’t already know about you.

Andrew: I’m a big movie buff, love to collect baseball memorabilia – I go to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony every year with my family and I love working on my Mustang. Most of all, I love spending time with my family and it doesn’t really matter what we do, as long as we are together.


Kelly: A movie buff is something I am not! Got any movie trivia for us?

Andrew: What Sylvester Stallone movie was hyped: “His whole life was a million-to-one shot”?


Name that movie…anyone??


Is Kendall Marshall Going to Play? And What is a Scaphoid Anyway?

(AP Photo/Zach Gibson)


If you’re a college basketball fan, or just hoping to win some money and/or bragging rights in your office March Madness pool, you may have heard of the injury to the University of North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. After UNC’s win on Sunday, reports surfaced that Marshall had fractured his wrist and his return to the NCAA tournament was questionable. Marshall, who was second in the nation in assists this season, is considered by most to be the most indispensable piece to UNC’s National Championship hopes.


So, what exactly is this injury that may keep Marshall from helping UNC make a run at a championship? Marshall fractured his scaphoid bone, a bone at the base of your thumb and wrist. Scaphoid injuries usually occur when falling on your hand causing your wrist to bend backwards, as was the mechanism of injury when Marshall was injured. Complications may occur in the healing process due to a poor blood supply to the scaphoid bone. With Marshall’s promising NBA career ahead of him, proper healing would likely be important to the young but talented point guard.


A fractured scaphoid can either be treated through casting or surgical fixation. If the bone is displaced, the only option is surgery. Sometimes, a nondisplaced fracture will also be treated through surgery if a long period of immobilization is not feasible due to work, sports, etc. The type of fracture Marshall suffered is unknown, but his father released a statement that Marshall had undergone successful surgery on Monday.


Typically, following surgery the wrist is put in a cast or brace and athletes are allowed to play with a club, such as lineman in football who do not require the fine motor use of their hands. That is obviously not an option for a basketball player.  Marshall’s status remains a game time decision and will likely be determined by his tolerance to the force of dribbling or catching a basketball. If I were a betting man, I would say Marshall is out for this weekend but has a chance to be back if they make it to the Final Four.


Let us know your thoughts below. Do you think Kendall Marshall will play in the Sweet 16, return for the Final Four (if UNC makes it), or is he done for the tournament?


Reference: Brotzman SB, Meyers SJ, and Lee ML.  Scaphoid Fractures. In:  Brotzman SB and Wilk KE.  Clinical Orthopaedic Rehabilitation.  2nd Ed.  Philadelphia, PA.  Mosby Inc.  2003:  50-54.


Marathon Runner Gets Back on Course


Naomi Collazo laced up her running shoes, pinned on her bib number, took a deep breath and along with thousands of others approached the starting line. She was filled with all the emotions that first time marathon runners feel; anxiety, excitement, nervous energy, joy, pride. Naomi did what so many motivated, but uninformed first timers do – she ran a marathon without proper training. Even though she started feeling pain in her left ankle, she finished and she was hooked. Naomi went on to complete two half marathons within the next two months – disregarding the pain she was experiencing.


After some time, she could no longer ignore the pain in her ankle so she made an appointment with an orthopedist. He diagnosed her with posterior tibialis tendonitis and referred her for physical therapy. She left the appointment feeling discouraged. Naomi had worked so hard and had come so far. The last thing she wanted was to have to stop training. Would she loose all the endurance she had gained over the last several months?


Discouraged but compliant, she attended an appointment with a Physical Therapist (PT), but she felt that the exercises the PT gave her she could have done at home. She began to lose motivation because she wasn’t feeling any improvement.


Still passionate about running, she attended the JackRabbit Sports NYC Running Show in April 2011. Sports PT of NY had a booth at the show so she felt she would seek out a second opinion. One of the physical therapists listened to her story and advised her on some balance exercises that she could do. Naomi took a pamphlet and later on checked out the Sports PT website. For the first time in a while, she started to think that this might be an option that may work for her.


When Naomi returned for her follow-up with the orthopedist, he advised her that she should continue with PT. She decided to try again, but this time with Sports PT of NY.  After just her first session with Eddie Wong at the Brooklyn Heights location, Naomi became hopeful and much more enthusiastic about her situation. Eddie gave her a time frame for “when” not “if” she would run again. He told Naomi that she would be running by July and that is exactly what happened.


With her renewed confidence, Naomi set her sights on the New York City Marathon in November. She knew she didn’t have as much time as other people to train, but this time she was going to train properly.


In the end, Naomi completed the marathon and is injury free. Eddie watched on TV thinking how proud he was of her. Together they set a goal, worked hard and achieved success!


What You Need to Know About Barefoot Running


About once a week I am asked by a patient, “what do you think about barefoot running?” This is an interesting question because it is an emerging trend that appears to have gained some traction. Shoe companies such as Nike and Vibram have made the move to a more minimalist style of running shoe in recent years, and you would have a hard time walking around the streets of New York City without seeing someone wearing this new style of shoe. It’s important for people interested in making the move to barefoot or “natural” running to be well informed on what exactly that transition will mean.


Proponents of barefoot running argue that it is a more natural form of running and, therefore, better for the runner. Companies and barefoot enthusiasts claim that running barefoot, or running with minimalist shoes, improves your running pattern. Barefoot running is supposed to change a “heel-strike” runner to a midfoot or forefoot striking runner. Mid- or forefoot striking decreases forces up the leg at the ankle, knee and hip, common sites of injury and pain for many runners. Benefits also include increasing intrinsic foot muscle strength, which is important for people suffering from over-pronation, commonly known as “flat feet”.


The research is still not clear whether or not all of these claims are accurate, and the debate is hotly contested by physical therapists, podiatrists, and physicians. The danger involved with this form of running, as with any fitness fad, lies within the consumer. Many runners will buy the new shoes and naturally want to try out their new toy. The problem is that most people who buy these shoes are trying barefoot running for the first time. Their feet have spent their entire running life in shoes with a large amount of heel cushioning and technology designed to correct over-pronation. Their feet need time to adjust to the high impact activity of running without all of that protection. Shoe companies and barefoot enthusiasts do recommend that anyone trying barefoot running for the first time should build their tolerance to this increased shock by gradually increasing mileage and performing foot strengthening exercises such as heel raises to ease their feet into the new technique. Not doing so could lead to stress fractures in the foot and ankle, along with other pathologies such as plantar fasciitis.


So the take home point that I always tell my patients is that barefoot running is safe, but you need to be smart about it. Read the literature that comes with the shoes and make sure your feet and legs are strong enough to handle the increased stress. Any Sports Physical Therapy of NY location would be an excellent resource for a clinical consultation to make sure barefoot running is right for you, as well as to provide advice regarding exercise and barefoot running protocols.


Local Organization Gets People Moving


You have two choices: feel sorry for yourself, or take the bull by the horns and forge on. Life will move forward with or without you. These were some of the many thoughts going through the mind of Greg Callen after a tragic fall from a tall building in which he sustained a complete spinal cord injury at the level of T12, leaving him paraplegic and wheelchair dependent for the remainder of his life.


Greg is the Founder and President of Move Along, Inc. in Syracuse, NY. Move Along is an organization that Greg started after his injury when he realized that there were limited opportunities for people like him in the Syracuse area. Consequently, he developed Move Along, Inc. to bring adaptive sports and awareness to the Central New York region.


At Sports PT of New York, we take pride in our community awareness and service. What better organization to align with than a program designed to help people move who have inherent challenges. Physical therapists are movement and biomechanics experts. Most of our time is spent with able-bodied individuals, but have you ever thought about the difficulties with simply sitting in a chair when you are missing your entire left leg? Your leg accounts for about ¼ of your body weight and puts amputees at a huge asymmetrical disadvantage. Have you ever thought what it would be like to have no feeling from the navel down? Getting out of bed, sitting, transferring to the toilet and other activities of daily living would be significantly challenged.


Aside from these challenges with daily life, the individuals of Move Along, Inc. take on an even greater challenge – tackling competitive sports head on. Sports like wheelchair road races, wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, adaptive kayaking, aquatics, and wheelchair tennis are just a few of the sports our Move Along, Inc. members participate in. The individuals that I work and play with during Move Along, Inc. functions are truly remarkable people who overcome significant challenges on a daily basis. They are truly inspiring.


So check out Sports PT and all of the member charities and non-profit organizations, including Move Along Inc., that we support. The next time you stub your toe and find it difficult to walk, imagine how difficult it would be to run 100 meters in under 11 seconds without a leg.


The Graston Technique – A New Treatment for
Soft Tissue Injuries


The Graston Technique is an instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization technique that allows clinicians to detect and treat scar tissue and soft tissue adhesions. The Graston Technique is used to increase skin temperature, stretch collagen fibers and muscle fibers, increase cellular activity, and to facilitate reflex changes. The Graston Technique is widely used by licensed Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Athletic Trainers, and Occupational Therapists. The technique involves 6 stainless steel instruments that are contoured for each specific body part and lubricant. The Graston Technique works well with tennis elbow, runner’s knee, neck strains and lower back strains. Patients are recommended to be seen 2-3 times a week for 4 weeks. The Graston Technique should be followed by stretching and low resistance exercises to the area of treatment.


Recently, I treated a patient who was suffering from lateral epicondylitis for 3 years. After 6 treatments with the Graston Technique, he was able to perform pain-free gripping activities. There is limited research on this technique, however a recent study has shown early tissue healing for acute ligament injuries in rats.


We are now offering the Graston Technique at our Union Square facility. If you have any questions or would like more information, please call our facility at 212-677-3989 and speak with a therapist or email us at



3 Things to Know Before You Go


You’ve scheduled your first physical therapy appointment. The office staff did a thorough job gathering your information, verifying your insurance coverage, and giving you an idea of how long your first visit would last. Truth be told, you’re still pretty anxious. You have never been injured before nor stepped foot inside a PT clinic. Let us ease your mind with 3 things to know before you go to Sports PT:


1) We spend time with you – Before a treatment plan can be established, your therapist will spend time getting to know you, your medical history, and your goals. He/She will observe, measure and perform special tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. Once a plan is formulated, your treatment will begin, almost always on your first visit.


2) You need to be committed – Physical therapy is definitely a team sport! We work together to help you reach milestones in your recovery; however, your success is really dependent on your personal commitment to your treatment plan. Attending your scheduled visits, working hard with your physical therapist, and being compliant with your home exercise program are all vital to your recovery. We’ll be with you every step of the way.


3) You will enjoy your time with us On average, our patients are with us 2-3x per week for 4-6 weeks. At Sports PT, we want you to walk out stronger than ever, but we really want to ensure you had a positive experience while you were here. A kind word from our patients is the best therapy WE can receive. Thank you!


“Great place, made PT fun!”  -Tyler D.


“I loved Sports PT. My therapist managed my care with professionalism and a wonderful sense of humor. I would recommend [Sports PT] to anyone who needs an effective and enjoyable physical therapy program.”   -Susan F.


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