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.




So You’ve Had Arthroscopic Hip Surgery. . .

By Doug Friend, SPT


The number of people who are diagnosed with a hip pathology and subsequently undergo arthroscopic surgery is growing each year. Thanks to a renewed focus on the biomechanics of the hip joint, coupled with technological advancements in surgical techniques, diagnosing and treating hip pathologies is easier and less invasive.


If you suffer from hip pain, many orthopedic surgeons and other clinicians will likely recommend trying non-surgical treatment options to relieve your pain before recommending that you go under the knife.  A combination of rest, a modified level of activity, and physical therapy may allow you to avoid the cost and stress of surgery. Physical therapy can help correct your body mechanics and muscular imbalances to ensure the most efficient use of your muscles to help support your joints, thereby possibly avoiding the need for surgery to relieve your symptoms.


If non-surgical treatment does not relieve your symptoms and surgery is required, here are some tips to help you prepare for your rehabilitation following surgery.


 Things to avoid:

  • Sitting on low, soft surfaces
  • Pivoting on the operated leg
  • Crossing your operated leg over your other knee
  • Lifting your operated leg straight up while lying down or sitting

Getting in and out of bed:

  •   Rest the operated leg on top of the non-operated leg
  •   Use the non-operated leg to lift the operated leg

Setting your crutch height:

  •  Position yourself standing up straight with one arm relaxed, using the other arm to help support yourself.
  • Place the crutch so that the bottom end is resting on the floor about 2 inches outside your foot and 6 inches in front of your foot.
  • The overall height is then adjusted so there is a 2-inch space between your armpit and the top of the crutch.
  • The height of the crutch handle should line up with the bony aspect of your wrist right below your thumb so that when you place your hand on the handle, your elbow is bent between 20-30 degrees.



These are just some basic tips. Remember that your surgeon will help outline your individual rehabilitation protocol based on a variety of factors, including operative findings and procedures performed. Your surgeon should communicate closely with your therapy team to help ensure the best plan of care is developed and delivered to you during your physical therapy treatment.



Edelstein J, Ranawat A, Enseki K, Yun R, Draovitch P. Post-operative guidelines following hip arthroscopy. Current Reviews In Musculoskeletal Medicine [serial online]. March 2012;5(1):15-23. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 11, 2014.

O’Sullivan, S. B., & Schmitz, T. J. (2007). Physical rehabilitation. 545-546.Philadelphia: F.A. Davis

Spencer-Gardner L, Eischen J, Levy B, Sierra R, Engasser W, Krych A. A comprehensive five-phase rehabilitation programme after hip arthroscopy for femoroacetabular impingement. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy: Official Journal Of The ESSKA [serial online]. April 2014;22(4):848-859. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 17, 2014.

Wahoff M, Ryan M. Rehabilitation after hip femoroacetabular impingement arthroscopy. Clinics In Sports Medicine [serial online]. April 2011;30(2):463-482. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 17, 2014

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







ACL Injury and Sportsmetrics

Matt Sweet MS, ATC, PTA 

Approximately 300,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears happen each year in the United States. The cost to repair and rehabilitate this injury runs about $20,000 per person. With that in mind, Sportsmetrics was created to reduce the occurrence of non-contact ACL injuries with a scientifically proven training method.


As a certified and licensed Athletic Trainer, one of my duties is to help prevent athletic injuries. At a recent course at Cincinnati Sports Medicine, I gained some valuable tools for preventing ACL injuries and safely returning to play after an ACL repair. The good news is we are excited to start a Sportsmetrics program in the Syracuse area very soon.


So what is Sportsmetrics?


Sportsmetrics is a four-component program that takes place three days a week for six weeks total. The components include:

  •  A dynamic warm-up
  • Jump training (three phases advanced over six weeks)
  • Speed and agility training
  • Strength training


Why does Sportsmetrics work (Hewitt et al., 1999)?

  • Corrects deficits in strength
  • Decreases landing forces with jumping
  • Increases power, strength, and jump height


We are excited to develop our Sportsmetrics program in the Syracuse area so we can better the performance of the athlete while reducing costly season-ending injuries.


We trained many athletes using the Sportsmetrics program in Saratoga this summer with huge success.

Stay tuned to find out when the Sportsmetrics program arrives at Sports PT’s Syracuse location. Visit their website to learn more about Sportsmetrics.


To contact Sports PT, please email us at info@sptny.com


Concussion and Falls Risk

By: Teresa Hall, PT, DPT, OCS


Did you know that 40% of concussions come from falls? Our own Teresa Hall and Becky Korosi recently presented statistics on concussions and head injuries to the Rural Metro Group in Tonawanda. The numbers related to the risk for falls, which was a profession-wide initiative in September.


What are signs of a concussion?

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can’t recall events after hit or fall


Concussion and Falls Statistics

  • 40% of concussions are a result of falls
  • 55% of traumatic brain injuries among children 0 to 14 years were caused by falls
  • 81% of traumatic brain injuries in adults ages 65 and older are caused by falls


Risks can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic risks can be related to your own strength, balance, fear of falling, or perhaps dizziness. Extrinsic risks could be identified as a rug positioning in your home, medication interaction, slippery surfaces, or uneven ground.


You can prevent or drastically reduce falls by getting screened for an individual falls risk assessment. Since falling is often associated with serious head injuries, it is worth the 20 minutes to see what risk factors are in your life.


Physical Therapists are experts in assessing concussion symptoms, as well as performing falls risk assessments. Please contact us at info@sptny.com to schedule a concussion evaluation or falls risk screening.


  • Source: CDC website


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!




Dizzy? Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy May Help

By: Hannah Steiner, SPT


If you experience vertigo, dizziness, or have had falls or balance problems, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) may be able to help. Vestibular refers to the inner ear and its effect on a person’s overall sense of balance. VRT is designed to enhance postural and gaze stability, reduce vertigo, and most importantly, improve a patient’s quality of daily living. VRT consists of three types of treatments with different goals: habituation, adaptation, and substitution.


Vestibular habituation uses positions that induce vertigo to decrease a patient’s symptoms. Habituation exercises have been shown to improve balance in 4-6 weeks. Exercises may include changing positions or head movements while emphasizing the speed of the movement.


Vestibular adaptation focuses on improving the remaining vestibular function with gaze stability and postural stability exercises. Gaze stability exercises include focusing your gaze on a target during head movements, head and target movements, and with incorporating busy visual fields. It is recommended that gaze stability exercises be done 4-5 times a day for a total of 20-40 minutes a day. Postural stability exercises include balancing with eyes open, eyes closed, on different surfaces, and with differing bases of support. Additional adaptation exercises can include walking while turning, walking in a spiral path, and walking on different surfaces.


Vestibular substitution uses visual and other cues to substitute for lost vestibular functioning. Exercises include improving smooth pursuit and imaginary pursuit eye movements, improving visual dependency by balancing with conflicting visual stimuli, and improving overall balance on different surfaces.


Physical therapy can help you to improve your vestibular and balance problems and enhance your quality of life. For more information on VRT, please visit www.sptny.com or contact us at info@sptny.com.



  • Cabrera Kang, C.M., & Tulsa, R.J. (2013). Vestibular rehabilitation: Rationale and indications. Seminars in Neurology, 33(3): 276-285.
  • Han, B.I., Song, H.S., & Kim, J.S. (2011). Vestibular rehabilitation therapy: Review of indications, mechanisms, and key exercises. Journal of Clinical Neurology, 7:184-196.