Sprained ankles are very common and repeated sprains can lead to a swollen, painful ankle, problems walking on rough ground and the risk of re-injury. The physiotherapist begins with asking: How did the injury occur? Was there a high level of force involved? What happened afterwards – could the patient walk or did they go to hospital? Was there an x-ray?
The amount of pain the patient suffered after the injury is extremely important and if the level of pain is very high or if it doesn’t settle, there might be a fracture. Pain should settle with time and if not the physio will refer the patient back to the orthopaedic doctor. The areas of pain should match the mechanism of injury, indicate which structures might be injured and should be tested by the physiotherapist later.
Special questions are asked about the past medical history and previous injuries, any drugs the patient is taking, their appetite level, whether they are losing weight, their sleep quality and pain in the morning, their bladder and bowel normality and any relevant family history. This is to clear the patient of any serious underlying condition so that treatment can be safely performed.
Low back pain is very common and most people have some experience of a back pain episode at some time of life. Attendances at physiotherapy clinics for low back pain are very high so physios have a variety of assessment and treatment techniques to manage spinal pain and improve patients’ function.
A serious medical condition such as cancer or infection is a very uncommon cause of back pain, but several medical problems can present this way and physiotherapists need to be aware of this so they can refer the patient on to the appropriate doctor. The physio will ask about past medical history (cancer, arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy), any loss of weight or appetite, bladder and bowel control, feeling unwell, sleep disturbance and worse pain when lying down to sleep.
The physio is looking for the patient to react as if they have mechanical spinal pain, a condition where normal physical stresses such as sitting or walking have a worsening or easing affect on the pain. The examination starts by observing the posture and movement of the patient during the questioning and the physio follows this by examining the spinal posture and ranges of movement. Abnormalities of posture are common and not always important, with leg length differences, a reduction or increase in the back curves and a scoliosis being common findings.
There have been great advances in the medical management of arthritis in pets but only recently has the veterinary world embraced the multitude of theories and complimentary therapies widely used within the medical world. One of the most proven methods of maintaining mobility in arthritic joints is physiotherapy (otherwise known as physical therapy) and the more advanced the mobility problems are, the more important this complimentary therapy becomes. In this article I hope to introduce you to the concepts and terminology of physiotherapy so that you can approach your veterinarian and see whether it may benefit your pet.
Warming up before exercise
We all know we should warm up before exercise and this applies for pets too, especially if they have stiffened joints due to arthritis. Warming up literally means warming up the muscles. This reduces the stiffness in the ligaments, tendons and muscles and also greatly increases blood supply and oxygen to the limbs. A method used in physiotherapy is Read more…