Physiotherapy for Achilles Tendonitis

Do you experience pain behind your heel ? Does it affect your walking and other activities?  If you or loved one experience that then It can be Achilles Tendonitis. Please continue reading to know more about it and how physiotherapy helps with Achilles Tendonitis. 

Achilles Tendinopathy is characterised by pain at the back of the heel. The Achilles tendon essentially bears the entire weight of the body in all the weight bearing activities. This makes it prone to a lot of stress and overuse injuries.

There are different types of this condition – midportion (more common) or Insertional.

Insertional Tendonitis involves injury to the portion of the Achilles that inserts into the calcaneus, which is the bone at the heel.

Midportion Tendonitis involves injury to the portion of Achilles a few cm above the insertion.

It is important to distinguish between the two types as the treatment can be slightly different for each type. We are discussing the symptoms, causes and treatment options for the mid-portion Tendonitis as it is more common.

What are the Symptoms?

  • The most noticeable symptom is the pain in the Achilles tendon. This pain is usually aggravated on walking, running or any other weight-bearing activities.
  • Swelling and thickening of the affected Achilles might be observed as compared to the opposite side
  • Stiffness in the Achilles tendon and calf, especially in the morning, is also very common


What are the Causes?

A few common factors that are associated with Achilles Tendonitis are  as follow. Your physiotherapist may discuss one or many possible  factors that may cause the Achilles tendinitis. 

        Poor Footwear

        Flat Feet (Overpronated Feet)

        Overuse : years of running, increased time on foot, any recent change in your activity load (eg. Increase in running time or running distance)

        Calf muscle tightness

        Weak muscles of the calf, hamstring, gluts


        Any direct blow or trauma to the Achilles tendon


Treatment Options –

There is not a consensus about the most optimal treatment option to deal with Achilles Tendinopathy. But evidence shows that exercise is one of the most effective ways to tackle the symptoms associated with midportion Achilles tendonitis. A few things that you can do at home are –

  1.   Ice

If you are experiencing acute symptoms of Achilles pain along with swelling, you can put cold pack at the area to for pain relief and decrease the swelling

  1. Avoid Walking barefoot or in flat footwear

Use sport shoes to ensure proper foot posture. Orthotics are also very helpful in improving your foot biomechanics. 

  1. Stretching –

Stretching is important to reduce the stiffness in the tendon and the calf muscle. Your Calf is made of 2 different muscles – Gastrocnemius and Soleus.  there are different ways to stretch each.

You can use a towel to stretch out as shown below. Hold the stretch for 20 sec and perform 3 times each. 

Calf Stretch

Ankle stretches
Calf muscle stretching


2. Common Ankle  Strengthening exercises recommended by physiotherapist for Achilles tendinitis. 

As mentioned above, exercise has been shown to improve the midportion Achilles tendinopathy. A steady progression of rehab exercises for 6-8 weeks is necessary to completely resolve the symptoms of this condition.

You can begin with some Isometric exercises in the beginning as shown below to start putting load on the muscles of the ankle.

Isometric Ankle muscle strengthening exercises

Ankle muscle strengthening exercise
Ankle Plantar Flexion Isometric (Wall)
Ankle muscle strengthening
Ankle Inversion Isometric (Towel)
Ankle strengthening
Ankle Dorsiflexion Isometric
Ankle muscle strengthening
Ankle Eversion Isometric

Further progression can be made to eccentric training exercises. Studies have shown that eccentric loading shows better results in cases of midportion Achilles Tendonitis.

Eccentric Gastrocnemius muscle strengthening exercise 

Ankle muscle strengthening
Calf Raise Eccentric | Single Leg (Chair)
Ankle muscle strengthening
Calf Raise Eccentric | Single Leg (Step)

To get a personalised approach to your exercise regime, it is always better to consult an exercise expert to get you through your rehab process. 

Remember, if in doubt regarding any aspects of the above options,  it is always better to get an opinion by an expert. There are many other treatment techniques that can help you accelerate your healing process.  Common Physiotherapy for Achilles tendinitis includes techniques like Shockwave, Laser Therapy, Taping, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, all have been shown to be effective in adjunct to Exercise Therapy. 

Our Heel and foot pain expert at Complete Care Physiotherapy Centre can help you to recover from your heel pain and get you back to your favourite activities as soon as possible. We have successfully treated many heel and ankle injuries in the Etobicoke, Mississauga, Toronto and Vaughan region. 

Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Is that first step too painful in the morning??…You may have Plantar Fasciitis. Continue reading to learn more about your Heel Pain.

Is that first step in the morning too painful for you? Does your heel feel sore and achy every time you step on it? Do you have any burning or stabbing pain in your feet? You may have a condition called Plantar Fasciitis.

With summer almost upon us, we all want to get out of the house for our regular exercise. This is the season for walking, running, hiking. However, if you are wrestling with heel pain like this, it can put a damper in the sunshine. It can definitely be debilitating to live with this pain – whether it is excruciating enough to stop your daily activity or just a mild pain. But you are not alone and this is a very common condition which can be effectively managed.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fascia is the band that covers the sole of your feet – from your heel to your toe. A local inflammation of this fascia, most often due to overuse, is called Plantar Fasciitis. 

The most common characteristics of Plantar Fasciitis are 

  • Heel Pain, which is often the first symptom you may notice. Heel pain can start with just that first step in the morning and decreases with activity. Later it can progress on to a constant pain while weight-bearing on the foot. 
  • Your heel may be extremely tender or painful to touch and pressure.
  • There may even be some swelling over the heel at the site of most pain in severe cases.


What are the causes?

You are probably wondering why you got this condition in the first place. Some of the most common causes and risk factors to develop Plantar Fasciitis are

  • Increased Weight Bearing activities

An increased time on feet is one of the common factors to develop Plantar Fasciitis. This can include work requiring a lot of standing, walking or recreational activities like running. Even athletes are at a risk of developing this overuse condition. 

  • Improper Foot Posture

Any abnormal arches in the foot are a risk factor to develop Plantar Fasciitis. The most common is flat foot (reduced footarch) or overpronation of the feet. But, even an excessively high arch can cause this overuse syndrome. You should get a proper foot examination to understand if you have any of these and the different options available to correct or manage it.

  • Inappropriate Footwear

Proper footwear is very important, not just for your feet but for your entire body mechanics. This is especially true if you spend a lot of your time on your feet for work, sport or any recreational activity. If you recently changed your footwear, that could also be the culprit for your pain. 

  • Obesity

Obesity increases the pressure on your feet during regular weight-bearing activities and increase the chances of heel pain.

  • Muscle Imbalance or tight muscle

Plantar Fasciitis has also been associated with tight calf or Hamstring muscle and weakness in the  foot intrinsic muscles.

Oftentimes, it is not just one factor but a variety of factors that can play a role in you developing this condition.

What can you do to manage it?

It is important to manage Plantar Fasciitis as soon as possible. A few things that have shown to help with Plantar Fasciitis are

  • Avoid activities that aggravate your pain

Take frequent breaks from weight-bearing activities. Avoid running, jogging if they are aggravating your pain. You should also avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces.

  • Ice Bottle Roller

Cold compression helps to relieve the pain. Also, rolling the bottle helps to gently relax and massage the plantar fascia.

Heel pain relief


  •  Self Massage

Gently massage your foot to help relax the fascia. You can even use a tennis ball to roll over the foot if there is not too much pain with it.

  •  Stretching 

You need to stretch the calf muscles to improve the ankle and foot mobility. The plantar fascia can also be stretched gently to relieve the tightness. Hold each stretch for 20 sec and repeat 3 times each. 

Calf Stretch – Use a towel to pull your foot towards yourself as shown in the picture. Remember to keep your knee straight. You should feel a good stretch at your calf.

Ankle stretches

Plantar Fascia Stretch – Gently pull toes up and feel the stretch along the sole of your foot. 


  • Ankle Mobility Exercises 

These exercises will help to improve your ankle ranges. Move your foot up, down, inwards and outwards to maintain and improve ankle ROM.  Perform these exercises 8-10 times.

  • Ankle and Foot Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the muscles of the ankle and foot will help to provide better support to the feet in weight-bearing activities.      

  • Footwear and Orthotics

Change your footwear to the ones that provide good support to your arches. Orthotics, are foot inserts that provide support to your foot arches and help maintain a good foot posture. Custom-made orthotics specifically modelled for  your feet can relieve the pressure and provide cushion to your heel.  A specialist would be able to guide you better about the kind of footwear and orthotics that are good for your feet.

In addition to the above, you would also benefit from getting help from a physiotherapist to address your heel pain. Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis will involve a combination of stretching and strengthening specifically designed for you. A physiotherapist can also use a variety of different treatment modalities and techniques to address your heel pain and help you overcome it. These can involve Shockwave Therapy, Laser Therapy, Taping, various Manual Therapy techniques, etc. 

If you want to know more about Physiotherapy for heel pain, you can contact us here at Complete Care Physiotherapy Center. We can help you to recover from your heel pain and get you back to your favourite activities as soon as possible. 

Physiotherapy for Sciatica

Overcome your sciatica with a targeted physiotherapy program

Sciatica is a term that’s frequently used when discussing back pain, but it’s not an actual medical diagnosis. Instead, sciatica describes a set of symptoms that occur when an underlying condition in the spine affects the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body. It runs from each side of the lower spine through the buttocks, into the thigh, and down to the foot. It plays an important part in communicating messages from the spinal cord to the legs and feet, and when it’s damaged or compressed from too much pressure, the result is called sciatica.

A number of conditions in the lower back can cause sciatica, including a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, bone spurs, and spinal stenosis. Over time, the presence of any of these conditions may pinch—or impinge—the sciatic nerve and prevent it from doing its job. This impingement will also lead to symptoms that can span the length of the nerve, such as the following:

  • Pain that radiates from the lower back down the leg and possibly into the foot
  • A constant pain on only one side of the buttock or leg pain that gets worse with sitting
  • A burning, stinging, or searing pain in the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot, or toes
  • A sharp pain that makes it difficult to stand or walk

Sciatica most commonly occurs between ages 40-50, which is often due to age-related changes that increase the likelihood of the nerve becoming pinched. Other factors that may increase the chances of developing sciatica are obesity—which places increased pressure on the spine—diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle (too much time sitting), and too much twisting of the back.

Addressing the root cause of sciatica with physiotherapy

About 10-40% of the population is affected by sciatica, but most patients will experience significant improvements if they complete a course of physiotherapy. Since sciatica is caused by some other condition, a physiotherapist will first focus on identifying the issue that’s responsible with a thorough evaluation. From there, they will create a personalized treatment program to address whatever condition is present with the goal of alleviating sciatica symptoms and increasing function. Common physiotherapy interventions used for sciatica include:

  • Manual therapy: hands-on techniques like deep tissue massage may be used to target muscles and other structures in the lower back, hips, and buttocks that may be pinching the sciatic nerve and/or nerves that branch off from it
  • Strengthening exercises: increasing the strength of the back, abdominal, and core muscles will directly address sciatica since these muscles support the lower spine
  • Aerobic exercise: low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, biking, or yoga may be recommended to increase your overall activity levels; exercising in water is particularly helpful for sciatica since it’s soothing and puts less strain on the spine
  • Stretching exercises: tightness in the lower back, buttocks, hamstrings, and calves can make sciatica symptom worse, so these exercises will target any stiff muscles to improve their range of motion
  • Education: your therapist will offer tips and education on how to reduce complications from sciatica, such as using proper posture at all times, avoiding too much time sitting, getting enough sleep, and avoiding smoking

Sticking with a physiotherapy program will lead to short-term benefits that can be sustained in the long term if you adopt healthy habits and remain active. So, if you’re affected by sciatica and would like to take control of it, we can help. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.

Physiotherapy for Rotator Cuff Injuries

Physiotherapy is the best available option for any type of rotator cuff injury

Most athletes and sports fans have at least heard about the rotator cuff, which is likely because of how often it’s injured. Rotator cuff injuries occur frequently in a number of sports and in older adults, which leaves many patients unable to use their shoulder normally. But physiotherapy is the best solution to address any rotator cuff issue that may come about.

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and their associated tendons, which connect the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula). These tendons form a “cuff” around the head of the humerus, and all the muscles work together to control and stabilize the shoulder. As a ball-and-socket joint, the rotator cuff helps secure the “ball” portion of the joint—the humerus—while allowing the arm to lift and rotate within the “socket,” or scapula.

Nearly every time you move your arm, you’re engaging the rotator cuff, and this frequent use is primarily why it’s a problem area. Injuries to the rotator cuff are most common in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions like painters, carpenters, and athletes involved in tennis, baseball, and swimming. When any of these activities are performed regularly for a long period of time, the rotator cuff tendons eventually become overstrained and damaged or inflamed. This also tends to occur as a natural part of aging, which is why rotator cuff problems are frequently seen in adults over the age of 40.

Rotator cuff tendinitis—or shoulder impingement—is one of the most common issues in this region. It’s defined by irritation of a rotator cuff tendon that usually occurs gradually over time, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty raising or lowering the arm. Tears of the rotator cuff are also extremely common. Some tears occur immediately due to a sudden injury like falling on an outstretched arm or lifting something that’s too heavy, but most develop gradually due to a tendon wearing down from repeated use. Pain and weakness when trying to lift or lower the arm are the hallmark signs of a rotator cuff tear, which can make many daily activities quite difficult.

Physiotherapy and surgery lead to similar outcomes for rotator cuff tears

Regardless of what type of rotator cuff issue is present, physiotherapy is the best means to get you back to full functionality. Even if a tear is present, research has shown that physiotherapy is just as effective as surgery and can lead to similar outcomes for some patients. Treatment programs for rotator cuff injuries will vary based on the seriousness of the injury and several other factors, but most will include the following components:

  • Stretching exercises: not moving the rotator cuff because of pain will make it stiffer and less flexible, so these exercises will address those limitations
  • Strengthening exercises: since weakness is also common in rotator cuff injuries, we will work with each patient to gradually build back their shoulder strength
  • Passive treatments: ice, heat, ultrasound, and other interventions may be applied to the shoulder to alleviate pain and other symptoms
  • Activity modification: your therapist will educate you on how to avoid positions and movements that can aggravate your pain and make your condition worse, like sleeping on your side and carrying heavy loads

If shoulder pain has been bogging you down and you think a rotator cuff injury may be present, we can help by getting you started on a physiotherapy program immediately. Contact us to learn more or to make an appointment today.

Physiotherapy for Knee Arthritis

Combine physiotherapy and weight loss to effectively address knee arthritis

The term “arthritis” describes a number of conditions that affect the joints or tissues around the joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis (OA) is by far the most common. OA affects approximately 5 million Canadians—or about one in six people—which makes it an important issue that demands attention.

Every joint is made up of two bones that meet to allow movement. The ends of each bone are normally covered by cartilage, which protects them from touching and serves as a shock absorber to the joint. OA causes the cartilage in certain joints to become stiff and lose its elasticity, which makes it more vulnerable to damage. Over time, the cartilage may begin to wear away, which greatly reduces its ability to absorb shock and increases the chances of the bones coming in contact with one another.

Any joint in the body can be affected by OA, but it’s especially common in the knees. The two biggest risk factors for knee OA are older age and being overweight. The aging process leads to certain changes in the body that cannot be reversed, as bones become less dense and more fragile, with less water in the cartilage as it also begins to shrink in size. This results in less protection of the bones and can eventually lead to inflammation and symptoms like pain and stiffness. Being overweight or obese, on the other hand, places extra pressure on the knees that stresses several structures in the joint. This can accelerate the process of cartilage wearing away, which will increase the chances of getting knee OA or make it worse.

Patients who develop knee OA typically experience pain that intensifies with physical activity, swelling around the knee, stiffness, and a feeling of warmth in the joint. These symptoms in turn lead to less mobility of the knee, which make it more difficult to walk and perform basic movements like getting in and out of cars and climbing stairs.

Targeted exercises from a physiotherapist are ideal for increasing mobility

Losing weight is considered a fundamental step for anyone who has knee OA or is at risk for getting it, as each pound lost equates to less pressure on the knees. To this end, and in general, movement is also absolutely necessary. Increased physical activity levels—with a well-balanced diet—will lead to weight loss and better mobility, but specific exercises can address the symptoms of knee OA even more directly. Physiotherapists are movement experts that work with each patient to help them move more easily and function better in daily life. For knee OA patients, a physiotherapist will carefully create a treatment plan that considers their limitations and targets them with movement-based interventions. A typical physiotherapy program for knee OA will likely consist of the following:

  • Strengthening exercises: strengthening the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh will add support and stability to the knee and reduce stiffness; strengthening the hip and core muscles can also help balance the amount of force on the knee joint
  • Range of motion exercises: these exercises will improve one’s ability to bend and straighten the knee to improve overall flexibility and allow for increased motion
  • Manual therapy: a physiotherapist will perform these hands-on techniques by gently moving muscles and joints to improve their motion, flexibility, and strength
  • General exercise recommendations: a physiotherapist will help you gradually reach the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (like walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (like jogging) every week in a way that’s right for you

While there’s nothing you can do to change your age, you do have the power to take control of your knee OA with a movement-based strategy, and a physiotherapist can play a crucial role guiding you through this process. If you’re dealing with knee OA symptoms, contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Physiotherapy after ACL reconstruction

To avoid another ACL injury after surgery, complete your rehabilitation with a physiotherapist

When you hear about tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), it often involves an injured athlete and a timetable for when they can get back on the field or court. But one thing that doesn’t get as much attention is the athlete’s risk for re-injury after returning. The chances of suffering another ACL injury after surgery is fairly high in certain populations, but completing a structured physiotherapy program after surgery can significantly reduce this risk.

The ACL is one of the four main ligaments within the knee that connects the tibia (shinbone) to the femur (thighbone). It runs diagonally in the middle of the knee and prevents the tibia from sliding forward on the femur, and it provides a great deal of stability for the knee to keep it from rotating out of position.

When the ACL is pushed beyond its limits, it can be either partially or completely torn. ACL tears are extremely common in high-demand sports with lots of cutting movements like basketball, soccer, and volleyball, and usually occur from a sudden impact to the knee. This can be from a cutting or pivoting maneuver, from the knee being twisted, when an athlete lands on one leg, or from a direct blow to the knee. Symptoms include significant pain, instability, swelling, tenderness, and muscle weakness, which prevents an athlete from participating for extended periods of time.

For most athletes that plan to continue playing sports, a surgical procedure called ACL reconstruction is often needed. ACL reconstruction is usually successful and many athletes are able to return to their sport afterwards, but it also comes with some potential complications, like tearing the new ligament or the ACL of the other knee. Younger athletes are at a particularly high risk of re-injury: one study found that almost 25% of individuals under age 25 who returned to a high-risk sport suffered another ACL injury at some point in their career.

Undergoing physiotherapy will minimize the risk for re-injury

For an ACL reconstruction surgery to be a success, patients must allow enough time to heal and restore the normal muscle strength of the knee so it’s properly protected. This is why physiotherapy is absolutely necessary during this period to help patients get back to their pre-injury levels and not return to sports until they have completely recovered. A physiotherapist will guide patients through this entire process to keep the risk for future ACL injuries at a minimum. Most ACL rehabilitation programs will consist of the following:

  • Strengthening exercises to build back up weakened leg muscles
  • Stretching exercises to increase flexibility and regain normal knee mobility
  • Plyometrics, or jump training, which are crucial for patients recovering from ACL tears
  • Recommendations on how to modify activities to minimize the risk for future injuries
  • Exercises to improve neuromuscular control, which is the body’s ability to stay in a strong and stable position

ACL tears are serious injuries that can significantly impact an athlete’s career, but the situation can be made far worse if an additional injury is sustained after returning to play. This is why it’s crucial to complete your physiotherapy program and never return to play until you’ve been cleared. If you’ve torn your ACL and are scheduled for surgery, contact us to learn more or to schedule your first appointment afterwards.

Post-Fracture Physiotherapy Can Make A Difference

Post-Fracture Physiotherapy Can Make a Difference

The adult human body contains some 206 bones. These bones provide a supportive framework for the body, protect internal organs, store key minerals, and aid in the production of blood. These bones are also key to movement itself. When a bone is broken, or fractured, movement is hindered and sometimes stopped altogether. This is especially true when the fracture occurs in a bone we rely on for everyday activities such as walking or using our hands. While the first phase of healing a broken bone requires immobilization, the phases that follow require movement in order to strengthen the bone and related musculature. Physiotherapy is vital during this process to increase mobility and strength to the affected area. This article will discuss some common fractures and how post-fracture physiotherapy can help during the recovery process.

Commonly Seen Fractures

No matter where a fracture occurs, there will be a period of rest or immobilization to set the bone and allow it to heal properly. Each fracture is different, and your physician will decide what treatment option best suits you. During that time, movement will be restricted. Common side effects during immobilization include joint stiffness, loss of muscle mass, loss of strength and function, and overall weakness. Post-fracture physiotherapy addresses all those symptoms and is tailored to each individual and their specific injury.

Let’s take a look at some common fractures:

Boxer’s Fracture (5th Metacarpal):

– This is a fracture of the hand, often occurring when the fist is clenched and hits a hard surface with force.
– After receiving clearance from your physician, the goal of physiotherapy is to restore strength and function. Various exercises of the hand will be encouraged, and you will be quite stiff following any immobilization. Your physician and physical therapist will customize exercises according to your injury.

Wrist Fracture:

– The wrist contains 8 small bones that connect to the two forearm bones (radius and ulna). The most commonly seen wrist fracture involves one of these forearm bones and is called distal radial fracture.
– During the immobilization period it is important to perform range of motion exercises of the fingers, elbow, and shoulder to prevent stiffness and reduce swelling. It is common to experience a feeling of stiffness following immobilization, but your physician and physical therapist will customize exercises according to your injury.

Elbow Fractures:

– These can affect the radial bone (below the elbow), the humerus (above the elbow), or the pointy tip of the elbow (the olecranon, part of the ulna forearm bone). The immobilization period will likely include wearing a sling. Depending on your specific fracture your physician and/or physical therapist will likely introduce safe exercises to perform during and after immobilization. These are important in reducing swelling and stiffness.

Shinbone (Tibia) Fractures:

– This fracture occurs below the knee and above the ankle along the shaft of the shinbone.
– During the immobilization period a therapist will most likely help you learn to walk with crutches and avoid putting weight on the affected leg.
– Most likely your first exercises will focus on gaining flexibility and will be manually performed by a therapist.
– As you gain flexibility the exercises will focus on strengthening the extremity and could include pool or water therapy to reduce the stress of gravity or the use of a stationary bike.

Ankle Fracture:

– The ankle is comprised of three bones: the tibia, fibula, and the talus. Fractures of the ankle are common due to falls or twisting of the ankle.
– Many times the immobilization period is over a month’s time and can cause significant weakness or muscle wasting to the calf muscle. Physiotherapy has been shown to increase range of motion in ankle fractures and prevent any long-term disability.

Physiotherapy to the Rescue

Each patient is different, so not all fractures receive the same care plan or set of rehab exercises. In general, however, a physiotherapist will tackle 3 main issues seen from fractures:

Pain control

For anyone who has ever had a broken bone, it can be scary to start using it again especially when pain is involved. For this reason, physical therapists employ a range of practices to aid in pain relief before, during, and after physical therapy sessions.
○ Heat and cold therapies
○ Ultrasound
○ Electrotherapy
○ Massage
○ Acupuncture

Flexibility and Mobility

After any extended immobilization period, there is some expected stiffness and loss of muscle mass. This can make it difficult to go back to using the affected limb as before, and it can even cause other injuries when improper compensation of other parts of the body occurs. Physical therapists are in tune with proper functioning of body parts, including gait. They can provide invaluable advice and exercises specific to your injury, as well as appropriate adjustments during the healing/rehabilitative stage. Your first sessions with a physical therapist will most likely include:
○ Manual therapy
○ Stretching exercises

Strength and Function

Once you have gained some range of motion back, your physical therapist will work closely to help you gain strength and improve the function of your affected limb. Some common physiotherapy can include but is not limited to:
○ Resistance exercises
○ Weight bearing exercises
○ Rehab Pilates


‘Time is the medicine that heals all wounds.’ While that saying is partially true, you’ll need more than just time to help you recover what was lost. With the help of a skilled physiotherapist from Complete Care Physio, you can keep your body as strong as possible while your bones knit themselves back together. Once your bones are healed, focused therapy will enable you to build your strength and regain function. Physiotherapy should be an essential part of your healing process.

The Road to Recovery After a Motor Vehicle Accident

In 2017 alone, there were nearly 155,000 motor vehicle accidents reported in Canada. With estimates stating the average one-way commute for Canadians being around 28 minutes, it’s likely that at some point in your life you or someone you know has been or will be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Even the most cautious drivers may encounter an accident since many factors are out of our control on the road. The after effects of any collision, even so-called minor ones, can be painful and long-lasting. After a few weeks in the shop, your vehicle may be as good as new, but the truth is, the body takes longer to heal. What can be done to recover more quickly and efficiently? For many, the key has been physiotherapy. This article will discuss some common motor vehicle-related injuries and the different types of physiotherapy that can help in the recovery process.

Common Motor Vehicle Injuries

A collision doesn’t need to occur at a high velocity to cause damage. Due to an adrenaline rush after a collision, many have overlooked “minor” issues, only to have intense pain in the days and months that follow. The body is made up of various structures such as bone, muscle, ligaments, tendons, nerves, etc. Any of these structures can be disrupted in a motor vehicle crash. Here is a list of common injuries seen with collisions:


This injury is seen most often in cases when someone is rear ended. When whiplash occurs, the soft tissues of the neck become stretched and extended in a forward and backward motion, sometimes even sideways. The result is usually pain and tenderness to the neck and shoulders, with stiffness and associated headaches.


Most commonly seen in high velocity accidents, fractures can occur in the spine, the legs, the arms, the feet, the hands, etc. Basically, if there’s a bone, it can be broken. The first line of treatment for fractures involves setting the bone and immobilizing it so that it can heal properly. During the immobilization period strength and mobility to the affected area decreases, resulting in decreased muscle mass and stiffness.

Back pain

Made up of 33 bones, the spine is complex, with discs, muscles, ligaments, and nerves all connected and vital in nature. Motor vehicle accidents can cause a range of injuries to the back, including but not limited to vertebral fractures, sprains, strains, and disc herniations, all of which lead to pain. In addition to pain, some experience difficulty performing everyday tasks such as bending over or changing positions. Back pain therefore can lead to other problems related to a decrease in mobility and the fear of re-injuring oneself.

How can Physiotherapy help?

Just as each collision is different in nature and severity, so too are the injuries sustained by the individual. This is why it is vital to seek medical care with a physician following any motor vehicle crash. From there, depending on your injury, your physician can refer you to physiotherapy. What exactly is physiotherapy? It is a degree-based profession in healthcare that assists individuals with injuries, pain, or disabilities through the use of manual therapy, movement, targeted exercise, and professional advice individualized to each person. It is an important adjunct to healing and restoring movement and function to the body. Here is a brief overview of some common therapies/treatments a physiotherapist can provide:

Manual Therapy

This involves manually stretching, manipulating, and mobilizing the spinal structures and their associated joints. This is performed by a trained physiotherapist with the goal of pain relief and improved mobility and function.

Acute Injury Care

For an acute injury, or one that has occurred suddenly, inflammation will be present. Using ice in the first 48 hours can assist to decrease swelling and pain. Rest is vital for healing, and that includes resting from any activity that may exacerbate the affected area. Depending on your injury, your physiotherapist can provide specific advice to decrease swelling and pain in those first few days after an injury.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

This is a common treatment used for acute and chronic pain that involves the use of electric energy transmitted to the nerves. This can be performed in-office or even at home. The device works through electrodes or patches placed on the skin to deliver the electric waveforms to the desired area to provide pain relief, improve circulation, and decrease muscle spasms.


With its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is used to treat a variety of health conditions and is a great alternative for managing pain. Acupuncture uses sterile needles inserted along specific points in the body to stimulate those areas and produce a healing effect. With the use of acupuncture some have been able to avoid taking pain medications.

Dry Needling

With its roots in Western medicine, dry needling uses sterile needles as well, but unlike acupuncture, dry needling is used specifically on trigger points in myofascial structures. The goal is to stimulate stressed muscles to relax, to increase circulation, and encourage proper nerve function.

Rehab Exercises and Lifestyle Modifications

An unforeseen effect of having endured a motor vehicle accident, is a reduction in physical activity. Some individuals are in pain and thus are afraid to do anything that would exacerbate their injury. Although rest is initially advised, after a certain time period it’s important to engage your body in healthful exercise such as pilates, or stretches specific to your injury. A physiotherapist can also help you to adjust the way you perform daily tasks to avoid any further injury.


It’s clear that physiotherapy plays an integral part in the recovery process when it comes to gaining strength, function, mobility, and decreasing pain after a motor vehicle accident. Our team at Complete Care Physiotherapy is ready to help you get on that road to recovery. We have several locations, each with skilled and experienced staff members that can give you the confidence to move forward beyond your injury.

Physiotherapy For Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Physiotherapy for Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Do you have a surgery planned for the near future? Or have you already been under the knife? Either way, an essential part of your recovery is physiotherapy. In this article, we’ll discuss why physiotherapy is necessary post-op and what you should expect.

Why Needed?

There are many types of surgeries that require physiotherapy afterward. Though many may think that only those who have undergone orthopaedic surgery need physiotherapy, it has been shown that patients who have undergone other major procedures such as cardiac operations, transplants, abdominal surgery, neurological surgery, etc, have benefited from physiotherapy as well. Due to the lengthy recovery time required from some of these surgeries, physiotherapy goes a long way in assisting you to get you up, moving and living again. Physiotherapy is sometimes overlooked by patients as unnecessary. In fact, it should go hand in hand as part of the healing process after many surgeries. Listed below are some benefits of physiotherapy for post-surgical rehabilitation: Increases mobility and function for muscles and joints Improves posture and balance Corrects imbalanced compensations of the body Decreases the risk of blood clots post-surgery by promoting good circulation Trains patients how to adjust post-operatively for activities of daily living Provides specialized stretches and exercises to build strength Assists with pain control via manual therapy, electrotherapy, etc.

What Can I Expect?

Most likely you can expect a visit from a physical therapist during your stay in the hospital post surgery. Depending on your surgery, they will most likely assist you with getting out of bed, walking, sitting and standing properly, etc. After your initial recovery phase in the hospital, you can expect a physical therapist to do a more thorough evaluation and give you a set of exercises to perform under their care, and throughout the day, as part of your rehabilitation regimen. Listed below are some major surgeries that require physiotherapy:

Cardiac Surgery

Usually, a physiotherapist will encourage chest exercises involving deep breathing and range of motion exercises. They will provide advice on what to do if you need to cough or sneeze, as this can be very painful. The goals of physiotherapy, in this case, are to prevent any post-operative complications, improve lung function, and encourage physical activity.

Abdominal Surgery

Laparoscopic and open abdominal surgeries will require in-hospital physiotherapy for breathing exercises to reduce lung complications and to assist in the basic activities of daily life such as sitting up, standing up, walking, etc. Depending on your surgery, your physiotherapist will provide a list of dos and don’ts post-op, and gradual exercises to strengthen your core and promote mobility.

Orthopaedic Surgeries

Knee Surgeries

There are a variety of conditions that would necessitate a knee or its surrounding structures to require surgery. Some common knee surgeries are: torn meniscus repair, ACL reconstruction, full or partial knee replacement, etc. Generally speaking, for each surgery the exercises will vary, and they will increase in intensity as each week passes, gradually building up mobility and strength. There will be certain limitations placed on the knee joint by the surgeon to prevent disrupting any repairs made. This necessary action will cause some stiffness to develop, but physiotherapy is aimed at mobilizing soft tissue structures and gradually and safely progressing with a range of exercises to improve function. Physiotherapy will address muscle conditioning, proprioception, as well as ways to manage pain and swelling.

Shoulder surgeries

Common surgeries include rotator cuff repair and a variety of arthroscopic surgeries to repair damaged tendons or cartilage. Early mobilization will be encouraged to prevent stiffness and speed up recovery time. The use of a sling will mostly likely be utilized, as well as ways to decrease inflammation and swelling. Your physiotherapist will provide specialized plans, encouraging range of motion exercises that gradually increase in range and will also focus on related structures to the shoulder such as the elbow and hand of the affected side.

Back surgeries

Common back surgeries include fracture repair, discectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion, etc. Most likely, physical therapy will have begun prior to surgery, and will continue afterward as well. The goals are to promote early mobilization such as walking, transferring from the bed to a chair, or climbing stairs. Patients usually become quite stiff and need manual therapy to loosen stiff joints. Exercises will promote the strengthening of core muscles and stretching of related musculature such as hamstrings. Typically, the exercises will advance from an acute phase to a regular maintenance phase. Physiotherapy will provide advice on what to avoid, and how to adjust the way you once performed daily activities in order to prevent a re-injury. Pain control methods are also an important factor in physiotherapy, such as electrotherapy, cold treatments, acupuncture, and massage.

Bone Fractures

These could include any part of the body such as hands, feet, ankles, arms, legs, etc. Depending on the nature of the fracture, some will require the use of plates or screws, and periods of immobilization while the fracture sets. Casts, slings, and crutches are commonly used as well. During the immobilization period, a physiotherapist will provide appropriate range-of-motion exercises and methods to decrease swelling. Following the immobilization period, a physiotherapist will focus on strengthening and improving mobility that was lost during periods of inactivity and disuse.


While the surgeries listed are by no means exhaustive, it does give an idea of the importance of physiotherapy in the rehabilitation process. From breathing to walking, physiotherapy encompasses the well being of the entire person, not just the area that was operated on. If you are ever scheduled for surgery, or have to have one unexpectedly, the professionals at Complete Care Physiotherapy are here to help.