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Running Tips - Preventing And Treating Blisters

Runners all fear the dreaded blisters - those little pockets of fluid that can appear anywhere on your foot. They can pop up and just cause discomfort and usually a nuisance. Blisters are caused by excessive friction between your foot and your socks. But the good news is that there are things that you can do to prevent blisters from happening.

The most important thing in the prevention of blisters is wearing good quality running socks. I actually used to be so afraid of getting blisters that I would wear 2 pair of socks whenever I went out for my run. But, now I've found that with the right pair of socks I don't need to do this.

You want to make sure that you are purchasing socks that are made especially for running. Stay away from any socks that are made of cotton - your socks should be made of some technical material. This material will wick the moisture away from your feet - which will keep blisters from forming.

Also, to help prevent blisters, make sure that you are wearing correct fitting shoes. Have your feet measured at a running store. They will find the correct shoes for your foot type and will fit you properly. You will find that your running shoes should be ½ size larger than your regular street shoes. This will take into account your feet swelling when you are longer runs - and will keep your feet from rubbing, which will in turn help prevent blisters.

If you find that you do have a blister, the absolute best thing to do is to leave it alone. It will eventually open and drain on its own. If it is painful, you can carefully drain it by piercing it with a sterilized needle. Once you do this, make sure that you put some antiseptic cream on it and cover it with a band-aid. Even if you do not drain it yourself, you may want to put a band-aid on it when you run to keep it protected.

Making sure that your shoes fit properly and wearing moisture wicking socks should keep you blister-free. However, if you are participating in a race and feel a blister developing, stop at one of the aid stations as soon as you can. They can treat it there and get you back on your way. This will keep you from making it worse and will help you finish the race.


Running Tips - Caring For Black Toenails

Many runners at one time or another will experience black toenails. These are caused by constant rubbing of the toes against the front of your running shoes. There are several causes of blackened toenails and several ways that you can prevent them. They are fairly common and you really don't need to be concerned if you do have one - as long as it doesn't get infected. (I wouldn't be too worried about infection - I've had my share of black toenails over the years and I've never had one get infected.)

Black toenails are generally found in long distance runners. Rubbing the toes against the toe box of your running shoe for long periods of time will cause a blood blister under your toe nail. They can also be found in runners that do a lot of downhill running. As you go down hills, your toes will thrust into the front of your shoes.

You can do your part to help prevent black toenails. First of all, make sure that you are wearing running shoes that fit you correctly. The best thing is to be fitted at a qualified running store. A general rule of thumb is that your running shoes should be ½ size larger than your regular street shoes. In addition to the rubbing of your toes into your shoe's toe box, your feet will expand as you run long distances. A shoe fitted properly will keep you running comfortably.

Another way to help prevent black toenails is to make sure that your toenails are always trimmed. I also recommend going for a pedicure every 3-4 weeks to make sure that your feet and toenails are properly taken care of. I do this myself, and I've heard from many runners how they have avoided black toenails altogether since they started getting regular pedicures.

Black toenails are uncomfortable, but not usually so much that you cannot run. Eventually, it will run its course and the toenail will fall off. If you do find that the pressure is too much for you, there is a home remedy that you can do. However, you need to be cautious doing this. Sterilize your toenail with alcohol and a pin with a lit match. While the pin is still hot, you can gently press it into the center of your toenail to drain it. It really sounds worse than it is - and you will be immediately better. But, I would only recommend doing this if the pain is simply unbearable.

Black toenails are common - and usually just a nuisance. However, if you find that it isn't getting better after a time - or it becomes red, please see a doctor about it.


The Prospects for Physiotherapist Assistant Career

If you enjoy working with people and the idea of helping someone gets back on their feet after an accident or illness excites you, then you may be ideal for a career as a physiotherapist assistant.

What Does A Physiotherapist Assistant Do?

The physiotherapist assistant (typically referred to in the United States as the physical therapy assistant) works with a trained and licensed physiotherapist to implement a plan of care.

Typically, the physiotherapist will see the patient first and establish treatment goals and a plan of care. The plan of care consists of different kinds of exercises aimed at helping patients regain their mobility.

It is up to the assistant to ensure that the plan of care is followed closely and to work with the patient to complete the prescribed exercises or interventions. He/her always works under the close supervision of the physiotherapist.

Physiotherapist assistants may also help physiotherapists by setting up and taking down exercise equipment, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, and getting patients ready for treatments.

Where Does A Physiotherapist Assistant Work?

They may work in many different health care settings including hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. In some instances, they may make visits to home patients.

What Training Does A Physiotherapist Assistant Need?

Training varies depending on location. In the United States, an assistant usually holds an associates degree as a physical therapy assistant. In the UK, there are no specific guidelines and most training occurs on the job, although applicants are ideally expected to have a solid background in science and mathematics.

What Kind Of Person Would Make A Good Physiotherapist Assistant?

No two people are alike, of course, but in general the ideal physiotherapist assistant candidate has excellent people skills and is able to work with many different types of clients.

He/her makes a living persuading people to do things that may feel frightening, uncomfortable, or even flat out painful. Therefore, the physiotherapist assistant needs imagination, intelligence, and an ability to engage even the most challenging patients.

The physiotherapist assistant also requires good communication skills so he or she can act as a liaison between the patient and the primary physiotherapist.

Finally, since the assistant is the person who has the most "hands on" contact with the patient, he or she needs to be observant. Does the patient seem more tired or uncomfortable than usual? Is his or her skin cold and clammy? Does a patient who normally follows requests suddenly not seem to understand what he/her is saying? All of these factors are valuable observations that the health care team needs to know about.

If you are interested in a career as a physiotherapist assistant, start looking for opportunities in the "help wanted" section of your local newspaper. This may be exactly the job you've been waiting to find!


What Do You Know About Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is now a booming business that has come a very long way in a very short period of time; in fact it's one of the fastest growing industries in the world. New physical therapists are entering the field every single day to treat the ever growing pool of people requiring treatment for all different kinds of injuries and ailments.

Injuries are a fact of life, not just for professional athletes but for regular people too. An elderly person who slips in the shower and breaks a hip, or the dock worker that injures his back lifting heavy box after heavy box or the middle aged woman that gets banged up in a hit and run collision all require the services of a properly trained physical therapist.

Where are Physical Therapists Employed?

The answer to this question could go on and on - Professional, amateur and college sports teams often employ their own physical therapists. Hospitals, free clinics and nursing homes all may also one or more physical therapists on staff.

Specialists in sports therapy, specific types of injuries or bariatric care may operate their own office and see several patients from varying backgrounds a week.

There are a multitude of different specialties and paths that are available within the wide field of physical therapy, and that means that there is an ever widening array of physical therapy equipment and physical therapy supplies available, so that every general and every specialized physical therapist can have everything that he or she needs to be able to properly treat the injury of what ever patient happens to walk through the door next.

Tools of the Trade

Sports therapists use probably the widest variety of physical therapy supplies to deal with everything that they may encounter on a daily basis. A sports therapist needs to be prepared to handle everything from the minor aches and pains that their athletes incur on the field every single day, but they also need to be prepared to deal with the rehabilitation of serious injuries that require surgeries and sometimes months of treatments to heal.

A large sports therapy treatment center will often almost appear to be over run with equipment. There could be a fully stocked hydrotherapy section with standing and seated whirlpools; mobility stations complete with parallel bars, standers and stair training equipment; and most will also have a full array of massage therapy equipment with massage table and chairs as well as a variety of creams, oils and other massage therapy supplies. Many specialized physical therapists today are also certified in one or more types of massage therapy as well.

Depending on the particular area of specialty, a physical therapy clinic may even have a variety of x-ray and imaging equipment available as well as a full array of chiropractic supplies and equipment so they can be as full service as possible to their potential clients.

Regardless of the avenue of specialty a physical therapist chooses, he or she will surely need a wide variety of equipment to be able to perform the job to the best of his or her abilities.

Getting the best result possible from a physical therapy session, whether it's just to work on a strained muscle or rehabilitation from a major surgery, requires not only an adept therapist but also the best possible equipment for the method of treatment. That's why there are so many options available and why new and better ones are being developed and implemented every day. Physical therapy is a very involved and precise trade, one where perfection is an absolute must in order for the correct outcome to be achieved - so for as long as the trade of physical therapy continues to be a booming one, most likely so will the development of new pieces of physical therapy equipment.


Portable Massage Products: Are They Really Effective?

Not everyone has time for a massage in their busy schedule. It takes time to get to the massage parlor, relax and then get the actual massage. This is often time that just can't be spared by the average person who already has a million things on their to do list. That's where portable massage products come in.

We've all seen those magic fingers and nodules that are meant to give you the equivalent of a proper massage. The problem is that many of them don't live up to the hype and people get disappointed. So, you really start to wonder if portable massage products can actually be effective or if they are doomed to be disappointing.

It's all in the quality of the massage product. If you buy a $9.99 special off the drugstore shelf . . . you can't expect a world class massage. Quality doesn't have to mean a high price tag, but it is usually worth paying more to get a great product. You can waste a lot of money buying cheap versions of the real thing, so why not splurge at once and get a real massage product?

What to Look for in Portable Massage Products

Top of the line products are worth the extra price when it comes to massage. There are so many benefits to having the stress released that you will want to seriously consider looking at higher priced, higher quality items.

Some features to pay attention to:
- Professional grade massagers will offer a better massage.
- Guarantee so you won't have to worry about breaking it.
- Lightweight massagers will be easier to tote around, some portable massagers are actually quite heavy.
- Oscillating movement will get into the deeper tissues and really alleviate stress and tension.

Benefits of Portable Massagers

Owning a portable massage product is a good way to go if you are just so busy that you can only get ten or fifteen minutes here and there to work on easing stress. Having a good massage tool can really make all the difference. Cheap ones tend to tickle and simply vibrate, while a good quality massage tool will get right in there and dig the tension out of your muscles, much like a real massage by a human being.

This is great for relieving stress and it can also work out those nasty tension knots that tend to build up in the shoulder muscles in particular. You might find that this causes some serious pain and some people are even unable to work properly while they are suffering from this tension. Hiring a personal masseuse is probably out of the question, but that portable massager could be the perfect way to get your massage without spending the big bucks.

Massage not only loosens up the muscles, it also increases blood flow and oxygenation. That means, if you invest in a high quality product that is designed to withstand the use you're going to be putting it through, you'll find that you enjoy life a lot more. You'll be healthier, happier and less stressed out. Stress can even affect the immune system, so if a simple purchase of a top-ranked massage product means you can have all these health benefits, it is more than worth it.

While using massage therapy supplies will never be exactly the same as a trained professional, it's as close as you can get without bringing someone into your office to do your back. For many busy professionals, portable massage products are the ideal method to work a little relaxation into their day, without spending time getting to and from the massage parlor.


Running Tips - Preventing Shin Splints In Runners

Most runners at one time or another have experience shin splints. This pain runs up the front of the lower part of the leg between the ankle and the knee. Shin splints in runners can be very painful - but can be prevented once you know what the major causes are.

Many beginning runners experience shin splints because of running too far too soon. They are increasing their weekly mileage by too much. When you start running - or starting back running after a layoff - you want to start slowly. Don't start running too many miles before you work up to it. The rule of thumb is to not increase your mileage by more than 10% from week to week. For instance, if you are running 10 miles this week, you will only add 1 mile to your total next week.

Another common reason for shin splints is wearing running shoes that are worn out. Even though they may still look good, the cushioning in your shoes can break down. And, this can lead to shin splints. Depending on your weight and your running form, you only want to put between 350-500 miles on a pair of shoes.

Running the majority of your miles on concrete can be a contributor to your leg pain. The impact of concrete is even more than asphalt. This causes a lot of pounding on your legs. So, if at all possible, stay away from concrete sidewalks. If you find that the only area you have to run on is sidewalk, try running alongside on the road. Since you should be running facing traffic, if a car comes your way, you can get on the sidewalk until it passes.

Shin splints can also happen in runners who are running too many hard workouts, or too much mileage without rest days. Make sure that you are allowing for some easy days in your running schedule. These can either be complete rest days, cross training days or days where you run less miles.

You can do heel raises and toe raises a few times a week to keep those shin muscles stretched. These exercises in addition to watching running too far, too soon; running in worn out shoes; and running on concrete should keep you from developing shin splints. If you do, however, find that you do have them, do the exercises and ice the area after running - and they should go away before long.


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