Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates recommends these tips while cleaning gutters to avoid a fall or injury

Very few people actually enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean cleaning your gutters has to be done anyways. Gutter cleaning is an essential job typically done before winter sets in to prepare houses from any future rain or snow, as a drainage system that doesn’t flow properly can cause significant damage to a house. Aside from the fact that most people aren’t particularly fond of this housework, the opportunity for falls and other injuries is also quite high, mainly because it’s performed off the ground.

Falls are the number one cause of accidental injury and death in homes every year, and other unexpected injuries may occur in the process of cleaning gutters as well. While this might make the thought of cleaning your gutters even more daunting, the truth is most of these accidents result from a lack of attention to possible dangers, and in the majority of injuries can be prevented if certain precautions are taken.

By being cautious and taking specific safety measures, you can help ensure you’re doing all you can to get the job done and avoid an injury. Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates recommends the following safety tips for gutter cleaning:

  • Partner: having someone else assist you by passing tools and holding the ladder will make the job both faster and safer; at the least, let someone know you’re cleaning gutters and have them check on you periodically
  • Gloves: wear a pair of gloves (a thick, suede pair is best), to prevent contact with mold and protect you from sticks and other sharp objects
  • Protective eyewear: use goggles or other eyewear to keep the eyes safe
  • Ladders: use a safe, sturdy ladder, preferably made of fiberglass or aluminum (avoid wood); four-legged step ladders are recommended for one-story and extension ladders for two-stories or more; always maintain three points of contact with the ladder (two hands and one foot, etc.)
  • Rubber shoes: if you happen to be cleaning the gutters from the roof, use rubber-soled shoes, which will help avoid slipping and reduce fall risk
  • Gutter scoop: a plastic gutter scoop (not metal) is recommended as the most efficient tool for cleaning out gutters
  • Bucket and rope: attach a bucket to the shelf on the ladder to clear debris and prevent too much reaching

You certainly don’t have to love cleaning gutters, but by making sure you’re using the right tools and taking appropriate safety precautions, at least you’ll know you’re reducing your chance of injury while doing it. For more guidance on gutter cleaning or for any other aches or pains, Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates is here to help. Call 704-471-0001 to learn more or to schedule an appointment at either or our two locations in Shelby or Kings Mountain, NC.

Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates can help treat patellar tendinits common in sports that involve lots of jumping

Too much jumping without adequate rest in sports can lead to some problems. One of these is patellar tendinits, or jumper’s knee, which is a painful overuse injury to the patellar tendon that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia).

The injury can occur in athletes of any sport, but those who participate in sports with a significant amount of jumping—like basketball, volleyball, high jump and soccer—are at an increased risk of developing jumper’s knee. This is due to the fact that all the jumping, landing and changing direction necessary in these sports can strain or damage the patellar tendon and eventually lead to further complications.

In effect, this stress on the tendon creates small tears, and over time, too many of these tears can cause symptoms. Typical symptoms of jumper’s knee are pain just below the kneecap, stiffness in the knee (especially while jumping, kneeling or climbing stairs), pain in the thigh muscles (quadriceps) or weakness in the legs or calves. When this pain progresses too far, it can come to a point where it interferes with sporting activities and simply getting around in daily life.

Some athletes may regard jumper’s knee as a minor injury that they can work through and that it will resolve itself, but sadly this is not the case. Jumper’s knee is a serious injury, and pushing through the pain will only lead to larger tears and more pain, which will become even more difficult to treat.

If you’re experiencing knee pain and these symptoms sound familiar, it may be jumper’s knee. The good news is you can take steps to treat it, and we can help:

  • Rest from any activity or modify your training to significantly limit the amount of jumping or impact you put on your knees
  • Ice your knee after participating and elevate it any time it hurts
  • Wear a knee or support or strap below your kneecap while playing, which will minimize pain and relieve strain on the patellar tendon
  • Visit us for additional treatment. Treatment will include the following:
  •    Manual therapy
  •    Stretching exercises to reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility
  •    Strengthening exercises for your quadriceps and calves, which will build leg strength and help prevent further injury
  •    Education on how to best return to sports in a gradual manner that’s based on your abilities as they return

If you rest, modify your activities and see a physical therapist, chances are high you’ll be able to return to sports eventually without any additional symptoms. If you’re involved in a jumping sport or are experiencing any pain in your knees, visit Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates at either or our two locations in Shelby or Kings Mountain, NC. Call 704-471-0001 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

As baseball season picks back up, be cautious of overuse injuries in young pitchers

In addition to the wonderful warm weather, springtime also brings with it the opening of one of our country’s oldest sports traditions and what many still consider to be America’s pastime: baseball season.

For the better part of the next few months, players of all levels from little league through the majors will keep the sport going strong and spend countless hours invested in practice to improve their respective teams’ performance.  Unfortunately, this elevated level of dedication can lead to unfortunate outcomes, especially for young athletes whose bodies are still developing and more vulnerable.

In recent years, the level of competition has increased dramatically in little league, and injuries have become more prevalent than ever.  The main issue is young baseball players, particularly pitchers, who throw too hard, too frequently or too early, without rest—and often all year round—which can lead to serious overuse injuries to the elbow or shoulder.

Damage or tear to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow joint is one of the most common injuries that results from pitchers throwing too much, while labral tears, strains, sprains and both Little League Elbow and Shoulder are also seen regularly.  As a result, elbow and shoulder injuries in young baseball players are close to becoming an epidemic if nothing is done to reverse this trend.

Fortunately overuse injuries, especially in the UCL and shoulder, can be prevented with certain precautions.  Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates recommends parents and coaches follow these pointers to avoid overuse injuries this season:

  • —Encourage proper warming up with stretching, running and easy throwing
  • —Rotate playing other positions aside from pitching (especially for very young athletes) and don’t allow pitching on consecutive days
  • —Adhere to the guidelines for maximum pitch count, rest periods and other recommendations which can be found here
  • —Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons or pitching year-round; there should be ample time each year with no baseball
  • —Make sure young players are communicating clearly about any arm pain; if it does occur, don’t allow pitching through it, and if it persists see a doctor
  • —Emphasize control, accuracy and good mechanics

In the event of an injury, players should see a medical professional and only return to play gradually after resting for sufficient time once pain subsides.  At Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates in Shelby and Kings Mountain, NC, we can treat overuse injuries like Little League Shoulder and also provide prevention programs for young athletes to help them avoid injuries in the first place.  Call 704-471-0001 for more information or to schedule an appointment.