Hello to all our friends,

I began playing sandlot baseball when I was 5 years old. I was the catcher, and one of the older boys hit a home run and threw the bat backwards (in his excitement), knocking out all of my front teeth! Luckily, they were still my baby teeth! I got into both organized football and baseball by 8 years old. From that point on, I played three sports until college, when I dedicated most of my time to football.

Over time, I did have two incidents of torn meniscus, one in each knee, the last occurring 12 years ago. At the time, I was informed by an orthopedist that I would need a total knee replacement around 60 years old, no matter what I did. I did learn that day that I would be having increased osteoarthritis because of my torn meniscus and the wear and tear on my knees from all the sports. I also learned, from my orthopedist that having surgery would escalate my osteoarthritis. In the end, I decided against having surgery and was blessed to have done well over the years.

As a result, I stopped playing basketball, softball and racquetball. I also stopped running, (which I hated anyway). I put together an aerobic, strengthening and flexibility program, which would not load my joints but would keep my circulation healthy and my strength and flexibility sound.

Osteoarthritis is common to us all as we age. Most of us will have some kind of arthritic changes challenging and sometimes even forcing us to have knee, shoulder and hip replacements. Are there ways to slow down the process in most cases? Absolutely!

I am now 3 months away from 70 years young. I have not had any joint replacements as of this day. I do have an exercise program that covers all the areas suggested in our monthly newsletter below. I would, however, like to share with you a few key things you should be aware of when you have knee, hip or shoulder pain as you age.

Please notice if you are beginning to lose motion in your joints. An example in your hips is when you have pain in your groin or hip and find it more and more difficult to put your shoes or socks on. An example that your knee is starting to develop osteoarthritis would be that you are noticing pain, losing motion in your knee and developing a limp. You may even begin having trouble going up or downstairs. An example of shoulder issues would be pain with difficulty sleeping and trying to raise your arm overhead. (This could also be a sign of a rotator cuff tear).

The key for avoiding a quick surgery would be to visit your physical therapist. Theses joints begin to lose motion in a certain pattern. This pattern is based on the capsule of each joint. As we develop arthritic changes and the pain begins, our capsule tightens up to protect the joint. Unfortunately, it limits our movement, which we start to notice over time. Yet, most of us ignore it until it is very painful and limits our life.

When you visit a therapist, they will evaluate your motion and strength. The key finding is the limitation of motion with pain. I have met so many patients at the beginnings of OA. They are beginning to lose their motion and may have been told they need a total joint replacement. After helping them regain their motion in the particular joint, many are able to put off the pain and surgery for years. Some lucky ones keep their motion and strength and have avoided the total joint surgery altogether!

I hope this letter finds you healthy and well. I also hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Always remember we are here for you and your families’ physical therapy needs. Feel free to check out the past newsletters on our webpage (McDonaldPT.com). You would click on “Life After Treatment” and then under that, click on “MPT news”. You may find an entry on a topic related to an injury you might need assistance with.


Thanks again for taking the time to read our newsletter!


Enjoy the journey!

Fran McDonald President/CEO

5 Ways to Help Manage Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common form of arthritis. It affects over 32.5 million U.S. adults. OA is a degenerative joint disease causing pain and stiffness that can lead to limited function.

OA of the knee is the most common type, affecting more than 12 million Americans ages 65 and older. The signs and symptoms of OA can vary. They commonly include joint stiffness, pain during activity, and cracking or creaking noises around the joint.

“Although there is no treatment that can reverse OA, physical therapy can help individuals manage the symptoms conservatively through appropriate and individualized exercise programs and other treatments provided by physical therapists,” said Rachel Prusynski, PT, DPT, PhD, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association. “Physical therapy may also help to prevent a worsening of OA and the need for invasive procedures and prescribed pain medications.”

Backed by research. Many studies have shown that physical therapy is effective in helping manage OA. Now, a new report released by APTA provides another reason to choose physical therapy for OA of the knee over commonly used steroid injections — the overall value that physical therapy delivers to patients and the health care system. In addition to saving health care dollars, physical therapy helps patients increase mobility, balance, strength and flexibility, ultimately contributing to better health and lowering the risk of conditions that could require additional health care services down the road.

People with OA should increase their physical activity routines more gradually than those without OA and should avoid high-impact exercises (think jumping or pounding movements on the joints).

Prusynski suggests five ways to manage OA symptoms through movement:

  1. Regular physical activity can help maintain and improve movement and function, and reduce joint pain for people with OA. Physical therapists can prescribe a tailored, individual physical activity plan, which in addition to helping with OA symptoms, can also boost heart health and facilitate weight loss.
  2. Muscle strength training with exercises primarily aimed at the large muscle groups around the knee and hip joints. Muscle strengthening exercises include lifting weights or working with resistance bands.
  3. Low-impact aerobics activities put less stress on the joints and include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, light gardening, certain group exercise classes, and dancing.
  4. Balance exercises like walking backward, standing on one foot and tai chi are important for those who are at risk of falling or who have trouble walking. Having OA can increase your risk of falling, so it’s important to build your balance and strength.
  5. Flexibility exercises like stretching and yoga are important for people with arthritis to reduce muscle tension and strain. Yoga can be modified for those with arthritis. Some people with OA have joint stiffness that makes daily tasks difficult. Doing daily flexibility exercises helps maintain your range of motion so you can keep doing everyday things like household tasks, hobbies, and visiting with friends and family.

* from choosept.com

MPT Happenings


FOR 2023!

McDonald Physical Therapy
(574) 233-5754
Connect with Us
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin