Dementia can be a scary, overwhelming, and isolating diagnosis. While there is no known cure for dementia, there are plenty of things patients and loved ones can do to prevent cognitive decline. Dr. Michelle Bogert, clinic director of the Paradise Valley clinic, and Dr. Mayy Deadrick, a family practitioner at Manzanita Medical Center share how doctors and physical therapists can work together to prevent and treat the symptoms of dementia.

What is Dementia?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.  Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings, and relationships.

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Personality changes
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Physical Side Effects of Dementia

As dementia progresses, physical complications become more severe. The physical side effects that physical therapy can address are:

  • Stiff muscles
  • Loss of balance or coordination leading to falls
  • Weak muscles
  • Fatigue

How Physical Therapy Can Help

While physical therapy can’t cure or eliminate the symptoms of dementia, there’s a lot we can do to help slow symptoms and improve the quality of life for our patients. When creating treatment plans for dementia patients, we typically focus on:

  • Fall risk. By improving balance, stability, strength, and coordination through physical therapy, we’re able to reduce falls for our patients, keeping them healthy and active, longer.
  • Stiff muscles. Keeping patients active and mobile through age- and ability-appropriate exercises help relieve stiff muscles. This helps them to move more comfortably and enjoy their daily activities.
  • Muscle weakness. It’s vital for dementia patients to keep working on strengthening and utilizing their muscles so they don’t become sedentary and lose the ability to participate in their normal activities.
  • Heart and cardio health. The higher our cardiovascular function, the more capable our body is to fight off disease. Dementia is no different. We’re not marathon training, but giving patients the ability to elevate their heart rate just enough to see improvements in cardiovascular health. This is important for giving them the strength to fight the bigger battle.
  • Cognitive abilities. We’re not playing brain games or anything, but endorphins and neuron development play a large part in keeping our patients sharp. The increase in activities can improve (or slow the decline of) memory, elevate patients’ mood, and improve their overall quality of life.

Physical Activity & Dementia Prevention

Years ago, doctors thought that you couldn’t grow neurons. However, now we know there are many lifestyle factors we can control to generate neurons and combat any possible effects of dementia before it begins. Regular physical activity, through a combination of cardiovascular exercise, balance, and mobility, is one of the best ways to promote healthy brain activity and generate your cognitive reserve.

Final Thoughts

Dementia can be an isolating and terrifying diagnosis for patients and loved ones. What I hope to educate patients and families on is that, if you have a collaborative team, it doesn’t have to be a lonely diagnosis. There are so many preventative things we can do to help improve their overall quality of life. For the patient, I want them to know that even if you have the genetics for dementia, you can make a huge reduction in your chance of getting it. For the family, I want them to know there are things you can do for your loved ones to keep them happy longer.

Are you or a loved one struggling with a dementia diagnosis? Or, are you looking for ways to stay healthy and active to prevent dementia? 

Schedule a free assessment today to see how physical therapy can help you live a healthier, happier life.

Transitioning from high school to college is a big step in a person’s life. College is filled with new opportunities and new challenges that make it difficult to stay healthy and active. Whether you’re starting college soon or have already begun your collegiate journey, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy and active while pursuing your degree. Within this article, we’ll look at four of the best ways to be active and promote your health in college and beyond.

Tip 1: Eating right

Everyone knows that it’s important to “eat right,” but what exactly does that mean? Two of the easiest ways to “eat right” are to watch your calories and where they come from. There are lots of calorie counting apps available on IOS and the Google Play Store to help you keep track of what you’re putting in your body. Features you should look for include calorie counting, nutrition breakdown, and custom goals. Additionally, not all calories are created equal. It is important to consume calories from the right sources. For example, 300 calories from pizza is not as good as 300 calories from nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, or lean meat. Finally, drinking enough water is an important part of eating right and dieting. Water makes up a large percentage of our body and plays an important role in digestion. The Mayo Clinic recommends that men drink 3.7 liters per day, and women drink 2.7 liters per day. These values also depend on factors such as exercise and climate. If you exercise or live somewhere hot/humid you should drink more than the recommended amounts.

Tip 2: Exercising

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and active while in college. Studies show that exercise is not only beneficial for your body but your mind as well. Taking a full load of college courses can be tough. However, your class schedule is typically the same from week to week. This means that you can schedule exercise before, between, or after your daily classes. Find a friend or gym buddy with the same schedule to help keep you accountable. Another option would be to join a club or intramural sports. This would allow you to get active while competing with your peers. If regimented exercise and team sports aren’t quite your style, then try walking more. Walking is an effective, low-intensity form of exercise that can be done all day long. Walk to class, walk to the store, or walk to get food. The steps will add up very quickly!

Tip 3: Sleeping more

Sleep plays an important part of staying healthy and active. Without sleep your body and mind function at sub-optimal levels. You can suffer from a lack of energy, mental fog, and weight gain. By sleeping 7-8 hours per night, you allow your body and mind to refresh and prepare for the next day. You’re more likely to exercise and eat healthy when you feel well-rested versus when you’re tired. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough sleep is to follow a specific bedtime routine. Additionally, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day also helps establish a healthy sleep schedule which sets you up for success each day.

Tip 4: Managing stress

Let’s face it, college is much more stressful than high school. Living with greater independence, more difficult classes, and tougher choices brings a new level of stress that makes high school look easy. Luckily, there are several healthy strategies you can use to combat the stresses of college life. Exercise is a healthy outlet that many students choose to help them cope with stress. Exercise has a double benefit because it’s good for you and it helps reduce stress. When you get stuck working on a difficult assignment, don’t be afraid to step away and take a break. This can help you reframe your thinking and bypass the problems.

College is a stressful time which provides many obstacles when it comes to staying healthy and active. There are a few strategies such as eating right, exercising, sleeping more, and managing stress which can help you deal with college life. Using these strategies can help ensure that you are healthy, active, and successful in your college career.

Schedule a free injury assessment today with a Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Clinic near you! We want to help you Get Your Move Back!

As providers of physical therapy, we have the opportunity to impact lives each and every day. It’s why we get up in the morning and why we are passionate about what we do. In 2018, we’ve opened two new clinics with one goal in mind – to help the members of our community get back to the activities they love. Our Paradise Valley physical therapy clinic is conveniently located in North Paradise Valley at the southwest corner of E. Cholla St. and N. Tatum Blvd. Meet our staff and learn more about our newest clinic.

Meet Michelle Bogert, PT, DPT
The director of the new Paradise Valley Foothills Sports Medicine clinic is Michelle Bogert.

Michelle graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2010 with a doctorate in physical therapy. After working with a variety of patient populations, such as pediatric, geriatric, and vestibular, she discovered her passion was working in orthopedics and especially sports medicine. Michelle is certified in trigger-point dry needling and utilizes other physical therapy tools such as Kinesio tape and the Graston tool to assist with achieving her patients’ therapy goals.

Michelle has been a part of the Foothills Sports Medicine family for the past six years. She has gained experience and clinical knowledge while working at the North Central Phoenix location.  Michelle plans to use this experience to serve the patients at Paradise Valley.

Michelle takes pride in the quality staff she hires. She recently hired two physical therapy technicians who graduated from the pre-physical therapy program at Grand Canyon University in 2018. She will also be expanding her staff in September with physical therapist, Michael Price.

Meet Michael Price, PT, DPT
Michael hails from Wisconsin and has been a part of the Foothills Residency Program for the past 12 months. He is slotted to take his orthopedic certified specialist exam in March 2019. Michael enjoys all the outdoor activities Arizona has to offer; he is an avid golfer and hiker. He is certified in trigger-point dry needling and has experience working with a wide variety of orthopedic patients, especially pre-adolescent and adolescent athletes.

What’s to Come
The Paradise Valley clinic creates a supportive, fun, and healing environment for all of their patients through skilled, hands-on care, specific exercise programs, and patient education. The team is excited about the growth, the support from the local community, and the partnerships with Paradise Valley health care providers. Through these partnerships, community educational events will begin in the fall — more details to come!

If you’re looking for a physical therapist in Paradise Valley, schedule an appointment with our team.

What sets Foothills Sports Medicine apart from other physical therapy providers is the care and attention we take to provide each of our patients a specific and goal-oriented therapy plan incorporating the most up-to-date and evidence-based treatment techniques and tools. We offer a free rapid injury screening so if you are interested in learning if physical therapy is the right route for you, give the physical therapy clinic nearest you a call to schedule your free screening today!

Situated along the border of North Central Phoenix and Paradise Valley, Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy opened their doors to a new clinic at 11250 N. Tatum Blvd, Suite 101 under clinic director, Michelle Bogert, PT, DPT. This physical therapy clinic is easily accessible from the SR-51 as well as Tatum Boulevard. Hikers, golfers, athletes and everyone in between will find this new Foothills location quite convenient!

Michelle is excited to cultivate an environment that is positive and encourages healing for all patient’s impairments. She is a Phoenix native and has been practicing physical therapy for 7 years, 6 of those with Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy. As a former college swimmer, she understands the frustration that athletes young and old feel when they are injured or not performing at their best. Using her knowledge and experience in treating various orthopedic, geriatric, and pediatric injuries, as well as vestibular rehabilitation, Michelle “hopes to serve the Paradise Valley community with the quality, hands-on treatment that Foothills is known for.”

This clinic will feature all new exercise machines and equipment, including various cardio, weights, and cable machines. In addition to educating patients on injury prevention, Michelle is certified in trigger point dry needling, along with utilizing Kinesio and McConnell tape and instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization.

If you are interested in physical therapy or would like a FREE Rapid Recovery Injury Assessment, feel free to call and schedule at 602.464.6189 or request an appointment online here.

Have you ever wondered what is causing that annoying pain and tightness when you first get up in the morning or after you walk around all day? If you answered yes, you most likely have plantar fasciitis, which is a very common injury.

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick ligament, which lies at the bottom of your foot. Typical plantar fasciitis pain radiates from the inside of your foot, close to your heel and can travel the length of your foot. Without proper stretching, shoes, or inactivity the plantar fascia can become inflamed fairly quickly and cause debilitating pain in your everyday activities if it is not addressed promptly.

Some of the potential risk factors for this condition are excessive running, low arches, high arches, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, prolonged standing or walking, and/or a tight Achilles tendon. If you can catch and address the beginning signs, you can help prevent this foot pain from restricting many activities in your life. Stretching your calf muscles and wearing good supportive shoes or orthotics designed for your feet will help decrease your chances of developing this condition.

If you already have plantar fasciitis here are some great tips to help decrease your foot pain and get you back to your life:

  • Check your shoes- make sure your shoes are not worn out and have good support if you are standing and walking all day. A lack of support can place unwanted stress on the plantar fascia causing the irritation.
  • Stretching- you can do this by dropping your heel off of a step until you feel a strong stretch or sitting in bed, wrap a towel around your forefoot and bring the towel towards you until you feel a stretch in your calf and foot. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds and repeat 5 times. It is recommended to do these several times a day.
  • Myofascial release- breaking up of the tissue of the plantar fascia. This method can be painful, but very beneficial. The easiest way to perform self-myofascial release is placing a golf ball in the freezer then rolling your foot on the golf ball for three minutes at least once a day.

Perform these home therapy exercises for about two weeks, if the pain has not changed or has gotten worse, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist near you who can provide further instruction, manual therapy, modalities and care that you cannot achieve on your own. Any Foothills Sports Medicine physical therapist can provide the best care for your irritating plantar fasciitis.

Foothills is going pink this October to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month! Along with our fundraising efforts in all our clinics, we’re also excited to announce that we’ll be the Tribute Tent sponsor at the upcoming Phoenix Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Lace up your tennis shoes, dress up in pink, and join us for an inspirational morning at Tempe Town Lake. You can join our team online or stop by any of our locations to donate.

Did you know that October is also National Physical Therapy Month? The benefits of physical therapy extend beyond just treating and healing basic orthopedic ailments and injuries; it can also be beneficial to those who had to undergo a mastectomy, radiation treatment or other chemotherapies.

Through therapy treatments and techniques, physical therapists can help patients lessen swelling, improve range-of-motion, and increase strength and conditioning.

Along with building strength, physical therapy can also improve the psychological component associated with the diagnosis of cancer. Physical therapy treatments provide the benefits of general exercise, which releases endorphins that help stimulate a positive mood and reduce the effects of fatigue. Socialization and comradery is also an added benefit of visiting one of our clinics.

Interested in learning more on how physical therapy can positively impact the life and function of those battling diseases such as breast cancer? Speak with your doctor or contact us at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy today.

Many of us do not think about the impact that food can have on how we feel, especially when we are healing from an injury or surgery. Food tends to be used as a release from a stressful day, as a celebration, or for socialization – but it is less commonly viewed as fuel for the body. “Living a healthy lifestyle” has become a very common phrase and goal these days, but what does it really mean in terms of daily nutritional intake and exercise output? It is easy to spot organic produce at the grocery store, or look at gluten-free options and wonder, should I be purchasing these foods for myself and my family? What if you recently had surgery? Should you increase your protein intake? Eat more vegetables? Fewer carbs?

The types of food we eat while healing can impact our recovery time frame, change our mood, and fuel the body for recovery. This is why food should be viewed as a fuel source – just like a car needs proper fuel to run at its optimal level, so do our bodies. A combination of lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will properly fuel a healing body. Some examples of good lean proteins are turkey, chicken, fish, egg whites, and even bison and kangaroo. The benefits of eating lean protein include helping you feel full longer, but they go much beyond that. Lean protein assists in rebuilding muscle, is healthier for your heart, and gives you the energy you need to heal.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is obviously also an important part of a balanced diet, but many patients question whether or not they should be buying organic produce. The definition of the term organic is controversial, and products with organic labels aren’t necessarily better for you. However, some of the products that should be purchased organic when possible include strawberries, apples, nectarines, grapes, celery, spinach, and tomatoes. Why? These items are often grown using the most pesticides, which can easily be absorbed through the thin skins of these products. Organic farms typically use fewer pesticides, so purchasing these items will reduce your risk of putting harmful materials into your body when you are trying to heal.

Some examples of complex carbohydrates you should include in your diet are brown rice, whole grain pasta, beans, oats, buckwheat, and quinoa. These carbohydrates are low on the glycemic index, which means your blood sugar levels rise at a slower rate after you eat them. This keeps your blood glucose and energy levels stable by avoiding sugar spikes and crashes. A common serving size for carbohydrates is 1/4 to 1/3 cups cooked for women and 1/2 to 3/4 cups cooked for men, based on your activity level.

Fats have gained a bad reputation in the realm of healthy eating, but there are healthy fats that are not only good for you, but also an important and necessary component of a balanced diet. Some examples of healthy fats include olive oil, coconut oil, avocadoes, salmon, nuts and nut butters, and pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds.

White sugars and processed foods are common staples in most Americans’ diets. These foods can be a major deterrent in the healing process due to the inflammation that white sugar and processed foods cause. Refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no protein, no fat, and no enzymes – only empty calories. What happens when you eat a refined carb like sugar? Your body must borrow vital nutrients from healthy cells to break down the food. Calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar. When recovering from injury, you need these vital minerals and nutrients to expedite the healing process and shorten your recovery, rather than wasting them on digesting unhealthy foods.

Your body uses everything you put into it – for good, or for bad. Next time you reach for a snack, think about how your body is going to use it as fuel, and the impact it will have on you. Keeping this in mind will help you make healthier choices, and it will help you to recover from illness or injury as quickly as possible.

Foothills Sports Medicine is a group of Phoenix physical therapy clinics that are dedicated to helping you become healthier in every aspect of your life. Our expert staff use cutting edge techniques and individualized care plans to ensure you have the best therapy experience possible, and they offer a free assessment of your PT needs (scheduled here). For more advice about Phoenix physical therapy, check out our blog!