Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
Physical therapists Jamie Bredahl (left) and Martin del Prado (right) are ready for the games to begin!
Each year, Squash enthusiasts and fans turn to watch some of the world’s greatest Squash players compete at J.P.Morgan’s Tournament of Champions. This year, once again SPEAR was honored to be the official physical therapy providers of the event! The tournament ran from Jan 9th-17th at world-famous Grand Central Terminal here in New York City, an ideal location for an event with such buzzing energy!
Treating physical therapists Michelle Rooney and Ryan Coye
An active and intense sport, Squash requires plenty of focus, skill, and athletic ability. Physical therapy not only promotes exceptional performance, but also keeps the body in tip-top shape by helping to prevent injury. Our team was more than eager to help out these incredible athletes. Many of our physical therapists offered their time and services to standby in the sidelines, setting up stations to administer treatment to players as needed. The program was led by Dave Endres, Physical Therapist, Co-founder of SPEAR, and Squash enthusiast and player himself! Dave has played numerous professional squash tournaments throughout the Northeast, and even worked as a teaching pro in NYC. Physical therapist Greg Moy also provided valuable insight on injury prevention for Squash players of all levels with a take-home guide of helpful tips, featured in the tournament’s program.
Dave Endres, PT, MS, and SPEAR Co-founder, preps youth Squash athletes prior to the start of the screening
Young athletes putting in the work during a guided warm-up!
The pro athletes weren’t the only ones benefiting from physical therapy that day: SPEAR hosted a screening for youth squash players as well! We partnered with two incredible organizations: CitySquash, a not-for-profit organization based in the Bronx and Brooklyn helping motivate young people from economically disadvantaged households fulfill their academic, athletic and personal potential; and StreetSquash, an organization providing consistent and reliable support to the children, families and schools in Harlem and Newark. At the screening, the youth athletes learned best practices from our PTs for proper preparation before playing, with specific warm-ups and exercises to do at home. Hosting the screening during such a momentous tournament was extra special for these promising young athletes, serving as a reminder that they, too, could one day be out on the court, competing for world titles and accolades. We’re honored to play a part in their developing journey in achieving greatness, and doing so in a safe manner!
We love partnering with this championship because we truly believe in the sport and what it represents: dedication and hard work are the foundational building blocks of success. Not to mention, it’s incredibly fun to play! We look forward to participating in future Squash events and tournaments to come!
Whether you’re a novice beginner or a seasoned long-distance runner, shopping for running attire can be a daunting task. With so many options, it may be difficult to determine the best options. Have no fear: our resident running expert is here! We sat down with Carley Schleien, PT, DPT, for a quick Q&A session to point you in the right direction during your next shopping trip— save this Quick Tip Guide for reference on-the-go!
What should I look for when choosing a running shoe?
Running shoes can be one of the most difficult and confusing items to purchase. Many types of shoes exist, ranging from neutral ones, to stiffer shoes, to more minimalist pairs. The most important factor to consider is comfort! Overall, running shoes should support the foot and allow the runner’s muscles to naturally engage and activate properly, rather than trying to do the jobs and functions of those muscles.
It is recommended to try on the shoe at the store and walk around; if simply walking around in them is uncomfortable, it is best not to purchase that particular shoe. You should also consider a shoe with a minimal heel drop (6 millimeters or less). Neutral components are most beneficial for runners, as they will allow you to use a more natural running gait pattern.
For a more in-depth recommendation, there are running shoe companies and stores that offer mini analyses to evaluate your running gait. A store associate can then better propose specific shoe types based on your results.
What kind of clothing is best to wear?
There are a wide variety of clothing companies that manufacture running attire, including shirts, sports bras, shorts, leggings, and socks. Runners should attempt to try clothing on prior to running in them to ensure they feel comfortable, which is individualized to each runner. You’ll have the most success when you feel comfortable on your runs!
Are there additional items runners should be wearing at night (for visibility)?
Running shirts and jackets commonly come with reflective gear that is handy to use when running at night. Since the sun sets earlier in the winter, many runners will be running in the dark. It is vital to wear reflective gear when running at night to ensure that drivers and other pedestrians see you. Some runners even run with headlamps or flashlights as additional tools to notify others of their presence.
What can I wear to keep my things safe (keys/wallet/etc)?
Many products exist to help runners keep their valuables safe while running. Runners often choose between wearing a running armband phone sleeve or a running belt around their waist. Both types of products frequently come with pockets and compartments to store your keys, money, etc., and many belts come with sleeves that allow you to hook on your water bottle.
Is a fitness tracker worth utilizing?
Fitness trackers can be especially valuable when preparing and training for a timed or distance race. Runners may benefit from being able to record the length of their runs, their distances, and their pace. Trackers range in sophistication and can include features such as displaying heart rates, altitude/elevation gains, temperature, etc. There are also apps that runners can download on their phones to track pace, distance, and other metrics.
What additional items may be beneficial for runners at different levels?
One of the most important things to focus on while running is hydration. Runners should ensure that they have access to water while running, whether it’s carrying a water bottle or stopping at water fountains spaced throughout their run outdoors. When completing long distance runs, runners should also ensure proper nutrition with gel packs and energy gels in order to ensure proper electrolyte balance throughout the body.
Bert showing off that SPEAR pride on Denali Mountain!
Climbing a mountain is no easy feat. It’s even more difficult when you’re suffering from multiple injuries! That’s the story of Bert Snarr, a 33-year-old extreme sport enthusiast and former SPEAR patient. Bert recently finished an expedition up Mount Denali in Alaska, the highest mountain peak in all of North America, and the third most prominent peak in the world! It was a long journey up the mountain for Bert, in more ways than one.
Always an active person, Bert spends much of his time mountaineering, running, snowboarding, fishing and hunting. Leading such an active lifestyle is very exciting—and can also be taxing on the body. Not only did Bert tear both his ACLs in his early 20’s, he also tore some muscles in his lower back during a snowboarding accident. Now, his frequent lower back and knee pain were starting to impact his active lifestyle and even his day-to-day activities. It was clearly time for a tune up—that’s when Bert turned to us for treatment, choosing to work with the brilliant Joshua Kaufman, PT, DPT at our W 44th Street clinic.
Bert fondly nicknamed his PT Josh “The Mad Scientist”, referring to his ability to push Bert outside of his comfort zone in a myriad of ways. “Josh designed an array of creative exercises to simulate the conditions I would experience on an upcoming climb,” he details. “He’s very knowledgeable, and put together a program that felt tailored to my injury and objectives.” Bert also appreciated the camaraderie among the clinic team, describing the feel of the atmosphere as “very positive – it’s a friendly environment both between the therapists and among the clients.” It’s much easier to complete the difficult work of improving your health when everyone is working together towards a common mission of bringing patients back to life!
“Josh is an outstanding therapist – he clearly cares about getting you back to where you want to be.”
Bert’s goals prior to starting treatment were to be able to run long distances and climb again. With expert guidance from Josh, diligent persistence, and much patience, Bert reached his objectives—and far exceeded them! We are so proud and happy to see Bert embodying his adventurous zest for life, and can’t wait to see what he can do next!
We’re really proud of the team we’ve cultivated and built here at SPEAR. Our teammates are truly aligned with the core mission of the organization and lead their lives with purpose and intent.
Sarah Lloyd, PT, DPT and the Clinical Education Liason at our W 44th St clinic, is a shining example of that purpose. Sarah truly enjoys treating a diverse patient population, with the goal of educating and empowering patients through functional movement. She is dedicated to the pursuits she is passionate about: helping patients get back to life, and spending time playing the sport she loves. Sarah is an active professional lacrosse player and currently plays for the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League for the WPLL Command. The team spent their summer season this year competing at games from Virginia, all the way up to Massachusetts!
Sarah started playing lacrosse at age 8 and has carried a great love for the sport ever since. Her collegiate career began at Princeton University, competing as a varsity lacrosse player and serving as Captain during her senior year. She was later drafted by her current team. “I love it because it lets me play the game at a very high level with the absolute best players in the world, but I can still be a physical therapist during the week!” she shares. Sarah has always been an athlete—her first introduction to physical therapy was actually after injuring her ankle playing soccer in high school! She has spent much of her time working with adolescent and collegiate athletes, as well as athletes training for the NFL combine.
While Sarah has a true passion for lacrosse, she also loves that the WPLL is tied to a mission—the league has a WPLL Futures division, which provides clinics and opportunities for middle school and high school lacrosse players, designed to support the growth of girls and women to excel in life. “One of the best parts of being a part of this league is that we get to help with clinics and mold the future of girls lacrosse moving forward,” Sarah says. “We are able to be role models for younger girls to look up to in our sport, something we ourselves did not have while growing up.”
It’s amazing to see our team members so passionate about helping others, through many different avenues. We believe it’s important to always remember our core values in everything we do—Sarah, keep up that incredible SPEAR-IT!
“This month, we are featuring a very special recovery story about our patient, Gina!
Gina has been a yoga instructor for the last 30 years. Working in the fitness field, naturally she understands the anatomy of the body quite well. She couldn’t however, figure out why she was having such extreme pain in her jaw.
“I had complete immobility in my jaw,” Gina shares. “I could hear cracking. I could barely open my mouth, and couldn’t eat properly, either.” Gina visited her dentist in pain. That’s when she found she was dealing with Tempero-Mandibular Dysfunction (TMD); this is when you experience pain in the joint that connects your jaw to your skull (also known as your Tempero-Mandibular Joint, or TMJ).
Gina immediately sought physical therapy treatment in hopes of becoming pain-free once again, prioritizing finding someone who specifically specialized in her condition. That’s when she met her therapist, Shaun Whited, and began treatment at our E 56th Street location. Gina admits, her first session seemed bizarre: “Suddenly I had a stranger with his fingers in my mouth, and manipulating my neck!” Her hesitation quickly dissipated—she noticed she felt notably better after just the first visit. “Shaun was warm, funny and knowledgeable,” Gina recalls. She knew she was in good hands and had full trust in his ability to get her back to life.
The rest of the SPEAR team on the floor proved to be incredibly helpful as well. “Everyone from the front desk staff to the floor team were supportive, enthusiastic, and on top of everything. They were willing to answer any questions I had and were always pleasant—they even recognized me after just the first few visits.”
By the end of her treatment duration, Gina was 100% back to her normal self, making a full recovery. Gina is now fortunately cured of her TMJ issue. “If I had another episode,” she notes, “I would look forward to coming back. If you’re considering coming to SPEAR, you can’t go wrong.”