Cold Weather Injury and Illness Tips

running-man-1081944_1920Frostbite occurs when the heat supply to a part of the body is insufficient to counteract the heat loss and results in actual freezing. The frozen area is normally small and most commonly occurs on the nose, ears, cheeks and fingers. The signs and symptoms for frostbite can include frostnip (initially red, then white and painless with soft skin). Superficial frostbite shows white and waxy skin with firm, soft tissue while deep frostbite shows signs of blotchy skin with a white to purplish tinge, numbness and solid skin over entire depth. Treatment for first and second degree frostbite includes warming the tissue with warm water or a warm hand over the involved area. This area will be extremely sensitive to further cold exposure and should be protected accordingly. The treatment for third degree frostbite is to transport the person to a medical facility immediately. There is often permanent damage with this type of injury.

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s core temperature falls below 95 degrees F. At this point the body is unable to warm itself without outside assistance. The signs and symptoms include shivering, the skin appears cold and pale, and there is depressed respiration rate and slow irregular pulse. A person may show signs of altered mental state, irritability, loss of coordination, weakness, and difficulty speaking with decrease in body temperature. Treatment for hypothermia includes prevention of further heat loss, warming and promptly transporting to E.R. Warming includes removing the individual from the cold environment, wrapping in blankets and giving warm fluids to drink.

Tips to avoid cold injury:
1. Cover all exposed surfaces in a cold environment.
2. Avoid contact with colder objects or cold wind.
3. Wear several layers of light, dry, loose fitting clothes. 4. Change clothing if it becomes wet.
5. Know your environment and be prepared.

In Michigan, every patient must have a prescription for rehab from their physician. A patient has the choice to go where they know they will get the best treatment for their specific goals. At Tri-Rehab, your insurance coverage will be verified and your first appointment will be scheduled with 24 hours.

Finding the Perfect Shoe to Improve Your Workout

To improve your workouts, look for a high-qualify shoe with a good fit that is specific to the activity that you will be using them for:

sports-shoes-115149_1920Walking: Walking shoes are stiffer and heavier than running shoes and provide more support because your foot rolls from heel to toe more slowly than when you run.

Running: Running shoes are more flexible with extra cushioning to handle the greater impact. An average pair of running shoes should be replaced every 350-400 miles. Once the back of the shoe is worn out, the shoe starts to feel uncomfortable and less supportive. Running shoes are designed for forward motion, so they don’t support you well when you move in other directions such as basketball and step aerobics.

Specialty: Specialty shoes exist for sport specific activities that you engage in several days per week such as weight lifting, cycling, hiking, tennis, basketball, soccer, and more.

Cross-training: Cross-training shoes are good for a varied workout routine, most versatile athletic shoe, designed to give more support for changes in direction and impact.

Once you have acquired the proper shoe you will need to make sure you have the proper fit.

When standing your shoe should have about a half-inch gap between your longest toe and the toe box of the shoe.
The heel should fit relatively tight. Your heel should not slip out when you walk.

The upper part of the shoe should be snug and secure and you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes when your shoe is on.
When you try out new shoes, wear the same type of socks that you wear when working out.

Your foot shouldn’t slide back and forth or side to side as you move around.
Walk or jog around the store to see how they feel.

Never wear your new shoes for a race without wearing them for a few weeks first.
Get re-fitted each and every year.

How to Prevent Slip and Falls in the Winter

traffic-sign-622982_1920Well it’s that time of the year when the temperatures fall and so do the ice and snow. During these icy and snowy conditions, the incidence of injuries due to people losing their footing increases. Here are some tips that may help reduce and prevent unnecessary injury to you this wintery season.

  •  Don’t get caught waking up to a unknowingly snowy morning, please monitor the weather and be prepared to have to take a few extra minutes to properly remove the accumulated ice and snow.
  •  Wear appropriate footwear; don’t walk out onto your porch in your house slippers. Wear shoe or boots that have the appropriate waffled or textured soles that will help increase the friction between your footwear and the wet and icy ground.
  •  Keep adequate supplies of ice removal tools in an accessible area. Keeping your shovel and salt in the garage will not help you when you first step out of your home. Keeping a bag of salt inside your door that you can toss out onto your path way and let it do its magic before having to step out and shovel.
  •  Watch for areas where ice tends to form. Remove ice accumulation promptly and apply additional ice melt to prevent further buildup.
  •  Use handrails wherever they are provided.
  •  Clearly identify steps, ramps, and other elevated changes; many falls occur when there is a change in walking surfaces that may be elevated.
  •  Check to be sure that entrance halls and stairs are cleared of wet material. Continuous foot traffic will keep the wet material on the dry surfaces inside. Always be aware of having caution wet floor signs and floor mats that help soak up the accumulated snow and ice well help decrease the risk that someone will fall.
  •  Take shorter steps to maintain a better center of balance over your feet.
  •  Walk slowly and keep your head up and don’t lean forward. Keeping mindful of these will help you reduce the chance of you injuring yourself and keeping your holiday pleasant and cheerful.

    Rebecca McFalls PTA


Your Guide to Insuring a Better Office Visit with Your Doctor

diagnostics-161140_1280Many of us have often fallen prey to waiting many long hours in a waiting room of a physician’s office. Your name is called and you make your way back into the room. It seems that you only see the doctor for 5 minutes and you then forget half of the questions that you had wanted to ask and your shuffled out of the office feeling rushed and upset that your time was wasted and your questions were not answered and the visit was a complete and utter loss. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you do not have this feeling again when you visit the doctor.

  1. Ask the staff when the best time is to see the doctor so you do not have to wait such a long time. First appointments in the morning, after lunch, or maybe in the evening may be less hectic for the doctor and wait times could be shortened.
  2. Have a list of problems that you would like to discuss with the doctor so that all of your questions get answered, you stay on point, and both you and the doctor do not get side tracked.
  3. Bring a list of all your current vitamins and current medications that you are taking and the doses that you are currently taking.
  4. Always ask when prescribed new medication what the possible side effects are and make sure the physician is aware of all your allergies.
  5. If your doctor sends you out for further testing ask how long the testing results will take and will the doctor’s office be calling you concerning the results or should you call them back.
  6. What is your condition and what has caused it? Any lifestyle measures, like diet and exercise, which can help your condition?
  7. Please be upfront with your doctor never hide anything from your doctor even though you may be uncomfortable talking about it. Recreational drug use, sexual issues, changes in bowel habits, and sleep troubles are more common than you think.
  8. Finally, if you don’t understand any of the answers, say so.

Rebecca Mc Falls Cited Sources:

2013. Doctor visits. Some trips for success. Lifestyles for Healthy Living a newsletter for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members, 2.

Top 5 Food and Nutrition Apps

It has been several months since we all set New Years resolutions. Are you still on track with your resolution to eat better? If not, consider these top 5 food and nutrition apps from’s user poll. Keeping track of what you eat has been proven help you make healthier food choices. These smartphone apps will make those choices easier.


  1. My Fitness Pal. Free on the iOS or Android platform, this app has one of the largest food databases. It helps you log restaurant and home-cooked meals and supports a large number of restaurant menus. As long as you log your food you’ll have a complete picture of your diet. Some users even reported logging meals before they ate, so they knew the proper portion sizes.
  1. LoseIt. A food and activity tracker, LoseIt helps with daily caloric goals and portion sizes. The app has barcode scanners to quickly add in servings of packaged foods or ingredients. The “challenges” in the activity logs will help you take your fitness goals to the next level.
  2. SparkPeople. A network of sites containing a ton of information, recipes, nutrition news, and tips. It allows you to track meals, add home-cooked foods or use the search feature for restaurant dishes. Track your exercise and activity, you’ll have all your daily information in one place. Upgrade from the free version and you will get personalized motivational coaching.
  3. CRON-O-Meter. Simpler than the other tools, this service allows you to track your intake, activity and exercise. It’s a less complex format and easy to use especially if you are just starting out. The downside is that you cannot connect to external devices or fitness trackers (FitBit, etc).
  4. FatSecret. A twist on the usual food log, this app allows you to keep a personal journal so you can match up what you eat with how you feel. Sign up for this free service and you can begin tracking your meals and exercise levels. It also has a build in tool to share recipes with community members so you don’t have to copy and paste them.

Now that you know the top 5 nutrition apps, give them a try. And congratulations on continuing to work toward your fitness and diet goals!

Focusing on Proper Hydration

water-686917_1920After our long, cold winter I can’t wait for the warm summer weather. If you are anything like me, you’ll be spending that time outside.

As the weather heats up so should our focus on proper hydration. A good general rule of thumb is 8 cups per day. But as we sweat we can lose 3-8 cups per hour. Now is the time to focus on increasing your water intake!

If you’re going to be exercising you’ll need to consume an extra 1⁄2 to 1 1⁄2 cups of fluid for every 15 minutes. Sports drinks are only recommended if you will be exercising more than 60 minutes. Otherwise stick to water.

Need some ways to add some excitement to your plain water? Try these add in’s (courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine):

  1. Lemon or lime slices
  2. Fresh basil
  3. Fresh Ginger
  4. Cucumber slices
  5. Fruit + Mint leaves
  6. Lemon + Mango + cilantro
  7. Peach + Lemongrass
  8. Mint + Basil + Melon

Set a timer or alarm clock to help you remember to drink up. Try measuring it out and challenging yourself to meet daily goals. Or treat yourself to a new water bottle. Do whatever it takes to keep your body hydrated this summer…now get out there and have some fun!

How to Deal with Heat Illnesses

Heat cramps – Muscular pain and spasm that occur in the body when it loses too much salt (sodium) from sweating and an inadequate amount of fluids aren’t taken back into the body.

Signs and symptoms:
1. Severe muscle pain and spasm
2. Pale, moist skin
3. Normal body temperature
4. Individual is usually conscious
5. Rapid pulse
6. Faint feeling, dizziness and exhausted

1. Move the individual to a cool place if possible. Have them lie down if feeling faint.
2. If not nauseated, have them drink water or an electrolyte drink, such as Gatorade
3. Encourage them to minimize activity for the next 10-12 hours if possible
4. Apply ice as needed for 20 minutes to the muscles if soreness is present
5. Encourage overhydration to replenish fluids

Heat Syncope – Feelings of weakness and tiredness which ordinarily improve with diet and rest.

Signs and symptoms:
1. Weakness and fatigue
2. Headache
3. Slightly elevated body temperature

1. Get out of the heat
2. Get plenty of rest and eat a good diet with appropriate fluids

Heat Exhaustion – Through prolonged exposure to heat and sweating, the body loses large amounts of salt and water. When fluids and salt are not replaced, body functions begin to be affected.

Signs and symptoms:
1. Headache and dizziness
2. Profuse sweating
3. Pale, cool, sweaty skin
4. Body temperature normal or slightly elevated
5. Weakness or dry mouth
6. Possible heat cramps
7. Individual states they don’t feel well and could be nauseous

1. Move the individual to a cool place
2. Apply a cool cloth to forehead and back of the neck
3. Remove as much clothing as possible – shoes, socks, hat, etc.
4. Have the individual lie down if faint and try and give fluids

Heat Stroke – A serious condition resulting from failure of the heat regulating mechanism in the body. Heat stroke is a medical emergency!

Signs and symptoms:
1. Dry, red skin
2. No sweating
3. Body temperature of 106 degrees and above
4. Rapid pulse and breathing
5. Dizziness, exhaustion and possible fainting 6. Collapse and unconsciousness

1. Medical emergency – call 911
2. Try and cool the individual down if possible 3. Remove as much clothing as possible

Key features that differentiate heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
1. Sweaty skin
2. Increased body temperature

Prevention of heat problems:

1. Try and have the individuals condition for their respective event beforehand, if possible
2. Wear proper clothing, light colors versus dark, cotton versus polyester
3. Evaluate the weather conditions and the time of day before beginning activity, if possible
4. Drink plenty of fluids and take numerous breaks, if possible
5. Try and consume a good diet

10 Tips for Walking Your Dog

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.24.12 PMWalking your dog in the summer months is excellent exercise. A recent study performed by the University of Missouri-Columbia study found people who walk their dog 20 minutes a day, five times a week lost an average of 14 pounds after 50 weeks; so here are 10 tips for safely walking your dog.

1. Be prepared to walk, be sure to eat a meal or snack and drink water before you begin your walk.

2. Wear proper clothing and shoes; remember your feet swell while walking so the shoe should be a little big. If you are walking in the evening remember to wear reflective clothing and place a reflector on your dog’s collar and/or leash as well.

3. Remember your ID. You should have your ID with you and your dog should also be wearing his ID with your contact information engraved into it. Many pet stores and veterinarian offices offer to make pet ID tags for $5 or less.

4. Warm up. You want to avoid injury should the unexpected occur so be sure to stretch your calves, hamstrings and do some shoulder and trunk rotations too.

5. Avoid peak heat times when you walk. Remember, your dog overheats faster than you do. When you do walk during the summer months, remember to bring water for you and your dog.

6. Be aware of your surroundings. Dogs may pull or chase another dog, rabbit or squirrel, so be aware of your environment. Keep your dog at your side and give a command such as “sit” or “down” to force your dog to focus on you instead of other distractions.

7. Try to avoid uneven surfaces which compromise your balance.

8. Start with short distances. Don’t plan to walk a marathon your first day out, start small and gradually build you and your dog’s endurance. Also, keep your dog’s breed in mind; small dogs have short legs and walk much shorter distances than a larger, working breed.

9. Rehydrate! After exercise, be sure you and your dog drink plenty of water.

10. Have fun!

12 Safety Tips to Avoid Injuries in Your Home

adhesive-bandages-155776_1280Providing a safe environment for our loved ones to minimize potential falls is key to staying healthy and avoiding other health issues.

1. Be sure that all electrical and phone cords are tucked out of the way and that all throw rugs are removed.

2. Make sure carpet is safely secured to the floor and that there are no wrinkles or raised

3. Place non-skid strips on the bottom of the bathtub.

4. Be sure to sit down while shaving, brushing your teeth, styling your hair or putting on make-up. Use a tabletop mirror or a full length mirror so you can use it while either standing or sitting.

5. Be careful when you walk from one surface to the next, for example, from a carpeted area to a tile floor.

6. When moving from a lying down position to a standing position, sit up first, rest a moment, then proceed to stand up slowly and stand a few moments before trying to walk.

7. Arrange items in your cupboards so that the frequently used items are easy to reach. 8. Make sure that all stairs and hallways are well-lit and free of clutter.

8. Make sure that all stairs and hallways are well-lit and free of clutter.

9. Be sure to always use railings when going up or down stairs. It is always a good idea to have railings on both sides. If there are no railings, place your hand along the wall as you proceed.

10. Use night-lights to assist you walking at night.

11. Sit on firm, high furniture that has arm rests to assist you when standing. 12. Avoid ladders, try and have someone else get high items.

10 Tips to Help Make Summertime Activities Safe and Injury Free

summer-368224_19201. Increase your exercise levels gradually. Walking, riding a bike and doing yard work can be a daily activity, but start small to avoid excessive soreness and/or muscle strains.

2. Water intake is essential with any activity. Drinking 8 glasses of water daily is recommended by most healthcare professionals.

3. Improve your overall upper body strength by doing 10 push ups a day, starting with your knees down on the floor and just doing the push up from the waist up. This is acceptable to avoid injury and until your upper body strength improves.

4. Improve your core or abdominal strength by doing 10 sit ups a day. Don’t hook your feet under any furniture as this works your hip muscles versus your abdominal muscles. It is recommended that you should bend your knees, with your feet flat on the floor and put your hands across your chest, not behind your neck. As your strength improves, add 5 to 10 repetitions to your program every week for pushups and situps.

5. Stretch your calves before beginning any ladder climbing, excessive walking or running. You can easily do this by stepping on the first ladder rung, letting the back of your feet gently drop down off the back of the ladder rung until you feel a comfortable stretch. Another way to stretch your calves is to place your foot up against a solid structure, such as a fence or your home, and lean forward gently till you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times for both calves.

6. Gently stretch your shoulders and low back with the use of a broom. Place the broom behind your low back, around belt height and rotate slowly side to side, holding for 30 seconds each direction, 3 times on each side. Do the same for your shoulders by putting the broom on top of your shoulders and place your arms over the top of the broom.

7. The elbow and wrist can be stretched as follows: Straighten the left elbow out in front of yourself, place your right hand on top of your left hand and gently pull down your hand into a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Repeat for the right side.

8. Stretching your hamstrings can be done by placing your feet shoulder width apart and gently leaning forward towards the ground till you feel a comfortable stretch in your hamstring area. Don’t bounce when you stretch and don’t lean forward too far that you lose your balance. When straightening upright, go slowly to avoid making yourself lightheaded or dizzy. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Another way to stretch your hamstrings is from a seated position, placing one leg out straight in front of yourself, bring your ankle up towards yourself and gently leaning forward till you feel a stretch. Again, hold for 30 seconds, 3 times each leg.

9. Neck muscles can be stretched four different directions as follows: Gently letting your head bend forward towards your chest, rotating your head to each side and looking up to the sky. Do these stretches slowly to avoid cramps in the neck muscles and to prevent dizziness. Ideally, these stretches can be performed while you are sitting, even while eating your breakfast. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times for each neck position.

10. If you are sore from any activity, use an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a damp towel and place over the area for 20 minutes. You can apply the ice treatment every two hours as needed. Remember, stretch easily till you feel slight discomfort, hold for the appropriate time and don’t over stretch.