Arizona Hiking Tips: Take a Hike. Do it Right.

Arizona Hiking Tips: Take a Hike. Do it Right.
When you explore trails, you’re leaving the safety and structure of your home and local Starbucks for an unpredictable and unstructured environment.  You can never eliminate the unpredictable aspect of nature, but the risk is part of the reward.  To make the most of your experience, you should be adequately prepared for what might happen.  Here are some simple rules to follow and items to bring on your trail adventure:
Plan Ahead
* Before you go, plan ahead. You are entirely on your own. Your descent marks your entry into a world in which preparation, self-reliance, and common sense are crucial. Be conservative in planning your hikes!
* Check the Weather. Checking the weather for the location where you will be hiking the days leading up to your hike and then double checking the morning of your adventure will make all the difference in the world. Knowing what the temperature is, what the percentage for rain will be, the long term forecast, the ceiling of clouds and the wind speeds will help you decide what the perfect clothes will be for your trip. It will also tell you whether or not going out that day is a good idea. If the weather looks bad, but you really want to hike, find a location where the weather will impact you the least. If you are not used to hiking with low visibility in wind, rain and sleet, avoid the mountains during stormy days.
* Know your Terrain. Before you hike something, know what it will be like and do some research. Read a guidebook, check online, ask Exotic Hikes a question, look at Topo maps and Google Satellite images; do whatever you can to understand what you will be dealing with. By researching your trail and the terrain you will be encountering, you will be able to bring the right clothes, shoes, amount of water and food and other miscellaneous gear.  Researching terrain will also let you know if you should expect a water source on the trail or if you need to pack extra water with you.
* Know what your destination will be. Don’t overestimate your capabilities. Hike intelligently. You are responsible for your own safety as well as that of everyone in your party. Choose the hike that is best suited to your fitness level, interest and seasonal appropriateness. When you plan your hike, think of the position of the sun. On hot days you will want to hike early and late in the afternoon. If you do hike during the day, choose trails along creeks and those that provide shade. In the cooler weather, you may prefer to hike mid morning through mid afternoon to take advantage of the sun’s warmth.
* Leave a note of where you are going. This is common sense. Never go hiking without telling at least 2 other people where you are going and when you expect to return. Leaving a note takes all of 5 seconds and could save your life. This is one of the simplest ways to stay safe and get rescued, should you get stranded. (Stay on the trail and never shortcut switchbacks.)
* Know where to get help. Most hiking trails have exit points that allow you to take a side path and reach a main road or a wilderness stop. Knowing where those side roads are can make a world of difference if you are seriously injured and alone.
Be a Lightweight and Bring the Essentials! 
* The less you carry, the more enjoyable your hike will be, so travel as lightly as possible. The heaviest items in your pack should be your food and water. Hiking sticks can take some of the stress off your legs.
* Wear well-fitting and broken-in lightweight hiking boots. Bring a small lightweight flashlight and a change of batteries and bulb. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Bring a map, compass, signal mirror, first-aid supplies and water purification tablets (as a backup). 
* Carry your cell phone. Even if you don’t have a signal, some “smart phones” have survival applications.
Dress Appropriately! Protect yourself from the sun. Wear hats with broad brims, sunglasses, sun screen and long-sleeved clothing. Consider wearing layers to modulate your body temperature. If you hike early in the morning, the weather will get much warmer by mid-day. If you hike late in the afternoon, be prepared forImage result for hiking safety tips for arizona a significant temperature dip when the sun goes down. Wear comfortable, broken-in boots or hiking shoes that will protect your feet from heated surfaces and loose, sharp rocks. A slip-free sole is a must!
Know your limits and abilities!
You, more than anyone else, know what your body is capable of doing while hiking. The worst thing you can do is to push yourself too hard and get stuck, unable to hike up or down. Do not feel like you have to keep up with someone hiking faster than you, as they are hiking at their pace and not yours. As soon as you feel out of your comfort zone, take a break, eat some protein, and drink some water and rest. If you still feel fatigued after a break of 5 or 10 minutes with zero improvement of your health and well-being, rest a bit more and call it a day. You are hiking for your enjoyment, not to keep up with everyone else.
Avoid Huffing and Puffing 
* If you can talk while you are walking, you are walking at the perfect speed. When you huff and puff, your legs, your digestive system, your whole body does not get enough oxygen to function efficiently. Your energy reserves get used up very quickly with this type of metabolism (anaerobic – without enough oxygen), and it creates a lot of waste products. These waste products make your legs feel heavy and make you feel sick.
* Walking uphill at a pace that allows you to be able to walk and talk will help guarantee that your legs and your body are getting the oxygen that they need to function efficiently (aerobically – with enough oxygen). Because your body will generate fewer of these metabolic waste products, you will be better able to enjoy your hike, and you will feel much better when you reach its end. It may seem like you are walking too slow, but at an aerobic pace (sometimes baby-sized steps when the trail is steep) your energy reserves will last many times longer, and you will get there feeling well.
Be Kind to Yourself
* Do not exceed your normal level of physical activity or training. If you have asthma, heart problems, diabetes, knee, back or any other health or medical problem, please limit your exertion and especially your exposure to the heat. The altitude, the strenuous climbing, dehydration, and the intense inner Canyon heat, all combine to make any medical problem worse. Please stay within your training, physical limitations, abilities.
Take a Break: Hiking isn’t a race. If you feel tired, stop and take a small rest. There is no shame what-so-ever in having someone pass you on a trail. If you start getting tired, find a stump to sit on and kick back to enjoy the beauty of nature. Sometimes, just sitting in solitude along a trail can bring the best moments. After resting for 15 minutes in silence, birds start chirping more and wildlife not seen emerges from the forest around you. While everyone else is rushing to their destination, it is more than allowed to stop and smell the roses, especially when doing so will keep you rested, safe and thinking straight.
* A break of five to seven minutes every 30 to 60 minutes can remove approximately 20 to 30 percent of the waste products that have built up in your legs while hiking. Sit down and prop your legs up above the level of your heart and let gravity help drain these metabolic waste products out of your legs.
* Eat some food, drink some fluids, and take this break time to really enjoy and appreciate the view. These efficient breaks can really recharge your batteries. In the long run, these breaks will not slow you down.
No Hydration, No Food, No Fuel, No Fun 
The absolute worst thing you can do while hiking is to not stay properly hydrated and fed. Depending on the hike, you can lose anywhere between 2,000 and 6,000 calories to reach your destination. Those calories need to be replenished, or you will start seeing an increase in cramping, loss of high level cognitive abilities, dizziness and severe lethargy. Hiking is not the time to skip a meal or hold steady to your diet. Eat a ton while on the trails and diet while at home. Bring more water than you think you would ever drink, bring extra Gatorade and bring water purifiers with you. If you are properly hydrated, you should need to urinate at least once on every hike, and the urine should not be dark yellow or brown.
* The hiking rule of thumb is to drink a liter of water per hour, but in weather than exceeds 85 F, the need for water intake increases dramatically. Carry more water than you think you will need. It is easy to become dehydrated very quickly without realizing it is happening.. Signs of dehydration include headaches, fatigue and nausea. Drinking small sips of water throughout the day is a good way to stay hydrated. Some hikers find that pliable water bottles with tube extensions, called bladder bags, fit nicely into daypacks, and offer hikers the opportunity to sip whenever they feel thirsty while keeping their hands free.
* Eat and drink more than you normally do. Eat before, during, and after you hike. Eat before you are hungry. Drink water before you are thirsty. No matter what the temperature, you need water and energy to keep going.
* Keeping yourself cool and hiking in Arizona takes a very large amount of energy (food). Salty snacks and water or sports drinks should be part of any hike. Food is your body’s primary source of fuel and salts (electrolytes) while hiking in a desert climate.
* Your best defense against illness and exhaustion is to eat a healthy breakfast, a snack every time you take a drink, and a rewarding full dinner at the end of the day. This is not a time to diet.
* Eating adequate amounts of food will also help guarantee that you are replacing the electrolytes (salts) that you are sweating out. If you replace the water, but not the electrolytes that you have sweated out of your body, you can develop a serious and dangerous medical condition known as hyponatremia (water intoxication), which, if left untreated, can lead to seizures and possibly death. You need to eat about twice as much as you normally would to meet your energy and electrolyte needs while hiking.
Watch Your Time
Image result for hiker taking a break* Plan on taking twice as long to hike uphill as it takes to hike downhill. As a courtesy, give uphill hikers the right of way. Do not hike in the dark! Experienced hikers don’t do it, and without a flashlight it is extremely dangerous. 
Do not leave your hiking partner
* If you are hiking alone or with a group, never leave someone behind or let someone hike on too far ahead. This is where a large number of accidents happen.  Leaving someone behind is rule number one and should be avoided at all costs. If your group is tired and can’t continue, stop and head back. Live to hike another day.
Give Animals their Space 
* Animals are wild, and no matter how many people they see, they can still attack. The best way to not threaten an animal is to keep your distance at all times. Also, do not feed or try to touch any animal. This includes squirrels, chipmunks, birds, deer or other people’s dogs.
**Following these rules is not a guarantee to keep you safe, and many other hikers have their own rules for safety that are great. This list is intended to get each and every hiker thinking about their own actions and behavior on mountains and, hopefully, being prepared enough to help others be safe on the trails.
If you experience an injury out on the trails the dedicated team of Physicians and staff here at TOCA are here to help! To schedule an appointment call: 602-277-6211. 
#Results. #Recovery. #Relief.

Dr. Cummings and Vito Berlingeri talk Golf, injuries and recovery in the latest addition of the AZ Golf Insider!

Dr. Cummings and Vito Berlingeri talk Golf, injuries and recovery in the latest addition of the AZ Golf Insider. Check out the full artical by clicking here:…/…/45vcVtT1Y15VmxzM/html/index.html

“When I went into his office, Dr. Cummings greeted me like he had known me for 30 years”, said Berlingeri. “He told me with surgery and physical rehab, I would be back to hitting golf balls within seven weeks.”

That’s exactly what happened, with Berlingeri able to play 18 holes just three months after surgery.

Associated with TOCA since 2001, Dr. Cummings estimates that up to 40% of the patients he sees play golf, including numerous PGA Tour professionals. No matter the skill level, he encourages all golfers to take injury prevention measures, especially keeping your core strong.

“Your body only has so much time before wear and tear happens. I’ve recommended other golfer friends with injuries go to Dr. Cummings at TOCA ever since.” (said Vito Berlingeri)

Getting an accurate diagnosis and then a plan is critical to the process, Berlingeri and his physician (Dr. Dean Cummings) agreed.

“You have to spend at least 10-15 minutes warming up in what I call a combination dynamic and static workout. That’s doing some stretches plus some movement patterns. I also recommend stretching while you’re playing.”

“At TOCA we provide an excellent assessment while looking at the whole body and not just an individual body part,” Dr. Cummings said. “We also make sure that each patient is treated with conservative therapeutic management first, and then surgery if needed. I think we have doctors in our group who are phenomenally gifted, but the good thing is they know when to operate, which is very important.”

Dr. P. Dean Cummings is an Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Physician and Surgeon at TOCA.

To learn more about Dr. Cummings and TOCA or to schedule an appointment visit: or call 602-277-6211!

#Results #Recovery #Relife #Golf #AZGolf #AZGolfInsider #AGA#BunkertoBunker #TOCA #TOCAMD 

March 2017 is Cheerleading Safety Month!

March 2017 is Cheerleading Safety Month! Safety is a big concern in all sports and cheerleading is no exception. Because it combines both stunting and gymnastics, there are many opportunities for accidents if the proper precautions aren’t taken. While we often think of them as being nothing more than entertainment on the sidelines, cheerleaders serve a vital role, and the stunts they pull are demanding both mentally and physically. Cheerleading Safety Month comes each year to raise awareness that safety is vital to the health and performance of our team’s biggest supporters.

Basic Cheer Safety:
* Remove all jewelry
* Wear athletic shoes
* Keep your hair tied back
* Always have supervision
* Practice on safe surfaces such as mats and padded floors
* Have an emergency plan

In order to stay out of harm’s way and still perform spectacular stunts, there are a few basic guidelines that must be followed:
* Get proper instruction
* Always use a spotter
* Follow proper progression
* Practice proper technique
* Don’t push it
* Focus
* Warm up
* Communicate
* Don’t ignore injuries
* Stay in shape

Of course, cheerleading safety should be practiced any time cheerleading is being performed, but March – Cheerleading Safety Month – provides the perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on cheerleading safety.

March often marks the winding down of basketball season and with it most school cheerleading will also come to an end. Soon, tryouts for the next season will take place, giving coaches the opportunity to implement their safety programs for a new team.

There are four groups directly responsible for the safety of the cheerleader – the administration, the coaches, the cheerleaders themselves, and the cheerleaders’ parents. Each can use this month to focus on cheerleading safety and enhance safety in their programs.

Administrators, are you involved in your cheer program? Make sure you have selected a qualified coach to supervise the team and give them sufficient support. At a minimum, the coach should complete the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators safety course. Coaches should also take advantage of any other training available, such as training provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations or the US All Star Federation. They should be encouraged to attend camps, clinics and coaching conferences in order to further their knowledge of skill techniques. As an administrator, you should make sure your program has adequate practice facilities and matting and that the coach is following the safety rules.

Coaches, are you fully aware of your responsibilities with regard to safety? You should make sure your cheerleaders are using proper skill progressions. Don’t pressure your cheerleaders to try skills they are not ready to attempt. You or someone at practice, such as a coach’s assistant, should be CPR certified and trained in basic first aid. Make sure that you are following recognized safety rules and practices (AACCA, NFHS or USASF) outlined for your program. Develop and practice an emergency plan in the event a serious injury occurs.

Cheerleaders, you too have a responsibility for your own safety. If you feel scared about a particular stunt or tumbling skill, voice your concerns to your coach or parent. Take stunting very seriously, and stay focused on the skill and your part in it until it is safely completed. Practice good health and fitness habits so you can perform to the best of your ability. Remember, others are relying on you to be at your best during every performance.

Parents, use your voice! Know the safety rules, and If you find that standard practices aren’t being employed, bring it to the attention of the coach. If that doesn’t resolve the matter, do not hesitate to take your concerns to the administration. Ultimately, if you feel that your child’s safety is being compromised, take the difficult step of removing them from the program.

Cheerleading can be a safe and healthy activity when it is properly supervised. Let’s use this month of awareness to make sure we are all doing our part!

History of Cheerleading Safety Month
As the basketball season winds down to a close, Cheerleading tryout season often starts, and a bunch of intrepid new group comes to pick up the pom-pom and start down the demanding path of becoming a cheerleader. With the Administrators, Coaches, the Cheerleaders Parents, and Cheerleaders all working together, an education on how to perform at their very best while being safe in their efforts can be passed on and absorbed.
Cheerleading has been around for a long time, since the late 1800’s in fact, and believe it or not back then it was an all-male sport. From 1877-1923, it was the men that led the cheers, that helped to support their team, and in 1898 the idea of organized teams entered the scene. It wasn’t until 1923 that there women actually entered the field of cheerleading, and it took until 1940 for them to actually be recognized in things like student pamphlets and newspapers.
In 1987 the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches & Administrators was formed, and it wasn’t long after that that the important of safety education among Cheerleaders and those who trained them became obvious. This was the first seeds of National Cheerleading Safety Month coming to pass.

How To Celebrate Cheerleading Safety Month
There are a number of great ways to celebrate Cheerleading Safety Month, starting with being an active advocate for safety in your local cheerleading squad. This is a special opportunity for parents and administrators, a chance to make certain that your children or team is observing all the necessary safety practices to ensure they have a great, and safe, time.
You can also make contact with the National Cheer Safety Foundation to register as an official Cheer Safety Ambassador with their organization. This allows you to report injuries in cheerleading, build an emergency plan, and generally be a great asset to your team, your children, and their safety.


For more information on orthopedic sports medicine call 602-277-6211!


Heel Pain: Exercises to Help with Plantar Fasciitis!

Heel Pain: Exercises to Help with Plantar Fasciitis!
Walking, running, and jumping put a lot of pressure on the feet. Although the feet can take a lot of force, the pressure can take its toll and heel pain can develop. Heel pain can occur due to a few different reasons, but one of the most common causes is plantar fasciitis.
Causes of plantar fasciitis:
The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs under the soles of the feet. It connects the heel bones to the front of the feet. The plantar fascia also supports the arch. There are a few different causes of plantar fasciitis. The ligament can become inflamed due to repeated force from high-impact activities and sports that involve a lot of jumping. Wearing high heels may also place added stress on the fascia.
Having a job that requires a lot of standing or walking increases a person’s chances of developing the condition. People who are flat-footed may also be more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. Flat feet can cause an uneven distribution of weight when someone walks, which puts added stress and pressure on the fascia.
Exercises and plantar fasciitis:
Plantar fasciitis can disrupt workout routines. Continuing to do certain activities can make heel pain worse. But sitting idly by and not exercising is unhealthy.
It is possible to still work out when dealing with plantar fasciitis. The key is to avoid activities that place a lot of force on the heel.
People should consider doing activities that don’t usually involve impact to the heel, such as rowing, swimming, and lifting weights.
Stretches for plantar fasciitis:
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, certain stretches may help reduce heel pain and prevent plantar fasciitis from reoccurring.
People who have plantar fasciitis pain in the morning may want to do the stretches as soon as they wake up.
* Sit in a cross-legged position at the end of the bed or a chair. Place the affected foot over the knee of the other leg. Grab the heel of the painful foot with one hand and the toes with the other hand. Gently pull up on the toes while at the same time pulling up on the heel. Bending the toes up stretches the fascia. Bending the ankle up stretches the Achilles tendon, which may help decrease pain. Hold the stretch for about 10 seconds. Relax the foot and repeat 10 to 20 times. If both feet are affected, repeat on the other foot.
* Sitting in a chair, hold the leg out straight and flex and extend at the ankle joint. This exercise stretches both the fascia and the calf muscle. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
* Place the hands on a wall, keep the back leg straight and the heel down. Pull the hips forward towards the wall until the stretch is felt in the back of the lower leg. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat several times. If the heel on the opposite leg hurts, repeat the stretch on that leg too.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis:
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel. Some people also feel pain in the arch of the foot.
Usually, the pain starts off mild and is often felt first thing in the morning when stepping out of bed. Pain also tends to be felt after sitting for a long period. Although it can vary, discomfort often decreases after walking around for a while.
Some people also experience pain when climbing stairs. Participating in intense activity, such as running, may also cause pain.
The pain from plantar fasciitis can last a long time, and complications can develop. Scar tissue can form due to continued inflammation of the fascia. Once scar tissue forms, it’s harder to treat the condition and pain can persist.
Plantar fasciitis can also lead to pain elsewhere in the body. For example, when someone has heel pain, they may change the way they walk without realizing it. Knee, hip, and back problems can develop due to changing body movements.
Treatment options:
* Ice
* NSAIDs: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also help reduce discomfort and inflammation.
* Orthotics: Foot orthotics are custom foot supports to place in the shoes.
* Splint: A splint worn at night may also be recommended.
* Switching activities
* Steroid injections: In cases where heel pain continues, anabolic steroids injections may be an option.
* Surgery: When all other treatments fail, surgery may be an option.
If you are experiencing foot, heel and/or ankle pain, the Physicians at TOCA are here to help! To learn more visit: or call 602-277-6211.
#Recovery #Results #Relief #heal

Which Helmet for Which Activity? It takes brains to be safe — Be smart and wear a helmet!

Which Helmet for Which Activity? It takes brains to be safe — Be smart and wear a helmet!
Why are helmets so important?
For many recreational activities, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a severe head injury and even save your life.
How does a helmet protect my head?
During a typical fall or collision, much of the impact energy is absorbed by the helmet, rather than your head and brain.
Does this mean that helmets prevent concussions?
No. No helmet design has been proven to prevent concussions. The materials that are used in most of today’s helmets are engineered to absorb the high impact energies that can produce skull fractures and severe brain injuries. However, these materials have not been proven to counteract the energies believed to cause concussions. Beware of claims that a particular helmet can reduce or prevent concussions.
To protect against concussion injury, play smart. Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion so that after a fall or collision, you can recognize the symptoms, get proper treatment, and prevent additional injury.
Are all helmets the same?
No. There are different helmets for different activities. Each type of helmet is made to protect your head from the kind of impacts that typically are associated with a particular activity or sport. Be sure to wear a helmet that is appropriate for the particular activity you’re involved in.
The protection that the appropriate helmet can provide is dependent upon achieving a proper fit and wearing it correctly; for many activities, chin straps are specified in the standard, and they are essential for the helmet to function properly. For example, the bicycle standard requires that chin straps be strong enough to keep the helmet on the head and in the proper position during a fall or collision. Helmets that meet a particular standard will contain a special label or marking that indicates compliance with that standard (usually found on the liner inside of the helmet, on the exterior surface, or attached to the chin strap). Don’t rely solely on the helmet’s name or appearance, or claims made on the packaging, to determine whether the helmet meets the appropriate requirements for your activity.
Don’t add anything to the helmet, such as stickers, coverings, or other attachments that aren’t provided with the helmet, as such items can negatively affect the helmet’s performance.
Avoid novelty and toy helmets that are made only to look like the real thing; such helmets are not made to comply with any standard and can be expected to offer little or no protection.
How can I tell if my helmet fits properly?
A helmet should be both comfortable and snug. Be sure that the helmet is worn so that it is level on your head—not tilted back on the top of your head or pulled too low over your forehead. Once on your head, the helmet should not move in any direction, back-to-front or side-to-side. For helmets with a chin strap, be sure the chin strap is securely fastened so that the helmet doesn’t move or fall off during a fall or collision.
If you buy a helmet for a child, bring the child with you so that the helmet can be tested for a good fit. Carefully examine the helmet and the accompanying instructions and safety literature.
How long are helmets supposed to last?
Follow the guidance provided by the manufacturer. In the absence of such guidance, it may be prudent to replace your helmet within 5–10 years of purchase, a decision that can be based, at least in part, on how much the helmet was used, how it was cared for, and where it was stored. Cracks in the shell or liner, a loose shell, marks on the liner, fading of the shell, evidence of crushed foam in the liner, worn straps, and missing pads or other parts, are all reasons to replace a helmet. Regular replacement may minimize any reduced effectiveness that could result from degradation of materials over time, and allow you to take advantage of recent advances in helmet protection.

For more information visit: or call 602-277-6211!

#Recovery #Results #Relief



Shoulder Injury Prevention Tips

Shoulder Injury Prevention Tips: Overhand sports such as baseball, tennis, volleyball, swimming, and softball require a significant amount of shoulder use and it is important to keep in mind the best ways to maintain healthy shoulders.

  • Prior to activity, it is important to have enough time to warm up and cool down. Make sure that you get your heart rate up then stretch the major muscle groups, including your shoulders, back, and legs. Other ways to get your heart rate going is riding on an exercise bike and for the shoulders, arm circle exercises, alternating between small and large circles.
  • As you get older, it is important to have strong rotator cuff muscles. The main function of the rotator cuff is to rotate the shoulder and lift the arm both internally and externally. Overhand athletes use the rotator cuffs when in action and strength training is one of the best ways to ensure strong rotator cuffs. Also, elastic band exercises such as the T, Y, and I formations are proven to work well.
  • Between events, allow yourself appropriate time to recover. Whether you play tennis, volleyball, or softball, you should always find time to rest in between events.
  • Most importantly, listen to your body. If an area of your body starts to hurt during a workout, avoid the mentality of no pain, no gain and stop your workout. This mentality can lead to many problems such as soreness and injury. Painless clicking in the shoulders is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, it may very well be a sign from your body to allow yourself time to rest. And, if it becomes painful, the physicians at TOCA are here to help!

For more information visit: or call 602-277-6211!

#Recovery #Results #Relief



Backpack Safety!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When you move your child’s backpack after he or she drops it at the door, does it feel like it contains 40 pounds of rocks? Maybe you’ve noticed your child struggling to put it on, bending forward while carrying it, or complaining of tingling or numbness. If you’ve been concerned about the effects that extra weight might have on your child’s still-growing body, your instincts are correct. Backpacks that are too heavy can cause a lot of problems for kids, like back and shoulder pain, and poor posture. Did you know that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries from heavy backpacks result in more than 7,000 emergency room visits per year. Sprains, strains, and “overuse” injuries were among the top complaints.

When selecting a backpack, look for:

  • An ergonomic design
  • The correct size: never wider or longer than your child’s torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist
  • Padded back and shoulder straps
  • Hip and chest belts to help transfer some of the weight to the hips and torso
  • Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight
  • Compression straps on the sides or bottom to stabilize the contents
  • Reflective material

Backpack Safety Tips:

  • Your backpack should weigh only 15% – 20% of your total weight
  • Use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed
  • Tighten the straps to keep the load closer to the back
  • Organize items and pack heavier things low and towards the center
  • Remove items if the backpack is too heavy and only carry items necessary for the day
  • Lift properly by bending at the knees when picking up a backpack

Remember: A roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it. Make sure your child uses both straps when carrying the backpack. Using one strap shifts the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems.

Help your child determine what is absolutely necessary to carry. If it’s not essential, leave it at home.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

It’s Sandal Season: Tips for Buying Pain-Free Sandals!

It’s Sandal Season: Tips for Buying Pain-Free Sandals!

Shoes that are flimsy can be a pain in the back (and the hips, knees and feet). When you’re buying sandals, keep your cool with styles that do your body good.

Here’s what to look for this season when buying pain-free sandals:

* Quality: It may be tempting to purchase a sandal that is cheaply priced and cheaply made. Some stores will sell flip-flops for a dollar a pair, but what you save in money will cost you in pain and discomfort. Poor quality and flimsy flip-flops have a high probability of causing blisters and other types of irritation. Before buying any footwear, make sure to check the material quality and durability.

* Arch support effectiveness: Many cheaply made flip-flops are constructed with pieces of unsupported foam. If you plan on wearing them for longer periods than a quick trip to the store, you’ll need stronger soles with adequate support for the arch.

* Sturdiness: Before making your purchase, be sure the flip-flops have the correct bend. A good way to do so is to gently bend the sole from one end to other. If the sole bends in half, rather than at the ball of the foot, it isn’t sturdy enough to withstand long-term wear.

*Comfort: As with any shoe, you need to be sure that the flip-flop fits correctly. Your foot should not hang off the front or back of the sole. Also be sure that the flip-flops are the correct width for your foot. When you walk, they should conform to your feet without shifting or slipping.

* Activity usefulness: Before you even start to look for flip-flops, decide what type of activity they’ll most likely be used for. Will they be used to trek mountains or to keep your feet from getting burned when walking from your beach towel to the water? Will you be walking in them for hours at a time, or just quick jaunts? The more you plan on using them, the more support you’ll need to look for when purchasing.

* Pay attention to the rest of your body: Sandals may cause more than just foot pain. If somebody’s foot pronates, in which the arch collapses, it could put strain on other parts of the body. If you wear flip-flops without support, it could cause strain and pain in the knees, hip, and lower back.

Your foot health should always be a priority. If you suffer from a foot or ankle condition, set up an appointment with one of our TOCA foot and ankle doctors learn more by call 602-277-6211 or visit our website at!

‪#‎Recovery‬ ‪#‎Results‬ ‪#‎Relief‬


What Texting Can Do to Your Spine: This image will make you sit up straight, immediately!

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What Texting Can Do to Your Spine – Pop quiz: Are you currently reading this while hunched over your phone? Looking down at your phone can force up to 60 pounds of weight on your spine, according to a new study in the journal Surgical Technology International.

Most people spend an average of two to four hours a day slumped over their smartphones, according to the study, and that awkward position isn’t doing any favors for your neck and back.

The adult head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds, so when you’re standing upright with perfect posture, that’s the amount of stress that’s on your spine. According to the new research, tilting your head forward increases the amount of stress—and therefore weight—on your spine. When you tilt just 15 degrees forward, that’s about 27 pounds; at 30 degrees, it’s 40 pounds; at 45 degrees, it’s 49 pounds; and at 60 degrees, it’s 60 pounds of stress.

Not only can that cause a literal pain in your neck, but it also puts stress on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

We know you won’t be throwing out your phone, tablet, or e-reader anytime soon, just be sure to use it with proper posture – which means your ears are aligned with your shoulders and your shoulder blades are back in the neutral position!

‪#‎Recovery‬ ‪#‎Results‬ ‪#‎Relief‬

At TOCA our highly educated and skilled physical therapists treat a variety of injuries including injuries of the spine, shoulder, elbow, hand, hip, knee, foot and ankle. Our therapists will help you recover from injury, rehabilitate after surgery, help to prevent future injuries, and help you reach your fitness goals. For those looking to continue beyond therapy, wellness and sport specific training is available.

To learn more visit our website at or call 602-277-6211!

‪#‎Recovery‬ ‪#‎Results‬ ‪#‎Relief‬


Friday Facts about Physical Therapy

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Physical therapy is used with patients who have difficulty in moving around and perform everyday activities due to some injury or surgery. The major goal of this type of therapy is to reduce physical pain caused by any surgery and chronic health problems making daily activities easier. Physical therapies are professional in helping reduce such pain and make patients move around better, while improving their physical health and fitness level. Below we explore more facts about physical therapy including its functions and types.

What Are the Functions of Physical Therapy?

1. Injury Recoveries: Physical therapy helps in recovering from a physical injury like back pain and plantar fasciitis by reducing pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons. If done correctly, under physician’s supervision, physical therapy can improve function and flexibility of soft tissues and help in developing muscle strength. Physical therapist might advise on how to perform certain physical activities in what specific manner, to reduce chances of any further injury.

2. Chronic Health Conditions: Patients with chronic or permanent physical condition can benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapy can help with conditions like vertigo, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), temporomandibular condition and multiple sclerosis. Physical therapist will examine the patients thoroughly and develop a physical activity program to help with their specific condition, by strengthening muscles, increasing the range of motion or endurance.

3. Significant Disability Rehabilitation: Some physical conditions like spinal cord injury, cardiopulmonary conditions, stroke, and brain injury entail numerous body systems and can cause a serious disability if not treated right away. Physical therapists’ job is to take care of the patient’s range of motion, physical mobility like walking around, climbing stairs, muscular strength, and endurance. They can recommend the proper equipment such as walker, wheel chair etc. according to the need of patients and help with the right use of it.

4. Childhood Health Conditions: Physical therapy is not limited to adults and it can help children with chronic health conditions and injuries by developing physical strength and endurance, hence improving mobility. The most frequently seen childhood injuries include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, and brain injury. Therapist inspects child’s condition thoroughly and then devises a physical plan according to his special developmental and physical needs. Some schools have physical therapy facilities for children with special needs, for example, children with scoliosis.

What Are the Types of Physical Therapy?
1. Exercise: Exercise is something extracurricular beside daily routine that improves strength and endurance. Physical therapy consists of an exercise that is expressly designed for particular injury or health condition. The exercise includes stretching of the muscles of back, abdomen and trunk, lifting weights, water aerobics, jogging, walking and several other physical activities.

2. Cold or Heat Therapy: Cold or heat therapy is used to get an instant relief from inflammation and other muscle injuries. In cold therapy physician uses ice packs on injured parts of the body to relieve pain. Ice treatments include Ice massage, compression, elevation, cold packs, and lotions. Heat therapy relaxes muscles and heals the injuries by increasing blood circulation, which is widely useful in osteoarthritis with paraffin wax.

3. Manual Therapy: Manual therapy includes treatment of the condition with the use of hands and not any other equipment. The goal of this kind of therapy is to reduce pain and induce relaxation.

* In a massage treatment, physical therapist relaxes muscles by applying pressure to the soft tissues that improves blood circulation.
* Mobilization treatment is used to pull, push or twist joints and bones into their particular position, using slow, calculated movements. This process helps with tight tissues, joints alignment and flexibility.
* Manipulation which is more aggressive than the others is used to place the bones and joints back in their position through vigorous movements.

4. Education: Physical therapy education and training includes performing daily activities without intricacy, how to use several equipment such as wheelchairs and crutches, avoiding injury and making home safe if the patient suffers from any serious strength or vision problem.

5. Ultrasound: Ultrasound therapy is used to help with muscle spasms; it relaxes muscles before exercise, using high-pitched sound waves. Ultrasound is not usually used for children Therapist should use greater caution while using Ultrasound to avoid deep heating.

6. Electrical Stimulation: Electrical stimulation therapy is a treatment where electric current is used to create an effect in the body that treats a specific problem. This therapy is used for several purposes some of which are healing wounds and broken bones, after surgery healing like knee surgery, after a stroke and in other events to reduce pain.

At TOCA our highly educated and skilled physical therapists treat a variety of injuries including injuries of the spine, shoulder, elbow, hand, hip, knee, foot and ankle. Our therapists will help you recover from injury, rehabilitate after surgery, help to prevent future injuries, and help you reach your fitness goals. For those looking to continue beyond therapy, wellness and sport specific training is available.

To learn more visit our website at or call 602-277-6211!

‪#‎Recovery‬ ‪#‎Results‬ ‪#‎Relief‬