September is National Pain Awareness Month

This month we highlight National Pain Awareness Month. If you suffer from chronic pain, you are not alone. Millions of Americans deal with pain on a daily basis. These statistics from the Integrative Pain Science Institute are eye-opening.

  • 100 million adults report chronic pain
  • 25 million adults experience daily pain
  • 10 million adults report high pain levels
  • 8 million adults have severe pain that interferes with daily function

Managing Chronic Pain

Thankfully, many doctors recognize the benefits of physical therapy for managing pain and often prescribe PT as the first treatment approach. Some of the techniques used in the rehab setting include:

  • Therapeutic modalities to calm the body and decrease pain
  • Light exercise to promote mobility, joint range of motion, muscle flexibility, and strength
  • Ergonomic training and education in activity modifications to lessen daily stresses on the body
  • Education in health promoting behaviors including good nutrition, sleep, and stress management

As we learn more about how the brain and body adapt to pain over time, we gain new insights into treatment. This leads to new approaches and hope for leading a better quality of life with less pain. If you are struggling with pain, contact our office and schedule an appointment today to see how our skilled therapists can help you get your pain under control.


Intermittent Fasting for Metabolic Health

Thanks to those of you who joined us on July 14th to learn about intermittent fasting. Christy Thiel, master nutrition therapist, gave an excellent presentation about the misconceptions around fasting and the benefits of fasting for overall health. If you missed Christy’s lecture, then read below for some highlights.

Intermittent Fasting

What is intermittent fasting? Isn’t it just another fad diet? While there are a lot of fad diets out there, intermittent fasting is not a diet. You do not necessarily cut calories or change the make-up of your diet. Instead, you try to eat all of your meals within a time frame of 8 hours. Then the remaining 16 hours of each 24 hour period will be time when you are not eating. This is called your “non eating window.”

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  • Mild to moderate weight loss
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased insulin resistance and improved blood sugar control
  • Decreased oxidative stress
  • Improved blood lipid profile
  • Improved appetite regulation
  • Increased diversity of the gut microbiome
  • Improved immune function
  • Autophagy (ability of the body to get rid of unhealthy cells)




    1. Varady KA, Cienfuegos S, Ezpeleta M, Gabel K. Cardiometabolic benefits of intermittent fasting. Annual Review of Nutrition. Vol. 41:333-361 (Volume publication date October 2021).
    2. Llewellyn-Water K, Abdullah MM. Intermittent fasting-a potential approach to modulate the gut microbiota in humans? A systematic review. Nutrition and Healthy Aging, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 87-94, 2021. DOI: 10.3233/NHA-200098.


The Benefits of Yoga in Physical Therapy

If you are reading this, take a long, deep breath in through your nose. Notice how your torso moves as you fill your lungs. Now, exhale slowly, and concentrate on relaxing all of the muscles in your face. (Feel free to repeat this several times.)


Congratulations, you just practiced yoga! That’s right. Yoga practice can be as simple as paying attention to how breathing changes the shape of your body–no need to touch your toes or bend into a pretzel.


The incorporation of breath work and simple yoga poses into physical therapy is an excellent way to facilitate sensory awareness of where your body is in space. It also helps to calm the autonomic nervous system. In other words, it helps bring a stronger connection between your brain and your body, and helps with relaxation.


Other physical benefits of yoga include:

  • Improved strength
  • Better balance
  • Increased flexibility

Studies show that a regular yoga practice is an effective treatment and prevention strategy for chronic neck and low back pain. Beyond this, yoga is helpful for stress reduction and improved body image.


Tips for starting a yoga practice:

  1. Sign up for a class at a local studio. Most studios offer a free or discounted class for new students!
  2. Try yoga at home by following a YouTube video. This “10 Minute Yoga For Beginners” is a great place to start.
  3. Ask your PT about how to add yoga poses or breath work into your physical therapy routine.

Have fun and Namaste.



  1. Cherup NP, Strand KL, Lucchi L, Wooten SV, Luca C, Signorile JF. Yoga Meditation Enhances Proprioception and Balance in Individuals Diagnosed With Parkinson’s Disease. Percept Mot Skills. 2021 Feb;128(1):304-323. doi: 10.1177/0031512520945085. Epub 2020 Aug 3. PMID: 32746736.
  2. Qaseem A, Wilt TJ, McLean RM, Forciea MA; Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians, Denberg TD, Barry MJ, Boyd C, Chow RD, Fitterman N, Harris RP, Humphrey LL, Vijan S. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Apr 4;166(7):514-530. doi: 10.7326/M16-2367. Epub 2017 Feb 14. PMID: 28192789.
  3. Wang F, Szabo A. Effects of Yoga on Stress Among Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review. Altern Ther Health Med. 2020 Jul;26(4):AT6214. PMID: 32088671.

Join us in celebrating walk and bike month this June!

June is officially Walk and Bike Month in Loveland, Colorado. Join the community and Foothills Orthopedic & Sport Therapy P.C. in kicking off summer with a walk, a hike or a bike ride.


City Sponsored Events

The city of Loveland has a full calendar of events to celebrate walking and biking. Activities are for people of all ages and abilities. Check it out and sign up for a community event, or just grab your shoes or your wheels and head out on your own to enjoy the weather and the local trails and roads.

Bike Zone at the Library’s summer kickoff event, “Mountains of Possibilities!” 06/03/2022 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
National Trails Day Project 06/04/2022 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Bike Zone at the Loveland Farmer’s Market 06/05/2022 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
History By Foot Guided Walking Tour 06/07/2022 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
History By Bike Guided Ride 06/11/2022 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Glow & Go Family Bike Ride 06/11/2022 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM


This June make a positive change for your health and for the health of the environment – choose walking or riding as an alternative to driving and reap the benefits. Join “the movement.”


Foothills Orthopedic & Sport Therapy P.C. will be sponsoring a bike rest station location on Bike to Work Day, June 22nd. Stop by and say hello; whether you are on your way to work, or just out staying fit.

Stay fit. Stay healthy. Be safe.

Click here for more information on Loveland Walk and Bike Month.




Here at Foothills Orthopedic & Sport Therapy, we are passionate about meeting the needs of individuals with hypermobile connective tissue. This includes the more common Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders [HSDs] and  Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome [hEDS], as well as the 13+ rare & ultra-rare types of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome [EDS].


People with hypermobile connective tissue disorders are often referred to as Zebras. Like a striped zebra in a herd of horses, people with hypermobile tissues are unique and unexpected.  In fact, since connective tissue is part of every major system of the body, Zebras often deal with atypical function in nearly every aspect of daily life.  This can be very frustrating for the zebra and their community of family, friends, teachers, bosses, and even health care providers.


Many zebras deal with years of symptoms before they receive a diagnosis. Misdiagnosis, accusations of misrepresenting their experience, and lower quality of life are common. Dr. Kim Saunders, PT and Kara Creaghe, PTA utilize movement, lifestyle training, and hands-on therapies at our Fort Collins clinic to help zebras find their way to a life that is fulfilling and well suited to their unique functionality.

This month, we’d like to share some of our favorite resources to help our community better understand and live alongside or as zebras.  We hope you’ll take the time to check out a few of these links to learn more about EDS & HSDs.


The Basics


Managing EDS and Associated Conditions &


Supporting Zebras





Resources to Share with Healthcare Providers


Project ECHO | The Ehlers Danlos Society : The Ehlers Danlos Society

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – GeneReviews® – NCBI Bookshelf

Physical and Emotional Benefits of Exercising with your Pet


My name is Lisa and I am the receptionist at the Foothills Loveland location. I started working at Foothills Physical Therapy around two years ago. About seven years ago I adopted my dog Bailey and have faithfully walked her every morning and night. I felt like it was just helping me with weight loss and giving my dog some exercise.

Physical therapy sessions can help patients increase their strength, balance, mobility, flexibility, and stamina.  As time passed at work, I noticed how walking my dog everyday has some similarity to physical therapy.  In 2018, the US Army Medical Department Journal published a study on therapy dogs. The clinical team and study participants observed that the dogs did much to improve the overall satisfaction and experience with the patients’ therapy. They found significant affects on stress levels, fatigue, mood, and function when the dogs were involved in therapy sessions1.


Dogs can get you up and moving, as well as provide emotional support, which is what my dog Bailey has given me. SO GO HAVE SOME FUN WITH YOUR DOG !!!






1.Beck CE, Gonzales F Jr, Sells CH, Jones C, Reer T, Zhu YY. The effects of animal-assisted therapy on wounded warriors in an occupational therapy life skills program. US Army Med Dep J. 2012;Apr-Jun:38–45.


Foothills Orthopedic & Sport Therapy Welcomes New Therapist



Foothills Orthopedic & Sport Therapy is pleased to welcome Minija Edgar, PT, DPT to our clinical staff in Loveland. Minija is no stranger to our practice. Those of  you who frequent our Fort Collins location may remember Minija when she worked in the front office from 2018-2019.


Minija grew up in Louisville, CO and moved to Fort Collins to attend Colorado State University. She graduated with a degree in Health and Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine in 2018. After completing her undergraduate studies Minija joined our Fort Collins team while she awaited admission to physical therapy school. She was quickly admitted to the University of Vermont and completed her doctorate degree in December 2021.


Minija has a special interest in pelvic floor health and hopes to purse continued training in this area by completing a 12-15 month residency program. Additionally, Minija is a certified yoga instructor and tries to incorporate some of these principles into her women’s health practice. In her free time, Minija enjoys hiking, exercising at Orange Theory gym, and sampling the offerings of the local breweries.


Please help us to welcome Minija to our practice. If you are having lower back pain, pelvic pain, SI joint pain, continence issues, or are peri-partum, then call our office to schedule an appointment with Minija.


Myofascial Cupping

What Is Myofascial Cupping?


Cupping is a therapeutic technique that has been in practice for thousands of years. Historical records show that cupping has been used in Chinese, Indian, and Egyptian medicine traditions. It is based on negative pressure, or suction. Cups are placed against the skin, and then a hand pump draws air out of the cup creating suction.


What Are the Benefits of Cupping?


Cupping is a unique treatment. Unlike other manual therapy techniques that push tissues together, cupping is decompressive—it pulls tissues apart. This is very beneficial for tissues that are sensitive to compression, such as nerves, bursae, and fat pads. Additionally, cupping can:


  • Decrease swelling
  • Improve blood flow to help with healing
  • Desensitize sensitive areas and decrease pain
  • Improve muscle mobility, flexibility, and decrease spasms
  • Release trigger points
  • Mobilize scar tissue
  • Release nerve entrapments


Potential Side Effects


Bruising may happen after a cupping session. When cups are applied for a longer time and/or with a high amount of suction, then small capillaries in the skin may rupture. This causes a bruise which can last for up to 1-3 weeks. Luckily, you do not need to create a bruise in order to experience benefits from cupping.

Temporary redness may also occur as a result of increased blood flow under the cup, but this usually resolves quickly. Some patients may feel slight soreness in the treatment area, but most patients experience symptom relief after a session of cupping.


If you are interested in cupping, ask your therapist for more information. They will evaluate you and determine if adding this technique to your plan of care is right for you.

New Year’s Resolutions for Improved Health and Weight Loss

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Many of us start the new year with goals for weight loss and improved health. While these are excellent goals, it can be hard to get started without guidance. Continue reading for some tips to help improve your diet and increase your physical activity.


Nutrition Tips


The average American consumes over 20 teaspoons of sugar per day! The American Heart Association recommends less than 6 teaspoons per day for women and less than 9 teaspoons per day for men (1). The best way to control your sugar intake is to eliminate sugary drinks.

  • Make water your primary beverage. Herbal teas that are caffeine-free are also good options, as well as sparkling water.
  • Be an informed consumer and read food labels. Sugar can be a hidden ingredient in many foods. If you don’t recognize a word on the label and it ends with “ose” then it is likely a processed sugar.
  • Remember this conversion: 1 teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams. So, if the label says that the food contains 20 grams of added sugar, that is equal to 5 teaspoons.

Portion Size

Controlling how much you eat can help you lose weight. One of the easiest tricks is to serve your meals on smaller plates. Next, make sure that the proportion of different foods on your plate is as follows (2):

  • Half of your plate should be vegetables and fruits
  • One quarter of your plate should be whole grains
  • One quarter of your plate should be lean protein

Eat Your Vegetables and Fruits

The USDA and the World Health Organization recommend 5 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. However, new research shows that 10 servings per day is associated with the lowest risk of heart disease, stroke, and all cause mortality (3). What does a serving look like?

  • 1 cup of leafy greens
  • 1/2 cup chopped veggies or fruit
  • 1 medium-sized fruit

Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber. This means you will feel fuller while eating fewer calories which will help you lose weight.


Exercise Tips

Changing your diet will help you consume fewer calories. Adding exercise will help you burn more calories. The result is weight loss because you will be using more calories than you take in.

Aerobic Exercise

Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise burns calories. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 times per week (4). Aerobic exercise can include many activities such as:

  • Walking
  • Riding a bike
  • Going for a hike
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Doing chores in the house/yard

Strengthening Exercise

Light resistance training 2-3x per week is helpful for weight loss (4). Not only do you burn calories during strengthening, but you also gain lean muscle mass. Muscle mass has a higher resting metabolic rate than fat mass. So, the more muscle you have the more energy your body uses at rest.


  1. American Heart Association. Added Sugars. Accessed January 11, 2022.
  2. Harvard School of Public Health. Healthy Eating Plate.  Accessed January 11, 2022.
  3. Aune D, Giovannucci E, Boffetta P et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality–a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Int J Epidemiol, 2017 Jun 1;46(3);1029-1056.
  4. American College of Sports Medicine. Physical Activity Guidelines. Accessed January 11, 2022.


Holiday Fall Prevention Tips

The holiday season is just around the corner. It’s the time of the year to make memories with your family and friends. However, it is also the time of the year when we as physical therapists see injuries related to falls on snow and ice, or off of ladders. We also see pain and injuries related to preparing for the holidays. We hope you find these tips helpful in keeping you safe and healthy during this season.

Fall Prevention Tips

Every year we see many people who have had falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of four people over age 65 fall every year (1). Snow and ice present increased challenges and can increase your risk for falling during the winter months.


Falls can lead to serious injuries such as fractures, ligament/muscle injuries, and head injuries. Up to 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls (1). Not only can one fall cause serious injury, but it can increase your risk of having another fall. Here are a few tips to consider that can help reduce your risk of falling.


● Avoid walking outside when there is snow and ice on the ground.
● Wear shoes that have good traction or consider purchasing micro spikes for your shoes
● Check the surface first when getting out of vehicles to see if it is icy.
● Avoid walking when it is dark so you can avoid icy, slippery patches that are difficult to see.
● Always take your cell phone with you so you can call for help if you do have a fall.
● Take your time and don’t rush. Take small steps. Widen your stance if you need to in order to increase your stability.
● Keep up with exercises to strengthen your legs and improve your balance.

Ladder Safety

If you are thinking about getting up on a ladder or step stool to hang those Christmas decorations, then you should take a few moments to think about your safety. According to the NIOSH Science Blog, every year 500,000 people are treated for injuries related to falling off of a ladder (2). Additionally, 300 people die every year due to falling from a ladder (2). If you have a history of falls or are unsteady the answer is simple–don’t get on a ladder! If you are safe to climb a ladder, then remember these tips.


● Make sure to choose a ladder that is tall enough and sturdy enough for the task. Don’t exceed the ladder’s weight capacity.
● Set your ladder up on a steady surface and make sure to inspect the ladder for any broken parts.
● Make sure your ladder is set up correctly.
● Always have someone hold the bottom of the ladder to stabilize it.
● Keep three points of contact on the ladder at all times as you climb and always face the ladder.
● Avoid overreaching. Don’t lean out over the side rails.
● Never step on the top steps or bucket steps.
● Avoid standing on furniture (6).

Snow Shoveling Safety

Although we haven’t had much snow yet this year we want you to be prepared. Shoveling snow can lead to many different aches, pains, and injuries. Following the suggestions below can reduce your risk of developing pain and injury (8).


● Warm up for 5-10 minutes before you start shoveling snow.
● Make sure you are dressed for the weather. Dress in layers and wear shoes with good traction. You may want to consider buying micro spikes for your shoes.
● Choose an ergonomic shovel.
● Keep your hips and shoulders pointed in the same direction, keeping your body square to the snow you are shoveling.
● Avoid twisting motions.
● Carry a manageable amount of snow to where you want it instead of throwing it.
● Keep your stomach muscles tight by pulling your belly button toward your spine.
● Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
● Lift with your legs, don’t use your back.
● Keep your hands shoulder width apart and the shovel close to you.
● Push the snow when you can instead of lifting it.
● If the snow is too deep, shovel it off in layers instead of trying to move too much at once.
● Take frequent breaks while shoveling to avoid overexertion and stop shoveling if you experience pain.


1. “Home and Recreational Safety.” National Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention and Health Promotion. Last updated 2/10/17. Accessed 11/20/21. https//

2. “Ladder Safety App.” National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. March 2017
3. “Older Adult Fall Prevention.” National Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention and Health Promotion. Accessed 11/20/21, Last reviewed August 6, 2021.
4. “Avoiding the slip: Winter Fall Prevention.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed 11/30/21. Last updated January 3, 2019.
5. BJ Vellas et al. Fear of falling and restriction of mobility in elderly fallers. Age and Aging, 1997;26: 189-193.
6. “Ladder Safety” Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Last updated 2015. Accessed 11/30/21
7. “OSHA Fact Sheet.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Last updated 2015. Accessed 11/30/21
8. “ Digging out: 5 Ways to Prepare your Health to Shovel Snow.” National Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention and Health Promotion. Accessed 11/20/21. Last updated February 13, 2019.