Runners with Knee Pain? It could be IT Band Syndrome!

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Are you suffering from an annoying pain on the outside of your knee? This is a common symptom that runners, cyclists, or any similar activity suffer from! Although some believe that IT Band Syndrome is felt as a pain running up and down the side of your thigh, it isn’t. Your IT Band (Iliotibial band) is a thick sheet of connective tissue that attaches the muscles of your leg to your hip and to the side of your knee. The pain you are feeling is coming directly from the friction between your IT band and the bone of your knee. This pain only increases as your muscles and IT band become more tense.

Couple Running

For most runners, the repetition of bending and straightening your knee while your IT band is tense causes the annoying pain you are suffering from. The key isn’t to limit or stop the movement of bending and straightening your leg, but it’s about the tension of your IT band! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know 3 exercises that can help ease your pain:


  1. Resisted side steps – Place a resistance band around your feet and knees. With a slight bend in your knees (similar to a squat position) step laterally to your right and then to your left until you are fatigued.
  2. “Fire-hydrants” –  Position yourself in a “table-top position” where your hands are placed on the ground and your two knees are placed on the ground. Extend your knee out to the side while maintaining a L-shape with your knee. Alternate legs until fatigued.
  3. IT Band stretch – With your hands on your hips, cross your left foot over your right. Then extend your hip towards the left side (laterally) until you feel a stretch. Then alternate legs and cross your right foot over your left foot, and extend your hip towards the right side until you feel a stretch.


At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists will create a personalized plan of exercises such as these! By combining these exercises with manual therapy and KT taping, you will be back to running miles and miles again!

Call Walker Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment! (714)997-5518

1111 W Town and Country Road Ste 1

Orange, CA 92868

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Running with back pain? Focus on your CORE!

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Americans who are recreational runners and distance walkers are susceptible to low back pain. According to the Journal of Southern Orthopedic Association, 14 percent of American runners suffer from back pain. A recent study by Ohio State University proved a correlation between deep core muscle weakness and low back pain in runners. The study had adults go through a simulation that showed weakened deep core muscles, especially the deep erector spinae, which seems to be most responsible for controlling running kinematics.

Research concludes that the best way to reduce the likelihood of low back pain in runners is to focus their training, strengthening, and stabilizing on their core muscles. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know that physical therapy can properly address these running impairments. Our expert physical therapists can develop a plan of care to improve function, decrease pain, regain mobility and improve your quality of life. At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our therapists will evaluate your symptoms and create the best plan of recovery for you!

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center for any questions or to schedule an appointment! (714)997-5518

1111 W Town and Country Road Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

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5 Important Tips for New and Returning Runners

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Running can be one of the simplest sports to start; all you need is a decent pair of shoes and a little self-motivation. If you’re completely new to the sport or have been on a break for a while it can take a huge  toll on your body. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has 5 crucial tips that can make the transition into running a lot easier than you think.

  1. Start slow– Starting a new workout plan can be exciting but it’s important to remember that your body needs time to adapt to the new changes it is about to experience. Don’t think that you have to run 7 days a week in order to get in shape faster. Starting off too hard can quickly lead to injuries.
  2. Run on soft surfaces– Running on softer surfaces like grass, sand, a padded track or even a treadmill will put less pressure on the foot and the rest of the body than running on hard pavement. Start with a softer surface and gradually work up to harder surfaces if you can.
  3. Wait for your muscle– It takes around 6 weeks for your body to begin to build muscle. Allow at least this much time before you really add on the mileage or else you’ll be on the road to injury before you know it.
  4. Run-walk method– Running can be difficult, don’t be afraid to walk a little if you’re feeling exhausted. Try having a set amount of time that you run and a set amount of time that you walk to recover. As you build your endurance, you can reduce the amount of recovery time you need to fit your fitness level.
  5. RECOVER– Planning your recovery days is just as important as exercise itself. Exercise causes micro tears in your muscles that need rest days to heal back stronger. Make sure you’re stretching out those muscles to keep your mobility, resting to regain your energy and let your muscles heal, and eating a 3-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein within an hour after you run for optimal recovery.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our mission is to inspire, educate and motivate clients. Our staff can help you with many physical ailments that might be impeding you from starting or continuing your exercise routine that is so vital to your health. To schedule a free consultation with one of our expert physical therapists call us at (714) 997-5518.

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

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5 Things Your PT Wants You to Know About Knee Pain

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Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist and Nutritionist wants you to know these 5 things about knee pain shared by Cheryl Lock, The Denver Magazine.

August 27 2015, 10:00 AM

An estimated 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, 15.1% of those consist of knee pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Management. Even if you have never suffered from knee pain, these 5 things are helpful for you to know.

  1. The problem may NOT be your knee.

It is possible that what starts out as a weakness in your hip muscles might cause you to walk “funny”, or induce tightness from your hip, which manifests itself at the knee joint. “The problem may not be at your knee, but that’s where you’re feeling the pain, because that’s where the issue is coming to a head.” Dr. Josh Hardy, PT, DPT says.

  1. Knee exercises might make it worse.

If you attempt to ease the problem yourself with certain exercises or stretches, it may actually end up making the problem worse. Core strengthening or hip stabilizing and strengthening are usually more adequate. This is where a physical therapist or doctor can help personalize the exercises to “work for you, not against you”.

  1. Some knee pain can be avoided with a little training.

Sometimes, the best treatment is to simply slow down. The knee is especially susceptible to what therapists call “weekend warrior injuries”— such as going for a 4 mile hike after months without physical activity.

Dr. Hardy says that “People should ease into exercise if they’ve been out of the game for a while. If you try to do a big run or hike without the flexibility or strength to back it up, the next thing you know your knee is irritated, and you have to play catch up even more.”

Diagnostic testing can help you figure out your level of fitness. Furthermore, Dr. Hardy states that “It doesn’t hurt to have someone take a look at your functional movement and strength to find out if you’re at-risk before going out and hurting yourself.”

  1.  Avoid quick fixes.

It’s frustrating to have to take time off from doing an activity you love and attempting to work through the pain. But coming up with a quick fix instead of taking the proper time to heal will most likely set you back even more. Your physical therapist or doctor will set you up to a gradual progression to help ease you back into your activities so there isn’t more damage done.

  1. The answer isn’t always surgery.

For the most part, non-traumatic injuries can be treated without invasive interventions, but even some more serious injuries can be treated with therapy first (depending on the patient) to try to avoid surgery. “For people who aren’t elite athletes, some can rehabilitate their muscles in such a way—with direction—that they don’t even need their ACL,” said Dr. Hardy. “If you can get functional strength back in your hamstrings, they can do the same job.”

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA92868

Phone: 714-997-5518


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3 Tips to Improve Great Toe Mobility

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Dr. Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist and Nutritionist shares 3 tips from Russ Manalastas, injury zone blogger, on how to improve great toe mobility

Democrat & Chronicle, Russ Manalastas, injury zone blogger  9:04 a.m. EDT August 27, 2015

Many runners are well aware that the foot/ankle area is important for a runner. It initiates contact with the ground and is important for the launch-off phase of running/walking to set you in motion

However, the great toe is an area that often goes unattended. Most people are aware of maintaining proper mobility through the ankle, but the role the great toe plays during the launch-off phase of running can’t be overlooked, since a lack of mobility in this area can lead to other complications. This is why great toe extension is paramount!

Due to range of motion limitations in the great toe, the absence of great toe extension exercises can lead to the plantar fascia having to do more work during the launch off phase of running, which can lead to overburdening the tissue and causing irritation.

Normal range of motion in the great toe can be anywhere from 70 to 90 degrees, so anything that is less than that can lead to increased stiffness in the joint over time..


Tip 1

Check your mobility in your great toe by pulling up on the toe (foot on the ground) to see if you have any limitations. The key is to keep your other toes relaxed as there is a tendency to want to extend all the toes to gain any extra range of motion. This easy test should give you a good idea of whether or not you may need to work on regaining mobility.

Tip 2

Address soft tissue restrictions through the calf and also the bottom of the foot. Any increased restrictions or tightness through these areas may restrict your great toe from moving into end range extension.

Tip 3

PT Erson Religioso III recommends end range great toe flexion to help reset the great toe and to allow it to move into extension without trying to force that motion over and over again.


Russ Manalastas is a licensed physical therapist and clinical director for Lattimore of Spencerport Physical Therapy.


Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to make an appointment with one of our expert physical therapists!


1111 W. Town and Country Rd.

Orange, CA 92868

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Running Injuries

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Top 6 Running Injuries and How To Avoid Them

Walking, jogging and running are excellent activities to promote health and wellness. Are you an avid jogger or runner? If so, could the way you run be hurting you?

When you run, jog or walk, each step sends shock waves up to the feet, knees, hips, and lower back. Overuse injuries are common, especially with running. The good news is, we can help avoid overuse injuries. Some causes of running induced injuries include:image

  • Training errors
  • Improper running shoes
  • Poor weight-bearing or running dynamics

In an injury does occur, physical therapy can get you back on track (pun intended) in a short time. Here are SOME of the most common injuries that occur with running:

  1. Plantar Fascitis: Inflammation of fibrous connective tissue on the sole of the foot, leading to pain on the bottom of the heel.
  2. Achilles tendinitis: Heel pain, or pain in the Achilles, due to too much running or running uphill. This can lead to pain and tightness in the calf.
  3. Shin splints: Often a result of imbalance in the calf and shin muscles. Pain is along the front side of the lower leg (the shin).
  4. Stress fracture: Repeated pounding of the legs can lead to stress fractures, with local pain over the affected bone.
  5. Hamstring strain: Too much running can lead to a hamstring pull.
  6. Patello-femoral pain or “Runner’s knee”: Increase running distance too soon can lead to pain behind the patella, or kneecap.

If you have any of these injuries mentions above, there are tips and treatment that can help relieve pain and recover from the injury:

  • Rest, anti-inflammatory medication and icing the injured area.
  • Stretching muscles that are tight (i.e. – calf for Achilles tendinitis)
  • Strengthening exercises to restore muscle balance.
  • In some cases, taping works like a charm – talk to your therapist.
  • Orthotics may help alter the forces going into your joints. Talk to one of our therapists to see if this is best for you.
  • Remember, if it hurts, don’t do it. For example, if running hurts, try jogging. If jogging hurts, walk instead.

Are  your shoes to blame?

Before starting a running program, ask yourself:


  • Are your shoes worn out?
  • Are they the right fit for your feet?
  • Do you have flat feet? Are you shoes stable enough?
  • If your feet are rigid, you need a pair with good cushioning.

All these questions need to be answered. To tell if a shoe can still be used, look at its sole. If it is worn out, its time for a new pair! If they twist too easily, it another sign they may be worn.

Runners are very susceptible to injuries, especially with changes in training, including speed, frequency, distance, and surface.Talk to a physical therapist at Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to evaluate your feet and minimize or treat injuries.

Your Feet Will Thank You

Most runners fail to take necessary steps to avoid injury. This is where we come in. After the initial initial evaluation, we teach you how to:

  • Get the right pair of shoes – we evaluate the muscles of your feet and guide you to the right shoes.
  • Stretch out properly – we evaluate your requirements and make sure you stretch out your muscles properly before exercise.
  • Strategically structure your running – we teach you the right warm up, stretch, and exercise sequence and coach you through  the process of building up your running time gradually. Remember, your running shoes will last about 500 miles before they need to be replaced.
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If you are a runner or just happen to walk regularly, you need to call us to evaluate your technique right away. As they say, prevention is better than the cure. Our highly experienced staff will design a plan to protect your joints and optimize your efforts. Call us today for an appointment. Your feet will thank you.

Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, Orange County, CA 92868

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