Monthly archive for March 2014

Can knee injuries be prevented?

Imagine you’re out enjoying your morning run, or maybe you’re getting ready to catch that fly ball at the league softball game, when all of a sudden you’re burdened with that nagging knee pain and it comes out of nowhere. Sure, it will pass eventually, but for now it could limit your mobility, and you weren’t even participating in strenuous physical activity.

Unfortunately, knee pain can come along at any time, often with no warning. Even if it isn’t something as difficult as an ACL tear, the nagging pain can really dampen your ability to enjoy running, shopping, kneeling in the garden, or playing with the kids. But was there anything you could have done to avoid this pain? Maybe so.

Ideally, everyone should regularly get 3 types of exercise to prevent injury to all parts of the body, including the knees:

  • Range-of-motion exercises will help maintain normal joint movement and relieve stiffness
  • Strengthening exercises will keep or increase muscle strength
  • Aerobic or endurance exercises (such as walking or swimming) will improve function of the heart and circulation and help control weight. Weight control can be important to people who have arthritis because extra weight puts pressure on many joints, including the knee.

To keep knee pain and other musculoskeletal pain at bay, it’s important to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, exercise, get adequate rest, and eat healthy foods. It’s also important for runners and other athletes to perform physical therapist-approved stretching and warm-up exercises on a daily basis—especially before beginning physical activity.

But my knees get sore when I run. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
One potential cause for knee pain is poor running technique. Poor shock absorption or inadequate leg strength may cause unnecessary stress on the knee, ultimately causing pain. Because running is a repetitive, high impact activity, it is vital to practice the proper form and to make sure that your muscle strength/endurance is evaluated. A professional, such as a physical therapist, can identify the issues that may be contributing to your symptoms and advise you on strategies to remedy the situation.

How do I learn proper technique?
Northern partners with Gazelle Sports to offer Good Form Running Clinics, where you will learn to improve your running technique to reduce your chances of injury and run faster. These clinics have been extremely popular in the past and have quickly filled up. Check our events page to find out when the next clinic will be offered.

The important thing to remember, is that you don’t have to live with pain. Your body was designed to run like a well oiled machine – recurring pain is not normal, and can almost always be fixed with the proper diagnosis, exercises, and treatment plans. Physical therapy is a safe way to treat recurring pain and patients often avoid medications and surgery. If you’re experiencing pain in your knees, or other parts of your body, give physical therapy a try…your body just might thank you.

Northern Physical Therapy Clinics

Physical Therapy

Pain is not a way of life. If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, arthritis, or pain from an injury, physical therapy can help. Our priority is to get you moving freely and feeling good.
Are you living with pain? →



Work Services

Work injuries don’t just happen on dangerous job sites. Desk jobs can cause back pain and carpal tunnel, and workstations that aren’t ergonomic can lead to issues.
Get down to business →


Wellness & Fitness

Becoming your best YOU can be a wonderful journey. Let us show you how to begin. From personal training to massage to pool fitness classes, we’ve got something for every age group.
Start moving →

Wish there was a fitness class close to home? It’s time to stretch and flex those muscles, beginner and advanced levels are welcome, and we accept walk-ins any time!


It’s not easy to travel multiple times per week for therapy, especially when there’s an office near your home or work. That’s why we have six convenient locations to serve you. In Cedar Springs, Coopersville, Grand Rapids, Grant, Sparta, and Wayland, we offer physical therapy, along with pool and fitness classes, and massage.

Learn More →


Are you passionate about helping others? Do you love supporting the communities in which you live and work? If you think you’d be a great addition to our team, check out which positions we’re currently accepting resumes for.
Career Opportunities →


Random back aches, pain when running, and other discomfort can start out of the blue or as a result of injury. Learn more about your issue, the cause, and the best way to fix it, free of charge.
Get started →

New Yoga Class in Coopersville…Sign Up Today

Have you been wanting to give yoga a try? Do you wish there was a yoga class close to home?

If you’re ready to stretch and flex those muscles join our new yoga class coming to Northern Physical Therapy, starting April 1!

The 8 week session, taught by yoga instructor Kristen Frilen, begins April 1 and will run each Tuesday through May 20 from 7:15-8:05pm. The cost is $7 per class, or $50 if you sign up for all 8 at once. Attendees should bring their own yoga mat. Class size is limited so stop by Northern Physical Therapy (25 Conran, Coopersville) or call us at 616.997.6172 to reserve your spot in advance.

We encourage yoga rookies and people with moderate yoga experience to attend. We anticipate that each student will arrive with different goals and needs so whether you’re coming to get in shape or to clear the clutter from your mind, our instructor will work to meet the needs of each individual student through the various poses and flows.

We hope to see you there! Remember, just call us at 616.997.6172 to reserve your spot in the class.