Bronze with a Broken Rib

1297523994615_ORIGINALThe Sochi 2014 Olympics are now underway and it has been a great day for team Canada. The day started with a bronze medal finish by our very own, Mark McMorris, in Men’s Slopestyle Snowboard. Winning Canada’s first medal is quite an accomplishment, especially given the athlete’s injury.  McMorris fractured one of his ribs 2 weeks before the Olympics, which posed a big concern for the medal hopeful. However, with determination and intensive therapy, McMorris persevered  in order to fulfil his Olympic dream.  This is an incredible feat as most would be unable to compete with such an injury.

What is a rib fracture?
A rib fracture is a break of any of the 12 rib bones. The ribs form a cage around the torso, attaching to the spine at the back and traveling around to the front of the chest. Ribs 1-7 attach to the sternum, ribs 8-10 attach to the rib above via cartilage, and ribs 11-12 are considered ‘floating ribs’ because they do not attach to the chest.

Fractures are typically the result of trauma to the chest caused by a fall, direct impact to the chest, or motor vehicle accident. In serious cases, the rib can be become displaced, which may result in organ damage to the lungs, liver, kidney, spleen or blood vessels.


Signs and symptoms of a rib fracture can include:
-chest, midback, side pain that may radiate into the shoulder, neck or back
-pain with breathing
-pain in the chest with coughing and sneezing
-pain with movement, especially bending and twisting (McMorris was doing a lot of this)
-visible bruising on the chest
-tender to touch the area of the fracture

Rib fracture treatment:
Depending on the severity and presentation of symptoms, physiotherapists utilize a number of techniques to treat rib fractures. These include: advice on activity limitations/restriction, taping, postural correction, protective padding, soft tissue work, joint mobilization (post fracture healing), graduated return to sport/activity plan, electrotherapy, fall prevention programs and exercises to improve range of motion, strength and flexibility.

It is amazing the Mark McMorris fought through this injury today to bring home the bronze. We are so proud of all of our Canadian athletes and look forward to more inspiring stories to come. GO CANADA GO!

For more information about Kinetic Physiotherapy, visit our website:  Contact Kinetic Physiotherapy via or phone: 905-637-1414 to set up an appointment.


Connect With Your Core

What is my core?

core-muscles-diagramThe core can be divided in to two groups of muscles, the “inner core” and the “outer core”.

The “inner core” is composed of 4 deep stabilizing muscles: the transversus abdominus, multifidus, diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles.  These muscles do not create any specific movement. Instead, when correctly working together, these muscles turn on before you move your body to provide stability to the spine and pelvis. Therefore, having a strong inner core helps to prevent back injury. It also provides a strong base of support for leg and arm movement which can help to prevent and rehabilitate neck, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle injuries.

Conversely, when these muscles don’t work correctly, the body must resort to less efficient movement strategies to perform various tasks. This increases your risk for injury, dysfunction and recurrent pain. Research shows that following a back injury, the anticipatory co-contraction of the inner core muscles is impaired. This can create a cycle of: injury, pain, impaired “inner core” muscles and increased risk of injury. This cycle can be broken through targeted “inner core” strengthening.

manage_abs5The “outer core” is composed of the rectus abdominis (“six-pack” muscle), inner and outer obliques and the back extensor muscles known as the erector spinae. These are the muscles that are normally targeted during abdominal exercise programs and “core” exercise classes. The problem with this is that the “inner core” muscles remain untrained and weak while the “outer core” muscles get stronger. During injury, the outer core muscles can tighten up in an attempt to compensate for “inner core” muscle weakness. This can actually contribute to and exacerbate back pain.

Strengthening Your Core
It is very important to add inner core strengthening to your daily routine. We normally do not think consciously about engaging these muscles and you may not even know how to isolate them. A physiotherapist can assess your current inner core strength and co-contraction, teach you how to contract these muscles and provide progressive exercises to strengthen these deep stabilizing muscles. You can also check out this video by Shawna, who takes your through an inner core workout.

Ankle Sprains

What is the anatomy of the ankle?

ankle joint

The ankle joint is composed of 3 bones: the tibia, fibula and talus. Ligaments provide the ankle with stability.  Ligaments are like thick elastic bands and hold a joint together by attaching one bone to another. Muscles that come from below the knee and attach to the bones of the foot help to move the ankle.

What is an ankle spain?

Sprains are injuries to ligaments.  An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments of the ankle are over stretched, partially torn or completely torn. This occurs when foot moves beyond its normal range of motion.

Ankle sprains can range from mild to severe. Depending on the amount of ligament that is damaged, an ankle sprain is classified as: grade 1= mild sprain, grade 2= moderate sprain, grade 3= severe sprain.  Most ankle sprains are due to injury of the ligaments on the outside (lateral side) of the ankle.

lat ankle strain

What is the immediate treatment after an ankle sprain?

The RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) method should be used as soon as possible and for the next 72 hours after the injury. RICE helps to decrease pain and swelling around the ankle joint and promotes healing. The use of a gait aid, such as crutches, may be required depending on the severity of the sprain.

How long does it take for an ankle sprain to heal?

Most ankle sprains will heal in 3-8 weeks. The move severe the sprain, the longer it takes the ligaments to heal. Physiotherapy can help to decrease pain, increase ankle movement and get you back to normal activities more quickly.

What is the S.M.A.R.T. approach?

The Canadian Physiotherapy Association recommends the S.M.A.R.T. approach to assist early recovery and rehabilitation of most ankle sprains. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Stretch, Move, Add it up, Reduce strain, Talk to a physiotherapist.

STRETCH: Stretching will help to regain full ankle movement, increase circulation to aid the healing process, maintain muscle flexibility and strength.

MOVE: The severity of the ankle sprain will determine when and how much you start moving the joint. A physiotherapist will develop a progressive exercise program to promote range of motion and muscle strengthening while preventing further damage.

ADD IT UP: When recovering from an ankle sprain, you need to consider the effect of all the activities you do during the entire day. Planing time for rest during the day is important for continued healing.

REDUCE STRAIN: There are a number of things that can be done to protect the ankle when it is healing to reduce the risk of re-injury. These include: wearing an ankle brace, having a physiotherapist tape your ankle, taking part in a progressive exercise program, avoid activities on slippery or uneven surfaces, warm up and cool down before and after exercise.

TALK TO A PHYSIOTHERAPIST: A physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment of your ankle and plan a personalized rehabilitation program to help reduce swelling and pain, improve range of motion, strengthen the ankle and help you attain your rehabilitation goals.  For more information or to set up an appointment, contact Kinetic Physiotherapy via phone 905-637-1414 or email: