PT Exercise - Chicago Physical Therapist

Your PT Can’t Do Your Exercise For You

If you’ve been to physical therapy, you likely got a home exercise program. Research says that if you do your home exercise program, you’ll have a significantly better chance of meeting your goals and feeling better. Not doing your program increases the risk of recurrent injury or flare-ups with less positive outcomes long term. Even though they’re important, adherence to home exercise programs is terrible. It’s estimated that only 40 to 50% of patients do their exercises the way they’re supposed to. What can you do to make sure you do your exercises and get the best outcomes? Here are a few ideas.

Plan ahead

Think about what’s going to get in your way – your schedule, that you’ll forget, or that you don’t have the space or equipment that you need. Once you figure out the problems, come up with solutions. Put your exercises in your schedule, talk to your PT about equipment, or adjusting your program to fit the time you have. If you solve problems before they start, they’re no longer problems.

Address pain and beliefs

You’ll need to work with your PT on these. If your exercises cause pain, you’re not going to do them. When your PT prescribes your exercises, try them out. If there’s pain, ask your PT about modifications to make them more comfortable. The other thing might need addressed are your beliefs. If you believe that the exercises won’t help, or that they’re a waste of time, you won’t do them. Again, work with your PT to understand why they’re prescribing those exercises, and what they’re meant to do. Once you know why you’re doing those exercises, you’re more likely to do them.

Get support

People who have social support are more likely to do their exercises. This is why CrossFit and group exercise classes work. Find a family member or friend to help you stay consistent with your exercises. Your PT can help here too. Have someone ask if you’re doing your exercises, and how they’re going. This will keep you accountable and more likely to do them.

Use Technology

If you like technology and gadgets, they can help you be consistent with your exercises. There are plenty of apps that can track your exercise. Seeing that streak of days you’ve exercised will motivate you not to break it. Smartwatches and activity trackers can fill the same role.

Doing your home exercise program will help you get the most out of PT. With a little planning and a little help, you can make sure you’re one of the 50% of the people who do their home therapeutic exercises consistently to get the best outcomes.


Elevate your heart rate - best physical therapy in Chicago

Elevate Your Heart Rate With Physical Therapy

How to elevate your heart rate? Heart disease is a leading cause of death and disability. This shouldn’t be a surprise – it’s been at the top of the list for years. You know that taking care of your heart is important. That means doing things like eating right, avoiding smoking, and exercising regularly. While all of those things can be difficult, today we’re going to focus on exercise.

How Physical Therapy can help with your heart rate and health

Cardiovascular exercise is anything that makes you breathe harder and your heart pump faster. That could be walking, running, dancing, biking, swimming or hiking. It strengthens your heart and blood vessels. It can help control weight, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and prevent heart disease.

If you’re regularly going for a run or swimming laps, you don’t need help from your PT. But 3 out of 4 adults aren’t exercising regularly. If you’d like to get started, your PT may be just the person to help you. It’s not uncommon to get injured, then never get back to your old routine. Your PT can help you deal with the old injury and design a plan to get you safely back to regular activity.

It’s also not uncommon to try to be more active on your own, only to stir up pain somewhere like your back, hip, knee or shoulder. Your PT can help with that too. They’ll figure out why you’re having pain, help you correct it, and get you a plan to reach your goals.

Physical therapists can also help you safely increase your activity levels after major medical issues like a heart attack, stroke, or even cancer. Recent research has shown improvements in cardiovascular fitness, fatigue levels and even pain in cancer patients who participate in a personalized physical fitness plan from a PT. See related article about Warning Signs of a Heart Attack.

Whatever your barriers to physical activity are, your PT can likely help you overcome them. Look for a physical therapy near me in Chicago. As movement experts, physical therapists are trained to deal with a variety of conditions. They’ll help you work around whatever issues you have so you can safely elevate your heart rate and keep cardiovascular disease away.

Good Bargain at Chicago Physical Therapist Prep Performance Center

If You Like a Good Bargain, You’re Going to LOVE Physical Therapy

Searching for a good bargain? It’s no secret that prices have been going up. Gas is expensive. Food is expensive. The housing market is crazy. If you’re looking for ways to pinch some pennies or stretch your dollars, physical therapy might be just what you’re looking for.

Physical Therapy Saves Cost

A study that looked at the claims data of 472,000 Medicare beneficiaries with back pain found that when PT was the first treatment, costs were 19% lower than when people got injections first and 75% lower than for people who were sent straight to surgery. The study also found that in the year following diagnosis, people who got PT first had costs 18% lower than those who got injections, and 54% lower than those in the surgery group.

Another example happened in 2006 when Virginia Mason Health Center in Seattle teamed up with Aetna and Starbucks. They sent workers with back pain to see both a physical therapist and physician for their first treatment. Use of MRI dropped by 1/3, people got better faster, missed less work and were more satisfied with their care. The cost savings was so great that Virgina Mason was losing money on treating back pain, so Aetna ended up paying them more for PT treatments because they were saving so much money.

Physical Therapy First Means Fewer Visits…

A paper published in Physical Therapy looked at outcomes when patients went to a PT first vs. seeing a physician first for back pain. It found that patients who went to their physician first needed 33 PT visits on average, while those who went to their PT first only needed 20. Seeing a PT first saves money, but it also saves time. Isn’t it a good bargain? Check now for best physical therapy near me.

It Also Means Better Outcomes

A study of 150,000 insurance claims published in Health Services Research, found that those who saw a physical therapist at the first point of care had an 89 percent lower probability of receiving an opioid prescription, a 28 percent lower probability of having advanced imaging services, and a 15 percent lower probability of an emergency department visit.

High quality research consistently shows that taking advantage of direct access and getting to your physical therapist quickly leads to better outcomes in fewer visits with lower costs. We think that’s a deal worth taking advantage of.


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The best way to shower after your ACL surgery

Generally speaking, when your surgeon says it is now safe to take a shower after ACL surgery, always take some precautions to avoid unexpected happenings.

As mentioned by whether you can shower or have a bath, as it may depend on the type of surgery you have had – it is always best to check with your surgeon or nurse when in doubt.

In this blogpost, Prep Performance Center (best physical therapy in Chicago) wants to share some tips and best way how to shower after ACL surgery – to avoid unwanted circumstance. Hope this helps!

How to shower after ACL surgery_Prep Performance Center

Read more article: ACL Surgery: how long do I need to use my crutches & brace?


6 Items to prepare before ACL surgery - Prep Performance Center in Chicago

6 Items to get before ACL Surgery

Preparing for ACL surgery can seem intimidating, if not overwhelming.  Here are a few suggestions on items you should have to help your recovery go smoothly!  Some of the following may be provided by the hospital, but it is a good idea to check with your medical team before ACL surgery to ensure you have access.


Ice and cold packs can help reduce inflammation and pain following surgery, so it’s a good idea to have some available wherever you will be recovering.  Cold therapy machines are commonly rented for use after surgery. This unit functions by continuously running cold water through a cuff you secure around your knee and some options even provide intermittent compression to your knee to further reduce swelling and pain! Consider keeping 10-15 mini water bottles in your freezer to use with the cold therapy machine.

Loose Clothing

You may be surprised by how difficult it is to pull on a pair of pants or shorts without being able to bend your knee very much or stand on one leg. Make sure to have enough loose, comfortable clothing so that changing does not become a daily struggle.

Shower equipment

Getting into and out of the shower will require some maneuvering early in your recovery, and items like a shower stool and bath mat can help you bathe more safely. Take a look at the set-up of your shower beforehand to decide what you’ll need. Does the tub have a lip? Is it slippery or angled? You can also place a chair just outside of the tub so that you can get undressed while sitting and transfer from the chair into the tub.  Other bathroom items to consider include a removable shower head, grab bars and a toilet seat riser.

Trash Bags

You will be instructed to keep your incisions dry during the early phase of recovery to promote healing.  Make sure you have trash bags big enough to cover your knee while you bathe. You can purchase a more expensive leg cover from retailers, but many individuals prefer to use a standard trash bag.


Stocking up on small snacks such as apple sauce or pudding are important so that you do not take your pain medication on an empty stomach.  Consider choosing some food items that are high in natural fiber (i.e. pears, avocado, oat bran) to prevent constipation due to the medication.  You should be getting around 25-30 g of fiber per day to help you have regular, quality bowel movements, but few individuals actually get enough.


Although not an item, identifying your support team and their schedules is important before ACL surgery.  You may need to rely on others to cook, help you change, and help you bathe. You should identify people you trust whose schedules allow them to help out. This could mean a few people, especially in the first few weeks, helping out at different times so that you do not attempt a task that is unsafe before you know your limits. You should also ensure that whoever is helping you bathe is physically fit enough to help transfer to the tub and back up without losing balance. 

Another thing to consider before ACL surgery is how you want your recovery space to be set up. Consider removing carpets or objects that you could trip on and having a set place to keep your medication and a snack. If you live in a place with multiple bathrooms, you should think about which will be easiest to use with an assistive device (i.e. crutches or walker) and has the best shower and toilet set up. With the proper preparation, you will be able to focus on your recovery. See related article from NHS website on preparations before surgery.

Yes for sure you will be thinking a lot before ACL surgery, such as these: What to buy before ACL surgery? What to eat before ACL surgery? Nervous before ACL surgery? Should I wear a brace before ACL surgery? How to prepare the house for ACL surgery? Questions to ask before ACL surgery? How to sleep with ACL injury before surgery? Can I ride a bike before ACL surgery? All these you have in mind, you can be relieved by consulting to our physical therapist and book an appointment. Tap the button below.


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Physical Therapist Examining A Cracking Knee After ACL Surgery

Why Does My Knee Crack During My ACL Surgery Recovery?

If you’re recovering from ACL surgery and worried whether the noises from your knee are a warning sign that your surgery hasn’t gone well, or that you’ve done too much, too soon, you aren’t alone!

Hearing your knee crack, click or pop after your ACL surgery is a very common experience among those who have gone through an ACL reconstruction.

And we understand that it’s a very scary thing.

The last thing you want is for something to go wrong, and end up battling an injury you’d hoped would be in the past.

We know you want to get back to sports, workouts, and running, and we are here to help get you there!

Woman Running Outdoors For Exercise

Why Are My Knees Clicking During My ACL Surgery Recovery?

There are a few reasons your knees may be clicking that are completely normal.

Scar Tissue

Following ACL surgery, there is typically some scar tissue that develops within the knee joint and surrounding structures.

When you first start moving the knee around, this scar tissue will start to break up causing an audible crack or pop – this is okay!


Oftentimes after surgery, the knee joint and affected structures will experience swelling.

This is a normal part of the healing process.

When there is swelling in the knee joint, this can cause the knee cap to track differently along the thigh bone when bending and straightening the knee.

When the knee cap gets off its normal track, this can cause an audible crack or pop.

Again, this is not something to be overly concerned about as once the swelling is resolved, this motion should return to normal.

In addition to ice and elevation, safe and gentle range of motion at the knee can help to decrease post-operative swelling.

An example of a simple range of motion exercise to increase knee flexion is heel slides along the floor while sitting with legs stretched out in front of you.

Other examples include low-intensity stretching for the hamstrings and calf muscles.

All range of motion and stretching should follow the prescribed guidelines of immediate post-operative care set by the surgeon in order to protect the healing ACL graft.

Specific instructions on these exercises are linked below!

Range of Motion and Stretching Exercises For ACL Surgery Recovery

– Heel Slides

– Hamstring Stretch

– Calf Stretch

Weak Quadricep Muscles

Similar to joint swelling, a weak quadriceps muscle can cause the knee cap to track differently and may result in a crack or pop.

Following an ACL reconstruction, it is normal to experience quadriceps weakness.

Regaining quadriceps strength is something your physical therapist will begin working on with you early in your rehab.

Much like swelling, once quadriceps strength returns the knee cap will track normally again.

A safe quadriceps strengthening exercise to do after ACL surgery is isometric quadriceps setting.

This exercise will help to wake up the quadriceps muscle that has likely lost some strength since surgery.

Again, all exercises should follow the guidelines set by the surgeon in order to protect the healing ACL graft.

Specific instructions on these exercises are linked below!

Quadriceps Strengthening Exercise:

– Isometric Quad Setting

What If I’m Still Worried About My Knee Clicking?

While hearing a crack or pop is completely normal following surgery, it can be reassuring to speak to an expert physical therapist – like our team at our Chicago clinic.

Our advice would be to get help from knee pain specialists who work with athletes and active people recover from knee injuries on a daily basis.

At PREP Performance Center, you can get drug-free knee pain relief, whilst helping speed up recovery and improve your performance when running and playing sports.

To find out how we can help you recover from ACL surgery, or any other knee injuries you are struggling with, arrange a Free Discovery Visit.

Right now, the demand at our clinic is very high, so arrange your Free Discovery Visit or call us on (773) 609-1847 now.

Other Free Resources To Prevent and Treat Sports Injuries

Read Our Blog – How To Prevent Knee Pain When Running

Read Our Blog – 11 Steps To Improve Knee Flexion After ACL Surgery

Read Our Blog – 6 Best Exercises To Eliminate Your Knee Pain

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