Make It a Family Affair: Benefits of Active Children

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As adults, we are well aware that if we spend all of our free time lounging on the couch, our waistline, as well as our health, will take a hit. For children, the temptation to sit in front of the television or play video games is strong. Without motivation to move, it’s likely they’ll continue their sedentary habits, so make it a family initiative. Spending time together as family is associated with a stronger emotional bond, better communication amongst family members, less behavioral problems, and improved school performance. Children learn habits from their parents, and this includes healthy habits too.

Improve Physical Health

Physical activity is essential at every age, because like adults, children are at risk of developing chronic diseases too, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Children who are inactive have decreased opportunities to develop important motor skills, and are more likely to develop sedentary habits that will last their entire life. To avoid setting your child up for an unhealthy lifestyle, get active together. Physical activity is important for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or weight, so the entire family can benefit. Social support from family has been shown to have positive effects on the amount of activity performed by both women and men, so the influence of family is strong.

According to recommendations by the American College of Sports Medicine, children should be physically active for 60 minutes or more each day, including moderate to vigorous intensity exercise, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening exercises. Children’s time spent doing sedentary non-academic activities, such as watching television or playing video games, should be limited to less than two hours a day. For adults, the physical activity recommendation is 150 minutes each week.

Limit Screen Time

Childhood obesity is a serious issue, and it is exacerbated by the fact that more and more children are becoming sedentary. Children are sitting around more often than they used to, and spending hours every day in front of some sort of screen whether it is the television, smartphone, tablet, computer, or other devices. To encourage your child to become more active, limit the amount of screen time by putting limits on time spent using media. To decrease the temptation, keep TVs, computers, and video games out of children’s rooms and turn off all screens during mealtimes.

Let Your Child Take the Lead

As you to start to incorporate more physical activity into your child’s life, let your child take the lead. Kids enjoy feeling a sense of power and mastery. According to education professor Dr. Steve Sanders, “Your role is to be a facilitator or guide to help your child learn about, refine, and improve physical skills,” which creates trust that carries over into other areas of your child’s life.

Encourage your child to initiate the physical activity, whether it is kicking a soccer ball, swimming (there is plenty of great exercise equipment out there for this), drawing with sidewalk chalk, or crawling around on all fours pretending to be a dinosaur.

The key to encouraging more physical activity is make it fun, so get creative. For example, turn your yard or nearby park into an obstacle course, make up your own sport, build a fort out of blankets, or add new twists to classic games such as freeze tag and hide-and-seek. Make household projects such as staining a fence, painting a wall, or planting a garden a family activity rather than one just for adults. In addition, if your child is already involved in team sports, you can still be involved by volunteering with the team, traveling to away games, and practicing one-on-one with your child.

Family time is great way to incorporate physical activity and improve the health of the entire family. Everyone can reap some sort of benefit, so make it a fun time for all involved. Encourage your child to learn new skills and tap into their interests as you become active together.

Pilates Enhances Performance of your “Machine”


Your body is an elegantly designed machine. Machines are designed so that each part works correctly in relation to the other parts. Then the machine runs efficiently, is functional, long-lasting and durable. Pilates-based exercise can help your body to be the most functional machine possible.

Most people have heard of Pilates but struggle to describe it. Patients in our physical therapy clinic sometimes ask what “Pilates is” and if they should “do it”. Let’s de-mystify Pilates and explore the benefits of incorporating this type of exercise into our lives.

What is Pilates?

Pilates was originally called “Contrology” by its creator, a German-born American named Josef Pialtes. He developed this system of exercise in the earlier part of the 20th century to help himself, and eventually many others, to become strong, stable, and functional.
The Pilates method teaches people to use their bodies correctly. It starts with simple, basic exercises and progresses to more complex movement as participants are ready. The result is muscles that work as designed and joints that are aligned. Posture is improved, body awareness is developed, joint and muscle flexibility is optimal, muscle power output is better. Core strength is emphasized so the body has the best support system possible. Thus, the human body “machine” works the very best it can, needs fewer repairs, and feels the best it can (this machine has nerves for feeling). And we haven’t even talked about looking better!

The Benefits of Pilates

A body that is working the best it can is more successful at athletic endeavors, can move through daily activities with ease, can allow people to be more confident in trying new things. Imagine the possibilities: yard work is easier, playing on the floor with grand children is an option, training for an athletic event without injury is possible. I could go on, but instead just ask yourself what physical activity is important to you? How is it going? Would a strong, stable, flexible body improve this activity?

Ways to Practice Pilates

Basic Pilates movements are learned on a mat in normal body positions: laying on back, stomach, side, kneeling, sitting, standing. Progress is easy to see and measure. Once basic concepts are mastered participants can continue on their own at home. Some prefer to join a class taught by a qualified instructor. Others love individual instruction in a studio which has wonderful Pilates machines. No one is ever finished learning Pilates but make decisions on the amount and intensity that suits their lifestyle, goals and budget.
All machines work best with preventative maintenance instead of expensive repair. Consider adding Pilates to your life to take the best care of your body!

At Holland Physical Therapy we use Pilates principles both in the treatment of patients and during private Pilates sessions with our Pilates instructor Ruth Pratt. Check out our website for more information.

Are There Rocks Loose in My Head?

Have you ever woken up and sat up in bed only to feel as if the room is spinning rapidly around you whirling you into a state of nausea and disequilibrium? Where did this come from? What happened last night that brought you into this unwanted tilt-a-whirl? These sensations can be explained simply, you have rocks loose in your head.  No, I am not implying that you’re crazy, but these loose ‘rocks’ cause a common vestibular impairment called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).


What is BPPV?

Let’s start simply by defining these four words:

-Benign: Not harmful in effect

-Paroxysmal: Intensification of symptoms

-Positional: of, or relating to, or determined by position

-Vertigo: a sensation of whirling or loss of balance

Based on these definitions, BPPV is a non-harmful intensification of whirling, spinning, or loss of balance that occurs with a change of position.


What are the symptoms of BPPV?

Like with all other diseases, injuries and impairments every person’s symptoms are different however, these are common symptoms of BPPV:


-A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving

-Loss of Balance or Unsteadiness




When and Where do these symptoms occur?

Put simply, these symptoms can occur anytime there is a change in a person’s position. Common position changes that increase symptoms include:

-Lying down in bed

-Rolling over in bed

-Sitting up in bed

-Bending over

-Looking up

-Quick head movements

-Going from sitting to standing

Who gets BPPV?

BPPV does not discriminate; both men and women can experience episodes of BPPV. However, you are more likely to get BPPV due to the following

-Head Injury/Trauma

-Ear surgery

-40 years or older

-Recent ear infection or inflammation of the vestibular nerve (vestibular neuritis)


How do you get BPPV? (Refer to Picture Below)


BPPV occurs when Calcium Carbonate crystals (otoconia), which are a normal part of our anatomy, break off of a gelatinous membrane in one of the organs of balance located in the inner ear called the Utricle. These crystals collect and settle in one of the semi circular canals.

Is BPPV Treatable?

Yes! BPPV is treatable with physical therapy. Here at Holland Physical Therapy we perform an extensive examination and evaluation of your symptoms and test for BPPV along with other vestibular disorders. When a client tests positive for BPPV, they can be treated right onsite with a technique to reposition the displaced crystals back to the Utricle. The following image demonstrates both the maneuver and the repositioning of the crystals within the inner ear.


If you are suffering from these symptoms or have further questions about BPPV, please come in to see us at Holland Physical Therapy for an evaluation and treatment!

Hip Replacement or Can Physical Therapy Help My Hip Arthritis?

Hip osteoarthritis (OA) affects 10-25% of adults over the age of 55.  Some common statements I hear is that many patients think that having arthritis automatically means you need a hip replacement and that is often not true. It is important to consider the following:

First, it boils down to diagnosing if a patient has hip arthritis and which signs and symptoms are commonly associated with hip OA.

Secondly, it is important to consider your treatment options. Always know that as a patient you have a right to ask questions about your diagnosis and what treatment options are available.

Lastly, an appointment should be made to meet with a physical therapist that is well versed in manual therapy techniques of the hip. During your physical therapy visits your physical therapist should perform specific high quality manual therapy and exercise to improve pain, function, strength and range of motion.

Common symptoms of hip OA consist of groin pain and front of the hip pain especially with walking, squatting, and twisting on the hip.  The gold standard for diagnosing hip OA is a standard x-ray but there are reliable tests that we can do in the PT clinic to assess the hip with over 90% accuracy.

A study in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy looked at 72 patients with x-ray confirmed hip OA and the PT examiners were accurate 91% of the time in diagnosing hip OA if the patient had 4/5 painful hip tests.

Some motions that might hurt a patient with hip OA may include deep squatting, active hip flexion (marching with high knees), and active hip extension (kicking leg behind you).

Physical therapy treatment for hip arthritis can be highly beneficial if the correct treatments are done.  A study in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2004 compared exercise alone verses manual therapy in 109 patients with hip OA.  After a 5 week treatment course (9 visits) 81% of the manual therapy group and 50% of the exercise group had significant improvement in hip function, range if motion, pain, and walking speed.

What that translates to is a high quality physical exam, then evidence based manual therapy to improve pain, stiffness, range of motion, and function.  In some patients, hips do require a replacement but many have a high degree of improvement with the help of a skilled manual physical therapist alone.  Remember” MOTION IS LOTION to arthritic joints, in other words when patients achieve increased movement in the arthritic joint many experience significant pain relief and improvement in function.

At Holland Physical Therapy  we treat every patient individually, utilizing evidence based, hands on, manual therapy techniques.  Exercise is an integral part of treatment for hip pain, however, the hip joint mobility and muscle length must be addressed first to give a complete resolution of symptoms. Call us at 616-355-4284 or visit us at to get evaluated.


Ford Reinink PT, DPT

Director of Clinical Operations for Holland Physical Therapy

601 Michigan Ave #220, Holland, MI 49423


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Ankle Sprains and Chronic Ankle Instability

(CAI) Part I

Ankle sprains are among the most common of all traumatic injuries. It is estimated that 1 out of every 10,000 people in the US sprain an ankle daily or 23,000 ankle sprains per day. Of those, only around 50% are estimated to seek treatment from a healthcare professional. However, up to 70% of patients will suffer from repetitive ankle sprains and chronic pain after injury. (CAI) With all injuries, ankle sprains included, it is important to figure out injury severity, determine if imaging is necessary, and how is the injury BEST treated?

One question is; when do you need treatment, and what type of treatment is needed? Initially, it must be decided if your sprained ankle is only a ligament injury (most common) or whether you need an x-ray to rule out a fracture. There is good research behind a Canadian developed clinical prediction rule called the Ottawa Ankle Rules. Essentially, if you can’t walk a few steps immediately after the injury, or in the ER, and there is tenderness to palpation on the inside or outside of the ankle on the malleoli, then you need a x-ray. Other- wise there is a low likelihood that a fracture is present.

Most inversion ankle sprains involve the lateral (outside) ligaments of the ankle. It has been theorized that due to the position of the fibular head getting positioned too far anteriorly (forward) that chronic ankle pain and instability are more likely. One study looked at this theory in regards to self reported chronic ankle instability (CAI). Of the two test groups,the position of the fibular head in the CAI group showed on average a 2.4 cm position anterior in comparison to the uninvolved ankle by way of fluoroscopy (real time moving x-ray). Essentially, in patients with CAI and pain, that even after the injured ligaments have healed, if the fibular position isn’t addressed, then the likelihood of CAI and pain are more likely.

In regards to treatment, there are hands on manual therapy techniques that address the fibular head position. At Holland Physical Therapy we treat one patient at a time using evidence based, hands on, manual therapy techniques. Exercise is an integral part of treatment for ankle sprains, but the ankle joint mobility and fibular head position have to be addressed to give complete resolution of symptoms. Part II will look at more research behind treatment for ankle sprains. Call us at 616-355-4284 or visit us at to get evaluated.

Ford Reinink PT, DPT

Director of Clinical Operations for Holland Physical Therapy

Questions To Ask Your Physical Therapist During Treatment

Why Should I Go To Holland Physical Therapy for Treatment?

To pick where to go for physical therapy, it all begins with your connection with your PT. If you are hesitant about going to physical therapy, call or come in to Holland Physical Therapy, and ask to speak with me. I’ve always told the PT students that I mentor that patients “don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” The best PT’s not only can connect with patients and make them feel comfortable, but offer a high quality of care.

To get the best outcome, a physical therapist needs to be able to relate to people and make the therapy program work for patients’ lifestyle, available free time, and their budget. 

Questions to ask your PT:

What is wrong with me?

  • Seems like a standard question; your PT should be able to tell you what they think is going on, in very clear and understandable terms
  • If they can’t tell you what is wrong, that means that the care you will receive will not be specific for your issues, and it might be what I call “cook book therapy” where every patient is doing relatively the same thing

What can I do to help myself?

  • Home exercise programs (HEP) and activity modifications are a hallmark of outpatient orthopedic PT care. Initial HEP programs focus on pain and symptom relief while a long term HEP should be geared towards functional activities, strengthening, and prevention. See our website FAQ for more on the HEP frequency  
  • Successful outcomes involve teamwork of your PT showing you your HEP, performing skilled manual therapy, and the patient following through and performing the program

What will we do while I’m in PT?

  • The best use of time and money is by your PT performing skilled manual therapy techniques (joint and soft tissue mobilization) to decrease pain from the first visit on 
  • Then, your PT showing you how you can strengthen, stabilize, and maintain range of motion with a skilled HEP
  • One thing you should not do in physical therapy is perform exercises over and over when you could be performing them at home. However, occasional HEP review with your PT watching your form is necessary

How will I know when I don’t need to come to physical therapy anymore?

  • That is different for every patient, but number one is, obviously, when your pain is gone
  • However, once pain relief is achieved, it all comes down to patient goals and prevention of further issues. For example, goals of a marathon runner are different from someone who just wants to garden and walk without pain
  • We look at your range of motion, strength, and most importantly, how you move, and faulty movement patterns that could contribute to pain later
  • Movement patterns and posture, are the single biggest reason for tissue breakdown and pain. Most issues are not from major trauma, but by straining tissue repeatedly until it starts to break down and eventually cause pain

The bottom line is that good PT’s listen to the patient, perform a skilled physical exam, and design a specific and unique program to work on all of the patient’s needs.

At Holland Physical Therapy we are highly trained, passionate about what we do, and we LISTEN and CARE about our patients. I have found that when I truly listen to my patients, both in what they say and in the manner in which they say it, that my outcomes are a lot better. 

Call us at 616-355-4284 to schedule an appointment or visit us at


Ford Reinink PT, DPT
Director of Clinical Operations

Physical Therapist in Holland