508-660-1110 1333 Main Street, Suite G ∙ Walpole ∙ MA ∙ 02081 info@mwphysicaltherapy.com

The Achilles tendon is a thick band of tissue that runs along the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel.  It is highly active any time you walk, run, or jump and this high level of stress leaves it vulnerable to injury.  Achilles tendinopathy is any irritation of the Achilles tendon and it can affect both active and inactive people. It is estimated that 7-9% of runners will be affected by Achilles tendon pain, but it is also common in volleyball and soccer players.  

Achilles tendon injury has been linked to a lot of different factors, including tight calves, weak calves, abnormal foot mechanics, and sudden changes in activity. The pain may be located in the middle of the tendon (non-insertional) or where the tendon meets the heel (insertional). The tendon will usually feel tender to the touch, the calf will feel tight and there will likely be pain and stiffness when you walk or run.

So how can a physical therapist help?

Physical therapy can address issues of pain, flexibility, strength and balance. The first step is really education. Your physical therapist can help problem solve to help you first reduce load and then gradually re-introduce load back into the tendon. You may need to get some new shoes. Icing the heel and temporarily reducing how much time you spend on your feet can also be helpful in the beginning.

Gently stretching the tendon and restoring full ankle motion is often necessary. Here are a few stretches that could be helpful:


Hold onto the wall for balance.  Place your toes on a foam roll or dumbbell.  Keep your knee straight and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the calf. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2 or 3 times.


This stretch is similar to the Gastroc stretch, but targets a different muscle in your calf.  Hold onto the wall for balance. Place your toe back on the foam roll/dumb bell, but this time bend your knee and lean forward into the wall.  You will feel the stretch slightly lower and deeper. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2 or 3 ties.

In addition to stretching, the mainstay of treatment for Achilles tendinopathy is gradually re-loading the tendon with exercise. Muscle weakness can also cause excessive strain on the tendon.  A progressive lower-extremity resistance program can help correct any weakness that may be contributing to your pain. Here are a few basic ideas for how to strengthen your Achilles tendon.

Resisted Plantarflexion:

It’s easiest to start off of your feet, where there is less strain on the muscles of your lower body.  Sit on your bed and wrap a resistance band around your foot. Push your foot down as if you are stepping on the gas pedal of your car. Repeat 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Once this gets easier you can progress to your feet. Stand facing a table or your kitchen countertop, holding on for balance. Keep the knees straight and stand up onto your toes, keeping your weight even between your left and right leg. Slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.  It’s okay if this is a little uncomfortable, but shouldn’t be too painful. You can progress this to doing the heel raise off of a step or progress to doing it just on the injured leg.

Once your motion has been restored, the pain has subsided and your strength looks good you can gradually begin functional training. For some people maybe that would mean just a return to walking program, and others may need to gradually progress back to a running program.

The prognosis for non-operative treatment is good, but may be slow, with some patients taking several months to improve.  For those that don’t respond to conservative measures, injections and surgery are always an option.

Are you suffering from heel pain? Call Motion Works Physical Therapy at 508-660-1110 to schedule an appointment or visit our website at www.mwphysicaltherapy.com for more information.

Concussions receive a lot of attention in the media these days.  It seems like every week you hear about an NFL player that is out on concussion protocol. Everyone seems to know a young athlete that isn’t playing their sport because of a concussion.  The CDC estimates that 1.6 million to 3.8 million people will experience a concussion each year in the United States, with many cases also going unreported. As concussions have become more prevalently reported and more research is being conducted, the role of physical therapy for concussions has been emerging.  There is growing evidence highlighting the benefits of an active approach to concussion recovery instead of just waiting for symptoms to resolve.

A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken inside the skull, causing changes in the brain’s chemistry and energy supply. Concussion can occur at any age, with causes including motor vehicle collisions, work accidents, falls, and sports injuries.  Headaches, dizziness, neck pain and balance problems are some of the most common symptoms of concussion. Most concussion symptoms will subside in 7 to 10 days. Post-concussion syndrome occurs when symptoms last longer than expected.

Concussions and post-concussion syndrome are often diagnosed with a careful clinical exam.  High tech scanning, such as an MRI or a CT scan will not show any brain abnormality with a concussion, even if there are symptoms present. A concussion is considered microdamage to the brain and can’t be seen on these images. That being said, you should always seek medical attention from a licensed healthcare provider following a suspected head injury.

Your physical therapist can be part of an interdisciplinary team involved with concussion management, including your primary care doctor, specialists and athletic trainer.  Physical therapy can evaluate and treat many of the problems related to concussion. Treatment may include education on rest and recovery, improving balance and exercise for improving muscle strength/endurance and eye coordination.

Mike at Motion Works Physical Therapy has been involved with the management of patients with post-concussion syndrome for over a decade. Call 508-660-1110 for more information or to make an appointment.

Almost every day, I answer a lot of questions here at Motion Works Physical Therapy.  Why is my knee hurting? How long will it take for my foot pain to go away? Have you seen this type of back pain before?  Do you take my insurance?

Another common question I get from patients is: What do those initials behind your name mean?  They are of course asking about the initials FAAOMPT. They either saw it on my door or on my website.   I try to be general and just say I did some advanced training in manual therapy, but there is a lot more to it than that.

FAAOMPT stands for Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) is a national organization committed to excellence in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy practice, education and research. The “Fellow” is a physical therapist who has demonstrated advanced clinical, analytical, and hands-on skills in the treatment of musculoskeletal orthopedic disorders and is internationally recognized for their competence and expertise in the practice of manual physical therapy.

Not every physical therapist completes fellowship training.  After I graduated from Northeastern University, I practiced as a physical therapist for about six years before deciding to complete a fellowship.  I attended the Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy in Woburn, MA which is a two-year long program with founder Martin Langaas. This experience really helped me improve my hands-on therapy skills, but it also taught me to think better.  There are currently only 36 fellows in Massachusetts and I am the only FAAOMPT in the Walpole area.

Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy is any “hands-on” evaluation or treatment that is used to improve mobility and function of the body.  This could include joint mobilization, muscle stretching, and selected soft tissue techniques. Some common examples of musculoskeletal areas an orthopedic manual physical therapist could treat include the neck, back, arms and legs. Advanced examination, communication, and decision-making skills facilitate the provision of effective and efficient care.

Benefits of manual therapy include:

  • Effective for acute and chronic pain
  • Helpful in relaxing muscles and breaking up scar tissue
  • Useful in increasing joint movement beyond restricted range of motion
  • Helpful in reducing painful muscle spasms

While manual therapy is a great resource to utilize during treatment sessions, that’s not all I do here at Motion Works Physical Therapy.  I may also incorporate a variety of exercises and education to help patients reach their goals. Each patient is different, so we’re sure to complete a full assessment before launching a course of treatment to make sure your plan is individualized to you! Visit our website or call 508-660-1110 to schedule an appointment with Mike.

Another New England winter is almost here and the first snowstorm of the season has already come and gone. Most of us head outside to clear the snow and unfortunately, shoveling snow is one of the most common causes of low back pain in the winter months.  Implementing proper body mechanics for snow shoveling can drastically reduce your chance of injury.

Warm Up

Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury than warm. It’s easy to warm up. Go for a brief walk and stretch your hamstring/low back

Hamstring Stretch


Lower Back Stretch

Use optimal lifting ergonomics

It’s easy to be safe when shoveling once you know the proper body mechanics and positions.

Directly face the snow you are about to lift, rather than twisting, and when lifting, bend with the hips and knees, not the low back.

Don’t lift too much snow at a time and walk to the location you will put the snow, rather than throwing it.

Pace yourself

Go out a few times during each storm, don’t try to do this all at once! This will lessen the strain on your back and arms

Don’t lift too much at once, taking your time is worth it if you remain injury free!

If the snow is deep push off a few inches from the top rather than lifting the whole depth at once

Take breaks.

To see more, please view our video.

Of course, we know that sometimes injuries can occur. Fortunately Motion Works Physical Therapy is ready to help if you hurt your back, legs, or other area. Call us at 508-660-1110 to learn more and to make an appointment.

Motion Works Physical Therapy introduces our Patient of the Month, Andy. Andy is a firefighter who hurt his knee while carrying a patient on a stretcher down the stairs. Even after preoperative therapy, he had knee pain and was unable to return to work.

The surgery that Andy had is called a meniscectomy. This is surgical removal of the meniscus, which is a cartilage in the knee that helps cushion the joint.  It can get torn in both athletes and non-athletes alike and present with a loss of motion, pain, swelling, popping, clicking, and loss of strength. This condition can make it difficult to walk and negotiate stairs. While some people can get better without surgery, Andy required surgery.

Three weeks ago, he had surgery to remove this tear.  He is gradually improving and making good progress. We are currently working on gaining motion, reducing swelling, and controlling pain. He is just beginning to incorporate functional strengthening, like step ups, squats, and balance activities.

“My goal is to return to work stronger,” Andy said. “I want to be able to get back to playing with my kids.” We hope to also get him back to work as a firefighter in the next few weeks. We will work on strengthening to be able to let him lift his gear up and down stairs and ladders. 

Andy has had a very positive experience here at Motion Works. “I would absolutely recommend Motion Works. Mike and his staff are awesome. They provide a great, clean, effective environment and they make treatment pertinent, challenging and fun.”

Thank you, Andy. We are glad to have helped you along your road to recovery and getting you back to doing your important work.

Motion Works Physical is here to help you. Please learn more  at our website or call our office at 508-660-1110 for appointments.

I’m pretty sure that most of us have been there. We have back pain and our first instinct is to sit on the couch or lie down until it gets better. In this case, going against our instincts is going to help us feel so much better.

Research shows that this inactivity can lead to more pain. Getting up and moving might be the last thing you want to do,but physical therapy and exercise can be a effective way to reduce pain.

Even without physical therapy, light aerobic exercise like walking or riding a bike can also help back pain.  Of course, like everything else, when we get into the specifics of exercises, this can vary between each individual. What might be helpful for one person’s back may be harmful to another. At Motion Works we can help you find the right exercises for you.

Beyond just actual movements, your time here at Motion Works Physical Therapy is used to get educated. You won’t be here forever, but your physical therapist can provide exercises to take home to help you get better now and for you to incorporate into your normal routine.

We will make sure you are doing everything correctly and make modifications if certain exercises don’t work for you. Your time here at Motion Works is an hour or so for you to focus on you and your healing and not get distracted.

We will develop an individualized plan of care for you which will include appropriately prescribed exercise! Strong core and back muscles improve posture and increase the body’s ability to hold the spine in its proper place. This, in turn, relieves a lot of sciatic nerve pain.

There is no need to suffer at home alone. Call Motion Works to schedule an initial appointment in our Walpole, Massachusetts facility to start feeling better and get back to the activities that you love. We look forward to helping you!

*Even if physical therapy doesn’t help, there are other options. If you have persistent back pain for 3-4 week despite exercising, see a physician.  It’s also important to see a physician if you have other symptoms like pain/numbness and tingling downs the legs or weakness. Also, see the doctor if you notice back or neck pain in combination with fever or night sweats, or bowel or bladder incontinence. It’s very important that you get these conditions looked at right away.

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1333 Main Street, Suite G
Walpole, MA 02081

Phone # 508-660-1110
Fax # 508-660-1088

Providing Physical Therapy for:

Walpole ∙ Sharon
Foxboro ∙ Norfolk
Norwood ∙ Medfield
Canton ∙ Westwood

And surrounding communities.

Business Hours

Appointments Available

Mon - Thu

 7:00am - 8:00pm 

Friday 7:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday By Appointment only