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Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a very effective and powerful treatment modality that addresses a variety of soft tissue dysfunction. It is utilized on a daily basis in my hand/upper extremity clinic with much success. Addressing soft tissue restriction is imperative to excellent clinical outcomes, as demonstrated by the following case study on elbow dislocation.

HawkGrips IASTM elbow dislocation flex extend

Figure 1: Left-elbow flexion and extension at initial evaluation.

The patient is a 44-year-old right-handed male who presented six weeks and four days post-left posterior elbow dislocation, with multiple musculoskeletal injuries. The clinical examination identified: c/o mechanical pain along proximal radio-ulnar joint (PRUJ) 6/10 at end range of motion (EROM) elbow flexion/extension, tenderness at coracoid process of scapula, and constant median nerve paresthesias, negative valgus/varus stress test, – radiocapitellar dysfunction, + Tinel’s sign at TRL.

His range-of-motion (ROM) values (Figure 1) were: elbow flexion 110 degrees – 40 degrees extension (capsular end feel), forearm supination/pronation 85/75 with soft end feel (passive range of motion greater than active range).

Tissue Assessment & Treatment

Figure 2: The treatment plan included targeted therapy with HawkGrips instruments.

The soft tissue assessment included scanning the shoulder, upper arm, and forearm. Significant superficial gritty soft tissue restrictions noted in biceps, muscle belly and musculotendinous junction. Adaptive shortening from six weeks and four days in a sling. Soft tissue restrictions noted after scanning at bicipital aponeurosis and decreased activation of triceps.

The treatment plan included moist heat, IASTM utilizing HawkGrips (Figure 2) and proprioceptive/therapeutic exercise. There was significant soft tissue reaction and release at the antecubital fossa/brachioradialis proximally. The patient was seen twice a week for six weeks along with completion of a home exercise program (HEP).

Discharge Measures
HawkGrips IASTM elbow dislocation discharge occupation

Figure 3: Left-elbow flexion and extension at discharge.

The following measures were taken at discharge: no report of pain, paresthesia in left upper extremity, 140 degrees active elbow flexion – 10 degrees active elbow extension with no limitation in forearm rotation (Figure 3). The patient’s goals were met and he successfully returned to all occupations.

Every patient we treat has unique and individual concerns. To be effective clinicians in our healthcare system today, we must be efficient. Multiple treatment modalities were utilized in the care of this individual. Addressing the soft tissue passive and dynamic stabilizers in this case made all the difference. IASTM with HawkGrips instruments helped this individual regain function following elbow dislocation in a much more effective and efficient manner.

Dr. Jim Wagner is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist who has specialized in treating upper-extremity and sports-related injuries for 24 years. He is currently team leader at the hand/upper-extremity center of The Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA, as well as an adjunct professor in the occupational therapy programs at both Keuka College in Keuka Park, NY, and Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY.

Drew Hanlen and Jason Pinili with HawkGrips

Pure Sweat is a basketball training company with Skills Coaches working across the US that offers a variety of products and services to players and coaches at every level...Drew Hanlen is the owner of Pure Sweat and an NBA Strategic Skills Coach & Consultant that...

Why Physical Therapist Dr. Keith Cronin Advocates Combining IASTM and Biomechanical Taping [Interview]

biomechanical taping Dr. Keith Cronin DPT OCS CSCS physical therapist HawkGrips Dynamic TapeDr. Keith J. Cronin, DPT, OCS, CSCS, has been a physical therapist for nine years and owns a niche distribution and education company in Denver called Sports and Healthcare Solutions, LLC. He works with innovative clinicians and companies from around the world to offer effective rehabilitative products and strategies that maximize patient outcomes. In 2018, Dr. Cronin will launch Biomechanikits, a distribution platform that combines quality education, great products and competitive pricing. He first became aware of HawkGrips about four years ago and soon implemented them into patient treatments.

How U.S. Paralympic Team Physical Therapist Dr. Dawn Gulick Helped Implement HawkGrips into the Widener University Curriculum [Interview]

Widener University Dr. Dawn Gulick PhD PT ATC CSCS physical therapy professor HawkGrips IASTMDr. Dawn Gulick, PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS, is a professor of physical therapy at Widener University in Chester, PA. She began her clinical career as an athletic trainer, before earning her master’s degree in physical therapy more than 30 years ago. Dr. Gulick has been a Widener faculty member for about 22 years and HawkGrips instructor for the past three years. In this Q & A article, she discusses her educational roles, extensive background with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, and how HawkGrips treatment has been implemented into the curriculum at Widener.

Combining IASTM with Chiropractic Care to Achieve Optimal Outcomes

chiropractic IASTM outcome Dr. Shannon Turek DC chiropractor HawkGripsAs a doctor of chiropractic, I see many patients who suffer from limited range of motion, whether it’s cervical, lumbar or even an extremity. When I examine a patient and identify limited mobility in an area, my treatment protocol will not only consist of a chiropractic spinal adjustment, but also instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) with a HawkGrips instrument, along with corrective exercises and stretches. HawkGrips instruments are great tools to utilize in combination with chiropractic spinal adjustments…

Los Angeles Dodgers Physical Therapist Dr. Steve Smith Praises HawkGrips as the Best IASTM Products on the Market

Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball HawkGrips physical therapist Dr. Steve SmithMy name is Dr. Steve Smith and I’m a sports physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. I’ve been a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization since January 2012 and currently hold the position of major league physical therapist. Prior to joining the Dodgers, I earned a master’s degree from the The University of Maryland Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science in 2002, followed by a doctoral degree in 2003. I spent the first several years of my career working as a staff…

IASTM: A Performance Enhancement Tool

The human skin is the the largest organ of the integumentary system. It is enriched with dense neurological tissue that permeates the entire body and provides a uniquely accessible means of influencing tone and function of underlying structures. Fascia and muscle generate and transfer kinetic energy in an environment by which functional movement relies on a combination of elastic recoil and eccentric control around a focal, multi-planar axis.

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