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Meet Our Staff – Exercise Physiologist Amber!

Every month or so, we hope to highlight one of our amazing employees. The folks who work at OrthoSport Hawaii come from many different backgrounds, have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share, and love staying active while helping others improve their health and fitness. To schedule an appointment or get more information please call (808) 373.1114. 

Amber is currently the Medical Fitness Manager at OrthoSport. She is a Certified Exercise Physiologist with a degree in Exercise Science and minors in both Health and Gerontology. In addition, Amber is a certified personal trainer and TRX suspension training certified. Amber specializes in gerontology, special populations, Parkinson’s fitness, functional and balance training. In her spare time, you may find her hiking or kayaking around the island. Her ultimate goal is to help her clients progress properly and safely through a program based on their needs or condition, and help them reach and hopefully exceed their goals.


Meet Our Staff – Personal Trainer Cassidy!

Every month or so, we hope to highlight one of our amazing employees. The folks who work at OrthoSport Hawaii come from many different backgrounds, have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share, and love staying active while helping others improve their health and fitness. To schedule an appointment or get more information please call (808) 373.1114.

Years of experience:  I started my journey into health and fitness back in 2017, when I got my first certification through the NASM. Shortly after I started my career as a trainer, I decided I wanted to learn more about how to enhance athletic ability, prevent injury, and create pain-free movement for my clients. I was certified as a core-conditioning and biomechanics specialist in 2020 and I am currently pursuing the physical therapy assistant program at KCC. My goal is to help people move more efficiently and stay as independently functional as long as possible.

Specialization: Functional training, athletic performance, and core-conditioning. I love the passion, drive, and motivation an athlete brings to the table; however, I also enjoy working with clients of any age or skill level.

Interesting fact: I love 80’s rock band films, professional basketball, and spicy ahi

Hobbies, interests: I enjoy lifting weights, surfing, and listening to music

What got you interested in your field/passions? The men in my family are all coaches; my dad, brother, and grandpa. I grew up going to football and basketball games and fell in love with sports at a very young age. My brother is now a trainer and strength and conditioning coach. I’ve always looked up to him, so of course, I followed in his footsteps and became a coach too. The human body is amazing and is capable of so much more than you think!

Overuse Injuries in Sports – Don’t Ignore Them!

biceps curlWith COVID restrictions easing, people are returning to their favorite sports with enthusiasm and sometimes wild abandon. The tennis players are competing with the pickle ball players for access to courts. Surfing breaks are crowded, hiking trails and national parks are packed with people. There are lines of cars waiting for parking at many gyms, sports fields, and beach parks.

Have you returned to your favorite athletic activities? It may be tempting to dive back into canoe paddling 3 or 4 times per week, or to sign up for yoga, barre, and zumba classes all at once. If you haven’t been paddling, hiking, or zumba’ing all year you may be setting yourself up for overuse injuries. Your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments are no longer adapted to those sports. In another article I talked about things to consider when returning to your workouts. We also discussed ways to prepare the body for a return to sport. Now we will look at some specific overuse injuries to be aware of so that you don’t end up sidelined, injured, or worse.

Tennis, Golfer’s, Pitcher’s Elbow – these injuries are well known and related to those sports specifically, however you can get lateral or medial elbow epicondylitis from a variety of repetitive activities. Anything that involves gripping and twisting the forearm, if done in excess, can lead to pain and weakness that will stop your arm from functioning. If you have pain in the inner or outer elbow that just won’t go away, get in to see your PT for a full evaluation.  boy pitching

Surfer’s Myelopathy – this scary injury causes paralysis below the waist due to prolonged positioning in an extended spine (back bent) position. Although very rare, surfers and sometimes gymnasts or yoga students will get this injury that blocks blood flow to the spinal cord. If you feel back pain while doing these activities, stop immediately and seek medical attention. This form of paralysis is often but not always curable.  prone surfer

Runner’s Knee – another very common complaint is knee pain while running. There are many things that can cause knee pain including weakness, poor running form, osteoarthritis, running too fast or too long, progressing too quickly, and so on. Also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee can stop you from running entirely. If you feel pain around the kneecap, grinding, clicking or popping while running, have a PT evaluate your knee before the pain becomes disabling.  runner in a racejumping volleyball player

Jumper’s Knee – the knee absorbs impact in many jumping sports such as basketball, skateboarding, and volleyball. Patellar tendonitis (or tendonopathy) involves pain and inflammation in the patellar tendon which attaches your kneecap to your shin bone. If you feel pain just below the kneecap with bending/straightening the knee, jumping, jogging, or walking it’s best to figure out the cause before you tear the tendon completely.

Whiplash – this neck injury is often seen in car accidents where the head and neck is forcefully whipped back and forth or to the side. This can also occur in contact sports such as football, soccer, and wrestling. Not as well known is the fact that severe whiplash can coincide with concussions when the brain is also whipped back and forth inside the skull, causing brain injuries. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a neck or brain injury. Any loss of consciousness, slurred speech, foggy thinking, severe neck pain, or visual disturbances can indicate a medical emergency.

Swimmer’s Shoulder – this impingement of the shoulder joint is caused by too much compression to rotator cuff tendons and other soft tissue in the front of the shoulder. This condition affects not only swimmers but is commonly seen in office workers who spend hours in front of a computer, using phones, and tablets. It can eventually lead to full tears of the rotator cuff or biceps tendon and should not be ignored. Swimmer with elbow high

Bowler’s Thumb – okay this is not a common or well-known injury unless you bowl frequently as one might for competition. It’s characterized by numbness and weakness in the thumb due to compression and friction to the ulnar nerve where the thumb inserts into the hole of the ball. The point here is that any activity taken to excess can lead to overuse injuries which may stop you from participating in your favorite sport.

Seriously, this list of overuse sports injuries could go on and on. The key take away is to realize that pain is a signal. Your body is telling you something’s not right and if you continue to ignore it, you’ll most likely end up with a serious injury.

What You Can Do

At the first sign of pain, stop to evaluate what might be the cause.

Did you jump off your skateboard and land in a weird position? Did you try hiking Kokohead stairs after a year layoff? Did you sign up for mixed martial arts classes despite having not exercised in decades? Did you increase your running frequency, duration, or speed without gradually building up? If you aren’t sure, you may need some professional help from a coach or personal trainer with a background in exercise science.

Ice is your friend! For most painful conditions ice can decrease inflammation and swelling. Massage a chunk of ice on the area for 3 minutes or until the skin is numb to the touch. Old yogurt cups filled with water make a nice sized chunk of ice. Hold the ice in a towel to collect the drips. If you can’t tolerate ice, consider gentle massage of the tissue in the direction towards the heart.

Rest until the pain goes away. If you’re taking pain medication, that doesn’t count! If after 2-3 days you still have pain it may be time to get the injury examined. You can start with your primary care physician or an MD at an urgent care clinic. If your health insurance allows direct access to physical therapy, you can call your favorite PT clinic and set up an appointment for an evaluation. You can pay for PT services out of pocket if you wish. At OrthoSport Hawaii, we also offer same-day free consults to help you decide if the injury needs medical attention, without the need to schedule a full one hour evaluation. We can also consult with you over the phone or via our Telehealth portal.

Don’t allow overuse injuries to ruin your fun as you get back into the swing of sports, fitness, and recreation. We’re here to help you get fit or recover from over-doing it. Call 808.373.3555 for more information on our services. See you out there!

Meet our Staff – Massage Therapist Matthew!

Every month or so, we hope to highlight one of our amazing employees. The folks who work at OrthoSport Hawaii come from many different backgrounds, have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share, and love staying active while helping others improve their health and fitness. To schedule an appointment or get more information please call (808) 373.1114.


Matthew is a Licensed Massage Therapist in the State of Hawaii. Throughout his life he has immersed himself in a multitude of sports, especially soccer. He was very involved in coaching the Lee County Strikers until he graduated from high school, where he earned a scholarship to play collegiate soccer. Matthew faced a lot of encounters with injuries which inspired his career to help others in a similar state. He had the opportunity to work for Dr. Isleborn, where he received most of his formal training in massage. Matthew is a highly dedicated individual who is certified in Sports Massage, Myofascial Release, Muscle Energy Technique, Prenatal Massage, and MediCupping. He highly values his relationship with his clients by taking the initiative to motivate and educate them to perform at their best.  Matthew has appointments available in our Niu Valley clinic and looks forward to meeting you!

Sports Are Back!  Are You Ready?  Read This First…

Thanks to the pandemic lockdowns, restrictions, stress, and lifestyle disruption, many of us have fallen off the wagon in terms of our fitness and sports activities. Golf courses were closed, tennis courts locked, and beach access was limited. Sports and paddling clubs couldn’t meet, trails were off limits, and of course, gyms and fitness studios could offer only remote online services.  Some of us persevered and we saw a jump in outdoor walking, cycling, skateboarding, surfing, and swimming.  Outdoor, socially distanced yoga and boot camp classes offered limited exercise options to the fortunate few. 

On the other hand, we also saw an increase in alcohol consumption, fast food munching, and Netflix binge watching.  These activities helped us cope with the fear and uncertainty of 2020. Some were obviously healthier than others. How did you manage in 2020?  At this point, there is no need for regret or self blame. Tiger King may not have helped you stay fit but provided some much needed distraction from negative news and dire warnings. And thankfully, it was a limited series!

But hey it’s 2021! Although we must stay vigilant with mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing, we now have a much better understanding of this virus.  The vaccine is providing hope for a better year with less risk of disease or death.  So if you gained the “COVID 19” (pounds!) and want to lose weight, now is the time to get off the couch, turn off the TV, and get back in action.

In a previous article, we talked about how to return to exercise after a layoff.  If you still  feel uncertain, it’s understandable! That’s why we created our SPORT READY program to help you return to your favorite fitness and sports activities. So how does it work?

Step 1. Think about what you want to achieve. Have you missed golfing or tennis for an entire year? Have you gotten injured trying to follow an online yoga class? Are your neck, shoulders, and back stiff and sore from hours in front of a computer, working from home? Are you lacking motivation to run or paddle with no races on the horizon?

Step 2. Call our Medical Fitness Center to set up a free, no obligation 60 minute fitness assessment with one of our Medical Fitness trainers. We offer sessions in downtown Honolulu and in Niu Valley.  Want to return to golfing, paddling, or tennis? A custom strength and cardio program could give you the boost you need. Not sure if you need new running shoes? Our RunFit assessment corrects your gait, posture, and form to prevent injury and improve performance. 

Step 3. At your fitness assessment, our trainer will help you determine if an injury could benefit from physical therapy – usually covered by health insurance. Or, our 1:1 personal training, massage therapy, and nutrition services may qualify for your FSA funds. 

Step 4. Plan a course of action — Physical therapy to address low back pain during your golf swing. Personal training to improve your trunk range of motion during paddling. Cardio and plyometrics to get you back on the soccer field. Nutritional counseling to improve diet for fat loss.  By the end of your fitness assessment you will have a good idea what you need to work on next.

So what’s stopping you? Whether it’s pain, weight gain, motivation, or simply feeling too out of breath up the stairs, we are here to help.  Make 2021 the year you achieved your health and fitness goals, no matter what craziness is continuing in the world. Take charge and call 808.373.1114 to schedule your free SPORT READY assessment today!

Evidence-Based Practice in Medicine Part 4: Trusting the Experts

While researching the issues surrounding this topic I came across an excellent article from Scientific American that is well worth reading in its entirety. The article, published in 2018, uses measles as an example, but the thoughts expressed are extremely relevant in today’s COVID19- and science-denying political climate.

From(Dis)trust in Science:

“While we can all agree that we do not want people to get sick, what is the underlying basis for the idea that the opinions of experts—including scientists—deserve more trust than the average person in evaluating the truth of reality?”

Read more:

Meet Our Staff – Massage Therapist Tim!

Every month or so, we hope to highlight one of our amazing employees. The folks who work at OrthoSport Hawaii come from many different backgrounds, have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share, and love staying active while helping others improve their health and fitness. To schedule an appointment or get more information please call (808) 373.1114.

Years of experience:  I started my journey into healthcare back in 2009, where I was a personal trainer managing lifestyle and exercise programs for senior citizens. I decided I wanted to learn more about how to rehabilitate people, so I graduated from Occupational Therapy Assistant school in the summer of 2018. During my rehab journey I quickly realized I had a huge passion for hands on manual therapy work. I then decided to pursue Massage Therapy school and was licensed in March of 2020. My goal is to help people with acute to chronic pain levels, limited range of motion, and stay as independently functional as long as possible.

Specialization: Orthopaedic Massage Therapy, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Positional Release, Active Release, Sports Massage, Medicupping (certified), and Graston Technique.

Interesting fact: I love to watch classic black & white films from the
1930’s -1940’s.

Hobbies, interests: I enjoy lifting weights, learning new languages, and off-roading.

Tim’s 450 lb squat.

What got you interested in your field/passions? When I started off as a Personal Trainer in 2009, I worked only with seniors,  all of whom had some kind of physical restriction. Prior to that I never had any experience working with individuals with physical deficits. I taught myself basic rehab techniques to help those individuals, and I quickly learned I got amazing fulfillment seeing the results of my work with their progress. When I was in my last internship for Occupational Therapy, I was paired with two of the lead manual therapists in the state of Hawaii. It was then I discovered the amazing healing benefits of hands on work. Since then, I have dedicated my time to perfecting all of the up-to-date Massage Therapy techniques that have been researched with clinical trials.  I am always looking to learn new innovative Massage Techniques in order to provide my patients with the best chance of recovery.

Announcing OrthoSport Hawaii’s T-shirt Raffle Contest!

As a way to thank our patients and clients AND support the local economy, OrthoSport Hawaii would like to announce our monthly T-shirt Logo Raffle.  Here are the rules:

  • All patients / clients  will receive a beautiful men’s or women’s cut OrthoSport T-shirt at end of their first visit (or next visit if already in therapy.) You also have the option to buy other OrthoSport Logowear  (when available) such as tank tops, hats, etc.
  • Each time you wear your OrthoSport shirt to your appointment, the front desk staff will add your name into the raffle jar.
  • If you leave us a Google review  ( you will receive another entry into the raffle!
  • At the end of the month, one lucky winner will be drawn, and receive a $25 gift card, or similar to a local eatery or business.
  • Keep wearing your shirt to be entered into the next month’s drawing!

Questions? Call 808.373.3555 for more information. And thank you for your support!

Evidence-Based Practice in Medicine Part 3: Evaluate the Evidence

In our last installment we looked at the validity of medical claims based on the source of the claim, whether there is cited research, whether the research was published in a peer-reviewed journal, and whether the authors had any conflicts of interest.  Let’s assume you are researching the effectiveness of drinking beet juice to improve your running. A friend shares a link to an article on Facebook.  The article quotes and references some research studies one of which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism . You search for and find the original research article on  So far you are doing good, the article’s author referenced a research study to back up their claims, the research was published in a peer-reviewed journal, and you can read the abstract online. Now, how do you know if this study is any goodYou need to determine what type of study was done and how much evidence that type of study imparts to the research question posed.  

Levels of evidence (sometimes called hierarchy of evidence) are assigned to studies based on the methodological design qualityvalidity, and applicability to patient care. Here’s a chart describing the basic types:  

You should always search for studies with the highest level of evidence, i.e. meta-analyses or systemic reviews that analyze many, many randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) to look for consistent results across large numbers of subjects and conditions.   A randomized, controlled trial (RCT) is, according to Wikipedia: “a type of scientific (often medical) experiment that aims to reduce certain sources of bias when testing the effectiveness of new treatments; this is accomplished by randomly allocating subjects to two or more groups, treating them differently, and then comparing them with respect to a measured response. One group—the experimental group—receives the intervention being assessed, while the other—usually called the control group—receives an alternative treatment, such as a placebo or no intervention.

Level 1 evidence would be the “gold standard” upon which we can make some good medical conclusions regarding our research question. Level 2 evidence is also very persuasive in our decisions to implement new medical treatments based on research findings.  Level 3 and below may provide useful information on trends and indications for future research.  Our beet juice study appears to be level 3 – placebo controlled, but not randomized because there were only 14 subjects who performed with both beet juice and without beet juice (i.e. a crossover study.)  Therefore, you may not want to rush out and buy a huge jug of beet juice to chug before your runs just yet – but the research is intriguing. 

They key words you want to look for when reading about scientific research in the mainstream media or on social media are the words “meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.”  This means that a number of RCTs have been pooled together and analyzed to provide Level 1 evidence.  Lower levels of evidence may be good starting points for new directions in research. For example, if a coach writes an article about how she has noticed her runners performing better with beet juice supplements that may qualify as an expert’s opinion (Level VII.) It could be an accurate description of her experiences but may also be biased by the coach’s desire to sell beet root supplements. She may want to help athletes avoid the temptation of illegal sports-enhancing drugs or she may just want to improve her notoriety in the running communityA RCT on the use of beet juice designed to avoid these biases would help us see if  beets really do have a physiological effect on running.

No research study methodology is perfect. That’s why research is published, so it can be carefully reviewed by experts and the general public for any flaws, mistakes, or biases that could impact the author’s conclusions. When flaws are identified, new research studies aim to fix those problems and glean further information on the question. Thus, the scientific method is an iterative process where we gradually gather more and more information on a subject to clarify our understanding and produce better and better medical treatments. Yes, sometimes we get it wrong. It’s always important to challenge established conventions when new evidence comes to light. But it’s equally important to understand that new and unusual claims demand a high degree of scrutiny. Learn as much as you can about science and its methods, and you will be able to make better, more informed decisions on your own.  

If you don’t have the time or interest to become adept at evaluating research, you may want to search out expert opinions you can trust. How do you know if an “expert” is trustworthy?  How can you avoid getting scammed by disreputable fakes? That will be the topic of the next installment in this series.  

If you’d like to experience the difference evidence-based, hour-long, physical therapy sessions can make resolving your pain or healing from injury, call OrthoSport Hawaii at 808.373.3555 for more information on scheduling a free online or in-person consult.







Evidence-Based Practice in Medicine Part 2: Know the Source

Recently I’ve been receiving emails from well-meaning friends with links to articles touting this or that “cure” for COVID19.  Unfortunately, these articles are often opinion pieces by bloggers or newsletter writers who want to chime in on rumors or anecdotes they’ve learned about online. When reading these types of articles or evaluating claims that “someone” posted on social media that a friend of a friend forwarded to you, how can you determine if the information presented is legitimate? We’ve all heard about bots and trolls spreading fake news throughout the internet.  What tools do we have to evaluate claims, especially ones that contradict what we may be hearing in the mainstream media? 

Question mark made of pills

In our previous blog post on Evidence-Based Practice in Medicine, we looked at the scientific method and how it helps us to weed out ineffective medical treatments so that we can focus on what works.  We apply the scientific method via research studies, conducted at universities, non-profit foundations, or private companiesThe authors of research studies can present their findings to the public in a variety of ways. Usually, a wellrun study will be submitted to a peer-reviewed research journal and if the methodologiesdata, and conclusions are found to be sound, it may be published. Scholars in the associated scientific field are the experts who must review the research manuscript and decide to publish or send the authors back to the drawing board; hence the term “peer-reviewed.”  

An example of a highly respected peer-reviewed journal in the medical field is The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which is published 48 times a year by the American Medical Association. Its first issue was published in 1883. Another example is the magazine Science which has been published since 1880. There are many more in a variety of specialty biomedical fields. For example, Physical Therapy Journal was first printed in 1921. Research can also be published in industry journals, consumer magazines, corporate communicationsgovernment publications, and so forth.  

Laptop and hand typing

So, when evaluating “research” we first need to know where the information was published. Was it a personal story told on someone’s blog or social media? Was it a report printed by a private company? Was it published in a popular magazine or corporate newsletter? We can figure this out by looking at the reference cited which indicates where to find the original research paper.  Scientific references follow a specific format that most of us learned in school. PubMed is the most commonly used search engine as it contains over 30 million articles in the biomedical fields. References are often linked so you can click directly to the study and examine it yourself 

Bloggers, talk radio hosts, social media mavens, and others will often cite “research” but don’t actually provide a reference to that research on PubMed, Google or any other search engine.  This is a red flag as it means there is no way to authenticate the claims made. For example, someone could write that “research shows that beet juice improves cardiovascular function” but without a reference that you can look up, how would you know if that’s a factual statement? You can do your own investigation on PubMed or Google Scholar of course. Maybe there is a study on that topic, maybe not. But why wouldn’t the author give you the reference or a link to the study they’re talking about? There could be many reasons but it does make the claim sound suspicious, doesn’t it? 

  Dead End SignNow, let’s say that an author does provide a reference to a research study. You find it on PubMed.  How do you know if it’s a good study? How do you know if there are problems with the study? How do you know if the researchers had a conflict of interest, such as trying to prove a newly manufactured drug is safe in order to beat a competitor to market? Finding the research in a peer-reviewed journal may help avoid faulty and fraudulent research studies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the author’s claims are valid.  You may be surprised to learn that some authors will cite a reference that contradicts their claims! They’re counting on the fact that most readers won’t look up the original research or be able to evaluate its findings.  Reader beware! 

But for now, let’s review.  When someone writes “a recent study says…” or “researchers agree…” or similar vague phrases we need to think carefully about what they’re saying and see if we can validate their claims. If no evidence can be found, we may need to dismiss their claims.  So, when evaluating what you read online, start by asking three basic questions:  

  1. Is there published, supporting evidence?
  2. Was it published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal?
  3. Does the study appear free of conflicts of interest?

If you can answer yes to all three questions then your next step would be to look at the type of research study published — be it a case study, randomized control trial, retrospective survey, etc.  Evaluating the evidence presented in different types of research will be the next topic in our EvidenceBased Practice in Medicine series.  

If you’d like to experience the difference evidence-based, hour-long, physical therapy sessions can make resolving your pain or healing from injury, call OrthoSport Hawaii at 808.373.3555 for more information on scheduling a free online or in-person consult.


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