FREE NovaCare Injury Screenings

6-novacare-best-chicago-gym-physical-therapyDo you have an injury that pops up now and again, or a persistent pain that won’t go away? Stop by one of Fitness Formula Clubs’ following locations for a complimentary injury screening, courtesy of NovaCare.

All locations’ screenings will be 5:30-7:30 pm, except Union Station:
Wednesday, July 2: Halsted Street
Tuesday, July 8: West Loop
Wednesday, July 9: Lincoln Park
Tuesday, July 22: East Lakeview
Wednesday, July 23: Union Station (11:30 am-1:30 pm)
Wednesday, July 23: South Loop

NovaCare physical therapists are running specialists!

Training for your first 5k, 10k, half, or even full marathon? Don’t fret—NovaCare is here to get you to the finish line injury-free!

Runners in the Chicago community have trusted our therapists to address their injuries and equip them with the tools they need to achieve their goals. With you in mind, here are a few tips to prevent those injuries and keep you running strong!

1) Rolling toys! Every runner should invest in a foam roll. It will become your best friend, or close to it! Foam rolling is a great way to achieve an improved range of motion and to decrease pain. It’s what we in the therapy world call “soft tissue mobilization.” How does it work? The connective tissue encompassing our muscles is called fascia . When fascia becomes restricted, it needs is a little TLC to help keep muscles nice and loose, alleviating pain, or preventing certain musculoskeletal injuries such as ITB Syndrome and Runner’s knee. The most common running injury is knee pain, and with proper use of a foam roll, a good massage helps loosen the otherwise tight connective tissue. We even recommend using a foam roll after a run. Foam rolling, combined with drinking plenty of water, will help release lactic acid, which builds up in your muscles after a run and causes soreness. Foam rolls are available for purchase at any of our NovaCare locations! Visit to find the location closest to you!

2) Stretching! When do you stretch? Before a run, afterward or both? Not all stretches are created equal! We recommend you perform dynamic/active stretches before running, followed by static or dynamic stretching after your runs. Proper stretching is designed to loosen, activate, and mobilize your muscles, fascia, nerves, blood vessels, and lymph vessels, and all must be mobile for optimal performance! Think of it this way: we are three-dimensional creatures, so our tissues need to move and stretch in multiple directions. Stretching at different angles helps mobilize the entire muscle. Before you perform an activity, you need to alert your muscles to the task at hand. Doing active/dynamic stretching sets off the brain’s “task reminder.” Last but not least, never stretch into pain; listen to your body! Check out the stretches here:!

3) Strengthening! This is probably the most important tip. Remember, our bodies are three-dimensional, moving in multiple planes of movements. That’s why it’s important to strengthen all the muscles in your body. Specifically, we recommend balance, lateral gluteal work and core exercises. If you have a strong foundation and strong ankles, you reduce your risk of injury! Check out the recommended strengthening exercises here:!

4) Form Meets Function! Why do some people who use the foam roll and perform their core exercises still get injured? This is often the product of poor running form and running mechanics. Why not sign up for a Video Gait Analysis (VGA) at our FFC Union Station location, 444 W. Jackson Blvd., and find out how you could be a more efficient and injury-free runner? Call 312-407-0143 for more information on scheduling and costs.

5) Ice, Ice, baby. If something feels sore after a run, put some ice on it! Get a bag of frozen peas or put ice cubes in a Ziplock bag with some water and apply to the sore muscle or joint. Keep it there for 15 – 20 minutes. However, if pain or soreness persists, give us a call and we can help you out! Our injury hotline is here to provide you with answers and the recommended health care you need! Call 866-TRY-NOVA.

NovaCare is happy to provide the highest quality of care. Should you sustain an injury, trust NovaCare’s licensed physical therapists to offer unmatched compassion and expertise to help you return to running pain-free, and be ready to take on your next race with confidence!

Guest blog by Jason Garner, NovaCare Physical Therapist at FFC Union Station
NovaCare Rehabilitation