Bounce back from injury
Exercise and recreational balls can play an important role in recovery and pain reduction.
A golf ball to ease foot pain? A kids' playground ball to recover from a knee injury? The combinations may sound foreign, but they're familiar approaches in the world of physical therapy. Here's how these tools of the trade (and the toy box) can help you.
A playground ball
This is the kind of inexpensive rubber or plastic ball (less than $10) you'll find at a grocery or big-box store. It's about the size of a soccer ball, but lighter. "We commonly use that type of ball for knee rehabilitation. We'll have someone do mini squats against the wall with the ball between the knees. Squeezing the ball strengthens the quadriceps muscles," explains Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation -services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.