Orthopedic Clinical Specialist: Kirsten Heath


Many of our past and current patients know our staff physical therapist, Kirsten Heath as she has been with us since our separation from the athletic club in 2014.  However, what you may not have known is she has been dedicated to learning as much as she can by putting herself through an optional Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency right after obtaining her doctorate in physical therapy.  The culmination of the residency program was to apply for and take the board exam for physical therapy orthopedics which occurs only once a year, and she did just that this past March…Now if you are one of our Facebook followers I am sure you have heard by now that she passed her exam, and is a full fledged Orthopedic Clinical Specialist!!!  Now she is not only reported to be a great physical therapist by her patients and colleagues but by the Board of Orthopedic physical therapy as well.

So if you see her out and about, give her a shout out and a congratulations!  Or come stop in if you are suffering from your own orthopedic injury and have the specialist check it out!

Foam Rolling

HS foam roll1

Our most well attended workshop to date was our “Foam Rolling and Stretching” workshop that took place this past May 2nd, 2016.  We didn’t think we could turn the sole topic of foam rolling into an hour long workshop, but your interest proved us wrong and the workshop was turned into just that!  So that simply means we owe you all a stretching workshop in the future.

We plan to re-visit both the topics of foam rolling and stretching in the fall (as two separate workshops) so if you missed this most recent one, do not fret as it will happen again!  But our next workshop is more summery in nature, it is our Swim and Surf Workshop on Monday June 6th at 6pm where we will be discussing common injuries, how to address them and how to avoid them and improve performance!  So stay tuned for that.

Now back to the matter at hand, FOAM ROLLING!  In this workshop we started off with discussing how foam rolling works and why we should be doing it, aka the logistics to convince you how important this is to make a part of your regular routine!  So see below, to learn more.

We often get asked…what kind of foam roller should I get?  Should I get a black, white, green, orange etc?  What about a PVC pipe?  One with ridges is that better?  Or should I get one with the knobs?  What is the best for me?  In the following video, we discuss the various types of foam rollers but feel free to contact us with more questions as we just scratched the surface!

Next up: how long should you foam roll for? Research doesn’t say, but we give our clinical decision on the length of time to foam roll.  We do discuss that when you find a sensitive spot, a possible trigger point to hold that position for 60-90 seconds until the areas becomes less sensitive/relaxes.  We also explain when to foam roll and why it is beneficial to do so, i.e. flexibility, or recovery.

Ok, now everyone’s favorite part…How do you foam roll?  And where should you foam roll?  The following videos will discuss numerous different areas of the body and how to foam toll, what to avoid and how to make the foam rolling more or less intense.

Foam Roll: Quadriceps & Adductors

Foam Roll: Butt (Gluts, Piriformis, Hip Rotators), Hamstrings & Calves

Foam Roll: IT Band

Foam Roll: Upper Back

Foam Roll: Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)

Foam Roll: Quadratus Lumborum (QL or the sides of your low back)

Hopefully you have learned much from the numerous videos shared with you all today from our latest workshop on Foam Rolling.  You should now know why you should foam roll, the benefits of doing so, how long to foam roll, when you should do it and where.  If you all have any comments, questions or concerns please feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121.  We hope you to see you at our next workshop on Swimming and Surfing, June 6th!



Get Better, Faster with Physical Therapy

Timely care is the most important factor when experiencing an injury or pain.  Accessing your physical therapist as the first line of care for conditions such as back pain, joint injuries or muscle pain improves outcomes and can reduce costs.  The below video created by Eric Chaconas, physical therapist with Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy, and the student advocacy group at the University of St. Augustine explains why seeing your physical therapist first is so important.

Eric working on pt

At Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy, we specialize in using the most advanced treatment techniques to keep you active and enjoying the things you love to do.  Often times we are able to help patients avoid unnecessary imaging and surgical procedures through our cutting edge rehabilitation approach.

Many people do not know that you can come to a physical therapist directly, but in the case of our physical therapy clinic, we see more than 90% of our patients before they even see a doctor!  This way our patients are able to avoid the wait to see a medical doctor, and can come to see us quicker which allows us to send them back to doing the things they love.  As our motto says, your performance is our passion and we want to make sure that you continue to do the things you love!


If you have any comments, questions or concerns feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121 as your performance is our passion!

Meet Eric Chaconas PT, PhD, FAAOMPT

For those of you that have not yet heard, we have a new physical therapist!  So if you see him around town or in the clinic, please take a moment to welcome him as a part of the Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy staff!

grey background

Dr. Eric Chaconas is a physical therapist specializing in orthopaedics and sports rehabilitation.  He works with clients who desire improved physical performance and those experiencing pain or recovering from musculoskeletal injuries.  In addition to practicing at Vighetti and Associates Sports Physical Therapy, Dr. Eric Chaconas holds faculty and administrative positions at the University of St. Augustine.  He has an active research agenda focused on shoulder rehabilitation and leads the Florida Physical Therapy Association as a board of directors member.  Dr. Eric Chaconas provides practicing physical therapists an array of continuing education seminars surrounding the topic of exercise prescription and manual therapy around the country.

In regards to his education, Eric Chaconas received his Bachelor of Science, in Exercise Science at Towson University in 2002.  He then went on the receive his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at University of St. Augustine in 2005 and most recently his PhD in physical therapy, at Nova Southeastern University in 2015.

Above and beyond formal education, he became a Certified Strength and Conditioning  Specialist in 2006, the same year he received his Manual Therapy Certification.  Then in 2008 Eric Chaconas completed his Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy.

Last but not least he is an active part of the St. Augustine community.  This is evident by Eric Chaconas’ role as a board of directors member and volunteer healthcare provider at Good Samaritan Wildflower Clinic and as a volunteer for Pink up the Pace, a breast cancer fundraising organization.

Eric working on pt

As you can see above, Eric Chaconas is a BUSY man and therefore works a select schedule at Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy.  He has already begun seeing physical therapy patients at the clinic though so if you are in the St. Augustine area and are in need of a physical therapist, feel free to contact us today to schedule at 904-516-8121 or info@vighettipt.com.

4 Steps to Eliminate Shoulder Pain

Sh Workshop Close up

Time was made to present on the topic of 4 ways to eliminate shoulder pain this past February 23rd, 2016 with Kirsten Heath PT, DPT by the newest member of our staff,  Eric Chaconas PT, PhD, FAAOMPT.  In addition to his part time work with Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy, he is also the Assistant Program Director and a Professor at the University of St. Augustine.

Eric is particularly passionate about shoulder pathology and rehab as evident by his PhD work in the area.  During the workshop he discussed the basic anatomy of the shoulder, several more commonly known diagnoses such as rotator cuff injury/tear, frozen shoulder and shoulder laxity, and as the workshop was titled, the 4 steps to eliminate shoulder pain.

1st STEP was addressing thoracic mobility or upper back mobility during which Kirsten Heath discussed two exercises that can be used to maintain and/or increase mobility.

2nd STEP was shoulder blade strength with an emphasis on performing 2x more pulling exercises than pushing.

3rd STEP was to address rotator cuff strength with increasing in difficulty exercises demonstrated from by your side to in front of your head.

4th/Final STEP was emphasized as many people don’t progress far enough and get to this point.  It consisted of progressive closed chain (or when your hand is in contact with a surface, floor/wall etc) and overhead activity.  It is important as we utilize numerous muscles around our shoulder when performing closed chain exercises that will help keep our shoulders strong, and to be strong overhead for the shoulder is essential for everyday activities and especially when weight lifting.

Much more detail is included in the video below of what was previously mentioned so please check it out if you want some exercises to help you with the various steps or are curious about different shoulder conditions.

Also, during the workshop we practiced many of the exercises that were discussed, so below is some of the instruction on the thoracic mobility exercises and several of the shoulder exercises.

As always, If you have any comments, questions or concerns feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121.  Otherwise, we hope you learned something from the videos about how to best maintain shoulder health!

Running Related Injuries

running 2 legs

The good news is…we have been BUSY!  Bad news…this blog post with the videos from our Running Related Injuries workshop on February 1st, 2016 has taken a while to be edited and uploaded.  But, it is ready now!

In this workshop we planned to discuss 5 common running related injuries that we often see in the clinic, which included Plantar Fasciitis, ITB Syndrome, Hamstring Strain, Achilles Pain and Dead Butt Syndrome.  Due to audience interest, we also discussed the different types of Shin Splints as well as a little added bonus.  In addition, we took the time to separate each injury’s information so that you are able to pick and choose which video is pertinent to your current needs, so hopefully you will find the information convenient and useful.

As always, If you have any comments, questions or concerns feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121.  Otherwise, enjoy the videos below for each running related injury and a short video with generalized advice for our injured runners.

Plantar Fasciitis

ITB Syndrome

Hamstring Strain

Achilles Pain

Dead Butt Syndrome

Shin Splints

General Advice for our Injured Runners




Essential Exercises and Stretches for Runners

Running pic

It’s about time…We are finally done with editing the videos from our New Year’s Resolutions Workshop that took place at 1st Place Sports in St Augustine regarding the essential stretches and exercises.

We began by discussing the idea of Run to be fit, or Fit to Run and the reasoning why we need to be strong to be efficient and healthy runners.  See below.

For those that were not at this latest informational session, we started off with assessing mobility, stability and strength to help illustrate to those in attendance what will be beneficial to them with the following exercises and stretches.

We recorded one of the assessments at home, to help show those on the worldwide web, but many of the others require some assistance by a physical therapist to determine the results and therefore were not included.  But check out the one below on ankle mobility!

After we determined the group’s strengths and weaknesses, we provided some strength exercises that are often beneficial to runners.

Clamshells below were included in the talk, but the video was better previously and therefore is below.

We ended the session discussing the bare essential stretches for runners to perform once the run has been completed.

Calf stretches were also mentioned and follow.

Our next workshop is this upcoming Monday February 1st, A NEW DAY: MONDAY!  We will be discussing various topics depending on audience preference with the possibilities of plantar fasciitis, hamstring strain, ITB syndrome, dead butt syndrome and Achilles tendinitis.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121.

Foot & Ankle Strength Training

First off thank you to all those who made it out to our Foot & Ankle Strengthening workshop at 1st Place Sports in St. Augustine, we truly appreciate your enthusiasm and involvement.

The first video we have is of Steve discussing several different points important to mention when thinking of the foot and ankle.  He touches on plantar fasciitis, the reasoning and thinking behind barefoot running and what to consider when looking at various types of shoes styles.  Watch below to find out more.

Next, as we often do we start at the “core”, if you will, of the foot.  There are very small muscles in your foot only known globally as the intrinsics, and this first exercise focuses on addressing them….although slightly mentally challenging!

Heel raises, may seem common but many people do not perform them correctly or know that it is important to perform them sitting and standing to address different muscles…They can also be advanced by going from two legs to one, and even off a step!  Click below to find out more!

Many people also tend to have tight calves in our seated world, so below we include stretches to address both muscles of the calf.

We have yet to come up with a good name for this next exercise…beyond the fact that it works the tibialis posterior (or posterior tibialis, whichever you prefer) muscle.  However it is very important for many people who suffer from foot, shin and/calf pain.

Last but not least, balance exercises!  To be honest, we could have discussed these at any point during our work-shop series as balance does not just come from the foot and ankle but from your whole lower leg and core.  So walk through these balance exercises/tests with Kirsten, and see just how good (or poor) your balance really is!

If you If any comments, questions or concerns feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121.

Knee Strength Training

knee pain

Knee pain is a common injury with many runners.  From experience, we have often found this to be because runners like to run…and they don’t always like to strength train to make sure they are strong enough TO run.  But those who have suffered from pain while running and/or who have come to see us have learned that lack of strength training is often the reason why runners and others are experiencing these pains.  So before you get to the point where you have to come see us or seek out another medical professional, check out some of the exercises below to make sure the muscles around your knee stay nice and strong and are able to help protect your knees.

But first, to explain further the importance of knee strength training…

One of our favorite exercises is the squat.  Good form is the key here, as without it the exercise may even be contributing to your knee pain.  Also, you can increase the difficulty of a squat by adding weight or even by making it a single leg squat!

Lunges are next.  While these exercises may seem basic…they are.  But the unfortunate truth is so many perform them incorrectly or think they are beyond these exercises and move to exercises they are not yet ready for.  So the following videos take you through our lunges progression, going from the easier step back lunge to the progressively more challenging step forward lunge and lastly the lateral lunges which are vital for many runners to help strengthen appropriate muscles!

Step Back Lunge

Step Forward Lunge

Lateral Lunges

There are most definitely runners out there suffering from hamstring injuries as well.  So these next two videos are how to initially help strengthen those all important hamstrings starting with the hamstring walk outs followed by the hamstring bridges.

Hamstring Bridge Walk Outs

Hamstring Walk Outs

Lastly for those who made it out to our last work-shop at the wonderful 1st Place Sports here in St. Augustine, you will recall that we presented on the Romanian single leg deadlift.  Unfortunately due to technical difficulties, we are unable to include a video to show you know.  But they are a great exercise for what we call, the “posterior chain”.  This means that they are able to work all the muscles on the backside of the leg you are standing on including your gluts, hamstrings and calf muscles.  Hopefully we will have a video up in the near future, but feel free to check out our deadlifts video in the core and hip workshop or google in the meantime.

We ended this most recent workshop for questions and answers and officially ended the Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy knee workshop at 1st Place Sports.  Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will be outlining our ankle and foot strengthening exercises!

If any comments, questions or concerns regarding these exercises please feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121.


Hip and Core Strength Training

People have been reaching out to us to educate individuals regarding the importance of strength training among runners.  1st Place Sports and Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy teamed up to present to all those interested in a complimentary work-shop regarding core and hip strengthening by Steve Vighetti, MPT, MTC, FAAOMPT, CSCS and Kirsten Heath, PT, DPT.  We wanted to record the session so that we could share it with those that were unable to make it to the live event.  Unfortunately, there was some technical difficulty with the core strengthening portion of the work-shop but we were able to record all other exercises and included them below.

Why is strength training of the core and hip so important, well watch below to find out!

Below, is an earlier recording of Transversus Abdominis bracing that goes into even more detail than during the actual work-shop.

A quick review of some core strengthening, to progress to after initial mastering of transversus abdominis, in addition to diaphragmatic breathing and kegels is included below.

For the hip, we divided the work-shop into 2 parts in which we addressed strengthening the gluteus medius which is a muscle located on the side of your hip and then strengthening the gluteus maximus the largest muscle on your backside that are both vital to be strong for runners.

The first 3 strength exercises that we discussed were to address the gluteus medius and we tried to give you all an easy, medium and hard exercise.  By no means is it a perfect progression as there are many other exercises we might utilize between, but just to give you all an introduction!

Clamshells (Clams)

Side Plank with Clams

Side Plank with Leg Lifts

Next is the final series in the core and hip strengthening workshop in which we addressed the gluteus maximus.  It is similar to the gluteus medius series with a relative easy, medium and hard strength exercise with many potential exercises in between.

Bridges (with single knee to chest)




After this point, we broke for questions and answers and officially ended the first Vighetti & Associates Sports Physical Therapy workshops at 1st Place Sports.  Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will be outlining our knee strengthening exercises!

If any comments, questions or concerns regarding these exercises please feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at info@vighettipt.com or 904-516-8121.

Sports Physical Therapy