Friday 23 August 2013

Less Running Injuries

If we kept barefoot  longer and resisted technology we would suffer less running injuries and enjoy ourselves more.

I find it difficult to turn off work mode. Stop looking at gait, looking out for pronation, supination, hip movement  - and just enjoy a walk in the park.  Living so close to the Meadows in Edinburgh gives me the opportunity to watch people move in all sorts of sports.

Sometimes I am shocked. I watched a football match, the boys involved would have been 9 or 10 years old, still at an age where they spent a lot of time just chasing the ball. One in particular caught my eye because he couldn't run. I am not sure what one might call the way he endeavoured to cover ground quickly but he had clearly lost touch with natural movement. He was impeccably kitted out with a new football shorts and shirt, big socks and his boots had some serious go faster logos on them. This clearly wasn't helping, because his bodyweight was so far back his legs reached forward in long strides so that he was braking his forward momentum by landing on his heel then he had to drag his bodyweight forward over his legs. He was ungainly and he looked uncomfortable. His arms were pumping in different directions and his face was a picture of concentration. He was working as hard as all the others, maybe harder and yet accomplishing less.

Later the same day my neighbour's 4  year old was on the trampoline, barefoot, she was bouncing and playing with her balance. She spied a friend arriving in the next garden crawled out of the netting and zipped across to meet her. I say zipped because unaffected by footwear or any external expectation of what running should be like this little one moved with amazing efficiency. Her bodyweight perfectly aligned, head directly above shoulders, hips directly below and  the pads of her foot seemed to barely touch the grass. Her arms hang at her chest and she moved so fast and with such joy. She could have taken on that 10 year old in his football boots and outrun him easily.  So when I ask myself where did it all go wrong and why do so many people get injured as they labour over their sport and fitness regime, I suppose the answer lies somewhere between the well kitted 10 year old who was so inefficiently labouring over his game, and the barefoot 4 year old who is just enjoying movement.

We don't need hi-tech help - we need to stay natural; it's this technique that will help bring back the joy of running and of comfortable pain free movement. Take the time to learn to run barefoot if you are getting injured or feel that you are labouring over your exercise rather than enjoying it. Contact me for barefoot coaching in Edinburgh. If you've already made that transition and want shoes use the code above to get yourself a discount. If you want to keep your children moving naturally Vivo do a great range of kids shoes at non profit prices.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

The Barefoot Experience

When I first heard about barefoot running, several years ago, I was sceptical -don’t we need cushioning to protect us from injuries? And why would I want to run barefoot, anyway?

But several months ago, I read a few influential articles, my son sent me a link to Lee Saxby's book on Proprioception and I started to look at the issue from a therapist’s point of view, and apply what I have learned to my own gait.

The first thing I notice is that one is immediately a little slower. You can’t take as long a stride as it is necessary to keep your bodyweight over your centre of gravity to avoid the heel strike. Next I notice “an awareness”, I feel more connected to the ground. More importantly my back and unexpectedly even my shoulders feel more relaxed. After a long day when my body is sore, this soft bouncy motion eases tension. Barefoot runners say that their feet have become stronger, they feel better and whereas running was always fun, it now feels like play! I can see where they are coming from.

To demonstrate
1. Consider how you walk in shoes and then contrast it to how you walk around a swimming pool.
2. Have you ever noticed that children begin walking on the balls of their feet? They come down on their heels only when we put them in shoes!
3. Try this. Walk around barefoot with your eyes closed and allow your heel to hit the floor first as it does in a shoe. You’ll be able to hear and feel the shock of every step as it goes through the joints and the back. Then shorten your stride and land on the pad of your foot - no sound and no jarring!

Is this why I see so many people with low back pain back, SI joint and knee issues? Is this shock too much for a body? It makes me wonder…just what are we doing to ourselves!

I was so impressed I took the course and I am now a trainer, teaching running alongside my remedial massage clinic. I found that I could immediately take this training and use it to help with sports Injuries and general structural problems. At least 70% of the population have back injuries. Are our shoes to blame?

Its time to go back to basics, barefoot is best and barefoot shoes are the next best thing. Vivo do running shoes and a good range of casual shoes for men woman and most importantly for children. Be good to your feet.

‘And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.’
~Kahlil Gibran  

Saturday 3 August 2013

Barefoot running low back pain and sports injuries

I seem to have this conversation a lot.

Me to client with ongoing returning low back pain.
The more support you give your feet with the expensive  hi-tec trainers  the more support your feet will ultimately need. Furthermore that support is likely to be undermining the balance of all the other structures that support movement. That might in fact be why your discomfort keeps returning.

Client to me, indignantly.
 'What do you mean?'  ' I went to 2 different shops and they both told me that these are the only shoes that balance my pronation.

Me to client, 
If your back will not support you, do you wrap it in elastic or other supportive structures?

Client to me. 
'No I would exercise and strengthen my back because the support would ultimately weaken it and that would make things worse.' Then she exclaimed in a moment of realisation, 'is it the same for feet?'

Me to client.
'Yes of course. If your feet don't hit the ground properly sticking wedges or air pockets or roll bars underneath is never going to teach them to. In fact it's going to make sure they don't ever strike the ground correctly and whatever problem you  have you will keep. Such support mechanisms will make your shoe hit the ground correctly not your foot.  Whether the problem is pronation or supination these thick soled cushioned cocoons will not allow all the fabulous information gathering cells on your feet to tell the brain what's going on as your foot strikes the ground so how can the feet ever correct? Your feet are attached to your knees and your hips. If  they don't hit the ground correctly that imbalance will show up somewhere.!

Client to me
So why do they sell them?  I mean they are sports companies!

Me to client.
To make money!!!

Your feet are the best thing to walk on and to run on. It might take some work and some training but for optimum health you need to go barefoot.Use barefoot running shoes.

My preference is vivo barefoot shoes. Use this code to get a cheeky wee 20% discount tcQJO-EZ3-EDW-BTS