Saturday 22 February 2014

Do your shoes wear unevenly?

Do your shoes wear unevenly? Is the heel more worn at one side ? Does your foot slide of the edge of the shoe? 
Do you know that this might be a symptom of a bigger problem?

It might explain a lot of the aches and pains that you suffer.

Pronation, supination, inversion, eversion, fallen arches...

These words are all terms used to describe a malfunction of the foot. People take this news about themselves and just accept it without really appreciating that it can have long range consequences.

If your foot doesn't hit the ground properly there is a chain reaction of consequences.- a sort of cascade of damage-.  In a healthy gait (walking or running) the compression forces from the impact with the ground do not damage the joints in fact studies have shown that they even increase cell regeneration, keeping the joints healthy.  Conversely forces at abnormal angles and shear forces that are a result of biomechanical malfunction damage the joints and stress the system.  Such forces cause a cascade of symptoms as the brain tries to compensate and correct the body. This leads to pain, inflammation fatigue and even, sometime down the road, joint replacement… It is impossible to correct issues with ankles, knee, hip, lower back or disc conditions without attending to the weakness in the body’s biomechanical system that is causing the stresses.

The imbalances causing this stress are just as likely to be caused by inactivity as over activity. Adaptive movement pattern caused by repetitive movement - including participation in sports- can play a part in causing this structural imbalance. 

Some will choose the  support offered by orthotics or specialised sports shoes, but ultimately strengthening and correcting the system is what will put it right.

If you have functional joint or muscular discomfort it can be tempting to go for painkillers, anti inflammatory medication  or orthotic inserts but ultimately you will get relief from fixing the problem not masking the symptoms.

Get it assessed, take responsibility for your health, do the exercises  strengthen and balance your body then choose minimalist shoes.

                                                                    GET IT FIXED

Tuesday 4 February 2014

The Squat and it's Relevance for Barefoot Runners

30 mins squatting per day for 30 days...

This is a challenge currently on the go in the PARKOUR community. What’s the point?

The squat is a natural human movement. Due to our early introduction and ongoing addiction to the chair, it’s a movement that has been all too soon lost to us. The squat, as an exercise, practices a movement pattern the industry likes to call the ‘hip drive’. It’s that straightening out action of the hip from bent to upright. It involves a posterior chain of muscles, the gluteals, the hamstrings and the adductors.
It’s the movement from which we derive most of our power whether it’s for sport or just lifting groceries.

But why sit in this position for a prolonged time?

I lived in India for some time and would watch the gardeners attending to their tasks sitting in this position for hours at a time then easily stand straight up collect their lunch and squat again. Many of the eastern cultures sit in this position to rest. What the squat does is maintain the mobility, flexibility and power to use the big muscles for big jobs. It maintains the power to drive up through the pelvis without putting any lateral strain on the back. That’s important because as a therapist what I often find is that I am working with conditions caused by small muscles doing the big jobs because the big ones are redundant from disuse.

Teaching and perfecting the squat is hard and getting it right hurts while the flexibility and power is built up. Once the work is done the reward is a strong, flexible hip knee and ankle and a system that can work and run produce power and absorb impact.

Learn to squat to learn to run.