Monday, August 20, 2012

DOs and DON'Ts of Lifting

  1. Check the load to see how heavy it is.
  2. Make sure the path you are taking is clear.
  3. Bend down using you're knees as much as possible.
  4. Pull you stomach muscles in and hold them in during the lift (like you're trying to fit into pants that are too small).  This gives support to your spine.
  5. Bring the object close to your body (waist level is good).
  6. Lift using your legs and arms, rather than getting all your force from your back.
  7. Keep the object close to your body while you move it.
  8. Put the object down by bending your knees again.
  1. Bend only at your waist when you can bend your knees.
  2. Twist your torso while lifting.  Instead, turn your body by stepping with your feet.
  3. Lift more than you can handle alone.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What is this pain in my heel?

Do you have heel pain that is worse in the morning with your first few steps after you get out of bed?  You may have a condition called plantar fasciitis.  Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia (a band of connective tissue that connects your calcaneus (or heel bone) to your toes.  Plantar fascia may be caused by poor foot mechanics, wearing the "wrong" shoes (i.e. flip flops, high heels, shoes that don't provide arch support or shoes that are worn out), standing too long on hard surfaces without adequate support or tight gastrocnmeius (calf) muscles or Achilles tendons.  If you think you may have plantar fascia, early intervention is best!  Roll your foot on a tennis or golf ball over the tender area.  Do this daily for up to 3 minutes (or the length of a TV commercial), followed by ice massage.  An easy way to do ice massage is to freeze a water bottle and roll your foot on the frozen bottle for about 5 minutes.  Stretching your calf muscles is also a good idea if you think you may have plantar fasciitis. If the heel pain doesn't resolve within a couple of weeks with these easy techniques, you can consult with a physical therapist who can evaluate your foot mechanics and provide treatment.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Shoes can affect more than just foot pain

Our clinic sees patients of all sizes, ages, fitness levels, and areas of pain. Despite all of this variation among our patient-base, we have found one constant among almost all of them - their shoe choice! If you are experiencing pain anywhere in your body, especially your low back, pelvis, hips, knees, ankles, and/or feet, chances are your shoes are part of the problem.

Pain is an indication that something is not right within your body, typically stemming from a malalignment causing secondary soft tissue dysfunction. In order to restore proper mechanics and decrease pain, these proper mechanics, and therefore alignment, need to be restored. There is no other "bang for your buck" like a good supportive pair of athletic shoes. They allow your body the external support needed to allow your joints to realign and remove the abnormal irritation of the painful structure.

Tennis shoes come in three varieties - cushion, stability and motion control. Cushion shoes are generally indicated for those with perfect foot and ankle mechanics and, most likely, no pain. Stability shoes give a moderate amount of support for your foot and are generally good for moderate pronators (those with "fallen arches"). Motion control shoes give a significant amount of support and are good for those with significant pronation.

Running stores typically offer the best selection of supportive shoes and the associates have a little information as to the specifics of each shoe. Many associates may offer to watch you walk and advise which the best shoe is for your body. Be aware, these associates have little training in gait analysis and are unable to differentiate if a particular problem is coming from the hip or knee or if the problem is compensatory or not. For a more comprehensive evaluation and shoe suggestion, seek an evaluation by a physical therapist. At the very least, throw away your $3 flip flops and put on some tennis shoes (don't forget to tie them tight enough that you cannot slip them off without untying them)! 

Here's an interesting article by discussing why flip flops are such a poor "shoe" choice.

"Flip-flops present feet with a painful problem"