HEALTH TIPS

Running is good for us. It is a great form of cardiovascular exercise that is easy and convenient to do. Not only does it help our muscles, bones and vital organs such as our heart and lungs, but it also helps boost immune system, weight loss, lower cholesterol, fight depression and reduce stress.

However, we have often heard conflicting messages and warnings about long term effects of running on our joints, in particular our knees and hips.

New insights

Research based on 17 studies involving 114829 people, the authors found:

3.5% Recreational runner had hip or knee OA (similar both male and female)

10.2% Sedentary has hip and knee OA

13.3% Elite/ex-elite, professional level highest rate of hip or knee OA

Running and Osteoarthritis

However, these studies did not assess the impact of obesity, occupational workload, prior injuries on the future risk of hip and knee arthritis in runners.

Summary and recommendations

Recreational runners have less chance of developing knee and hip OA (running up to 15 years and more). Recreational running may be safely recommended as a general health exercises and to benefit knee and hip joint health.

High volume and high intensity training may increase your risk for osteoarthritis.

Researchers have defined high volume as running more than 92km per week.

Source: Running and Osteoarthritis: Does Recreational or Competitive Running Increase the Risk? Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2017 Volume:47 Issue:6 Pages:391–391 DOI: 10.2519/jospt.2017.0505

Feeling stiff or sore in the morning and finding it hard to get out of bed? Follow along the stretches in this video and start your day kicking!

When sitting at the computer, the common setup is to have the keyboard, then the mouse beside it. The shoulder blade is pulled forward and out to the side. Even though it seems as if there is no effort in keeping this position, muscles are working hard to keep the shoulder blade and arm in place.
Muscles at the back of the shoulders such as the rhomboids, trapezius, rotator cuff, and deltoids are stretched out while muscles at the front of the shoulder such as the biceps, pecs, and anterior deltoids are in a shortened position.

Most people get pain in the areas around the shoulder blade and shoulder area. Things would feel tight, achy, sore, some people describe a burning pain in those areas, and occasionally people might complain of numbness and tingling down the arm.
So what are some things you can do for yourself?

1) CORRECT YOUR MOUSE POSITION!! The main thing is that you want the mouse closer to the body and your elbow needs to be supported:

-There are keyboards that don’t have number pads attached so that the keyboard is smaller allowing you to bring the mouse closer. If you still need a number pad, you can attach that seperately. There are also mini keyboards with all the keys included, just in a smaller format so it leaves space for the mouse beside it.
– Use a chair with arm rests, and if you don’t have room for arm rests, there are arm rests that can attach to your desk.
– Experiment with different types of mice if you are doing a lot of clicking with the mouse. Different mouse designs will have the hand in different positions that may be more comfortable for you.

2) Do some exercises to counter the lengthened muscles around the shoulder blade and shoulder, and stretch the shortened muscles in the front.

Strengthening:
These strengthening exercises have been shown to activate the muscles controlling the shoulder blade without over using the frequently tight upper trapezius.

· Sidelying shoulder flexion: Lay on your side with a light weight. Start with your arms at your sides, set the shoulder blades by pulling them back and down. Then, bring the arm forward and up toward the head. Keep the movement slow and controlled. Do 15- 20 reps, 2 sets.

· Sidelying shoulder external rotation: Lay on your side again with a light weight. Have a pillow between your elbow and the side of your body. Hold the weight at 90 degree elbow bend, then turn the arm outward. Repeat 15-20x, 2 sets.

· Prone “T” exercise: Lay on your stomach with a light weight in hand. Set your shoulder blade, and point the thumb toward the ceiling. Slowly raise the arms out to the side and up toward the ceiling. Repeat 15-20x, 2 sets.

· Prone “I” exerciese: Lay on your stomach with the weights beside your body. Set the shoulder blades, then lift the weights up off the floor. Repeat 15-20x, 2 sets.

Stretches:

· Pec stretch: Start with the elbow bent at 90 degrees, and lean into the doorway. Then change the angle where the arm is up high, and this will get a different area of the pec. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 2-3x.

· Biceps stretch: Stand right beside a wall, and straighten out the elbow behind you and rest the palm against the wall. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 2-3x.

3) Self massage. This helps relieve trigger points that may have formed in the various muscles. Find a tennis ball or lacrosse ball and put the ball against you and a wall. Roll around and find a painful spot, then hold until the pain subsides. Just keep rolling around the shoulder blade, and the space between the shoulder blade and spine and find as many tender points as you can following this procedure.

So there you have it, all the things you can do for yourself to help ease your mousing shoulder pain. Try doing this daily for a week and see if you can start noticing some changes!

Cools, Ann & Dewitte, Vincent & Lanszweert, Frederick & Notebaert, Dries & Roets, Arne & Soetens, Barbara & Barbara, Cagnie. (2007). Rehabilitation of Scapular Muscle Balance Which Exercises to Prescribe?. The American journal of sports medicine. 35. 1744-51. 10.1177/0363546507303560.

Poor posture can often cause a stiff upper back. The typical C-shaped posture from prolonged slouching without stretching can result in back, neck, shoulder pain, and headaches. When you have stiffness in one area, other body parts have to compensate for the lack of motion, leading to increased strain on muscles and joints. Lack of upper back mobility can also affect breathing by restricting the expansion of the diaphragm causing us to use more accessory muscle (ie. neck muscles) to breathe. Here is a list of thoracic mobility exercises to encourage more movement in your midback.

 

 

Thoracic extension

Lay flat on a foam roller placed lengthwise on your back. Start with your arms straight up above you. Bring the arms up beside your ears, then return to start position. Repeat 10x, 2-3 sets.

 

Thread the Needle

Start on all fours. Thread on arm under and around the other. Try to twist from the upper back, and minimize the rotation of your low back. Then put the same arm on the side of your head and rotate the opposite way. Repeat 10x, 2-3 sets.

 

Cat/ Cow

Start on all fours. Round the upper back and look down toward your belly button. Then do the opposite movement where you arch the back and look up. Hold 5-10 seconds at each position. Repeat 5x, 2-3 sets.

Standing extensions

Stand with your arms straight up in the air, eyes gazing at the hands. Slowly reach up toward the ceiling and extend backward lightly. Hold 10-15 seconds, repeat 2-3x.

Do you feel like you are walking on pebbles, are having sharp shooting pains, or having numbness and tingling at the ball of your foot? These are common symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma. More commonly occurring in women than men, this condition could be a result of various factors such as:

  • tight fitting shoes
  • repeated irritation at the ball of the foot
  • constant pressure and weight at the ball of the foot
  • foot deformities
  • trauma

Mortons-neuroma-minMorton’s neuroma is a thickening of a nerve between the toes due to continuous irritation and compression. It usually occurs between the third and fourth toes.Mortons neuroma
Immediate care for this condition include:

  • Icing the local area
  • removing any tight/ ill fitting shoes
  • using a metatarsal pad to help relieve pressure on the area
  • modifying your activities (ie. running, court sports)

If the above methods do not relieve your discomfort, it is time to see a doctor or therapist for some extra help in reducing the inflammation and irritation of the nerve. As with any condition, surgery is the last option.

Gone are those days where you can sleep in any awkward position and still wake up refreshed and pain free. As we get older, our body tissues are less adaptable and sleeping in weird, twisted positions can cause considerable pain in the morning.  Even worse, if you are already suffering from back, neck, shoulder, hip or knee pain, sleep can be extremely uncomfortable.

Sleep can be tricky. You can start off with a good position but once you get into deep sleep there is no guarantee of how you will wake up.  Using multiple pillows can be useful to help maintain proper position to ensure your  head, neck, shoulder, back, hips and knees are aligned.  If you are suffering from pain during sleep, here are some sleeping positions that can make your night a little more comfortable.

Back Sleeper

tips-neck-sleep-position-min
If you are a back sleeper, choose a supportive pillow tht is not too thick or thin to keep your neck in neutral alignment. Your chin should not be poking upward or downward, it should be at a 90 degree angle with the body.

tips-Good-back-sleeping-position2-min

Place a pillow below the knees to maintain a slight bend, this helps take pressure off the low back. This is especially helpful for those suffering from low back pain.

Side Sleeper

tips-neck-positionside-sleeping-500x183-min
If you are a side sleeper ensure that your neck is again in neutral position to prevent undue stress on the joints of the neck.

tips-shoulder-sleep1-surgery-150x150-min
Hug a pillow, or roll the bottom shoulder forward and place the hand under the pillow or straight out to prevent having too much weight going through the shoulder joint.

tips-7853059_orig-150x150-min tips-8-12-2013-1-53-46-PM-sleep-mattress-side-150x150-min
Lastly,  place a pillow between the knees to maintain proper low back and hip alignment.

tips-Best-Side-Sleeping-Position-150x150-min
A large body pillow is useful here to use as a pillow for the knees and shoulders.

Stomach Sleeper

tips-prone-lying-150x130-minFirst, place a pillow under the belly to decrease excessive arching of the low back and use a very thin or no pillow for your head.

Stomach sleeping is the least preferred position. It can create a lot of stress on the neck and shoulders since your arms are up and your neck is twisted over to one side. If you are unable to sleep any other way, there are a couple ways to minimize the stress

tips-th-150x150-minSecond, you can rotate your body so you are not fully on your stomach by using a body pillow. Bend one knee and use a pillow to support one arm. This will decrease the rotational forces on your neck, and the excessive arching in our low back.

Hope these few tips can help you get a better sleep tonight!

Taping is a great way to help temporarily relieve the pain of Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral pain). Runner’s knee is a result of poor tracking of the kneecap over the knee joint resulting in irritation, inflammation, and pain. Tape can help improve the patella and knee alignment to decrease friction of the two surfaces as well as facilitate muscle activity.

Tape should only be applied during the painful activity, but if pain is present throughout the day, then it can be applied all day.  There are different types and methods of taping, each person will respond to different techniques.

McConnell Taping 

This technique requires a bit of experimentation with altering the position of the patella. The patella can tilt, rotate, and glided in different directions and finding the direction that minimizes the rubbing of the patella on the knee joint will decrease pain. Most of the time the patella needs to be pulled laterally (toward the outside of the knee) .

KT Taping

Mcconnell-PFPS This technique is thought to promote proper muscle activity and improve lymph and blood flow to the area.

Taping is only part of an effective rehabilitation program,  it is often used to settle down any acute symptoms to allow for progression in treatment. Patellofemoral pain can be caused by a variety of problems such as inappropriate footwear, poor running technique, and muscle imbalances to name a few. Taping without addressing the source of the problem will not resolve your knee pain.

Consult your physiotherapist to see if taping can help you. If you find taping to be very effective, it can be easily learned and applied on your own.

tips-dequervains-150x150-minTexter’s Thumb, aka DdequervainseQuervain’s tenosynovitis, is a repetitive stress injury where the thumb is overused resulting in inflammation, swelling, and pain. The symptoms are located over the thumb side of the wrist. In its early stages, you may feel pain only after prolonged repetitive thumb movement, but as it worsens, you may feel symptoms even at rest.

tips-finkelstein-test-150x115-minOne quick test to see if you have this injury is to make a fist with your hand with your thumb tucked in, then bend your wrist downward toward the pinky. If pain is present along the symptomatic area, it is one major sign that you have this injury. Be cautious to jump to conclusions, there are other tests that need to be done to confirm the diagnosis.
finkelstein test


3 Ways to Manage Your Texter’s Thumb

1) Rest and/ or Anti-inflammatories

Avoiding any type of aggravating activities is most important in any repetitive stress injuries. In order for the inflammation to settle down, rest is required. If rest alone is not enough, try some anti-inflammatories.

2) Splints

If you need to use your thumb throughout the day, a splint may be useful to minimize the stress on the area.

tips-wrist-stretches3-150x1503) Light Stretches

Wrist flexion and extension stretches can help loosen off the overused muscles. Be careful not to do these stretches if it causes pain, you can start these stretches after the pain settles down.
Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3x.wrist-stretches3

The squat is a great exercise because it targets the large muscle groups of the lower body, the gluts, quads, and hamstrings, and allows you to lift things easily without hurting yourself.

In this video, I will show you how to do a squat even if you are a beginner and feeling nervous about the exercise. Anyone can and should do this but you have to start somewhere!

Many people have been given poor advice of avoiding squats altogether as they have been told that the exercise can hurt their knees and back. They end up never doing it and gradually lose the ability to do so in the long run. Many people also perform squats in the gym or at home improperly and injure themselves.

The basic exercise here is the sit to stand, something that we all do every single day. start by sitting on a stable chair with your thighs parallel to the floor or your hips at 90 degrees to your trunk. Scoot your buttocks forward in the chair. Place your ankles directly underneath your knees. Your knees should be about shoulder’s width apart, with toes pointing slightly outwards at 20 degrees. If you place your knees shoulder’s width apart this will give you a greater base of support if your balance is not good. Next, keep your back straight, lean forward so that your chest will be between your knees. Once you get into that position, push your legs up so that you are in a standing position.

Sit down: Start by leaning forward through your trunk and at the same time exaggerate sticking out your butt. Your knees should automatically start to bend and you can slowly lower yourself down to the chair into the sitting position. You should feel that the pressure will be more on your heels than the balls of your feet. You may be aware that this movement is just the reverse of the sit to stand movement. You should work on this exercise 3x per day, 15 repetitions or until your legs fatigue. If you find that it is too difficult to stand from the initial position, you can place a cushion on the seat of the chair to raise the height of the seat to make it easier. The higher the seat position, the easier the sit to stand exercise.

If the exercise is too easy, there are a few things that you can try to make it harder. First, you can do the sit to stand and stand to sit without sitting on the back on the chair. You may simple tap your butt down on the chair and stand back up, and the slower you go, the more work you will do. The second option is you can also add weights through a weighted back pack or carry dumbbells on your side. Thirdly another progressive challenge will be gradually lowering the height of the chair. For a more advanced sit to stand, do this on one leg.

If you have front of the knee pain then you need to avoid that and make sure your squat is not as deep and keeping your knee behind your toes) If you have proper technique and driving the squats with your hips and gluts and not leading with your knees, a full squat with knee forward on your toes is fine. Knees forward on your toes when you are closer to a full squat position helps to disperse forces and pressure from the knee to the back and hips. If you haven’t been in a full squat position for many years, don’t rush into it. It will take some time for your body to adjust to it. Work on the simple squat in the chair first and be comfortable with that before you progress.

Research:
Marchetti PH, Jarbas da Silva J, Jon Schoenfeld B, et al. Muscle Activation Differs between Three Different Knee Joint-Angle Positions during a Maximal Isometric Back Squat Exercise. J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2016;2016:3846123. doi:10.1155/2016/3846123

Slater LV, Hart JM. Muscle Activation Patterns During Different Squat Techniques. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(3):667-676. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001323

Hartmann H, Wirth K, Klusemann M. Analysis of the load on the knee joint and vertebral column with changes in squatting depth and weight load. Sports Med. 2013;43(10):993-1008. doi:10.1007/s40279-013-0073-6

tips-ACHILLES-TENDONITIS-900x588-300x196-minAchilles tendinopathy is a painful condition resulting from overuse or undue stress on the Achilles tendon. The tendon undergoes poor or incomplete healing leaving you to feel pain, swelling, and stiffness in the region. At later stages, there can be a nodule that forms that can be tender to touch.

Multiple factors can result in this condition including:

  • poor footwear
  • calf weakness and tightness
  • stiff ankle joints
  • overtraining or sudden changes in training regime
  • certain medications (fluoroquinolones such as ciproflaxacin)

How can dry needling help?

Dry needling can help re-stimulate the healing process in the achilles region. When the needle is inserted in the area it produces a local inflammatory response, which is the first stage of tissue healing. With the addition of proper strengthening, stretching, and removal of any other aggravating factors (e.g. poor footwear, training regime) proper healing of the tendon can occur. Dry needling can also be applied to the calf muscles to help loosen the tension on the Achilles, in turn decreasing the stress on the tendon.

Have you ever felt a dull, sharp, or stabbing pain on the inside or outside of your shin bone during or after exercise? If so, you may have shin splints.

tips-shin-splints-300x242-minShin splints is an inflammatory condition where the attachment of muscles and tendons on the bony tissue of the shin is irritated. This can lead to pain, redness, swelling around the inside or outside of the shins.

Shin splints are often caused by a sudden change in activity; for runners, it can be an increased frequency or duration of running, running on harder surfaces, or after introducing hills. Other possible causes of this condition can be flat feet or high arches and exercising with poor or old runners.
Other conditions that can be mistaken for shin splints include stress fracture, tendinitis, or compartment syndrome. If you are not sure about your own condition, it is best to consult a physiotherapist or your family doctor


5 Ways to Manage and Prevent Shin Splints

1) Rest

The best thing to do to help decrease inflammation is to first rest! The more you irritate the area, the longer it will take to settle down the inflammation.

2) Ice and anti-inflammatories

In the acute stages, ice and anti-inflammatories can help take down the inflammation and speed up the recovery process.

3) Stretch

Stretching the muscles that attach to the shin bone will help decrease the pull of the muscles and tendons on the shin, in turn, decreasing inflammation and pain. Below are 3 stretches that can help with this condition.

4) Proper footwear

Proper supportive shoes will prevent overload of the muscles attached to the shin bones preventing inflammation.

5) Gradual progression of exercises regime

A common mistake of recreational athletes is to do “too much too soon”. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments are not yet conditioned to take on a sudden increase in exercise load/ intensity, leading to overuse and injury.

tips-calf-stretch-300x196-minCalf Stretch

Bring one leg to the back, the front leg is bent at the knee. Keep the back knee straight. Feel a stretch at the lower part of your leg. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 3x.

tips-soleus-stretch-minSoleus Stretch

Bring one leg to the back, the front leg is bent at the knee. Slightly bend the back knee. Feel a stretch at the lower part of your leg near the Achilles tendon. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 3x.

tips-tibialis-anterior-stretch-300x300-minTibialis Anterior Stretch

Point the toe downward, and push down toward the floor. Feel a stretch at the front part of your shin. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 3x.

Everyone has experienced a muscle cramp before, and it seems to get more frequent as we get older! The cause of these cramps are still unknown, but there is some research to suggest that these 3 factors may be involved:

  1. Stretching and muscle fatigue:When a muscle is overworked it changes the way a muscle will normally reflexively contract and relax. Overexerting your muscles will deplete the oxygen supply and build up waste products. This will cause the muscle to spasm. Abnormal reflexes will prevent the muscle to relax as it normally should, resulting in a sustained contraction.
  2. Heat, dehydration, loss of electrolytes:Hot weather makes us sweat more so our body loses fluid, salt, and minerals more quickly. Muscles require these nutrients to contract and relax normally and a lack of them results in a muscle cramp.
  3. Age: Our muscles will naturally decrease at a slow pace starting in our mid forties and speeds up as we get older. As well, muscles do not retain as much water, are unable to move as quickly or work as hard, and react slower to changes in temperature. All these factors with age predisposes us to get more cramps.

To prevent muscle cramping, try to keep a good fitness level, drink enough fluids, and make sure you take in enough electrolytes. The most common muscles to cramp up are the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf. Try these stretches if you are cramping in these muscles:

Hamstring stretch – Sit with the bum against a wall, straighten out one leg. Try to keep the knee straight and toes pointed up toward your body. Lean forward the tummy forward toward the thighs to get a larger stretch. Hold 30seconds, repeat 2-3x.

trips-Hamstring-Stretch-Sitting-WEB-300x300

Calf Stretch – Lean your hands against a wall with your legs in a lunge position. Bend the front knee, and keep the back heel on the ground. Hold 30 sec, repeat 2-3x.

tips-calf-stretch-300x196-min

Quadricep Stretch – Standing, bring one knee toward the bum and hold using one arm. Hold 30seconds, repeat 2-3x.

Do you feel a sharp pain in your shoulder when you reach up above your head, behind your neck to scratch yourself, or behind you to grab something in the backseat? If so, these are some common symptoms of shoulder impingement.

What is shoulder impingement?

tips-shoulder-impingement-picture-minThe shoulder joint is made up of 3 bones, the humerus (upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). Around these structures are muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bursas (fluid filled sacs). In order for the shoulder to have pain free motion, muscles need to work in sync with each other so no structures are rubbed together causing irritation and inflammation. When rubbing occurs, this is called impingement.

What causes impingement?

Tight/ weak/ imbalanced muscles
Poor posture
repetitive shoulder motions (e.g. lifting, overhead activities)
Degenerative changes of structures in the shoulder joint

What can you do about it?

Most important thing to do if you suspect impingement is to rest and avoid repetitive shoulder motions especially above the head. You can try taking some anti-inflammatories to help settle down the inflammation. Try doing some light stretches, and try to maintain a good posture to minimize the any further irritation.


tips-posterior-shoulder-stretch-150x150-minPosterior shoulder stretch

Bring one arm across the chest, and feel a stretch at the back of the shoulder. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 2-3x.

tips-scapular-retraction-150x150-minScapular Retraction

Sitting or standing tall, squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold 5 seconds. Repeat 10x.

Neck Sideflexion Stretch

Bring one ear down toward the shoulder. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 3x.

If any of these stretches cause pain, do not continue. If the pain does not subside within 2-3 weeks, you should contact your GP or physiotherapist.

Dry needling is an effective technique used to release chronically tight muscles and trigger points. If you have ever massaged your own shoulders and felt a hard ‘knot-like’ mass there, you have a very tight muscle and likely a trigger point as well.

tips-Levator-Scapula-trigger-point-minAs a trigger point develops, the point becomes tender with manual pressure and can refer pain towards another part of the body (as indicated by the red shade in the picture in the left). If this trigger point is left without treatment and progresses, it can produce referral pains even without manual pressure.

To release the muscle, an acupuncture needle is inserted into taut bands of muscles and trigger points. The needle is inserted numerous times in the same area until a ‘twitch response’ elicited. A twitch response is felt when the muscle ‘jumps’, or spasms quickly and releases.

tips-dry-needling-acupuncture-200x300-minAcupuncture and dry needling is different. Acupuncture points are located in specific areas of the body according to meridians and the goal of Acupuncture is to improve the flow of energy (‘qi’), and promote balance of the body to optimize healing and health. With Dry Needling, the needles are inserted into areas of pain and tension with the end goal of muscle release and desensitization of a painful area.

Dry needling can produce immediate results and depending on the individual, the number of sessions vary. Most people will have very good results within 1-4 sessions.

This technique, combined with a regular stretching routine, postural exercises can be very powerful in overcoming chronic muscle tension and pain.

Acupuncture can help with various types of headaches. The most common types of headaches are: tension headaches and migraines.

tips-tension-headache-300x196-minWhat are tension headaches?

  • Head pain due to increased tone in the head, neck, shoulder muscles
  • Recent research suggests that changes in brain neurotransmitters is also a cause

Symptoms

  • ‘Tight’ band squeezing the head
  • Tension/ tenderness of the head, neck, scalp, shoulders

Triggers

  • Tight head, neck, shoulder muscles
  • Stress/ anxiety
  • Overexertion
  • Poor posture
  • Hunger
  • Lack of sleep

What are migraines?tips-Migraine-Headache-300x197-min

  • Abnormal changes/ activity in the nerves or vessels of the brain causing intense head pain

Symptoms

  • Intense throbbing pain
  • One sided
  • May be accompanied by an aura
  • May have nausea, vomiting, light/ sound/smell sensitivity

Triggers

  • Food (chocolate, additives, alcohol)
  • Stress
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Medications
  • Sensory stimulus (light, sound, smell)

Acupuncture can alleviate the headache symptoms by decreasing muscle tone, increasing circulation to tight muscles, and normalizing the nervous system. When needles are inserted, the effects of the needle travel through the sensory nerves to the spinal cord, and to the brain. Along the way, the needle stimulus produces changes in neurotransmitters and hormones to re-establish the body’s regular state (homeostasis).

The most effective way to decrease joint load while running

Are you a recreational runner that likes to run but haven’t been able to progress your distance or time due to pain or injury? Or maybe you are feeling fine, but are a bit concerned about the effects of more running on your joints and muscles? There is a way to do more and hurt less!

More than 10 years of research has shown that running with a heel strike leads to a huge increase “vertical impact load”. Yes, now THAT is a big word!! Simply put, it is how hard you pound your foot to the ground. Why does the vertical impact load matter? The higher the load, the more force transmitted to the bones, joints, and muscles. This can lead to common injuries like patellofemoral pain syndrome, ITB syndrome, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and achilles tendinitis. Research shows that up to 79% of runners get injured within their first year of running!

Because of this, there has been a shift in how running technique is taught. Usually it comes in two forms – either increase your cadence, or change your foot strike pattern from landing on your heel to landing onto your toes. This is usually best done in minimalist shoes. So which one is better??

A very recent study published in 2020 answered just this question!  Science to the rescue! These researchers found that changing the foot strike pattern to landing on the toes is more effective in both the short and long term than increasing cadence. By landing on the toes their cadence naturally increased as well, since each stride was shorter. This resulted in 40-50% less amount of force pounding on the joints!! Just changing cadence did decrease the amount as well but only by 14-16%.

So, the takeaway message in this? If you are a recreational runner wanting to minimize your risk for injury, or if you’ve had injuries in the past and want to avoid any future injuries, the best way to do it is to change your foot strike pattern to landing on your toes. If you don’t want to go the minimalist footwear route, but want to slightly decrease the impacts, you can increase your cadence.

So how do you transition to a forefoot strike using minimalist footwear?

Don’t go cold turkey and change from a well cushioned shoe to a minimalist shoe the next day!!

Follow these 3 steps to ensure your success.

1) Complete a strengthening program for the foot and lower leg to prepare your muscles, tendons and ligaments in those areas. If you want a simple 4 week program to start off, click on the link below. These strengthening exercises will help prepare you to adopt the new style of running and minimize the risk of stress fractures to the foot and achilles.

2) Practice the new gait. Make sure when you land, you are not too high on your toes. Now when I say landing on your toes, I don’t mean high up on the toes, it’s actually very minimal. Looks something like the picture below. As well, try to keep your feet under your hips so the feet are not landing in front of you.

3) Increase your distance by at most 10% per week. Increasing more than this puts you at risk of stress fractures and achilles injury.

If you are looking to just go the cadence route to get that small decrease in impact, keep in mind to increase your cadence by 5-7% each time. Remember, you need to comfortable with the new increased cadence before increasing again!!

Good luck and happy running!

Check out our short video on how to minimize muscle, joint impact by changing these 2 things when running.

https://youtu.be/_eyZdM1UjAY

Here is the attachment for the strengthening program

4 Week Strengthening program for Foot/ankle

What’s POLICE?

To break it down the Letters

P stands for protection – as in having a brace and/or  taping to protect the injured structures. So a well fitting ankle brace if you sprained an ankle or taping your shoulder to support it if you have hurt yourself lifting weights. Like a bandage on a skin wound, if you protect and cover it and prevent it from being scratched again, your skin will heal much faster. Same goes for any injuries.

O and P stands for optimal loading – Unless you broke some bones or have bleeding that is not well controlled, you need to optimally load the injured area responsibly. What that means is you need to gradually increase movement and pressure on the injured area. This of course also depends on how bad your injury and what your pain tolerance is. It doesnt mean after a badly sprained ankle I want to be jumping around on it.  This is where we take out to R in RICE and replace with OP. Rest is ok, but some people take it too far and completely baby the  injured body part and it ends up weaker, stiffer and more painful.  Movement is great to increase mobility, prevents stiffness and ensures the injured area doesn’t get deconditioned and weak. Research has shown that bed rest and immobilization can  lead to decrease in muscle mass within 10 days and actually up to 40% of muscle strength loss can occur within the first week.

Furthermore, in other studies looking at your bone density, it found about 1% decrease in bone density within 1 week of immobilization.

For the rest of I, C and E, remains the same

I Stands for Ice. You can use a variety of icing techniques and solutions. From Ice packs, gel packs, cryocuffs, and ice tubs, doesn’t really matter too much. Ice is used to help to reduce the amount of inflammation and decrease the amount of fluid buildup in the injured tissues and of course, it provides some pain relief by numbing the nerves. As a general rule, you want to ice a injured area for at least 10 minutes. Now this depends on the body part. You can ice your knee for 10-15 minutes but probably not your fingers because the surface area is much smaller and gets colder much quicker. So use common sense because you dont want to get another injury from the cold. Repeat this if you can during the acute phases for at least 2-3 times per day. A lot of people think that icing the first 2-3 days is enough. That all depends on what your activity level after your injury. If you had an ankle sprain 2 weeks old and feeling better and decide to start jogging or doing some light ankle work in the gym, you may still want to ice the ankle after that activity, because the activity could have aggravated the injury slightly.

Next, C stands for compression:

You can use compression bandages, compression sleeves, neoprene sleeves that give you the firm support to reduce swelling and edema. Research has shown compression helps improve lymphatic drainage. |Remember, more swelling, overall increased recovery time.  If you are not going anywhere, elastic compression bandages are great to give you more custom compression if you will as you can target specific areas that you want more compression. ||But if you need to move around a bit, then I would recommend the compression sleeves, as it is less likely to slip around and you will not need to readjust it as much.

The literature on Ice along with compression is quite powerful as it can reduce blood flow, reduce swelling and improve function better than just ice or compression alone.

Last E, stands for elevation, and what it means is the elevation of the injured area  at or above the level of the heart. elevation  allows proper fluid drainage and prevents the accumulation of edema.

So there you have it. POLICE, remember to update this acronym!

Here is a short video on the causes of buckling knee and how to manage it

The most effective way to decrease joint load while running

Are you a recreational runner that likes to run but haven’t been able to progress your distance or time due to pain or injury? Or maybe you are feeling fine, but are a bit concerned about the effects of more running on your joints and muscles? There is a way to do more and hurt less!

More than 10 years of research has shown that running with a heel strike leads to a huge increase “vertical impact load”. Yes, now THAT is a big word!! Simply put, it is how hard you pound your foot to the ground. Why does the vertical impact load matter? The higher the load, the more force transmitted to the bones, joints, and muscles. This can lead to common injuries like patellofemoral pain syndrome, ITB syndrome, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and achilles tendinitis. Research shows that up to 79% of runners get injured within their first year of running!

Because of this, there has been a shift in how running technique is taught. Usually it comes in two forms – either increase your cadence, or change your foot strike pattern from landing on your heel to landing onto your toes. This is usually best done in minimalist shoes. So which one is better??

A very recent study published in 2020 answered just this question!  Science to the rescue! These researchers found that changing the foot strike pattern to landing on the toes is more effective in both the short and long term than increasing cadence. By landing on the toes their cadence naturally increased as well, since each stride was shorter. This resulted in 40-50% less amount of force pounding on the joints!! Just changing cadence did decrease the amount as well but only by 14-16%.

So, the takeaway message in this? If you are a recreational runner wanting to minimize your risk for injury, or if you’ve had injuries in the past and want to avoid any future injuries, the best way to do it is to change your foot strike pattern to landing on your toes. If you don’t want to go the minimalist footwear route, but want to slightly decrease the impacts, you can increase your cadence.

So how do you transition to a forefoot strike using minimalist footwear?

Don’t go cold turkey and change from a well cushioned shoe to a minimalist shoe the next day!!

Follow these 3 steps to ensure your success.

1) Complete a strengthening program for the foot and lower leg to prepare your muscles, tendons and ligaments in those areas. If you want a simple 4 week program to start off, click on the link below. These strengthening exercises will help prepare you to adopt the new style of running and minimize the risk of stress fractures to the foot and achilles.

2) Practice the new gait. Make sure when you land, you are not too high on your toes. Now when I say landing on your toes, I don’t mean high up on the toes, it’s actually very minimal. Looks something like the picture below. As well, try to keep your feet under your hips so the feet are not landing in front of you.

3) Increase your distance by at most 10% per week. Increasing more than this puts you at risk of stress fractures and achilles injury.

If you are looking to just go the cadence route to get that small decrease in impact, keep in mind to increase your cadence by 5-7% each time. Remember, you need to comfortable with the new increased cadence before increasing again!!

Good luck and happy running!

 https://youtu.be/_eyZdM1UjAY