This month we are talking about your feet. Check out some ways to help keep them feeling great and avoiding pain and injuries.
As spring and early summer rolls in we often see a few common injuries at Edgar Family Chiropractic. They often include hamstring injuries in people who are starting their running regimes or low back sprains in those starting their golfing season or tending to their gardens. Everyone is eager to get out and get active, especially after the long winter that we’ve had! However, the most common injury that we see these days is definitely plantar fasciitis.The plantar fascia is a thin layer of muscle on the bottom of the foot that can become quickly irritated if improper footwear, such as flip-flops, are worn. People who have pre-existing biomechanical dysfunctions in their feet are more prone to this injury and should be especially careful.
In our clinical experience we often find that more than any other part of the body, the feet are overlooked on a regular basis. The problem with this is that they are the foundation for the rest of our body. If the feet are not functioning well, often knee, hip, and low back pain will arise.
The foot have three arches (medial, lateral, and transverse) which are supposed to be working together to support the 26 bones in each foot. Also, the stability of the tibia and fibula (your leg bones), femur (your thigh bone), hips, pelvis, and spine ALL depend on these three arches. When the arches are well supported, it means that biomechanics are healthy and stress is reduced through the kinematic chain that goes from the feet all the way to the head.
What can be done if your arches are not working optimally to hold the rest of your bones in place properly?
One thing is exercises to strengthen your arches. Here are some examples:
1. Rolling exercises: roll your entire foot on a tennis ball or golf ball.
2. Calf Stretch: place your foot on a step and gently lower the heel until you feel a gentle stretch in your calf muscle
3. Towel scrunch: take a small towel and throw it on the floor. Grasp or bunch the towel under the feet by scrunching your toes.
Another solution to problematic arches are custom made orthotics. The key is “custom-made”. Although some people have minor dysfunctions in their arches that could warrant an “off the shelf ” orthotic (such as Dr. Scholls), most need something with more support and stabilization. These help to promote healthy biomechanics and circulation to the feet. They can be used to treat plantar fasciitis, shin splints, metatarsalgia, achilles tendonitis, ankle instability, hip pain and low back pain and many more conditions.
Finally, it is important to talk about supportive shoes. As already mentioned, we are getting into flip-flop and sandal season and this could mean lots of pain for our feet. If you are not sure about your shoes, let us examine them for you and give you some feedback on how supportive they are.
We hope you will be a little more aware of what you wear this summer and will remember that being properly supported can help not only your feet but also your knees, hips, back, and neck.
Calling All Golfers
As the days get warmer and the grass gets greener, more and more people are dusting off their clubs to hit the links. If you are like most golfers, you are always trying to lower your score by a few strokes. While that sounds easy, as most of you can attest, it certainly is not. What if we told you that you could lower your score by just wearing more comfortable footwear? Yes, it can be that easy. Just by adding orthotics into your existing golf shoes, you can increase your clubhead speed, add distance to your shots and reduce fatigue on your feet, knees, hips and low back. Sound impossible? Don’t take our word for it. It’s been scientifically proven:
– Podiatrists estimate that as many as half of all golfers could benefit from custom orthotic insoles. Studies indicate that orthotics prevent overuse injuries and can even improve swing mechanics and increase power.
– A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics March/April 2000 found that club head velocity improved between 3-5 mph(7%) just by wearing custom-made orthotics. This increase of speed equates to approximately 15 yards more distance on their shots.
No other changes were made. Add to this more energy and stamina from reducing stress on the feet, legs, and back and this can be a significant advantage; an advantage that many professional golfers have been using for years.
Talk to Dr. Maja Edgar and Cameron Edgar for more information or call today for a complimentary gait analysis to assess your foot/hip biomechanics and see if you could benefit from custom-made orthotics. Most extended health care insurers have coverage meaning you can have a distinctive advantage on the course this season. And if you’re not, chances are your playing partner is:)