Part one talked about why shold you embrace minimalism?
A better approach to minimalism is to realize that your feet are weak in their current state and you need to add a foot and leg strengthening program to your current regimen. A strong core is imperative for good, efficient running form. The stronger the core, the longer you can hold good posture as you run down the road in search of your zen.
Six Simple Exercise to Stronger Strides
Here are six simple exercises you can do daily to improve your intrinsic foot strength. I recommend you walk around your house barefoot for five minutes to warm up your feet. Then really warm up your foot muscles by pretending your big toe is a marker and writing the alphabet with your foot. Do this twice. Now you are ready to begin strengthening your feet.
These six simple exercises can help you strengthen the intrinsic muscles of your feet and lower legs to help you transition to a minimalist running style. Remember to also stretch your quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and calf (gastrocnemius and soleus) as well as your plantar fascia after these exercises to warm down.
Small incremental increases in stress make us stronger. Large incremental increases in stress lead to overuse injuries! Achieve your natural stride slowly and carefully to stay injury free.
Watch the video if you need help with the exercises!
Seriously, I crawl over the finish line and the first thing I want is a beer (or twenty)! I think that beer is a great adjunctive therapy for injury rehabilitation. Think about the benefits of beer:
1. It relaxes you.
9. It makes the ride home so much more comfortable……….and the next morning if you don’t have to go to work
Ice versus heat? This is a common question a lot of athletes, coming into my Grapevine, Texas office, ask. Most understand that ice immediately after injury is very important. The questions usually revolve around when to use heat. There are some basic guidelines that every athlete can use to reduce confusion.
Immediately ice the “fall down, go boom injuries.” Ice works well for reducing redness, swelling and internal bleeding in acute injuries. It also is a great pain reliever. Acute injuries and post surgical pain and swelling usually respond well to 10 to 15 minutes of ice every few hours. This should be done for up to several weeks after an injury or surgery. Ice can be in the form of an ice pack (ice wrapped in a protective towel) or ice massage (massaging with a frozen water bottle or block of ice).
Ice can also be helpful in reducing swelling in a chronic injury like runner’s knee or plantar fasciitis. Icing immediately after activity can prevent further inflammation of an already annoyed area and help in recovery.
So where does heat come in? Heat can be used in several different ways. Contrast baths with ice/heat/ice can be helpful in chronic injuries. Especially those joints or tendons that still have just a little inflammation or edema. Heat should never be used alone in these cases. Moist heat is best for chronic stiffness and old injuries with scar tissue. It can also help in the rehabilitation process. For example, when plantar fasciitis becomes plantar fasciosis after four to six months (which is a chronic degeneration of the plantar fascia), deep heat therapy with ultrasound or moist heat packs can help increase range of motion of the area and increase the effectiveness of physical therapy. Heat actually temporarily increases inflammation in an area, but this is often helpful in kick starting the healing process. Heat can also be used to calm muscle spasms and relax a tight muscle.
Heat causes an increase in circulation to an area, so it should never be used in acute injuries or chronic injuries with a lot of swelling. It can actually make an injury worse if there is still a little internal bleeding going on. A great way to heat a joint or tendon is to use a reusable heating pack or an electric heating pad for about 20 minutes before stretching, massage or other therapy. Heating an old injury before exercise can also be helpful in warming up the area to ready it for increased activity.
The simple rule of thumb is that ice is used for acute, swollen injuries and heat is used for stiff, chronic injuries. This subject is debated continuously, but I hope this discussion clears up the mystery of ice versus heat!
This morning I spoke at the DFW Sports Medicine Symposium in Arlington, TX. What a great crowd! Over 300 physical therapists, athletic trainers and sports medicine physicians from all over Texas gathered to discuss advances in the medicine of sports.
I was watching ESPN this morning while I was eating my breakfast. Yes, this is my usual morning routine as a sports junkie! A story came on that I felt compelled to share with my readers. It highlighted a cause that is near and dear to my heart: Childhood obesity. So many of my adult patients are obese and if we curb this trend in our children, they are much more likely to be healthier adults. As a parent, I make sure my children are as active and healthy as they can be. Obese parents tend to have obese children. We need to break the cycle.
Here are the highlights of this story:
There's a childhood obesity crisis in the country, virtually any expert will tell you, and there is no shortage of reasons: increasingly sedentary lifestyles driven by video games, television and computers; a fast-food society in which soda machines and greasy cafeteria food are ubiquitous in kids' lives; and dwindling opportunities for exercise, particularly during the school day.
Put simply, at a time when every penny is being pinched by every school in every district in every county in every state, physical education is taking a beating. The experts and educators say there is no doubt that the erosion of P.E. has been a major contributor to the skyrocketing obesity rates.
And, of course, the more kids are unhealthy, the less they can exercise. This is their circle of life.
The National Association for Sport & Physical Education -- a non-profit organization made up of P.E. teachers, coaches, athletic directors and other professionals advocating for physical activity -- says students should receive 150 minutes of P.E. per week.
How many schools actually meet this standard….almost none!
For the entire article and video click here.
Take home message: we cannot rely on our schools to provide physical activity for our children. As parents, we need to turn off the TV, video games, and computers. Make our children go outside and play. Make healthy play a family tradition. On cold, rainy days teach your children stretching, yoga, or get small dumbbells and do a strength workout with them. Make it fun and most of all…share it with them! This will make family time a healthy time! Memories are made of this and your child will thank you when they are a healthy adult sharing the same kind of family time with their children!
This week a very good runner from Wichita Falls came in with an Achilles tendon problem. He gave a horrible story of a primary care physician who injected his Achilles bursae TWICE with cortisone. He was looking for better answers and was willing to drive almost 2 hours south to find them.
I was almost apoplectic! Injected his tendon or even around his tendon?! In my world, that’s almost borderline malpractice; but I can’t fault the physician, she obviously didn’t know any better and was trying to treat the patient. Bottom line: Go to a sports medicine physician. We would all tell you the same thing: injecting the Achilles tendon can lead to spontaneous rupture which would basically end his running days. Look at poor Dan Marino…a ruptured Achilles tendon ended his Hall of Fame career!
Let’s talk about Achilles tendon injuries. They are very common especially in runners with high arched feet or very flat feet. Both of these foot types put way too much torque on the tendon and will cause a wear and tear tendonitis that eventually becomes tendonosis without proper treatment.
Tendonitis results from overuse. Long-standing tendonitis becomes tendonosis (degeneration of the tendon) which is much harder to treat. This overuse can happen over a period of time or can happen over a weekend. Those of you who exercise regularly or are in training for an athletic event, as strong as the Achilles tendon is, this work horse could use a break every once in a while! With chronic, long term, sustained use, this tendon becomes strained. It also can become just as strained with whom we fondly refer to as the “weekend warriors”. You know who you are! You are the ones who think it perfectly o.k. to hike the Appalachian Trail or take the steep way down the Grand Canyon over a three day weekend because “it was there”! Marathon runners who decide they can run the Western States 100 without the proper training….you can't hide for long....I will find you....
The simplest form of treatment can involve rest, heel lifts, icing, inserts, night splints, custom orthotics and anti-inflammatories. More complex forms Achilles tendonitis can include immobilization through a boot or cast, physical therapy, and in the most resistant cases, surgery. Active release myofascial release is very helpful. Thank God for David Bloom at Restoration Physical Therapy and Dr. Darryl Laney at Laney Chiropractic in Keller! Most of my long-standing Achilles tendon injuries are successfully treated with aggressive PT and manipulation on top of orthotic control. The longer you have it, the worse it gets. Do not let it get that far. Tendonosis is a chronic degeneration that can lead to splitting of the tendon and long term disability!
Thinking of waiting to see if it works itself out or are trying to work through the pain? Let us help you reconsider. Chronic Achilles tendonitis (tendonosis) results in degeneration and breakdown within the tendon and this, in turn, can lead to a partial tear or full rupture. Now that will put you out for more than a couple months! If you are experiencing a nagging pain or swelling to the Achilles tendon or the back of the heel, call or contact the office to have it evaluated. It is that simple!
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