Those who know me from my clinic will know how passionate I am about getting our bodies aligned so that they can resist the strains and pressures of our active lives, keeping us feeling well and pain free. It is especially the case with women who have had children. I cannot count the number of women I see who have musculo-skeletal problems, pelvic floor dysfunction or pain that link back to how they hold their bodies. We dig a little deeper and they often trace right back to when they were pregnant. ‘Oh my body is just trashed since I had the baby’ is not an acceptable state. Either are Tena Lights for life – no ‘Oops’ moments please. Yes, your body goes through huge amounts of change during those 9 months but how many women have the time or inclination to get their real ‘pre baby’ body back? Focus is on weight loss, but focus needs to be wider than this. We need to get aligned again so we can stand tall and strong against gravity and all that life throws at us.
Not a day goes by in my clinic where I don’t see clients presenting with pain or injury which is caused by an imbalance in their body. Whether that be from sitting all day, repetitive daily activities or the demands of their sport. We work together to relieve the symptoms but with a longer term view to resolving the imbalance at the root cause. This is all well and good and generally with the right corrective exercise we can get them back to the best. Alas, there are a set of clients where the demands for their activity or sport will be one sided or imbalanced (think golfer, tennis player etc.) which means that as their activity level increases their problem will ultimately return.
Floppy ankles… I see them on an almost daily basis, calves so tight that as soon as my clients lay down on the treatment table their ankles flop forward as if preparing to dance for ‘The Royal Ballet’. For many reasons it appears that our calves have shortened up. Be it the high heels we wear, the amount we train or simply the time we spend on our feet, what is certain is that tight calves prevail.
So what have these floppy ankles got to do with sore and tender shins? Shin splints, for any of you have suffered from this painful condition, are caused by the muscles and tendons that attach to the shin bone (the Tibia) pulling on the bone and causing ache and sometimes acute pain. Its generally not the bone that is hurting but the tendons themselves from being overly tight and strained. This muscle that attaches to the front of the shin is the Tibialis Anterior which dorsi-flexes the ankle (pulls your toes towards your head) and also inverts the ankle. Treatment can focus on releasing the tension in this muscle, massage, stretching and the like to relieve the pressure and pulling on the shin bone. But have you been doing this yet not seeing any results?
After a thrilling day at Wimbledon on Friday, my own little tennis ‘victory’ and some pretty tender ribs for the last week, I have been inspired to think about why my ribs hurt, why we ‘Grunt’ under pressure and how we can get more power in our tennis shots.
I myself can be guilty of the ‘Grunt’. It comes at two stages for me. Firstly when I am completely overstretched for a shot, the ‘Grunt’ makes an appearance – the result of me digging deep to get the power to return the ball with at least some pace when in this weak, lengthened position. Secondly, it seems to appear on even the tamest of shots when I am in the third set and feeling weary. So it’s clear that for me at least the ‘Grunt’ helps me to find power where there is none. So why do so many women tennis professionals grunt on almost every shot? Am I missing a trick?
Feet. Something I avoided for years given a propensity to tickley feet myself and just simply blocking them from my mind. It’s over the last 12-18 months that I have become OBSESSSED with feet. They tell us so
much about the story of someone’s body and can act as great guide do identifying dysfunction in our clients. What I want to give you today is an idea of what the foot could be telling you at the most basic level to give you an insight into why you need to look whole body, when you are suffering pain or dysfunction in just one area. First time I see a client I like to do a ‘Toe to Top’ visual assessment. What can I see just by looking at how my client stands or walks. Is the arch overly high? Are the feet flat? If so what does that tell me? Well it may not tell me anything definitively but it certainly gives me clues as to what to check next. Continue reading Following the Foot Trail: Look Local, Think Global
This is a thoughtful article on the issue and might be a useful explanation for you: