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Fitness

Health + Wellness

Do your feet need some support?

The AMAZING weather this past weekend had everyone out in their summer apparel –  shorts, tees and the quintessential summer footwear – flip flops!

Despite their cute styles, colours and easy-breezy appeal, flip flop wear for extended periods of time can cause a range of physical ailments from plantar fasciitis and muscle soreness to lower back and knee pain.

The popularity of these no-fuss flats had me thinking of the importance of proper footwear and specifically, orthotic inserts.

Now, I know they sound like something your grandparents wear in their loafers  but custom orthotic inserts are becoming a popular first line therapy for many injuries and conditions.

If you think of your feet as the foundation for your whole body, similar to the foundation of a house, our feet support the weight of everything above them.  If the foundation is cracked or unstable in any way this could affect the structure all the way up!

The primary goal of an orthotic is to help reduce unnecessary stresses and strains in your feet, lower limbs and lower back by re-aligning your lower extremity.

Custom orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes – they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. By improving this alignment, the body is able to function more efficiently with less stress on the muscles and ligaments that hold the rest of you together.

A foot orthotic may be effective in helping to actually treat a number of lower limb dysfunctions. In fact, research shows that orthotics can treat and actually prevent mechanically induced foot problems leading to common injuries like knee pain, shin splints, and pain along the bottom of the foot.

Sound familiar?

Many people experience this pain but don’t really know what to do about it!

Custom foot orthotics can also help with pain and complications related to health conditions such as diabetes or arthritis.

Plus, orthotics can help with these very common complaints:

  • Plantar fasciitis (pain in the sole of the foot)
  • Knee Pain
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Bunions and Neuromas
  • Achilles tendonopathy
  • Shin splints
  • Iliotibial pain syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Sacroilliac (SI) Joint pain

Although orthotics are a great option for many people and help improve biomechanics of various injuries and complaints, they may not be ideal for everyone!

Talk to your chiropractor or other health care provider to discuss if they are a right fit for you!

Women experience foot problems 4 times more often than men

Health + Wellness

What’s all the fuss about Fascia?

Recently the term “fascia” has been highly publicized and used by many injury specialists and health practitioners. What is fascia? Is it a new structure in the body that has recently been discovered? What’s all the fuss really about?

Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that wraps itself around every muscle, joint and organ in the body. Think of it as a type of plastic or saran wrap for the structures underneath your skin. If you’ve skinned chicken breasts or trimmed meat, you’ve seen it – the whitish thin sheets of tissue between the skin and muscle of the meat. Although fascia is thin, it’s super strong and is responsible for the shape of our body. Often fascia can create tight knots or adhesions which can harden and thicken causing pain and limiting full range of motion. For example, a stiff and painful shoulder can be caused by thickened fascia round the shoulder muscles rather than damage to the shoulder muscle or joint itself.

Although the term fascia has been kicking around the rehabilitation and injury world for a very long time, it is now becoming recognized as an integral component to maintaining a fit, healthy and aligned body. In the last few years the importance of the entire fascial webbing system in the body has been in the spotlight. Something like a spider’s web, the fascial web is an interconnected system in which tension in one part of the body creates distortion for the whole web.

Many practitioners in the health and wellness community including myself, use “myofascial or fascial release” as a form of treatment to eliminate fascial adhesions or “knots” and re-align and rebalance the body.

Although a fascial release session is invaluable to help restore biomechanics and help the body function and move optimally, I often suggest that patients continue this work at home with one simple tool – a foam roller. This rather inexpensive piece of fitness equipment is all that is standing between you and a fascia happy body.

Here’s a great foam rolling infographic with some key exercises to get you started.

Happy Rolling!

How to Foamroll Infographic

Infographic found on greatist.com

Health + Wellness

New Season – New you! Spring into Activity!

It’s the first week of March!  And as I sit nestled on my stool at our kitchen counter with the sunshine pouring in (yay!), I can’t help but get excited about my new fitness goals for this season!

After pretty much hibernating this winter, spring brings more chances to get outdoors and ram up physical activity.  The trick is to ease back into a more active lifestyle – and not overdo it!

Here are some tips to get your body conditioned to more active lifestyle:

  • Stretch: Stretching before and after physical activity helps keep you in action longer. Perhaps even try a dynamic stretch before a run or sports such as soccer and a static stretch after
  • Hydrate: Staying hydrated before, during and even after physical activity helps the body pump more blood to muscles keeping them work efficiently and without injury
  • Sleep: It can be difficult to adjust to the longer days and summer hours in the spring, especially with abrupt daylight savings adjustments.  Sleep deprivation and insomnia often cause injuries and other health problems since a tired body is a weakened body.
  • Eat Well: Adding more activity means a busier schedule!  Don’t forget your fruits and veggies.  The spring season means those heavy comfy meals during winter aren’t needed.  But that doesn’t mean you need less calories!  Be sure to feed your body the good nutrients it needs to sustain your busy lifestyle.

Above all, be sure to set some goals and carve out some time to achieve them this season!  Happy Spring!