If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves this blog post is for you.
The assumption to make when you have tight calves is to stretch the calves. However, to gain length in your calves it is often helpful to train the muscles at the front of your lower leg. This is because they are often weak in people who have chronically tight calves. This is because stretching causes a mechanical change in the muscles whereas strengthening causes a change in the way your body perceives length.
What are the problems if you have poor ankle mobility?
Common for people to roll off the outside of their foot when walking.
Big toe bunions can form
If your ankles are tight when walking your calf is used more, therefore becomes tighter.
Your body mass is more forwards when walking
Collapsing of your foot arch
So when you are at home instead of forcing your knee over your ankle to create mobility in your ankle, try to strengthen the front of your lower leg which will allow you to access more range of motion for the long term. This will be more long term because you won’t be relying on an external input but instead you will cause internal changes that should make more significant differences in muscle function.
How to do this?
Try this exercise called the moonwalk.
Come back onto your toes
As you lower your toes, bring your knee over the front of your toes
As you bring the knee forwards, lift up your toes
If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves and would like us to assess and treat you, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Elbow injuries are a common injury in desk workers and athletes. In people who lift weights they are one of the most common injuries to have.
Although the elbow may appear to be a simple hinge joint that simply has two movements (bending or straightening the elbow), the reality is far from it. The elbow is a more complicated joint than it seems because the movement occurs between three bones and surrounding this are 16 small muscles. These help to not only straighten and bend your elbow but also rotate it as your palm is either up or down.
Although many elbow issues are due to overuse of the muscles causing a repetitive strain injury, it is common for people to cause an injury to one of the several nerves in the arm. This can cause tingling, numbness, a burning sensation and possible weakness in the hand.
A type of exercise that is used to help nerve pain is nerve gliding. This aims to either stretch the nerve or glide the nerve.
Gliding techniques will stretch the nerve and have the aim of increasing the tension and pressure through the nerve. This sometimes makes symptoms worse in people.
Sliding techniques will move the nerve with a lot less tension and pressure and therefore don’t increase symptoms.
The goal is to use these techniques to increase blood circulation, reduce the swelling that is around the nerve and get the nerve back to its natural movement. This will decrease symptoms once these areas are restored.
Make sure you only do a few sliders at a time because overstressing the nerve even with a less aggressive technique will potentially increase your symptoms. It is not always the case that a little bit of something is good so let’s do lots of it in a more is better approach. So do this little and often throughout the day rather than all at once.
If you suffer from any elbow issues or capal tunnel then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Your mid-back as a structure overall is built to be stiff and stable. This is because attaching to it are your ribs which are crucial for protecting your organs that are underneath it.
But a lot of people are in poor postures during the day and therefore have a rounded upper back. If the upper back is stiff then you will be unable to extend your back fully. Not being able to extend your upper back fully has knock-on implications for your neck, lower back and especially your shoulders. So, when trying to fix these issues it is important to not just look at the site of pain but try to fix the mobility in your upper back.
If a fire starts in your house and you running to the smoke alarm and taking out the batteries is similar to just focusing on the site of pain when you get an injury. Without looking at your upper back mobility you can miss the true cause of your problem and therefore not recover efficiently or perform optimally at a chosen sport. This is especially true for gym-goers and throwing athletes.
It is very common for people not to have enough mobility in the upper back and almost no one has enough. We recommend doing mobility work for this area every day.
How to help?
The cat camel is a great exercise to get movement back through your back. This is done by being on all 4’s. Then start by arching your back while taking a deep breath in. Then start to arch your back take a breathe out and tuck your rib cage down at the end of the movement. Then repeat. Aim for 15-20 slow repetitions.
The sphynx variation of the cat camel is great for really targeting your upper back, it is easy to hinge and get motion through the mid-back with just the cat camel so doing this variation might help you target your upper back better. Again start by arching your back and couple the movement with your breathing as this will help expand the rib cage (if your rib cage is not moving well, your upper back is not moving well) and make sure you’re doing the movement slow enough. Aim for 15-20 slow repetitions.
If you suffer from any shoulder issues or want to get more back mobility then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Chances are you know someone with a hamstring injury or have had one yourself. If you have had a hamstring injury you will know first hand they can be very difficult to get rid of. Also, you are faced with the problem that if you have a hamstring strain you have a very high chance of re-injuring the hamstring again.
But what are hamstring tears?
Class I: There are only a few muscle or tendon fibers are torn. You will usually have pain during or after activity which would be worse when sprinting. There may be a small amount of swelling and discomfort. Usually associated with minimal strength loss. You will likely be able to walk directly after the injury.
Class II: A partial tear of the fibers. You will usually have pain during activity which stops activity. There will be a significant loss of strength and a significant amount of pain. You will likely have some pain when walking.
Class III: This is when there is extensive tears to the muscle, you will usually have felt pain immediately and may have fallen to the ground. Your range of movement at 24 hours is usually significantly reduced with pain on walking. There is usually weakness in contraction.
Class IV: A complete rupture of the muscle/tendon. This will be associated with a huge loss of muscle function, often an inability to walk due to pain and massive bruising on the back of the thigh. This class can often be less painful than class III.
How to help
If you have suffered a low-grade strain of your hamstring, here are some explanations of exercises that you might find useful. If you have sustained what you think may be a grade 2 or above injury, it is recommended that you go see a medical practitioner for some hands on help and to effectively rehab the muscle.
A good exercise to start for a low grade hamstring strain is a bridge. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. Drive your heels into the ground and imagine you’re about to get punched in the stomach (this will make sure your core is braced). Then drive your hips upwards and squeeze your butt muscles. You should then hold this postition for 5 seconds and then lower yourself to the starting position. If this is painful then STOP, you don’t want to over strain the tissues that are healing. 2-3 sets of 15 reps.
Also it is important to work on your balance. To do this, stand on one leg, then do a small hip hinge and attempt to hold this position for 10-20 seconds. Start with your eyes open and then once you are comfortable with this you can try doing it with your eyes shut which will make it much more challenging. Also, try to do this exercise barefoot. 2 sets of 5 holds.
If would suffer from recurrent hamstring issues, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Tight hip flexors are a common issue we see in clinic.
With tight hips people commonly look for one of two reasons to why they are tight:
– Is it tight because it’s short and so we should stretch it?
– Is it tight because it’s weak so we should strengthen it?
This brings us to an important point.
The psoas muscle plays a role in hip flexion but hip flexors shouldn’t purely be judged off the muscles action but should be judged from the function of the muscle, which for the Psoas is stability of the lumbar spine.
The psoas has a broad origin that is from all the segments of your lumbar spine.
Your lumbar spine has no structural stability unlike for example its neighbour, the thoracic spine. So the lumbar spine relies on muscles to stabilise it.
What can we learn from this?
Rather than attempting to fix your tight psoas by really pushing the muscle into a stretched position or by just directly strengthening it, a different line of attack can be taken by focusing your time on stabilising the lumbar spine and your core muscles.
To really increase the effectiveness when you try to stabilise your lumbar spine and core is focus on resisting force through all three planes of motion for the lumbar spine. These are flexion/extension, lateral flexion and rotation.
To do this you can integrate the Mcgill big three into your workout or daily routines.
Attached below are 3 key exercises to target all three planes of motion for core exercises.
If you suffer from tight hips and would like a full functional assessment and us to take give you tailored advice, feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.