Monthly Archive: August 2023

Podiatry With Pilates for Approach to Foot Health and Core Strength

Foot health is often overlooked despite it being a window into your body. Discrepancies in the feet are often the cause of imbalances throughout the body.

HCPC registered podiatrist with extensive experience in both NHS and private practice specialising in musculoskeletal, nail surgery and high risk podiatry.

1. Foot Stability

The feet are dynamic structures made up of lots of bones – 26 to be precise -and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. They need to be flexible in order to adapt to the different surfaces we walk on, as well as being strong and stable in order to support our bodies weight. The foot has a number of intrinsic muscles that are designed to stabilise the arch but these can become deconditioned over time leading to abnormal foot movement patterns and in some cases pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

Pilates is a great exercise to help improve foot stability. Since it is performed barefoot, the feet are stimulated and the subtle muscles that support the arches are strengthened. Joseph Pilates recognised this value and included many exercises involving the feet on his original repertoire of apparatus. He also created two specific pieces of equipment – the Foot Corrector and Toe Tens meter – to tone and strengthen the feet.

If you are not able to attend pilates Balwyn North classes, there are plenty of things you can do at home. Start by spending a few minutes a day rolling out your feet on a mat or carpet with a Yoga Tune-Up ball, tennis ball or Franklin Method ball. Try sliding your fingers between the toes and fanning them out. Adding this to your daily routine can improve foot strength, balance and flexibility.

2. Core Strength

A strong core is the foundation of whole body health. It affects stability, balance and posture and allows us to perform activities like bending over or twisting. Having adequate core strength can make the difference between feeling discomfort, stiffness or restriction in daily tasks and being able to do them easily without thinking about it.

Joseph Pilates created his method of exercise as a means to strengthen his frail and sickly body. He self-educated in anatomy, boxing, yoga, and martial arts before serving as a nurse-physiotherapist for nonambulatory patients during World War I. He took bed springs and rigged them to hospital beds, creating resistance-type equipment for rehabilitation. He later designed two pieces of apparatus that are the benchmarks of every Pilates studio today, the reformer and the trapeze table (or Cadillac).

Each of the exercises in the Pilates system is initiated with stabilization of the torso to prevent asymmetrical movement patterns. Each movement pattern involves the coordination of multiple muscles requiring active recruitment and proper alignment. This method of muscle conditioning promotes a concept called regional interdependency in which weaker muscles are facilitated by the stronger ones in a given movement pattern.

Podiatry Balwyn North use the principals of Pilates to help patients develop stronger core muscles that can take pressure off the feet and ankles. This is particularly important in a case where foot and ankle problems are caused by structural issues or poor posture that lead to stressors and excessive loading in certain areas of the feet causing painful calluses or cracking/warping of the feet.

3. Postural Strength

Muscle Joint Bone use Pilates principals in their assessment of foot and lower limb problems to ensure that the feet, core, legs and pelvis are all working together as efficiently as possible. This is to prevent imbalances and overload in particular areas that may cause pain or discomfort elsewhere in the body. For example, a poor posture or muscle imbalance can predispose the feet to develop calluses and corns through excessive friction or overload in certain positions. This often results in compensatory movement patterns or guarding in other areas of the body such as the neck and shoulders that can contribute to headaches.

This is why Clinical Pilates is so important – it strengthens the core, pelvic floor and back muscles that can help to improve posture in the long term. This also helps to reduce neck and shoulder pain.

One study showed that a Pilates training program increases thoracic spine mobility, stretches tight muscles and improves balance in older adults. The results of the m-CTSIB (a balance test performed on an uneven surface with eyes closed) indicated that the experimental group achieved significantly better values than the control group after three months of Pilates training.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet parallel and hip-width apart. Inhale to lift one leg into table top position. Hold for five counts and then exhale to return the leg to the mat.

4. Mobility

Having strong muscles that move the feet and ankles through their full range of movement is essential for preventing foot and lower limb injuries. The Pilates method creates a repertoire of over 500 exercises to improve flexibility, alignment and core strength while working the body as unified system. Adding a little extra challenge with equipment such as the Trapeze table, Grasping the Ball, Sternum Drops and more helps to build muscle endurance and improve dynamic balance while keeping the joints in their correct alignment.

Musculoskeletal podiatry includes the non-surgical diagnosis and treatment of muscle, tendon, ligament and bone disorders of the foot and ankle using physical therapy protocols/modalities and prescription foot orthoses. Podiatrists also have a significant role to play in prevention of injury, deformity, pain and dysfunction of the feet by promoting healthy foot habits, footwear advice and exercise.

When a health condition like diabetes or arthritis causes damage to your feet or ankles, you need the right support to get back on your feet as quickly and safely as possible. OU Health podiatrists work with a multidisciplinary team including limb preservation specialists to ensure you get the right care for your specific health issue and optimal recovery. Whether it’s a sprained ankle or a complex foot reconstruction, our specialists will help you recover and get back to your normal life activities.

Effective Physiotherapy Techniques and Exercises for Pain Management and Injury Recovery

A physiotherapy clinic offers a variety of services to help patients manage pain and injuries. The physical therapists in these facilities use techniques such as manual therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation to help patients reduce pain, improve flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance.

They can also teach patients healthy lifestyle habits to prevent the pain from returning.

1. Roll Your Spine

Performing foam rolling exercises is an excellent way to alleviate lower back pain. This technique involves lying on the floor and placing a roller across your upper back, just below your shoulder blades. Use the roller to massage the paraspinal muscles and traps, which help with posture and movement. It’s also important to pair the foam rolling with deep breathing. This will help the muscles relax and reduce tension, says Umberger.

Physiotherapy (also known as physical therapy) is a medical profession that promotes, maintains, and restores health and well-being through examination, diagnosis, management, and physical intervention. It takes a ‘whole person’ approach, which includes patient education, manual therapy, and lifestyle advice. Physiotherapists are professionally trained and regulated healthcare practitioners who specialise in the musculoskeletal system.

The benefits of physiotherapy include pain relief, mobility, and improved quality of life. The treatment is also effective in the prevention of injury, illness, and disability. Physiotherapy is available on the NHS and privately, with many physiotherapists accepting self-referrals.

Physiotherapy clinic in Canberra uses a wide range of techniques, including soft tissue massage, stretching to relieve tension, joint mobilization, electrotherapy, and corrective exercise. A physiotherapist will first evaluate your condition to determine what is causing you pain and create a personalized plan of treatment for your specific needs.

2. Leg Lifts

Despite not looking like the most sexy or intimidating exercise, leg lifts are one of the gym’s “uncut gems.” They can be modified to suit your level of fitness, and they help you build a stronger core. They can also help alleviate lower back pain and improve posture.

When done correctly, the leg lift is a great core exercise that targets all of your abdominal muscles. It also hits your hip flexors and back muscles, which are important for spinal stability. The leg lift also works your inner thighs, which are considered part of the core in Pilates. Having strong core muscles is directly linked to better balance and posture. The leg lift is an excellent choice for people with back issues because it is low-impact and can be easily modified to accommodate any mobility restrictions.

Unlike crunches, leg lifts engage the entire core to improve spinal stability and decrease muscle imbalances. They also target the deep and internal back muscles, including the multifidus and erector spinae. These muscles work together to increase spine strength and prevent back injury by strengthening the core and stabilizing the hips.

When performing the leg lift, it’s essential to make sure your abs are tight. This will help to pull in the belly button and prevent the sagging of the lower back that can lead to discomfort. It is also important to engage the glutes when performing the leg lift. This is the best way to ensure that you are activating your muscles properly and not causing any additional stress on the back. Adding resistance to the leg lift with an ankle weight or a resistance band will increase the challenge for the core muscles.

3. Squats

Squats are a fundamental strength training exercise that can help alleviate lower back pain. This exercise targets a large group of muscles, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. It can also strengthen the core. Incorporating squats into your workout routine can also improve your balance and posture. However, it’s important to learn how to perform squats correctly so that you don’t cause injury.

The goal of squats is to get your knees as close to parallel to the ground as possible while keeping your heels stacked over your toes. Many people do not squat properly and end up pushing their knees further out than they should, causing spinal compression. The other major mistake that leads to low back pain is rounding of the spine while squatting. This causes the rib cage to move forward of the pelvis and puts stress on the lumbar discs, which can contribute to back pain.

Adding squats to your regular exercise routine can improve bone density, which reduces your risk of osteoporosis later in life. But, before you start squatting regularly, talk to your health professional about what’s best for your body.

You may need to modify your squat movements and progression depending on your current fitness level, the type of squats you’re doing, and other factors, says Ambler-Wright. If you have a knee or hip injury, you may need to stand wider or lower your squat to prevent joint discomfort or injury. Women who are pregnant should also consult their doctor about whether squats are safe to do.

Adding squats to your workout routine can also increase your metabolism and burn more calories. This is because squats work multiple muscle groups at once and stimulate the production of anabolic hormones, which help you lose weight and build muscle.

4. Planks

The plank is a core exercise that helps strengthen your whole body from head to toe. This type of isometric exercise (where the muscles are contracted in one position for a long period of time) has been shown to improve core strength, balance, posture and muscular endurance. It can also help reduce lower back pain and increase athletic performance (6,7).

Unfortunately, many people do not perform the plank correctly. This not only negates the core-strengthening benefits of the exercise, but it can cause low back pain. Some common reasons for poor plank form include:

1. Your shoulders are too high (pike plank): You want to try to get into a neutral spine position, with your shoulders stacked directly over your hips. You do this by protracting the shoulder blades. This allows for a more efficient contraction of the abdominal muscle, taking some of the load off the lumbar spine and reducing stress in the front of the body (2).

2. Your hips are too low (sag plank): You want to try and keep the pelvis in a more neutral position during your plank, with the hips about 1 to 2 inches below the shoulders. This ensures that you engage and strengthen the correct muscles, which helps alleviate low back pain by helping to take some of the load off the lumbar spinal discs (3).

In summary, the plank is a great exercise that can greatly reduce lower back pain when performed correctly. It is well worth doing every day to help improve your posture, reduce your back pain and prevent future injuries! The most important thing is to remember that the plank can only be as effective as you make it.

5. Leg Raises

Leg raises are a great exercise for the lower abdominal muscles. The exercise can also work your hip flexor muscles and hamstrings. It is a bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere. It is a cornerstone exercise for patients that need to build up their core strength before they are able to place full weight on a joint or limb. Over my 34 years as a Physical Therapist (PT), I have prescribed this exercise to many patients that have injured their shoulder, knee, ankle and lower back.

The exercise puts a lot of pressure on the spine, especially when performing a double leg lift. This is due to the fact that when you raise your legs, you are essentially pulling yourself into a flexed position with your back. This is the same as when you are bending at the waist and pushing your pelvis up into an anterior pelvic tilt. Unless you are using cushioned mats, this will cause your spine to grind into the floor.

In addition to putting stress on the spine, the lumbar spinal nerves are compressed when you raise your legs. This can cause a feeling of pain in the low back, which is known as sciatica.

To alleviate this pain, you can try performing single leg raises at first, and then gradually progress to doing double leg raises. To make the exercise even harder, you can add weight by gripping a medicine ball between your feet during the movement. If you do this, be sure to perform a few sets and start off slow, until you build up your core strength. Alternatively, you can do a variation of the leg lift by bringing your feet closer to your body, which takes less force through your core.