The plantar fascia does lots of useful stuff. Know that the plantar fascia is strong and capable. When you have heel pain, structuring your load is key. Smartly increasing your load and activity is the way to get back to your prime.
A regular strength routine helps build more robust movement systems. It creates changes throughout your body, including: improved nervous system functioning and muscle/tendon biology. This means that you can adapt better to variations in load, which might be more hill running, increasing kilometres or adding speed work. This all helps to improve your running efficiency and performance.
In the climate of complicated options and strong opinions, the answer may lie in simplicity. Find footwear that fits and is comfortable. Then be confident in your decision. Spend your energy on strategies that are more likely to yield the result you want. More on this later.
I am thrilled to announce that I will be participating in Pain Revolution, a ride from Melbourne to Adelaide this April where a group of researchers and clinicians are journeying through country towns by bike, promoting better outcomes for people with long-term pain.
While studying physiotherapy I made some money selling coffee. Coffee offered a unique opportunity to explore the world through others’ world-views and experiences. I really enjoyed how coffee could accelerate the transfer of information, and make big ideas seem simple.
Climbing builds exceptional strength through the arms and fingers.
If you increase your climbing load (actual climbing or training) your finger muscles will adapt. They will become stronger and more suited to climbing. You will find yourself moving more easily. As you become stronger your climbing muscles may become tighter.
There’s a little trick we sometimes play that is quite weak. We introduce it by saying that your brain cannot possibly pay attention to all of the sensory information coming at it, and we may use the metaphor of a cocktail party. At a cocktail party there are lots of voices, but hopefully you are focused on the one voice of the person you are speaking to. You inhibit (i.e. don’t listen to) the many voices, and clearly hear the one.
There is really strong evidence that perceivedthreat can turn-up the pain system.
People with long-term pain have all sorts of threat associated with their injury. Pain itself can be threatening – it can interfere with work, sport, family life, and hobbies. Movement can be threatening because it sometimes makes pain worse. Of course movement can make pain better too.
Running is freedom. I can run anywhere. I feel light and loose when I run. Time slows down and my mind feels clear. Running on a frosty night under a full moon with steaming warm skin makes a fond memory of New Zealand. It is rhythmic, almost hypnotic. Running is something just for me. Or shared with a friend. With a smart approach, it can be perpetual, non-stop for horizon after horizon.
Foot strike in running is talked about a lot. Whether a person first hits the ground with their heel, mid-foot or forefoot. Lesser consideration is given to the rotation of the leg and how this influences the position of the foot on the ground. In other words, does the foot face straight ahead, toes turned in or toes turned out?
The standing desk was a particularly smart idea. Better health, and better productivity. Win-win.
Sitting is a public health concern. Research clearly shows that regular sitting increases your risk of chronic disease with a similar magnitude to cigarette smoking. Daily exercise is likely to offset this, but many people fall short of daily exercise quotas.
If you have read the previous posts in this series you will have an appreciation for the complexity of pain. It is not a simple cause and effect, 'stub-your-toe-and-it-hurts' phenomenon. Instead, pain is an intricate protective mechanism. It is generated by your brain to look after you, and will protect you from real or perceived danger. And because of this, pain can exist with or without tissue injury. This is really significant. Just because it hurts, doesn't mean there is injury. Injury is not required or sufficient to cause pain.
Pain is an elaborate protective mechanism. It captures attention, and changes behaviour. And of course, it hurts.
Here is the current, accepted definition of pain. 'An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage (IASP 1994)'. It's a mouthful. But it makes clear that pain can occur with or without tissue damage, i.e. actual or perceived tissue damage.
Pain is the most common reason for people to visit us. And although pain can influence movement and function, people are generally most interested in resolving their pain. The common thought is, 'when my pain goes away I will move better'.
An alternative view is, 'when I move better my pain will go away'.