Active Care Rehab

To Barefoot Run or Not

barefoot 1Barefoot running has become popular and does have advantages. But does this mean that you should ditch your shoes and hit the pavement with no protection. To answer these we must look at the pros and cons of barefoot running.

Barefoot running, unlike exercising in shoes, allows your foot muscles to do their jobs. Your intrinsic or deep foot muscles are supposed to help stabilize the foot while allowing them to form to the terrain around you. These muscles are traditionally weak or overused due to today’s footwear. High heels or raised heels can shorten the foot causing the foot muscles to tighten along with the joints. Wearing the wrong shoe, motion control or minimalist when not needed, can weaken the foot muscles.

Barefoot running encourages forefoot striking instead of heel striking. Forefoot striking is a more natural running form and is more efficient, so less energy is used. Any runner, beginning or advanced, understands that running efficiently is very important. Although, forefoot striking is natural, those accustomed to heel striking or rearfoot running experience an increase in Achilles tendon injuries when running barefoot.

Barefoot running leaves your feet open to the terrain. This exposes the runner to higher risk of puncture wounds, infection and other potential injuries. Having a clean field, trail, track or sidewalk is not an easy thing to find. Most running tails contain rocks and other dangerous obstacles that can cause serious injury to an unprotected foot.

Barefoot running depletes the fat pads located in the heels. Studies have shown that running barefoot or in minimalist shoes causes the depletion of the protective fat pads located in the heels. This syndrome is also common in the over weight individual. Decreasing the fat pad can cause irritation to the heel bone and nerves causing pain and symptoms mimicking plantar fasciitis. Heel cups like, Tuli’s Classic Gel Heel Cups, Regular (Under 175lbs), can help if this issue develops.

Barefoot running can be beneficial if done correctly and your foot is prepared. I advise my athletes to start by walking around the house barefoot or in a minimalist shoe and than start walking in a safe area outside. While in the beginning phases of walking barefoot, rehabbing the foot muscle should be a priority. Click here for exercises. Strengthening insoles can  be helpful as well. After walking and rehab, one can transition to light running and work up to 3 miles in barefoot or minimalist.

Yours in health,

Dr. Justin Hildebrand

Active Care Rehab

Active Release and Soft Tissue Injuries

Active Release and Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissues occur in all active individuals. According to Running Times, Active Release is better way to treat these injuries. Whether is plantar fasciitis or muscle tension headaches myofascial release such as Active Release techniques can help solve the issue.  Check out my article on Active Release here.

Active Care Rehab

Lower Cross Syndrome and Anterior Hip

LCSLower cross syndrome is named for the crossing tightness and weakness that occurs in the lower back, core, and hip muscles.  In LCS, tightness of the low back muscles crosses with tightness of the iliopsoas (hip flexors) and rectus femoris (main quad muscle). Weakness of the deep abdominal muscles crosses with weakness of the gluteus maximus and medius.

This pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction, particularly in the lumbar spine, pelvis, hips, and knees. Specific postural changes seen in LCS include anterior pelvic tilt, increased lumbar curve, and knee straightening. Stress is increased on the low back and hips due to tight muscles and can cause pain in the low back when running, walking, and standing for long periods of time.

LCS is common in females, individuals that sit for most of the day and individuals that perform repetitive activities such as running and jumping. Many common injuries that plaques the active person can stem from LCS. Treatments for lower cross syndrome consist of postural training, Active Release/Graston on overactive muscles, and rehab exercises for underactive muscles. Additional home treatments for Lower Cross are foam rolling the quad and anterior hip muscles, Nature Made High Potency Magnesium 400 mg – 150 Liquid Softgels
for overactive and sore muscles, and anti-inflammatory nutrition for proper healing. Anti-inflammtory book.

Foam Roll

In Lower Cross Syndrome the anterior hip is chronically tight and lacks motion due to muscle overactivity and posture. If one can not move through the anterior hip, the low back has to become hypermobile or have too much motion. This can lead to low back pain and inhibition or weak core muscles.

The anterior hip consists of the large muscle of the quadriceps, Rectus Femoris, and the large hip flexor, Psoas. When these muscles become chronicalant hiply tight, the anterior hip capsule or ligaments begin to shorten. Now the hip can not translate or move through its proper range of motion and the gluts are put into a weakened, elongated state. The lumbar spine compensates by increasing its curve which causes the core muscles to weaken and shut off.

This process leads to overuse of the low back and pain, glut and core weakness, and hip impingements. If you have hip or low back pain, and/or Lower Cross Syndrome the click here to see this weeks exercises.

Yours in health

Dr. Justin Hildebrand