Monthly Archives: November 2013
The human foot is a complex and dynamic structure and the proper function of the foot is crucial for optimal health of the entire body. The foot has 26 bones and 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. To say that there is a lot going on down there is an understatement. Additionally we rely on the foot to be a shock absorber, and also our platform of stability for the other joints in the body above. So why do many of us ignore the strength and health of our feet when we need them so much?
Many injuries that I encounter, athletic or otherwise are caused or affected by improper foot function. Two common examples are improper mobility in joints of the mid foot or great toe, and weakness in the muscles and plantar tissues (the arch).
When the joints of the mid foot or the first toe are restricted, it causes either excessive supination or pronation (rolling inward or outward of the foot) and this leads to many other injuries as well as aches and pains. Injuries like bunions, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, Illiotibial band syndrome, patellar tendinitis, hip and low back pain can all begin with improper foot and ankle function.
Having weak feet is something that many of us should be concerned with. Especially this time of year as the weather cools and we spend less time in sandals, barefoot, and light shoes the feet become less active. When the muscles in the feet are dysfunctional or weak the spring-like effect of the plantar fascia is lost. It is also harder to “work through” the foot, rolling from heel to toe and springing off. This reduction in roll through can also impact how the glute and posterior chain function, and our stride becomes less efficient.
Foot strength and mobility can be easily developed through specific soft tissue treatment protocols and chiropractic adjustments of the joints. The other components are numerous rehabilitation exercises. For example, towel curls, balance and proprioceptive drills, stretches and simply spending time walking barefoot, especially in grass and sand are a few of the effective techniques that we use.
Why Cold Water Therapy? Ice baths and cold water therapy are proving to be a neccessary part of serious athletic training and rehab programs.
Faster Exercise Recovery: Recovery is an important aspect of any intense sport or physical conditioning program. However, many athletes train extremely hard without giving their body time to recover properly, which can lead to burnout and poor performances. Shortening recovery time results in a competitive advantage.
The ability of the body to clear or remove lactic acid (aka Lactate or H+) from the tissues is one of the limiting factors in exercise recovery. Cold therapy speeds this process up by causing superficial blood vessels to constrict, effectively “squeezing” these metabolites out of the muscles and tissues into the deeper blood vessels where they are diluted and neutralized by the body.
The reduction of swelling (aka inflammation or oedema) caused by intense exercise is also a limiting factor in recovery time. Swelling is controlled by the lymphatic system rather than the circulatory system and relies on mechanical forces such as gravity and external pressure to move its contents. The buoyant water pressure and massage delivered by the coldtub provide these external forces, speeding up recovery time.
Reducing sympathetic nervous system activity is another important factor in exercise recovery. Intense exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to increase adrenaline production, which if left unchecked can cause the athlete to ignore the signs of fatigue, causing them to burn out or get injured. Put simply, cold therapy dampens the adrenaline rush so the athlete feels like taking a needed break from activity.
Cold Water Pain relief and Injury Treatment:Intensive exercise causes Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which peaks between 24 and 72 hours after the event. Cold water therapy reduces DOMS pain by reducing the muscle inflammation and spasm that cause it. The principle is the same for treatment of acute injuries.
Cold therapy is used in both cases with proven benefits because the cause in both cases is tissue damage. Small micro-tears in muscle causes DOMS and large-scale tissue damage causes acute injuries. In fact, cold therapy delivered by a Coldtub is also an excellent treatment for acute injuries, even better than an ice pack or cold compress in many ways.
Faster Injury Recovery: Using a cold tub or ice bath reduces injury recovery time. Cold therapy is already used to treat acute sport injuries. More training – Less Downtime – More Playing – More Winning!