Friday, August 15, 2014

Compression Band for Plantar Fasciitis, Ankle Sprains and Knee Pain

At the request from multiple people, this post is focused on how to use a compression band (voodoo band) for the lower extremity. The feedback I receive after being wrapped is the treatment area feels lighter, more mobile and less achy. This is does not fix an injury but a way to manage your symptoms.
On the left is a home-made compression band from a bike tube.
On the right, is the compression band aka. voodoo band

How the compression band works

The band works by providing a compression onto the connective tissue. Imagine our connective tissue as a kitchen sponge. When it is being used, the sponge soaks up dirt and grime. When the sponge is compressed the dirty fluid is squeezed out and upon release fresh water is absorbed. By pushing stagnant fluid out and allowing fresh fluid to enter, our soft tissue is lubricated and mobility is restored! Drink Water!

How to use the compression band

Stretch the band about 50-75% and cover half of the prior band. I recommend performing stepping motions in all 3 planes of motion to maximally compress the different aspects of the connective tissue. The band stays on for no more then 2 minutes maximum!
DO NOT use the band if you have peripheral vascular disease, peripheral neuropathy or being treated for cancer. Take the compression band off if the tissue becomes gray, have numbness and tingling or have sudden claustrophobia

The band can be purchased online or you can cut a bike tube in half and split down the middle for a flat band. Note: A bike tube is much shorter then the 7-foot band and you'll smell like rubber.

I will demonstrate on to use the band for the lower extremity - foot, ankle and knee. 
The band can help reduce symptoms associated with plantar fascia, ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis and general knee pain. 

Plantar Fasciitis 

Start the wrap at the base of your toes and wrap around the foot and onto the ankle. Tuck the end in. You can perform toe curls and extensions, ankle pumps and ankle circles. For the best effect perform a lunge matrix. 

Ankle Sprains and Pain

For ankle sprains, start the band the base of the ankle. Always start the band distal to the ankle to push the swelling into the leg to be absorbed. You want to cover the skin as much as you can so the swelling doesn't get pushed into the uncompressed area. Covering the entire surface around the ankle can be tricky. I recommend completely covering the heel with one circle and angling the ankle down.

This method can also be used for Achilles tendonitis.

Knee pain 

Start the band below the kneecap. You should have enough the cover the entire knee. Tuck the end of the band under the. You can bend and straighten your knee at different angles or contract your quadriceps muscles. My recommendation...  a lunge matrix!

The band can also be used around your muscles such as quadriceps and calf. 

Please see your MD if your pain is a chronic or serious injury.

Those who have use this please comment and give your feedback!

#compressionband #voodooband #kneepain #anklesprain #achillestendonitis #plantarfasciitis # pain 

Monday, August 4, 2014

So Why Can’t We Recruit our Glutes?

Recently, I have noticed an increase in discussion on how weak gluteals are linked to numerous injuries. Injuries such as hamstring strain, knee pain, and low back pain can all be traced back to weak gluteals. We diligently stretch and strengthen but we all still seem to have difficulty activating our gluteals…WHY? Well here are some reasons:

We sit a lot!

Nearly all of our daily activities are performed in seated position. From eating a meal, driving, sitting at a desk at work, to relaxing on the couch; the majority of day is spent sitting. Additionally, we don’t always sit up straight. We lean against the couch end, we scrunch up in an airplane seat, or we squint at our computer screen, all of which leads to imbalances in our body. From prolonged sitting, the soft tissue in our glutes becomes desiccated and stagnant making it difficult to recruit and generate force. Furthermore, the tightness in our hip flexors also contributes to greater difficulty recruiting our glutes.

In a typical workday, an office worker can sit upwards of 14 hours! Does 10, 20, or even 30 minutes of stretching and strengthening our hips and glutes make a difference? It depends! If a person’s goal is to walk without pain, 20 minutes of exercise may help. BUT if a person’s goal is to return to running a marathon, 30 minutes worth of stretching and strengthening will likely not cut it.

Here’s a video on how to lacrosse roll glutes – One way to restore the soft tissue is to roll it out. By applying pressure on the muscle it pushes the stagnant fluid out and upon release new fluid is allowed in. The process is similar to how a kitchen sponge works.  

Bonus Videos on hamstring!

Is All Pelvic Drop Really Bad?

When standing on one leg study your hip alignment in a mirror. When you lift one leg the pelvis drops on the opposite side, it is an indicator of a weak gluteal in the standing leg. This is called a pelvic drop. There is discussion that the pelvis must stay level in order to obtain proper running form because it’s a sign of a strong glute. Current consensus states that allowing the pelvis to drop can lead to bursitis, ITB syndrome, and knee pain. However, in order to properly load the glutes, the femur must be able flex, adduct and internally rotate relative to the pelvis. Allowing the pelvis to drop (hip to adduct) will actually recruit the glutes. The glutes’ ability to decelerate tri-plane motion is what actually helps keep us injury-free.

Recent biomechanical research agrees that some amount of hip drop is acceptable. If one of those movements is lacking it can place extra stress onto other motions.

The pictures on the left (top to bottom) show the difference in pelvic drop on the right leg (4 degrees) compared to left leg (8 degrees), prior to tri-planar stretching and still with symptoms. The pictures on the right show demonstrate an equal pelvic drop achieved from tri-planar stretching. This results in the ability to run with minimal to no pain.

My example- I had a slip and fall injury which took over 4 years to recover from. I saw numerous MDs, had countless MRIs (often hoping for a positive result, but always coming back negative) and several injections without any relief. It was noted by fellow professionals that I had opposite hip pelvic drop, so I took up a regimen of traditional hip exercises (clams, bridges, etc.) with minimal change. I decided to look at my own videos and concluded that my injured hip did not have ENOUGH pelvic drop. Since I started working on hip mobility I have been able to return to running with minimal symptoms.

So listen to your patient or client and screen the whole body in a kinetic chain and in all planes of motion.

Do Clam Shells Really Get You Back To Running
      Maybe? Traditional gluteal strengthening exercises such as clams, hip bridges, leg lifts and planks provide a good foundation. However, in order to function you must perform exercises that replicate the motion you are trying to fix. The traditional exercises are not authentic to the movement of running. Performing functional exercises in an upright position are necessary to return to functional strength.  While basic strength exercises are necessary for a strong foundation, functional exercises are equally, if not more, important because it resembles our activity, RUNNING. After a long day of sitting, performing activation exercises prior to your run helps to stimulate the muscles. Running requires impact, impact which can injure if our muscles aren’t ready to take it. Think of activation exercises as something to get the rust knocked off of your shock absorbers to prepare the muscles functionally for the impact of running. To help recruit your gluteals while running, when your foot hit the ground kick the leg back and slightly outwards. Perform this activation exercise during the first couple minutes of running to stimulate the glutes.                          
Clam exercise - does it resemble running?
Lunge with reach - resembles running!

Please refer to the post on strength for functional exercises.

 1)   Lacrosse ball roll glutes or any other body part. My pre-workout routine is roll out hip flexors, upper back and glutes. I also roll my calfs and quadriceps if they feel tight.
 2)  Make sure your motion in all three planes is adequate on both sides. Stretching my left hip allows my RIGHT hip to go into the frontal plane!
 3)  Perform not only basic glute exercises but functional exercises to gain a good foundation and tri-plane strength. Do activation exercises prior to your run!