June 29, 2012
From daily wear and tear, regular or not so regular physical activity, we all experience knots, kinks and catches. Many of these annoying aches are soft tissue injuries to muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments or nerves. These can interfere with athletic performance and/or evolve into pain or restricted mobility. The Graston Technique is a new, and quite frankly, amazing treatment for soft tissue injury that Dr. Chris Matock of Precision Sports Medicine and Chiropractic in Walnut Creek, CA introduced me to. Dr. Matock is an exceptional practitioner who integrates chiropractic care with sports medicine techniques to deliver a more comprehensive and effective treatment resulting in a faster recovery.
Our bodies repair injury to soft tissues with scar tissue. Scar tissue tends to be weaker and less flexible than undamaged tissue. The Graston Technique (GT) detects and treats scar tissue or adhesions that lead to pain and dysfunction. The GT uses stainless steel instruments to glide along muscles, tendons and ligaments. Both the patient and the doctor can sense when knots are encountered. Many of these are undetectable using hands alone, as Dr. Matock proved while treating me. The instruments break up restrictions and adhesions. I have used foam rollers, Trigger Point rollers and have had deep tissue and cross friction massage, but I have never experienced something so exact as GT. As Dr. Matock used the instruments across my shoulder and back, I can only compare it to combing my hair. When I drag a comb down the length of my hair it separated the strands into smooth vertical lines. The GT tools felt like they were combing tangles out of muscle, tendon and ligament fibers.
While GT is used by nearly 7,500 clinicians from sports organizations to therapists, Dr. Matock is one of only a handful of practitioners offering GT in the SF Bay Area. This is because practitioners must receive special training and certification to even buy these tools. GT is currently being taught in 32 colleges and universities and will become more widely available in the future. I highly recommend Dr. Matock and GT for any aliments listed below in addition to basic chiropractic care.
GT have been clinically proven to achieve quicker outcomes in acute and chronic conditions including:
- Achilles tendonitis (ankle pain)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain)
- Plantar fasciitis (foot pain)
- Rotator cuff tendonitis (shoulder pain)
- tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow
- neck pain
- shin splints
- trigger finger
- post mastectomy & caesarean scarring
To find out more about Dr. Matock or the Graston Technique, visit www.PrecisionSportsMedicine.com
April 18, 2011
Is there a certain type of shoe that’s better for indoor exercise?
-Cindi, San Ramon, CA
It is very important for your foot, ankle and knee to wear supportive shoes when you exercise. Tennis shoes should usually be replaced every 300-400 miles. If you run 3 miles a day, five days a week, you would need new shoes every five months. As a general rule, I never wear my gym shoes for outdoor activities. Don’t wear your gym shoes to the zoo, or when doing errands. Get yourself casual sneakers…consider that your gym shoes are for serious business. The ground outside is harder on shoes. Uneven terrain, coarse gravel and more dirt and grease (not to mention the risk of stepping in gum, spilled food and dog waste) will all wear down the ‘grip’ of your shoe tred and add miles to your soles.
You can basically do any exercise indoors that can be done outside, so the question depends more on the type of activity. If you only run or walk, a running shoe is fine both indoor and out. These shoes have a wide sole for stability. If you are doing classes such as zumba or kickboxing where there are fast directional changes you are going to want to buy a cross trainer shoe. This provides a supportive sole that will keep you from slipping, but it is not as wide as a running shoe which will interfere with performance. If you are doing classes in a room that has indoor/outdoor carpet, I strongly suggest you find a shoe that has very little tred, feels ‘slipperier’ or has less grip. Compare the pictured soles: the blue sole is much more appropriate for carpet. The carpet provides so much friction that a shoe with a strong tred will cause you to ‘stick’ to the floor. When you change directions this will make you more likely to twist your knee, roll your ankle and cause undue strain on ligaments. Make sure your shoes are tied tight when exercising so your foot tendonds don’t overwork. As for weight lifting, any type of tennis shoe will do. Toning shoes should absolutely never be wore to do anything other than walking on flat surfaces. As for brands, it is really just personal preference. My shoes are almost always Nike. I go shopping with an open mind, but usually end up with Nikes because they fit my foot well and have innovative styles.
Tangent: I never wear any of my gym clothes or shoes for anything other than working out. Don’t wear your gym clothes to clean the house or go to grocery store. Thinking of your gym clothes like a uniform changes your mind set. You suit up for battle and this raises your motivation and determination. If football players wore their pads to go to Target then they would probably not be as aggressive on the field. This is sports psychology.
December 18, 2009
(pain localized just above the knee cap)
Patellar tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the quadriceps (thigh) muscle to the knee joint. The pain is felt right above the knee cap upon bending the knee. This is an overuse injury more common among people who do physical labor or those who are very active. Patellar tendonitis can have a few causes and so there are a few ‘cures’.
Phase I: Often, tight quads or hamstrings cause the quads to pull excessively on the knee cap. Stretch the thighs, ice the knee and avoid bending the knee as much as possible until the pain resolves.
Phase II: Technique. There is an art to bending the knee. Knees should bend backward, without the ankles bending as well. When the ankle is bent, the knee moves forward beyond the toes so more pressure is exerted in the knee joint as opposed to the quad itself. Most people do daily activities with their ankles bent which is one way quads can become weak.
Phase III: Strengthen the quads. Squats and lunges should not hurt the knee if done properly. Start with a small range of motion, no weights and gain strength slowly. Strengthening the quad will cause it to tighten up (which can make the problem worse if you don’t stretch). Strengthening and stretching will improve the overall condition.
To prevent tendonitis from recurring, stretching and technique are key. Examine the pictures below to see how the knee should properly bend. Apply this technique to all exercises and daily activities to keep your knees pain free.