OUCH, ARGH, AHHH…
Do you wake up in the morning dreading those first few minutes walking around after waking? As soon as you hit the floor, the pain in the feet, ankles, and knees shoots through your whole body, reminding you of your age.
As you get up and going through, it seems as if you don’t notice the pain areas as much, but as soon as you have to sit for any period of time and get up to walk thereafter, the pain persists. Maybe the pain hasn’t caused any severe limitations to your day to day activities (yet), but it’s still a decrease in quality of life- having to deal with acute or maybe even chronic pain on a day to day basis. Maybe you even go to the gym a few times week; where there you do find some exercises or machines are really “no-no’s” because of the pain you experience in the feet, ankles, and knees.
If you have ever experienced any of these scenarios or situations, you are not alone. Musculoskeletal pain is very prevalent and rising in developed countries like the United States. With the advancement of technology in the workforce, 80% of US jobs require the employee to sit for extending periods of time. Chronic sitting wreaks havoc on your musculoskeletal system (muscles, ligaments and bone systems).
Our bodies were designed to be our mobile vehicles of life. Think about it…100-200 years ago, humans were still hunter-gathers always on the move. Fast-forward to today, and we sit the majority of the time, either at work or in your day to day activities, hence the ever-present and rising numbers of pain, and injuries in and out of the workplace.
If you are chronic-pain suffer you are not alone:
1) Plantar fasciitis, is one of the most common lower extremity complaints. It is estimated that 20 percent of the general population will experience some type of plantar heel pain at some point in their lives and 2 million are treated annually for plantar fasciitis in the United States alone. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common complaints in runners. Classic symptoms include pain with the first steps in the morning and after rest. The pain usually dissipates with activity.
2) A new study from Gallup-Healthways shows that 26 percent of U.S. adults have some sort of leg or knee condition and 18 percent have another condition that causes chronic pain.
Pain in the feet, ankles, and knees is usually a product (at first) of a muscle imbalance. See image below.
These imbalances happen over long periods of time and are byproducts of repetitive motions of the human body, which leads to tissue trauma. Scenarios like sitting all day, repeating the same movements over and over again at work, the way you stand (favoring one side of the body, over the other), or performing the same movements in a workout routine over and over. Now, of course, those are just a few of the many possible scenarios that could possibly cause muscles imbalances around a joint which eventually leads to pain. There are many more factors and scenarios that can contribute to these imbalances like an injury.
The good news? These imbalances CAN be corrected and the pain CAN be REMOVED! Now as long as we aren’t dealing with arthritic joints or something more severe like a tear, then my 4 step system can help you take the steps to becoming pain-free!
I must preface this 4 step process; like anything else in life worth achieving, the system you work to get the end results MUST BE PERFORMED CONSISTENTLY! I can’t put enough emphasis on the CONSISTENCY portion. Okay, so now that I have that air out, I want you to perform the following routine 3 x a week, for the recommend variables.
CORRECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR FOOT, ANKLE & KNEE IMPAIRMENTS/PAIN:
1) Inhibit: Decrease activity of overactive muscles, by using a foam rolling technique to push out “knots” in the soft tissue (fascia). These knots will feel like trigger or pain points. The key to foam rolling properly and effectively is to go slow enough(1-2 inches per second) to feel the knots and then having the pain tolerance and patience to relax when the knot is found, and allow the foam roller to push it out, by sitting on the knot anywhere from 20 sec – 2 mins. When you first start out, just work on a few knots at a time, as it can sometimes be a painful experience in the beginning, but it does get better! Areas foam rolled: Feet, calves and IT band
2) Lengthen: Now that you have worked out the soft-tissue side of things, it’s time to take those overactive muscles to an end-range, and allow the static-stretching protocol to cause deactivation or bringing the muscle back to a normal tonality in other words. From my experience where most people go wrong with static stretching is the length of time they hold is way too short, and not fully engaging the full range of motion of the muscle and joint. So make sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and perform 1-2 sets of stretches per muscles group. Areas stretched: Calves (gastrocnemius and soleus), Hamstrings (biceps femoris).
3) Strengthen: Now that you have spent some time on inhibiting the overactive side of the equation, we need to get the weaker or lengthen muscles on the other side of the joints (ankles and knees) stronger. Perform 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps, holding the muscle contraction for 2 seconds. Areas activated/strengthened: anterior tibialis, posterior tibialis.
4) Integrate: Now that both sides of the joint have been re-established in terms of length and tonality, we must get all these muscles to work together, communicate, fire and operate dynamically around the joint for optimal movement patterns. Perform 1 -2 sets of 3 rounds of each reach of the demonstrated exercise – single leg multi-planar reaches.
Like I said in the beginning, removing pain in these areas is going to be based on the consistency for you performing the 4 step process. It takes 10-15 mins and should be performed 3 times a week. Just wake up 10-15 earlier each day and knock this bad boy out if removing pain is a goal of yours!
If you are ready to get serious about leaving the pain life, and getting in the best shape of your life, then I have an amazing proposal for you: Come try out our fitness program that has already helped thousands to lose fat, build muscle and feel good with our upcoming 28 Day Summer Slim-down – limited spots available, starts June 1st!
Keep your eyes peeled for more content coming soon to address back pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain and neck pain.
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