Red Deer Physiotherapist writes:
I know that the way I move is a direct result of how balanced my movement patterns are…what do I mean exactly by that?
Well, let’s say I have restriction or stiffness in a particular joint in my foot. Wouldn’t that change the way my foot is able to move across the floor as I walk? The same goes for muscle tension or shortening…wouldn’t that exert an abnormal “pull” in the direction of the tension or shortening?
The answer to both questions is a resounding YES!!
Movement patterns are a complex coordination of the ability of your joints, muscles, connective tissue (ligaments, tendons, fascia) to move in concert with each other without restriction or imbalance. Whew! That was a mouthful!
Let me share an example of how this works… An unfortunate slip & fall on the stairs at home set me up to injure my back two days later by simply leaning into a closet. Lots of pain and muscle spasm!
The morning before my back tweaked so badly, I had done an easy 3 km walk-run as part of a community fun run with my family. I had no foot issues or blisters that day. Why is that worth mentioning?
Well, after working through my recovery to the point that I was almost back to normal, I had still been having occasional stiffness and some pain in the base of my left lower back/butt area two weeks later. I then attended another community event that was also a 3km walk. This is the blister that resulted in that walk…It happened after barely 1 km into it.
Same shoes, same socks, same distance (3km), same surface (paved trails and concrete). The only difference was the new back issue.
As a physiotherapist, I know that a small shift in a movement pattern is almost imperceptible to feel but is capable of contributing to injury with time. Untreated, these changes in the way we move can cause much more serious injury than a blister.
Seeing the effect of a small movement shift demonstrated so clearly in how my foot blistered in my shoe that day was amazing!
SO what did I learn here?
- Never underestimate the body’s adaptive mechanisms. We operate on ‘auto-pilot’ to meet the demands we put on our bodies. So even if you don’t feel a difference, it’s still happening!
- Always ‘finish’ rehabilitating an injury. Don’t be satisfied that something feels ‘good enough’.
- Be pro-active about preventing secondary injuries. Knowing I had the remnants of the back injury lingering, I should have done a better warm-up, stretching, etc, before the 3km walk event.
- ALWAYS take bandages in your pocket! (insert smile here!)