Archive for June, 2010

Going Barefoot

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Many people, especially during the summer season here in Michigan, like to enjoy a good run.  Runners typically present with a predictable pattern of problems depending on their individual morphology, but as whole our country’s runners show a dominance of leg muscle strength compared to abdominal and gluteal strength.  Many people believe these changes have happened as a direct result of running shoe advances in technology.  This article is a great synopsis of a recent Harvard study showing how foot biomechanics can directly be altered by the simplest of running shoes.

Until the recent past, running or shoe technology did not accomodate for a large cushioning sole.  This meant that if you were to run “heel-to-toe” like is preached by most current running, you would hit the ground with a large, unpadded force on the heel, which would damage your feet.  Simply put, most runners then, and current native-shoeless tribes even now, did not learn to run heel-toe, but instead ran with a mid-foot strike of the foot.  This type of stride is much easier on the lower limb as it uses the natural anatomy of the foot, leg and hip to absorb the forces.  The other benefit of running with a mid-foot strike is that it uses the core muscles and gluteals to make sure that the foot, knee and hip are all working in a coordinated fashion, which in most cases decreases injuries to the ankle, knee and hip (common running injuries almost always involve these joints or the muscles that surround them).

If you would like to see if running would be a good training modality for yourself, or if you’re a runner who has had injuries in the past we here at BCC would love to take a look and help you towards your goals.  Other good mid-foot running resources can be investigated in Chi-running or the POSE Technique of running.

Posture Myths

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Many people have many common “ideas” as to how to best hold their body to keep tension at its minimum.  Many of the traditional ideas are not correct.  This article from the Chicago Sun Times addresses a few of these “postural myths”.  The three the that are addressed are: 1) Straighten up 2) Flatten your back 3) Chin up, chest out.  Number one is a common “over-correction” that most people will do and will lead to an increase in negative back muscle tension.  ”Flattening your back” or “tuck your pelvis” actually does the opposite of what normal posture and alignment would require for safe biomechanics.  ”Chin up, chest out” is also very bothersome as it puts a large amount of compression and strain on the lower cervical spine.  Even more importantly, “chest out” promotes a paradoxical breathing pattern, which will decrease abdominal/core muscle tone which can have repercussions throughout the entire body.  Here are the simple ideas we would like you to know:

  • Have your feet on the evenly on the floor, inside your shoulder width
  • Focus on keeping the shoulders back, not rolled forward or arms crossed
  • Breathe relaxed into the abdomen (diaphragmatic breathing)
  • Pretend like someone is puling a string attached to the top of your head

If you are concerned about your own posture, please let one of our Birmingham Chiropractic Doc’s take a look and see where you can improve!