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5 Ways To Reduce Foot Pain From High Heels

With Spring Racing just gone and Christmas approaching, high heel season is in full swing in Melbourne. Which unfortunately means we’ll be seeing an influx of women hobbling through the doors of our CBD physio clinic with foot pain.

The inconvenient truth is, wearing high heels regularly (3+ times per week) is one of the biggest causes of foot and ankle pain in women. Up to a third of women will even suffer permanent problems due to their enduring love for vertiginous footwear.

So what exactly happens when you wear heels?

  • High heels place the foot in an unstable position where the muscles at the back of the ankle shorten and the front muscles lengthen. This destabilises and weakens the ankle.
  • These changes cause the muscles higher in the leg and back to lose efficiency and strength.
  • There’s also an increased load on the knee joint, which can lead to pain and even osteoarthritis.
  • Wearing high heels may increase the risk of back injury, as heel height can overload the muscles of the lumbar spine, leading to muscle fatigue.
  • Finally, when toes are unable to move under an increased load, the chance of bunions developing increases! (Opting for a heel with a wider toe box will reduce the chances).

Now for the good news

While it’s important to be aware of the risks involved with wearing high heels, the Collins Place Physio team aren’t total party poopers! We appreciate the close relationship between a girl and her heels, which is why we’ve put together this cheat sheet to minimise foot pain for high heel wearers.

5 tips for healthier high heel wear

  • Stretch your calf and achilles. Use a foam roller a few times a week to roll out your calf muscles.
  • Use a spiky massage ball to roll the arches of your feet. The muscles and plantar fascia (ligament connecting the heel to toes) are very important in maintaining foot and ankle health.
  • Calf raises. Do single leg calf raises, focusing on keeping good alignment throughout the movement. Aim for 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
  • Regular massage will help reduce calf tightness caused by those stilettos.
  • Swap out your stilettos when you can for lower heels and wedges. A heel of 4cm or lower is advised to decrease pressure on the forefoot and help prevent injury.

If you have any concerns about how your footwear is affecting your feet and ankles, don’t hesitate to call and talk to one of the Collins Place Physio crew. We’d never make you to wear flats 24/7, but we’ll happily discuss how you can minimise the impact of your high heel habit!


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Improve Your Posture With Postural Analysis

You know what they say….Mums are always right!

Remember all those times as a kid when Mum would yell at us to ‘Sit up Straight!’ while we were watching TV. Or the times she snuck up behind us, pulled our shoulders back and pressed her hand into the small of our back to correct our posture?

Yep, she was right about that too!

So what exactly is posture and why is it so important (and not just to Mum)?

Posture is the foundation for every movement your body makes and can determine how well your body adapts to the stresses placed upon it. More specifically (Putting on my Physio hat here) it is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down.

How do you know you have good posture?

If you want an example of good posture, just look at a young child – their back shows a graceful ‘S’ curve and their movements are easy and effortless. As we get older, bad habits such as slouching and inactivity cause muscle fatigue and tension that ultimately leads to poor posture and aches and pains in our body.

In Standing:

Imagine your head being pulled straight up by a string, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your chin tucked in. If your posture is correct, your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles should be aligned in a straight line.

Here’s a tip: Stand with your back against a wall, keeping the back of your head, shoulders, and heels touching the wall. Now step away from the wall while maintaining this position – that’s good posture.

In sitting:

Imagine holding a 5Kg bowling ball in front of you with your arms at full stretch, as opposed to carrying the ball close to your body. Which one is harder to do? Of course holding the ball at arms length is not only harder, but will also cause more strain on your arms.

This is essentially what happens when, as CBD office workers, you spend most of your day sitting at your desk with poor posture.

As you focus on the activity in front of you, you tend to protrude your head and neck forward, which causes your shoulders and back to round forward as well. When this occurs, the weight of the head and upper body is no longer balanced over the rest of your body but instead must be supported by increased workload of your neck and back muscles.

Over time, this causes fatigue and strain on your muscles, ligaments and joints resulting in neck and back pain, which is experienced by a large proportion of people who have desk jobs.

What is Postural Analysis?

Here at Collins Place Physio we offer a computerised postural analysis/posture screen as part of our services. With this cutting edge system we can determine which areas of your body are under more strain than others and which muscle groups, joints and ligaments are under most strain. Based on the analysis, our Physios will be able to design a treatment and exercise plan that can best assist you in improving your posture and reduce your pain.

If you would be interested to learn more about improving your posture please call to talk to one of our highly trained Physios about our postural analysis system and how it can help you.

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What’s Dry Needling All About?

Dry needling is a skilled treatment technique that uses a thin filiform needle to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of musculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.

How does it work?

Dry Needling works by a complex series of neurological events:

  • When a needle is used on an active trigger point (a contracted segment of a muscle, also known as a ‘knot’), it can illicit a ‘twitch’ response which is followed by an immediate decrease in tension throughout that whole band of muscle.
  • Dry Needling has an effect on the level of the spinal cord that corresponds to the area being needled. This helps to block incoming pain signals and can provide effective pain relief
  • Dry Needling also increases blood flow to the pain region which provides essential nutrients to help damaged tissues heal and clear out toxic waste products.

Benefits of Dry Needling;

Dry Needling can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions including:

  • Back and neck pain – acute and chronic conditions
  • Headaches
  • Muscle strains
  • Sciatic pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Shoulder pain – Rotator cuff, Impingement syndromes
  • Knee pain – Patellofemoral, meniscal/ligament tears
  • Tendinopathy – RSI – i.e. tennis elbow, hamstring tendon
  • General muscular tightness and cramps

What will you feel?

With active trigger points you may get a ‘twitch’ response followed by a deep dull ache that eases within 2-3 minutes. You may have a dull ache around the area being needled for 24-48 hrs as the muscle goes through the stages of healing. You should feel an immediate change in your symptoms, i.e. decreased muscle tone, decreased pain and increased joint movement.

Dry Needling is usually only a part of your treatment session as it is most commonly used in conjunction with other ‘hands on’ treatment techniques.

If you have a painful ‘niggle’ that just doesn’t seem to want to go away why not call the clinic and ask one of our experienced physiotherapists about dry needling and how it could be of benefit to you.

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TMJ Jaw Pain

Peter Bond, Collins Place Physio’s resident jaw guru, has been treating patients with TMJ/Jaw pain and dysfunction for over 25 years. Peter has undertaken advanced training with some of the world’s leading authorities in TMJ assessment and treatment and is referred patients from many of Melbourne’s leading Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, Oral Medicine Specialists and Dentists. He works very closely with these specialists to offer a holistic treatment regimen to his patients.

Peter gave us some insight into this complex area from a perspective of where and how TMJ pain can be felt and his deep understanding of assessment and treatment of the jaw.

The jaw consists of two TMJ joints (left and a right) and when operating well moves a bit like the handle of a bucket. There can be considerable variation in the movement of the TMJ, which can result in significant deviation of jaw motion.

Temporomandibular (TMJ) or jaw injury can:

  • Be a common source of headaches.
  • Refer symptoms widely, including to the eye, ear, head, face, sinuses and neck.
  • Cause noises such as clicks, clunks and pops.
  • Cause a grating sensation or a feeling that sand is in the joint.
  • Limit the ability to open or close the mouth.
  • Cause the jaw to lock open or closed.

In assessing TMJ pain there is a need to be thorough, paying particular attention the jaw and neck as well as posture. Symptoms can arise from the joints &/or associated muscles of the neck or TMJ.

Manual treatment and a home exercise programme (which Peter clearly guides his patients through) are both normal parts of TMJ treatment. There may also be a need to change some behaviours such sucking on a straw, playing a musical instrument, resting the hand on the chin and holding a pencil between the teeth.

Don’t hesitate to call the clinic to book an appointment with Peter if you are suffering from jaw pain or dysfunction.

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Functional Movement Screen & Y Balance Tests

For our recent Master Class in Physiotherapy and Orthopaedics, Collins Place Physio’s resident authority in all things rehabilitation Conor Brennan presented to a group of 30 GP’s on the latest musculoskeletal screening tests that identify people who are at increased risk of injury during physical activity.

Conor is highly trained in utilising the Functional Movement Screen and the Y-Balance tests with his patients to identify individuals who are at risk of injury due to faulty movement patterns and left or right asymmetries.

Research has shown that people who score poorly on one or both of the FMS or Y Balance tests are four times more likely to injure themselves during their sporting endeavours.

From the results of the tests Conor can develop a program of corrective exercises to restore normal movement patterns thereby reducing the risk of injury during sport and exercise and increasing performance.

Please call the clinic on 9650 2220 to discuss the FMS and Y-Balance tests with Conor or schedule an appointment online for a screening.

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Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD)

Our Remedial Massage Therapist Sana Kurban was fortunate enough recently to be invited to attend an advanced course to upgrade her skills in Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD).

MLD is a highly specialised massage technique designed to activate and cleanse the lymphatic system. It is a slow, rhythmic and precise treatment performed with light touch and in specific directions, which mimic the natural lymphatic flow.

The main functions of the Lymphatic system include:

  • producing immunity and assisting the body to fight disease and infection
  • removal of waste and toxins
  • regulating fluid volume and pressure in the tissues

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is key to maximising our ability to rejuvenate and establish resistance to stress, disease and infection, all of which negatively impact lymphatic flow.

MLD is very effective in the reduction of post surgical scaring and lymphedema, including following mastectomy, lymphadenectomy and lymph biopsy.

If you’d like to find out more about MLD or other massage techniques Sana utilises please don’t hesitate to call the clinic on 9650 2220.

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