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Want to Improve Your Squat? Improve Your Ankle Mobility

A very common question that I get from many people is: “how do I increase the depth of my squat?” The squat is not only an extremely effective, full-body exercise (if done correctly) but also a valuable tool in determining dysfunction (tight muscles, imbalances, compensations, etc.)

In order to squat well ( and pain-free) several events need to occur:

On the descent (Lowering):

1.) Hips Flex

2.) Knees Flex

3.) Ankles Dorsiflex

On the Ascent (Standing back up):

1.) Hips Extend

2.) Knees Extend

3.) Ankles plantarflex

Obviously, the perfect squat is much more complicated than that. There are several muscles and muscle groups that can greatly affect your mobility in your squat. Some of the more common culprits are Tight hip flexors, hamstrings, and gastrocs.

For many of you reading this, you have likely already foam rolled and stretched your muscles into oblivion. Some of you may have noticed results while others are left scratching their head. It all starts at your feet. Your lack of ankle mobility could not only be the reason that your squat depth is lacking but also the reason that you have hamstring, calve, or lower back pain.

Your feet are your foundation in the squat, so it is necessary to address the mobility of the ankle, particularly dorsiflexion (think toes to shins.) Many of us have restrictions in mobility in our ankles (especially those who have suffered some serious sprains causing the ligaments to shorten.) Runners, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts this is likely a problem!

Quick Test for Ankle mobility:

Shin to Toe Test:

-Place one foot about 4″ away from a wall.

-Assume a kneeling lunge position facing the wall

-With your front foot planted, lean forward trying to get your knee to touch the wall

Could you do this? If not you likely have ankle mobility issues!

Try This: This same test above can be used a drill to improve your mobility in your ankles. Simply lean forward bringing your knee to the wall until you feel a stretch, then back off. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

The most of effective solution to improving your ankle (and likely your hip mobility) is a combination of stretching, drills, and chiropractic.

 

If you are interested in improving your mobility give us a call or schedule online: (781) 460-0939

 

Keep moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

 

 

IT Band Pain? Think TFL

Nearly everyone that has participated in distance running, or functional training has likely experienced hip discomfort at some point either in training or competition. Many people are quick to blame their IT Band, and proceed to beat the tissue to a pulp via their foam roller, dog toys, spoons, baseballs.. I have heard it all.

While there is some benefit to rolling out the vastus lateralis (under the IT band), foam rolling is highly over rated. A bit about the anatomy: The IT Band, short for iliotibial band, is actually not a muscle but fascia. Actually, it’s one of the largest pieces of fascia in the body.The purpose of this fascial sling is to provide spring during gait , and it is also thought to help to stabilize the hip. The point is the IT band is not the enemy, in fact you may be abusing an already over worked piece of tissue.

What is the TFL? The TFL short for Tensor Fasciae Latae is a small triangular shaped muscle. If you have hip pain right now I would bet it is tender. To find the muscle, locate the pointy bone just anterior and lateral to your belt line, this is known as your ASIS. From this point work your way around your waist line and you may notice some tenderness between your hip flexors and glutes, this is where the TFL muscle lies. This muscle will insert on the IT band and serve to regulate length and tonus of the band. Along with aiding in hip flexion and internal rotation, the TFL muscle is also a hip stabilizer (think alignment on a car).

Why the TFL? If you follow along my blog you know that I believe many of our muscluloskeletal problems come from lifestyle, and poor or incorrect posture causing excessive wear and tear. The same can be true here, when we adapt to a sitting posture (if you commute an hour each way to work and then sit at a desk all day, this is you). The hip flexor’s become excessively tight as well as the lower back muscles. On the other end, the glutes and abs become neurologically inhibited due to the fact that they are not needed when you are sitting. The problem is, when you do run, or get active these muscles forget to do their job. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the TFL is already in a “hyperactive” state due to being shortened (contracted) all day. This means that this muscle is now doing all of the stabilizing work of the glutes. I like to use the analogy the TFL is like a VW trying to pull a an eighteen wheeler. It simply is not possible without harm.

So there you have it, now give that IT band a rest!

We have great success resolving hip pain for many people. Call or Contact Us online and see how we can help you: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

3 Gym Exercises to Avoid if You Have Shoulder Pain

This weeks blog post is inspired by a question I get frequently. “What exercises should I avoid for my shoulder?”Shoulder injuries are extremely prevalent in an athletic population. I would bet everyone knows someone who deals with chronic shoulder pain. Often times, the exercises we are doing can aggravate that condition making it worse, and more likely to undergo a more serious injury such as a tear.

What makes shoulder injuries so common? First off, the shoulder and the hip joint are two of the most mobile joints in your body, allowing for all ranges of motion. This also means that they can be quite unstable in many people. Much of this instability comes from muscle imbalances from poor, or improper posture. The forward drawn, rounded back posture wreaks havoc on your shoulders. The space needed for the rotator cuff muscles to pass through the subacromial space becomes too small, leading to friction, tendonitis, and eventually a tear. Whats more, the rounded shoulders locks down the joints in your neck and back. Since the scapula sits on the thoracic cage there is a direct correlation. With no extension present in you thoracic spine it is impossible for you to raise your arm above your head impingement free. Certain gym exercises can exacerbate this problem making it more likely for you to be seriously injured.

Avoid these 3 exercises and increase the health and longevity of your shoulders:

1.) Flat Barbell Bench Press: Many people with shoulder injuries find that they have more pain when doing chest press than shoulder press. Barbell bench press is an unatural movement and for those with tight, immobile shoulders can lead to a serious injury.

2.) Smith Machine Shoulder Press: Since the bar is set on a fixed path it leaves no variability for changes in movement which will cause potential compression of the shoulder tendons.

3.) Barbell Shrugs: Many people have developed rounded shoulders due to lifestyle as discussed above. carrying any amount of weight in front of your body is only going to further contribute to compression leading to injury.

We have helped many people recover from shoulder injuries. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder don’t wait, call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Effective Relief for Golfer’s Elbow

Summer is upon us and that means a lot of Golf for many people. The problem is, many people have done little all winter in terms of exercise. This leads to deconditioning, and often times injury.

Tendinitis is one of the most common musculoskeletal ailments. I am sure many of you have experienced tendinitis at some point, many of you are probably dealing with it as you read this. Medial (Golfer’s Elbow), and lateral (Tennis Elbow) account for many tendinitis injuries. Medial epicondylitis also known as “Golfer’s Elbow” results when the muscles that flex the forearm and wrist (inside of the elbow) become irritate and inflamed due to over-use or repetitive motions such as swinging a golf club. Even simple activities such as typing or yard work can contribute to the condition. In many cases, the condition is caused by lifestyle (exercise, yard work, computer work, etc.) Repetitive motions can cause the muscles to continue to be inflamed and irritated. Without treatment this could lead to a more serious injury such as a tear.

What are the symptoms? Characteristically, most patients present with pain on the inside of the elbow and forearm. This pain may be sharp at times, patients often report burning, numbness, or tingling around the area as well. Grip strength weakness, swelling, or elbow stiffness may also be noted.

What is the recommended treatment? At initial onset, if swelling and heat are noted ice may be advised to reduce swelling. I typically recommend making the switch to moist heat after the first 24-48 hours. For chronic cases, heat is recommended. The first goal of treatment is to decrease pain and increase range of motion. Secondly, we want to strengthen and balance the muscles. This is accomplished by a combination of manual therapies including electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and manual therapy. Instrument Assisted Soft-Tissue Manipulation (IASTM) is a highly effective, specialized treatment for tendinitis. This procedure works by stimulating local inflammation triggering a healing response on a cellular level, to produce normal, healthy collagen and promote healing.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort don’t wait, call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Resolve Chronic Sacroiliac (SI) Pain

It is generally understood (perhaps too well!) that chiropractors fix back pain (even though we do other things as well!) This is for good reason, chiropractic care can be a successful treatment for mechanical lower back pain, even the AMA recommends spinal manipulation before more invasive options are considered. More recently, spinal manipulation has been found to produce the best outcome when combined with exercise (vs exercise alone).

What is the sacroiliac joint (SI) and what is it’s significance? The Sacrum is the triangular shaped bone at the bottom of your spine. Initially, it is composed of 5 separate segments which will typically fuse later in life. The area where the last lumbar vertebrae (L5) meets the sacrum is known as the lumbosacral junction. This is known as a transitional segment as the articulation of joints changes. This change make the sacrum susceptible to injury. The Sacroiliac (SI) Joint is the articulation between the sacrum and the pelvis on either side. This joint acts a shock absorber, absorbing forces as you move. Surrounding the joint is many ligaments which makes movement of the SI joint minimal.

What causes SI Joint pain? Improper bio-mechanics of the spine and pelvis are a common cause of SI joint dysfunction. Tight hips and lower back muscles will pull on the joints and the ligaments irritating the area causing, hip, buttock, or lower back pain. Spinal manipulation in combination with specific exercise and stretching has been shown to be a very effective, long term solution to those suffering from chronic SI pain.

Not sure if you are experiencing SI Joint pain? Call or schedule online today and start healing.

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

Improve Your Skiing This Winter With These 6 Drills

Now that the snow is about to start falling many of us will be hitting the slopes. If this is your only sport and you have not done much physical activity since last year you will likely find that your feet and lower legs are pretty sore the first few times out!

Skiing is a very physical activity. It requires coordination and harmony particularly among the muscles of the legs and hips. If you are more of a “weekend warrior” you are at greater risk of injury  since skiing requires both mobility and flexibility (both of which will likely be lacking if untrained). The following drills and stretches are aimed at correcting and coordinating the balance of the muscles of the leg and trunk. If done regularly they can prevent injury and even improve you skiing!

Since skiing requires first and foremost adequate length of the gastroc and soleus complex (calves) it should be made a point to begin stretching these daily (twice if you can). Hold each stretch about a minute.

1.) Hamstring stretch with towel- lying on your back and keeping your leg straight wrap a hand towel around your foot and pull up while maintaining full extension. Stop once you feel the stretch and hold.

2.) Seated Glute stretch- Sitting, cross one leg across the other creating a figure 4. Slowly bend at the waist, noting a stretch in your hip and glute. Stop once you feel the stretch and hold.

3.) Double knee to chest- Lying on your back, pull both knees into your chest. Stop once you feel the stretch in your lower back and hold.

Foot Drills:

Perform these drills daily or every workout day. Repeat each drill once for 25m. All should be done barefoot with the exception of walking on the heels which should be performed in shoes.

1.) Walk with feet in Inversion (Inside up)

2.) Walk with feet in Eversion (Outside up)

3.) Walk toes pointed in

4.) Walk with toes out

5.)Walk backwards on toes (Heels up, backwards)

6.) Walk on heels (toes up shoes on)

foot drills

 

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Sean trap bar deficit deadlifting 505×5