I’m both envious of and sympathetic to people in the medical professions these days. I’m envious because I bet their work is fascinating – because the human body is fascinating. As I learn more about the body it becomes even more mysterious. How we can do what we do is mind boggling to me. I’m sympathetic to medical professionals because they must lead incredibly hectic lives. I can only imagine what their daily schedules must be like.
It’s because of this last point (how busy they are) that I’m so appreciative of a seminar Rebound Sports & Physical Therapy (Loveland, CO) recently put on about running injuries. (This isn’t an advertisement. I’m a very satisfied patient of Brad Ott – the president of Rebound.) Additionally, the seminar included a great local podiatrist, Dr. Tom Hecker. (This isn’t an advertisement for Dr. Hecker either. I’m a very satisfied patient of his as well.) Both of these folks have gotten me through a variety of issues. How cool was this?! Two medical professionals who know running and running injuries really well, who are both incredibly busy, taking the time to talk to a group of runners for a couple of hours. There are four medical professionals I’d do almost anything for – and two of them were going to be in the room at the same time sharing their knowledge. Suh-WHEET!
As you can imagine – quite a number of things were covered in the 2 hours. These are the things I found most interesting:
- Asymmetry In The Body. If we find asymmetry in our bodies that might be an indication of either the cause of an existing injury or an impending injury. The lack of symmetry (comparing a capability on one side of the body to the other) might show itself in a variety of ways. Differences might exist in strength, range of motion, balance, etc. These imbalances can cause compensatory behaviors that, when multiplied over multiple thousands of repetitions, can cause an injury.
- Left-side Issues. Frequently when issues do arise it’s on the left side of the body. Why? Our abdominal anatomy is a bit different on the left side. This can encourage the pelvis to be in a sub-optimum position which can impact hip function. Proper hip function is critical because……..
- The Hips. The hips, while they’re at the top of the chain physically, are the foundation on which all the leg function is based. So just like in your house – if you have a bad foundation – all sorts of bad things can happen. Knee. Ankle. Foot. They all can get messed up due to bad hips.
- Orthotics. In this article I wrote a while ago about orthotics the doctor referenced is Dr. Hecker. He’s one of the few docs I’ve heard of that recommend orthotics as a temporary solution; something to provide support so that the tissues can heal. However once the healing is done – get out of them. Let the limb move and get strong. That’s what is supposed to happen with any body part that is immobilized to help it heal.
- Stretching. This one really blew my mind. Part of the event involved bringing a volunteer up to the front of the room and doing some muscle testing. The right side was strong and firing well. The left side – well – not so much. The topic of stretching came up and it was mentioned that stretching can be a muscle inhibitor – something which shuts the muscle down. Brad had the subject hold a gluteal stretch and, after stretching, the strong-sided muscle, which had previously been doing well, had shut down. Amazing. A number of stories were told that described how performance suffered and injury rates increased following stretching.
It’s so cool to see a doctor and PT collaborating closely in their treatment plans. Additionally, these two folks look at us injured folks holistically – and treat the root cause of the injury – not just the symptom itself. If you’re in the Northern CO area I highly recommend them.
Post Script: The seminar I describe above was recorded and the video for much of it is on YouTube. Have a look if you’re interested:
[Addendum: I said I’d do almost anything for four medical professionals, but I only mentioned two. The other ones? Dr. Stephen Yemm for Sports Medicine and Dr. Tim Podhajsky for a Primary Care physician. Great folks.]