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foot-pain

Plantar Fasciitis: Heel to Toe Pain

Overly stretched, tiny tears can lead to inflammation and pain in the arch of the foot. This condition, called plantar fasciitis, accounts for nearly one million doctor visits per year. Our foot has a thick band of tissue called fascia that runs from our heel to our toe. This troublesome foot issue is actually more common in women than men. We need to spend time on our feet moving, so this foot problem, if left untreated, can cause excessive pain and greatly limit our mobility.

Contributing Factors

Plantar fasciitis is more common as we age (specifically between ages 40 and 60), but is also more likely to occur in someone who is overweight or constantly on their feet. It is very common in runners. Activities that are known for high rates of plantar fasciitis include ballet, dance, long-distance running, and ballistic jumping. There are a few other contributing factors which include wearing shoes that are worn out and have thin soles or wearing high-heels. The mechanics of how you walk (your stride) involves your foot position. If you have flat feet or a tight Achilles, the body will compensate for these dysfunctions which can lead to injury of the fascia.

Pain

Pain starts to occur near the heel towards the bottom of the foot. Most people feel the pain in the morning right when they get out of bed. This is known as “first-step pain”. This can also occur if you have been sitting for a long period of time and then stand up. The plantar fascia acts like an absorbing shock spring in our foot. Repetitive stretching and tearing of this area results in a stabbing pain.

Treatment

If pain persists, seeing a doctor can help detect this condition. He or she will check the tender areas of the foot. The good news is that plantar fasciitis does normally go away on its own. There are several treatment options. A doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or a steroid injection. Physical therapy and massage can help as well as shock wave therapy to stimulate blood flow. A Tenex procedure can remove scar tissue in the area or surgery can be done to remove the plantar fascia off of the heel bone. Wearing the right shoes or using shoe inserts oftentimes does the trick, so be sure to try these simple fixes first. Ice and soaking the heel can also help alleviate pain.

A good home remedy is freezing a foam cup of water then rubbing the top of the cup on the heel for 10 or so minutes. Stretching the calves and Achilles tendon can help over time and there are ways to tape the area of the foot to position the heel correctly with each step. Night splints worn to hold the foot at a 90 degree angle help when stretching the fascia.

There’s no doubt that we use and abuse our feet, bearing vast amounts of weight on them while performing all of our daily functions. As we walk from point A to point B, getting those 10,000 steps in, we must practice self-care from head to toe to heel. Sometimes foregoing that cute pair of shoes even at the gym is worth the fashion sacrifice to walk without pain.


Megan Johnson McCullough, owner of Every BODY’s Fit in Oceanside CA, is a NASM Master Trainer, AFAA group exercise instructor, and specializes in Fitness Nutrition, Weight Management, Senior Fitness, Corrective Exercise, and Drug and Alcohol Recovery. She’s also a Wellness Coach, holds an M.A. Physical Education & Health, and is a current doctoral candidate in Health and Human Performance. She is a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, and published author.

 

References

https://journals.lww.com/jaapa/Fulltext/2018/01000/Plantar_fasciitis__A_review_of_treatments.4.aspx
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2473011419896763
https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/65/2/97/1488760

Stressed Man Working At Desk In Busy Creative Office

Stress: An Easy Exercise To Help You Deal With It!

Stress. It’s everywhere. If you live and work on this planet it’s almost impossible to avoid. In normal times are stressful enough but this past year we have had to share our lives with Covid 19.

Feeling stressed? Me too!

Today I’m writing about how to reduce stress and suggest some easy ways to get that burden off your back.

Stress has been around since the beginning of time. It started as the fight-or-flight response when early humans confronted a life-threatening situation. In that situation, stress hormones- adrenaline and cortisol- are produced. Your blood vessels constrict, blood pressure goes up, pupils dilate, heart rate quickens, and breathing becomes more rapid. The body is preparing itself to do battle or run. This response is essential in times of acute danger. But problems at work, crying kids, traffic, you name it can trigger the same response.

Given the pressures of daily life, chronic stress itself has become a life-threatening situation. It can cause a host of health problems including headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, trouble concentrating, anxiety, depression, increased body weight, high blood pressure and heart disease.

We can’t eliminate the stress. But we can relieve the fight-or-flight response that sends our bodies into danger mode. And we can cultivate a relaxation response over time that will reduce our physiological stress reaction.

So what do we do about chronic stress? How do we get rid of it?

How? Relax. That’s what my first yoga teacher used to say when I was all bent up in the pretzel pose with a grimace on my face. Once I was able to relax, I was stress-free even in the pretzel pose.

Seriously, daily conscious relaxation exercises can make a real difference in the way your body responds to stress. Dr. Herbert Benson coined the phrase “relaxation response” in his book by the same name in 1975.

Since then, he and others have conducted numerous studies, including a recent one at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, that have detailed the body’s intricate positive response to conscious relaxation exercises. In a nutshell, the relaxation response has the opposite effect of fight-or-flight. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the effects of stress. You experience a feeling of deep relaxation and well-being. And if you practice relaxation regularly, you’ll feel better and help yourself avoid those stress-related health issues. That’s how we get rid of chronic stress.

Meditation is just one of an almost infinite number of ways to consciously relax. Virtually anything that takes your attention away from your daily grind and makes you concentrate on just one thing can work. Doing the dishes, aerobic exercise, yoga, stretching, golf, playing a musical instrument, casting a fishing rod, playing with a cat — almost anything can work if you pay attention to only that and clear your mind. I’m partial to exercise because I get the benefits of a workout as well as the relaxation. It’s my mantra. It’s what I do to get rid of chronic stress.

Dr. Benson suggests you practice some form of conscious relaxation for 10 to 20 minutes every day to get rid of chronic stress in the long term.

But what if you’re pressed for time? (Pressed rhymes with stressed.)

Reduce Chronic Stress with this little exercise. 

Sometimes you only need a few seconds and you feel a lot better.

  • Sit down and close your eyes. (If you’re on the street, duck into a doorway, stand and keep your eyes open and one hand on your purse.)
  • Let your muscles relax. Concentrate on your breathing.
  • Breathe in and hold your breath for one second, count “one, one-hundred-thousand”, and breathe out.
  • Breathe in again a little deeper and hold for two seconds – “one, one-hundred-thousand; two, one-hundred-thousand” — breathe out.
  • Breathe in deeper and hold for three, then four, then five seconds.
  • When you get to around three seconds of breath-holding, your stress level should start to drop and your mind should start to clear itself of thoughts.
  • After five, you should feel pretty good. This works well for me particularly in moments of acute stress.

That one worked too, didn’t it? I hope concentrating on reading this helped you reduce your stress and I hope you’ll make conscious relaxation a part of your life.

It’s a lifestyle change that’s easy to make because it feels so good when you do it.

Check out Mirabai’s video below, guiding you through a short Meditation and Stretch to reduce stress that can be done at work or home.


Mirabai Holland MFA, EP-C, CHC is one of the foremost authorities in the health and fitness industry. Her customer top-rated exercise videos for Health issues like Osteoporosis, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Diabetes & more are available on her website, mirabaiholland.com. Join her NEW Online Workout ClubMirabai offers one-on-on Health Coaching on Skype or Phone. Contact her at askmirabai@movingfree.com

team hands

Collaborative Thinking in Health & Wellness

Over the past 18 months, I have seen my primary M.D. three times, enjoyed the services of my favorite massage therapist six times, visited my chiropractor nine times, chatted with a local R.D. twice and seen my personal trainer regularly. And not one of them even asked if I was seeing any of the others, much less inquiring what their treatments or approaches to treatments might be. To me, that is like trying to achieve success with a baseball team where the 1st base coach, 2nd base coach, 3rd base coach and pitching coach never communicate with each other.

Success cannot occur in a vacuum, neither can trueindividual health & wellness, yet for decades these medical, fitness & wellness providers have proffered their services in distinct and distinctly separate spaces.

Even as the internet has made access to information easier and facilitated the sharing of knowledge, including private, HIPAA compliant information, these providers continue to operate in “informational silos.”

It is true that in the past some of these providers may have held less than favorable opinions of some of the other providers, but that is, and certainly should be, a thing of the past. No longer will M.D.’s consider Chiropractors “quacks”, R.D.’s claim nutritionists “just don’t know enough”, and Physical Therapists think of Personal Trainers as ”wanna-be P.T.’s who couldn’t hack the education.” Science, knowledge and time have evolved all these disciplines into valuable, useful and incredibly beneficial specialties, each offering specific training and specific methods to apply to their patients/clients. And all those patients/clients typically can benefit from their combined expertise and knowledge.

No longer is it sufficient to simply treat the symptoms. Real wellness needs to encompass the patient/client holistically… address the symptoms, understand the cause, strengthen the mind, examine the diet, resolve the issue and prevent future occurrences. And isn’t that best accomplished by viewing patient/client wellness as a Team Sport?

Over the years I have had the pleasure of knowing and speaking at length with many of these medical, fitness & wellness providers, and not one of them indicated there is anything in their training that says “Thou Shalt Not Collaborate.”

We are not talking about “asking for help.” Rather we are simply saying to include those other practitioners in the conversation. Instead of the M.D. telling the patient to “walk more to improve cardio health”, why not conference call with the Personal Trainer and discuss the walking program that is most appropriate. Let the Physical Therapist inform the Personal Trainer of any specific issues to address or avoid. Allow the Massage Therapist to work with the Chiropractor to ensure optimum results from both. In other words, (and the simplicity of all this may surprise you), just TALK TO EACH OTHER.

So, let’s start to make that happen. For more than 20 years my company has helped health clubs and fitness centers create mutually beneficial relationships with Physical Therapy practices, Chiropractic offices, Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists and Massage Therapists. Now is the time to extend the conversation, and, to return to my baseball metaphor, get ALL the coaches working together to create truly Championship results.


Cosmo Wollan is the Senior Executive at Synergy Cubed, a premiere consulting firm providing customized solutions to the health & fitness, parks & recreation, medical fitness and corporate wellness industries since 1994. His Fitness Industry clients have engaged him as an expert problem-solver in profit center development, retention strategies, customer engagement, sales training, programming design, operational streamlining and health club management.

med-fit-client-doctor-exercise

Healthcare Through Fitness

A discussion of medical fitness is rooted in an understanding of the health benefits of fitness and exercise. The documented benefits are endless and include management of chronic disease, management and prevention of osteoporosis, improved mood and sleep disorders, stress relief, management and prevention of obesity.

Health agencies across the spectrum of public health and disease-specific organizations recognize and promote exercise and fitness as an integral part of the management of chronic disease; diseases that include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, depression, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis, among others.

If fitness and exercise are well accepted as part of the management strategy for multiple diseases, why is it that access to organized exercise plans, and fitness professionals who can help implement those plans, are not a standard part of the medical treatment paradigm? Why is it not a standard benefit covered by common medical insurance policies?

The reasons are multifactorial and a reflection of the overall healthcare conundrum in our country today. Let’s focus, however, on how to make a change. We need to focus on how to integrate fitness professionals into the medical paradigm. A perfect model for this is an integrative medical fitness center.

What is a medical fitness center? It is a fitness facility with a multidisciplinary staffing approach and has the following characteristics:

  • Regular medical oversight by a medical director
  • Practitioners with nationally-recognized certifications and training in the care of chronic disease
  • Comprehensive health assessments and exercise prescription
  • Exercise classes geared toward specific medical conditions

These centers bring together credentialed staff in a collaborative way to provide exercise prescription plans specific to the needs of an individual with chronic disease.

The concept of the medical fitness center is not new; many currently exist in communities throughout the United States. However, an understanding of their importance in the context of the current healthcare environment has grown. The idea of creating “medical homes” that are collaborative across disciplines and provide a comprehensive healthcare approach is now being recognized to provide a high standard of care while simultaneously decreasing overall healthcare costs. This is true specifically for high-risk individuals who suffer from chronic disease.

Further integration of medical fitness centers, and broad access to exercise and fitness resources, will hopefully become standard of care and widely accessible to all individuals, especially those with chronic disease. This integration will inherently bring fitness professionals into the paradigm of healthcare and promote healthcare through fitness.

This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine. Visit medfitpromag.com to read past issues or subscribe for future issues.


Dr. David Kruse attended medical school at UC San Diego, after graduating from UC Berkeley. He holds board certifications in family and sports medicine. He practices sports medicine with the Orthopaedic Specialty Institute, in Orange, CA. Dr. Kruse is the Chief Medical Officer for the MedFit Network and on the Medical Advisory Board for the MedFit Education Foundation. He is currently a Team Physician for USA Gymnastics, Orange County Soccer Club, and Biola University. Visit his website, krusesportsmd.com

Aimee-Carlson-Toxin-Terminator

Toxicity & Detox

When I first began my own personal health journey, I had no idea what a toxin was. Having worked in the automotive business for better than 30 years, I thought toxins consisted of the various chemicals and products we used in that business. I knew we had to carry MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for every product we had in the facilities. I related toxins to workplace environments, and truly had no idea that they were also hidden in our homes!

The automotive industry was highly regulated. In fact, there are several agencies that oversee the practices within automotive businesses, establish the regulations that must be followed and perform on-site inspections. As a mother and a grandmother, I was enraged to find out there were no such regulations on the products that we purchase off the shelves in the stores. I incorrectly made the assumption that these products were safe for me and my family to use.

This is what led me to become The Toxin Terminator. I knew there needed to be a voice in this field. When it comes to being healthy, many people seek out help with how they eat or look at their physical fitness and how they move each day. But they aren’t paying attention to the number one contributor to the symptoms they are experiencing, toxins! In fact, even if they do, it can be such a confusing path to go down. Marketers have learned the terms they need to use to give the illusion of their products being safe. We call this greenwashing. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for people to have a certified person working with them to help them navigate this complex arena and overcome the root cause of their symptoms.

Learning about toxins, the symptoms of toxin overload and where they are, was the first step in my journey of overcoming chronic disease. The toxins are what flip the switches on, and the detox is how we turn those switches off and truly heal the cells, so the body gets well. Through my journey, I have met with hundreds who have also reversed their chronic disease. Through my podcast and masterminds, I have had the opportunity to meet and discuss this topic with top researchers, doctors, coaches, industry thought leaders and people just looking to feel better. I personally became certified as a Toxicity and Detox Specialist so I would be able to help others walk through their own healing journey.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 6 out of 10 adults suffer from a chronic disease and 40% have two or more. 90% of healthcare dollars in the United States are spent on chronic disease and 70% of all deaths are caused by a chronic disease. These numbers are out of control. It is my mission to decrease these numbers. Last year taught us all too well the danger of these numbers and the importance of our own personal health and reducing our underlying factors.

People are ready to take control of their health and we can do this together!

Join Aimee for a Webinar on This Topic!

Register for this free webinar, Counting Chemicals: Everyone is busy counting calories, when they should be busy counting chemicals!


Aimee Carlson is a lifetime entrepreneur, owning and operating a multi-location national franchise, to a professional network marketer, best-selling author, podcast host of The Toxin Terminator and certified Toxicity and Detox Specialist.

senior-man-dumbell-punch

Immunity in Question

When I was in graduate school, cardiac rehab was THE big issue in exercise science. Most graduates who wanted to work in clinical chose cardiac rehab as their mainstay. However, much of the discussion about the medical benefits of exercise changed in the late 1980s when Dr. David Nieman from Appalachian State University published the first in a series of reports on exercise and the immune system. In my opinion, Dr. Nieman changed the conversation on exercise as his research looked at one of the first biological mechanisms for change in the body due to acute and chronic exercise.

The State of Immunity

Why are we discussing exercise and the immune system? Because thirty years and hundreds of papers on the effects of exercise on immune enhancement, we are still as a nation not educated (let alone convinced) that exercise should be a mainstay of maintaining and improving overall health – especially in persons with infectious disease.

Let’s look at some of Nieman’s work. First, Dave was a marathon runner, who noticed that after long races he and his friends felt “drained” and some came down with colds. He took blood samples pre- and post-marathon race and found on numerous occasions that specific immune cells such as lymphocytes dropped dramatically after races – leaving persons (himself as well) more likely to come down with colds. So, his response was to train accordingly and get plenty of rest in days after races.

His second area of research looked at the chronic effects of exercise on the immune system, such as white cells, natural killer cells, and other specific immune groups. His conclusion after his research is that exercise does stimulate immune cell function, and this may help in persons with cancer (immune damage due to chemotherapy), and other metabolic diseases.

Today’s Immunity

Over this same 30 years the nation has gotten fatter, lazier and sicker. To the point where many people have no idea that their diet and exercise regimens can actually improve their immune function – so they resort to medications.

Today we are faced with a COVID infectious disease, where many people literally fear for their lives. The crux of this report isn’t to cherry-pick statistics, or to point fingers, but the bottom line is that persons who are physically fit suffer much less severe symptoms of COVID, the flu or other infectious diseases than sedentary counterparts.

The immune system is one of the strongest areas of biology that cement the strength of regular exercise. Along with changes in blood chemistry and telomere length, immune changes represent one of the foundations of clinical exercise benefits for young and old. Especially old.

Why Americans Should Start Exercising

Physical fitness has been left out of the discussion relating to COVID. This, along with proper nutrition and supplementation are not only NOT mentioned in the media, but many are disregarding the basics in favor of specific medical therapies.

Exercise should be touted if not for just ONE area of concern – and that is obesity. As one of the main comorbidities for severe COVID, losing weight would reduce severity in many people. This alone would reduce the burden of the disease from a death, healthcare expense and severity aspect. Of course, there are other complications relating to COVID, but in general, exercise has many positive effects, with few side effects. Its contribution to enhancing immunity is one of the biggest attributes.

Using proper assessment and outcome metrics, trainers and coaches can correlate the effects of their programs with other health and medical scores (such as a change in blood sugar or blood pressure each session, or loss of body fat over a one-month period). These are important because they will correlate to changes in overall blood labs, which will have both an acute effect (reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke, or asthma attack), or long-term effects, such as reduction in diabetic complications, risks of falls, and peripheral vascular disease. Trainers may not understand just how powerful regular exercise can be for specific medical populations, but since the 1970s, the data is clear that exercise has an effect on almost every type of medical condition – even relatively new conditions to exercise training such as autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

If we understand that just a moderate amount of exercise will improve circulation enough to enhance the immune system, then we should be detailing it to new members as they come into the health club setting.

Why Health Clubs Need to Open – and Stay Open

Even mom and pop clubs can play a role in improving health.  The first is to have a member tracking system that can keep people coming to the club, at least twice a week. For health’s sake, perhaps 3-4 days per week would be preferable.  The “essential” label is a bit misleading because there are no true metrics for what an “essential” business may be (outside of trash collection, medical triage, and grocery stores). Clubs can position themselves through medical fitness and in the near future, have the technology and assessments necessary to look at health outcomes as persons who normally would not be in a health club see the benefits of a medically based program that will cater to their needs while improving their health along the way.


Eric Durak is the President of MedHealthFit, and founding partner in the Fitness Is Medicine Initiative. He is a 35- year veteran of the health industry. He has worked for health clubs, medical research centers, and continuing education. He has been at the forefront of the medical fitness movement and appreciates the opportunity to work with MedFit Network to move medical fitness to the forefront of health care.  Email him at edurak@medhealthfit.com

 

References

puzzle-collaboration

The Power of Collaboration in the Quest for Cure

Let’s start with four statements I’m willing to call facts:
1. Chronic disease afflicts the majority of American adults over the age of 45.
2. People with chronic disease choose a visit with an allopathic physician (conventional medicine) as their first course of action.
3. A pharmaceutical prescription is the first course of action after linking symptoms and biomarkers to a commonly diagnosed disease (type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc.).

Knee joint anatomy, 3D model

Musculoskeletal System & Healthy Functioning: Parts that Make Up the Whole

Orthopedics 101: What makes up our musculoskeletal system? In order for our body to move, the joints, ligaments, and tendons must work together. If a person has a disease, injury, or condition, affecting any one of these parts, nerve signals are interrupted and movement is hindered.

When you think of joints, think of two parts of the skeleton being fit together. The bones are connected by joints. Joints are also called articulations. Here’s the lineup….

  1. Bones are lined with cartilage so they don’t grind against each other; it is the covering at the end of the bone.
  2. Bones are joined to bones by ligaments, so where two bones meet that is a joint; ligaments are important for stability.
  3. Muscles are connected to bones by tendons.

Technically, muscles are not part of the joint, but stronger muscles help protect the joints.

You know that cracking sound we sometimes hear with movement?? When you flex or contract a muscle which takes place at the joint, the ligament stretches with that joint. When you straighten out that joint, the ligament helps to pull the joint back to its normal starting position. This means that ligaments are a major part of movement, but over time, they start to lose their elasticity. This loss of stretch makes the joint make that cracking noise from bone on bone.

Tendons are important for our range of motion with movement. They’re found in smaller joints like fingers and wrists. We use tendons a lot, especially at the wrist. A tendon’s job is to make sure you can bend your wrist, but not too far.

After years of constant use, our joints can develop arthritis. This occurs especially in the knee, hip, and shoulder areas. The knee joint has three parts, the hip has two, and the shoulder has the one that seems to be commonly injured.

Tendons and ligaments do wear out. They do not grow or repair themselves. A baseball pitcher who has repetitively used their arm and shoulder to throw the ball as hard as they can over and over again will, after a number of years, most likely experience damage to the rotator cuff. Then it’s surgery.

Long story short, our body sure does do a lot for us to produce movement. As I type and while you read, movement is occurring even in the eyes. We have to appreciate what we have and if we don’t use it, we lose it before that expiration date comes our way.

Your fitness journey is a lifelong commitment to your health, so exercise wisely, fuel your body right, and MOVE!!!!


Megan Johnson McCullough, owner of Every BODY’s Fit in Oceanside CA, is a NASM Master Trainer, AFAA group exercise instructor, and specializes in Fitness Nutrition, Weight Management, Senior Fitness, Corrective Exercise, and Drug and Alcohol Recovery. She’s also a Wellness Coach, holds an M.A. Physical Education & Health, and is a current doctoral candidate in Health and Human Performance. She is a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, and published author.

 

References