Training hard often leaves you with stiff or painful joints, especially when you go to sleep at night. One has to be careful when dealing with joints, as they can be easily injured, and they tend to heal rather slowly. However, joint issues can put a serious damper on your training.
There is an exercise, called the self-myofascial release (also known as SMR), which can help clear up issues with mobility in your joints and prevent future injury or impaired movements. However, you should note that SMR is quite painful. In fact, it usually ends up around a 6-8 on the pain scale, but it can be a good feeling when you are doing it.
The most amazing thing you can get out of SMR is the feeling of instant relief. If you do it the right way, you will begin to feel better right away, but if you do it the wrong way, you will feel the difference. If SMR doesn’t help your joint issues, you might want to see a doctor to assess the issues and get a professional medical diagnosis.
In this article, we will explore a few orthotics and discover how SMR can be beneficial for various parts of the legs, feet, and ankles like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, and Achilles pain. Here are some of the injuries that an SMR may help with:
Typically runners and others who spent a lot of time moving on their feet experience something called shin splints, which is a type of pain that is felt along the inner edges of the tibia in the leg. This is just a common term for medial tibial stress syndrome, and it is all too common. Shin splints don’t always occur along the shins, however. This pain can affect both the outside (anterior) and the inside (medial). Whichever happens to you, shin splints can be extremely painful and difficult to deal with as you try to train.
Usually, beginner runners will feel the most pain from the shin splints, and it can especially be difficult for those who don’t build up the mileage slowly. Sometimes, shin splints can hit seasoned runners who suddenly change up their workout routine, switch up their landscape, or add too much to their mileage too quickly. Regardless, this issue is common and plagues those that try to do too much too soon.
Caused by a strain injury that produces various micro tears in the ligament of the foot, plantar fasciitis is not an easy injury to deal with. The plantar fascia is the largest of the tendons in the body, and the injury to this area can make even simple walking difficult. Most of the symptoms of this issue are things like tenderness to the area, stiffness in the ankle or foot, pain in the heels, or prolonged foot pain.
Typically, plantar fasciitis is caused by a repetitive strain to the area, which causes the ligament on the sole to become injured. This injury can be caused by landing from a jump, footgear that is not adequate, or even walking and running excessively.
Achilles Heel Pain
When looking at various orthotics, Achilles heel pain seems to be one of the top issues. Also known as Achilles tendonitis, this heel pain is the result of inflammation in the Achilles tendon, which is the tendon that attaches your heel bone to your calf muscle. It is a very important tendon as well, and inflammation in this area can cause serious pain to the feet, heels, and calves.
Unfortunately, there are two different types of Achilles tendonitis: noninsertional Achilles tendonitis and insertional Achilles tendonitis. The insertional type affects only the lower portion of the tendon that attaches to the heel bone. The noninsertional type affects the fibers within the middle portion of this tendon. Those who are very active tend to experience this type of injury more often. However, if you are experiencing severe pain in your Achilles tendon, you should speak with your doctor immediately.
The SMR Stretch
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, you are probably feeling a little less than eager to get back to your training. Dealing with this pain can be difficult, and sometimes pushing too hard can result in further injury to the area. Remember, if you are dealing with excruciating pain, a visit to your doctor might help to prevent out any injuries to the joints or tendons. You don’t want to risk more damage by trying to stretch things out.
However, if the pain is bearable but still making it difficult to train and exercise, you can try doing this single stretch to help alleviate some of the pain to get you back to your training. First, you need to find a foam roller. Some people prefer a medium density roller (softer), which provides less pressure to the joints, or you can get a high-density roller (harder), which provides ample pressure to the joints for the stretch. You should always listen to your body and choose according to your comfort level.
- Kneel on the floor with the foam roller on the floor adjacent to your body
- Putting your hands on the floor beyond the foam roller, bring your left leg up and place it on top the roller, about halfway down the
- With your hands taking some of your weight, bring your right leg up, and place it across the back of your left leg, keeping it parallel to the roller directly onto your sore calf. This helps to pinch the calf and stretch the muscles better.
- By sitting back and ‘walking’ your hands backwards, slowly as much body weight as you can stand on the roller, making sure not to put it directly on the shin bone, which can cause other injuries.
- Point your toes, or rotate your foot if you can making sure to keep your top leg as parallel to the roller as you can.
- Try doing the stretch for at least 30 seconds to get the best results, and try doing the stretch one a day for a full week then adjusting according to your needs.
If you are still suffering from any physical pain then seeing your doctor is important. Stretching the muscles and tendons can be a great help in relieving various types of pain and keeping you on your feet to train longer and harder. Pain in your joints, muscles, and tendons can make it difficult to get your training and exercise done, and it often can result in injury to the areas if you overwork them. However, proper stretching and care can keep them in good shape as you train.
If you are experiencing slight pain in your heels or Achilles tendon, then you might want to give the stretch mentioned above a shot. It can be beneficial in helping you alleviate some of the pain in the area as well as help reduce the risk for injury to the joint, muscle, or tendon.
You don’t have to struggle with the pain alone either, we at Focus Physiotherapy can help you find the best treatment for your condition and help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
We can get you back on the right track for your training and exercise, and we will help you stretch out the aching parts of your legs and feet that are preventing you from performing at 100-percent during your workouts.
To schedule an appointment, call Focus Physiotherapy today at 289-201-2451 or contact us here.