If you have any familiarity with the world of fitness, you are likely well aware of current popularity barefoot running. Mainstream media has also been gaining interest following the release of the best seller, “Born to Run” written by Christopher McDougall (a fascinating read by the way if you get the chance).
However, when it comes to 039#the next greatest thing039#, a little extra research may end up going a long way toward preventing an unnecessary injury (and by default, lost training time!). First, what are the potential benefits to running (or training) barefoot anyway? I mean are people just making a statement, or is there some biomechanical/physiological reason to do it?
One can come up with quite a long list of reasons, but to me there are two big ones. The first is to literally get back in touch with the ground. The bottom of your foot is loaded with nerve endings and mechanoreceptors that are constantly talking back and forth with your brain to modulate strength, speed, and balance to move you efficiently through space. A modern cushioned shoe can impede the communication between your feet and brain.
The second consideration has to do with ground reaction forces. When running in shoes, the impact is greatest at the heel, which then rolls the foot flat, and finally leads to a push-off into the next stride. Repeated impact with the heel on the ground is essentially 039#pounding the pavement039# and may end up punishing all the joints of the kinetic chain (ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, spine). If you heel strike when running barefoot, you will only do that once before realizing it really hurts! So rather than landing on the heel, there is earlier contact with the mid/forefoot – which then dissipates the ground force through the arch and decreasing joint compaction.
Alright, so if it is so good, why aren039#t we all doing it? Or why are people getting hurt doing it? The simple answer is because we are all individuals with different bodies, training experiences, and goals. An experienced distance runner would need a fairly significant 039#break-in039# period to run barefoot. An inexperienced running altogether also needs time to adjust; he or she has never loaded their bones under running conditions. The bottom line is that our bodies are remarkable machines capable of tremendous adaptation, but we need to give them time to do so.
On the flip side, some people may never be ready for barefoot running. What works for some, may not work as well for others. There is no catch-all training program or method that works across the board. Research is ongoing to determine the true effects and/or benefits of barefoot running. It is extremely unique in that it is an ancient practice and a brand new one all at the same time.
Until we have more hard evidence, I recommend some in depth consideration about the pros and cons before starting any barefoot training. The most prudent course of action in my mind is to seek out a movement specialist and to undergo a Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Try to find and correct any imbalances you may have and the rest of your training will be that much stronger.
The shoes are called Kangoo Jumps, and they claim to give you a great workout without the wear and tear on your joints. In fact, many people say they mimic the feel of running on a trampoline.
Ali Gorman, along with 6ABC Health Check producer Cheryl Mettendorf, along with a representative for the Kangoo Jumps company, Beth Kruper. Kruper showed them the ropes and, after about two to three minutes, they both got the hang of it. Kruper says Kangoo Jumps absorb 80-percent of the shock while you're running so it's easier on your joints. They're also said to tone your leg muscles faster and burn more calories than running in sneakers.
“When you run in them you're using more muscles than you would in sneakers,” Kruper said. “So if you usually burn 100 calories in a mile, you'll burn 130 to 140.” So what do runners and fitness experts think? First we asked triathlete Matt White to give Kangoo Jumps a try. After a short run down Kelly Drive, he says they were easier to use than they look. He also agreed they're easier on your joints.
“It absorbs all the shock especially when you're running on concrete,” White said. College student Lindsay Scoffone of Mount Airy also quickly became fan. “It felt good, it felt easier than running actually,” Scoffone said. But are they safe and do they live up to their claims?
We asked Joe Ruhl, president and co-owner of Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness, to give them a try. His initial impression was they felt better than he anticipated. He said the shoes do seem easy on the joints and said it made sense that the Jumps will help you tone muscles faster and burn more calories. “You could really feel those muscles working a lot more than what you would normally do when jogging,” said Ruhl.
As for the claim on the Kangoo Jumps website about the shoes giving you a natural facelift… He couldn't comment on that. But, overall, he thinks they're safe for healthy people and a good way to heighten the fun factor in your workouts. However, the Kangoo Jumps are not for everyone, he said. They should not be used by pregnant women or any one with balance or serious medical problems. They cost about $230 to $260.
Jess has done an excellent job in helping our clinic deliver excellent patient care. Her outgoing personality and friendly attitude helps bring patients into the clinic. She also takes on additional roles at the front desk and she raised over $800 and put in the best time of any Excel employee for the Broad Street Run. We want to wish her the best of luck and congratulate her on acceptance to the Physical Therapy program at Temple University. It is dedicated people like Jess who make Excel the best health care provider in the region.
Excel is looking for the Best of the Best! We currently have several excellent opportunities for FT/PT Physical Therapists at our South Jersey and Greater Philadelphia locations.
Here039#s your opportunity to become part of a successful organization that values your skills, takes pride in your achievements, and produces great results.
Highly competitive salary and incentive packages.
Generous benefits packages including medical, dental, prescription, vision, life and short term disability coverage, 401k matching contributions and your choice of health savings/flexible spending accounts.
Unique Employee Stock Plan. Be a part of this elite group of employees who are financially rewarded for their efforts to grow the revenue of the company.
Continuing education package ($2,000 + 3 days off)
Payment of annual APTA dues
Many other benefits, including a comprehensive training and mentoring program.
Plus, we encourage your ongoing professional growth. Excel Physical Therapists enjoyopportunities for upward mobility in management, marketing, wellness, and as clinical mentors and leaders.
We know we are only as good as the professionals who treat our patients! For that reason, we recruit, train, and retain the best physical therapists to care for them. If you value individualism, yet strive to be part of a dynamic team, please call Heather at 215-629-3837, option 6. To interview for a PT opportunity at Excel, please submit your resume and cover letter to email@example.com or fax to 215-689-4406 or fill your application our online.
Triathletes deal with different types of injuries, and most occur from the overuse of joints or muscles. Triathlon training causes stress on the tissues surrounding joints, bones, tendons, and muscles, which can be a very difficult and painful thing to deal with. The body is sometimes unable to keep up with the repair of the damage created from overuse, and this is when the injury occurs. Because the tissue surrounding muscles and bones begins to deteriorate from overuse, this can cause pain and weakness, including inflammation around the injured component. The most common ways to relieve pain and swelling is resting, icing the injured spot, relaxation, and of course, a physical therapy regimen. Listed below are the most common injuries that triathletes experience, and a few ways to relieve muscle tension and pain with the help of physical therapy and stretching.
With this post, we begin a multi-part series looking at common triathlon injuries, and how physical therapy can help them. First up, Tennis Elbow!
This injury, also named lateral epicondylitis, is an injury to the tendon that attaches to the elbow. Recurring stress on the muscles that extend your wrist causes pressure on the tendon, resulting in tension on the bone in the elbow. Besides triathletes, this condition commonly affects tennis players, bowlers, gardeners, carpenters, and those whose professions demand repetitive activities on the forearm and elbow. While icing and resting the elbow and forearm may help soothe some of the pain, physical therapy could provide a more long-term and pain free result.
Physical therapy can help one recover from tennis elbow by increasing flexibility in the muscles and by strengthening them in a specific way. The most important stretch is achieved by holding your arm out straight in front of you and using your opposite hand to bend your wrist down and away from the midline of your body. This stretch should be held for approximately 10-20 seconds, and then repeated to your ability and pain level. Most importantly, a PT can look at what caused this injury to occur in the first place (such as hand placement on a bike039#s handlebars) and offer suggestions to prevent its039# return.
Center city Excel staff filmed a “wake-up” call for NBC 10. It will be aired tomorrow (Thursday, June 9th) at 5:45 am and 6:45 am on NBC. Check them out as they wake up viewers!
Also, on June 21st on the NBC 10! Show at 11 am, Excel will be providing the “fitness” segment for their Bridal Special Show. Our bride to be; Desirae will be “teaching” Kim how to get her upper body in shape for her wedding day! This episode is PERFECT for any brides to be who are looking ot get in shape.