By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey • May 19, 2020
Stephanie Duffey • Jul 06, 2020
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey • Feb 17, 2020
WHAT IS PRONATION?
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey • Dec 04, 2019
As a physical therapist, I’m often asked the question, “How do I know when I need to slow down, stop, or keep going?” It’s a valid question, and one that many people struggle to identify. It’s challenging to interpret what you’re feeling in your body, when you can push harder, and when you need to scale back. So, to keep things simple, I came up with a little something I like to call the stoplight method. Let’s break it down.
Green Light: When you’re operating at the green light level, you’re able to exercise with no aches and pains and you may even be looking for ways to intensify your workouts. If you’re a runner, you’d be able to maintain the current pace or distance that you’re following with no discomfort. This is where you want to be (but I know this isn’t always possible or realistic).
What to do: Maintain what you’re doing, or experiment with advancing to the next level. For runners, this means working toward a faster pace or increasing your mileage.
Yellow Light: Signs to look for if you’re approaching the yellow light include light soreness or achiness that persists for more than 24 hours after your run, a small limp when running (but not when walking), and slight swelling of your joints after a run.
What to do: Slow down a bit—this is your body telling you to back-off. Take a rest day and re-evaluate how you’re feeling. Try to recognize patterns. For example, maybe your knees start to hurt when it’s time to get new running shoes, so take a trip to the shoe store! Listen to your body and take action if there’s a behavior you need to change to feel better and enhance your performance.
Red Light: If you’re approaching the red light, you’re experiencing very sharp pain that stops you in your tracks. The pain is debilitating and you are unable to walk without a limp. You may be experiencing intense swelling in your joints and intense discomfort that doesn’t subside after 24 hours.
What to do: It’s time to consult an expert. You may be at risk of a stress fracture or other serious injury. While it’s challenging to seek help and cease physical activity, it’s important to be seen by an expert early, so your injury doesn’t intensify. You may also be able to recover more quickly if you get help for the problem earlier rather than later.
I hope my simple stoplight method helps you identify how to deal with the pain you may be experiencing in your body and the action steps you need to take to feel better.
Need help from an expert? Let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey • Mar 02, 2020
WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?
WHAT’S THE CAUSE?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Other than identifying what caused the irritation in the first place, here are some of my other tips for managing plantar fasciitis:
- Get a frozen plastic water bottle, freeze it, and roll your foot on it using moderate pressure a few times a day. This loosens the tissue and the ice cuts inflammation. You can also use a tennis or lacrosse ball.
- Stretch your calves with the knee straight and then bent, or use a foam roller. Tightness and trigger points in the calf can be a contributing factor and refer pain to the heel so it’s extra important to stretch this area.
- Stretch the plantar fascia by crossing the ankle over your knee and pulling your toes backward. This is a great way to loosen up the bottom of your foot
- Get a supportive, pronation-control shoe. Plantar fasciitis pain can come from excessive or quick pronation. Find a shoe that works for you and use inserts as a secondary supplement.
- Try a night splint or sock that pulls the toes up to give a long duration stretch while you sleep. This can be uncomfortable so I recommend you build your way up. Start with a few hours and gradually work up to the whole night. It usually takes about 3 months to get the full benefit.
- Watch how you lift. Whether you’re lifting a squirming child or weights, be sure to lift with your legs, not your back. The quads and glutes are waaayyy stronger than your small back muscles, so be mindful.
- Take a posture check. How you sit (or stand) during the day is really important. Desk jobs in particular bring you forward and cause you to slump. Think of it this way: For every degree your head comes forward, your spine muscles have to work exponentially harder. Not sure what your posture looks like? Have a co-worker take a surprise picture of you sitting at your desk to get a good glimpse of your posture during the day.
- Use a lumbar roll, especially if you work at a desk or drive frequently. A lumbar roll is a squishy pillow that you can place behind your low back to create additional support. It also helps your posture when you’re seated. Here’s the one I use from Amazon.
- Take a stress test. What repetitive motions do you do frequently exhibit throughout the day that cause aggravation? Maybe it’s reaching for something, picking up an infant, or some other movement. Make a tally of what’s causing irritation in your back on a daily basis.
- Strengthen your core correctly. By activating ALL the core muscles (not just the six-pack in the front) you take strain off your back. While strengthening your core isn’t the only way to resolve back pain, it certainly is a game-changer.
- Move your body. Incorporating movement into your daily routine can significantly reduce back pain. The next time you miss your workout, notice how you feel. Chances are, you’ll feel much better when the muscles are loose from working out.
- Stretch your hips, mid and upper back. Practice mobility work so you can move through these areas and you aren’t relying only on the mobility of your back alone.
- Use good pillow support when you’re sleeping. If you’re a belly-sleeper, you may try placing a pillow under your hips. You should also consider training yourself not to be a stomach-sleeper to take some of the pressure off of your back. If you’re a side-sleeper, put a pillow between your knees to keep your legs stacked. This helps take the twist out of the low back). Back sleepers should try placing a pillow under the knees for additional support.
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey • Apr 21, 2020
TYPES OF FUEL
- Butter, coconut oil, red meat
- Seeds, fish
- Avocado, nuts
TIMING (AKA: WHAT TO EAT BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER A RUN)
- Toast with peanut butter and jelly
- Banana and peanut butter sandwich
- Oatmeal and fruit
- Pretzels and hummus
- Whole grain waffles and syrup
- 1 cup of low fiber cereal with milk
- Granola bar
- Gels: honestly, I prefer chews over gels so I don’t have a go-to gel
- Chews: Clif Bloks, Shaklee energy chews
- Sports drinks: Shaklee hydrate, Nuun (skip the Gatorade and other drinks with high fructose corn syrup!)
- Shaklee protein shake with fruit (banana with chocolate protein is my go-to because of the potassium in bananas)
- Chocolate milk
- Fruit and cottage cheese
- Trail mix
- Energy bar with a good mix of carbs and protein