Blog - The Back and Body Clinic | Specialist Physiotherapy Northampton

Do you have a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) ??


What is RSI? RSI refers to pain felt in muscles or tendons from repetitive movements, over use or poor work posture.  It can affect any part of the upper body e.g. wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck.  RSI is common in many Read More

Knead a massage? That’s knot a problem..


The body is a marvelous thing, made up of numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and nerves that help us to function day to day, but without proper care even simple everyday tasks can become difficult. Why should I get a Read More

Is your child or teenager experiencing pain?


Here is a quick injury information check list for parents. We all know that getting your children into sports has so many beneficial effects for their health. However, it is important to be aware that your children’s bodies are going Read More

What do Podiatrists do? Part 5


Insoles There are many different insoles and orthotic options available today. Working out what is right for you can be difficult alone. Today we will run through a few different types of insoles, and their benefits and drawbacks. First up Read More

What do podiatrists do? Part 4


Athletic Kids As podiatrists we treat all age ranges right from first steps through to later life. A relatively at risk age group are active children roughly between the ages of 8-15. During this time a lot of growth takes Read More

Do you have a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) ??

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What is RSI?shutterstock_45308854
RSI refers to pain felt in muscles or tendons from repetitive movements, over use or poor work posture.  It can affect any part of the upper body e.g. wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck.  RSI is common in many occupations and activities but most commonly in those that use their upper body a lot e.g. working at a computer, assembly line, gardening, musical instrument, playing tennis etc.

What are the Symptoms?
RSI has a wide variety of symptoms which are normally most noticeable when performing the activity that causes them.  However, when the condition gets worse symptoms maybe constant and prevent you doing normal daily activities.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain/tenderness in muscle
  • Sharp/dull ache
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling/throbbing
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Cramp


Common RSI Conditions
There are dozens of different RSI conditions… here are just a few of the most common ones you might have heard of: Carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, wrist, shoulder or elbow tendonitis or bursitis ie. tennis elbow, golfers elbow.

Treatment ?
The first step is to work out what activity is causing the RSI.  If the RSI is due to an activity at work, then you need to speak to your employer or occupational health representative, as it might be possible to alter your work station.  It’s important to take regular breaks to stretch and move the affected area, as well as making sure you maintain good posture.  Regular exercise and the use of ice packs can also help relieve the symptoms of RSI.  Your doctor might prescribe some anti-inflammatories, pain killer, muscle relaxants or antidepressants, depending on your level of pain.

How can The Back and Body Clinic help?
Our Physiotherapists and Osteopaths are highly trained in dealing with RSI and get lots of great result with treatment. Our practitioners will ask you some questions to help identify what is causing the RSI.  It is so important that they address both the symptoms, but also the underlying cause of the problem.   They can provide hands on treatment to release the muscles and make sure all the joints are moving well.  They may use massage, manipulation, acupuncture, electrotherapy and taping for example. They can also suggest ways of reducing the strain on the muscle and give advice on exercises and self-help techniques to help speed up your recovery.  On occasions, when rarely all the above doesn’t help they might suggest the need for a steroid injection, which can also be carried out at the clinic.

How can you help prevent RSI ?
Make sure your work station is set up specifically for you.  Take regular breaks and take time to stretch and move about.  Try and avoid repetitive exercises.

It’s better to see a healthcare professional as soon as symptoms appear as the longer it’s left and the worse it gets the harder and longer it takes to recover.

Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 875950 or 01604 493066 to book your assessment .


Knead a massage? That’s knot a problem..

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The body is a marvelous thing, made up of numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and nerves that help us to function day to day, but without proper care even simple everyday tasks can become difficult.

Why should I get a regular sports massage?

The benefits of sports massage are endless and varied, so let’s break some of them down.

 

  1. Improve posture, movement and flexibility

Simple massage techniques aid in easing muscle tension which allows them to remain supple and more flexible. Sports massage works through the superficial and deep fibers of muscles, tendons and connective tissues which all have an impact on the range of movement you have available at a joint; by alleviating these tight areas in the soft tissue your movements are less compromised by areas of spasm and so your range increases. Healthy muscles and structures are more likely to do their jobs correctly and work harder to support the body as they are happy and tension free!

  1. Reduce pain, stress and improve sleep

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When a muscle is held in a tightened position for a certain length of time, the body’s nervous system begins to accept this as a ‘normal’ level of tension. Massage techniques such as Trigger Points help reduce this dysfunction by ‘resetting’ the level of tension. When these areas are treated, endorphins flood our body and calm our peripheral nervous system – these are natural chemicals released by the brain that help to relieve pain. Similarly massage also increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and delta waves in the body (these are the brain waves associated with deep sleep), so after a massage not only will you feel less pain, you’ll probably feel happier, calmer and have a peaceful night’s sleep!

  1. Prevent injury and aid rehabilitation or recovery

Tense muscles are more likely to become injured or strained than healthy, relaxed muscles; a massage prior to exercise can help to increase your circulation and blood flow to the area and ‘warm it up’ in preparation for activity. As it has also been suggested that massage can reduce muscle soreness (DOMS) and decrease recovery times, it may also help you to keep performing regularly at your current level too. Furthermore, if you’re currently injured and unable to train or undergoing rehabilitation after an injury or surgery, then sports massage can be a great addition to maintain or improve the health of your muscles and keep you in check ready for your big return!

Patients may react differently to treatments but a sports massage therapist has a variety of techniques at their disposal to combat this to help guarantee that you and your muscles can relax and recover.

Katie Mitchell (Sports Massage Therapist)
Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 875950 or 01604 493066 to book your Sports Massage for just £25.00.


Is your child or teenager experiencing pain?

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Here is a quick injury information check list for parents.

We all know that getting your children into sports has so many beneficial effects for their health. However, it is important to be aware that your children’s bodies are going through amazing changes and are growing at an alarming rate!shutterstock_509858269

When your child is going through these changes the area that the muscle turns into a tendon and attaches to the bone is the most vulnerable area. This is because the bones are softer than usual at the growth site and so more susceptible to injury. Repetitive overuse of one muscle can result in an inflammatory reaction at the area that the muscle attaches to the bone which can be very painful.

The good news is these injuries are very easy to treat and most respond to rest and gradual return to activity.

I think we all agree that prevention is better than cure and it’s all about making sure you don’t overload with the volume of exercise they are doing. This can be difficult especially when children love sport and want to play everything all the time!

Things to remember:

  • Make sure they have at least 2 rest days a week
  • If they have one heavy day of sport make sure the next day is a fairly easy session
  • Communicate with coaches if they have multiple commitments for example playing for school, clubs and county so that they are all aware of the loading, and can plan in some games/ sessions they can be rested.

shutterstock_541512988It is a good idea to keep track of your child’s growth spurts, by measuring them on the wall, if you do notice them shooting up, its worth just pulling back slightly on the amount of sport they are doing that month so that their body gets plenty of rest.

Remember bones grow quicker than muscles so when they shoot up, the bones will have grown and the muscles are being stretched over a larger distance, causing more tightness and tension in the muscles. Lots of stretching and foam rolling at these times is crucial, or sports massage is another brilliant way to loosen up the muscles.

If they do get pain, do not sit on it, come in and get an assessment as there are lots of things that can be done to help get them back on track and prevent any future problems.

Below are some common injury areas and conditions that we see in clinic and what to do about them.

Severs Disease

Severs disease is the most common cause of heel pain in children and adolescents, usually occurring between 8 and 14 years of age. It is thought to be an inflammatory reaction at the site of the attachment of the Achilles tendon of the heel, often because of sporting activities.

Presentation
Heel pain (often both), which is often of gradual onset and worse on exercise, especially running or jumping. The pain is often relieved by rest.

Typical signs are:

  • Tenderness on pressure of the heel
  • Pain on bringing the foot toward the head
  • Coming up onto tip toes
  • Swelling of the heel


Treatment options

  • The aims are to reduce inflammation to the heel to allow rest and recovery and prevent re-occurrence.
  • Physiotherapy and exercises. These include a combination of stretching, strengthening exercises, ice, temporary heel lifts, soft orthotics or heel cups in shoes, correction of mechanical malalignment through orthotic use, and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • In severe cases: temporarily limiting activity such as running and jumping.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Osgood Schlatters

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common knee condition at the insertion of the quadriceps just below the knee in active teenagers. The strength of quadriceps may exceed the ability of the tibial tuberosity to resist that force, this can cause inflammation and enlargement.

The common age for boys is between 12 and 15 years and for girls, between 8 and 12 years.

Symptoms

  • Gradual onset of pain and swelling below the knee.
  • Pain is usually relieved by rest.
  • Pain on running or jumping.
  • It is more common in boys than in girls.

Management

The good news is that most sufferers respond to conservative treatment. This is where physiotherapy can be helpful by stretching, strengthening, and reducing muscle imbalance of the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles. The physiotherapist can also advise about exercise, which should be tailored to the level of pain experienced by the sufferer.

Chrondromalacia Patellae

A note about terminology Chondromalacia patellae can also be described as Patello Femoral joint pain or Anterior Knee Pain, these are terms used by healthcare professionals to describe pain at the front of the knee.

Chondromalacia patellae is pain from the cartilage at the back of the kneecap (patella). The usual treatment advised is to avoid overuse of the knee and to have physiotherapy, which is effective in most cases.

Chondromalacia patellae occurs most often in teenagers and is more common in women. Although the reason why damage occurs to the cartilage is not clear, it is thought that the kneecap (patella) may rub against the lower part of the thigh bone (femur) instead of gliding smoothly over it.

Situations where this is more likely include the following:

  • Overuse of the knee, such as in certain sports.
  • Some people may have a slight problem in the alignment of the knee. This may cause the patella to rub on, rather than glide over, the lower femur. It may be due to the way the knee has developed. Or, it may be due to an imbalance in the muscles around the knee.
  • Injury to the knee may contribute – perhaps repeated small injuries or stresses due to sports, or due to slack ligaments (hypermobile joints).


What are the symptoms?

  • Pain around the knee. The pain is usually located at the front of the knee, around or behind the kneecap (patella). The pain is typically worse when going up or down stairs. It may be brought on by sitting (with the knees bent) for long periods.
  • A grating or grinding feeling or noise when the knee moves.
  • Occasionally there is some fluid swelling of the knee joint.


Are any tests needed?

  • Often, no tests are needed, as treatment can be started based on a working diagnosis following a thorough assessment.


What are the treatment options?

  • Physiotherapy – improving the strength of the muscles around the knee will ease the stress on the knee. Also, specific exercises may help to correct problems with alignment and muscle balance around the knee. For example, you may be taught to do exercises which strengthen the inner side of the quadriceps muscle and the buttocks to place less strain through the knee.
  • Modification of activities of the knee – until the pain eases. Symptoms usually improve in time if the knee is not overused.
  • Painkillers – paracetamol or anti-inflammatory painkiller.

Contact the Back & Body Clinic today to book an appointment. 

What do Podiatrists do? Part 5

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Insoles

There are many different insoles and orthotic options available today. Working out what is right for you can be difficult alone. Today we will run through a few different types of insoles, and their benefits and drawbacks.

First up is over the counter or prefabricated devices.JCR_7866 These are available to anyone to buy, or some more condition specific devices may be available to practitioners to buy and dispense to patients.

The benefits of these devices are that they are usually cheaper, have no waiting time to manufacture, have a reasonable life span and the wide array available does give some specificity to them.

However, these are not bespoke and made specifically for you or your shoes. Therefore, they may not fit the anatomical land marks of your foot perfectly, they may not fit easily into shoes, you may not be able to tolerate them, they may not be tailored to your specific bio-mechanics and are not as adjustable.

Casted or semi casted devices.   These are usually rigid or semi rigid devices. An impression of your foot is taken usually by use of a foam box or plaster of paris cast, a material (EVA Carbon Polypropylene) is then molded to the cast, finally additions are made specifically to address your particular bio-mechanics.

The benefits of these devices are that they usually have a long life span, are bespoke to your specific needs and can be used to treat a wide range of conditions due to the large number of additions that can be made.

Drawbacks include higher cost (usually the most expensive), the manufacturing time, no option to ‘try before you buy’ to assess effectiveness, tolerance or accommodation within footwear, they are casted to the foot, not the shoe, so can sometimes be difficult to fit.

Soft or simple insoles. These are my personal favourite. These usually begin life as a temporary device that is made to fit your footwear with padding added to affect the function of the foot andshutterstock_97671347 lower limb using semi compressed felt. This temporary device is then adapted and fine-tuned based on the patients’ feedback, then used as the template to turn it into a permanent device.

The benefits of these devices are that they are tired and tested, all the fine tuning is done before anything permanent is manufactured, a temporary device can be made straight away, they are made specific to patients’ specific needs and footwear, have lots of adaptability and are usually better tolerated.

The drawbacks are they don’t last as long usually 12-24 months, temporary insoles are not 100% effective, temporary insoles will wear quickly and there is manufacturing time for permanent insoles.


What do podiatrists do? Part 4

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Athletic Kids

shutterstock_541512988As podiatrists we treat all age ranges right from first steps through to later life. A relatively at risk age group are active children roughly between the ages of 8-15. During this time a lot of growth takes place. As a side effect of this growth period, something I commonly treat are a set of conditions called osteochondrosis.

These are what you could describe essentially as “growing pains”. Whilst bones are still growing there are “soft” areas in the bones called growth plates. Tendons usually attach at these growth plates and place increased loads on these vulnerable soft areas. Active children will obviously place more load on these areas by virtue of their sporting activities.

Common sites for pain are the heel, the knee and the arch of the foot.shutterstock_541326385

All these can be treated with insole therapy and rehabilitative exercises.

Once the growth plates close and fully ossify (harden) pain can resolve, however if there are contributing biomechanics, then these problems can persist as tendinitis’ or enthesitis’ (pain either in the tendon or at the point of attachment of the tendon)

There are lots of other conditions that can affect a younger population, as always if you have any questions or queries do not hesitate to get in touch or book in for a consultation.

Connor Ratcliffe (Podiatrist)
Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 875950 or 01604 493066.


What do podiatrists do? Part 3

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Footwear

Footwear is very important; lots of foot pain can be exacerbated or caused by poor or inappropriate footwear choice.

Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing shoes:

-Make sure the shoe is appropriate for the activity for example, the footwear for running a marathon should be different to the shoes worn for a kick around in the park, depending on the level and type of activity you are doing footwear will change. Casual gym going with a few weights, a bit of cardio and some classes may potentially still warrant a different shoe from regular running (maybe something less cushioned and more responsive). If you are lifting heavy weights in the gym then a stiffer harder, higher heel raised shoe is usually more suitable than a running shoe. Likewise, if you play a lot of court sports, a specific court shoe will have different characteristics than a general trainer or running shoe. Even occupation will have an impact, a hairdresser or chef on their feet for hours every day, should be considering different footwear to someone who sits at a desk all day.

shutterstock_484975483-Make sure the shoe is comfortable, some shoes will be designed to be more comfortable than others (think a marathon running shoe vs a racing spike) but footwear should still always be comfortable (not pinching or digging in), if it isn’t comfortable then it doesn’t fit correctly.

-Try to avoid heels above 2 inches for long periods of weightbearing. Above 2 inches the structure, function and pressures exerted on the foot and lower limb are drastically changed and can lead to all manner of problems down the line.

-Try to avoid slip on shoes or flat flip flops for extended periods of weightbearing. The foot will overwork and claw to hold onto a shoe that isn’t fastened to the foot, they are unsupportive and usually too flat which exerts pressure on the heel.

-Removable insoles in a shoe allow you (or your podiatrist) to more easily modify the footwear, it allows for more depth and accommodation within a shoe.

-As a guide for a general shoe worn for long periods of weighbearing, ideally it should have some kind of fastening, a supportive heel counter, a slight heel and a supportive cushioned midsole.shutterstock_89411002

Size is important, shoes should have some space (usually around 1cm) between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This is to allow for changes of volume in the foot; this is more important the longer you are on your feet as heat and loading will cause greater changes in volume. However the shoe still needs to feel secure and the foot should not be slipping or moving within the shoe.

-Always make an effort to try on shoes before buying. Despite saying they are a wide fit or a size 7, fits and sizes do vary massively, so always buy based on fit rather than what is written on the label.

Lace up shoes are useful as they allow for more adjustment in fit of a shoe. Different lacing techniques can also be used to relieve pressure or increase support in certain areas.

 

Connor Ratcliffe (Podiatrist)
Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 875950 or 01604 493066.


What do podiatrists do? Part 2

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Common Foot Complaints Treated

As podiatrists we treat a variety of problems from the hip all the way to the toes, including illiotibial band friction, patellofemoral pain, “shin splints” and many more. Today I will go through a few of my most commonly seen complaints.shutterstock_90181162

Plantar fasciitis/heel pain this is probably the most common complaint I see. It usually presents as medial heel pain that eases with activity and is worst after long periods of rest.
Contributing factors can be the structure of the foot, footwear, activities, sudden change in hobbies or occupational demands (long hours on hard floors for example).

Treatment usually consists of a combination of insole therapy and rehabilitative exercises and stretching. Therapies such as massage, taping or ultrasound can also be very useful.

Bear in mind not all heel pain is plantar fasciitis, some heel pain is self-diagnosed as plantar fasciitis but is actually caused by Achilles tendon, fat pad irritation or structural issues like bony prominences or scar tissue, so it is always worth being properly assessed by a professional.

JCR_7866Metatarsalgia – forefoot pain. This is an umbrella term that encompasses anything that causes forefoot pain. There are many causes of forefoot pain that a podiatrist will treat routinely, these include: corns, callus, bone bruising, fat pad displacement or atrophy, claw or hammer toe deformities, plantar plate irritation, sesamoiditis and the list goes on! Due to numerous causes and the often complex onset of forefoot pain, it is definitely worth being assessed by a podiatrist.

Treatment for forefoot pain is varied, but can include insole therapy, footwear advice, physical therapies, surgical referrals and general treatments like callus or corn removal.shutterstock_504549343

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (ankle and arch pain). The posterior tibial tendon is where the muscle tibialis posterior attaches into the bones of the foot. This is a very important muscle and tendon as it controls pronation (the foot rolling inwards) and resupinates (rolls the foot outwards) the foot ready for propulsion. It also attaches into most of the bones that make up the arch structure of the foot. Therefore, if it starts to weaken or stop working as it should you may initially notice pain around the inside of the ankle and into the arch. It can be on both feet or just one. You may notice changes to the structure of the foot, it getting flatter or rolling inwards more. If left un-treated this can lead to surgical intervention.

Treatments will initially involve insole therapy, load management and specific strengthening exercises. More serious end stage dysfunction may only be treated with surgical intervention.

 

Connor Ratcliffe (Podiatrist)
Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 875950 or 01604 493066.


What do Podiatrists do? Part 1: Foot Care

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Foot care

Podiatrists specialise in treating the foot. To do this successfully we also assess the whole lower limb- from the hips to the toes!  Today we are going to explore the foot care part of the job.

This entails making sure the skin, nails and bones of the foot stay healthy and comfortable. This can involve simple things like specific footwear advice, different lacing techniques, or advice on self-care, for instance moisturising (which ones to use and when/where) nail cutting or hard skin (callus) mHeel Fissures Back and Body Clinicanagement.

We also manage:

  • Difficult to cut nails
  • Thickened nails
  • Hard skin
  • Skin fissures
  • Corns
  • Verruca
  • Dry skin

 

We have expertise in medical conditions that can affect the foot, like diabetes for example, and can provide screening and advice, as well as management, to help keep the feet healthy.

We have special instruments to cut nails and use scalpel blades to remove corns or callus (don’t worry its usually painless!) We can also intervene in reducing pressure areas for patients. Insoles aren’t necessarily just for sports, an insole or padding may be used to offload a painful corn due to a bony prominence creating a pressure area. Or a special wedge may be used to reduce the build-up of a soft corn between toes.

For further information on what we can do for you or someone you know, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Connor Ratcliffe (Podiatrist)
Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 875950 or 01604 493066.


Got a big race coming up?

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Sports Massage Could Be The Key To YOUR Training Regime!

Are you training for a Marathon? Triathlon? Iron Man? 100K challenge? Tough Mudder?

Running Massage

Preparing for such events takes a lot of time and commitment. While your mileage and intensity gradually increases, are you looking after the muscles in your body so they also are in optimum condition? After all, they are the engine behind your success!

Having regular sports massages while you are training can help with muscle soreness, injury prevention, reducing tight muscles and aiding a speedier recovery.

Does this sound like something that can help you?

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Get Your Feet Fit for Summer!

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Podiatrist Ann Exton’s Hot Hints and Tips:

Fungal Infections  |  Blisters  |  Dry & Cracked Skin

 

Feet on sandy beach Back and Body PodiatryWith long, hot days just around the corner, most of us will be digging out our summer footwear that has been hidden away since the cold weather took hold. The Back and Body Clinic’s expert Chiropodist/Podiatrist Ann Exton, talks you through her hot hints and tips to help you feel happy about your feet this summer.

During the winter, we have a tendency to neglect our feet as they are hidden under layers of socks and shoes. Consequently, we can develop problems that we don’t tend to think about until we begin to think about our summer flip-flops. The problems are then revealed in their true glory and we wish that we had addressed them earlier!!

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