Archive for the ‘Around the internet’ Category

Ryan Zimmerman on DL with plantar fasciitis

I ran across an article a couple days ago that talks about Ryan Zimmerman, a professional baseball player, having to be put on the Disabled List because of plantar fasciitis pain in his left foot. What caught my eye was that he’s only going to be on the DL for 15 days, and the coach’s statement regarding his performance (which has been lacking lately, due to the injury): “I fully expect him to be, at the end of the year, where he normally is.”

If you follow athletics and keep an eye on the time that it takes professional athletes to recover from injuries and conditions like plantar fascia pain, you might notice that, in most cases, they get better very quickly. Why is that? Well, professional athletes are young (Zimmerman is 30) and generally in great shape, and of course that helps. But they also have access to the absolute best medical professionals and trainers, as well as the latest in cutting-edge medical knowledge. When big money is on the line, like it is in professional baseball, teams don’t want to have their players sitting on the bench any longer than necessary. So they make it their business to keep up with the latest research and know the absolute best and fastest techniques to rehabilitate their athletes.

Compare this to your average doctor, who is busy with his practice or working 12-hour shifts in a hospital. With medical knowledge literally doubling every year, the average doctor simply doesn’t have the time to keep up with all the new developments. And there isn’t much financial incentive to do so either. He’s going make a perfectly good living just taking care of people using what he was taught in Med School. And for most people, whatever the doctor prescribes will be sufficient to make them feel better. So, no problem.

But if you’ve had a chronic condition, been the your neighborhood doc and not gotten better, it might be time to look around for more effective solutions. Medical knowledge is advancing at an incredible rate, and it’s actually likely that you will be able to cure yourself in many cases…even if your local doctor doesn’t know how to do it.

Reader Questions

Happy new year, everyone. I thought I’d start the year off with some information about my “Target” products. There are a few questions I get on a regular basis, so I’ll try to answer them below.

Q: What is contained in the free mini-course that you give away on the right side of your blog?

A: The mini-course is basically a quick education on plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciosis, and why you should treat them differently. It has some tips on nutrition and treatment, and clears up a lot of the confusion that people have about the two conditions. (The information is also relevant to tendonitis/tendonosis.) If you sign up for it, you’ll get an email every day or two for a couple of weeks, giving you various aspects of the issue. And yes, I’m selling something here, so you’ll also get some information about my ebook+video package. But it’s a pretty soft sell, and you certainly aren’t obligated to buy anything.

Q: I heard that your ebooks have sold in something like thirty countries. Is that really true?

A: Actually, they have sold in more than forty countries worldwide. If you’re interested, here’s a list for just the past month:

The UK, the USA, Cyprus, Switzerland, Australia, Portugal, France, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Hong Kong, Turkey and Ireland.

Q: I was looking for Target Plantar Fasciitis on Kindle. I thought I saw it listed, but now I can’t find it.

A: I used to have both the Target Books (Target Plantar Fasciitis and Posterior Tibial Tendonitis, and Target Tendonitis) on Kindle, but I took them down. One reason, frankly, was that I was tired of paying Amazon two-thirds of the cover price, but the more important issue was that there wasn’t any way of getting the videos bundled with the book on the Kindle platform, and without those a lot of people seemed to have a hard time understanding how to perform the exercises I recommend.

Q: I don’t really like ebooks. Can I order a hard- or soft-cover version of TPF?

A: Sorry, but I don’t offer anything other than the PDF version. The reason is the same as the answer to the last question: no way to include the video without adding a lot to the cost. Plus, 99% of the people who buy my books are in fairly severe pain and want to get rid of it as fast as possible. They don’t want to wait 2-3 days (or longer in the case of international sales) for a regular paper book to be shipped.

Q: Do you offer your ebooks in languages other than English?

A: I’m working on it. The Japanese version of Target Tendonitis has been completed and is now on sale. Target Plantar Fasciitis has yet to be translated into another language, but if there is a demand for it, please let me know via the contact form on this website.

Q: Why doesn’t stretching work to get rid of my plantar fascia pain?

A: Stretching is great for preventing pain, but not really effective for getting rid of a problem once you’ve got it. If you have either fasciitis (inflammation of the fascia) or fasciosis (degeneration of the fascia tissue), stretching won’t help much. And in the case of fasciosis, too much stretching may actually cause further damage if the connective tissue has been weakened beyond a certain point.

Q: Is there a quick way to tell which condition I have, plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciosis?

A: Yes. The quickest and easiest way is to just take the test that I’ve put together here. It’s free and only takes about a minute to complete.

Hope this helps. If you have a question that you’d like to have answered, either leave a comment below or use the contact page to get in touch.

A lot of bad advice out there…

A silly video

I ran across a video the other day and thought I’d write a post about it because it gives a good example of just how much bad advice there is out there among “certified” physical therapists and so on.

Before I start, I want to say that I know (and have used) some excellent PTs, and I certainly do not want to say that everyone in the field is a quack or anything like that. There are definitely some good people out there, and if you have access to a really competent PT, he or she can often work miracles. But on the other side of the coin, just having a certification (of any sort) doesn’t necessarily make you competent in your job. And a lot of people get fooled by labcoats.

Personally speaking, I’ve received enough bad advice from “body professionals” over the years that nowadays when I have to see one I always try to assume that they know what they’re talking about…but I also always ask some pointed questions, just to make sure. I hope that this blog post will make you think about things a little, and encourage you not to blindly accept what you’re hearing the next time you go in for some “body work”.

I’m not going to link the video here, but you can find it on YouTube. Just go to the YouTube site and type in /watch?v=pn6i-_dTX0g after the www.youtube.com part of the URL. The video’s less than two minutes long, but if you don’t want to watch the whole thing I’ll give a brief summary below.

Strengthening a tendon

The video shows a PT who tells you how to “strengthen” an apparently healthy woman’s achilles tendon by using a stretch band. The woman is sitting on a therapy bed and takes the band, loops it around her foot, and then proceeds to exercise the foot against the band by pointing and relaxing her toes.

All this is fine, and the PT makes sure to cover some good points about getting in a full range of motion and so on. The problem is that the band only provides about five or ten pounds of resistance, and the woman in the video who uses the band has got to weigh at least a hundred and twenty.

This may not seem relevant, but think about it for a second. If she weighs 120lbs, that means that every step she takes she is putting 120lbs of pressure on her achilles tendon. How is a band with ten pounds of resistance going to strengthen a tendon when that tendon has far more stress put on it just when the woman walks? (We won’t even talk about how much more than 120lbs each step really is because of acceleration/deceleration forces.) If you can bench press 200lbs without any problem at all, you’re not going to develop more strength by working out with 20lbs.

What’s the point?

So what’s the point of using a very weak stretch-band for this? Basically, unless the woman was injured and spent so much time off her feet that her achilles tendons atrophied to the point that they can no longer support any weight (which would mean that she couldn’t even stand up), there is none. Maybe a polio victim would qualify, but exercising an achilles tendon in any realistic scenario will involve using a decent amount of weight, one that equals a significant percentage of the exerciser’s bodyweight.

Yes, if the woman was injured or is recovering from surgery it makes sense to monitor her level of pain and start out using a lighter weight. But not this light. Using a weak band like that reminds me of the housewives who walk into gyms, start using the one- and two-pound dumbbells, and then wonder why their bodies don’t change. It’s not hard to understand when you realize that the average bag of groceries weighs more than the “workout” weights! They’re not using enough resistance to have any effect on the muscles.

One other point about the video is that the PT says that the stretch band provides “constant resistance” so long as the hands holding the other end of the band remain stable, but this isn’t really true. If you stretch a rubber band out, there is going to be more and more resistance the further you stretch it (until it breaks, anyway). The resistance at the beginning is light, and gets progressively heavier the more you pull.

Admittedly, this is pretty minor. The range of motion that a foot has isn’t very great, and so there won’t be a lot of difference in resistance between the beginning and the end of the motion. But it’s disturbing that a trained and certified PT would say something like this in the first place, when a simple, “Be sure to keep your hands in the same place” would be fine. I think that a lot of times people in positions of authority like doctors and physical therapists have a need to justify what they’re saying to their patients, and sometimes this can lead to a little trouble.

Think for yourself!

In any case, please, if you have a problem with your achilles tendon, plantar fascia or anything else, don’t just blindly trust what someone in a labcoat tells you. Use your common sense and try to think critically about what’s being said.

Author: Alex Nordach