Can You Handle Your Jandals?

Featured in “Fitness Life” magazine
November 2011

“Stride out on the beach this summer, don’t hobble”, says osteopath David Knight

 

jandals2After a long winter spent wearing closed shoes, the sudden change to jandals in the summer often causes a flurry of people hobbling through my practice with shin and Achilles tendon pain.  The thing is, to prevent your jandals flying off as you walk, your toes perform a subtle ‘claw’ action and you put more weight into the front of your feet.  After the winter break, this can result in muscle irritation and tenderness in the shin and Achilles tendon areas.

Symptoms are often worse in those people whose calf muscles are very tight and short.  Those muscles are the shock absorbers for the legs, and if they are very tight, they are much less effective at soaking up the force of everyday movements.  As a result, the tension often pulls into the Achilles tendon, causing pain and limited movement when you first get out of bed in the morning.

A very quick, easy test to see if your calf muscles could do with some stretching is to squat down, keeping your feet flat on the floor.  If you have to lift your heels to do so, you need to stretch those calf muscles!

  • A simple calf stretch can be done in the time it takes the kettle to boil:
  • Stand 1m from a wall, with both hands pressing against the wall at chest height.
  • Step back with one leg and stretch that heel towards the floor, keeping both feet facing forwards.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat three times on each side.

David Knight is an osteopath based in Napier.  Email: david@knightsosteopathy.co.nz

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