An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Training, physically

I've now been through three sessions of physical therapy at Apple Physical Therapy, rehabbing my shin stress reaction.

I talked a lot with the PT during the first visit, and what it's coming down to is finding imbalances and addressing them. They really don't know what cause the stress reaction, but they know that something caused all the stress to focus on one location, and that was likely caused by an imbalance.

What have we found so far?

(1) Well, the big toes on both my feet seem to be shifted in opposite directions -- my left is shifted down, my right shifted up. I've kind of known this for many years, as the compression of midsole material on my right foot is always concentrated under the ball of my foot. I didn't realize just how dramatic it was, though. In the neighborhood of some 30 degrees of range of motion. So I'm stretching the toe ligaments (gently) to work on evening out that range. Here's the trick -- don't just push the toe in one direction or the other. All that does is activate the tendons. What you do is grab the toe and pull it out slightly, THEN start moving it. I don't understand why it does what it does, but it takes the tendons out of the equation and allows you to move the toe against the actual limiting ligaments of the range of motion.

(2) My hip abductors are relatively weak. The PT put me on a BOSU balance board (like a large circular board bonded to half a balance ball) to check. Uncontrollable side-to-side oscillations indicated that the hip abductors are weak relative to the adductors. Other than that, my balance is pretty good. So I'm working on strengthening those. How? By putting a rubber band (rubber hose tied into a circle) around my ankles and walking sideways... slowly... straight legged and completely upright, no swaying of the upper body. It's agonizing. And very humbling.

Will these things keep me from having a recurrance of the stress reaction? We don't know for sure, but it's addressing some underlying issues, and will contribute to better long-term health.

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