Chronic Ankle Sprains and Strains: Soleus Calf Muscle Stretch

If you have a history of rolling over on your ankles and spraining them, they may be weak and / or you might have tight calf muscles as well. This is an excellent way to stretch out the Soleus portion of your calf muscles if they are really tight.

To stretch out the left Soleus portion of the calf muscles place the forefoot of your left foot on an incline block or a piece of wood against the baseboard on the wall. The heel is planted on the ground.

Then bend your left knee towards the wall while lowering your body downwards. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, doing 3 sets on each side 2 times per day.

If you have a history of rolling over on your ankles and spraining them, they may be weak and / or you might have tight calf muscles as well. This is an excellent way to stretch out the Soleus portion of your calf muscles if they are really tight.

Many sports involve the use of a mobile calf muscle and doing this stretch can increase your ankle mobility to help you improve performance, especially in running-related sports and activities. 

Core Stability – Why does it matter?

What is the core, and why is it important?
The core is the center of our body, and its function is to stabilize the trunk while the arms and legs move. The core consists of muscles that stabilize the hips, torso, and shoulders, therefore having a strong core can help us prevent major injuries, while improving balance and stability. Building a strong core can make it easier to do most physical activities, whether it just be daily tasks or sport performance. Weak core muscles can lead to poor posture, low back pain, and muscle injuries, therefore it is crucial to build a strong core alongside your daily exercise routine. 

Benefits of core strength/stability include:

  • Injury prevention
  • Low back pain prevention
  • Improved posture
  • Balance and stability doing every day tasks such as housework
  • Improved athletic performance. 

Exercises for core stability strengthening

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Healthwise Staff (2017). Fitness: Increasing Core Stability.
Retrieved from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/zt1226

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

What is a TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull. You have one TMJ on each side of your jaw, and any type of pain in this jaw joint and muscles that control the jaw movement can be a symptom of a TMJ disorder. The exact cause of a TMJ disorder can often be difficulty to determine, therefore visiting a specialist can give you a better diagnosis. The pain can come from a combination of factors such as arthritis, jaw injury, consistent teeth grinding, and genetics. 

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Pain in the TMJ’s
  • An aching pain in and around your ear
  • A clicking or popping noise when opening and closing the mouth 

Prevention

  • Improving posture in the neck and upper back muscles 
  • Ice or cold packs to areas of the joint during onset of inflammation
  • Avoid excessive gum chewing 
  • Massages or gentle self-stretching of the jaw and neck muscles 

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Canadian Dental Association (n.d.). Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
Retrieved from https://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/talk/complications/temporomandibular_disorder/

Chronic Ankle Sprains and Strains: Gastrocnemius Calf Muscle Stretch

This is an excellent way to stretch out the main portion of your calf muscles if they are really tight. Many sports involve the use of a mobile calf muscle and doing this stretch can increase your ankle mobility to help you improve performance, especially in running-related sports and activities.

If you have a history of rolling over on your ankles and spraining them, they may be weak and / or you might have tight calf muscles as well.

To stretch out the left gastrocnemius portion of the calf muscles, start by engaging the inner core muscles below your belly button. Plant your left foot and heel into the ground and keep your low back flat as possible as you maintain a tight core. Then step your opposite foot towards the wall and place your hands at shoulder height onto the wall in front of you. As you bend your right knee, pretend you are pushing the wall down in front of you while keeping your low back flat, core engaged and the left heel planted on the ground.

This is an excellent way to stretch out the main portion of your calf muscles if they are really tight. Many sports involve the use of a mobile calf muscle and doing this stretch can increase your ankle mobility to help you improve performance, especially in running-related sports and activities. 

Chronic Low Back Pain: Rectus Femoris Muscle Stretch

This stretch can help with the chronic low back pain you may consistently have.

Prepare a nice cushion for your left knee to be on and a step stool to place the top of the foot on to have greater knee flexion. This will isolate the muscle stretch.

Keep your posture nice and tall and imagine there’s a string pulling your whole spine upwards from your pelvis, right up your entire back and neck and up to the top of your head. Then engage your inner core muscles tight below your belly button and keep your low back flat and contract your left butt muscles.

Next, bend the right knee forward and keep your posture nice and tall without leaning backwards. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times for each side.

This stretch can help with the chronic low back pain you may consistently have. If you experience pain or have any problems doing this exercise then consult your local Physiotherapist before continuing.

Ankle Sprain Injuries: Split Squat Jumps Ankle Strengthening

Split squat jumps is a progression of the regular split squats. It will help you develop dynamic strength in your legs, thighs and hips in order to further progress the strength of your ankle after a sprain.

Engage the inner core muscles below your belly button to maintain a tall & neutral upright posture. Place your back leg into extension by pushing the back forefoot into a solid bench or a chair supported against a wall.

With your arms in the ready position bend the knee to 90 degrees by bringing the butt down and then jump back up. Keep your thigh strong by preventing the knee from buckling inwards. Keep your knee over the heel and don’t let it go over your toes. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side. 

Split squat jumps is a progression of the regular split squats. It will help you develop dynamic strength in your legs, thighs and hips in order to further progress the strength of your ankle after a sprain. 

Preventing Repetitive Strain Injuries At A Desk Job

Labour-intensive industries get a lot of attention when it comes to work-related injuries, but employees who work in office settings are also at risk. Poor ergonomics and organization can lead to common office injuries such as computer eye strains, falls and most importantly, repetitive use injuries.

Our bones and muscles make up our musculoskeletal system. This system allows us to perform activities such as walking, running, and anything requiring the movement of the body. A repetitive strain injury occurs when repeated movements produce stress on your body. Unfortunately, many office jobs require repetitive motions to fulfill our duties, and for this reason, they are the most common type of injury found in the office (WCB). Examples of repetitive strain injuries include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, radial tunnel syndrome, and others.

Symptoms of repetitive strain injuries include:
  · Dull aching
  · Loss of sensation (numbness) especially at night
  · Tingling and burning sensations
  · Swelling around wrist/hand
  · Clumsiness (impaired dexterity, loss of ability to grasp items, etc.)
  · Muscle weakness, fatigue, and/or spasms

Prevention:
  · Stop or reduce the intensity of activity causing the pain
  · Taking breaks from repetitive tasks
  · While at the desk…
      · Ensure proper ergonomics
      · Avoid slouching
      · Avoid bending the wrists when typing
      · Avoid hitting the keys too hard when typing
      · Don’t grip the mouse too tightly
      · Ensure you are working in an appropriate temperature
Standing up and performing stretches such as the following:

WCB (n.d.) Office Ergonomics. Retrieved from: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/public/office_ergo.pdf

Ankle Sprain Injuries – Split Squats Ankle Strengthening

Split squats will help you develop more strength in your legs, thighs and hips in order to strengthen your ankle after a sprain.

Engage the inner core muscles below your belly button to maintain a tall & neutral upright posture.

Place your back leg into extension by pushing the back forefoot into a solid bench or a chair supported against a wall. With your arms in the ready position bend the knee to 90 degrees by bringing the butt down. Keep your thigh strong by preventing the knee from buckling inwards. Keep your knee over the heel and don’t let it go over your toes. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

Split squats will help you develop more strength in your legs, thighs and hips in order to strengthen your ankle after a sprain. If you have any pain during the exercise or are unsure about what you are doing, consult your local Physiotherapist before continuing. 

Health Benefits of Yoga

  · What is Yoga?
Yoga is a mind and body practice with a 5,000 year history in ancient Indian philosophy (Ross & Thomas, 2010). However, in more recent years, it has become popular as a form of exercise. Incorporating breathing exercises, meditation, and poses designed to encourage relaxation, yoga can amount to immense physical and mental benefits. All you need to start practicing is proper activewear, and a yoga mat.

How is yoga different from stretching?
Yoga poses have two very distinct qualities that need to be cultivated in order to be considered “yoga”, described in the Yoga Sutras as sthira sukham asanam (Ross & Thomas, 2010). Translated to English, In order for postures to be considered yoga, there has to be a balance of steadiness and alertness, as well as comfort and ease in the mind, body and breath of the practitioner.

How do you know if you’re doing it right?
1. Are you moving in sync with your breathing? Let your breath guide you in and out of postures. If your breathing becomes short or disturbed, come out of the movement and breathe freely.
2. Where is your attention placed? Focus on the present moment and be mindful of your thoughts. When your mind begins to drift, return your focus back to your breath.
3. Is there a balance of stability and sense of ease as you perform the poses? Never force the body into a particular form. Ask for modifications, or avoid doing poses that are uncomfortable for you to do (Ross & Thomas, 2010).

Benefits include:
Physical
  · Increased flexibility
  · Increased muscle strength and tone
  · Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  · Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  · Weight reduction
  · Cardio and circulatory health
  · Improved athletic performance
Mental
  · Managing stress
  · Mental clarity & calmness
  · Increases body awareness
  · Sharpens concentration

Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: A review of comparison studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 16(1). doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0044

Shoulder Rotator Cuff Strain: Resisted Clock Reaches

If you’ve been doing the “Clock Reaches” exercise and it has been getting super easy without resistance then this progression will help further strengthening the rotator cuff and the shoulder after an injury.

With a light resistance band loop wrapped around your wrists, kneel down in 4 point position with your fists on the ground and keep your spine in neutral posture with your inner core muscles engaged. Imagine there is clock face numbered 9 to 3 O’clock on the ground in front of you.

Begin by reaching the right hand to 9 O’clock and then back to the start position. Proceed to continue to 1O, 11, 12, 1, 2 and then 3 O’clock, and then reverse back to 9 O’clock again. Repeat this for your left hand. Perform 3 sets of 5 for each side.

This exercise is also great to do if you want to increase strength even when you’re not injured. If you have any pain during the exercise or are unsure about what you are doing, consult your local Physiotherapist before continuing.