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Knees, Backs, Feet & Footware Questions Answered

Knees, Backs, Feet & Footware Questions Answered

Categories // Health

tALk active team members Physiotherapist Karen and Podiatrist Abbie answered questions on facebook on Friday 10th February 2012 and the session is still displayed on the tALk active facebook page. Here's a quick look at what was said:-

Is it ok to wear the new footwear that makes your foot unstable (like Sketchers Shape ups and MBTs) for Zumba?

The new style of footwear is advised against because they make you more unstable leaving you more prone to injuries such as ankle sprains. The design of the shoes does not allow for easy sideways or diagonal movements due to the treads in the shoe which is designed for easy forward and backwards movement. This in combination can cause increased strain on your legs and hips.

Generic trainers, trainers designed for aerobics, dance, gym work or dance shoes designed for high impact activities are the best shoes for zumba. Many dance outlets now stock these but they can be a little pricey. A good basic trainer without built up supports (no anti-pronatory inserts etc.) and very shallow tread are also good. You don't want too much support as you need to be able to move sideways. The lack of grip allows you to change direction rapidly and twist on he balls of your feet.

You also need to look for trainers with a bit of give in the sole and if they have good cushioning inside then that helps to protect your joints from impact. Too rigid and you are at risk of developing plantar fascia pain.

I was wondering if you could help with a problem I have with my ankle, it kind of "went" a couple of weeks b4 Xmas while doing Zumba and I had to stop class early it was really painful. I rested it over Xmas and thought it had got better but it still twinges on and off and isn't right it's on the inside of my ankle and feels like it did when I had a sprain a few years back (but can't remember if it was the same ankle!) ... I'm quite large and am just hoping its not too much leaping about with too much weight! Hope you can help?

To sprain your ankle on the inside is quite rare unless you go over on the outside of your foot so severely it traps/bruises the structures on the inside of your ankle, if you had done this you would have been hobbling around with lots of pain on the outside and inside of the ankle. Sometimes you can get an impingement onthe inside of your ankle or stretch of the ligament due to foot position.

The other common muscle to aggravate on the inside of your ankle is tibialis posterior which can be strained or stretched when you have gone over on your ankle. The exercises for all are quite similar.

One of the best exercises is to go up onto your tip toes. You can do this whilst you are brushing your teeth, doing the washing up etc.

I sprained my left ankle five years and it has never been the same despite the heel raises I do every day. I notice the arch on my left foot always aches after zumba so I roll a hard ball on the floor to stretch it out. Is there anything else I could do?

After a sprain the muscles supporting the foot often become weak. Strengthening these will help with the ankle. Has the arch become lowered since the sprain?

The other muscle that may have become injured it a muscle called tibialis posterior which runs behind the inside ankle bone (medial malleolus) and joints the foot in the middle of the arch. If this muscle is injured that pain in the arch can occur after exercises.

Strengthening this muscle is very important but also wearing an insole so that that muscle is not stressed by a lowering of the arch can help. To strengthen the muscle continue with your heel raises but do it standing on just one leg and slowly raise up onto your toes. Another good exercise is to sit with your legs and feet at 90 degrees and gently push them together to the point that you can feel it but so it does not hurt. Repeat this but with the outside edges of your feet pushing together.

The insoles you should be able to buy from places like boots. Aching in the arch of your foot could also be unrelated to your actual sprain and more to do with foot position or footwear worn whilst doing zumba. Rolling a ball under the foot may feel nice as a massage but won't strengthen the muscles that support the arch and neither will heel raises.

The exercise to do for strengthening of the arch of your foot is to stand and look at your foot try and roll the foot onto the outside edge slightly until the arch appears the same as the other side, you can progress this by doing it on one foot. Scrunching your toes and pulling the arch of your foot upwards helps with the strength in the arch of your foot, the easiest was to do this is to try an pick up an object like a towel, if that is too easy try a more slippery material. If you want a real challenge that silk will give you this.

When i jump up and down (or hop!!) I get a sharp pain in my shin area its worse on my right leg and has been getting progressively worse over the last few months. Has it only come on since you started doing zumba?

Do you run at all or have you increased the number of sessions that you do? It could be a condition called shin splints where a lot of force is being taken by the shin bone. Often caused by increased inpact.

There are quite a few causes including tightness in you calf muscles, the position of your feet, the shoes you are wearing and increasing the amount of jumping you are doing. First of all check your shoes. Have they worn out? If so please change them. A good cushioned sole will help. If you are finding that this is not enough than cushioning insoles for running (sorbathene) are very good for added shock absorption. Occasionally a heel raise helps but the sponge ones flatten really quickly. Apply Ice to the affected area. Running an ice cube down the painful point after exercise (zumba class) will help with pain relief. Also stretching the muscle in the area will help.

The main muscles you need to stretch as the calf muscles. I find the easiest exercise to do is to sit with your back against the wall and your legs flat on the floor straight out in front of you. This way you can still sit and watch the tele whilst exercising. standing as if you have taken a big step forwards bend the front knee and lean most of your weight on that leg leaving the back leg straight with the heel on the floor (if you can't follow this ask any of the team at your next class how to stretch your calf.) This needs to be done three times a day three times with a hold of thirty second.

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