Spinning plates and how core stability affects balance

A body in balance is a dynamic system where the center of gravity is oriented over the base of support.  For example if you lean backward and orient your center of gravity behind your base of support you will have to respond by taking a step back in order to remain balanced.

If the center of gravity by nature is unstable and weak, the challenge to the base of support increases in the same fashion as ‘spinning plates’.

The lower extremities must respond with increasing rate of adaptation often leading to loss of balance.  Balance is an involved topic consisting of many potential problems, but oftentimes increasing the stability of the torso can help reduce erratic movements of the center of gravity thus reducing the adaptation demands of the lower extremities.

14 flavors of foot dysfunction! Understanding the spark to the kinetic chain.

The foot can be likened to the spark that initiates the kinetic chain.  Upon impact with the ground the foot should be able to convert forward momentum to a lateral, and rotational force up through the knee and into the hip to load the glute and facilitate receptors to propel the body.

When the foot sparks the kinetic chain with too much or too little, lateral and rotational forces then we begin to see dysfunction up the kinetic chain.  These common issues can often be the overlooked villain behind accelerated knee, hip, and lumbar spine degeneration.

As promised in the title are 14 flavors of foot dysfunction with basic definitions

  1. Rearfoot varus – Heel bone inverted
  2. Rearfoot valgus – Heel bone everted (rare)
  3. Tibial Varum – bowing out of tibia (loads inside of knee greater)
  4. Forefoot Varus – Inside of forefoot twisted down relative to outside (most common)
  5. Forefoot Supinatus – Same as above but driven by soft tissue
  6. Forefoot Valgus – Inside of forefoot twisted up relative to outside
  7. Plantarflexed 1st Ray – Big toe series of bones through the foot are pushed down
  8. Ankle Equinus – Foot points down relative to ankle
  9. Forefoot Equinus – Forefoot points down relative to midfoot
  10. Hallux Limitus – Big toe doesn’t lift up much
  11. Hallux Rigidus – Big toe lifts up even less
  12. Hallux Primus Elevatus – 1st Ray – Big toe series of bones through the foot are pushed up
  13. Hallux Abductovalgus – Big toe pushed laterally over other toes
  14. Metatarsus Adductus – Bones of the digits pushed in direction of big toe creating a ‘curved’ foot

Lots of minutia concerning the foot only to establish a point that foot type and performance is essential to efficiency in the kinetic chain!

Exercise for weight loss MYTH!

Quite often I have spoken with individuals seeking weight loss through exercise.  A common opinion is that weight loss is as simple as ‘calories in vs calories out’, or in other words if I work hard enough I can efficiently lose body fat.    I have heard countless times the statement ‘I can’t lose body fat because it hurts to move’.  As a result I have experienced individuals becoming demoralized with exercise and pursuit of weight loss.  The idea that exercise is the most efficient means to address weight loss is WRONG.



The most efficient means to lose body fat is through diet.  The anecdotal expression in bodybuilding is that ‘cutting’ body fat is (80% diet, 20% exercise).  Diet is more complicated than ‘calories in vs calories out’.  No diet approach to reducing body fat is efficient unless it emphasizes minimizing sugar intake.

Every pound of body weight reduced reduces stress on the knee by 3 pounds.  A distended abdomen from belly fat (greater omentum) often causes the lumbar spine to compensate by extending thus limiting space for the nerve roots (pinched nerves).  Countless musculoskeletal maladies are efficiently addressed through pursuit and maintenance of a healthy body weight.

Body weight management is essential to help preserve, enhance, and restore mobility!

Dislocated my tail bone… OUCH!!!

I have heard many complaints of falling ‘right on my tailbone’ and persistent pain following.  Is it significant?  The best comparison that I have heard related to the function of a tailbone is likened to the tip of a ‘spinning top’.  Image result for spinning top

If the bottom of the top contributes to proportionate centrifugal force (the torso coiling around the pelvis) then what happens when the tip is ‘bent’.  This concept is difficult to research but important to consider.  Sacroiliac pain?  Persistent instability in the lumbar and sacroiliac region?  Any history of falling on your tailbone?  Well, just another thing to consider.

Healing time and chronic pain.

Often I hear individuals suffering from pain lasting > 1 year seeking a ‘fix’ from a healthcare provider.  It is good to know of some general time spans for musculoskeletal healing to better understand possibly if exercise may be harmful or worth the discomfort.

Generally bone takes 6 weeks to form a callus whereby a person can perform some form of exercises and weight bearing.

Tendon generally takes 8 weeks.

Ligament generally takes 12 weeks.  As I have seen orders from surgeons to initiate straight line jogging 3 months after anterior cruciate repair <strength permitting>.

So if you have been hurting > 1 year, chances are time has allowed compromised tissue to mend.  So why the continued pain?

-Possibly never providing the tissue with correct nourishment to encourage healing. i.e. MOVEMENT (bone needs weight bearing, disc needs compression/distraction, tendon likes moderate tension along line of orientation, etc.)

-Possibly the tissue or region in question is moving too much.

-Possibly the nervous system has become hyper-vigilant.

This post is only meant to provide enough information to warrant further exploration along these lines.  Good things to ponder.

Image result for healing time and pain

Movement efficiency and finding the villain

How the body moves can be likened to an office of workers.  In this office 10 employees all performing their respective roles contributes to the efficiency and harmony of the workplace.  Let’s say 3 of the workers are not performing their respective role, this leads to the other workers being required to bear the workload of the unproductive workers.  Poor efficiency and office morale can easily be seen as the result of the 3 workers not performing although the biggest complainers are the remaining employees working too much.

Movement is in much the same fashion.  Mechanical overload in the neck and low back can often be attributed to lack of help from the mid-back or thoracic spine.  Knee pain can often be the fault of a bad foot type or hip issue.  Although the body may complain of pain, the problem often lies elsewhere.


Victim in the middle! AKA the knee

After receiving a request to post a video on the knee on my youtube channel, I thought I would comment on a common theme in knee injuries.  To understand dysfunctions in the knee we first have to understand how the knee is made.  First and foremost the knee is a hinge joint.  Meaning just like a hinge on a door it likes to move primarily in one plane being forward and backward.  The knee is happy moving as a hinge joint but degenerates and suffers injuries when asked to move side to side or rotate.

So… since the knee can’t significantly move side to side or rotate on it’s own because of how the bones are made then what introduces pathological motion of rotation and side to side movement?  Well, it’s not the knee that’s doing it.

The knee is RARELY the problem with knee problems.

Look to the neighbors of the knee.  The foot and hip.  The foot and hip have the ability to greatly move side to side and rotate.  Could the foot be making the knee move side to side too much?  YES.  Could the hip be making the knee move side to side too much?  YES.  Could the hip and foot be working to destroy the knee?  YES.  Can the knee create these motions by itself?  No.

Quit blaming the knee while it’s screaming for help and look at the neighbors above and below.

Secret ingredient for fall prevention

The title of this article is in reference to an often overlooked aspect considering fall prevention.  The focus of this post is POWER.  Power = force x velocity.  Velocity in reference to the speed at which you are moving.  Power is essential in fall prevention by quickly recovering from a perturbation, or balance challenge.  If I trip stepping over a curb, my center of gravity (torso) will quickly travel in front of my base of support thus precipitating a fall.  Unless I can quickly recover and move my leg in front of my center of gravity I will fall.  Thus my leg must move quicker than my torso as I try to recover from the perturbation.  An essential component to fall prevention is the speed at which you can move.  Being able to orient your ‘center of gravity’ over your ‘base of support’ is essential to maintaining balance.  It is a necessity that speed is present, or the ability to move quickly, in order to orient the base of support under your center of gravity, aka your legs under your torso.

So when you are attempting to address balance please integrate speed as a variable in exercise selection

Good Luck and more to come!

Robin Hood, Movement dysfunction, and Pain

Robin Hood is a story where the hero ‘robbed from the rich to give to the poor’.  I think of movement dysfunction in the same manner.  If a hip is stiff and unable to rotate it will ‘rob’ that motion of rotation from somewhere either above or below itself.  If the hip ‘robs’ rotation from the low back then there is a high probability of creating dysfunction.  Some literature suggests disc tears happen with rotation > 5 degrees between motion segments in the low back.

Hopefully by having a general understanding of movement responsibilities in the body we can avoid the ‘Robin Hood’ scenario and avoid movement dysfunction and subsequent pain.

Considerations for strength and conditioning the preadolescent athlete SOCCER

Just finished a powerpoint presentation addressing coaching, training, or conditioning the young athlete (ages 5-12).  A couple of slides bias this presentation toward the sport of Soccer, but implications are applicable across the board.  Free for download without audio by clicking the following ====> youthsoccer

Or you could visit the presentation with audio commentary on my youtube channel by clicking HERE

Hope you enjoy the information I provide and continue to be patient as I find time to build information regarding strategies to preserve, enhance, and restore movement!  Thanks!