Patient Resources

Understanding is everything

Like any problem, a physical condition needs to be properly understood in order to be improved.

 

With the wealth of information available online it can be easy to feel confused and overwhelmed about what’s right for you. Here you’ll find not only relevant information regarding Podiatry but also common misconceptions and myths that I’ll set straight. Anything here that you’d like to discuss or find out more about, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Sprain or Strain ?

Fun Patterned Socks

The two can often be confused. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between the two…

 

The first point to make would be to point out is that a sprain affects the ligaments. For example, a sprained ankle means that one or more ligaments around the ankle has been torn or stretched.

 

Sprains come in three grades of severity:

 

Grade 1: Some fibres of the ligament are torn or stretched.

Grade 2: The ligament is partially torn.

Grade 3: The ligament is completely torn or ruptured.

 

Strain, on the other hand, affects the muscles and/or tendons. So if you’ve overstretched or torn a muscle, that’s a strain and the rehabilitation you’ll receive will be different from that of a strain. For example, your surgeon or physiotherapist will draw up a treatment plan and guide you with specific exercises to do (and more importantly when to start exercising again). Additionally, orthotics will reposition and stabilise your foot and ankle to help speed things up in a more well-rounded way.

TENDONS or LIGAMENTS ?

 

In short, tendons connect muscles and bones together whilst ligaments connect bones.

FLEXIBILITY or MOBILITY ?

Flexibility first. Muscles and tendons are the main actors here. You can improve your flexibility by working out and stretching.

 

Mobility, however, does not involve muscles. Instead, it’s all about ligaments. At first, it’s important for you to determine if you are rather stiff, mobile, or hypermobile. Hypermobility is a condition but certainly not a disease. In fact, the most incredible dancers and gymnasts tend to be hypermobile. At the other end of the spectrum however, being stiff is good for nothing unfortunately.

 

Mobility is often used as a big word, associated with movement and the ability of a joint (bone-to-bone) to move within a certain range of motion (ROM). That is the reason why you will see so many fantastic fitness classes focusing on “mobility”. I recommend them, they’re hugely beneficial to anyone who wants to stay as healthy as possible as they age. But do not expect to train your ligaments, they are not like tendons or muscles. What you can avoid, or more specifically slow down, is their retraction. Take hammer toes as a cautionary example – at a certain age they become unreducible, because retracted ligaments have lost their elasticity and at an advanced stage, you’ve got to cope with the toe deformation. Just ask Granny!

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