Every year, millions of people are victims of horrible accidents; whether it’s work-related injuries, automobile accidents, or incidents at home. It’s true that a lot of these people die because of their severe injuries; however, a considerable number survives!
Unfortunately, in many cases, the survivors lose a part of their bodies or their functionality. Lower limb amputation is one common surgery performed to save the victim’s life, especially after automobile accidents.
After the limp is amputated, patients are often provided with a prosthesis and are advised to go through physical rehabilitation to at least gain back some function.
The two main factors that predict how will the patient progress in his/her therapy and what kind of results to expect are:
1-The patient’s mental resiliency and willpower.
2-The quality of the prosthesis provided.
The first factor is hard to quantify and can be improved by psychotherapy sessions to help the healing process. The second factor; however, is where we come in!
The science of studying the biomechanics of the foot has helped develop more advanced prosthesis and wearable assistive devices with a significantly better functionality; this is why it’s very important to keep digging to reach a comprehensive understanding of the foot’s biomechanics and energetic behaviour during running.
So, let’s start by asking ourselves a couple of questions:
How does the human foot’s energy status fluctuate during running? What role do the biological components (e.g. muscles, ligaments, tendons, plantar fascia) of the foot play during walking and/or running? How can we reach a better understanding of the biomechanics and the energetic behaviour of the foot?
These questions may sound daunting and even futile at first, but that’s far away from the truth! You see, for each question answered, we are one step closer to creating better versions of artificial prosthesis and wearable assistive devices.
To answer these questions, Luke Kelly, a podiatrist at the University of Queensland and his colleagues conducted experiments on 14 participants. The results were published in many reputable magazines such as Nature.
Luke and his colleagues brought 14 healthy males and asked them to run on a force-instrumented treadmill, which is a treadmill with fancy equipment that measures force, speed, angle, and time of contact between the foot and the treadmill.
Luke divided the experiments into three phases; at each phase, the treadmill’s configurations were set to a different speed starting at a slow speed and then accelerating in the next phase.
Using the sensitive sensors on the AMTI treadmill, we can measure all different kinds of parameters of the running participants at different speeds.
The goal of this study was to determine whether the foot acts as a spring that stores energy then returns it, or as a damper that dissipates energy, and the overall contribution of all active and passive tissues that work together to produce the necessary energy during running.
For example, the plantar fascia which is a structure composed of soft tissue located at the bottom of the foot acts as a spring during running; it stores the mechanical energy then releases it.
On the other hand, the fat pads located at the heel and the front of the foot act as a damper that stores energy and dissipates some of it.
The energetic behaviour of the foot was often thought of as having spring-like qualities. In order words, muscles, ligaments, and tendons were considered as spring-like structures that absorb mechanical energy during the early and mid-stance phases, just to return that energy in the late stance phase which contributes to 8-17% of the energy needed for each step. This fitted the concept of energy conservation that was proposed and that was that.
In this study; however, energy dissipation from different tissues such as muscles and fat pads was noted, with approximately 20-50% of the energy absorbed by the fat pads getting dissipated.
The amount of energy being dissipated is proportionally increased with velocity. This behaviour resembles the model of a viscoelastic damper rather than the spring model proposed earlier.
This might seem counter-intuitive at first. Why would such a considerable amount of mechanical energy be dissipated? This means that the exact amount has to be generated by muscular contractions elsewhere in the body. Why waste energy?
The study suggests that the energy dissipation may help with slowing centre of pressure (COP) progression; thus, prolonging contact-time between the foot and the floor which will maximise the time for propulsive impulse (energy to take a step) generation. Eventually, this will help significantly with energy savings that otherwise would have been generated by other muscular groups.
The results of this study have the potential to change how we view and design prosthesis and wearable assertive devices. The new models can be much more energy-efficient and will improve the interaction of these devices with humans.
Even though the results of this study are quite intriguing and open the door for multiple innovative designs of prosthesis; we need to do more research and investigation to get a clearer view on how the overall energy profile and biomechanics of the foot function and the interaction between different structure on an energetic level.
Kelly, L., Cresswell, A. and Farris, D. (2018). The energetic behaviour of the human foot across a range of running speeds. Scientific Reports, [online] 8(1). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043578/pdf/41598_2018_Article_28946.pdf [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
Movember & where it started!
Movember is coming, the month of the Mo, where men around the world grow a Mo in the name of Men's Health.
The Movember movement originated in our own town, Melbourne (Australia) in 2003 with with two mates joking about bringing back the Mo.
Taken from the Movember website:
"The two friends decided to talk their mates into growing a Mo. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fund raising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer. They designed rules and guidelines for Movember (which are still in place today) and agreed to charge ten dollars to grow a Mo. Trav designed the first Movember logo, and they sent around an email titled Are you man enough to be my man? They found 30 guys willing to take up the challenge."
Now Movember is focusing on raising funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer & mental health issues, along with simply raising awareness for Men Health.
My Mo History
I started as a guy just 'growing a mo' in 2010, starting in the middle on November, not knowing what Movember was or why people were growing Mo's besides simply wanting to grow Mo's.
The following year I was searching the internet and found out about the Campaign- raising awareness of Men's Health while also raising some money for Prostate Cancer & Mental Health Issues.
At the time I was working at a bottle shop and a few of my colleagues had done Movember in the past, but this year we decided to make a group and get a few other work mates involved, while putting out donation boxes for customers to donate if they wished. Together we raised a couple of hundred dollars, which is just great. Grow a Mo, have some fun, raise a few bucks for a good cause!
The following year I got my family involved (2012), including my sister, mother and especially my father who had not shaved his beard, since he left school (about 40 years!). He took some convincing, but decided to do it for the good cause that is Men's Health (see YouTube video of him shaving it off below) and guess what, now he has a Mo & goatee (not a full beard!). My sister wore all sorts of Movember tops to spread the word of Movember, while raising money for it. My mother was a traditional Mo Sista, who registered, raised awareness and some funds for Movember through word of mouth and supporting my dad.
Last year (2012) I unfortunately gave Movember a miss, due to finishing off my Degree and starting my business, but this year in conjunction with the Ashburton festival it will be bigger than ever for me! The Ashburton festival will have a Health & Movember side to it this year with various health activities and health businesses and groups getting involved. More details to come, but keep the date free- Sunday 23rd Movember 12-7pm.
So what can you do?
Want to get involved? Here's a few things you cam do to start with
So only males can get involved?
Females can register as Mo Sistas and get involved, but the level of involvement for Mo Sistas is really up to up. If you have a male partner you can motivate them to get involved and support them. So you could draw a fake Mo on yourself, make or buy and wear a Mo themed tee shirt and help raise awareness and funds that way!
If you have any other great ideas how a Mo Sista can get involved, let us know!
May the Mo be with you!
Fred Saleeba - Clinical Myotherapist
What are Trigger Points
Trigger points are taut bands that can be found in every muscle in your body and are commonly referred to as ‘knots’. Trigger points are most commonly seen alongside pain and tension in the body. These are often caused by stress and injury to the muscle. Trigger points are commonly treated by ischemic compression and dry needling.
When a muscle is in constant contraction trigger points form due to localised build up of tension. Some example of what causes this:
Trigger points often can cause decreased range of motion, decreased strength & ‘achy’ pain in the muscle. This can present locally (where the trigger point is) or radiate elsewhere in the muscle or other parts of the body. This is known as referred pain.
I’ll give you an example: trigger points in the muscle Levator Scapulae (the muscle joining the neck to the shoulder blade) predominately present locally (see image below)
Whereas another muscle in the neck, known as Sternocleidomastoid, has trigger points that refer pain to various points in the head and neck but not in the muscle itself (see image below)
Treating Trigger Points
Trigger Point Therapy
Uses ischemic compression to release trigger point. Ischemia is the lack of blood flow to an area. Therefore ischemic compression temporarily restricts blood flow to the area in order to promote healing and blood flow and thus releases the trigger point. In trigger point therapy the practitioner simply compresses the trigger point with their thumb, finger or elbow until the trigger point release, which could take a few seconds or a few minutes.
Is a treatment tool that is originally and primarily used to treat trigger point. Dry needling is not acupuncture, but simply uses the same tool- the needle. In trigger point dry needling the small, thin needle is placed straight into the trigger point and therefore releases the trigger point more directly.
Self Treatment Techniques
There are many tool out there these days that allow for self treatment of trigger points, although foam rollers and massage balls currently the most popular at the moment. They come in all shapes and sizes with and without spikes, but all aim to do the same thing- reduce tension and deactivate trigger points (more on this to come)
Fred Saleeba – Clinical Myotherapist
NB- This post have been reposted from my old wordpress blog and altered & updated! :)