Felicity Macarthur

Thongs / Flip Flops – Pain Triggers



Thongs / Flip-Flops / Jandals (?!)… Are they killing your feet?

It might be the depths of winter (brrr..) but some clients here are still in recovery from the Summer-killer: Thongs!

What’s so wrong about them?

  • Arch – Thongs generally provide no arch support whatsoever. Over time this can lead your fascia to work harder, potentially creating micro-tears as the fascia gets stretched and over-worked/un-supported. This can lead to a dropped arch called “pronation”, which is hard work to build back up, or needs supportive shoes/Orthotics to correct it and support your foot again
  • Gait Biomechanics – normal gait sees us strike the ground with our heel, roll through form the outside boarder of the midfoot, and back towards the big toe, pushing off from all of your 5 toes. Practise this – how good (and normal!) does it feel? …Now try clenching your toes upwards and do the same thing… Hard?! Yes, that’s what your feet are doing every step in Thongs, toe-clenching to grip the shoes on your feet, making the foot more rigid, altering the way your foot and fascia move, and the whole way up the kinetic chain
  • Heel Pain – heard of plantar fasciitis?  (Read our blog here) You probably know at least one person in your office with it!? Not just from running.. The flimsy 1cm of rubber under your heel doesn’t do much to support and cushion your heel every time it strikes the ground, sometimes causing bruising of your Calcanea Tuberosity, potentially leading to plantar fasciitis, and the development of Heel Spurs in some people. Studies have found that people who wear Thongs all the time alter their gait to have less Heel-Strike, leading to tightening in the calf, and altered Biomechanics..

…All in all, they don’t sound too great?! In reality, your feet aren’t going to drop off if you wear them down to the beach or going to a BBQ, but if you’re going to be walking much more than 10-15 minutes, then consider changing your footwear. Before spring/summer shopping happens and you pick your favourite new colour of Havianas, consider our top tips for footwear choices:

Top Tips:

  • pick a Thong with an arch support
  • aim to go for a sandal that holds in your heel, and AROUND your toes, not sitting between them
  • consider one with a slightly thicker sole, and one that predominantly flexes (bends) just under the ball of your feet, as our wonderful feet are designed to!

Training for the SMH Half Marathon

Sunday 15th May 2016: 6 weeks to go!!


 Whether this is your first, or you are a seasoned veteran pounding the roads and taking in Sydney CBD’s finest sights of the SMH Half Marathon, preparation is the key!

Here a few top tips that all runners need to be considering as you approach the Start line:

Pick a Plan and Stick to it! Hopefully by now your training schedule is well underway. There are such a variety of training plans to choose from, but make sure you have picked one appropriate to your level of running and time you can allocate to be able stick to the plan. Generally, this includes two ‘tempo’ or maintenance runs in the week, and a minimum of one longer run at the weekend, which should be slightly slower than your aimed race pace. Your plan should also include some Hill training and Speed work.

 Cross-Training: All running and nothing else can lead to disaster, particularly if this is a new pursuit for you. Take the time to work on your Cardio with other activities; swimming, rowing machine, bike, cross-trainer. The different muscle groups used will reduce the chance of injury or over-use issues, and you will be impressed at the cross-over of cardiovascular fitness and leg strength.

Rest: Running every day will not get you there injury free or any quicker…. Rest and Sleep are huge parts of running, particularly when you are up to your longer weekend runs.

Stretching: Despite the constant debates of stretch or not stretch, it is often dependent on the person. As Physio’s we see people who are Injured, and who DON’T stretch! Part of patients’ recovery is to stretch out tight areas; our advice is if you know an area is tight, DO stretch it, throughout the week and before you run, as otherwise this can lead to other areas compensating, or going back into your poor Biomechanic patterns.

Stability work: Very few runners spend enough time working on stability… If you think about it, running is like lots(!) of Single Leg Squats – it is a common thing when we see an injured runner to see that they have a very poor single leg squat – what does yours look like?! It might be a sign of poor glute control, or tight calf, or weak core stability if you are unable to do this action without control.

Strength Work: Like the stability issue, lots of new runners are not only training cardiovascular fitness, but the strength of muscles and tendons that have not been loaded as much previously, likewise increasing your training places more stress on areas such as your Achilles tendon, or developing the common ‘Runners-Knee’ (ITB syndrome). Consider strength based training to counteract these issues: come and see us for advice if you are aware of these becoming an issue.

Nutrition: Running after a heavy night out, eating on the go, not enough hydration spells disaster, even for the more seasoned runners. The other mistake people often make is taking the Electrolyte / Sports drinks on the day, when never having trained with them, leading to spikes in energy and stomach cramps. Aim to train like your race-day, taking on fluids during your longer runs in the lead up to the event as you plan to during the race.

Massage! This is not an over-indulgence, part of your active-recovery, stretching and maintenance whilst not running can include fascial release, Needling and Soft Tissue treatment. Our massage therapist Alex performs wonders with our running Clients! Also, don’t forget to come and see our Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions Team in the massage Tent after you finish your run for your complimentary rub-down.

Seek advice early, and listen to your body!

 Best of Luck, and see you all at the Finish Line!


Inspired by the Aussie Open


Hot on the heels of the brilliant Aussie Open that has had so many people chatting about tennis, and hopefully picking up their racquets, we asked ourselves, how good is Tennis for us? We might never be able to reproduce some of the tennis as played by Angelique Kerber, or the unstoppable Novak Djokovic – (bad luck Andy!), but getting out on the courts is good for us all!

Top-5 Reasons why Tennis is great!

  1. Any age! What other sports (maybe Lawn Bowls) has guys and ladies of any age able to impress with some solid ground strokes and clever game plans? The fitness involved is good for people of all ages, the weight-bearing and loading strengthens our bones, as well as a great mix of Aerobic & Anaerobic Exercise: long-rallies versus sprinting to catch that nasty drop-shot! – excellent for fat-burning, training your heart, and managing cholesterol and Blood Pressure levels.
  1. Exercise without thinking you’re exercising! Lunges and squatting can be boring, as are the Balance and Proprioceptive exercises we are often required to do when rehabilitating injuries: on the court, these are built into the game, and gradually increase in their intensity as your level of play does, counteracting our sedentary lives & keeping our hand-eye co-ordination in check
  1. Thoracic Mobility: we all spend too long sitting at our desk, generally tending to have slightly Kyphotic posture (bent forwards), and we are often stiff through the middle parts of our back as a result. So remember each time you go up for a lob, do a high ball toss or serve, you’re getting your thoracic extension, and each windup for a groundstroke involves thoracic rotation
  1. Brain Training: Mouse-pads and ipads… we get lazy! Complex play patterns, particularly in doubles, reacting to different play from opponents, keeping your reflexes quick and your mind trying to stay one step ahead – all beats a mindless run on a treadmill!
  1. De-Stress! Team Sports, doubles-partners, a leisurely natter over the nets…tennis is great for socialising and mixing with people from all walks of life. What’s not to love about hitting a ball hard, keeping your mind focused on the moment, getting out the days’ stresses from the Rat Race!?