fitness · flexibility · habits · injury · stretching

More Rehab Exercises Keep Christine On Her Toes

I have spent entirely too much time thinking about my big toes this week.

Aside from the occasional stubbing incident, and an unfortunately-located bee sting when I was 8, I have never given my big toes much thought at all.

A GIF of Garfield, a large orange cartoon cat with black triangular lined patches on his back and tail, is moving on tiptoe. ​
Okay, so I’m not ‘on my toes’ as much as our friend Garfield but this GIF made me laugh so I couldn’t resist adding it to this post. Image description: A GIF of Garfield, a large orange cartoon cat with black triangular lined patches on his back and tail, is moving on tiptoe.

But last week, a conversation with my chiropractor led to the realization that I roll my foot inwards when I am trying to keep my balance. That means that the muscles in my feet weak from not being used properly. And, I am compensating for that weakness by using muscles in my legs instead.

You remember the ongoing saga with the muscles in my legthe pain in my heelwait, is it my foot, right?

Well, this is probably tied into that whole mess, too.

I’m not sure if the problem started with my toes, messed up my foot, then aggravated my calf and so on, or if things went the other way, or if it all kind of happened at once.*

I wish that I could have noticed the whole thing before it got this bad, I just have to work through all of the different muscles while they recover.

So, I’ve added some toe exercises to my calf/heel/foot routine. I have been taking my chiropractor’s advice and consciously choosing to use my big toe for support as I do yoga and walk and practice Taekwondo.

And I bought some of these chummies (you may know them as toe spacers but they’re chummies to me.)

A white-appearing person’s feet, one flat on the floor and the other raised to show the bottom. They are wearing blue toe spacers that wrap around each toe.
These aren’t my feet! This is a photo of ‘Toe Pal’ spacers as shown on Amazon. Image description: a white-appearing person’s feet wearing a pair of blue gel toe spacers. One foot is flat on the floor and one is raised so the sole is visible. The spacers wrap around each toe and have a thicker wedge that rests between the toes to hold them apart.

I think my feet are feeling a little better already but that is probably just the power of suggestion.

I guess that as long as it encourages me to keep up a routine that will work, it’s a useful form of delusion, right?

Anyway, let’s hope that I can soon get back to not thinking about my toes, my feet, or my calves at all.

*This article certainly makes it sound like the problem could have originated in my toes.

fitness · stretching

Get to know Doctor Jo (or at least her YouTube channel)

I have a few spots that give me a bit of trouble at Taekwondo or during other exercises.

My right hip and the side of my right knee give me a bit of grief. My wrists misbehave a little from time to time. And I apparently like to carry tension in my shoulders and neck (A novel and shocking situation, I know. No one else does that. 😉 Ha!)

Yoga helps with a lot of that but sometimes I need to give those areas a little extra attention with some focused stretches/movements. Since my chiropractor isn’t on call 24-7, and since I prefer to follow along with a video than overthinking about how many reps to do, I have become a big fan of the Ask Doctor Jo channel on Youtube.

Dr. Jo,   a woman with dark hair  who is wearing a dark-coloured Supergirl  T-shirt.  She is surrounded  by three  large dogs, one black and two brown.
Here’s Doctor Jo with Remy, Kali, and Bear. Photo from Instagram – Ask Doctor Jo

Doctor Jo is calm, friendly and casual, often appearing in a tshirts with a funny saying on them. The sets for her videos are minimal (sometimes just her on a chair with a white background) and her advice and instructions are really clear.

She can also be delightfully goofy and seems like someone I could be friends with – which is always fun. (Anyone who includes audio of themselves saying ‘Disclaimer Alert! Disclaimer Alert!’ over their disclaimer alert is my kind of person.)

And, as an added bonus, she often has one of her dogs with her in the video. (For example, Remy is featured in this video of neck stretches.)

This Dr. Jo video on neck pain is a great example of all of the things I like about her approach – useful, well-explained exercises, a visit from her dog, some goofiness, and a Wonder Woman t-shirt.

In addition to her videos that just demonstrate the movements and tell you how long to hold them, she also has a variety of ‘real time’ videos (Here’s an example of one of her ‘real time’ full body stretch videos) in which she keeps you company for the stretches. I particularly enjoy those because they make it easier for me to stick with the program.

I also really like the videos in her ‘Top Ten’ series that demonstrate her 10 favourite exercises for a variety of frequently searched issues.

Exercises for knee pain AND a T-shirt that says ‘Dog Hair is my glitter’ ? I am HERE for this.

Obviously, if you are having major or chronic issues with specific muscles, you need to see a medical professional in person, if at all possible.

But, if you are having a small issue with one body part, if you need a refresher on how to do the exercises that were recommended to you, or if you just need some video company while you work out a few tough spots, give Doctor Jo a try.

I’m tempted to say ‘Tell her Christine sent you.’ but since I don’t actually know her, that would be weird.