2016 November

November 28, 2016

Have you had or currently have nagging pain in your foot/heel that seems to last forever? The personal trainers here at Energy Fitness in Downtown Memphis have seen an increase in this injury in the age range of clients between 35 and 60. Tight calf muscles combined with either poor flexibility or hyperflexibility in muscles & joints can be a culprit. Another cause could be years of poor shoe quality and/or either extreme of high heels or flat shoes.

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that runs the length of your foot and connects to the bottom of your heel bone to your toes. When the weight of your body moves to the balls of your feet, the plantar fascia stretches. Simply put, your calf muscle, one of your strongest muscles, attaches to the Achilles Tendon. In turn, your Achilles tendon, the strongest of all your tendons, attaches to the back of the heel bone to hold everything together. These inter-connections operate together as a single unit in which your heel bone is the pivot point.


We have noticed that when clients prone to this condition incorporate squats in their fitness program and they have tight calves and Achilles tendon already this may cause altered form in performing the squats thus tightening the calves even further. Eliminating squats is not the answer as it’s a great exercise for the lower body. Note the picture below for good technique.

Q54 Legs Squats stationary with band

Stretching, massage therapy and trigger point massage may be beneficial in reducing or eliminating this plantar fasciitis. I personally have suffered with this and really have to keep my calves stretched out and be mindful of proper shoes. I have extremely flat feet, had braces on my legs as a kid, bar between knees, corrective shoes, custom arch supports & have been running about 30 years.  Since 2015 I ditched the custom arch supports in favor of gel filled insoles Happy Feet that have been life changing (see more info below on Happy Feet -thanks Anna for introducing me to this product).

Think about how the arch of the foot functions- like a bow (as in a bow and arrow), and the plantar fascia is like the string of the bow. The tension in the “bow string” holds the shape of the arch. But every time you step, the “bow string” stretches… and when stretched too hard and too often, it gets irritated, and then it’s like a bow shooting you in the foot!

Ink drawing of the bones of the foot, with a bow underneath the arch, and the string of the bow highlighted. The string of the bow is an analogy for the plantar fascia.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

  • Forceful extension of toes (flexing your feet) against a hard surface
  • Shoes that don’t support or fit your feet appropriately
  • Running with poor technique
  • Obesity
  • Flat feet
  • High arches
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Always running the same way (Do you always run on the left side of the road like you are supposed to? Have you ever thought that this slant is overstretching some muscles and straining other ones?)
  • Not changing your running shoes every 300 miles or more often if you are prone to foot injuries
  • Not enough rest between exercise sessions. Runners, as they get older, or new runners need at least a day of rest in between runs to allow soft tissue to repair.
  • Increasing running mileage too rapidly per week
  • Muscular imbalances such as a anterior tilted pelvis or a leg length difference due to tight muscles or tendons

 What are the symptoms?

  • Pain, especially near the heel
  • Pain that eases up with rest
  • Stabbing pain that occurs with your first steps in the morning
  • Pain with walking, especially in the part of your stride when you’re pushing off your toes
  • The more you move the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting.

Check out our video below with Energy Fitness’ endorsed provider, Licensed Massage Therapist Mae Jensen. She received her training in Salt Lake City, UT and is trained in 15 modalities compared to the usual 4 at most massage therapy schools. Our suggestions may help you to kick plantar fasciitis to the curb. I have included stretches below that may prove useful.  Remember that when you feel a pain somewhere on your body it is often the referral pain and not the exact spot that needs to be massaged. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Consistency is key for prevention and treatment of injuries. If you want more information about Mae and her services, check out her Facebook page here and let her know we sent you when you schedule an appointment with her!:  Greenchi Massage

How to treat plantar fasciitis?

  • Ice your pained foot with an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas a few times per day. happy_feet_jacket_w
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Wear athletic shoes. Shoe inserts may help, too. See a podiatrist (foot doctor) to find out which type of inserts will work best for you. I love these inserts and clients love them too: Happy Feet provides fluid-filled insoles to create an unstable, supportive and shifting surface within your shoe. A proper walking environment leads to a stronger foot because of both increased circulation and proper support that adjusts with each step. Get a pair of insoles and try them out for yourself here: Happy Feet
  • Use anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (I am not a proponent of these method unless it’s a severe case as these medicines are hard on the stomach and liver).
  • Roll a tennis or golf ball or a sturdy can under your sore foot as well as the heel. Apply firm pressure as you roll. I like to do from a standing position holding onto a wall or chair and roll.
  • Stretch the plantar fascia, especially before getting out of bed in the morning. Extend your leg out straight, grasp the toes of your pained foot and gently pull your toes toward you to stretch out the tissue along the bottom of your foot. If you have trouble reaching your toes, try looping a towel or scarf around your toes, grasp the ends of the towel and gently pull them toward you to stretch the bottom of your foot. (Check out some stretches below)
  • Taping the calves with KT (kinesiotherapy tape) may prove helpful. This is in Mae’s bag of tricks.
  • Severe cases of plantar fasciitis should be treated by a podiatrist.
  • In severe cases surgery may be needed as was the case with one client at Energy Fitness, she recovered well and can still jog a few miles here and there. Her knees make that crunchy sound during knee bending extension and often complains of pain in the knees which is what I believe may have led to poor mechanics during runs thus causing a flare up of plantar fasciitis. lower-calves-gastrocnemiusNot a client? Live in town and interested in our personal training or nutrition coaching? Click here for a FREE Consult (value $87) or give us a call at 901-466-6242

    Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

    Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

    Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103



Personal Training & Nutrition Coaching Studio
Located Downtown Memphis since 2002
552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

November 16, 2016

We have a team of professionals we call  “Energy Fitness Endorsed Providers” in our bag of tricks to help our clients feel their best. As a personal trainer in Memphis,TN and owner of Energy Fitness since 2002 we have gathered a few favorite professionals we like to refer out who are outside our scope of fitness and nutrition knowledge.

This article/blog post is featuring of our Endorsed Providers in the area of Physical Therapy. I spoke with Dr. Shannon Hughes about injuries we have seen on the rise with the neck and shoulder leading me to believe it’s all this texting. Sometimes our clients or people I meet are in a chronic state of pain or have pre-existing injuries that come to the surface as they add more movement and exercise to weekly lifestyle and need a physical therapist such at Dr. Hughes.

We have all seen them. Crowds of folks waiting in line at the bank or at the local grocery store. All looking down at their phones: playing games, texting friends, answering emails. We don’t think anything about it; it has become the typical stance that we associate with waiting! Does the picture below look familiar to how you view your smart device?

We asked Dr. Hughes to write the below article on Text Neck & she mentions how a personal trainer can help you strengthen & stretch the muscles involved in posture. Be sure to see the end of the article where I include pictures of helpful stretches.

Energy Fitness Endorsed Provider Info/Qualifications

Dr. Shannon Hughes is highly educated and well versed in her field. Here’s what’s behind her name: Physical Therapistshannon-hughes-headshot, DPT, MTC, Orthopedic Certified Specialist, Asst. Professor, College of Health Professions University of Tennessee Health Science Center-Department of Physical Therapy. She helped me work through a SI Joint injury as well as median and ulnar nerve pain so I know she knows her trade. shannonhughesphysicalt-biz-card



Well, we are now waiting on neck and upper back pain from this atypical posture! Last year Dr. Hansraj published an article in the journal, “Neuro and Spine Surgery,” concerning the increased loads we are placing on our necks from assuming the “Text Neck” posture. In good posture our head weighs about 10-12 pounds. When we slump, looking down with our whole neck and upper back, we create an almost 90 degree angle in our spine. In this position, the head creates a compressive force 6x greater than normal.

This increase in force not only increases the compressive load on the joints of the neck and upper back, which can cause early degeneration and arthritis, but it also over stretches the muscles in the back of neck and shoulders, and shortens the muscles in the front of the chest and shoulder. All leading to a pain cycle easily broken by paying attention to the messages your body sends.

To break this cycle, be aware of your posture. Pulling shoulder blades back and together, and pulling your chin back while keeping eyes level with horizon is a good starting point for good posture. Roll your shoulders and turn head and neck to maintain good range of motion and blood flow during breaks from device use. Avoid prolonged periods of time spent looking down at your phone/tablet/e-reader/laptop. You can bring your arms up or rest your arms so that the device is in line with your eyes.

A personal trainer can help with advanced postural stretching and strengthening exercises as well as advice related to overall strengthening and flexibility. If you continue to have problems and pain, seek medical attention; a great place to start is a physical therapist. As the movement experts, they can evaluate and treat postural issues related to “Text Neck”. In Tennessee, you can have an evaluation for your issues from a licensed physical therapist without a doctor’s referral.

Helpful Stretches for Kicking Text Next to the Curb!

Do the below stretches 2-3 times a day or more depending on how much you are hunkered over your device. When you first begin you may want to and really only be able to cope with holding each stretch for 30 seconds. You may find that you can tolerate the mild to moderate pain of the stretch more often but shorter periods of time like the 30 seconds. As you become more aware of your head and neck position you will likely need less frequent stretch breaks and may opt for stretching longer like 60 seconds and be able to decrease or eliminate aches or pain within a week or two.

You may want to evaluate your sleeping position habits and pillow as well.








The above stretches stretch your scalene muscles which run along the sides of your neck.  If stretching isn’t offering enough relief or you find difficult to do you can manually and gently use your fingertips to lengthen the muscles or schedule a massage with Energy Fitness Endorsed Provider Mae Jensen with Greenchi Massage 256-454-2297, bodykneader@gmail.com (mention this blog post/article and get a little bag of epsom salt and advice of how to use).






This stretch is great for opening up the chest muscles that become tight when doing the Text neck forward head and rounded shoulders position.

upper-body-ball-backbend-for-abs-chest-and-shoulders If you have a stability ball this is a great combo move to get both the chest and the scalene muscles. If you need to move further down the ball and place your head, neck and shoulders on the ball for a more comfortable position then work within your limits.

Happy Stretching and Better Texting Posture and awareness.

Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, FLT Metagenics
Owner/Dir. of Training
Energy Fitness 901-466-6242
552 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103

Not a client and want a Free Fitness or Nutrition Consult (value $87) or

interested in our Personal Training Services click here or call us 901-466-6242.

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.