Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shoulder the Load

This is the last installment of my series on Vibram FiveFingers (VFF) and overall function/biomechanics. In my first article, I gave you an introduction to function. The second article focused on how VFFs will help those of you struggling with degenerative hip pain. And, my third article tackled how VFFs allow a more functional breathing pattern. Finally, in this last article, we’ll travel (almost) as far away as we can get from the foot and make the correlation between wearing VFFs and that on-going shoulder pain you have been dealing with.

It might sounds like a bit of a stretch that your shoes and foot position can impact your shoulder pain, especially if this is the first article of mine you are reading. If you haven’t read them, I would suggest going back and doing so. The basic premise of what I am saying is that the foot bone is connected to the leg bone—put simply, the body is a unit. By keeping that in mind, we have to know that our shoes and feet will impact our shoulder.

As a refresher from previous articles, remember that when wearing your VFFs the load joints of the body are allowed to ‘lock’ and stabilize like they are designed to. This stable chain reaction flows from the foot, up the leg, creating a more stable ankle, knee, and hip. In the last article I told you how VFFs lead to a more functional breathing pattern and increase your lung capacity. If your VFFs stabilize your hip and lumbar spine, I believe they have to be stabilizing your shoulder. Take the skeletal system out of it, and we can connect your pelvis and shoulders through two muscles: the External Oblique that is connected to, and travels ‘up’ from, the pelvis, and the muscle it digitates (connects) with, the Serratus Anterior, that travels from the lateral ribcage up to, and connecting with, the shoulder/scapula. The other thing to keep in mind is that the Diaphragm also digitates at the same point where the External Oblique and Serratus Anterior come together. If we are impacting your breathing, as previously discussed, then we have to be impacting your shoulder and its ability to function correctly. Pretty cool, huh?

Taking into consideration that the External Oblique, Serratus Anterior, and Diaphragm all come together at the same point, and we start to get a clearer picture as to how VFFs will improve your function. If the hip (specifically the pelvis and the hip flexor and external oblique that attach to it) is allowed to function better, and the diaphragm is allowed to function better, the Serratus Anterior, and therefore, the shoulder position, have to follow suit and will function better as well.

Again, put simply, your foot position and the shoes you’re wearing impact your shoulder pain. VFFs allow for a more functional body, not just a more functional foot. The functional foot mechanics simply start the chain reaction. The shoulder, and the pain you have been suffering from, have no choice but to, quite literally, straighten up. I believe there is nothing inherently wrong with your shoulder. Sure, you might have a torn rotator cuff, but the bigger concern is why you have a torn rotator cuff. I believe your condition is temporary and changeable, as long as we stay focused on that question of ‘why’ the cuff is torn. The answer to the question is simple: it’s the position of the shoulder. By wearing your VFFs and doing your personalized Egoscue E-cises your pain will be eliminated in no time. Notice I didn’t say ‘your pain will be managed’ but instead, ‘your pain will be eliminated’.

If you want to get a head start on your overall function and biomechanics you can CLICK HERE to download four e-cises that will help you start living life PAIN FREE! We have received an amazing response to this series, and I encourage you to keep the comments and questions coming! Several of you have chosen to do webcam therapy with us here at the clinic and you are seeing great results. Egoscue will help you reach your goals. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 615.771.8556. Keep moving….barefoot!

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