Ankle injury

Physical Therapy for Runners: Tuning the Ankles for Lighter Running

Do you want to feel lighter and more free when you run? Then you need to ask yourself, do you know where the front of your ankle joint is? Find the tibiotalar joint labeled ankle in the picture below. This is the front of your ankle. Notice how in the picture on the right, the soft tissue that covers that area is being displayed. All those tendons are what you see pop off your foot and ankle when you bring your toes and foot towards your shin (dorsiflexion).

If you want to be able to run lighter, you need to be able to feel softness in this area and learn how to release the muscles and tendons along the front of the ankle joint when you walk and run.

Take a look at the trailing leg of each of the elite runners above. They are each about to start swinging their back leg forward by flexing the knee and hip. At this moment, you can see how the first thing they have to release before swinging the leg forward, is the front of their right ankle. They have moved into a more pointed foot position not by pushing with their toes into the ground but by releasing the front of the ankle.

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Discovering the Source of Pain and Connecting to the Body


Pain in any part of the body is a sign that the body of out of “tune.” For instance one can complain of pain in the knee, but the x-ray, MRI and even manual testing show that there is nothing wrong with the knee.  So the question becomes why is this person complaining of knee pain? In this case we need to look at the body parts that are directly related to the knee such as the back, hip and ankle.  One must analyze the hip and ankle to understand what is occurring in the knee.

A person with a limited range of motion and flexibility in the back, hip and/or ankle requires the knee joint to work twice as hard, eventually causing discomfort, then tension and finally pain in the knee. If the issue is not addressed simultaneously in the back, hip, knee and ankle it can lead to inflammation of the tendons, sprained ligaments and inevitably major problems in the knee.

In order to resolve the problem in the knee, one should have a number of body tuning treatments on the back, hip and ankle as well as perform movement exercises at home.

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Physical therapy for foot and ankle injuries

Thanks to Shmuel Tatz! A Healing Story

The day that I became injured is still very clear in my mind but unfortunately even more clear in my body.  I had gone to a chiropractor that I had very little experience due to the fact that my long time chiropractor in New York City had moved to California a few years ago.   Since this new chiropractor was a few blocks from my home, I thought I would give him a try.  Unfortunately, something terrible happened while lying on my back on his treatment table.  He grabbed one ankle and pulled very hard – I screamed in pain – but without even a hesitation he then grabbed my right ankle and again pulled very hard.  I heard an audible pop sound and again the pain was excruciating.  But this time my heart sank, because something felt very wrong in my foot and ankle.  All the energy seemed to drain from my foot and leg.  When I returned home the ankle began to swell and it felt very much like a severe sprain.

I could not put my weight on the foot without experiencing pain.  A week later I went to a podiatrist who said I had a sprain.  He taped it up and sent me home.  By the second night I had to tear the tape off because of the pain and swelling.  A few weeks later I went to an orthopedist, who again determined that I had a sprain and told me to wait a couple of weeks.  He then ordered an MRI which showed no fractures or breaks.  He told me to go to physical therapy. I found a local physical therapy unit and went 3 times a week for 2 months.  Still my ankle was painful day and night.   I spent long hours researching this type of injury on the internet.   To make a long story short, I ended up seeing an acupuncturist,  another podiatrist and yet another type of physical therapy with no relief in site.  I spent many long days in severe pain, crying while lying on my couch.   I could no longer sleep without Tylenol PM and always woke with the same pain in my foot. This brought on a severe depression.  Now almost 5 months had past and I still could not walk without experiencing pain.  It felt like a nail was shooting through my ankle.  My life had changed so drastically.  I used to walk at least a mile or 2 a day – and now I could only hobble around my apartment.

One day after spending a few hours reading and researching on foot and ankle injuries on the internet I came across Shmuel Tatz’s website.  I read with interest the relief that many famous ballet dancers had found at Tatz’s studio.   These were professionals who needed to dance again – I just wanted to walk again – perhaps he could help me.

Entering the studio in Carnegie Hall, you immediately feel the presence and an atmosphere of healing.   Shmuel introduced himself and made me feel relaxed and at home in his treatment room.   I then lay down on his treatment table and for the first time felt someone with truly gifted hands on my foot.  He worked on my foot for a good 45 minutes – but really this was like nothing I have ever felt before.  It was as if his hands have x-ray vision, going exactly to the stuck places and working, working and finally moving the position of the bones, tendons and ligaments.  And then the relief.  A little wave of relief.   By the third visit with Shmuel, I finally felt my foot in the proper position so that I was not longer in agony 24/7.   My pain after 5 visits has been reduced 95%.   I still feel pain after walking but to a lot less extent then before, and I am confident that with Shmuel’s help – I will get better.   I have so much gratitude for the talent and healing abilities of Shmuel Tatz.  He is a truly gifted man.

By Jill Siegel