What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless Leg Syndrome is a “restless” urgency to move because of burning, tingling, tugging sensations in the legs.  People can not sleep and loose sleep because of it.  It is becoming increasingly more popular and people really don’t know what to do about it.  Sitting for long periods of time and sedentary lifestyles have begun to take its toal on the hips, low back and legs leading to symptoms of RLS and Sciatica.

How can it be eliminated?
I have found that simple pelvic adjusting and at times the legs has decreased the frequency of these sensations and most times keep them at bay for good.  Good posture, exercise and soft tissue work can increase blood flow and relax the legs and hips.  Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco all exacerbate restless leg syndrome so, like always, keep off the junk food, drink lots of water and take care of yourself!  If you still have problems with Restless Leg Syndrome, give us a call, we can help!

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome “CRPS” occurs when a you have severe pain typically affecting one arm or leg. Often this problem begins after an extreme injury.

Symptoms include strong, burning pain in your extremity (leg, foot, arm or hand). You may also experience swelling, stiffness and damage to the area involved. Decreased movement, muscle loss, weakness or spasms may also become frequent. Skin temperature changes from hot to cold, alterations of color from white to red and blue with tender, thin and shiny skin are also common with this type of problem.  This pain, if untreated will get worse.

This syndrome happens after experiencing a Shrapnel blast, gunshot wound, surgery, heart attack, fractures or infections. Your nerves can be highly affected by this type of trauma to your body.

If you are experiencing this problem, please give us a call we can help!

Kneecap (Patella) Pain And Instability, What Can Be Done?

Proper movement of the hip and leg are essential for walking, jumping, running. During any leg movement, your kneecap (patella) moves up and down because of contraction and relaxation of the quadriceps muscles. Bending your leg pulls the kneecap down and straightening your leg brings it up.

There is an indention or groove in the front of your leg that allows the kneecap to glide smoothly up and down and not rub directly onto the bone. Sometimes the indention is not deep enough, muscles are not working properly or your bone is out of place.  This can cause your kneecap to move improperly and slide outside of the groove. In time, this promotes arthritis, pain and long term bad body mechanics. This can lead to painful surgery and long periods of rehabilitation.

Here are some symptoms of kneecap instability and incorrect body mechanics:

    • 1. Knee buckles and can no longer support your weight

2. Kneecap slips off to the side

3. Knee catches during movement

4. Pain in the front of the knee that increases with activity (especially while running)

5. Pain when sitting, standing or bending

6. Stiffness

7. Cracking sounds during movement

8. Swelling and pain

Treatment:

If the kneecap has been completely dislocated out of the indention or groove, it must be put back. This is not as painful as it sounds. Sometimes it can happen when you are bending or moving. The kneecap just pops back into place. Other times, it is gently placed back in the groove with an adjustment.
During an examination, I can normally figure out if one of your quadriceps muscles is either too strong or too weak. This can lead an improper pull of the kneecap during movement. Stretches or exercises can even out the force in the area and keep your kneecap moving properly.

Allowing the kneecap to move properly in the groove will keep the risk of arthritis, tendonitis and knee replacement at low risk.  It will also allow you to keep the active life style that you need to stay fit and healthy.

Anterior Compartment Syndrome Can Be Serious

Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in the lower leg.  It can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow.

Causes:
There are tissues called fascia that are wrapped around groups of muscles which separate them from one another so we can move each of them individually.   Inside each layer of fascia is a space known as a compartment. Inside this compartment includes muscle tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. Fascia surrounds these structures and allows them to work properly.

Fascia has trouble expanding.  If there is swelling it will increase the pressure in that area, pressing muscles, blood vessels, and nerves.  This pressure if it is high enough, blocks blood flow to the area.  If not treated, the tissues can become permanently injured because of the lack of oxygen and blood flow. Muscles can die and the leg may actually be amputated.   So treating this condition is imperative.

Swelling can occur from car accidents, crushing the muscles and tissue, fractures, or numerous soft tissues.

Life-time athletes can get compartment syndrome from the repetitiveness of their sport.  It is very common in runners.

The most common areas in the body where this syndrome occurs is in the lower leg and forearm.  It can also occur in any extremity in the body.

What are the symptoms?
The most common way of determining if you have compartment syndrome is severe pain that doesn’t go away when moving the affected extremity even if on pain medication!  Here are some other symptoms:

  • Decreased sensation
  • Loss of color on the skin
  • Severe pain that keeps getting worse
  • Weakness in the affected area
  • Severe pain when squeezing or moving the affected area
  • Swollen and shiny skinHow do we manage this problem?
    If not severe and in early stages, Graston Technique can be very effective.  Graston allows tools to get into the muscle and fascia and release the pressure and blood will begin to filter instead of pool in the area.  Adjustments of the joint can also help with better movement and releasing of the fascia.  If pain and symptoms still persist, surgery is sometimes performed to release the pressure.Surgery consists of long cuts made to the fascia to relieve the pressure and get blood flow.  After the surgery it is important to recondition the tissues and keep blood flowing to the area and allow for proper re-growth.  Graston, Cold Laser, exercises and chiropractic treatment are helpful after surgery as well.

The good news is that if you have this problem and it is managed correctly, you can go back to your daily activities without a problem.  It is hard work but the body can be restored.

If you are having extremity pain, call us at our Redwood City Office, we can help.

What to do about your High Foot Arch

How does this happen?

High arches can be genetic or in most cases can be caused by wearing improper shoes and/or imbalances of leg muscles.  Muscle imbalance can arch the foot.  This puts additional pressure under the big toe and toes begin to curl and become “claw toes”.  If the toes are curled, it changes the way we walk and stand. We begin putting added pressure on the heel of the foot and because of this, some muscles weaken and others become stronger.  We also tend to land on the outside of the foot, which can lead to twisted ankles and sprains.

A high arch foot may develop because the posterior tibialis muscle next to your shin becomes strong, but the muscle on the outside of the leg (peroneus brevis) remains weak.   This moves the foot in a position that adds strain to the arch and forefoot.  It is important to stretch the strong muscle and strengthen the weak one.    Making sure the foot moves properly is imperative.   There are 26 bones in the feet and they all have joints.  These joints can be moved with gentle guidance allowing your foot to be in a better position and relieve the stress on the big toe.

So how can we help?

We can teach you how to strengthen the proper muscles of your leg and relax strong muscles to keep a balance in your feet.  We also keep your foot moving properly with gentle adjusting and soft tissue work. We can also make custom orthotics, which may be necessary to keep your foot in proper position and prevent twisting and pulling on your leg muscles.

Do You Get Leg Cramps At Night?

Nocturnal leg cramps are contractions of the calf muscles and/or cramping of the soles of the feet that occur while you are sleeping or at rest. Middle-aged and older people most commonly get them, but it can happen at any age.  The cramps can affect persons in any age group, but they tend to occur in middle-aged and older populations.

There has not been any clear research results that have shown the cause of what causes nocturnal leg cramps. It has been hypothesized that nerves controlling your muscles cause the contractions. It is common to have leg cramps during dream sleep.  This is why some researchers think these cramps are because of a malfunction in the nervous system.  Our brain is not sending the proper messages to our muscles when we are dreaming.

Often, nighttime cramps are caused by overexertion of the muscles, having flat feet, standing on hard surfaces, long periods of sitting, improper leg positions while sitting, or dehydration.  Muscular individuals get leg cramps much more often than lean body types.  This can be because tight muscles do not get the proper blood supply and tighten the nerves, which then irritate them. Keeping your calves loose can often prevent night cramps.   Applying heat to your calves may help because this will increase the blood flow.

Low levels electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium) can contribute to cramps.  Vegetables and fruits contain electrolytes and there are many lists online to follow.  Please look them up and add some to your diet.  Here is a brief list to get you started:

Potassium:  Beef, liver, fish, fruit (esp. bananas), apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, peas, bean, potatoes. The daily recommended amount (DRA) is 3500mg.

Magnesium: Beef, poultry, fish, nuts, grains, legumes, and green vegetables. DRA is 400mg.

Calcium: Milk products, leafy, green vegetables, soybeans, broccoli, and tofu. DRA is 1000mg.

Sodium: Table salt. DRA is 2400mg

When cramping happens, walking on the affected leg or elevating it may help.   Take a hot shower or warm bath; this may help relax your muscles.

To keep cramps at a minimum or get rid of them for good, I would suggest drinking a lot of water, eating foods with electrolytes in them.  You may be surprised by the results.

Chondromalacia (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

Your knee is responsible for absorbing a lot of stress when you walk, jump or run.  Cartilage located underneath the surface of your kneecap (patella) can sometimes be scraped or damaged during overuse, leg malposition, injury or tightness of surrounding muscles.   When the under surface is irritated, Chondromalacia of the patella occurs.  It is also called “Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome”.  Basically, the tissues underneath your kneecap have become inflammed.

Symptoms: Usually a dull, aching pain in the front of your knee especially when walking uphill or downhill, kneeling, squatting or sitting for long periods of time with your legs bent.  You may also experience a grating or grinding sensation when you straighten your leg.

When there is a flare-up, ice can help with the pain and inflammation.   I have found in my practice that a common reason why Chondromalacia occurs is because of tightness of either the Vastis-medialis or Vasits-Lateralis muscle.  This leads to a bio-mechanical problem where the knee does not move efficiently.  Finding out which muscle needs to be strengthened and which one needs to be stretched is key.  When there is an imbalance in the thigh, one muscle begins to pull your kneecap and rub against the tibia (leg).  This results in cartilage damage.

Proper stretching and strengthening exercises can prevent incidence of pain and prevent further damage to the tissues.

So, who commonly gets Chondromalacia?  Surprisingly, adolescents and young adults!  Most likely athletes who participate in running or jumping sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball.  Running can add 3-5x pounds of body weight force to the joints and Jumping can add 5 to 7x pounds.   This means if you weight 200lbs, running can add 1,000 pounds of forc and jumping can add up to 1,400 pounds.  That is a lot of strain to the joint and body.  Over time, squatting or or climbing stairs can become quite painful and sometimes even unbearable.

Proper body mechanics is important for taking the stress out of our bodies and allowing our joints to move the way they should.  Make sure you understand that this can be a repetitive injury which may take some time to heal but you can certainly get through it and even continue participating in the sport of your choice.  Specific exercises along with chiropractic alignments can greatly reduce flare-ups and chronic problems.

If you are experiencing knee pain, we can help!

Plantar Fasciitis An Epidemic?

Plantar Fasciitis is becoming a problem in our community.  Why is this so?

Over the years our shoes have changed, we walk on hard surfaces all day long and we sit for long hours everyday without exercising our feet the way we should.  The plantar Fascia underneath our feet helps us to move our feet when we walk.  It is made of ligamentous tissue and when stretched too far, it will inflame and become tender and sore.

Our bones in our feet are meant to move and glide on dirt and adhere to surfaces.  Now that we walk on hard surfaces all day long, owe slam our bones on the ground and our slam on our fascia.  Cold laser can help alleviate the pain, but is not necessarily a long term solution.
Keeping these bones in the proper place is essential to stop the incidence of Plantar Fasciitis.  Adjustments and soft tissue work to the feet along with proper orthotics is key to keep your feet healthy and functioning properly.

Come into our office and we can address this issue and keep you running, walking, dancing or just keep you pain free!

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Gotta keep moving those legs at night?  Have you been told that you have Restless Leg Syndrome? What is it anyway?

It is a urgency to move because of burning, tingling, tugging sensations in the legs. Do you know that simple pelvic adjusting has decreased the frequency of these sensations and most times keep them at bay for good?  Nerves that are over sensitive will keep sending a signal to the leg.  Reducing stress to the nerve will reduce impulses and the urgency to move and stretch the leg.

Food to avoid are: caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.  These foods all exacerbate restless leg syndrome. So, like always, keep off the junk food, drink lots of water and take care of yourself!

If this doesn’t help, give us a call and we can analyze and adjust your hips or even legs to calm down the nerve and get you back to doing the things you love to do!