Finishing with the Feet

When I began writing about hip & back injuries, I had a good start on my personal rehabilitation. From this came my theory on healing deep-core injuries, and a natural program for stubborn fat loss. Being an ambidextrous athlete is also part of this program, as it activates both sides of the body, developing total coordination with increased power.

What I didn’t know (when I began writing), was the endpoint. There are so many gains, followed by long plateaus in hip & back rehabilitation, that it feels like the goalposts are constantly being moved. This is a mountain you are climbing, so how do you know you are near/at the summit?

The answer, I have found is in the feet. For many people age-40 & older, their feet are a total wreck, and it’s why they have pooch guts and saggy butts. Here’s a review of the most common foot maladies in bold, with their practical applications to my methods, so we’re all speaking & understanding the same language.

Bursitis is the inflammation of the small bursae sacs which contain synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is equivalent to motor oil in an engine; keeping muscles, tendons & bones gliding past each other without friction. When bursae sacs become inflamed from repetitive overuse or trauma, friction ensues as movement becomes more painful & joint stiffness sets in. This is the cause of “sore arches” in high-heels wearers.

Calcific bursitis refers to calcium deposits within the bursae, which occur after injury. This natural mechanism creates the stiffness which immobilizes the injured area, so healing can occur. If the injury isn’t properly diagnosed & rehabilitated (or given insufficient time to heal properly), then a secondary healing occurs– where further calcifications are made around the afflicted area, so no more damage can occur.

Presuming it’s an athletic injury, the typical time-line in such a case includes resuming activity too soon, with diminishing results. There may be little/no pain, because the injured area has been splinted with calcifications, but the athlete notices reduced performance & endurance. Attempts to break past this without proper rehabilitation only lead to further pain, injury & frustration for the athlete.

So many athletes (and ex-athletes) have unreconciled stubbed-toes, torn ligaments, tweaked ankles, etc, (above). Taking the extra time & effort to fully heal even these seemingly minor injuries, pays huge dividends over time. There is simply no way to regain your previous athleticism, without all the healthy muscles you once had working in harmony.

Since gravity pulls us towards the center of the Earth, our feet are at the bottom of who we are. Our feet root us to the ground, and everything that flows through our body tends to want to settle in our feet during the day. This is why bunions and all other forms of calcifications occur in the feet. If we need to be immobilized, due to injury, the feet will first be cut off by inflammation, then calcium deposits. Once the joints are fossilized, these calcifications are difficult & painful to remove. What I describe below is my method for foot/feet rehabilitation.

Go barefoot as much as possible. This allows your foot to impact the ground, with you feeling the full force– precisely. Thick-bottomed sports shoes give the athlete a false sense of security. Yes, the pounding on your feet is reduced, but much of that is simply transferred to the knees, hips & back. Improper mechanics are being reinforced with sport-specialized orthopedic footwear. This only leads to further breakdowns in the kinetic chain.

Focus on your feet. I’m talking about entire workouts that break-up these calcifications, and start to re-establish muscle fibers in the feet. Barefoot exercise followed by this type of rehabilitation is the fastest way to full body recovery of hip & back injuries. Read that last sentence again, because it’s the essence of everything here. The feet are the end-point. Once the feet can flex & extend in all directions with power, control & sustain; then everything in the body can heal, and stubborn fat can finally disappear. This only happens when all the calcifications are broken away.

Unfixed feet are the nemesis. The reason for this is that every joint in the body is connected to the rest. The big toe connects to the hip, through the ankle & knee; then the hip connects to the hyoid bone in the neck, through the ribs, sternum & clavicle. The hyoid bone (Adam’s apple) is the only bone in the human body that is not directly connected to another bone. It “floats” in the middle of the neck, lashed there by muscles from the hip below, and the face above. When you see someone with a “double chin” or a “turkey neck,” then you know the muscles connected to their hyoid bone have atrophied. Those muscles connect all the way down to the feet.

Calcium deposits in injured joints act as an “internal cast,” limiting range & energy of movement. Again, it’s joints– plural; as everything in the body connects to something else. What this means is that a localized injury, especially in critical joints (hips & back), will eventually spread calcifications & muscle atrophy to the head, hands & toes. If you try to move beyond calcified parameters, pain immediately sets in. This is what people commonly refer to as “getting old.” It’s a misnomer, it sucks, and I recommend avoiding it.

A bunion (above) is a gradual, but painful deformity of the joint which connects the big toe to the foot. Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term, autoimmune disorder that affects joints. Arthritis causes inflammation, which can become painful & debilitating. Plantar fasciitis is a similar-type disorder of the insertion site of the ligament on the bone– characterized by micro tears, breakdown of collagen, and scarring. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of calcaneal spurs (below).

A calcaneal spur (or heel spur) is a bony exostosis from the heel bone. When a foot is exposed to constant stress, calcium deposits build up on the bottom of the heel bone.

Metatarsalgia is when what I’ve described affects the ball of the foot. The metatarsals are bones that connect the toes to the ankles. All these foot disorders exacerbate a condition known as ankylosing spondylitis, which is a long-term arthritic inflammation of the joints in the spine. Back pain is a characteristic symptom, but anything from eye & ear, to bowel & urinary problems may occur. Stiffness of the affected joints generally worsens over time.

Conclusion: If I could do my rehabilitation over again (and I would never want to), I would focus more on my feet to start. I didn’t know what I was doing when I began, and had to work my way towards this answer. I kept stretching and working my abs & lower back, beyond the point of getting any results, when it was my feet that were failing me all along.

So much of what we do depends on our feet, and we tend to ignore, even abuse them. Foot pain affects every step you take, every move you make. To avoid being the “King of Pain,” you need to get active with what I’ve outline above. This pain is inside most of us, and it is making us miserable. That’s a painful truth in itself. It is up to us to face it and work it out, to make things better for ourselves & everyone else. We must use this (and any other) knowledge & heal thyself.

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Releasing the Pain

As first discussed in “Undiagnosed Hip Injuries & Stubborn Fat,” there are two types of fat which are of concern. The first is visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs. When you see someone with a huge gut (50+ lbs. overweight), that’s mostly visceral fat. [1]

The second type is subcutaneous fat, which is the ‘stubborn fat.’  This stays, even through dieting & regular exercise, and becomes more difficult to remove after the human athletic peak ~ age 27.

Almost every Americans today has a stubborn fat problem— due to hip & back injuries. Most chose to ignore their pain by limiting their mobility, as canes, walking sticks, back braces and electric wheelchairs are now all-too-common crutches among the crowd.  Youth with back injuries, are often reluctant to participate in strenuous physical activity. These people, young & old, all share a common suffering which they don’t understand, causing their lives to be filled with unnecessary pain.

Stubborn fat is a protective mechanism. When a severe deep muscle injury occurs, a layer of fat is deposited to protect that area from further injury. If the injury isn’t properly diagnosed, treated and rehabilitated; then the injured muscle will atrophy over time, leaving only skin & stubborn fat for protection. This is a biological reflex mechanism, to ensure the internal organs always have an adequate layer of protection. What it isn’t, is healthy healing.

The problem with stubborn fat is that it’s not healthy. It slows the individual down, as “dead weight.” It leads to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other unhealthy diseases & conditions. Plus it looks ugly, because it is.

So what is fat really? It’s stored energy from over-consumption of food & drink. In the injury-affected area, stubborn fat surrounds thin bands of atrophied muscle & their nerve fibers. The idea is to activate these “dead zones,” to stimulate muscle activity & growth. This will immediately use up the surrounding stubborn fat, and make the area stronger with muscle.

The pooch gut, love handles & back fat are all symptoms of an injury in the lumbar-sacral region. When these vertebrae are injured, the individual loses mobility in their waist, hips, & back. Their butt starts to sag, and incontinence/constipation issues can arise, as sacral nerves downstream are cut off due to the injury directly superior. Remember all voluntary impulses emanating from the spine, start from the brain. The only way to lose the flabby butt, is to heal the back completely, so energy (nerve stimulus) can flow from C-1 through S-5 (and the coccyx), with no glitches.

As much as 80% of the US adult population is likely suffering from an undiagnosed apophyseal avulsion fracture, or some similar type of injury. The apophysis is the projection on the spine that links the brain & central nervous system to every skeletal muscle. Every woman who gives birth, whatever method they decide, suffers deep tearing of her hip, groin & back muscles. If those muscles aren’t rehabilitated, that woman will never regain her youthful figure.

Those individuals that have suffered apophyseal avulsion fractures, should be able to recall a specific event that triggered the pain. It was a traumatic injury somewhere, often during sports activity. In adolescents & teenagers, these injuries occur frequently and are seemingly ‘minor tweaks,’ so they often remain undiagnosed. The young injury victim may recover (some), but they will never be the same. Their explosiveness & quickness erodes due to deep groin & back injuries, which limit certain directional movements. Over time (years/decades), these injuries become disabling for those who don’t deal with them directly.

As an untreated condition, the pain is most severe during activity, and improves with rest. Tenderness can be observed by palpation, and the athlete may actively guard against contraction of the musculature attached to the injured apophysis. Passive stretch of these muscles will reproduce the pain. Into adulthood, a limp often presents itself, and there is a noticeable atrophy in the muscle group attached to the avulsed apophysis, compared to the contralateral side.

The lower back, where the legs meet the torso is an evolutionary weak point, a relic of our common quadrupedal ancestry. In the injury-recovery process, it is helpful to imagine the anterior torso wrapping in-between & under the legs. The trunk & legs fuse in the butt. Sending flexion in that direction, under control, is the key to recovery.

This is accomplished through repetitive waves of focused & painful exertion. Many people can’t even visualize what’s being described here, because they are so dead (atrophied) from their belly button to their thighs– anteriorly, and their lower back to the butt– posteriorly. Atrophied abdominal regions in old age are full of fat, infection, tumors, and other nasty surprises. The nerves can barely sense what’s going on here, and not-coincidentally that’s where the cancer starts. That’s why fat is a killer, medically speaking.

Once the injury victim fixes all the torn muscles in their back & hips– the abdominals & buttocks will be tight. With a properly maintained diet, all the stubborn fat will melt away– and stay gone. This is the best weight-loss program, as it’s based on science. I have recommended marijuana for the pain, and will continue to do so, as the rehabilitating patient needs something to deal with this intense pain-releasing process. It’s the most organic choice, and easiest to cease when finished. Use only the good stuff, by whatever delivery method you prefer.

You must maintain a caloric deficit to lose weight. Eat a sensible whole food diet, high in fresh vegetables (juicing) and lean protein. Going vegan gets you there quicker. Most of the metabolic fat should come from visceral & stubborn fat burn-off. Carbohydrates should be mostly organic, and as needed for energy boost & craving relief. This is a healthy diet. Simply adjust the portions until all the extra fat is lost, and then find a new “normal” that is actually healthy.

Pain is stored energy, and the proper method is to release it while immediately putting it to good use. Tai Chi & yoga principles are helpful in rehabilitation of hip & back injuries. This means creating energy with small inward & outward spiraling movements, then flowing it through the body to release pent-up pain. This will create ‘popping’ sensations all along the nerve/muscle chains, activating atrophied muscle all down the line.

Energy will ‘pop’ at the downstream insertion and often flow to the next insertion point for more popping. This quickly activates long-line muscle tissue, which will stabilize & strengthen the body. The hips & back are the most critical area, as they are devastated by atrophy.  It is wise to apply engineering principles to muscular-skeletal development, by creating triangles of muscle bands. Triangles are strong, and allow a framework to  be ‘filled in,’ similar to a road worker grading in a pothole with asphalt. Once a band of muscle has been lashed together triangularly, that area can be flexed. Muscle groups can be quickly rebuilt in this manner, with maximum efficiency & minimum pain. This especially helps with superficial sheathe muscles that have been herniated.

A couch, mattress & beanbag can be useful tools, as an injured back needs stabilization & flexible support. This bracing is needed to go after deeper injuries. Nothing really heals until the deepest injury is resolved. Use your imagination to flex your hips & back into every uncomfortable position imaginable. This needs to be done over & over, for weeks, months, even years in some cases– to fully recover and release all the pain. The best method is to slowly build the muscles using isometrics, then work standing up– using a kettlebell. “Handcuff yourself,” with the kettlebell held by both hands behind your back, letting it hang. This helps hip stabilizers, legs, butt, abdominals & grip strength, while not exhausting you with too much cardio. Keep going back & forth, using all the ideas (and whatever else you can imagine), until the injury is resolved.

Do this rehabilitation at climate. That means no A/C or heat. Make your body one with nature, and it will be better. If you have 15 pounds (typical) of stubborn fat to lose, you will add ~ 3 pounds of muscle, for a net weight-loss of ~12 pounds. Muscle is heavier than fat, but takes up much less volume.

Since all movements start with the hip & back, the flash-release of the stored pain energy will reveal other injuries downstream. The injury victim will soon realize that most of these tweaks were caused by the original hip/back issue. A breakdown of the central hub (hips & back), causes later breakdowns all along the kinetic chain.

Further benefits of fixing your spine will be: improved hearing, clearer eyesight, deeper sleep, healthier skin/hair, better coordination, more energy, and sharper mental awareness. How could it be otherwise?  These back injuries also affect the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the function of all the internal organs.

Also note, this is probably the definitive cure for hiccups, which I postulate is caused by the disruption of nerve impulses through the spine in the region of the diaphragm. This creates that irregular & uncontrolled waves of spasms known as the hiccups. As an individual case study, I have suffered them much less frequently as my rehabilitation has progressed, and haven’t had an episode in a LONG time.

All book images taken from Gray’s Anatomy– 22nd edition, edited by Warren H. Lewis

In conclusion, I rank this thesis on hip & back injuries affecting stubborn fat loss, to be among my greatest professional & artistic achievements. It is a human triumph to synthesize the process of pain release & rehabilitation for the world, using valid science to form a concrete & rational program that people can apply for themselves.

Pain is a very real & complicated phenomenon. There is a physical component to pain, which is the body telling the brain there is an injury that needs attention. There is also an emotional component of pain, which runs both ways. This allows some people to ignore pain & press on, while others are hypersensitive to pain. In dealing with deep spinal & hip injuries, there are significant levels of both mechanisms going on simultaneously. It is by learning the anatomy & science underneath, that allows the individual to endure & master the emotional elements of pain. I have chosen neurology as the scientific basis in this discussion, because all muscles are connected by nerves.

Deep groin injuries, limit sexual prowess– a primal instinct. These untreated injuries are a source of sexual frustration, jealously & anger for too many. Luckily one of the best ways to rehabilitate the hips is to have straight sex. It turns out that a man’s & woman’s body were meant for each other. There are many delusional fanatics in morality & identity politics that would argue otherwise [!], but that doesn’t change the fact that sex is healthy– provided it is consensual & safe. My take-home message is for more people to boink, simply for the enjoyment & healthy results!

There’s obviously ego & emotions with all this. The best way to motivate people is by building a program which corresponds to their material interests and emotional needs. Fact: every adult wants better sex, and more of it. Everyone also wants to be without pain, as much as possible. The relevance of these discoveries discussed above is that anyone can apply this knowledge, and begin to achieve immediate (and lasting) pain-relieving results. While there has been never been a shortage of people willing to do the work to achieve their personal fitness & pain-relief goals, there has never been a worked-out method with corresponding scientific validity that anyone can safely apply– until now.

Previous writings in this series:

The Ambidextrous Athlete

Hip & Back Rehabilitation Protocol

Hard Lessons from the Other Side

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