When it’s not plantar fasciitis; other sneaky causes of heel pain

When it’s not plantar fasciitis; other sneaky causes of heel pain

Ankle-Foot, Running, Tactical
When it's not plantar fasciitis; other sneaky causes of heel pain This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association If you feel pain on the bottom of your heel, the instinctive reaction might be to attribute it to the ubiquitous culprit—plantar fasciitis. While this condition is undoubtedly common, it's not the sole source of heel discomfort. Two often-overlooked causes deserve awareness: heel fat pad syndrome and Baxter's nerve entrapment.   The trouble with this trio is that they are commonly considered solo acts. However, they tend to run together in people who run, ruck, or spend countless hours on their feet. In this article, we'll go over each problem, identify key similarities and differences of each, and introduce self-treatment options that you can…
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How to manage a pulled hamstring caused by sprinting and limit downtime from running: A first aid guide

How to manage a pulled hamstring caused by sprinting and limit downtime from running: A first aid guide

Lower Body, Running, Tactical
How to manage a pulled hamstring caused by sprinting and limit downtime from running: A first aid guide This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association "Pop" You hear the sound followed by intense pain shooting along the back of your thigh that stops you dead in your tracks. You may have pulled or "strained" a hamstring muscle (there are 3). This injury occurs when the muscle fibers overstretch so quickly that they cannot contract to protect themselves in time. Hamstring strains often happen during a quick sprint effort, such as picking up the pace during a running workout or stopping short to avoid crashing into a slow pedestrian. Even a quick burst effort to chase after your dog on a breakaway from…
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Don’t blame your bad discs – help them!

Don’t blame your bad discs – help them!

Lifting, Neck Back, Recovery, Spine, Tactical
Don’t blame your bad discs - help them!  This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association If you've had a healthcare provider say your back pain is because of bulging or degenerated spinal discs, you'd expect them to tell you how to fix said discs, right? Unfortunately, I bet many people in this situation have been told this is nothing that can be done. Disc replacement is a thing, but it's nowhere near perfect yet for the lower back. So most doctors offer one type of solution: pain management. They provide pain drugs, injections, and sometimes even anti-depressants. Relief, yes, but not repair. While there is no doubt that pain relief is important so that you can go about your life, it isn't…
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What the Cup! Cupping Therapy for Sports and Tactical Injuries

What the Cup! Cupping Therapy for Sports and Tactical Injuries

Lifting, Lower Body, Neck Back, Recovery, Running, Spine, Tactical, Upper Body
What the Cup! Cupping Therapy for Sports and Tactical Injuries  This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association "The octopus got me again!" Cupping therapy, also known as vacuum therapy, is a negative pressure treatment applied over the skin to treat physical pain and injuries. Cupping increases blood flow, releases old blood and scar tissue deposits, and decompresses underlying structures (up to 4 inches under the surface!) A transient pattern of purple circle marks over the treated area is a signature side effect in stressed or injured tissues where old debris has been "drawn up." Recipients appear to have been attacked by a particularly vigorous sea creature. Skin response 15 minutes after a cupping treatment in a person with neck injuries, frequent dehydration…
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How to deadlift after back pain or injury (without hurting yourself, again)

How to deadlift after back pain or injury (without hurting yourself, again)

Lifting, Neck Back, Spine, Tactical
How to deadlift after back pain or injury (without hurting yourself, again) This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association You might have been here before: A sharp pinch, a stabbing pain, an audible "POP"… you've thrown your back out! While getting hurt can squash your entire workout routine, back pain can be incredibly disruptive to even the most thoughtfully crafted program.  Regaining a restful night's sleep is usually a top priority in the immediate aftermath of a back injury. But sooner or later, you know that you'll need to make an agreement with your spine to trust loading again. And when that loading involves the deadlift, even the most experienced weightlifter may dread the conversation between brain and body.  Luckily, a simple…
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Keeping Teams Up and Running – A Leader’s Guide to Effective Injury Prevention

Keeping Teams Up and Running – A Leader’s Guide to Effective Injury Prevention

Lifting, Recovery, Tactical
Keeping Teams Up and Running - A Leader's Guide to Effective Injury Prevention This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association "It's not the years, honey. It's the mileage." - Indiana Jones  Relatively young men and women in the military seem to sustain more injuries than their non-service peers. Ask a Marine which knee hurts, and they're likely to tell you "the worse one" rather than label right or left! There's no doubt that physical injuries like overuse take a toll on the body. But they also disrupt a leader's operational planning when a team member is sidelined due to a seemingly benign injury.  Leaders, take note: overuse injuries can be reduced on a meaningful scale. Many are entirely preventable. All will require your awareness…
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Why Your Back Hurts After Rucking and What You Can do About It

Why Your Back Hurts After Rucking and What You Can do About It

Spine, Tactical
Why Your Back Hurts After Rucking and What You Can do About It This article was originally published February 2019. Updated November 2022. Featured in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association Rucking can be really tough on your back. All of our clients who regularly participate in rucking have experienced at least occasional back pain. Of course, some muscle soreness is to be expected; after all, carrying 90+ pounds is no easy task, even over short distances. It’s almost like carrying another person. And the fact of the matter is that your spine is only meant to bear your own weight. But some people experience pain that goes beyond the typical muscle soreness. If that sounds like you, you’ve probably wondered what causes that pain and whether…
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Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Lifting, Lower Body, Recovery, Running, Tactical, Upper Body
Hate Stretching? Stop "Shoulding" On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today "I should stretch more," says at least one of my clients every week. While that statement may or may not be accurate, those choice words reveal a level of personal resistance that certainly doesn't help the cause.  Perhaps you "should" stretch. Stretching helps you move better in life and in your workouts. And a regular stretching routine can reduce that "old man" feeling when you get out of bed (by a lot). But suppose you're not naturally flexible, or you have nagging aches and pains. In that case, stiff muscles and joints are likely to protest your random stretching efforts.   In the same way that you might only eat veggies when trying to cut weight, stretching just…
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Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Lifting, Spine, Tactical, Upper Body
Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts Upper back, or thoracic, mobility is a key maintenance issue for the overhead athlete. The thoracic spine plays a vital role in keeping the shoulders out of pain and working correctly. A loss of mobility here can cause painful compression of the rotator cuff muscles or make your lat muscles have to work overtime for pull-ups. And if repping pull-ups isn’t your thing, consider the unattractive humpback you’re likely to develop if you neglect mobility work here! Assess While plenty of videos online show ways to increase thoracic mobility, it’s important that you first determine if you have a deficit. That way, you can monitor your progress and choose effective exercises. To measure your thoracic mobility, use the Seated Rotation Test.…
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Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Lifting, Lower Body, Running, Tactical
Can you rebuild knee cartilage? I worked with a Marine coming off a long deployment with poor gym access. An avid lifter with all things barbell, he mentioned that he had started to develop dull, achy pain behind both kneecaps upon return to regular gym workouts. He also reported that his knee joints felt “swollen” the day after a heavy lifting session.  “I had X-rays, and they said I had some arthritis, that my knees had lost some cartilage. Can we do anything about that? I miss lifting like I used to,” he said.  What does cartilage do? Knee cartilage is a network of tightly packed cells and water molecules that form a thick, dense cushion over the ends of bones. Strong cartilage is firm, smooth, and slick, like the…
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