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August 6, 2019

There are many possible causes of heel pain, but plantar fasciitis (pronounced fa-shee-ai-tuhs, meaning inflammation of the plantar fascia) is a particularly common one that we see at City Osteopaths.  The pain of plantar fasciitis is usually felt on the underneath or inside of the heel, in contrast to Achilles tendonitis, which is more commonly felt on the back of the heel.  The pain is typically worse when walking, particularly first thing in the morning or after a period of sitting.  Usually, the pain is easier when wearing supportive shoes compared to being barefoot. 

The plantar fascia is a ligament like structure that supports the arch of the foot by tethering the two ends together – attached to the heel at one end and the base of the toes at the other.  Pain occurs when the plantar fascia’s attachment at the heel becomes strained.  This can be caused by various factors, including: a change in footwear, or an increase in time spent barefoot, an increase in exercise...

March 28, 2019

Sciatica, or to give it its technical term, lumbar radiculopathy, describes symptoms felt in the leg because of a problem with the nerves that come from the lower back.  The symptoms can include a sharp shooting pain, pins and needles, numbness, tingling or burning.  In more severe cases, weakness in some of the muscles of the leg can occur, which may cause problems with walking.   The nerves are usually affected because of a problem with the lower back, so back pain is often felt at the same time, but sciatica can occur on its own.  The pain of sciatica is most commonly felt in the buttock, back of the thigh, outside of the calf and the foot.  Sufferers tend to find that sitting is the most uncomfortable activity, with bending usually also being affected.   

It is estimated that between 13-40% of people will suffer with sciatica at some point in their life, most commonly affecting people in their 50s.  The most common cause of sciatica is an injury to...

October 29, 2018

The placebo effect has been in the media quite a lot recently, and I often hear people wonder whether the effects of a particular treatment are ‘just placebo’.  So, what is actually happening, and does it matter if it is ‘just’ the placebo effect?If your health problem improves after receiving a treatment, there are three reasons why this may have happened.  1. The treatment you received was effective and has addressed whatever health problem you had.  2.  Your health problem got better naturally and would have done so anyway, even if you had not received the treatment.  3. The placebo effect.  This is where our belief in the effectiveness of the treatment is responsible for the improvement, rather than the treatment itself.  In reality, any improvement we see after receiving treatment for a particular condition is probably a combination of all three of these reasons.  The way the placebo effect works is complicated, but essentially involves changes in our brain physiology.  It is more...

June 28, 2018

As many of you will know, I am doing my PhD (Doctor of Philosophy degree) at Keele University alongside my clinical and teaching roles.  The aim of a PhD is to undertake a large research project that contributes new knowledge to your chosen field.  My project is to develop a measure of adherence to exercises that are prescribed for musculoskeletal pain.  The first stage of my project was to establish what is currently understood about adherence in the existing research literature.  To do this I conducted a systematic review, which is where all the relevant research that has already been published is examined to try and draw conclusions about the current state of knowledge.  Although it is not expected of PhD students to try and publish their research, it was suggested that I should publish my systematic review due to its importance.  I submitted it to the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and after being sent to four experts in the field for review and six months of revisions a...

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August 6, 2019

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