Achilles tendon pain

What is it the Achilles tendon?

The Achilles tendon is the large cord-like structure at the back of the ankle. It is responsible for transferring the muscle forces generated by the calf, which in turn allows you to roll onto the ball of your foot during walking and running. This tendon can withstand tremendous stress – it can tolerate forces of greater than 1000 pounds. However, it is also a tendon that can become inflamed and injured. Most tendon injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear from overuse or aging. Anyone can have a tendon injury but people who make repetitive movements in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon.

Signs you are having a problem with your Achilles?

Symptoms include pain (in the tendon or where it attaches to the heel bone), swelling, weakness in the leg, and morning stiffness. Discomfort that resolves as the day progresses, is common.

What can we do?

At EQ Physio we often see clients that experience chronic Achilles pain. Recent studies have shown that a certain Achilles condition called tendinosis, responds very well to a specific program of eccentric loading to stretch and strengthen the tendons. Given enough time and proper technique, we can help these patients recover from a problem that may have been bothersome for several months.

Who do you know that is experiencing Achilles or some other type of foot pain? There is a good chance that we can help – contact us today! Our clinic is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Aquatic exercise benefits

Aquatic exercise is one of the best ways to take the load off your joints while enjoying a cardio and strength-building workout. Here are some fun facts: did you know that you weigh 50% less when you stand in waist deep water? Did you know you weigh 90% less when you are submerged in water up to your neck?

Here are some great reasons to try water-based exercise:

  • Increase muscle strength– a recent study found that after 12 weeks of regular aquatic aerobic exercise, participants had made significant gains in strength, flexibility and agility.
  • Build endurance – Unlike traditional weights, which require the human body to push and pull against the weight plus gravity, water resistance is a more natural resistance which requires the body to strain through the water rather than against it.
  • Increase flexibility – As the body is subject to water resistance during water aerobic exercise – which requires movement in various directions while adjusting to the push and pull of water – the joints naturally increase their range of motion and your flexibility improves.
  • Low-impact exercise – the impact on your joints during weight-bearing exercise can be hard on your joints. The buoyancy that happens during water exercise lessens the impact on joints. This is very beneficial to people with arthritis or anyone undergoing physical rehabilitation.
  • Relieve stress and decrease anxiety – engaging in water-related activities is great for reducing stress, and can help alleviate anxiety and depression.
  • Burn calories – your body gets a full workout in water as it combines strength training and cardio, with the bonus of water resistance, it’s possible to burn between 400 to 500 calories an hour.
  • Reduce blood pressure – the water resistance works with your blood and enables it to flow and circulate more effectively throughout the body, effectively decreasing blood pressure and decreasing your heart rate – so your heart is being productive with less stress.
  • Cooling exercise – water aerobics are a cool activity no matter what time of year it is.
  • Social fun – since they aren’t limited to any age group or skill level, water aerobics are a great activity for anyone!

If you have aching, arthritic joints, do yourself a favour, and book an assessment with us to see if an aquatic exercise program is right for you. It could be one of the best things you ever do for yourself! Contact our clinic today – we’re conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Strength training

Muscular strength is a muscle’s ability to generate force. The purpose of strength training is to increase muscle and connective tissue size, density, and toughness. Bigger muscles and stronger connective tissues are less prone to injury and aid in long term weight management. Muscle tissue also burns more calories than fat when the body is at rest.

Strength training will also improve muscular endurance, or the muscles ability to perform repeated muscle contractions over a prolonged period. Muscle endurance is important for sitting, standing, walking, running, and any other activities of daily living. For example, consider sitting and surfing the web for an hour or more. Your neck muscles hold up your head (which weighs 12-15 pounds) for all that time. Now, that is muscular endurance!

Developing strength

A warm-up is important to increase tissue temperature and flexibility before heavy demands are placed on the muscles. Walk or cycle at a moderate intensity for 5-10 minutes before strength training.

  • Mix up your exercises – don’t work the same muscle groups every day.
  • Work slowly with a focus on proper technique-this will make you more efficient.
  • Strengthening activities can be temporarily painful (typically 24-48 hours later).
  • Concentrate on activities that isolate specific muscle groups.
  • A gentle progression of stress on muscles will increase muscular strength.
  • Moderation is key to avoiding injury
  • Perform 2-4 sets of 12-20 repetitions of an individual exercise (i.e. repeat the movement 24-80 times total).
  • It is important to rest. Your muscles need time to recover after a workout. When you strengthen, you break down the muscles; however, unlike any machine, the body recovers and becomes stronger in response to the stress.

Want to strengthen your muscles but not sure where to begin? Or worried about aggravating an injury? Contact us to book a physiotherapy assessment and we’ll get you on the right track. EQ Physio is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Take the Toe-ga foot test

Gabe Ho, Registered Massage Therapist is a graduate of the Royal Canadian College of Massage, McMaster Contemporary Medical Acupuncture, and McMaster Advanced Neurofunctional Sports Performance Programs and a member of the College of Massage Therapists. He uses a neurofunctional approach for his massage and acupuncture treatments to identify and correct the underlying causes of dysfunction.


When treating the foot, I always start by focusing there. Where do you feel the weight distribution – inside, outside, heel, mid-foot, toes? Calluses, bunions, Morton’s Neuroma, and bruised toe nails are signs that the foot is unable to distribute the weight properly. Now consider if the first point of contact to the ground can’t distribute the weight properly what that means for the rest of the body… knees, hip, back.

Then we discuss the importance of foot and toe mobility:

  • Can you move the toes?
  • Do the bones in the foot move?
  • Does the ankle have good control?
  • Are the muscles in the foot able to handle the forces?

Usually one or more of these aren’t performing optimally resulting in some sort of discomfort.

You can check some of this at home by doing some Controlled Articular Rotations or C.A.R.S. This is a seemingly simple exercise however in practice it can be very difficult. You need to isolate the ankle range of motion by preventing the shin from compensating – put your opposite arm under your bent knee, and hold on to other arm’s wrist. That hand will now hold the shin and prevent it from rotating when you turn your ankle. Now with the ankle make the biggest and slowest clock possible. Does the foot catch and skip? How much time have you lost from the ankle clock?

Another good test is the TOE-GA (click here to see video) can you move that big toe independently from the other toes?

As a Neurofunctional Practitioner I start by educating on shoe selection. Next, we aid in the foot correction by releasing the abnormal tension thereby allowing the bones to move more optimally and activating the inhibited muscles, so the foot does not collapse with the force of impact. The rest is up to you – TOE-GA HOMEWORK!!

Are you specifically having pain in your heels – check out our blog post here to see if it could be plantar fasciitis.

If you are having problems with your feet, contact the clinic today so we can get you on a path to recovery as soon as possible. We’re conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Balance prevents falls

Balance is something that we often take for granted. If you have ever had a fall, you know that it can happen without warning and can have serious consequences.
  • One in four people that live at home, and are over the age of 65, will fall within the next year.
  • Sixty percent of all falls occur in the home.
In the senior population, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. Falls are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. It isn’t surprising that so many seniors fall if you analyze their life situation. For example, many seniors are on medications, many of which have the side effects of dizziness or disorientation. Some seniors do not participate in any type of regular exercise program, so their bodies aren’t well-conditioned . They often suffer from arthritis pain, or might be overweight and sedentary. Considering these factors, it becomes clear why falls are so common.

How can you decrease your chance of falling?

  • Do not use loose rugs in your home.
  • Identify slippery conditions/uneven surfaces and eliminate them.
  • Secure any loose telephone and lighting cords.
  • Make sure rooms are well-lit and furniture is spaced so that it is easy to walk around.
Wood floors covered with carpet resulted in a significantly reduce risk of hip fractures in the elderly. When looking at forces generated with impact on carpet-covered wood floors verses other surfaces, results indicate that if a person lands on a carpet-covered wood floor, the odds of breaking a hip are significantly less and the impact forces were much lower. Balance is something that often declines with age. We become more sedentary and no longer challenge our body with physical activities. The good news is that balance can be regained and if you follow a few simple tips, you can reduce your chance or the chance of a loved one from falling. Good calf flexibility can help your ankle and foot work more efficiently, reduce impact, and decrease fatigue. A flexible arch and toes can reduce foot and heel pain. We can develop a program for you to increase your strength and flexibility today to help prevent in the future!

The physiotherapists at EQ Physio are balance experts!

Our modern clinic is accessible, with free parking right out front, and is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville – we’re here to help!

Sciatica symptoms and solutions

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term that describes pain radiating along the sciatic nerve which runs from the lower back, down through the buttock, hamstrings, and into the lower leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. What are some potential causes of sciatica? There are several anatomical structures in the body that can cause this referred pain. Pinched nerve roots in the low back (called radiculopathy), the sacroiliac joint, a pinching of the sciatic nerve deep in your bottom (piriformis syndrome), and referred pain from your low back discs, are just some of the possibilities. Pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc can cause sciatica.  Other common causes include joint inflammation, compression of the nerve from bony arthritic growths or a locked facet joint in the lower spine. What are the symptoms? Sciatica causes pain that usually begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttock, leg, calf and, occasionally, the foot. The pain can vary between dull, aching or burning sensations and sharp, shooting pains. Sciatica can also cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg. It is very important to seek medical attention in these situations as long-term nerve compression can permanently damage the nerve and its function. In these cases, your symptoms may become permanent. One or more of the following sensations may occur because of sciatica:
  • Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of the rear calf
  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
How is it diagnosed? Sciatica is a clinical diagnosis based upon your symptom description, the behaviour of your pain and a thorough physical examination. The cause may require further examination, including medical imaging such as CT scan, MRI or x-ray. If you have sciatica symptoms, contact the clinic today so we can get you on a path to recovery as soon as possible. We will develop a program for you to manage your pain and inflammation, and work toward returning to your desired activities and educate you in self-management techniques to prevent a reoccurrence. We’re conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.