Author: Hannah Ramsay

Foot and Ankle pain

Ankle and Foot Pain

Did you know?
One quarter of your bones are in your feet! 

Ankle and foot pain can occur at any age for a multitude of reasons. It is probably most common however in sports people, especially those who do a lot of running. This is due to repeated high impact through the feet and ankles, a tendency for tight calf muscles and increased likelihood of ankle sprains due to awkward landings.
Unsupportive and constricting footwear, especially amongst women is also a common cause of foot pain. High heels place immense strain on the calf muscles (as well as the lower back and hips), while flat shoes or flip flops provide inadequate support to the foot arches.

Common Causes of Ankle or Foot Pain

  • Plantar fasciitis leading to pain on the sole of the foot and/or heel pain. This can be due to overuse (eg. running), increased weight (eg. pregnancy) or unsupportive footwear (eg flip flops, flat-soled shoes).
  • Sprained ankle due to awkward landing, pre-existing ankle injury or hypermobility.
  • Achilles tendinopathy due to overuse, excessive stretching, foot over or under-pronation.
  • ‘Wear and tear’ of the foot joints due to osteoarthritis.
  • Unsupportive or constricting footwear (eg flip flops, flat-soled shoes, pointed, high-heels).
  • Referred pain, cramps or ‘pins & needles’ from the lower back.

How can Osteopathy Help with Ankle or Foot Pain?

An Osteopath can assess what is causing your ankle or foot pain. We can provide treatment and advice for all of the conditions above. Treatment may include massage, joint mobilisation, stretching and advice on exercises to do at home. As well as treating the foot and ankle directly, we may also work on the hips, knees pelvis and the back, if assessment reveals contributing factors in those areas. 

When Is Osteopathy Not Suitable?

Ankle and foot pain may be caused by something that is not suitable for osteopathic treatment, in which case we would refer you on to a specialist. Examples include: cardiovascular problems, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, fractures or congenital bony anomalies.
If you need any further advice or would like to arrange an appointment please call 07908 415376
Hannah Ramsay

Top 10 Tips – how to avoid musculoskeletal gardening injuries!

Top 10 Tips on how to avoid musculoskeletal gardening injuries!

The temperature is climbing, the sun is shining and we can’t wait to be outside but, before you leap back into gardening you may wish to consider the 10 points listed below as a precaution:

1) Warm up – having a brisk walk around the garden and doing some simple stretching exercises is good preparation for time in the garden
2) Build up gradually – we’ve all done it – there’s so much to do – the temptation is to hit it hard. The problem is that the musculoskeletal system takes time to adapt, particularly as you get older and this can be a common cause of injury. If you’re not used to it, start out by doing a little bit first of all – tackle a small area of the garden and see how you get on with a short period of physical activity each day. Gradually build up the time and intensity.
3) Vary the workload – chop and change whilst you’re in the garden. Apart from the physical demands of some tasks, it can get boring working on just one part of the garden. Scarifying the lawn is a workout so try interspersing this job with an easier task like weeding. This will help you avoid overuse injuries affecting hands, wrists and elbows most commonly.
4) Think about your position – some activities, particularly repetitive ones, can easily lead to injury if you don’t get your body posture or technique correct. In spring time, you are also using tools and equipment that you haven’t used for 6 months. Make sure you are comfortable doing the task – if not stop and re-adjust. You can also vary the jobs depending on whether they require you to sit, stand or bend – as your back is unlikely to tolerate endless amounts of heavy bending or lifting.
5) Listen to your body – remember that pain can be your body’s way of telling you to stop. If you start to feel any discomfort, give yourself a break. Pushing through the pain may seem like an admirable quality, but it will most likely just make things worse.
6) Don’t be afraid to ask for help – we can all picture the scene – you start digging out some old hedging and you need some extra strength to get the last bit out – but no one’s around. You can struggle on but the risk of injury is high. Why not leave it until someone can give you a hand (maybe after social distancing rules have been relaxed!)
7) Decide in advance what you’re going to do – get the right equipment, plan what is involved and tell someone else if you can so they are aware of what you’re doing. Many accidents occur as a result of poor planning.
8) Look after your back and knees – if you can, straighten your back, look ahead and lift using the power of your knees and legs rather than allowing the lower back to take all the strain. You could also try using a foam-padded kneeler to prevent knee pain and backache when planting, weeding or tending to low growing plants
9) Use long handled tools – Use long handled tools if you can, as this will reduce the amount you need to bend, reach or stretch
10) Warm down – after you’ve been in the garden it’s good to do some simple back exercises which can help to counter the strain and keep your spine healthy and pain-free 
We hope that you will stay safe and well in the garden. However, we are aware that injuries happen to even the most conditioned and prepared gardener. During this period of social isolation, Osteopaths are on hand should you suffer an injury.

Osteopath (and keen trainee gardener)

Not just Backs!

We care about you from your head to your toes.

It is a common conception that osteopathy is a therapy used only to treat back problems, however this is not the case. Osteopathy has been shown to provide effective treatment and management of conditions such as:

  • Generalised aches and pains
  • Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise
  • Arthritic pain
  • General, acute & chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident)
  • Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury i.e. whiplash)
  • Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic) / migraine prevention
  • Frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences
  • Circulatory problems, cramp
  • Digestion problems
  • Joint pains
  • Lumbago
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle spasms
  • Neuralgia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Inability to relax
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Minor sports injuries and tensions

Headaches – cranial and structural Osteopathy treatments.

What is a cranial osteopathy – and how effective is it for tension headaches?

You may have heard of “cranial osteopathy” and think a “cranial” osteopath is an osteopath who only deals with problems regarding the “cranium” or head, or that if they are suffering from conditions such as tension headaches that they need to see a cranial osteopath rather than a regular osteopath.
Cranial osteopathy can feel very relaxing for the recipient in much the same as reflexology can be. For some patients, particularly the very young, cranial osteopathy may be an appropriate and effective technique, however patients with conditions such as tension headaches who are exclusively treated with cranial osteopathy may be missing out on more effective forms of manual therapy that directly address the precise source of their pain, such as referred pain from the neck joints or “Trigger Points” in the neck / shoulder muscles.
As an Osteopath with particular interest in treatment of migraines and tension headaches I may use a combination of both cranial and structural Osteopathy to treat patients depending on their individual presentation.

Hannah Ramsay
H B Osteopathy

Osteopathy, what to expect.

What happens when you visit an Osteopath?
What is a treatment is likely to cost? and How to find an Osteopath near you.

Before you book your first appointment, do call and speak to the receptionist or the Osteopath you would like to see.
Osteopathic practices should be able to provide information about the Osteopath, the clinic, what the treatment involves, payment methods and anything else you need to know in advance of your first visit.

At your first appointment your Osteopath will start by listening to you and assessing you.
Osteopathy is a patient-centred, system of healthcare. A first appointment generally lasts about 45 minutes to allow the osteopath adequate time to:

  • Listen and ask questions about your problem, your general health, other medical care you are receiving or medication you are taking, and record this in your case notes. The information you provide will be confidential.
  • Examine you properly. It is likely the osteopath will ask you to remove some of your clothing. Tell your osteopath if you are uncomfortable about this. You should expect privacy to undress and a gown or towel should be provided. You can ask a friend or relative to accompany you and be present throughout your treatment.
  • Ask you to make simple movements and stretches to observe your posture and mobility. Because of the body’s structure, pain or stiffness you are experiencing in one part may be linked to a problem elsewhere.
  • Examine the health of the joints, tissues and ligaments using their hands and a highly developed sense of touch called palpation.

Your osteopath will also check for signs of serious conditions they cannot treat and may advise you to see your GP or go to hospital. They should provide you with a letter explaining what they believe to be the problem.

Diagnosis and treatment
Osteopathy specialises in the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal and other related disorders.
Your osteopath will give you a clear explanation of what they find (their diagnosis) and discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you. They will explain the benefits and any risks of the treatment they are recommending. It is important to understand and agree what the treatment can achieve, and the likely number of sessions needed for a noticeable improvement in how you feel.

Treatment is hands-on and involves skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and massage of soft tissues. Your osteopath will explain what they are doing and will always ask your permission to treat you (known as consent). Ask questions at any time if you are unsure what you have been told or if you have any concerns.
Self-help measures and advice on exercise may be offered to assist your recovery, prevent recurrence or worsening of symptoms.

How much does it cost?
Most osteopaths work in the private sector and this means you will usually need to pay for treatment. Fees vary across the UK depending on a number of factors including the osteopath’s location; but the majority of osteopaths tend to charge an initial consultation fee of £55 to £70 and between £40 and £55 for subsequent sessions.
The initial session is often a longer one and generally can last about 45 minutes, with follow-up sessions generally lasting around 30 minutes. But again this will vary.

Most major private health insurance providers provide cover for osteopathic treatment but you will need to ask your insurance company about the level of cover available and whether you need to be referred for treatment first by your GP or a specialist.

Some osteopathic treatment is available through the NHS. For information on who to contact in your region of the UK, ask your GP.

Ongoing care
Because of the physical nature of the treatment, it is not unusual to sometimes feel sore in the first 24-48 hours after treatment. Your osteopath will explain any likely reactions that you could expect. If you have any concerns it is important to contact the osteopath and ask their advice. It may require more than one visit before your problem is resolved. The osteopath will review your progress at each subsequent visit and seek your consent to any changes to your treatment plan.

​Is referral from a doctor necessary?
Most patients ‘self-refer’ to an osteopath for treatment, there is no need for a GP letter. You can use the statutory Register of osteopaths on Institute of Osteopathy website to find local osteopaths or simply do an online search.

Although referral by a GP is not necessary, you are encouraged to keep your GP fully informed, so that your medical records are current and complete. This will ensure you receive the best possible care from both health professionals. With your permission, your osteopath may send a report to your GP with details of your condition and treatment. You can also request a letter for your employer if this is helpful.

Osteopathic treatment of Sciatica

Sciatica is common and affects a number of people of all ages and abilities. Yet it is also surrounded by a number of myths.Sciatica is pain or numbness anywhere along the sciatic nerve (which runs from the lower spine, through the buttocks, and down the backs of the legs) caused by compression of the nerve.

Myth: We do not know what actually causes Sciatica
Fact: Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, which is often caused by a bulging or herniated disk between the vertebrae in the lower spine.
Other causes include a bone growth on the spine itself or by spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. Thorough examination can typically enable us to determine the cause and therefore the best treatment and recovery path.

Myth: Sciatica is a diagnosis or a condition
Fact: Sciatica is actually a symptom, indicating that something is irritating a nerve root in the lower back. As Osteopaths, our goal is to determine the cause of that pressure on the nerve and advise on the best treatment plan for each patient.

Myth: I should stay in bed and rest if I have Sciatica
Fact: As with back pain, we recommend that most of our patients will benefit more by remaining active and avoid bed rest. We see little to no benefit to staying in bed compared with staying active for people with sciatica.

Myth: Medication is the only way to provide relief from Sciatica
Fact: Reaching for an anti-inflammatory drug is generally most people’s first instinct to help ease the pain of sciatica. However “a systematic review and meta-analysis published in February 2012 in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) found a lack of evidence of the efficacy of drugs including NSAIDs, corticosteroids, antidepressants, and opioid analgesics.”

Osteopaths are highly trained to identify if you are suffering from sciatica using a number of neurological and orthopaedic tests. However, it is not always possible to relieve true sciatica with just osteopathic treatment and your osteopath will know when to send you for further investigations or a different treatment approach.

Myth: All leg pain means I have Sciatica
Fact: There could be a number of reasons for your leg pain including muscle strains, vascular issues or another nerve being irritated. The symptoms of Sciatica runs from the mid-buttock down the back of the leg, commonly past the knee and down through the calf.

Myth: Sciatica is caused by an injury or event
Fact: This is not always the case. In most cases the intervertebral disk has a small defect and is ready to herniate, which means the Sciatica is not necessarily caused from any specific event.

Myth: Surgery is the only way to truly address Sciatica
In most cases, Sciatica can be resolved within about six weeks and do not need surgery. We may recommend other treatment options if the Sciatica is particularly stubborn to treat.

Myth: Sciatica cannot be prevented
It is true that not all cases of Sciatica can be prevented, but maintaining an active life, correct posture, strong core and body maintenance will all help towards preventing lower back pain and Sciatica. We highly recommend Pilates as an effective form of exercise to help prevent and address Sciatica as it focuses on strengthening your core.

For more information and advice about how Osteopathy can reduce your symptoms and treat sciatica please call me or send a message. 

Hannah Ramsay

Dog walking/owning injuries!

Did you know that a lot of injuries are caused by walking dogs?  It doesn’t make sense, does it?  Walking the dog is a wonderful form of exercise: you get fresh air, increased heart rate, movement through the whole body and the company of a furry friend.
But what happens when your dog sees a cat, or a half-eaten sandwich on the ground, or another dog he or she wants to greet?
The tugging, pulling and straining on the lead can cause all sorts of problems.  We often see repetitive strains to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of shoulders and a lot of these are brought on by dog walking.  A sudden jerk on the lead from even a small dog can give you terrible elbow pain.  A dog suddenly pulling in the opposite direction can put you in a weird twist that messes up your back. 
And that’s without mentioning the knee injuries caused by dogs accidentally crashing into the back of your legs while racing around at playtime or the black eye caused by over enthusiastic mis-timed jumping!
You see, dog walking is not as innocent as it looks!
So, what can you do to stop these injuries?  Well, I’m not a dog psychologist, but I’d suggest that good, consistent training is an essential starting point.  Dogs are bright animals and all of them are able to learn clever tricks.
So, if your dog is behaving in a way that causes you pain, get help, – spend time and effort reinforcing steadiness or possibly enlist the help of a professional dog trainer and try to fix the cause.  In the meantime an Osteopath may be able to help fix the injuries caused by our best friends doing what they do best!
Hannah the Osteopath and Murphy the Golden Retriever

It’s your age….. or is it?

Have you ever had an ache and been told by friends and family
​ “It’s your age, you’ve just got to put up with it”? or “There’s nothing we can do, it’s age-related”?

Just this week a patient told me he was just old, and asked what should he expect at his age. Well, there are somethings that can’t be stopped or reversed, but some aches and pains are unnecessary.

So how do you know the difference?

Usually, arthritic pain starts gradually, it’s bothersome at the start, but not agony. It starts when some of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones roughens and becomes thin, then the bone thickens. So the pain is not sudden. As time goes on (we’re talking months and years here, not days) the bone at the edges of the joint thicken and form bumpy bits called spurs or osteophytes. That’s why arthritic joints look a bit fatter than normal. Of course as all of this wear and tear happens it can cause pain, but it also causes a change in the way the joint works, which means the muscles can get tight, and the joints above and below have different strains put on them. So, not only does the arthritic joint hurt, you’ve now also got pain from the changes in the muscles and other joints. And these can be helped with treatment. Muscle strains and joint pains can be treated with osteopathy, and we can give you easy things to do at home to help keep the area mobile. You’d be amazed at how many patients think their pain is caused by arthritis when it’s only a muscle strain. So, don’t sit there and blame your age – get the right exercises and treatment. You don’t have to put up with it!

If you want to know if Osteopathy can help you why not give me a call.

Postural Pain

​A patient came to see me complaining of neck pain this week. It wasn’t ‘text neck’ but more shoulder and neck pain associated with their adopted position to hold a mobile whilst typing on a lap top. It seemed simple but, by suggesting the use an earbud, we demonstrated that they could sit straighter and relax their shoulders and therefore hopefully avoid the need for further treatment.

5 simple things you can do to avoid neck and shoulder pain arising from desk based activities.

Tip 1: Feet firmly on the ground
Keep your feet flat on the floor and slightly ahead of your knees, which are bent at a 90- to 120-degree angle. Use a lumbar support cushion or if one is not available, grab a small throw pillow to alleviate back pain.

Tip 2: Shoulders relaxed and natural
Shoulders are relaxed, upper arms fall normally at your sides, elbows are close to your body. Head is generally in line with your body — not thrust forward — and the middle of your computer monitor is at eye level.
Tip 3: “Arm” yourself for success
Hands and forearms are parallel to the floor. The ideal keyboard position is slightly below the height of your elbows and sloped slightly away from you. This position allows your upper body to relax and keeps circulation from being cut off in your lower arms and hands.
Tip 4: Neck-free when talking
Use earbuds, a headset or speakerphone so that you don’t have to tilt your head and hold the phone between your neck and shoulder.

Tip 5: Keep moving
Even with the best posture, you can get aches and pains from sitting in one position for too long.
Set a timer to remind yourself to get up once an hour to:

  • Stretch and walk around
  • Bend over and touch your toes
  • Do some jumping jacks
  • Run in place
  • Roll your shoulders slowly
  • Do arm circles to get your blood flowing

These activities won’t just help your body, they will also help your mind and concentration. If you use a lumbar support cushion, change its position on your chair. If you can, do some of your work, such as phone meetings, while standing or even walking.
If you do develop neck and shoulder pain 

  • Take a hot bath with bath salts
  • Alternate ice, then heat on the affected area (allow time to warm up naturally and cover the pack where possible to prevent skin burns)
  • Have your family member give you a massage

Or talk to your Doctor or an Osteopath if you have on going pain.
H B Osteopathy

Osteopathy and Sports Injuries

Sporting activities are part of everyday life for many of us and a sports injury can be incredibly frustrating, especially when there is potentially a long recovery process and you just want to get back out there and play.

We aim to help by:

  • Restoring joint flexibility
  • Improving joint mobility
  • Restoring structural balance
  • Reducing adhesions and soft tissue restrictions

Sports injuries may be caused by direct contact, an accident such as a fall or a heavy blow, not warming up properly, using inappropriate equipment or poor technique. They often happen if you push yourself too hard or overuse.

The most common injuries we treat are:

  • Knee injuries
  • Hip injuries
  • Ankles
  • Foot injuries
  • Muscle strain
  • Ligament injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Back pain

An Osteopath will treat these issues accordingly using physical manipulation, muscle stretching and massage. This combination of techniques enables the therapist to improve mobility, relieve muscle tension or soft tissue restrictions by enhancing the blood supply to muscles and connective tissue to ensure your body is in its optimum state and enable you to perform, or train, to your full capacity.
Hannah is our Sports Injury Osteopath, and, having supported Fareham Hockey Men’s 1st X1 players through their premiere league hockey for two seasons, she has experience in immediate first aid as well as short and long term rehabilitation support. The Osteopathy and Injury Management Centre at Abshot Country Club is open to non-club members too, we are here to help: 07908415376
#sportsinjuries #sportsrehab #musclepain #getbackoutthere #abshotosteos #rehab #osteopathy #sportsmassage