Jess achieves her first 3km Open water Swim

Swimming Lake Llangorse.  In her words – Jess’s story.

As for the swim, well it was really weedy and I just wasn’t used to that and at the beginScreen Shot 2015-09-29 at 09.26.28ning I was really frightened.

This was one historic lake, not only is there a Crannog there, but the lake was famed in Welsh folk lore and has an Afanc (lake monster) as well as being a site of special scientific interest and there are many giant pike living in that lake (a cheerful thought when swimming)
There were four marker buoys and the course was rectangular so you went up the long side of the rectangle first sScreen Shot 2015-09-29 at 09.25.50wam along the short side and then another long side
The first side of the rectangle was hell.  But then by the time I got to the second long side I was getting used to the conditions and was calming down.  Visibility was tough so both my buddy and I lost a bit of time with that.
Thanks to all my work with you my head had now got into the right place, I knew it would be a challenge but I knew I could do it and by that time I just thought forget time, forget everyone else I am just going to enjoy being in this special lake in this special place – the weather was spectacularly gorgeous by the way.  So I pushed on round, I got cramp loads and Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 09.26.51pushed on through that and slogged my way though the full 3km and when I got my time it was just under 2 hours like 1 hour 57 and a half which is not bad because I did 3k in the pool in 1 hour 49 and it was much harder and much further in the lake.   I am pleased with it overall and all the work I’ve done with you I think made a big difference to me both in getting head together but also not going bonkers the day before and coping with the cramp by not panicking and pushing through.
Jess xx
Flip Flops and Ugg Boots …. does the argument wash that these are ok for your feet?

Flip Flops and Ugg Boots …. does the argument wash that these are ok for your feet?

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So let talk about Flip flops/Ugg boots/trainers and bare feet.

The foot is designed to strike the ground, dissipate the bodies weight as it strikes, the structure is designed to “give” and pronate/flatten in order to shock absorb.  Then as one rolls forwards with the body over the foot one goes onto the toes and so causes a bend at the big toe joint. This bend then tightens the spring ligament under the arch of the foot and so creates tension in the sole of the foot, which stabilises the structure and of the foot and also tensions the ankle joint, which in turn creates an external rotation in the lower limb.  The rotation stabilises the knee and the stabilisation journeys up the leg to the hip and so creates a better support to the pelvis and lower back.

When one is bare foot or in normal shoes that are tied/attached to the feet, this method and the above system falls into place.

When one wears shoes such as Flip flops or Ugg boots the shoe is slopping around on the foot.  Several things happen:

1.The foot “claws” in order to hold the shoe on.  This firstly causes a raise in the forefoot which can lead to calluses on the top 
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 of the foot and sores under the mid foot.  It causes stress on the end of the bone that are designed to lie flat to the floor not at an angle into the ground.  Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 21.48.44
Due to the forefoot arch there is no way that the big toe joint can work as it is designed.  So tension is lost in the spring ligament, under the arch of the foot and there is no support to the knee from the ground up.  The problem with this is the knee gets worn and tired and unstable from constant walking with no structure from below.

2.  The second thing that happens is that often the shoes have no grip on the sole and are slippery so to avoid the foot sliScreen Shot 2015-09-23 at 23.12.58ding in the shoe the feet start Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 22.37.13 copyto turn out like “a duck”.  When this happens the ankle often collapse in and the foot flattens, because the push off in the gait no longer comes across the foot and off of the big toe, but it comes from the sideways push off the inside edge of the ball of the foot. The spring ligament cannot be tensioned and so the ankle become lax and the knee is not stabilised either, because when walking there is no bend in the big toe joint.

So the argument that flip flops are closer to being bare foot than shoes is nonsense.  They cause the foot to work in an incredibly dysfunctional way which is detrimental to the knee and hip and lower back.
Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 22.37.13 copy 2The foot is designed to be used straight on.  Toes pointing forwards, so that the ligaments can work correctly.  When this is done the hip stabilising muscles – the gluteus muscles will activate and then control the knee from above and so the leg functions correctly and injury is avoided.

The discussion about shoes versus bare feet – is a different one. Shoes do inherently have a heel.  The problem with a heel is this causes a shortening in the calf muscle and will by the nature of lengthening the back edge of the leg make it easier to heel strike.  The conversation here is then about landing on a jarring straight leg.  This is not what my conversation is about.  My conversation is about making sure the big toe can work properly and so trigger the spring ligament and look after the knee.  Years of walking with toes out and slumping into the hips will cause a weakness in the ankle and so a weakness in the knee.  Toes turned out means upper leg is turned out – which means it is wearing incorrectly in the hip joint as well.  So if the person is not into exercise and correction it would be much more advisable to wear decent shoes to protect the leg and hip joints.

Take a look around you at how people walk and stand.  It is fairly shocking and we are feeding these surgeons a huge meal ticket!!

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Is it surprising that many sailors have sore knees and sore lower backs?

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 17.54.13Is it surprising that sailors have sore knees of lower backs when they sound so much of their time in unsupportive shoes, with little awareness of their biomechanics and the importance of ankle strength and arch support.  This can come from shoes, or it can come from better glute recruitment and correct standing.  Why do we spend money on corrective therapists when learning to stand properly and walk properly and wear decent shoes would solve a whole lot of issues.

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Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 17.54.20You can see in these pictures the collapse of the ankle in the left foot – how the foot rolls in.  It is not necessary to fill the gap with orthotics, but it is necessary to work on posture and correct the inward ankle roll, though awareness and exercise.