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Clear Your Leaves with Care: Top Tips for Autumnal Gardening

Posted on 28th October 2016 by

Clear your leaves with careIt’s that time of year and you can’t avoid the carpet of leaves that covers our paths, gardens and walks. Many of the areas of fallen leaves can look beautiful and are an enjoyable part of this season. But inevitably they may need to be dealt with or cleared.

Over recent weeks on my travels in and around the very leafy suburb of Chandlers Ford, I’ve seen people mid leaf clearing. On more than one occasion my natural physio thought process has screamed inside my head ‘caution – injury risk’!!

With the weekend upon us, I thought it may be wise to share some tips on how to protect your body and minimise any risk of picking up an injury if you’re planning on taking part in leaf clearing this weekend.

Tackle it in short bursts.

Don’t go out and try and clear large areas all in one go, Set a time limit, clear what you can and then go and do another activity for a while to take a break. Then return to it and do another short burst. Keep on top of the job over the autumn so you’re not clearing such a huge amount in one go. Picking up leaves can involve a lot of bending forwards – this is usually fine if done in short bursts, but if you spend the whole day in this position (or any position in fact!), that’s when your body can start to complain.

Get help.

Share the task if you can, get the kids or grandchildren involved to get the job done quicker and share the physical burden.

Use the right tools.

A rake or broom is probably the simplest way or clearing leaves, moving the leaves into large piles and then using a shovel to lift into a wheelbarrow or bin for disposal.. Again, this is easier if you can have help to share the load. This technique is OK for small areas but if you have large areas to clear there are lots of other gadgets that can help. Leaf blowers are often seen being used. These can be great if you can blow them into an area like a compost that they won’t need to be moved or picked up. But if you still have to pick them up once they’re piled, you need to take care. Leaf blowers can be light weight but it’s still better to tackle in sort bursts to minimise any injury risk. You can also get lawn vacuums now, that will collect the leaves efficiently.

Think about your posture. 

If you do have to physically handle the leaves, it’s good to have in mind how a small child would naturally approach the task. They will instinctively crouch down, using their knees to bend to get close to the ground. As long as you haven’t got hip or knee issues, using the power of the large muscles in your legs to crouch down and collect the leaves will help protect your back.

Listen to your body. 

If you start to get a little niggle, your body will be feeling the physical strain of the task you are doing. Take a rest and give your body chance to recover. Don’t ignore pain, it’s a warning sign. Tackle the job again when the pain subsides. If you pick up more of a serious injury that does’t ease, seek professional advice. Gardening is a great form of activity but it can be very physically demanding.

Approach it like you would a sporting activity, ease in gradually, warm up for the task and don’t overdo it. Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful season!

Getting out in the garden is fantastic exercise, it’ll certainly get you active and moving in the fresh air, which is a fab way of incorporating activity into your life. Then you can sit back and enjoy the outcome of your work (until the wind picks up again!!).


goPhysio FAQs: Do I have to see my GP first?

Posted on 26th October 2016 by

Following in our FAQ series, today we address a commonly asked question, do I need to see my GP goPhysio FAQbefore I come to physio? 

The good news is, no, you don’t. You can decide yourself that you’d benefit from physio and just give us a call to make an appointment or book an appointment online.

Having to go to see your GP is a fairly traditional route. More often than not, for a mild to moderate musculoskeletal (MSK) injury, they’ll just advise you rest and take painkillers for 6 weeks anyway. To be referred to NHS physio, you’re likely to still need to see your GP first. However, there is even a move now in GP surgeries to have physiotherapists as the first point of contact for MSK injuries. Given that consultations for MSK conditions make up an estimated 30% of a GP’s caseload, having physiotherapist take over this role is great!

So, if you have a sprain, back pain, sports injury, neck problems, postural issues, muscular or ligament injury – anything affecting your muscles, bones, joints, you can come directly to see us. This saves you precious time and delays in your recovery so you can get back doing what you want to be doing.

goPhysio FAQs: How long will my treatment last?

Posted on 12th October 2016 by

goPhysio FAQHere at goPhysio we understand that coming to see a Physiotherapist may be a bit daunting? Lots of questions may go through your mind before you decide to make an appointment……….“What will they ask me? Will it hurt? Will I have to get undressed? How do I know it’s going to help?”

We aim to provide a very caring, comfortable and professional environment for you to come and get your problem resolved.

To help answer some of the thoughts you may have if you’re unsure about picking up the phone to make an appointment, in this new blog series, we address some of the questions you may want to ask.

How long will my treatment last?

This will be determined by many factors. These can include how severe your problem is, how long you’ve had it, if you’ve developed lots of compensations, what level of activity you want to get back to……

Treatment at goPhysio will start at your first appointment. So, you’ll leave that first session already starting your recovery and armed with lots of knowledge and tools as part of your treatment programme. At this first appointment, your Physio will be able to give you an indication of how many sessions you’re likely to need. The average number of sessions that people need with us at goPhysio is 5 – 6 appointments.

Our treatment sessions are normally half hour appointments, although sometimes we recommend 45 minutes for more complex or multiple problems.

How long your recovery takes will depend on your individual progress, how you respond to treatment and also whether you follow our advice, recommendations and your home programme – all these factors will significantly influence your recovery.

If at any point you aren’t progressing as we’d expect you to or we think physiotherapy isn’t going to help, we will explain this to you and most importantly help you find someone who can. We are able to refer on to Consultants or additional tests such as MRI scans, should we think you need this. We are here to support you however we can, and often this will involve writing a comprehensive letter for you or making some calls – this is all part of our service.

goPhysio FAQs: What questions will I be asked?

Posted on 10th October 2016 by

goPhysio FAQ physio

Here at goPhysio we understand that coming to see a Physiotherapist may be a bit daunting? Lots of questions may go through your mind before you decide to make an appointment……….“What will they ask me? Will it hurt? Will I have to get undressed? How do I know it’s going to help?”

We aim to provide a very caring, comfortable and professional environment for you to come and get your problem resolved.

To help answer some of the thoughts you may have if you’re unsure about picking up the phone to make an appointment, in this new blog series, we address some of the questions you may want to ask.

What questions will I be asked? 

During your first appointment at goPhysio we will spend a little time sitting with you and asking you some questions. We have to ask some pretty standard questions about your general health, medication etc. just to make sure everything is taken into account.  Most importantly we ask what you enjoy doing that your injury may be stopping you from doing! This gives us something to aim towards and a goal. Whether it’s something simple like putting your shoes on without groaning in agony, or you’re signed up to a marathon next month, it’s your own personal goal that helps us guide your personalised recovery.

Asking about the history of your problem or injury is a crucial part of your first appointment. No one knows more about whats happened than you do. Sometimes there are things that aren’t obvious to you that with careful questioning give your Physio a great clue as to what’s going on. We’re a bit like detectives, gathering all the information, putting it together with what we see and find; in order to give you a diagnosis and recovery plan.

Questions may include:

  • What makes it worse?
  • How is it at night?
  • Is there anything you can do to ease your pain?
  • Sport specific questions related to training frequency, intensity, changes etc.
  • Has anything changed recently like car, bed, footwear, a holiday?
  • What would you like to be able to do that you can’t at the moment?

If you don’t know the answer to any questions you’re asked, it doesn’t matter! There’s no right or wrong answers. Some people find it helpful to have a good think about their injury before their appointment or jot a few things down, so they remember some key important facts. But don’t worry if you don’t.

When your physio looks at your injury, they may ask you further questions guided by what they find.

We aim to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your time with us. You’ll find from reception to treatment room you’ll be made to feel welcomed and relaxed with our caring, professional team.

Foot Pain: Could It Be Plantar Fasciitis?

Posted on 8th October 2016 by

We are seeing and hearing from an increasing number of people who are suffering with quite debilitating pain on the sole of their foot. This common complaint is often the result of a condition known as Plantar Fasciitis.

Interestingly, over the last week I’ve met 8 people hobbling about with this painful foot condition and not one of these people were aware of what physio could do for plantar fasciitis.

So today’s blog is to educate you about plantar fasciitis and help you banish it for good.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Fascia is connective tissue which is found all over the body in various forms for different functions. It’s most common forms are sheaths surrounding muscles and ligaments to compartmentalise and  protect these tissues or thickened fascial bands or sheets in certain areas of the body.Plantat Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thickened sheet of fascia on the sole of the feet, running from the inside base of the heel bone and fanning out into the base of the toes. It’s elasticity gives us a spring in our step when walking or running.

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury to the fascial sheet on the sole of the foot.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

The main cause of plantar fasciitis is caused by

the plantar fascia being put under excessive stretch for prolonged periods of time. This can happen for example when your foot arches are too flat, so that as you push off when you’re walking or running the fascia excessively overloaded and stretched. Over time microtrauma, injury and pain result.

The foot can also be termed the “rubbish bin” of the body, where asymmetries further up the body can result in compensations in the foot. The body will compensate up to a point, but due to the excessive forces during the propulsion as you move that go through your feet, the foot may adapt by stiffening up and thickening of the plantar fascia. So sometimes, it can be something going on further up the body that may put too much stress on your foot, that will in turn cause this problem.


Plantar fasciitis is normally felt as a pain on the bottom of your foot, sometimes going into your heel.

Unfortunately plantar fasciitis is often confused with another foot problem called calcaneal bursitis heel pain). Without a thorough examination, most plantar foot problems are diagnosed as plantar fasciitis.

So a quick test you can do yourself to indicate whether your foot pain is plantar fasciitis or not is to see which is more painful; walking on your tip toes or your heels.

If it is painful to walk a few steps on your heels, you may have an element of calcanea bursitis. If it’s more painful too walk on tip toes (stretching plantar fascia), it’s likely you havre plantar fasciitis.

Why is it so painful 1st thing in the morning or after I’ve been sat for a while and then get up?

Plantar fasciitis is usually painful after a period of rest. The reason being is that when you’re sat for a while or asleep in bed, the fascia is off loaded and re-tightens. When you get back up on your feet, you are re-stretching the tight, painful fascia. It may ease a little as you start to move around as it effectively ‘warms up’ and stretches.

What can affect recovery?

There are many factors that will affect the speed of recovery. Seeing an expert Physiotherapist who has a wide range of experience treating lower limb overuse injuries is vital to identify all the factors and work towards removing or modifying the triggers unique to you.

The most common triggers for foot problems such as plantar fasciitis are:

Biomechanics It’s crucial to assess whether your foot and leg biomechanics (e.g. flattened arches, knocked knees etc.) are contributing to your injury and may need correcting. Here at goPhysio, our Physio’s can do this quite easily as part of your initial session by combining their physical assessment findings with performing a computerised foot screen using our cutting edge Gaitscan system.

Training Patterns and Intensity If a runner or keen walker has the condition, it’s vital to look at the historical loading of the fascia and modify their training schedule to a level that allows the condition to heal. Without breaking the cycle, the tissues won’t be able to recover. However, we like to keep people doing what they love, so rather than advise complete rest, we try wherever possible, to modify your activity or suggest alternatives in the short term that will promote recovery.

Lower Limb Stability Often muscle imbalances further up your body in your knee, hip or pelvis, will have an impact on the foot. As part of your recovery we will always address these elements too to help prevent re-occurrences.

Age Research suggests that older people experience more severe and more prolonged episodes of inflammation and pain. So, if you’re 40 years plus and enjoy an active lifestyle, your pain is unlikely to settle with just rest. It will be easily aggravated when you resume normal activities, as the cause and actual injury hasn’t been addressed.

Footwear Unsupportive, flat, old, worn out shoes or trainers can both contribute to causing plantar fasciitis and will inevitably prolong the condition.


At goPhysio, with a condition like plantar fasciitis, we always treat the condition as part of the bigger picture. Not only will we treat your foot itself, but we will look from the foot upwards and from the hip downwards, ensuring we leave you with no issues that will contribute to a re-occurrence.

Having identified all the factors unique to your condition, we will then address and correct them in parallel with hands-on physiotherapy treatments and education. It’s crucial to manually release the tight thickened plantar fascia with a variety of release techniques. You will also be provided with a bespoke home exercise programme for you to self treat at home and speed up your recovery in-between physio sessions.

We can also asses you to find out if you’d benefit from orthotics. In most cases of plantar fasciitis there is a biomechanics component that needs addressing. This can be achieved with orthotics. As outlined above, fattened arches will lower your body’s ability to cope with loading either from day-to-day actives or sport. At goPhysio we use a technologically advanced system called Gaitscan, which uses computer scanning to analyse your moving foot Combined with a physical assessment, the physio can identify if you’d benefit from wearing orthotics and subsequently discuss the range of options available to you to get you back on your feet a quickly.

What next?

If you think you may be suffering with plantar fasciitis or you have foot pain and aren’t sure what exactly it is, just give us a call on 023 8025 3317 or book an initial physiotherapy appointment online.

We can also offer you a free computerised foot analysis to see whether you’d benefit from orthotics. These analyses are completely free with no obligation. Call and quote Free Gaitscan to take advantage of this offer and find out whether orthotics could help you.

BackCare Awareness Week 2016

Posted on 3rd October 2016 by

This week, 3rd – 8th October 2016 is BackCare Awareness Week. The focus this year is ‘Caring for Back care Awareness WeekCarers’.

Carers provide invaluable help and assistance to their children, friends, relatives, and partners. It is estimated that there are around 7 million unpaid carers in the UK.

But what happens when their work leads to back pain, compromising their ability to care?

Back pain is endemic among carers: a 2011 survey found that 70% of carers experienced back and shoulder pain. This issue seriously affects the quality of life of those who should be most valued in our society, as well as impacting on their caregiving work, which saves the NHS and local authorities very significant sums of money.

BackCare Charity aims to significantly reduce the burden of back pain by providing information and education to all people and organisations affected by back pain and to fund scientific research into the causes, prevention and management of back pain.

If you’re a carer, you can download BackCare’s publication ‘A Carer’s Guid to the Safe Moving and Handling of People’.

Our Top Tips for a Healthy Back

  1. Try and exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be specific back exercises, walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates – any regular movement will help to strengthen your back muscles. Pilates is an ideal form of exercise for all ages and strengthens your core muscles that support your spine.
  2. If you do feel some back pain, keep active and moving. Take a look at a previous blog for more advice as to what to do if you do get some back pain.
  3. Get specialist training on manual handling techniques to make sure you protect yourself and the person you are caring for. Use appropriate equipment to help you whenever possible but again, make sure you have the right training to use it correctly.
  4. Think about your posture. Avoid slumping or staying in 1 position for extended lengths of time. This puts undue stress on your body which can lead to issues.
  5. Rotate and pace your caring tasks if you can, break up heavier tasks with lighter ones or alternate with a walk. If you can get help to share your responsibilities or can find the opportunity to take a break, accept this help. Your body needs a chance to recover too.

If you do suffer with back pain, either a long term recurring problem or a severe one off episode, please do get in touch with us. We can help find out what’s going on and provide a comprehensive treatment programme to help your recovery and more important help you become more resilient to back pain in the future.

Fall-Proof – Exercises for Older People

Posted on 1st October 2016 by

Falls affect one in three people over the age of 65 and one in two people over 80. However that’s not to Older Exercisessay falls are an inevitable part of aging; theres plenty of simple measures that can be taken to prevent or minimise the risk of falling.

Causes of falls can include loss of muscle strength, flexibility and slowed balance reactions which are all associated with ageing (but are all at least partially reversible with a bit of training!). However people also fall for other reasons… medical issues such as blood pressure problems, eyesight problems, dehydration, or simply tripping over in a cluttered house or not switching the light on when you get up to the toilet in the night are all things that can be addressed!

Consequences of falls can vary from bruises and knocked confidence to fractures and loss of independence, so let’s take a look at some common risk factors.

The biggest risk factor is a previous fall, so regardless of whether or not you injured yourself it worth mentioning it at your next GP or physiotherapy appointment so that steps can be taken to prevent it happening again.

Reducing the risk

Simple balance exercises can improve our reaction speed, helping us stay upright when reaching out or up for something. Try practicing your balance in the kitchen by standing on one leg each time you’re waiting for the kettle to boil – holding onto the kitchen worktop for support if you need to.

Strengthening exercises and regular physical activity help counteract muscle loss associated with aging which can be a whopping 30% decline between the age of 50 and 70! The government recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 x week (although this can be broken into smaller chunks if needed). Activities like gardening, housework and brisk walking all count!

Improve your bone density with weight bearing exercises, vitamin D supplements and a healthy balanced diet to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures if you do fall.

Get your GP to review your prescribed medications at least once a year. Some medications can cause dizziness or drops in blood pressure which can increase your risk of falling so talk to your GP if you think you are experiencing any of these side effects. Never stop a medication suddenly without discussing it with your GP first.

Eye sight can deteriorate with age, making it harder to spot any potential trip hazards so having an eye test once a year will ensure you have the correct lens prescription. The optician will also check for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Eye tests are also free for the over 60’s, so no excuses!

Limit your alcohol intake! It’s well known that alcohol makes you unsteady on your feet at any age but it becomes harder for our bodies to metabolise alcohol as we age, increasing the risk of falling.

Switch the lights on if you are getting up to go to the loo in the night and try and keep your house free of clutter, tacking down loose rugs to minimise trip hazards.

Install grab rails in the bathroom and by any outdoor steps to give you more confidence getting in and out.

Use walking aids such as a stick, rollator frame or even a hiking pole to help with balance when you’re out and about and ensure that you have comfortable well-fitting shoes or slippers.

Top 5 simple exercises to prevent falls

  1. Heel raises – Hold onto a support and push up onto your tiptoes then lower back down. Repeat 10 times.
  2. Toe raises – Hold onto a support and lift your toes off the floor, without sticking your bottom out! Repeat 10 times.
  3. Sit to stand – Sit on the edge of a chair and try to stand up without using your arms. Sit back down slowly, make sure you can feel the chair behind you. Repeat 10 times.
  4. One leg stand – practice your balance on each leg, hold onto a support if you need to. Hold for 10secs and repeat on both legs 3 times.
  5. Side stepping – hold onto a support and take a step to the side and then back to the middle and step to the other side. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

You can have a look at these exercises in a special booklet produced by Saga & The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists – Get Up & Go Exercises, 6 exercises to help you stay steady. There is also another great informative booklet which helps educate about and prevent falls – Get Up & Go, A Guide To Staying Steady. If you’f like a copy of this or the exercises, just pop into the clinic.