Archive for September 2015

Survey on the effects of chronic pain

September 14, 2015


Thanks to Beth, our office manager, for forwarding me this article. And wow, the results of the survey are indeed staggering.

Chronic pain exacts a tremendous toll both on the individuals experiencing it and society as a whole. Far too many people are struggling to find a way out, a way to get their lives back. This was me many years ago when I started as a client with Egoscue. You can read my story here.

If you are living with constant, chronic pain that is keeping you from leading the life you want to live, I urge you to give our clinic (or the Egoscue clinic nearest you) a call. Tell us your story, let us know what’s going on and ask us if we think we can help you. If we don’t, we’ll tell you and we’ll give you some suggestions on whom we think might be able to help. This is what we do, and over the years we’ve developed relationships with a lot of different practitioners of many different modalities. We have zero interest in being the sole means by which someone gets out of pain. If we can help, it’s our privilege to do it. If the problem isn’t something we think we can help with, then we will help you find someone who can help.  Our goal isn’t to get you into the clinic. Our goal is to help you get your life back.

You can email us at, or call the clinic at 512.527.0030.  We’d genuinely love to connect with you.

Friends don’t let friends wear sandals

September 7, 2015

Note: this excellent post was created by Katie Phillips, one of the terrific therapists in our clinic. And a special shout out to her husband for helping with the photos and videos!

At Egoscue Austin, we’ve been thinking a lot about your feet.  No, not about your nail polish or the length of your toenails–we’re thinking about foot function and position.  Twenty-five percent of the bones of the human body are in the foot.  The foot is capable of the same amount of mobility as the hand, it’s just that most of us don’t utilize all this potential.  

Look for more posts in the future on feet, like getting the most out of your Foot Circles & Point/Flexes, and additional footwear tips.  For today, we will talk about sandals or flip-flops.  

Flip-flops are the go-to shoe for many Austinites.  They are comfortable, relatively inexpensive, and convenient.  However, they can wreak havoc on the body.  Why?  To keep the thing from flip-flopping right off your foot you have to use all kinds of accessory muscles and joints.  There are the two main problems.  First, the toes have to clench and grab to hold the flip flop on.  This toe grabbing can cause symptoms like plantar fasciitis and hammertoes.   The second problem is that if the back leg is not pushing off with the toes, it is also not extending at the hip joint.  Hip joint extension is where we get to utilize our powerful glute muscles to help stabilize the pelvis and drive the leg forward into the next step.  Without proper hip extension power, the low back, hip, knees, ankles, and feet have to twist and rotate to swing the back leg around to the front.  The torque at the back, hip, and all the joints below leads to pain in these areas.

While walking, it is important for the toes to spread apart and push off, helping to extend the hip, which propels the leg forward into the next step.  Think about this the next time you walk.  And if you aren’t already, make walking a part of your daily activity intake.   

Take a look at this video of walking in flip flops.  Notice how the back leg never gets fully extended because that would cause the shoe to fall of.  This person can not generate power from their glutes and hamstrings to push off and move the body forward effectively.  They are essentially falling forward onto their front leg.  It’s not hard to imagine how this could lead to joint pain.



By contrast, wearing minimal shoes that fasten around the heel allow for greater extension and power generation at the hip joint.  Also, the toes can spread and create an even, stable base to push off the ground and drive the leg forward into the next step. 

So what to wear when you walk?  Where it is safe, barefoot is best.  If you want to protect your feet but be as bare as possible, choose shoes with a flat, thin, and flexible sole that also has backing on the heel.  The binding on the heel will keep the shoe on your foot and free the toes to fulfill their important push-off function.  The ability to get good toe push-off and hip extension equals happy feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.

In the photo below, look at how the toes have to grab to keep the flip flop on the foot.  


And here, look at the toe spread. This is a happy foot!


If you would like specific recommendations for footwear please feel free to contact us here at the clinic 512-527-0030 or  Happy walking!