Articles in Category: Training and Performance

What's in a Shoe?

on Monday, 28 October 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Training and Performance

Article by Elizabeth Evans
B. Sc., M. Pthy.. M. SPSc., AEP, AES

Most people buy shoes based on fashion. Here, at the Institute of Sports and Spines we take shoes seriously, we even have a confiscation box!

This quick shoe anatomy lesson will help you choose the right pair of shoes on your next shopping trip.

The UPPER: This is everything above the sole of the shoe. Usually made with several layers of fabrics and mesh that are sewn and or glued together.
What to look for: An upper that is shaped like your foot, is smooth and doesn't cause rubbing.

The Ankle Collar: This is the top of the shoe opening that holds the heel down in place snuggly.
What to look for: Avoid shoes that allow the heel to slip out and those that cause excess rubbing or pressure near the Achilles tendon.

The Saddle: This is the area around the arch between the ball of the foot and the ankle.
What to look for: The arch of your foot should feel comfortable, not being pushed, slipping and falling down. Your foot should feel snug and secure without pressure.

The Toebox: This is the front of the shoe upper that encloses the forefoot and toes
What to look for: A toebox that fits the width of your toes/forefoot. Your foot should bend and spread naturally without pressure or rubbing on the toes, pins and needles is often a sign the toebox is too narrow.

The Heel-Toe Drop: This is the difference in height between your heel and the ball of your foot. Changing the foot drop drastically can contribute to injuries and alter your stride in walking and running.
What to look for: A shoe that feels right when walking or jogging.

Other tips include:

You may think you know your size, but it’s best to get your feet measured each time you buy new shoes.

When you go shopping, take along the socks you intend to use to find a great fit.

Are your Feet Flat, Neutral, or Rigid? 

on Monday, 28 October 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Training and Performance

Article by Emily Holzberger
Accredited Exercise Physiologist B.ExSSci (ClinExPhys). Memb: ESSA, ASCA Level 1 Strength and Conditioning coach, Level 1 Volleyball Australia coach


Different foot types impact the way we move and perform exercise. There are three primary foot types these are:

1. Flat feet: lacks medial arch, generally wide feet, very mobile, pronation.
2. Rigid feet: very high arches, immobile, make a loud thud when walking on hard surfaces, supination.
3. Neutral feet: medial arches present, good mobility through the foot.

The type of foot type you have impacts how your body distributes load. Here we can see the how the ankle joint is impacted by our foot type:

Foot pic 2

Our body works like a chain, so if I have very flat feet may knees are likely to be knock kneed. For some people this may impact them only when doing exercise. For example, if when I'm performing a squat my medial arched collapses my knees will move together. This puts pressure on the medial aspect of our knee joint and increases risk of knee pain. This can happen for people with pronated or neutral feet. See bellow the difference between squatting with no arches vs. arches.


If you're looking at that squat and thinking “Hey! That's what I look like!” do not fear, we have an exercise that can help build up the strength in your arches. This exercise is called short foot, the goal is to keep equal pressure between the ball of your foot and your heel. Imagine “gripping the ground” with your foot. By doing this your foot will shorten due to the lifting of the arch through the muscle contracting. This is great to practice whenever you're doing exercise as it allows our body to get into a better position for loading.


For those with rigid feet it is very important to cushion your foot well. Ensuring that the shoes you are wearing are providing you with a comfortable base is good for reducing risk of pain through the feet, ankles, knees, lower back and even your upper body. If when you are walking around at home you sound like a baby elephant that's a sign that you should be wearing shoes, especially if you're spending a lot of time on your feet. Even some cushioned thongs or crocs could do the trick!

If you're not too sure what foot type you have, it can be helpful to have a look at a few pairs of your shoes, they may hold the answer! You can see exactly where you wear down your shoes and this tells us your foot type. Here we can see what your foot type can do to your footwear:


If you're still not sure about exactly how your foot type is impacting your walking or running gait, come into Institute of Sports and Spines for a gait analysis. From this, we are able to create an exercise program tailored to your foot type and the rest of your body. Get in contact if this sounds like something you're in need of!


Images sourced from:

Staying strong and healthy during menopause

on Wednesday, 18 September 2019. Posted in Training and Performance

As we've just passed Women's Health Week we thought we'd discuss the importance of exercising for women, particularly during menopause.

In an investigation completed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in 2018, it was found that for females over the age of 45yrs:

  • Approximately 60% are not sufficiently active.
  • 80% do not meet the minimum requirement of performing strength training on 2 days per week.
  • Only 15% are both sufficiently active and perform strength training twice per week

These statistics are quite alarming especially because of the hormonal changes that occur during this period. We often see:

  • An increase in waist circumference and weight which increases cardiovascular disease risk.
  • A reduction in bone mineral density which increases risk of osteoporosis
  • Higher levels of depression and anxiety

Exercise is a key factor in reducing the impact of these changes. With regular cardiovascular and strength training we see:

  • Better management of weight
  • Improved bone mineral density (or at least a slower decline than if we aren't exercising)
  • Improved mood, energy and depression/anxiety symptoms.

If you are finding that you are not motivated to exercise seeking help from a health professional is the right path to take. Emily our Exercise Physiologist is definitely the person to get in contact with if you need some guidance.



Written by Emily Holzberger
B. ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys