2018 Welcome to our Blog!

In our ongoing attempts to keep up with technology we have added various social media. This will help to keep you informed about our health services and the latest events at the our clinic, excited about your health choices, and updated on health matters relevent to you.

On our Facebook Page we will post links to pertinent articles and news clips important to making good decisions about your health, entertaining videos that will inspire us towards wellness, and educated opinions on various current health events. By “liking” us on Facebook, you will stay updated and be alerted to the latest information! So please click on the Facebook Tab on the right column of this blog and please tell your friends!

Many of you are receiving our regular email newsletters which contains some of our available massage therapy appointments for the coming week by our fantastic Registered Massage Therapists. However, these appointments times can change quickly and at times, others can come available. We all live busy lives and it can be challenging to know our exact schedules. If you sign up for our LAST MINUTE MASSAGE CLUB by sending a request to our front office, we can TEXT you when your preferred times come available so you can decide if you want that particular appointment!

Lastly, our WEBSITE has been updated and we have a new look! This is our main resource for education as we have detailed information on the services offered at our clinic, treatment options and the various tests and techniques available to you. You can also book an appointment online!

As always, please feel welcome to contact us with any questions or information or topics that you would like to discuss. It is our passion to keep you informed on the latest health trends and choices available to you! Foremost, we want you to live a healthy passionate life!

~ Dr. Gertz, Pacific Chiropractic and Massage Therapy

Setting Health Goals and Your Success in 2019

An excerpt from The Power of Discipline 
by Brian Tracy

Your ability to discipline yourself to set clear goals, and then to work toward them every day, will do more to guarantee your success than any other single factor.

It seems that only 3% of adults have written goals and plans, and they earn more than the other 97% put together.

Why is this? The simplest answer is that, if you have a clear goal and a plan to achieve it, your focus is fixed on a set course of action. Instead of becoming sidetracked by distractions and diversions, your time is focused on a straight line from start to finish. This is why people with goals accomplish so much more than people without them.

The tragedy is that everyone thinks they already have goals. But what they really have are hopes and wishes.

A wish has been defined as a “goal with no energy behind it.” Hope is not a strategy.

Goals that are not written down and developed into plans are like bullets without powder in the cartridge. People with unwritten goals go through life shooting blanks. Because they think they already have goals, they never engage in the hard, disciplined effort of goal setting, the master skill of success.

USA Today reported on a study a couple of years ago. First, researchers selected people who made New Year’s resolutions. Then they divided these people into two categories: those who made New Year’s resolutions and wrote them down, and those who made New Year’s resolutions, but neglected to write them down.

Twelve months later, they followed up on the respondents in this study. What they found was astonishing! Of the people who made New Year’s resolutions but neglected to write them down, only 4% actually followed through on their resolutions.

However, among the group that took a few minutes to record their New Year’s resolutions, 44% followed through on them. This difference of more than 1100% proves the simple act of crystallizing resolutions or goals on paper increases likelihood of success.

In my experience (Brian Tracey) of working with several million people over the past twenty-five years, the disciplined act of setting goals, making plans for their accomplishments, and then working on them daily, increases the likelihood of achieving your goals by ten times, or 1000%.

This does not mean that goal setting guarantees success, only that it increases the probabilities of success by ten times. These are very good odds to have working in your favor.


As you ponder your goals and objectives for 2019, keep in mind a “category” for health.  When we think about goals, we may often set multiple categories to envision our future achievements such as financial, relationships, career, etc. However, keep in mind that none of these things mean anything without your health. What do you want to achieve with regards to your health for 2019? What changes will you make? Nutrition? Exercise? Overcoming a health challenge? Or simply making sure you are in optimum health in order to support and achieve your other goals? Do you want to be healthy OR just not be sick? (proactive vs reactive) How are you going to achieve this and what methods will you use to help improve and maintain your health? I would encourage everyone to remember that “things in your life work better when you’re in proper alignment” and “it’s easier to keep you well than to get you well”.  So, consider alignment, good posture and prevention as part of your list.

What ever and how ever you decide to think about your health, remember, at Pacific Chiropractic and Massage Therapy in Yaletown, we are always here to assist you in the best way that you decide. We always welcome your questions and we are here to assist you to achieve your health goals. As we start this new year, I would challenge you to examine your health habits, and shift your energy towards making proactive, preventative health decisions – write them down and review them periodically. Make this year the one where YOU took charge as opposed to reacting to a crisis!

Best wishes in 2019,

 Dr. G

Need an Attitude Adjustment?

It has been said the upwards of 90% of communication between human beings are what we call “non verbal” communication. That is, our facial expressions, eye position, movements and importantly our posture. These are called non verbal “cues”. Subconsciously, we “read” others and form opinions, judgments, and make decisions subconsciously based on these non verbal cues whether we realize it or not. Likewise, our non verbal “cues” also govern how people think and feel about US! It works both ways. One of the most important non verbal cues is your posture. Human beings predictably exhibit posture that mirrors how we are feeling or what we are thinking internally.

What kind of postural “cues” do we exhibit? We can change our chin position – upward or looking to the floor; head forward and strained or upright and tall; the height of our shoulders – whether we are collapsed and slouched inward or  chest outward with a full breath; arms crossed in front of us or open with our palms facing outward; our feet positioning – facing forward or to the side; whether we are standing tall or slouched. There are literally dozens of possible variations or postural “cues” incorporating the posture of many of our body parts that others read subconsciously.

The interesting question, that social psychologist, professor and researcher at Harvard Business School Amy Cuddy discusses in her Ted Talk, is whether non verbal cues can also govern how we think and feel about OURSELVES? The answer is yes. By simply changing your posture, and other non verbal cues such as our facial expression, we can essentially change not only how others perceive and judge us but also our own attitudes about ourselves as well.

Our bodies can change our minds. Our minds then can change our behaviour. And our behaviour can change our outcomes.

For example, research conducted by Cuddy shows that simply by adopting a posture that exemplifies “power”, can increase your testosterone levels by as much as 20% and lower your cortisol levels by as much as 25%.  Adopting a “poor” posture can lower your testosterone levels by as much as 10% and increase your cortisol levels by as much as much as 15%.  Why is this important? Higher testosterone levels are a key marker of good health, and is associated with feelings of positivity, confidence and success. Higher cortisol levels are an indicator of stress, negative feelings and overall poorer health.

Yes! Your posture can actually change not only your own emotions but also your actual physiology.

Everyday my patients hear me harping about how important their posture is and the various ways it can impact their overall health. It’s always an ongoing battle to try to maintain or even improve our posture, when the nature of our work –  sitting in front of a computer all day creates just the opposite – poor posture.  Poor posture is a slippery slope as our bodies slowly adapt, joints stiffen and become misaligned, our muscles and ligaments become less flexible. Fortunately, there effective ways of correcting these changes such as with regular chiropractic care and maintenance of your flexibility through a consistent stretching routine or yoga.

If you feel that you are in need of an attitude shift, and some improvements to your postural outlook on life, schedule a chiropractic check up appointment. We will assess your current posture and let you know what needs to be done to safely and effective improve your posture.

~Dr. G

Airplane Yoga!

It’s the time of year when many of us (myself included) frantically search the internet for last minute web travel specials to escape the Vancouver monsoon season in favour of palm trees and vitamin D! It’s no secret that travel is stressful and airplane seats are tiny. Though you can’t do much when you’re squashed into the middle seat, here’s a few little Yoga stretches that can help relieve your cramped muscles and reduce your stress without getting into your neighbor’s personal space:


1. Neck Rolls

After you get settled into your seat, take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then start with a simple neck roll. These are great because so much tension is stored in the neck and you don’t need much room to do them. First let your chin drop towards your chest. Try to relax and let the head hang heavy. Begin to circle your head to the right side, then back, then to the left side. Continue slowly circling for five rotations and then switch directions and circle the other way five times.

2. Eagle Arms

Next, you can do the arm twist from eagle pose. This gives you a nice Yoga stretch across your upper back and shoulders. Bring your arms out in front of you and wrap the right upper arm underneath the left one. Bring your palms to touch and raise the upper arms while lowering your shoulders. Take five breaths before releasing and wrapping the left arm under the right.

3. Shoulder Stretch

Next, scoot up to the edge of your seat. Clasp your hands behind your back and straighten your arms as much as you can behind you. You can also let your head drop forward. This stretches the front of the shoulders.

4. Cow Pose

From here, take yourself into to a little cat-cow stretch. First, the cow. On an inhale, arch the back and look up toward the ceiling.

5. Cat Pose

On the exhale, round the spine and let your head drop forward. Repeat the cat-cow movements on each inhale and exhale for five breaths. Now relax and enjoy the rest of your flight. If you are feeling tense, try practicing some breathing exercises to calm the central nervous system. Order some water or juice from the drinks cart to keep yourself hydrated and repeat your stretches as necessary.

6. Seated Pelvic Tilts 

 It is easier to do if you have your seat in the upright position. Sit with your back against the back of the seat. Feel the natural curve in the lower back. Place your feet flat on the floor at a hip’s width distance. Place your hands on your belly button. Tilt your pelvis back and draw in your abs. Feel the muscles under your palms contract as your lower back is pushed flat against the seat. Hold for three to 10 seconds. Repeat five to 10 times or until your ab muscles are tired. Be sure to breathe throughout the exercise.

7.  Arm Stretches

Extend your right arm out in front of you, palm up. Grasp the fingers of your extended hand with your left hand and pull your hand back and down while lifting up your right arm. This will stretch out not only your forearm and bicep, but also your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds or until your muscle starts to ache slightly. Repeat the stretch for your other arm. 

8.  Leg Exercises

Take both hands and make fists and place them on the outside of your knees, with your feet flat on the floor. Use your leg muscles to push against your fists, and use your arm muscles to prevent your legs from moving outward. Hold the stretch for five seconds, pushing as hard as you can with your leg muscles. Relax, then move your fists to the inside of your knees and repeat, this time trying to push your legs together while creating resistance with your arms. The resistance will flex the muscles and tendons in your legs and help improve blood flow.

9.  Ankle Rolls

Simply raise on leg off the ground and point your toe forward. Using your big toe, draw all the letters of the alphabet as large as you can.

 10. Calf Raises

 Place both feet on the ground and raise your heels up so that your knees are elevated, without your toes leaving the ground. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat as many times as comfortable. You can do both legs at once or alternate. This is great for maintaining circulation.

Plane travel can be difficult if you are suffering currently from stiffness, aches or soreness in your joints. Give Pacific Chiropractic and Massage Therapy in Yaletown a call in advance of your trip so that we can make not only your trip but your vacation more enjoyable!

Can Posture Affect Your Breathing? Chiropractic care may help!

Poor posture can affect your ability to breathe!

The subject of posture is a big one, especially for Chiropractors these days. Although in my office, I see many patients for many different types of complaints, a significant portion can be directly attributed to not only poor posture in general, but specifically a forward head posture. Just walk into any coffee shop and you will see people lovingly gazing with their bloodshot eyes into the glare of their laptop screens, with a slumped forward posture. Laptops are the worst contributors to poor posture as they simply cannot accommodate a proper ergonomic position. It is quite common for people to spend as much as 10-12 hours per days in front of their computers.   Add in the time on their smart phones surfing, driving, and sitting on their couch and we have an epidemic of poor neck posture.

Can Posture Affect Your Breathing?

Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California states that forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity.

Poor posture invites distorted, restricted, shallow breathing. Just try this:  sit down and bend over and try to breathe in. Notice how it is harder to breathe. This is an extreme example of how our muscles and tendons get over restricted and cause a lessening of depth and ease in breathing. This also restricts your esophagus, phrenic nerves, aorta, trachea, brachiocephalic vein, but most importantly – breathing volume and ease. good posture is required for singers

Poor posture can shorten muscles, ligaments and create stiffness in joints and alter nerve function, which are all required for normal breathing. Your ability to take a full deep breathe can affect your performance in sports, your mental clarity, your sleep, your attitude, your digestion and organ function to name a few.

Have you ever noticed a singer’s posture? In order to hold those long notes, it requires very good posture for optimum lung function!

How Can I Breathe Easier?

Simply making yourself sit up straight or correct your posture is no easy task. In fact, forcing yourself can actually make it more difficult to breathe since your are fighting against all those shortened muscles and ligaments that have adapted over time to your poor posture. That’s why it can be difficult or uncomfortable to maintain good posture at first. Chiropractic care can help to ease the tension of these tissues and joints, making it easier to maintain and correct poor posture. However, good results take time.

Certain types of yoga and Pilates can help to improve your posture. Yoga training also emphasizes healthy breathing habits. I suggest that everyone start with a chiropractic check up to identify any areas of concern in your spine before starting yoga to make sure it is safe for you. Sometimes certain movements may not be good for you if certain problems are found.

If you feel that you cannot take a deep breath in, or feel that your posture can use some tuning up, schedule a chiropractic check up. We will examine your spine, and let you know how to best proceed so that you can be your healthiest YOU!

~ Dr. Gertz


Can Poor Posture Cause Arthritis?

Poor posture contributes to Arthritis

Posture, both good and bad, absolutely can have an impact on osteoarthritis.  How does bad posture affect osteoarthritis?  Chronic bad posture places abnormal chronic stresses on your body.  Normally, the muscles protect the bones and joints. However, these abnormal stresses make it harder for your muscles to take the pressure off your joints-and your joints end up paying the price.  For an easy example, consider your head and neck.

Your head weighs a little more than 10 pounds – or slightly more than a bowling ball.  Your neck is supporting your head 24 hours a day with only a brief rest when you lie down at night.  Even with perfect posture, this is a lot to ask of your neck!  Good neck posture mandates that your head rests directly above your neck. Poor neck posture typically consists of carrying your head somewhat forward in relation to your neck.  This places an increased stress on your neck.  A good analogy is carrying a bowling ball over your head.  Carrying the ball over your head is what your neck does with good posture.  Carrying the bowling ball 20 degrees in front of your head is a lot harder and your arm muscles will get more tired more quickly.

What happens with increased stress on your neck from poor posture?  The large muscles, and the smaller postural muscles, fatigue and the forces from your head and neck are translated through the small joints in your neck.  This can lead to a change in your normal alignment over time. When your spine is not in normal alignment, this leads to greater wear-and-tear of your joints and, potentially, earlier osteoarthritis. If your neck already has osteoarthritis, then the poor posture can worsen the pain.  It is the same with the other joints in your body. Poor posture (and poor alignment) increases the stresses they face, which increases the chances of them developing osteoarthritis.

If poor posture increases the risk of developing and/or worsening osteoarthritis, can good posture cure osteoarthritis?

Good posture may not cure osteoarthritis, but it will certainly help.  Just as poor posture places increasedPosture Bad stress on the joints in your body, good posture decreases those stresses.  Good anatomic posture allows your muscles to work most effectively to unload your joints, take the pressure off them, and allow them a chance to heal.


Good posture does not happen overnight.  If you don’t already have good posture, realize that it takes steady, consistent attention and work.  But the work is well worth it! While it may be difficult at first to constantly remind yourself to improve your posture, eventually you will find that your body begins to return to its good posture naturally and without as much effort and attention as in the beginning. Also, it can be quite challenging to correct posture at first if you are not in proper alignment or if you have lost normal flexibility of your spine. Correcting your posture in conjunction with a program of regular chiropractic care can greatly assist with the process.

How important is posture really? The next few blogs will deal with how posture is connected to areas of your health you wouldn’t even realize, such as your mental state!

Stay tuned and stay healthy!

Dr. G


How Sitting is the New Smoking

Break Up with your sitting with some walking!

There’s no sugar-coating it: North Americans sit a lot, especially if you reside in a tech-savvy area of Vancouver like Yaletown. Two-thirds of the North American workforce sits for all or part of their workday.1 When you don’t adjust your posture frequently enough, you’re more likely to experience discomfort while sitting–and you’re inviting a whole host of other musculoskeletal problems along with it.1

Today, on average, sitting takes up more than half of an adult’s waking hours.2 What’s worse is that, according to Mayo Clinic cardiologist Martha Grogan, “for people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”3 Based on current trends, researchers predict the number of hours we spend sedentary will likely increase.2

There are other health risks that come from being more sedentary: prolonged time spent while sitting or reclining can tamper with your glucose levels and your metabolism.4 It’s also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.4 The good news is that if you break up those long periods of sitting, you can reduce your risk of having diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.4

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada5 recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity–such as brisk walking or bike riding–at least five days out of the week. If you work Monday to Friday, consider adding a few steps to your commute, or taking two 15 minute walk breaks each workday.

Here are some more helpful tips to help break up your sitting time6,7:

  • Create a schedule to remind you to stand up and move. Programming your day can help you stick to something you may otherwise forget to do. A good goal is 5-10 minutes of activity per hour. For example, if you have a job that involves sitting most of the day, plan to spend five minutes every hour up from your chair and moving around the office (like getting coffee, walking around the building, or taking a restroom break) and spend the other five minutes doing stretches.
  • Walk around on your lunch break. Invite coworkers from your office to go for a walk with you at lunch. You can check out a nearby park or take a new route around the neighbourhood.
  • Park further away and walk. Whether you’re running errands or parking at work, you can choose to park further away and walk those extra few steps to your destination.
  • Walk around the house while talking on the phone or during commercial breaks of your favourite show. You might find other opportunities throughout the day too!

Little changes can go a long way to improve your posture and decrease a number of health risks. Whatever method you choose, you can also use the Straighten Up Canada app and Fit-in 15 program to find small exercises you can do during the day. Of course, regular check ups with your chiropractic at Pacific Chiropractic can help reduce the chances of stiffness, misalignments or even nerve pressure from building up…at least, that’s what our patients tell us!


  1. Fenety A, Walker JM. Short-term effects of workstation exercises on musculoskeletal discomfort and postural changes in seated video display unit workers. J Am Phys Ther Assoc. 2002; 82(6): 578-89.
  2. Healy GN, Eakin EG, Owen N, et al. A cluster randomized controlled trial to reduce office workers’ sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016; 48(9): 1787-97. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000972.
  3. Winslow, R. The guide to beating a heart attack: first line defense is lowering risk, even when genetics isn’t on your side. The Wall Street Journal. April 16, 2012. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304818404577347982400815676. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  4. Benatti FB, Ried-Larsen M. The effects of breaking up prolonged sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015; 47(10): 2053-61. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000654.
  5. Stay active. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. Available at: http://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active#How-much-activity-do-I-need. Accessed November 22, 2016.
  6. Storrs C. Stand up, sit less and move more, researchers say; here’s how to do it. CNN. August 6, 2015. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/06/health/how-to-move-more/. Accessed October 14, 2016.
  7. Sit less. The Heart Foundation. Available at: https://heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/sit-less. Accessed October 14, 2016.

(From JCCA e-toc)

Are You a Sitting Duck? Proper Ergonomics for Your Work Station

ergonomicsThere are four areas that a computer user interfaces with: the monitor, the keyboard and mouse, the chair, and the lighting of the environment. Setting up these interfaces with good ergonomics and guidelines as well as maintaining a good posture will enhance your comfort and efficiency as well as prevent repetitive stress injuries.

The Monitor

Position the monitor to minimize glare by placing it at a right angle to light sources or windows

Place the monitor as far away from you as possible while maintaining the ability to read without consciously focusing. Keep a minimum distance of 20 inches.

Place the center of the screen at a 15 degree down angle from your eyes with your neck only slightly bent holding your head perpendicular to the floor. The top of the monitor should be roughly equal height to your forehead.

The Keyboard

  • Position the  keyboard slightly below the elbow and at a negative angle to allow the wrists to remain straight when you sit in a slightly reclined postureProper Wrist Position
  • Do NOT use a wrist rest while actively typing. It’s meant to rest on not to lean on when working. Hold your hands and arms off of any supports while typing.
  • Do NOT use the keyboard supports to raise the back up. Do NOT tilt the keyboard tray so that the back of the keyboard is higher than the front. Though design and a lot of prevailing information say you should tilt the keyboard to a positive angle like this, it is wrong. A negative angle that allows the wrists to stay in their natural wrist position is better. A positive angle is a repetitive stress injury waiting to happen.

The Mouse

  • Place the mouse on the same level as and immediately next to the keyboard tray.
  • Keep the mouse in the arc line of the keyboard so that you can reach it when rotating your arm from the elbow.Proper wrist position
  • Do NOT use a wrist rest while using the mouse. Your forearm needs to be free to move so  you do not strain the wrist.
  • If your keyboard has a number pad, consider switching to use the mouse with your left hand.  This will keep your elbow and wrist closer in line with your body and reduce strain on your shoulder muscles.

The Chair

  • Use arm rests.
  • Place the lumbar support slightly below the waist line.
  • Adjust the height of the chair so your feet can rest completely on the floor.Proper Chair position
  • Allow 1-3 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees.
  • Use a high back chair that supports your shoulder blades if at all possible


  • The office should be moderately bright (20-50 foot candles or equal to a nice day where sunglasses aren’t needed).
  • Do not use task lighting for computer work.

Dr Gertz can offer specific advice for your personal ergonomic needs. He also can perform an onsite evaluation for you or others in your company. Please contact him for further information.

If someone you know is suffering from the results of poor work ergonomics needlessly, start with calling our office to schedule yourself, or someone you know in for a check up appointment to see what treatment options are available to you.

Do’s and Don’ts of Flip Flops

Flip Flop Fiasco

In last week’s article we discussed some of the health issues that can arise by wearing Flip Flops, and how we can examine your feet, and the appropriate therapy for your those problems. However, as with some of my patients, their sense of style is still so overwhelming that they cannot resist wearing flip flops, here are a few tips to avoid a “flip flop fiasco”, as discussed in our previous post:


• Do shop for a flip-flop made of high-quality, soft leather. Leather minimizes the potential for blisters and other types of irritation.

• Shop for flip flops that have the Canadian (or American) Podiatry seal of approval or those that are recommended by foot and orthotic manufacturers such as FootMaxx. Ask or call the office for examples.

• Do gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring it bends at the ball of the foot.  Shoes of any kind should never fold in half.  In the past few years,  with the huge increase in foot complaints from wearing flip flops, there are many foot wear manufacturers that have cropped up that have created stylish flip flops that are more sturdy, have built in arch supports, and more appropriate cushioning.

• Do wear a sturdy pair of flip-flops when walking around a public pool, at the beach, in hotel rooms and in locker room areas. Walking barefoot can expose foot soles to plantar warts and athlete’s foot.

• Do ensure that your foot doesn’t hang off of the edge of the flip-flop.


• Don’t re-wear flip-flops year after year. Inspect older pairs for wear. If they show signs of severe wear, discard them.

• Don’t ignore irritation between toes, where the toe thong fits. This can lead to blisters and possible infections.

• Don’t wear flip-flops while walking long distances. Even the sturdiest flip-flops offer little in terms of shock absorption and arch support.

• Don’t do yard work while wearing flip-flops. Always wear a shoe that fully protects feet when doing outside activities such as mowing the lawn or using a weed-eater.

• Don’t play sports in flip-flops. This practice can lead to twisting of the foot or ankle, as well as sprains and breaks.

If you are suffering from foot pain, which may or may not have been caused by your footwear such as flip flops, or if you have flat feet, tendonitis, or spend alot of time on your feet, you may be a candidate for custom foot orthotics.

Custom Made Foot Orthotics can help with more than Plantar Fascitis….

Custom Foot Orthotics

Foot orthotics allow the muscles, tendons and bones of the feet and lower legs to function at their highest potential. When appropriately prescribed, orthotics can decrease pain, not only in the foot, but in other parts of the body such as the knee, hip and lower back. They can also increase stability in an unstable joint, prevent a deformed foot from developing additional problems, correct improper biomechanics and improve overall quality of life.

At our office, we perform various diagnostic tests such as a digital gait analysis to observe your gait and discover any biomechanical abnormalities that may be putting undue stresses on your feet and alignment of your spine.

The FootMaxx orthotics that are often prescribed are custom-made for your feet, sport-specific to your activities and designed to accommodate for different shoe types.

Often people will have Extended Health Insurance benefits that cover the cost of orthotics. Please check your individual health benefits package.

Custom made sandals are also available for summer with the orthotic component built into the sandal.  Call our office to schedule a foot check up, or gait analysis to see if custom orthotics might be right for you.

~ Dr. Gertz

The Flip Flop Foot Pain Fiasco!

Flip flop foot pain“OUCH!! MY FOOT IS PAINFUL!!”


Summer is finally here and many of us are becoming more active outside in the sunshine and warmer weather (hopefully!!). Our feet, which have become accustomed to our more sturdy and supportive rain boots and winter shoes, have been traded in for our summer sandals and flip flops. After beginning to wear those unsupportive pieces of foam which we term flip flops, some of us will subsequently wake up in the morning and stand up on our newly remodelled hard wood floors only to find a sharp pain has now developed on the bottom of our feet, even making it hard to walk initially. Chances are you may have developed Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. The Plantar Fascia is a broad, thick band of tissue that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot.

plantar fasciitis fasciaPlantar fasciitis can also be known as a heel spur although they are not strictly the same. A heel spur is a bony growth that occurs at the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone (calcaneus). A heel spur can be present (through repetitive pulling of the plantar fascia) on a foot with no symptoms at all and a painful heel does not always have a heel spur present.

What Are the Common Causes of Plantar Fasciitis?

The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is very tight calf muscles which lead to prolonged and / or high velocity pronation of the foot. This in turn produces repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia leading to possible inflammation and thickening of the tendon. As the fascia thickens it loses flexibility and strength.

Some practitioners think overpronation can always be determined visually by the dropping and rolling in of the arch. This is not always the case. Sometimes it can only be seen with foot scans, especially if the patient has a high arched foot. At our office we have a sophisiticated gait scan which takes readings at 60 frames per second. This is much more accurate than even the human eye which is approximately 7 frames per second.

Other causes include high arch or low arch feet (pes cavus / planus) and other biomechanical abnormalities including over supination.

Excessive walking in footwear which does not provide adequate arch support has been attributed to a recent increase in plantar fascitis such as those stylish flip flops. In fact, the American Podiatry Association has recommended that the use of flip flops should be avoided entirely. Luckily for those who are flip flop die-hards, various shoe and orthotic manufacturers have come up with safe and supportive flip flops that are also stylish.

In addition, overweight individuals are more at risk of developing the condition due to the excess weight impacting on the foot.

How is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?

  • Rest until it is not painful. It can be very difficult to rest the foot as most people will often be on their feet during the day for work. By walking on the painful foot you are continually aggravating the injury and increasing inflammation. So avoid hiking, long walks or impact activities (thank goodness for our outdoor summer pools!) until the pain has reduced. When you do walk, wear supportive shoes such as running shoes.
  • Apply ice or cold therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation.  Cold therapy can be applied regularly until symptoms have resolved.
  • Stretching the plantar fascia is an important part of treatment and prevention (ask us for specific stretches).
  • A plantar fasciitis night splint is an excellent product which is worn overnight and gently stretches the calf muscles and plantar fascia preventing it from tightening up overnight.
  • Wear your custom orthotics as much as possible.

What Your Chiropractor can do:

  • Recommend a natural anti-inflammatory (such as Nature’s Relief available at our clinic)
  • Perform gait analysis to determine if you overpronate or oversupinate.
  • Prescribe  custom orthotics or insoles. An insole can restore normal foot biomechanics if overpronation is a problem.
  • Apply sports massage techniques to reduce the tension in the plantar fascia and also stretch the calf muscles.
  • X ray to see if there is any bone growth (heel spur). If present, will require special modifications to the custom foot orthotic.heel spur x-ray
  • Recommend healthy footwear. Even if it is summer, there are healthier and more supportive choices of sandals and footwear. However, those cheap flat flip flops should really be avoided. At our office, our orthotic manufacturer has several footwear options available with the orthotic built into a stylish but more supportive flip flop or sandal.


Read more about our Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Flip Flops in next week’s article….

If you believe that you, or someone you know, could be suffering from pain or inflammation, call the office today to schedule an appointment to see what treatment options are available to you. An electronic gait analysis can be performed which takes about 30 minutes to see if you have any biomechanical issues that may contribute to your foot discomfort.

~Dr. Gertz