Our children are collapsing under the weight of gravity. Why? They look down all day at screens. For some, this is a major problem now, and for others, this will be a problem in the future. So this morning I’ll talk about Seth, whom I’ll call the amazing collapsing boy. For something new, I’ll also have Cole Bros Fitness weigh in on how they deal with the epidemic of collapsing children using exercise.
This is the first generation in human history that spends a huge part of the day looking down at screens. What does this cause? When you look down all day, your shoulders round forward and your spine does the same. This has effects all the way down the body as your hips and knees internally rotate and your ankles collapse inward. All of this adversely impacts the body. For example, the spine discs wear out faster as weight is transferred forward onto those structures. The shoulder joints aren’t firmly in their sockets, so extra wear and tear wreak havoc with the rotator cuff muscles. The hip, knee, and ankle joints begin to wear out. In essence, the body begins to break down.
Seth is like many kids and adults these days who have a forward collapsing-type posture. In fact, until my son, who is a computer kid, got his own exercise prescription, he was also a collapsing boy. For Seth, the first focus on his problems was on his feet.
Being an otherwise normally active kid with a family that loves to hike, Seth would notice disabling foot and ankle pain after a trek. His mother brought him in, and what was obvious was his flat feet and collapsing ankles. This fit with the rest of his collapsing posture.
The image above shows various foot positions. Seth’s feet were overpronated (image all the way to the left). So how do we fix this? What needs to be addressed?
When most doctors think about ankle ligaments, they think about the outside ligaments that people sprain all the time. However, there are also ligaments on the inside of the ankle, and for Seth’s feet to be this way, he had to have lax inner ankle ligaments. In the image below, note that these are strong ligaments. In addition, other ligaments on the bottom of the foot (called the spring ligaments shown running left to right) also have to be lax to allow a flat foot to form.
So can this be fixed? Since Seth’s problem is one part postural collapse and one part congenital (being born that way), I would normally say, no, there’s nothing we can do. However, a recent experience with a woman who is now in her 70s changed my mind. She had had a lifetime of foot and ankle pain, and through repetitive platelet-based ligament-tightening injections, her ankle position partially corrected and she was able to shed the constant pain. However, there’s another part to this story that’s critical—the exercise prescription.
I first met Kelly Cole a few years back when he was working at a local health club as a personal trainer. I was immediately impressed with his ability to help people work around old injuries and his understanding of the use of exercise as a therapeutic agent. In fact, I eventually hired him to be my personal trainer, and if you read this blog, you know I have a minefield of issues that Kelly needed to work around. Hence, Kelly and I will be doing more work together on the blog, which starts today.
Here is an exercise you can do at home from Kelly Cole:
The upshot? We need to pay attention to our collapsing kids and family members! Seth is slowly getting fixed through a combination of treating loose ligaments and working with a trainer who knows how to fix a collapsing boy!
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About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…