For Our Clients



Happy Feet Presentation

Sore Feet? Bunions getting you down? Achilles tendon pain? Plantar Fasciitis?

You walk, dance, hike and run on them.  They're subject to high heals and pointy toes, banged against cement, jumped on, stressed and overused - and they never get a day's rest.  It's no wonder that 80 percent of us will have some sort of problem with our feet at some time or another. Many things affect the condition of our feet: activity level, occupation, other health conditions, shoes and perhaps most importantly, foot and calf flexibility, strength and stability.

Made up of 26 bones, a pile of ligaments, tendonous sheaths, muscles and tendons our feet are complex parts of our body. The large Achilles tendon is the most important tendon for walking, running, and jumping. It attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone to allow us to rise up on our toes. The posterior tibial tendon attaches one of the smaller muscles of the calf to the underside of the foot. This tendon helps support the arch and allows us to turn the foot inward. The toes have tendons attached that bend the toes down (on the bottom of the toes) and straighten the toes (on the top of the toes). The anterior tibial tendon allows us to raise the foot. Two tendons run behind the outer bump of the ankle (called the lateral malleolus) and help turn the foot outward.

Many small ligaments hold the bones of the foot together. Most of these ligaments form part of the joint capsule around each of the joints of the foot. A joint capsule is a watertight sac that forms around all joints. It is made up of the ligaments around the joint and the soft tissues between the ligaments that fill in the gaps and form the sac.

Some Common Problems with the Foot

Posterior Tibial Tendon Problems

Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity

Guide to BunionsBones of the Foot

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Sesamoid Problems

Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)

Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Talus

Interdigital Neuroma (Morton's Neuroma)

Tailor's Bunion

Achilles Tendon Problems

Accessory Navicular Problems

Exercises to help

Depending on what the underlying cause of your foot pain, below are a number of videos that illustrate a number of great strength and flexibility exercises that are great for our feet. 

Foot and Calf Stretch - this is great for anyone with calf tightness and plantar fasciitis.
Calf and Plantar Fascia stretch


Foot Intrinsic Strength Exercise - this exercise works the smaller stabilizing muscles of the foot.

Foot Intrinsic Muscle Strength


Foot Massage - this exercise is great for those with plantar fasciitis or sore arches. 

Plantar Fascia Rolling Exercise



Sciatic Nerve/Hamstring/Calf/Plantar Fascia Stretch- this one exercise does it all!

Sciatic Nerve to Foot Stretch

Clock Exercise - the focus of this exercise is on hip, knee, foot and ankle stability.

Clock Exercise


Run-for-Life Presentation

   1.  I can’t run – it hurt’s my knees          

         i. Strength, Flexibility + Dynamic stability leads to Efficiency

   2. Strength: Weak vs StrongRun-for-Life

   3. Flexibility: Tight vs Flexible

   4. Dynamic Stability:

        i. can you play Ultimate Frisbee without pain?

   5. Running Efficiently vs  Pain or Injury

        i. Running Styles

        ii. Cadence: 180 steps/min is ideal

  6. Shoes vs. No shoes vs. Types of running shoes

       i. Orthotics vs. No orthotics

Some Common Running Injuries

Correct treatment of an acute injury will minimize recovery time.

Keys to Running Efficiently

   1.   Stability vs. Flexibility

           a. To Stretch or Not to Stretch

   2. Consistency

            a. Run between 4 and 6 times per week.

   3. Cadence

             a. It is ideal to run 180 steps/min (similar to cycling = 90 rpm)

   4. Dynamic Warmup/ Cool Down

             a. Reps 10-20x, Sets 3x, 2x/week

High Knees - works on hip flexor and core strength




- helps with Hip flexor and quadricep flexibility

Lunges for runners

Box Jumps - works on Dynamic Stability

Box Jumps

Butt Kicks - great to help achieve ideal cadence of 180 steps/min

Butt kicks

Running Assessments

Looking to improve your running efficiency? Have a nagging ache or pain that is not allowing you to run to your full potential? Learn More...


Ski Your Best

Presented in partnership with Banff native and World Cup Academy skier Heidi Widmer.

Career highlights include:

  • 17 National Championship medals,
  • 4 Canada Winter Games medals, representing Canada at 4 World Junior Championships from 2008-2011 and the 2012 U23 Championships.
  • Heidi won her first NorAm in the skate sprint event at Whistler Olympic Park in her 2011/12 season

 Cross Country Skiing Efficiently Involves:

One of the great things about living in the Bow Valley is we have access to a variety of amazing cross country skiing venues. Cross country skiing is a great way to be outside experiencing the best of what the winter has to offer while enjoying a full body workout. Although there is minimal impact with cross country skiing we are still at risk for injury due to the forward posture we assume while using our poles and due to the unstable plank we stand; our ski. To ski our best requires use of our:

  1. Upper Core: Upper back, Shoulders, Neck
  2. Lower Core: Lower back, Pelvis, Hips
  3. Dynamic Stability, Balance and Efficiency: 
    1. Alignment of  upper body and lower body

Below you will find a variety of dry land training exercises and on snow training exercies that can be used to hlep improve your efficiency while skiing. As your efficiency improves, your risk of injury diminishes. Sould you be interested in learning more about the Sports Assessments offered at Active Motion Physiotherapy please click the link or call 403.678.8890

 Keys to Skiing Efficiently

 1.       Upper Core

  • On Snow Technique -  Poling with skate skiing 





  • Upper Core Mobility - Pole Overhead


  • Dry Land Training Exercise - Wall Pushup

 Wall Push-ups

  • Dry Land Training Exercise - Row with Triceps           


 2.       Lower Core

  • On Snow Technique - Classic Skiing no poles

   Drive knee forward from the hip

   Get on top of the ski and set the pocket

   Engage glut and hamstrings through the ball of the foot



  • On Snow Technique - Skate Skiing no poles

   Skate ski with hips forward





  •  Dry Land Training - Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Dry Land Training - Side Planks

 Side Planks

3.       Dynamic Stability, Balance and Efficiency

  • On Snow Technique - Skate Skiing Hips Square






  •   Skate and Classic Ski on Half Foam Roller

Classic and Skate ski on a half foam roller

  • Skate and Classic Ski on Half Foam Roller

Skate and classic skiing on a foam roller

  • Dry Land Training - Dead Bug                                                               


  • Dry Land Training - Lateral Squat with Band

 Lateral Lunges

Sould you be interested in learning more about the Sports Assessments offered at Active Motion Physiotherapy please click the link or call 403.678.8890


Fit Sitting

In this highly computerized world, more and more people of all ages are experiencing aches and pains that come from sitting at a computer for long periods of time.

These aches and pains are felt in the neck, shoulder, upper and lower back, wrist and elbow joints. In some cases, the nerves to the hand become compressed, causing Fit Sittingweakness and/or tingling in the fingers.

These symptoms can occur in the onset of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), which may include damage to tendons, muscles, nerves and other soft tissues from repeated physical movements over time.

You have to be Fit to Sit. What can you do during the day to help ensure that your body feels great when you leave work?

Optimal Office Set Up

  • Chair - A great chair is one with a variety of adjustments including height, seat depth, lower back support, arm rests. The height of your chair should approximately be such that your hips and knees are well supported and flexed at 90 degree angles.
  •  Keyboard and Mouse - should be approximately at the height of your elbows and keeping your elbows at your side you should be able to reach the keyboard and mouse. 
  • Monitor - assuming you do not wear bifocals or trifocals the height of your monitor should be such that, if divided into quarters, your eyes are at the level of the bottom of the top 1/4 of the screen. The monitor should be approximately an arm's reach away. 
  • Desk - height should be slightly above the height of your elbows. Organizationally you should be square to your key board, mouse, and monitor.
  • Lighting - good overhead lighting with minimal lighting coming from behind your monitor.


With the premise that we do best when we move. Our bodies do not like to sit all day nor do they like to stand all day. Ideally these exercises are done 3-5x per day while at work. Remember out bodies have been designed to move.

1. Have a variety of surfaces to sit on. Chair, ball, sit fit, kneeling chair etc. Vary the surfaces you are standing on by changing your footwear over the course of the day.

2. Shoulder, Upper Back Mobility, and Neck stretch


 2. Hip Rotator and Piriformis Stretch

 3. Hamstring Stretch in Sitting

4. Hip Flexor Stretch in Standing

5. Quadricep Stretch with Glut Activation

 How do you get Fit while you Sit?

You have to be Fit to Sit, but how do you actually Get Fit while you Sit?

  • Mid Sit Bones
  • Stop the Flow
  • Sit tall
  • Shoulders back and down

To learn more about how to get Fit while you Sit please follow up with our very own Hugh Simson

Office Ergonomic Evaluations

Active Motion Physiotherapy offers Office Ergonomic Evaluations in which a physiotherapist comes to your office, evaluates your office set up and works with you to improve your office set up so as to relieve the stresses placed on your body. To book your Office Ergonomic Evaluation please call 403.679.7179 or email


Sleeping Like a Baby

Compiled by Erica Roth, Kinesiology student at UofA and Hugh Simson, Physiotherapist

Remember the days when you could fall asleep and not wake up until the morning? When you slept through the night without interruption and woke up pain-free?

In this article we will review how to select pillows, mattresses and sleeping positions that are right for your body. We will also discuss strategies that you can implement to help ensure you have a great night sleep and exercises that should be done in the evening and in the morning prior to starting the day.Sleeping like a baby

The average adult needs around 8hrs of sleep a night for optimal health and well being.  An estimated 3.3 million Canadians aged 15 or older (1/7) reported difficulty with sleeping whether it is related to insomnia, sleep apnea or another sleeping condition.

Within the hours that we are asleep, we move an estimated 30-50 times per night.  This can be related to discomfort stemming from our sleeping position, pillow, mattress or our nightly routine. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life.

How to Prepare for a Successful Sleep

  • Wake up at the same time every morning
  1. Set internal clock which synchronizes your sleep-wake cycle
  • Go to bed only when you feel sleepy
  1. Time spent in bed wide awake increases mental activity and anxiety
  2. Do something relaxing before bed like reading a book, away from bedroom
  • Cool, quiet, dark bedroom
  1. Ideal temperature around 18ºC
  2. Noise and light can cause disturbances even if they don’t cause awakenings
  • Keep regular rituals and routines before bed
  1. Brushing teeth, washing face, taking medications
  2. Reinforce sleepiness
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine before bed
  1. Increase rate of urine production
  2. Promote wakefulness
  3. Disrupt sleep stages
  • Remove phones, beepers, TV’s from bedroom


Pillow selection is based on your typical sleeping position. When choosing a pillow there a few general features to keep in mind; it should keep the spine or neck in natural alignment, the pillow should be comfortable and should be adjustable.

Laying on your backknee pillow

  • Want a level support under you head neck and shoulders such that you maintain a neutral alignment which is ears in line with shoulders and no rotation.
  • Pillow under your knees – takes stress off the lower back.

Sleeping on your side

  • Pillow to support your head such that it maintains a neutral alignment.
  • Not enough pillow – you will find your hand under your pillow
  • Too much pillow – neck feels awkward.
  • Pillow between your knees to keep your knees in line with your hips such that it does not pull you into a rotation.

Sleeping on your stomach

  • Minimal pillow for head
  • Puts strain on neck and lower back.
  • If you are a stomach sleeper try using a body pillow when sleeping in your side.

Mediflow Pillow

  • Soft, hypoallergenic fiber filling
  • Easy to fill water pouch
  • Adjust the support level (firm, soft, medium) simply by filling water pouch to conform to your sleeping position
  • Some contoured pillows have lower profile in centre - for sleeping on your back, and higher profile on the sides for sleeping on your side.


Selecting a mattress is a very important process that requires great consideration.  Choosing a mattress that is comfortable for you is the primary concern but material and rigidity are also important to take into account. Currently on the market there are two main types of mattresses; foam and coil.


  • Conforms to the body and maintains spine alignment
  • Reduces tossing and turning
  • Good choice for people with back, shoulder, and hip pain
  • Generates a lot of heat due to material


  • Continuous coil – increased motion transferMattress
  • Pocket coil – decreases motion transfer (great for sleeping with partner)
  • Cooler in temperature as air can circulate throughout mattress

Soft Mattresses

  • Put  less stress on shoulders and hips
  • Hip bursitis
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Arthritis

Medium Firm and Firm Mattress

  • Offers more support
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Good for people with healthy backs as it does not allow back to collapse

Signs you may need a new mattress

  • Waking up with aches and pains
  • Waking up even more tired than before going to bed
  • Indentations from where you sleep
  • Visible signs of overuse such as sags and lumps
  • Have a better sleep in a bed that is not your own (hotel)
  • If your body has gone through changes such as weight gain/loss,  surgery, accident


Sleeping Positions

On Back

  •  Head slightly elevated to conform to natural curvature of spine
  • Pillow underneath knees
  • Help prevent acid reflux
  • Encourage good circulation
  • Not recommended for people who snore
  • Not for people with degenerative disc disease

On Side

  • Do not sleep with head rested on hand or arm
  • Make sure pillow is large enough to have the neck rested in neutral
  • Pillow between the knees keeping knees hip width distance apart helps reduce strain on lower back.
  • Help prevent acid reflux
  • Help prevent snoring
  • Good for people with Osteoarthritis
  • Not recommended for bursitis
  • Not recommended for rotator cuff problems

Pregnant Women

  • Sleep on the left side
  • Body pillow between the knees to support belly
  • Provide more blood to the placenta
  • May reduce the risk of stillbirths
  • Helps prevent heart burn and shortness of breath


Waking up

Stretching increases blood flow to various parts of our body including our muscles and brain.  This increased circulation creates a sense of wakefulness, increases our energy levels and sets us up for a successful day.

  • Lower back, Pelvis and Hip Stretch

  • Hamstring and Sciatic Nerve Stretch

  • Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Upper Back Mobility

  • Foam Roller Rolling

For more information or to ask specific questions please email:


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