By combining her clinical and medical expertise with Anatomy in Motion (AiM) techniques, Afni Shah-Hamilton’s pain and movement clinic work recognises that the foot and ankle can often provide the key to unlocking movement throughout the body. This non-invasive form of treatment, allied with podiatric knowledge and foot mobilisation techniques, can also provide a cost effective alternative to options such as insoles or regular and repeated physiotherapy in cases where these are only able to manage the symptoms of the problem rather than addressing the underlying issue and provide more lasting relief.
The treatment can be useful for a wide number of issues including:
- pain or limited range of motion following surgery;
- hip and pelvic pain as a result of pregnancy; and
- long standing / chronic pain that other forms of treatment have been unable to resolve.
Taking a fresh look at interactions across the whole body can help to identify solutions to unexplained problems where alternative forms of treatment have already proved unsuccessful. It can also resolve secondary issues such as migraines, neck or shoulder pain that are caused by the underlying joint problems but can be severely debilitating in their own right.
Pain and movement clinic appointments are not currently available for online booking as spaces are limited and in heavy demand. We also run a waiting list for interested patients if spaces are not currently available so that we can contact you when new appointments become available. (You can of course still make a booking online for regular podiatry or reflexology.)
Please read on for more details but if you require further information or would like to make a telephone booking, please contact the clinic via phone or email and ask about Afni’s pain and movement treatment. You can also find reviews from some of our patients online.
What is AiM?
AiM is a treatment approach pioneered by Gary Ward based on the gait (walking) cycle. It focuses on understanding how joints, muscles and ligaments across the whole body are expected to behave at each different stage when we walk, from first stepping forward through your heel hitting the ground, the transfer of weight and your toe pushing you onwards. Armed with this knowledge, it is possible to identify which muscles are not moving as you would expect simply by watching you walk.
For those with long standing injuries, this can often highlight areas outside of your original or core pain that are now contributing to the problem. Whether these are in fact symptoms or a cause, addressing them will often reduce stresses and strains in joints across the body, thereby reducing the pain you are experiencing on a daily basis.
In other cases, whilst the original injury might be healed, the body might still be working around the ‘problem area’. For example, a stubbed toe (even if now better) could have led to an adapted walking style that has never reverted back. Over the longer term – or perhaps in response to some other trigger – this could now be causing knee or hip pain. A simple reset, confirming to the brain that you don’t need to avoid this toe any more, could make a real difference.
How can Afni help?
As the foot and lower limb are central to the gait cycle, Afni’s podiatric training provides the perfect underpin to not just identify any problem areas but also to use appropriate exercises to trigger the natural movements that are expected through your foot and ankle.
Unlike many other therapies, which might reinforce the brain’s natural protective instinct to stabilise or avoid using a particular muscle, AiM treatment emphasises and encourages a safe range of motion. By encouraging the body to rediscover its original and optimal movements, from ground level, this can trigger chain reactions throughout the body and help to realign the hips, pelvis, shoulders and neck.
Afni can also work with your existing clinicians such as physiotherapists or osteopaths to try and break a pain cycle or enable further progress to be made in your recovery.
What is the treatment?
Initial appointments are an hour long and will first involve discussing any aches and pains across your body, including all past injuries, to identify potential sources of any problems, followed by careful analysis of your range of movement. Please wear clothing that allows you to move freely – shorts or leggings are helpful in allowing visibility of movement in the lower leg.
Afni will then guide you through various stretches and exercises aimed at realigning the body. Initially the body may resist some of these motions, particularly for long-standing injuries where it has ‘learned’ to protect previously sore areas. However, when these restrictions remain in place it can lead to problems elsewhere throughout the body as other muscles and ligaments are put under additional strain to compensate. By monitoring and reassessing the body’s response to each step, we can start to reset the full body.
Finally, you will be given some exercises to practise at home and reinforce the correct motions. We may then schedule a follow up in three to six months time (as appropriate) but would not expect any more intensive scheduling as the body needs time to adjust.
PLEASE NOTE: Whilst these stretches are not physically demanding or energetic, you may well find yourself physically drained after an appointment. This is a normal reaction to what is essentially a healing process but do not be surprised if you need additional sleep (even an afternoon nap) to help recover. You may want to make alternative arrangements if you have a long drive planned or would otherwise be operating dangerous machinery after your appointment.