I have been the foot and ankle consultant to the Cincinnati Reds for over 20 years, and I have made my fair share of trips to spring training. Some years ago I consulted Lonnie Soloff about my shoulder. Lonnie, at the time, was the Reds assistant trainer and now he is the head trainer of the Cleveland Indians. This is what Lonnie taught me.
On a warm spring day at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, I asked Lonnie for a quick exam of my right shoulder for what I was pretty sure was simple subacromial impingement or bursitis. The shoulder was nothing more than a nuisance, but I did not want it to become more. He confirmed that indeed it was impingement and I asked him to show me an exercise to do, so I could strengthen my rotator cuff and get out of this problem. I had been doing some exercises, but I was unsure whether they were correct; I did not want to waste my time, so I consulted a higher power.
Lonnie said, always respectfully calling me Dr. Amis (I did my best to get him to call me Jim), “Dr. Amis, I will be right back”. In about two or three minutes he returned with some printed papers, about 6 or so sheets stapled together, demonstrating 19 different shoulder exercises for me to do. “Here you go doc, do these exercises every day and you should be fine”, he said prepared to show me exactly how to do each one. I replied laughing, “Lonnie, do I look like a professional athlete to you? First, don’t answer that. I will not be doing 19 exercises per day, not even two. I want THE ONE that will do the trick”. You see, a professional athlete’s job is to do 19 exercises, not mine or yours. We do one exercise or maybe two. It is just human nature for most of us.
Lonnie, clearly a bit puzzled, probably never looked at things quite this way having treated professional athletes his whole career. Considering the request, he showed me the one exercise he was confident would get it done and in about 6-8 weeks my pain was gone. I am not sure what Lonnie got out of that interchange. As for myself, I confirmed a valuable lesson I had pretty much known from treating my patients. The majority of us are by nature noncompliant, including me, regardless of how much we might want to get better and how much we understand what we need to do to get there. Straightforward, simple solutions, when available are always the best because they foster compliance. Compliance equals better!
When it comes to solving your foot or ankle pain, calf stretching is about as simple as it gets, and it works. The One Stretch is the best way to comply and creates the very best passive stretch of your calves. Just one simple stretch is all you need.
Many thanks, Lonnie.