Thursday, October 10, 2013

Are You Stretching?

One thing I've learned over the past few years that stretching is important.  When I developed my issue with the arch of my foot over the summer, stretching became more important than ever.  The physical therapist I saw gave me great stretches that I've been doing since August.  But I needed just a little more.

Then I was contacted to review this interesting device called the Hatfield Strap - designed especially for people with Plantar Fasciitis.  It was meant to be.


Above you see a side view of the strap in use.  I borrowed it from the Hatfield site so you could see a better picture of the strap being used.  This picture also shows an additional should strap that goes through the handles, so the user of the straps can lean back and get a deeper stretch.   

A bonus for receiving this product was I also got to interview the man behind the Hatfield Strap!  I usually do not get to speak to the inventors of a particular product, so this opportunity was a lot of fun and eye opening.  

A little bit about Keith.  
Keith Hatfield is the man behind the Hatfield Strap.  Keith developed the Hatfield Strap out of necessity for himself.  He has battled Plantar Fasciitis and has tried a range of products developed to help stretch the foot and calf.  After trying those products, he knew he could develop a product that gave a deeper stretch.  He purchased the materials he needed online and when they arrived, he stitched them together. Within three hours, he had a strap that gave him what he needed.   Now he's sharing his stretching device with the world.  

Another thing about Keith is that he is a runner.  He was a runner in college.  He has also seen his share of specialists.  He's had injections.  The advice he received from his podiatrist was to stretch.  

Keith is also a physician assistant for 15 years and also had a 10 year career as a certified athletic trainer.  Two of those years he worked with the Kansas City Royals professional baseball team.  His experiences have given him knowledge on the ins and outs of treating a variety of sports related injuries.  

My Conversation with Keith.  
Keith provided me with a wealth of information.  He and I spoke about stretching being a major component in rehabbing from an injury but stretching is also important in injury prevention.   He suggested holding the stretch for about 5 minutes, to give you a deep stretch that pulls the toes back.  I have tried his suggestion and while it seems like a long time to stretch, it does provide a great stretch.  But let's related this to Yin Yoga, which is holding a position for a longer period of time.  The results are amazing.  And holding this stretch for at least 5 minutes did give me what I needed.   


Here is a picture of my normal morning and evening stretch.  I put the strap on, and lay down flat.  It gives me a great, deep stretch that has made a difference in my recovery.  I don't have that achiness in the mornings anymore.  You know the one, where you kind of limp out of bed. Yeah, that one.  It's gone!

And then, you can use the strap for a really deep hamstring stretch.  Very similar to using a strap in yoga, but if you already have the Hatfield Strap on to stretch your arch and calf, just lift your leg and pull that strap back as close to your head as you can.  I've even shortened the strap a bit with my hand and pulled my leg closer to my head.  That stretch feels so good!  

The Hatfield Strap very new to the market.  It was just released at the end of June.  It's available with a few options.

The Sit Strap - $35
The Sit Strap + Shoulder Strap - $42
The Calf Strap (the one I reviewed) - $55
The Shoulder strap + Calf strap - $62

It may seem a little expensive at first, but let me break it down to for you.  When I first had my PF issues, I immediately went to a Physical Therapist.  Even after insurance, seeing a PT for 1 hr/3 times a week for 2 weeks (6 visits total) still cost me over $200. And in my opinion, it only helped a little bit.  The stretches they gave me, I found on many sites that I googled.  The pain still lingered on after I stopped going.  What helped the most was stretching.  Not seeing a PT who was watching me stretch.  Yes, she gave my cortisone treatments.  They may have helped a little.  But I didn't notice much.

So, would I rather spend $200 on 2 weeks of PT or $55 on a strap I under my bed that I use before I get out of bed and just before going to bed that has helped me far more?  You tell me!  I think it's a great deal.  And you get to keep it.  Travel with it.  Share it (if you want).

As I mentioned earlier, Keith reminded me that stretching isn't THE solution to Plantar Fasciitis, but it is a major component to your road of rehabilitation.  Pair the Hatfield Strap with icing, anti-inflammatory medications if needed and you have a great start.  

The Hatfield Strap Pro's:
- easy to use
- travels with you, and takes up very little space
- you are in control of the intensity of the stretch - need a deep stretch, lay down flat

The Con:
- The handles are comfortable, but I'd prefer the shoulder strap so I can cruise the internet while I stretch.    I'd much rather be hands free while I'm stretching and holding it for 5 minutes!  Which Keith has developed and I can order, so I guess it's not really a con.  Just something I noticed.

I asked Keith if the Hatfield Strap could be used for other injuries.  He said the strap can be used for other acute injuries that benefit from stretching out your calves and hamstrings - such as some people with lower back pains, hamstring injuries, Achilles tendinitis, and even the IT band.   He's had testimonials singing the praises of the Hatfield Strap and I am definitely joining in on it.

He's had a personal trainer, who is training for a marathon this fall.  He injured his back and has been using this strap to stretch out his hamstrings and he's noticed quite an improvement, so much of one that he can now go on and complete the marathon!

Keith also shared the story of a nurse who has had issues with her feet.  She's had surgeries, injections, nigh splints, and was still experiencing pain everyday when she woke up.  She tried the calf strap, but didn't like something around her calf.  So Keith developed the sit strap.  She reported to Keith that after using the strap just 3 to 4 days, her pain has decreased by about 50%.

Disclaimer:  I received the Hatfield Strap to review.  I was not obligated to give a positive review.  As always all opinions on my blog are 100% my own.  

5 comments:

  1. This looks great! I think I have similar issues to your plantar fasciitis, and am supposed to be running a marathon in three weeks! Do you have any recommendations of good stretches, other than calf raises and variations thereof? Thanks :) Love your blog!

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  2. Looks like quite the contraption! Like a yoga strap on steroids. I haven't heard of this but it looks like it would be good!

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  3. It is a yoga strap on steroids....but the extra support it gives under the calf and it goes around your foot to stretch the toes is above and beyond the yoga strap!!!!

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  4. Calf raises, towel scrunches, stretching the calf by leaning forward, and this band! I also have another product I'm blogging about soon - Dynamic Tape. It's miraculous!

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  5. And best of luck on your marathon!!!!! Woohoo!!!

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