I'm too busy to Stretch - Ana Downey-Smith



Your physiotherapist or podiatrist might prescribe you stretching and/or strengthening exercises as part of your treatment and it seems simple enough to do right? Then you blink and 3 weeks later you realize you only did it once and you are still having the same problems. Generally speaking, people don’t go to the effort of seeking and paying for professional treatments, only to not continue the treatments at home. But life gets busy and sometimes we just forget about our exercises. Here are several key points to help you keep on track of your ‘at home stretches’ and speed up the road to recovery. 


1)   Routine: an obvious one, but by far the most crucial to achieve success. Pick your time and be realistic; if you aren’t a morning person, don’t try and put your stretching program in before work. Chances are you won’t do it and you’re back to square one. Many stretching and strengthening exercises are between 25-40 seconds long and include 4-6 repetitions, so you’re adding 2-3 minutes to your day, for a potential lifetime of change. 

2)   Triggers: Forgetting to do the stretches or exercises is one of the most common reasons for delaying the road to recovery. It’s a reason many healthcare professionals hear regularly. A ‘trigger’ is a visual cue to remind you to do your exercises. Reminders on your phone, sticky notes, towels or exercise equipment in front of the couch and pictures on the bedside table or fridge will help to remind you. 

3)   Keep it manageable: Don’t over commit or pressure yourself into doing the exercises. Generally speaking, 2-4 different exercises is advised, any more and it becomes too consuming and overwhelming. If you have more than 4 exercises, regardless of who prescribed them, talk to your health professionals about prioritising which exercises are more critical than others. 

4)   Time frame: Between you and your health care practitioner discuss a manageable time frame to complete the exercises. It isn’t always possible to estimate a strict date of completion, however it will help to try. By setting a time frame to have the exercises completed, it will help you manage your goals and expectations about the exercises. 

If you think you might benefit from more regular stretching, make an appointment to see one of our practitioners today. They can help you to make a plan and set some realistic targets.

Ana Downey-Smith


Should I use my walking orthotics in my cycling shoes?


This is one of the most common questions we get at The Pedaler when cyclists call and ask for an appointment. Orthotic therapy has been used in a walking context for far longer then cycling and we are still catching up. As a consequence, we see a lot of riders stuffing a pair of walking orthoses into their cycling shoes and giving themselves problems.

Generally the conditions we treat when creating cycling orthotic solutions are not the same as when we treat runners. Most pains and problems are largely due to high peak pressures,, volume issues, shoe issues and overuse injuries of the leg knee and hip. Consequently, the treatment and orthotic prescription is very different to walking solutions. Above all, the space occupied by walking orthoses (often made from foam) is prohibitive to making a shoe fit well. We only use Carbon Fibre to create all our cycling orthotics to ensure the fit in the shoe is as perfect as it was for the previous shoe liner albeit now custom for your foot.

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By using thin yet stiff carbon fibre it allows us the space to easily add pressure deflection, cushioning and load shift elements without filling up the shoe. The custom arch profile then makes the pedal pressure feel more even and stable, which is certainly an endearing sensation.

If you have questions about cycling orthoses (or standard orthotics for that matter) feel free to contact us for more information.

Remember, it’s not long now till the end of the year so use your health insurance before December 31.

Last week of no gap needling/trigger point therapy with Ana!

If you are prepping for State Titles or the Sunnie Coast Half this weekend, then make sure you get your body ready with a quick tune up from our Podiatrist Ana. This is the last week of our promotion for ‘No Gap’ dry needling and trigger point therapy. After this week, Ana is overseas for a short break.

Go online and book when suits. There are only a few spots left so take advantage of the offer before its gone! Good luck to everyone racing States and Sunnie Coast. Look like it will be a superb weekend!


Welcome Podiatrist Ana Downey-Smith to The Pedaler.


We are very excited to introduce the newest member of our team Ana Downey-Smith. Ana kicks off next week at both our Milton headquarters and at North West Physiotherapy Everton Park. She has been working over the past few years in Bathurst and is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities presented by working at The Pedaler.

Ana grew up in Central West NSW and studied a bachelor of podiatry through Charles Sturt University completing her studies in 2013. Initially she started her career in a public hospital in Sydney working with a prosthetics and orthotics team, then returned back to the country. Ana is currently studying a degree in Sports Medicine through the University of Melbourne, expected to be completed by December 2019.

Ana is qualified in dry needling, trigger point therapy and soft tissue mobilisation. This helps to provide an in-depth treatment with longer lasting results. Ana also has a keen interest in biomechanics and alignment. After several years of experience in private practice, Ana has clinical skills with people of all ages and health types, but particularly enjoys working with children, teenagers and athletes.  

Ana prefers to take a holistic approach to treatment, focusing on more than just the areas of pain. She also has over 6 years experience making and prescribing orthotics, as well as adjusting or modifying and fitting shoes and cleats. Ana and her husband have been long-term members of cycle clubs in Central West NSW and you will often find them around the local cycling crowds. 

During spare time Ana enjoys mountain biking, hiking with her 2 dogs and travelling.


The Pedaler Podiatry now at Keperra and Eatons Hill


After joining forces with North West Physiotherapy Everton Park, we have now added North West Physiotherapy Keperra and North West Physiotherapy Eatons Hill to the network. It’s been an enormous pleasure working alongside the Physiotherapists at North West and we can’t wait to get the ball rolling at the two new locations.

We will be providing the same high quality The Pedaler Podiatry services to these locations with all orthotic manufacturing still running through our own The Pedaler / Cobra9 Lab in Nundah. This allows complete control over the entire orthotic process from start to finish and provides all North West patients with the same 2nd set no gap policy for repeat clients we offer at The Pedaler.

For clients who want access to our bespoke Cobra9 Custom Cycling Orthotic services, there are now 4 The Pedaler locations spread throughout Brisbane where you can be cast and be fitted for these devices. Our headquarters for Bike Fitting and workshop services will remain at The Pedaler Milton, although basic bike fit assistance can now be obtained in all 4 locations.

For clients who want access to our bespoke Cobra9 Custom Cycling Orthotic services, there are now 4 locations spread throughout Brisbane where you can be cast for these devices.

We are very excited to be looking after more of Brisbane’s community with this expansion.

Big thanks to Roger and Roneill from Everton Park, Tim from Keperra and Ben from Eatons Hill for helping establish this relationship.

Services available at North West Physiotherapy

  • Sports Podiatry

  • Running Assessment

  • Cycling Assessment

  • Diabetic Assessment

  • Paediatric Podiatry

  • Cobra9 Cycling Orthotics

  • Prescription Orthotic Therapy

For Bookings, please contact North West Physiotherapy and select your location.

Common question number 1. Do I need a new shoe or a cycling orthotic to help my foot pain?

When we have clients book an online appointment at our Milton headquarters, or in one of our satellite locations at North West Physiotherapy, the most common added note to the booking is “I’m not sure if I need new shoes or whether the problem is coming from my feet”. This is an entirely appropriate question to ask and one which requires a little bit of analysis on our end to work out a solution. However there are a few clues as to where your problems are coming from.

Typically as we progress through the sport of cycling, our duration and frequency of activity increases. The toughness of the terrain also changes enormously as our confidence grows. I’m often surprised how quickly some riders progress from beginners to Gran Fondo warriors! (You know who you are guys) Cycling is certainly a sport that rewards you for your endeavours. That said, as we build our volume of riding the risks of developing issues with our shoes also grows.

Typically feet begin their pathway to pain insidiously. The exact timing isn’t always clear yet once a pattern emerges, the trend becomes very strong. That said if you change your shoes and the pain commences it’s highly likely the shoes are responsible! Aside from that simple scenario shoes can still be to blame if your volume increases to a point where you begin to feel discomfort on longer rides.

Some signs that it is likely the shoes are causing the problem are:

  • Numbness in your toes or the ball of the foot on longer rides

  • Isolated pressure points in the upper of the shoe

  • The sensation that your feet are swimming in the shoe causing your toes to claw down

  • Heel slippage

  • Reaching the limit of tension on your closure system (either maxed out or dialled in)

  • Red marks on bony prominences after your shoes come off

  • A sloppy foot feel inside the shoe

  • Pain which has gradually emerged as a shoe has become older and more worn out

  • Painful toes especially the little toes

  • Sore bunions on the inside or the outside of your foot

There are instances where the foot pain is caused by both foot issues and the shoe being inappropriate. In these cases working on a solution for both will likely get the best outcome. Generally when we do this we will tick off one box at a time to ensure we are getting an outcome clearly defined by the variable we have changed and avoiding confusion. I also find many clients who typically wear orthotics inside their normal shoes benefit somewhat when we create a cycling orthotic solution as well.

In either case, if you are getting pain in your feet when you ride, let us know and I am confident we can find a solution. All our shoe fitting takes place on the indoor trainer to ensure we are spot on and ready to roll. We also have a fantastic relationship with Lake Shoes internationally and Cobra9 Cycling Orthotics that allows to create awesome solutions for all cyclists.

Nathan White Podiatrist


EARn Your Aero


Muscle Flexibility and Spinal Mobility

The optimal time trial position in cycling is one that best balances your body, your bike and your event distance. Once these 3 factors have been addressed, you have a baseline in which fit progressions can be made over time to achieve an optimal aerodynamic position. It is important to remember that the best cyclists in the world have been working on their aero positions for many years. You too need to earn your position. In working towards optimal aero you need to be aware of, and address, your muscle flexibility, spinal mobility, off the bike strength, current positional sustainability, training capacity/history as well as your event requirements.

A reminder of the ‘simple’ requirements of aero

What can you do ?

Firstly, Here are some simple tests to work out what needs some attention…


Test Your Range

Firstly, you must simply test your range of flexibility through the hamstrings, calves, glutes, back and shoulders using the forward bend test.

Make sure that you have both feet planted on the floor firmly, and your legs are straight. Make a note of how far you are from the floor and the main areas that you feel tightness.

Next, we will do a Spinal Mobility test. This is a combined measure of muscle flexibility, spinal mobility and ability to control your pelvic and spinal position.

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Part 1:

Rest your hands on a table or chair with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and a flat back. If is not possible to flatten your back, try to identify the muscle group that may be restricting you. Again, this will generally be hamstrings, calves, glutes, back and shoulders. If you are easily maintaining a flat back in this position, move on to Part 2…..

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Part 2:

Progress to resting your elbows on a table or chair with your feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent. Now can you straighten your back?

Again, identify the muscle group that may be restricting you. Again, this will generally be hamstrings, calves, glutes, back and shoulders.

Let’s start with some basic exercises….

Note: These exercises should be completed ‘pain’ free. 

In saying that, you might feel some discomfort when completing the exercises with the trigger balls. So start easy and gently progress as able.

Complete the exercises regularly (3-4x/week) to achieve progressive gains over time.

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Hamstring Stretch

Goal: Increase hamstring length to facilitate optimal position on TT bars and reduce spinal stress. Aim for 90 degrees. Hold 30-60 seconds.

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Downward Dog

Goal: Aim for a triangular shape.

Look at yourself in the mirror side on. Which areas are restricting you from looking like a triangle and are likely to be tight? Calves, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders or spinal stiffness?

Identify where these areas of tightness or weakness are. In our model these are the calves, hamstrings, shoulders.

2 x 30 second holds

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Thoracic Extension On Roller

Goal: Increasing thoracic spine mobility.

Equipment: Foam Roller

Keep chin tucked in and gently extend backwards over the roller. Work your way up from the middle of the back to between the shoulder blades

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Thoracic Extension on Double Tennis Ball

Goal: Specific thoracic spine joint mobility

Equipment: Two tennis balls taped together

Keep chin tucked on chest. Start with balls under the middle of the back, gently lean into them to reduce muscle tightness or extend over them gently to mobilise the joint. Spend 15 seconds on each spot or more if needed

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Pec/Chest Stretch on Foam Roller

Goal: Improve thoracic spine extension

Equipment: Foam roller or rolled up towel

Keep back flat on roller and chin tucked in, take arms out to ‘surrender’ position. Hold for 30 seconds or longer as required

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Posterior Shoulder Release

Goal: Reduce tightness at the back of shoulder to improve range of motion in TT position.

Equipment: Spiky ball

Locate sore areas and apply desired pressure on ball until soreness reduces. Move around armpit and back of shoulder to locate tight areas. Work for up to 5 mins.

Remember: everyone has different levels of flexibility. Some people are naturally flexible while others require significant time spent on stretching to achieve noticeable changes.

Happy stretching and stay tuned for Part 2: Muscle flexibility and Spinal Mobility cont…

Brissy is getting cold! Keep Your Immune System Boosted!


With a lot of endurance events on over the cooler months up here in the Sunshine State, it is important to be aware of your energy levels in order to maintain a strong immune system.

Here are some pointers from Tara, our Dietitian, for keeping your immune system in check in the lead up to race day.

Eat well. A balanced diet is going to support your training and event prep. Enough fuel, fresh food and plenty of colour from vegetables to receive antioxidants is a great start.

Sleep. Make sure that race nerves/ excitement don’t affect your sleep pattern, as this can suppress the immune system.

Don't skip your recovery meals. Even when tapering before an event the nutrition supporting our recovery and replenishing our stores is still very important. Carbohydrates especially help lessen the negative effect stress hormones have on the immune system.

Supplements. For people putting their bodies under high amounts of physical stress, there is a place for a vitamin C, zinc and echinacea supplements.

When looking to build a balanced diet, make sure you are packing in the following vitamins and minerals -

Vitamin C: oranges, kiwifruit, berries, potatoes.

Vitamin E: avocados, almonds, seeds, oats, brown rice

Magnesium: wholegrains, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables

Zinc: eggs, turkey, almonds, cashew nuts, oysters

Iron: lean red meat, lentils, chickpeas, cashew nuts, dried apricots, wholegrain bread

B vitamins: lean meats, dairy products, whole grains. (Vitamin B12 is only found in foods of animal origin, so vegans may need to take a supplement or consume foods fortified with vitamin B12)

Omega 3 fatty acids: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, trout, sardines, fresh tuna, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds.

Probiotics: Live yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, miso soup

CLICK HERE to book in and see Tara for a Dietitics Consultation