Click & Book Online Now

Call us now: 023 8025 3317

Runners – How To Avoid Injuries

Posted on 9th February 2019 by

Running injury meme

No one wants an injury, particularly runners. Not being able to run because of an injury is highly frustrating.

The good news is, so many running injuries can be avoided very easily with the right understanding, knowledge, preparation and planning. 

Here, we’d like to share with you some top ways of helping to prevent an injury if you’re a runner.

Warm Up Effectively

A solid warm up should consist of foam rolling (which can improve performance), mobility work to maximise joint health and longevity, dynamic stretching and muscle activation to fire up the key players in running (calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes). Running backwards is a great way of activating your glutes which play a huge role in stabilising the hips and promoting good form when running forwards. Read more about warming up here.

Route Knowledge

Know your run. If you’re heading out on a new route, make sure you know the terrain, any obstacles, gradients or side-planes and are equipped for the specific weather and conditions that you’re running in.

Train Smart

Increase mileage safely and run with proper form. There are so many resources now online to help guide and direct your training in a ‘smart’ way. This is crucial to preventing injuries if you’re serious about progressing your running. Joining a running club or group is a great way to get guidance and support too.

Increasing Mileage

Beginners should avoid increasing their mileage every week. Instead try every 3-4 weeks. Add an extra day into your running week to increase your weekly mileage. Advanced runners should increase their mileage by 5-10% of their current mileage and remain there until they’re comfortable. This may take several weeks. Injury can occur easily if you ramp up your speed or mileage too quickly. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

Form

If you’ve been injury free for a long time and you aren’t looking to shave seconds off of your PB, we wouldn’t advise you to alter your running form. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a ‘perfect’ running technique. Technique only really needs addressing if it’s causing you problems, if not, then don’t try and change it! 

However, if you have an injury and a gait analysis suggests you would benefit from altering your form, it would make sense to address this issue. You might try to reduce your stride length so that you plant the foot with a vertical shin, this will reduce the forces transmitted through your legs and limit any deceleration from planting your foot too far forward. Also, try to maintain space between the knees. Allowing the thigh to internally rotate or drop in when you run can lead to overuse injuries occurring at the hip, knee and foot.

If you need expert advice and guidance on this, consider something like our running rehab service.

Footwear Advice

Ensure that you wear a comfortable shoe that fits well. Rubbing and blisters can put an end to anybody’s run. Don’t be tempted to buy the shoes that look the nicest, fashion won’t help keep you injury free. If you have low arches, find a shoe that supports you in the areas that you need it. Seek professional advice from a reputable running shop where you can try the shoes and they have video gait analysis. Read more about the importance of getting your footwear right here.

Strength Work Between Runs

A stronger kinetic chain will decrease ground reaction forces (GRF), making running more comfortable and more efficient. Working on your core stability will promote the transfer of forces from your upper and lower limbs, meaning less work for your legs. Strong glutes will stabilise your hips and prevent poor biomechanical loading from occurring. Pilates is a great way to help this or specific strength and conditioning exercises.

Balance & Proprioception

Proprioception is your body’s awareness of where it is in space – so your joints and brain and muscles all talking to each other! Along with balance, it’s a crucial component to keeping you injury free. It enables your body to cope and respond to uneven terrain, pot holes and curbs and varied weather conditions. Both are very trainable with the right exercises.

If you’ve ever sprained an ankle and haven’t undergone a rehabilitation programme, the chances of you re-spraining that same ankle are very high. After an injury your ankle suffers from a loss of proprioceptive ability and strength, which needs to be rebuilt with balance, proprioception and strength work. If you’re lucky enough to have never sprained an ankle but enjoy running both on and off road, lower limb stability with balance and proprioception work should be a part of your regular gym routine.

Catching Minor Injuries In The Early Stages (Recognition & Treatment)

Being able to recognise the early stages of injury will allow you to nip them in the bud before they become an issue. Examples include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints, runners knee or patella tendinopathy, ITB syndrome and muscle strains. As soon as any signs or symptoms are noticed, your best option is to consult an injury specialist. We all know what muscle soreness (DOMS) feels like. If it’s a different pain, don’t run through it or just think you can rest, it will disappear and then you can get straight back to your 10 miles! 

We provide you with easy access to help and support if you’ve developed a running injury. The majority of running injuries are what we term ‘overuse injuries‘ and need a highly trained and experienced professional to really help you get to the root cause and address it effectively. 

Cool Down Correctly

Exercise causes our muscles to break down on a microscopic level, which can lead to muscle shortening if left untreated. Stretching after running will help maintain the resting length of your muscles and prevent any imbalances from occurring. Sports massage is a great way of helping recover too. A sports massage will help flush out any lactic acid and waste products left sitting in your muscles following exercise, as well as promote the flow of nutrient-rich blood to those areas to facilitate healing and decrease recovery times.

Sleep

Sleep is very important when talking about injury prevention in runners. When you sleep, hormones are released that promote recovery. When you don’t get enough sleep, stress hormones and inflammatory markers remain elevated which adversely affects your ability to recover. These hormones can also alter appetite regulation, potentially leading to weight gain. To remain injury-free, you need to sleep and recover to the best of your ability. Establish good habits by going to and getting out of bed at the same time each day, and try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep each night as a minimum, 8 hours is great. Read how we think sleep is the magic elixir for runners on a previous blog here

Do these eBibs from ilovetorun resonate with anyone? Certainly ‘run true’ for a lot of injured runners we see at the clinic!


Perfecting Your Posture With Pilates

Posted on 1st February 2019 by

You might be surprised to hear that there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Posture’. It has become a deeply ingrained belief that slouching will lead to back problems. However, the most recent evidence makes it clear that posture variability – so changing positions regularly, is the most effective way to prevent back issues. In fact, trying to hold yourself straight and upright all the time may even add to back problems, as you’ll be creating unnecessary muscular tension.

But, that said, if you do spend a lot of your day sitting at a computer, driving or sat in meetings, doing regular exercises such as Pilates, can be really beneficial.

Here’s some excellent Pilates exercises that may help combat the effects of sitting.

#1 Spine Twist

  1. Starting position: Natural standing position. Centre engaged.
  2. Cross your arms over your chest and place the palms onto the front of your shoulders.
  3. Action: Breathe in to prepare.
  4. Breathe out as you twist your upper body to the right, keeping your pelvis stable. Imagine growing taller from your waist as you twist.
  5. Breathe in as you twist your upper body back to the centre, maintaining a lengthened spine.
  6. Repeat up to ten times alternating sides.

#2 Arm Openings Level 2

  1.  Start Position: Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked. Head supported on a small cushion. Ensure your back is in neutral and your centre is engaged. Hips bent to approx. 45 degrees and knees bent to 90 degrees. Arms reaching in front of the body and resting one on top of the other.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, float the top arm upwards and over your head, beginning the first part of a circular motion, keep the eyes in line with the hand.
  4. INHALE for the second half of the circle as you return to the starting position.
  5. Tips: Imagine holding a piece of chalk in the top hand and drawing a large circle above the body for level two. Think of your shoulder blade drawing downwards as the top arm lifts like the counter weight on a railway gate.

#3 Cobra

  1.  Start Position: lie on your stomach with a cushion under your tummy for support if required. Ensure centre is engaged, shoulder baldes are drawn down and back of your neck is long. Bend your arms into an ‘L’ shape and place your elbows slightly higher than shoulder height. Hips turned outwards and legs wider than hip width apart.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, gently slide your shoulder blades downwards and lengthen your upper body off the mat, using your hands for support. Maintain length from the crown of the head to your tailbone and continue peeling your body away the mat, section by section until your hip bones are lifted.
  4. INHALE and hold your cobra position.
  5. EXHALE, layer your body back down onto the mat commencing with your hip bones and finishing with your forehead to return to neutral spine position.
  6. Tips: Imagine peeling the body away from the mat section by section beginning with the forehead, then the shoulders, breastbone, lower ribcage, waist then hip bones. Reach your tailbone towards your heels to prevent over extending your lower back.

#4 Breaststroke Prep Level 2

  1.  Starting position: Lie on your front. Forehead resting on a small (1 inch) cushion or folded towel. Back of the neck long. Arms resting long beside the body on the floor. Palms facing inwards. Neutral lumbo-pelvic position. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare
  3. Exhale, slide the shoulder blades gently downwards and reach from the shoulder blades to the fingertips towards the feet and allow the arms to hover 1 2 inches off the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body off the mat to hover the breastbone approx, 1 inch form the floor (no lumbar extension). Keep the back of the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale, relax the shoulder blades and arms to the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body as to lowers to the mat to return to the starting position. Keep the back of the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

#5 Swan Dive Level 1

  1. Starting position: Lie on your front. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart. Arms bent up beside the body, with the elbows slightly below the level of the shoulders. Forehead resting on small cushion or folded towel. Neck long.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, lift your breastbone to hover off the floor, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale and lower the breastbone to the mat, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

Doing these exercises throughout the week can be really helpful at easing any built up stiffness and areas of tension and reminding muscles to work! But there’s no substitute for moving regularly. Don’t forget, the most important thing is moving and changing position throughout the day!

#LovePilates