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National Bed Month

Posted on 1st March 2018 by

This month reminds us of how important a good nights’ sleep really is and how it benefits our health, as it’s National Bed Month! 

So what’s so important about sleep?!

 Sleep and the Brain

  • Sleep enhances your learning and problem-solving skills and helps you pay attention, make decisions and be creative.
  • Sleep deficiency can make it difficult to control your emotions and behaviour or cope with change. It has also been linked to depression and risk-taking behaviour.
  • Sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Without it, there is an increased risk of heart/kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
  • Deep sleep triggers the release of hormones that promote healthy growth and development. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells.

Sleep and Athletic Performance

  • Sleep deprivation negatively effects athletic performance, especially in submaximal, prolonged exercise.
  • Compromised sleep can influence learning, memory, cognition, pain perception, immunity and inflammation.
  • Changes in glucose metabolism and neuroendocrine function as a result of chronic, partial sleep deprivation can result in alterations in carbohydrate metabolism, appetite, food intake and protein synthesis.

Sleep and Weight Loss

  • Sleep is crucial in retaining energy and stamina throughout the day.
  • There are two key hormones released when you sleep; ghrelin and leptin.
  • Ghrelin enhances your appetite and leptin suppresses it. A lack of sleep disturbs this natural hormonal balance and can lead to weight gain (or a lack of weight loss).
  • Growth hormone, released in abundance when we sleep, is responsible for facilitating muscle growth and increasing your metabolism which means energy is burned more efficiently and can lead to weight loss.
  • Adequate sleep lowers the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. Higher cortisol = lower metabolism. More sleep = less cortisol, better weight loss.

Morning Mobility Routine

Laying horizontally for an extended period of time can cause your joints and muscles to feel achy or stiff in the morning. Getting into a morning routine will increase your range of motion, decrease stiffness associated pain and boost the longevity of your global joint health.

  1. After a warm shower, take each major joint through its full, pain-free range of motion.
  2. Gently stretch those achy muscles.
  3. Use a foam roller or tiggerpoint ball to target the areas that need some extra attention.
  4. Perform daily to assist in retaining your range of motion.

6 Tips for a Better Kip

  1. Bedroom – clean, peaceful & welcoming. Achieve complete darkness with blackout blinds. Ideal temperature 16-18° Avoid televisions, computers and any distractions if you can’t nod off. Limit the bedroom for sleep only, it shouldn’t be used for work, watching TV, eating, even talking on the phone.
  2. Bed – comfortable! If you regularly wake up with aches and pains, it may be time to change your mattress. You should consider changing your bed after 7 years.
  3. Lifestyle – today’s typically fast-paced and chaotic lifestyle provides non-stop stimulation from the moment we wake up. Reduce the intensity of artificial light, maintain a regular bed time routine, avoid alcohol/caffeine before bed, switch off your tech, and empty your bladder before sleeping.
  4. Stress & worry – scientific evidence has shown a direct link between anxiety and rhythm of sleep. An alert mind produces beta waves, preventing sleep. To relax, breathe in deeply for 4 seconds and then breathe out slowly. Repeat until you feel your heart rate slowing.
  5. Diet – you are what you eat! Food and drink can have a drastic effect on your sleep. Choose milk, cherries, chicken and rice. Avoid fatty meat, curry and alcohol after 6pm.
  6. Exercise – promote sleep by working out effectively. Don’t work out too aggressively, this will be counterproductive by increasing your alertness. Yoga is renowned for its relaxation and sleep benefits.

Read more about the 4 pillars of a healthy life and ‘being well’ on a previous blog.

Why sleeps the magic elixir for runners.


Runners – We Need Your Help!

Posted on 27th February 2018 by

We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking here. Many thanks.

The Injured Runner Project


National Longevity Day

Posted on 19th February 2018 by

Today is National Longevity Day – and with our purpose here at goPhysio being……

Helping local people live a healthy, active, positive life pain and injury free

…….we couldn’t let the day pass us by without acknowledgement!

The message of the day is to get more people thinking about their health and living a longer and happier life. The day acts as a reminder for you to look after your body and think about how your lifestyle and choices impact now can affect your body in later life.

As a Physiotherapy, Health & Wellbeing Clinic, we play a fundamental part in helping people live a long and happy life. How? 

  • By helping people overcome their injuries, we help keep people physically active, doing the sports and activities they love to do.
  • We ease the worry and stress surrounding an injury, when people often think there’s no way out, we guide them through the injury maze, providing support and relieving the fear and uncertainty. We help you do something positive about your injury.
  • We relieve people’s pain, helping them feel better and relieving the anxiety and distress that pain often brings with it.
  • We encourage people to be physically active, providing fully supported, specialist exercise based sessions, that are accessible to people who may not think exercise is possible. This includes our Clinical Pilates, Active Backs and Positive Steps classes.

Being physically active is a crucial part of living a long, healthy, life – so, if you need help, we’re here for you.

Read More 

Productive healthy ageing and MSK health

Be well



Overuse Injuries

Posted on 12th February 2018 by

What is an overuse injury?

An overuse injury is normally a chronic injury that gradually occurs over a period of time, rather than a sudden acute traumatic injury. Repetitive trauma to a muscle, joint, ligament or tendon such as a tendinopathy or stress fracture are just a couple of examples of overuse injuries.

What causes overuse injuries?

Overuse injuries are often linked to training overload in athletes, or sudden changes in activities that put stress through the body which they are not used to and therefore overload the soft tissue or bone. When we take up a new hobby, sport or activity or increase training levels/load this will put increased stress onto our body, this will lead the body having to adapt. However, if the body is not given time to adapt and the body is overloaded then this can, in some cases, lead to repetitive ‘microtrauma’ to the tissues. This can be unnoticed for a long time, or thought to be just a muscle ache. Some causes of this include:

  • Poor Technique
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Training overload/level
  • Biomechanics of your foot

What might it feel like?

Depending on the affected tissue or body part will depend on how it will feel. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain that starts initially during a warm up that then eases of and returns at the end of your sport or activity
  • Consistent pinching or sharp pain on specific movements
  • Constant dull ache

How do the symptoms progress?

Overuse injuries can be slow in developing and last a long time. The longer the problem is ignored the worse or more frequent the symptoms can become. This may lead to pain every time you engage in your sport or activity and may also lead to pain/swelling afterwards.

How is it diagnosed?

If you think you may be suffering with an overuse injury, it is important to get an assessment by a physiotherapist or sports therapist. The key to effective management of an overuse injury is accurately identifying exactly what’s causing it and addressing this. This will help to prevent any of those niggles turning into a bigger problem and possibly preventing you doing the sport of activity that you love.

What is the best treatment for overuse injuries?

There are lots of treatments that can be used to help, depending on the injury. Treatment will often start with easing the symptoms of the injury, such as pain and inflammation. In parallel to this, addressing the underlying cause and working on strength and stability to prevent reoccurence is key. Treatments may include:


When the underlying issue is addressed and appropriate changes are made, overuse injuries can be solved. They can often be a very frustrating injury, as they inevitably need a bit of rest and trial and error to work out exactly what’s causing the issue. That’s where we come in, seeing an expert can guide you through the puzzle of injury and help get you back doing what you love as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Read More 

Achilles Injuries

Running injuries – The basic principles

Treatment of calf pain in runners

Runners knee (patellofemoral pain)

What’s physiotherapy got to do with a dripping tap?


Selective Rest – When to rest and when to keep running?

Posted on 6th February 2018 by

“Should I keep running or not?” is a question we get asked a lot by runners here at goPhysio.

There are many factors that can lead to injury from excessive training loads, running technique, poor foot mechanics and muscle imbalances, to name a few. But, whatever the cause of your pain or injury total rest is rarely advocated, as this will, in general, only slow down your progress and can cause many more secondary, longer term issues.

At goPhysio, we prefer the term ‘selective rest’

This means to selectively rest from the aggravating (pain causing) activities. So, if you’ve got an ankle injury and you’re a keen runner, it is usually better to rest from running until you’re recovering but gentle walking and alternative non-aggravating activities such as swimming or cycling to maintain movement and fitness can be really helpful.

Essentially, your body’s tissues (muscle, tendon, ligaments and bone) will adapt to the demands you place upon them. When you rest the muscles may tighten and weaken, joints will stiffen and your whole body will also de-condition. The long term effects of complete rest will often prolong injuries, with you suffering unnecessary secondary complications and time off running due to inactivity. We’re designed to move, hence movement and exercise is therapeutic.

So, if you’re feeling the odd niggle or pain when you run, our top tips to help keep you running are:

  • Pain during a run? If you feel pain during your run and it is getting worse throughout your run then stop. Make a mental note of the distance or duration at which the pain started (that becomes the point you’ll use to gauge progress on your next run). Avoid running for the next 48 hours, use ice and anti-inflammatories to help settle any inflammation. Then attempt another run within 2-3 days, running to the point at which you felt your pain on your previous run. If you make it to that point and beyond great, just gently progress your running over the next few weeks, ensuring you don’t progress more than 10% distance or mileage in any one run.
    However, if the pain and distance is the same or worse than you experienced on your previous run, it will be indicative of an overuse injury. So, stop and seek an expert physiotherapy assessment to identify, modify and remove all the predisposing factors, to get you back to running quickly.
  • Rest days are training days If your training/distance has been increasing and you feel your legs are finding it hard to reach your planned distance it may be time to rest to allow your body to recover and repair. This selective rest will allow yourself to continue progressing whilst also preventing injury. Intersperse running with other activities such as swimming, cycling, Pilates, yoga or strength training. These activities will allow your body to recover from the repetitive, high loading forces of running but will still help with your running training in other ways.
  • Listen to your body It’s important to use common sense and listen to your body. We all experience natural aches and pains during running, due to the natural high loading forces of the activity. These symptoms are often one-off red-herrings, that subside within 24hrs. However if the pain is sharp in nature and doesn’t feel quite right, or persist’s for a few runs, it’s your body warning you that something is wrong and you need help.
  • If in doubt, see a specialist By seeing a specialist like a Physiotherapist or graduate Sports Therapist when you have an injury, we’ll be able to reassure you what you should and shouldn’t be doing to help your recovery. We spend a long time with you 1-2-1 to fully understand your problem and answer all your questions. You’ll go away knowing exactly what is wrong with you and exactly how to help it get better. There’s nothing worse than sitting around worrying about what may be wrong and whether you’re doing the right thing. We’ll help alleviate your fears and the result is a speedier recovery, getting back to running pain-free quicker, without the worry of the unknown.

Good Luck & Enjoy your Running!

The Injured Runner Project
We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking on this image. Many thanks.

Change just 1 thing to boost your running performance

Posted on 4th February 2018 by

Learn from the expert’s – here’s 5 great short cuts to rapidly improving your running performance, it’s not cheating honest! Just focus on 1 and see if it helps. From our Clinical Director, Paul.

1. The HOKA Difference: I regularly and happily recommend HOKA trainers to all my patients that require improved shock absorption and reduced tissue loading when running. They involve marshmallow, rocking chair and bucket seat technology!

To me, a clinician, they’re a unique mash up of styles, designed to simply and easily improve your shock absorption, comfort, running gait and foot stability. They are designed with only a 4mm rise from heel-to- toe, with a slight rocker shaped sole, to help with midfoot strike and smooth propulsion. Think ‘barefoot running’ style with comfy shock absorbent trainers on. The best of both world’s! So get down to your local running store and test drive a pair today. Read more about Hoka’s here. You can read more about the importance of running footwear here.

You’ll feel 10 years younger & 20kg lighter – I know I did!

2. Heel to Buttocks: Essentially it’s about improving the efficiency of your running style, by spending as much of your energy as possible in the propulsion phase. Avoiding long strides in-front of your body and the increased ground reaction forces, in this inefficient deceleration phase of running.

It’s about switching on your large propulsion muscles (gluteals and hamstring) at the end of your long levers (legs) and pushing off optimally through your big toe. It’s easier done, then you may think, just think of the cue “heel to buttocks”. So as you jog along bring your heels up towards your buttocks, and lean your trunk forwards, be prepared to getting faster as you go!

3. Pump with the arms & the legs will follow: To improve speed for that sprint finish, if you pump fast with your arms, your legs will automatically move faster. It’s the way we’re neurologically wired for reciprocal movement and the pro’s have been using it for years.

4. Sleep Better: Ensure you get approx at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night especially in the midst of a running training programme, to allow your body to recover and achieve the full benefits of training. Walker (2017), in his book ‘Why we sleep’ explains that there is a significant increase in the risk of injury with a lack of sleep.

There is no better insurance policy to mitigate the risk of injury than sleep!

Walker also explains that If your consistently not getting adequate sleep, less than 6 hour per night, you will not gain the full benefits from a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and good nutrition. He concludes that “Sleep is one of the most sophisticated, potent and powerful – not to mention legal – performance enhancer’s everyone should be using fully”. So do yourself a favour a ensure you get – 8 hours of sleep each night!. Read more about the ‘Magic Elixir’ of sleep for runners here.

5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: A shortcut to making the most of what you’ve got is to maintain a healthy weight. For middle aged, social, fun runners it is by far the biggest contributor to easily increasing speed, distance, enjoyment whilst reducing the risk of injury. An average rule is that for every 2-3 kg lost you’ll easily improve your mile pace by a minute.

Top 5 Running Injuries & How to Manage Them

Posted on 29th January 2018 by

The top 5 running injuries. In this blog, I will share with you some insider information built up over a lifetime of clinical practice in the sports injury sector, treating 1,000’s of active patient’s with overuse, lower limb injuries.

I’d like to shed some insider light on the 5 most common running injuries and debunk some myths, helping you understand these injuries better, and give you some guidance on how to prevent and manage them if they do occur.

5 Most Common Running Injuries

The 5 most common running injuries we see here at goPhysio are:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendonopathy
  • Calf Tears and trigger points
  • Anterior Knee Pain
  • Gluteal / Piriformis syndrome

Interestingly enough, all these injuries can originate from a similar movement dysfunction.

Starting at the foot with flattened foot arches or over-pronation, there is often a chain of biomechanics events leading up the leg to the trunk. These are nicely illustrated in this diagram. .Biomechanics chain of events


Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar-fasciitis is a fancy, latin word for inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thickened sheet of fascia (connective tissue) on the sole of the feet, it’s elasticity gives us a spring in our step when walking or running. The cause of plantar-fasciitis is linked to it being on an excessive stretch for prolonged periods of time, when the arches in your foot are too flat. So on push off when walking or running it’s excessively overloaded and stretched and overtime micotrauma, inflammation, pain and injury can result. Read more about plantar fasciitis here.

Achilles Tendonopathy

Flattened foot arches results in an inwards collapse of the heel bone (calcaneum) into which the achilles inserts. Thus with each step the heel bone excessively moves side to side, in a side-to-side whipping type motion of the achilles resulting in a build of force, overuse, microtrauma, inflammation, pain & injury! Read more about achilles tendon injuries here.

Calf Tears & Recurrent Myofascial Trigger Points

Again a similar mechanism to above. Over time, the calf muscles become tense and tight, they tend top hold a long term dull background contraction in an attempt to control the inward collapse of the heel bone. This increased tone is aggravated by running (we take approx 1,000 steps per km, per foot), resulting in tense, tight, overactive and painful muscles, which worsen with running and can become a long term or chronic issue. It feels especially tight after hill sessions, when the calf or achilles is also on stretch. Read more about calf tears here. 

Read more about the treatment of calf tears here.

Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior knee pain is an umbrella term, used to describe a wide range of injuries causing pain in the front of the knee. Although everyone is unique, in runner’s it is often linked to flattened foot arches and the inward collapse of the heel with it’s knock on effects felt through the whole kinetic chain (as per the diagram above). This inward heel collapse causes the shin bone (tibia) to rotate inwards and the knee will fall inwards, resulting in an asymmetrical build of of forces in structures around the front of the knee and some of the most common running knee injuries, namely; Infra-patellar tendonopathy, Patello-femoral joint map-tracking and Ilio-tibial Band friction syndrome (ITB syndrome). Read more about runners knee here.

Gluteal / Piriformis Syndrome

So, as the heel collapses inwards, we get internal rotation of the legs and hips. Subsequently, the gluteal (buttock) muscles become tense and tight in an attempt to control the inward rotation and movement of the leg and hip. This increased tone over a run (approx 1,000 steps per km, per foot), can result in tense, tight, overactive painful muscles. This often worsens with running and can become long term or chronic, which often results in referred pain travelling down the leg mimicking sciatica. Over my career I’ve even seen patients with this condition that mistakengly have been operated on, (the Surgeon thought it was a disc injury causing the sciatica) when it was merely this “Piriformis syndrome” referring into his leg.

The Solution

With all of these conditions, it’s crucial to understand that……..

the injured structure is actually the victim, the true cause is the uncontrolled movement!

Effective management of such injuries therefore needs to address the following:

From the foot upwards – Fully assessing foot position and biomechanics, looking at incorporating custom orthotics to correct the foot positioning and alignment and control excessive movement and rotation from the foot up the whole lower limb.

From the spine / “core” downwards – This is a crucial and often forgotten element, improving muscle stability and movement control throughout the body. Pilates is great for this.

Reduce inflammation – Ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are an effective way to reduce inflammation in the early stages.

‘Hands-on’ Physio treatments – In the early stages, massage and acupuncture to normalise muscle tone, taping to correct alignment and ultrasound to stimulate natural healing, can all be effective ways to help ease pain and discomfort to help you quickly progress into active recovery.

Selective rest – Means to just rest from the aggravating (pain causing) activities, whilst actively participating in non-aggravating activities such as swimming or cycling to maintain movement and fitness. As we’re designed to move, movement in itself is therapeutic. We can really help guide you on this, as many people think if they have an injury they just need to completely rest.

Running Rehabilitation – Specific exercises, training advice and a return-to-running programme are all crucial to ensure a positive, long term return to running injury free.

Preventing these Injuries

We are our own normal

I want to reassure you that we are all different. We all have biomechanical differences that our bodies cope just fine with, we are our own ‘normal’. So, if you have ‘flattened arches’ but are able to run a marathon with no issues, nothing needs to change! You don’t need to address this ‘just in case’. Pain or injuries, such as those above, often arise when we are demanding too much of our body too soon, without giving it time to adapt to the demands – so in running, increasing distance or speed too quickly, changing the terrain etc. So much of the skill in preventing these injuries comes down to our training technique and running habits, combined with our body’s own ability to adapt.

However, what we often see is that a small biomechanical issue such as those explained above, combined with demanding too much of our body too soon, results in the body complaining with one of these injuries. Runners then get stuck in an injury cycle, where they can’t run without getting pain. By fully understanding and addressing the combination of biomechanical issues and training, this is the most effective way to overcome the injury and continue to enjoy a lifelong love of running!

By Paul Baker MCSP, goPhysio Clinical Director

The Injured Runner Project
We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking on this image. Many thanks.






5 Tips for the Romsey 5 Mile Run 2018

Posted on 22nd January 2018 by

This Sunday is the Romsey 5 Mile Run of 2018. The Romsey 5 Mile Run is set within the grounds of The Broadlands Estate, Romsey, Hampshire, once the home of The Earl Romsey 5 Mile RunMountbatten of Burma. The surface is mainly tarmac with a short distance of smooth hardcore.  The course is 2.5 laps of the estate making it one of the flattest 5 mile races in the county and as such attracts athletes from further a field looking for a PB time.

5 miles is a tough distance. It’s uncommon and hides nicely between those big 10km races and your weekly 5km parkrun. It’s an underrated distance and hence often underestimated. It’s a brilliant training run and a very credible distance to take the opportunity to clock some good times. It’s not a plod but it’s far from sprinting – it’s the sweet spot of speed and endurance. So just because it’s shorter doesn’t mean you can get away with no training! So we have put together 5 tips in time for the Romsey 5 miles!

  1. The best way to tackle such a peculiar distance is to mix up your training. Try a variety of different sessions which help to train different aspects of your fitness. Interval training will help with speed, long runs will ensure you have the stamina, whilst gym/resistive training to get the power your legs need to drive through those last kilometres. Fartlek training is also great to get a better understanding of your pace – timing that sprint finish and camera composure is invaluable!
  2. The shorter the distance you are competing, the more important it is that you warm up thoroughly. For 5 miles, it’s an essential. A good warm up should be about half an hour in total. You should consider starting to warm up about an hour before the race begins. This may seem a bit keen, but trust me – when you take into account the time taken striping down to shorts/vest, getting that last toilet break in and then the minutes taken just standing around at the start line, that hour will fly by. Get running for at least 10 minutes. During the warm up incorporate dynamic stretches– high knees, heel flicks, side strides, ring the bell, straight legged march – remember those from secondary school P.E? – well turns out they are useful after all! They get the muscles working more effectively and ready to go – reducing your risk of injury considerably. Read more about warming up for running here.
  3. But the preparation doesn’t just start at the warm up! If you have event looming and you’re already starting to get some aches and niggles, invest in a course of Sports Massage. Sports Massage will keep those niggles from developing into full blown injuries, supporting you through your training, getting you to race day in one piece!
  4. Lungs collapsing, knees about to give way and the body demands food, baths or just bed! But you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble with a good cool down – you’ll thank yourself if you can motivate yourself for a 10 minute plod! This will flush the lactic and waste products from the muscles by introducing fresh oxygenated blood. If there is a masseur on hand, make the most of them – they’ll do most of that more you! Also do a mix of dynamic and static stretches to relax the muscles.
  5. Just because the event has come and gone, doesn’t mean you switch off. That warm down will have helped avoid those stiff and achy legs, but by having a follow up recovery Sports Massage, you’ll cleanse your body from that event, and focus on the next one! You can book your massage online here 24/7.

Good Luck to all doing the Romsey 5 Miles, especially those doubling up and doing the Hendy Eastleigh 10K too! Look forward to seeing familiar faces!

Cameron Knapp – goPhysio Sports Massage Therapist



Should I run through pain?

Posted on 22nd January 2018 by

In my experience, I’ve found many runner’s to have a high pain threshold, which can be a help when you’re a runner. However, deciding whether to run through pain is a dark art and filled with many pitfalls!

So, in this blog, I’d like to help you avoid unnecessary injuries and share with you some insider information built up over a lifetime of clinical practice treating runners, offering you some clarity and debunking these myths related to running through pain:

Pain is weakness leaving the body!

Pain is a sensation and all sensations are pleasurable, so enjoy the pain!

No pain no gain!

So, “should I run through pain?” Well, in a nutshell it depends on what type of pain you’re experiencing. Broadly speaking there are 2 types of pain related to running and it’s crucial to be able to distinguish between the main 2 types.

1. Delayed onset of muscle soreness, also known as DOMS for short, which is a normal part of any successful exercise training programme. It’s often described as “heavy legs” and in runners is mostly felt as a broad, dull, heavy, ache in the large propulsion muscles of the leg i.e. gluteals, quadriceps or claves.

DOMS is often experienced the day after a run, when you’ve increased the mileage or done a hard hill or speed session, when you are doing day-to-day tasks that work those muscles, such as getting out of a chair or walking downstairs. It’s entirely normal and desired for the training effect.

Physiologically, one way to describe what’s happening within the muscle in DOMS is that during the harder exercise session, you get microscopic tears within the exercised muscle. The body is then in a phase where it’s laying down new muscle fibres, increasing muscle cross sectional area (getting larger) and increasing strength and endurance, hence the desired “training effect”. It normally peaks day two after the exercise session and then subsides. Read more about DOMS here.

2. Pain as a result of injury This type of pain is undesirable as any part of a training programme. Unless there is a definite memorable traumatic incident whilst out running either a slip, trip or fall (which you would be able to remember), all other running injuries can be classified as overuse injuries.

By their very nature, overuse injuries, will start gradually and mostly occur when there is a perfect storm of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Intrinsic (Internal) Injury Factors

These are factor internal to your body, namely:

  • A recent increase in body weight
  • Your running technique
  • Poor or altered foot & lower limb biomechanics
  • Long term muscle imbalance
  • Muscle strength & control
  • Muscle flexibility

Extrinsic (External) Injury Factors

These are factors that are external to your body and focus generally around your training parameters, namely:

  • Running volume – frequency, duration or distance
  • Running intensity and speed
  • Running terrain – hilly or flat, road or off-road
  • Inadequate warm-up
  • Running footwear

When we assess runners at goPhysio we will often find a unique mix of these factors. When combined together, they lower their body’s loading capacity or ability to cope with the demands that are being placed on their body. This results in the body complaining, often with a sharper, more niggling pain, where injury has occurred. An important part of our job as physiotherapist’s is to prioritise which factors, if addressed, will give the quickest, best outcome i.e. return to running symptom free long term.

However, if you continue to mindlessly run on this type of sharper pain without addressing the predisposing factors, it will likely worsen in severity and frequency, being felt earlier into a run and to a greater severity, eventually limiting your ability to run.

At this stage, what is usually happening physiologically, is the DOMS described above has developed into pain from injury. The micro-trauma, if left unaddressed, becomes inflammation, pain and eventually an injury.

So, if you think you’re experiencing these worsening, sharper symptoms over 2-3 runs in a week to 10 day period, stop and seek an expert physiotherapy assessment to identify, modify and remove all the predisposing factors getting you back to painfree running quickly!

Happy Running and don’t enjoy the pain!

By Paul Baker, Clinical Director of goPhysio

Sleep: The Magic Elixir for Runners

Posted on 19th January 2018 by

I’ve just recently read a great book, titled Why We Sleep, by the neuroscientist, Matthew Waker. Why we sleep

I wanted to share a summary of the relevant sections, which I thought would be enlightening and useful for you keen, active, health conscious runners. If it sparks your interest, I would thoroughly recommend getting hold of a copy to read it in full. It really is fascinating!

Walker explains that:

“Sleep is one of the most important aspects of life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in 21st century society”

For the active runner, adequate sleep is crucial to help in learning new motor skills, improving athletic performance and mitigating injury risk!

In the book, Walker explains that the term ‘muscle memory’ is a misnomer, muscles have no such memory, and that in fact ‘muscle memory’ is really ‘brain memory’. As humans, we learn new motor skills and movement routines through practice. For a runner it could be working on running technique, training or strengthening muscles in the gym, which can help us better execute a skilled memory routine (running). But the routine itself – the memory programme resides firmly and exclusively within the brain.

Research over the past 20 years has unequivocally demonstrated that after practicing any motor skill, your brain will continue to improve skill memories in the absence of further practice after a full night sleep. Walker concludes that in fact

“Practice does not make perfect, it is practice followed by a nights sleep that leads to perfection”

Sleep helps the brain automate the movement routines – helping them become second nature and effortless – precisely the goal of many sports coaches when perfecting the skills of their athletes.

The 100-metre sprinter superstar Usain Bolt has, on many occasions taken naps in the hours before breaking the world record and before Olympic finals in which he won gold. The author’s studies support this wisdom: day time naps that contain sufficient numbers of sleep spindles also offer significant motor skill memory improvement, together with a restoring benefit on perceived energy and reduced muscle fatigue.

“Sleep is one of the most sophisticated, potent and powerful – not to mention legal – performance enhancer’s everyone should be using fully”

The book’s findings are backed up with more than 750 scientific studies that have investigated the relationship between sleep and human performance. Anything less than 8 hours of sleep a night and especially less than 6 hours a night and the following can be experienced:

  • Time to physical exhaustion drops by 10 to 30%
  • Aerobic output is significantly reduced
  • Similar impairments are observed in power output, measured by limb extension force & vertical jump height
  • Decrease in peak and sustained muscle strength.
  • Marked impairments in cardio-vascular, metabolic and respiratory capabilities linked to a decrease in the amount of air the lungs can expire
  • The ability of the body to cool itself during physical exertion through sweating, a critical part of peak performance, is impaired

Injury Risk 

There is also a significant increase in the risk of injury with a lack of sleep.

“There is no better insurance policy to mitigate the risk of injury than sleep!”

Described in a research study of competitive young athlete’s in 2014, Walker explains that a chronic lack of sleep across a season predicted a massively higher risk of injury, as illustrated on the graph below.


Sleep and injury risk
Sleep after sporting performance is just as crucial for recovery. The book states that

“Post performance sleep accelerates physical recovery from common inflammation, stimulates muscle repair, and helps restock cellular energy in the form of glucose and glycogen”

What does all this mean for the local fun runner?

Regardless of running ability, sleep is equally important for anyone who is physically active. Until recently the experts thought that adequate sleep, good nutrition and exercise were the 3 fundamentals on which to live a healthy life.

However, through a large body of research over the last 20 years, Walker has highlighted that adequate sleep is the foundation on which being healthy and exercising effectively is built upon.

In other words….without adequate sleep you will not gain the full potential benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise. So, you should be aiming for between 7-8 hours of sleep each night, especially in the midst of a running training programme, to allow your body to recover and achieve the full benefits of training.

For further information, please read Why We Sleep, by Mathew Walker

The Injured Runner Project
We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking on this image. Many thanks.