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Top tips for injured runners

Posted on 28th June 2017 by

Having an injury can be a frustrating time for a runner, particularly when you have an event looming. How do you maintain your fitness when you can’t run?

Here’s our top tips to keep your physical and mental health in tip top condition whilst you’re recovering.

  1. Can you still run at all without increasing your pain? For most people maintaining some level of running is going to be better for them than complete rest as it helps prevent deconditioning both of the muscles and of the cardiovascular system. This one will depend on your injury so its always best to seek professional advice from a physiotherapist. Try taking out hills and speed work, go back to short, gentle runs on flatter terrain – its going to be much better to keep up short frequent runs of 1-2 miles rather than nothing at all even if you’re used to doing 10miles+ as this will give you a starting point from which you can progress. The main exception to this is running on a suspected stress fracture – you will not be able to run through this pain and you WILL make it worse by continuing to run. As a guide consider your pain levels during the run, but also over the next 24 hours – if your pain eases quickly when you start running and doesn’t leave lingering pain or stiffness into the evening or next day you are generally fine to keep going at this level.

  2. Cross training such as cycling, swimming and deep water running are great ways to keep up your cardio fitness whilst not running at your usual intensity. Try to match this to your normal training schedule – for example if you would normally do 3 runs a week – perhaps a 1 hour slow run, a 30 minute tempo run and a 20 minute speed/interval session try to replicate both the time and the intensity of these sessions on a bike or in the water.

  3. Work on technique – video analysis can help to find the route cause of why you are injured and specific tailored running drills and strengthening exercises can help prevent this problem reoccurring in the future. This is also going to help improve your efficiency as a runner so when your injury is healed you’re likely to be better than ever! Think about investing in our Running Rehab service – where we will analyse your running and combine this with an in depth physical assessment to identify and target any potential troublesome areas that need some work or adjusting.

  4. Don’t neglect strength and conditioning – use the time off running to work on areas of weakness. For example if you always get achy calves at the end of a run try building strength with single leg heel raises. Or if you are getting knee pain you can often work the hip and core muscles really hard without irritating the knee. A physiotherapist will be able to assess which areas of weakness might have contributed to your injury and guide you through a specific individualised strength training programme that isn’t going to aggravate it.

  5. Beat stress! A lot of us use running as a tool to keep our mental health in check so not being able to run can lead to feeling of guilt, anxiety and depression. It’s important to find another outlet for stress – cycling, swimming, yoga and Pilates can be great alternatives. Remember not to be too hard on yourself, recovery is an important part of the training process. Take this time to restore your general wellbeing – eat healthily, drink plenty of water and make sure you are getting enough sleep – this is going to speed up your recovery.

Read More 

Running Rehab

Warming up for running

How to maximise your training time

 


Achilles Tendon Injuries

Posted on 13th April 2017 by

What is Achilles Tendinopathy?

Achilles tendinopathy refers to any problems with the Achilles tendon, the part of your body that connects the calf muscle to your foot via your heel bone.

The ‘-opathy’ part refers to a disorder of the tendon and is used as an umbrella term to cover a range of issues that can affect the Achilles tendon.

Problems with the Achilles Tendon are graded:

  • Grade I: Mild strain.
  • Grade II: Moderate strain.
  • Grade III: Complete rupture.

Achilles Tendinopathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What causes Achilles Tendinopathy?

A tendinopathy results when the forces placed through the tendon exceed it’s ability to function.

Achilles tendinopathy can be caused by several factors:

  • Overuse of the area
  • Traumatic injury
  • Poor foot biomechanics
  • Sudden changes to sports or training patterns
  • Improper footwear
  • Calf weakness or tightness

The most common cause is repetitive ‘micro’ trauma to the tendon or overuse. The repetitive strain can result in a chronic Achilles tendinopathy, where there is a gradual breakdown of the tissue of the tendon. You might have heard it as tendinitis previously. It can either affect the middle portion of the tendon or the point where the tendon inserts into the heel bone.

What might Achilles Tendinopathy feel like?

  • Mild to moderate pain and stiffness around the back of the heel in a grade 1 or 2 strain. The more severe the strain, the more severe the symptoms would tend to be.
  • Swelling or a small lump on the Achilles tendon in a grade 1 or 2 strain.
  • Tightness into the calf muscles.
  • A complete rupture (grade 3) is often characterised by a ‘pop’ with immediate pain and an inability to bear weight through your foot.

How do the symptoms of Achilles Tendinopathy progress?

  • A mild Achilles tendinopathy can resolve itself with relative rest and POLICE pretty quickly.
  • A more moderate strain or mild strain that lasts more than a few weeks, usually needs some input to fully resolve.
  • If left untreated, Achilles tendinopathies can develop into a chronic problem leading to permanent changes to the structure of the tendon, with scar tissue forming. In non-traumatic cases, if you don’t do something to address the cause, it is unlikely resolve.
  • A grade 3 complete rupture will require surgery or conservative management in the form of immobilisation in a special boot or cast.

How is Achilles Tendinopathy diagnosed?

  • A Physiotherapist will be able to diagnose an Achilles tendinopathy from a thorough assessment. This will include taking a detailed history to identify the potential cause of the problem, analysing muscle strength and length, looking at your foot biomechanics, looking at your kinetic chain (so this is the link between your foot, knee & pelvis to see how they work together), linking this into your activity levels and sports.
  • Occasionally, you may be referred for an ultrasound scan if the Physio is concerned about a possible tear or rupture to the tendon. This is normally quite obvious when it happens but we’ve certainly had a few through the clinic over the years that we’ve diagnosed with a complete rupture and sent straight to A&E.

What is the best treatment for Achilles Tendinopathy (Grade 1 & 2) 

  • Addressing the cause in non-traumatic cases is key. Your Physiotherapist will be able to help you with this once they’ve identified the root of the issue.
  • Physiotherapy – this will help reduce scar tissue formation and improve the rate of healing. It may consist of manual soft tissue work, electrotherapy, taping and specific exercises.
  • Selective rest – avoid any high impact activities and take a break from any aggravating sports or activities to allow the injury to recover.
  • Ice – helps to manage the pain and swelling
  • Painkillers – allows you to keep moving and do all your Physio exercises!
  • Orthotics – if foot biomechanics are contributing to your Achilles problems, a GaitScan to identify any issues and a pair of orthotics will address this to stop the problem reoccurring.

Prognosis for Achilles Tendinopathy

  • With early and appropriate treatment, Achilles Tendinopathy issues tend to resolve within 8-16 weeks.
  • Chronic problems may take up to 6 months to resolve.

Products that may help Achilles Tendinopathy

  • Foam Roller
  • K-Tape
  • Ice pack
  • Orthotics

Can Achilles Tendinopathy be prevented? 

Maintaining general health and fitness, maintaining muscle strength and flexibility throughout your whole body, can be a good way of preventing injuries such as tendinopathies. Paying special attention to your training regime and programme if you take art in regular sports such as running, is really important. Too much, too soon, too far, too often, can all increase the risk of a tendon problem. Allow your body time to adjust to the demands you place upon it.

If you do start to feel a niggle, don’t ignore it. The longer you leave problems like this without addressing the cause, the more severe they can become.

Think about your footwear too, wearing good quality, supportive footwear at all times can help prevent Achilles tendinopathy.

Related injuries

If you’ve suffered an injury or pain in your Achilles tendon, call now for an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment programme, or book your appointment online.

 

 


Physiotherapy For Cycling Injuries

Posted on 11th June 2016 by

Bike Week 2016This week is Bike Week, which aims to inspire more people to take to 2 wheels.

Cycling is a wonderful way to exercise, whatever your level or age. It’s great for cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, flexibility and has a host of health benefits.

It’s a safe form of exercise and is often a great way to start fit if you need to maintain your fitness with a lower impact activity. It’s also a fab way to incorporate exercise into a mode of travel!

However, like many forms of exercise, cycling can become a source of injuries. Cycling injuries tend to fall into 2 camps, either a traumatic injury or an overuse injury.

Traumatic Injuries – these are caused by some sort of trauma. This is normally a fall or collision and can be very minor to severe. Traumatic injuries are often accidents that can’t be avoided, but you can take precautions. These include:

  • Wearing appropriate protective clothing such as a helmet
  • Being up to date with bike maintenance to make sure you bike is in top working order
  • Knowing and reading the weather conditions and environment to make sure they fit with your plans
  • Understanding your personal limitations and being realistic with your ability. Many accidents occur when people are pushing themselves unrealistically.

Common traumatic cycling injuries include:

  • Fractures – often the clavicle (collar bone) or scaphoid (wrist) as you put your arm out to protect you as you fall.
  • Bruising – to the muscle and/or bone. This is as a result of falling directly onto the area, often a prominent bony area such as the outside of the hip.

Overuse Injuries – as the name implies, are caused when a part of the body is being ‘overused’ and can’t cope with the physical demands being placed upon it. Cycling is a very repetitive activity, an average cyclist might perform well over 5,000 revolutions an hour. The human body has a threshold of what it will tolerate and sometimes it just can’t cope with prolonged repetitive demands being placed on it. This is when an overuse injury rears it’s head.

The problem with overuse injuries is that they often start gradually as a tiny niggle that you ignore. Before you know it that niggle is a regular occurrence but you think it will just go away just as it appeared. Then it eventually becomes really annoying and can actually becomes so severe it stops you doing the things you love and that may have caused it in the first place, which is even more of a pain!

You can take steps to avoid or minimise the impact of cycling overuse injuries. These include:

  • Make sure your bike is set up correctly. This is crucial given the repetitive nature of cycling. Very small adjustments such as saddle and handlebar height can make a huge difference.
  • Increase your cycling gradually. Whether its speed, distance or hills – don’t do too much all at once. You need to give your body time to adapt and adjust to the demands being placed upon it.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel a little niggle, hold back a bit until it eases off to give your body chance to recover.
  • Seek advice at the right time. If a niggle is becoming more than that, it’s better to come and see us sooner rather than later. Overuse injuries that are ignored can often become long term problems and then they’re much harder to resolve and take longer to recover.

Common cycling overuse injuries include:

  • Back pain – which is often related to your posture on the bike and easily resolved by changing your bike set up.
  • Neck pain – again, this is often posture related and being more aware of your posture and position on the bike can be really helpful.
  • Knee pain – including tendonopathies, patellofemoral pain (front of knee) or ITB problems (side of knee).
  • Foot or ankle problems – such as achilles tendonopathy or forefoot pain from the pressure of peddling.

As Physio’s we’re highly skilled at identifying and resolving all the injury issues that may arise from cycling. Many of our team are keen cyclists themselves, so can truly identify with what you’re experiencing. If you are suffering with an injury as a result of cycling, give us a call to see how we can help you and get you back on your bike! #BikeWeekUK


Read more about Physiotherapy for Cycling Injuries on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists website.