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Breaking the injury cycle: Calf Tear in a Runner

Posted on 3rd November 2017 by

We were recently asked some advice from a regular recreational runner. It’s a story that we hear a lot of here at goPhysio (not always calf related, but the same principles apply), so we thought it warranted a little blog post!

The runner in question was concerned, as they’d picked up a calf injury when out for a run a few weeks previously. Nothing major, but felt a bit of a tug on the calf when they had to move suddenly during the run. The calf was painful, so they did what they thought they should and rested for a week from running. The calf then felt fine, so they went back to running. Since then, the calf pain comes and goes. They don’t only feel it when they try and run but can feel it driving, going up & down stairs and first thing in the morning.

The dilemma is……….what is the best thing to do? Carry on running (because they love it and it they were progressing so well!)? Stop running (because it’s making the injury potentially worse)? Exercise? Ice? Heat? Strapping? New trainers? Taping? See their GP? Have a sports massage? Ask a friend? Use a foam roller????????? So many questions?

This is a really common story that we hear a lot in physio. A simple calf tear should take 3-6 weeks to repair itself, however its easy to get stuck in a cycle of tear, rest, repair, tear again, making the recovery much longer and much more frustrating.

How do we break this cycle?

Whilst rest is important it is not enough to adequately repair our damaged muscle to take the strain of running again, which is why it keeps being re-irritated. If we continue to do this we cause a lot of scar tissue to form in the healing muscle. Scar tissue is neither as strong nor as flexible as normal muscle fibres which make it easy to re-tear when stressed by anything more than day to day activities.

In the early stages of recovery from an injury, relative rest is important to help with healing. What that means is avoiding any activity which aggravates the injury, but trying to do alternative activities or modified activities so that you aren’t resting totally.

However, the important thing is to rehabilitate the calf muscle during the ‘rest’ period – gently stressing it with progressive strengthening exercises and stretches to regain its normal strength and elasticity. Ready to run again!

Physiotherapists are experts at guiding you through this process, making sure you are exercising at the optimal level for your stage of healing. They will make sure you are doing the right exercises (technique, loading, reps etc. all carefully worked out) and that you progress them at the right stage – all tailored to you individually and your own goals.

A programme for a minor calf tear for an ultra marathon runner would look very different to a programme for a severe tear in a Saturday morning Park Runner. There isn’t a one size fits all approach and although ‘Dr Google’ or Joe Bloggs at running club who also had a calf injury can be useful resources, relying on such information won’t always give the best long term outcome!

In addition to a specific exercise programme, Physio’s can also carry out a range of other treatments such as hands-on therapy, ultrasound and taping which can help to speed up your recovery. They an also advise on treatments you can do at home, such as foam rolling. A crucial part of your recovery is obviously returning to running at the right time. We know taking time out of running can be very frustrating, so we limit this as much as possible, guiding you with your return programme so you don’t do too much too soon and risk re-injury. If you have a specific event or race coming up, this is factored in.

So, if you love running and are worried about a calf injury, don’t hang about, book in to see an expert to guide you out of the injury cycle and back to running!

Here are two great simple exercises for a calf tear

Calf raise exercise Heel raises – standing on both feet, slowly rise up onto your tip toes then lower back to the ground. If you can manage 20 or more of these try doing it just on the injured leg, holding onto a support for a little balance, remember slow and controlled is key!


Calf stretch – stand in a long stride position with the injured Calf stretch exercise leg behind. Bend the front knee and gently press the back heel down towards the ground until you feel a stretch in your calf. Take it to where you feel a mild to moderate stretch (but not pain!) then hold for 30secs.


More information

Treatment of calf pain in runners

Top Pilates exercises for runners

Top tips for injured runners

Get your running back on track

How to warm up for running 

 


Physiotherapist or Sports Therapist?

Posted on 29th September 2017 by

Being able to offer a range of services and solutions to your injury problems all under one roof, is The Chartered Society of physiotherapists something we’re very proud to offer here at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford.

This means a range of professionals who are best placed to help you with your injury concerns. We have a great team on board here and we often get asked;

“Who’s there best person to see? A Physiotherapist or Sports Therapist?

The short answer is, that both professionals are highly trained and experienced to treat your injury. The types of injuries people come to see us for here at goPhysio are called musculoskeletal (MSK) problems. So those issues affecting bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments etc. such as back pain, sports injuries, whiplash, overuse injuries and such. There are some key similarities and differences in their training and approach.

In this article we aim to explain more about these 2 professions, to help guide you to seeing the most appropriate person to get you back doing what you love.

Physio’s and Sports Therapists have both had to complete a degree or masters qualification at University, so are highly educated in assessing MSK problems and applying a wide range of treatments to effectively resolve your pain and injury. Both focus on restoring, maintaining and maximising movement alongside relieving the pain of your injury and optimising your quality of life.

Both Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists have the skills and knowledge to:

  • Assess and diagnose your MSK injury
  • Formulate and deliver customised and effective treatment and rehabilitation plans to optimise your recovery from injury
  • Use a variety of treatment techniques to relieve your pain and help resolve your injury
  • Educate and advise people on management of long term MSK conditions
  • Support you with getting active and staying fit and well
  • Get you back doing what you love, free from pain or injury
  • Help you improve physical performance
  • Prevent injury or recurring injuries

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy are both protected titles, so individuals have to have completed an approved degree or masters course and meet and maintain strict standards set out by the HCPC in order to use this title.

Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists help people of all ages affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists

During their training, Physiotherapists will learn how to manage a variety of different conditions associated with different systems of the body and different client groups. This includes orthopaedics, neurology, cardiovascular, respiratory, elderly, children and women’s health. Once they are qualified, they may choose to specialise in any one of these areas and work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, sports clubs, private clinics and industry. Subsequently, they have a very wide and varied knowledge base and experience.

Sports Therapy

Sports Therapists are experts in musculoskeletal disorders. Their degree course focuses on the musculoskeletal system and treating pain and injury throughs hands on treatments and rehabilitation.

Sports Therapy is an aspect of healthcare that is specifically concerned with the prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of the patient back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of age and ability. It utilises the principles of sport and exercise sciences incorporating physiological and pathological processes to prepare the participant for training, competition and where applicable, work. The Society of Sports Therapists 

Despite the name, Sports Therapists don’t just see people with sports injuries. At the end of the day, an injury is an injury, however you’ve suffered it. Whether you’ve sprained your ankle out shopping or playing football, a Sports Therapist is well equipped to help you.

In Summary

  • Both Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists are trained to a high level to expertly assess, diagnose and help with your injury recovery.
  • Physiotherapists have a broad based training, so if you have a more complex history or other medical conditions, that need to be considered, they may be the better person to see.
  • Sports Therapists will be well equipped to support your full return to sport, focusing very much on rehabilitation and high level exercise if this is your goal.

Both professions will have taken different paths after graduating, so you may find a Sports Therapist who’s taken a less ‘sporty’ path in their profession, just as you may find a Physio who’s specialised in sports. So, be guided by your needs and the individual experience of the clinicians available to see.

The important thing is, that your form a good relationship with your Clinician, you can communicate with them well and you feel the benefit from their treatment programme and plan.

If you’d like further advice who to see for your injury, then please do get in touch.

 

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Be Well

Posted on 15th September 2017 by

Be well goPhysioMany of us reach a point where we no longer feel so ‘young’. We start to feel aches and pains, we start to gain weight more easily, exercising becomes more challenging and energy levels can be harder to maintain.

People can reach that point at different times, some whilst still young, some not until they are much older, some maybe never or when it’s almost too late and our body can’t cope anymore.

I watched the BBC’s How to stay young programme this week. In this series, Angela Rippon and Dr Chris van Tulleken team up with scientists to turn back the clock on a group of volunteers, showing what can be done to reverse the ageing process. Over the course of three months, the volunteers are put through a variety of tests and placed on a lifestyle plan to turn back the clock on ageing, but will it work? Can they reverse their body age?

The answer is, yes! 

And it really is quite simple. There are 4 basic pillars to keeping well……….

  • Eat well
  • Move well
  • Relax well
  • Sleep well

Easier said than done, but if you can follow those 4 pillars above most of the time, you’ll be giving yourself a fighting chance of living a long, healthy life!

Here at goPhysio, we help play a key part in the moving pillar. ‘Move well’ can mean both exercising regularly to optimise physical health but also dealing with pain and injury so you can keep moving. Research suggests that the more we move, the better. So it doesn’t have to be about hard core exercise (although high intensity exercise has many benefits), integrating moving regularly throughout the day is essential.

Quality of movement is also an important consideration. You can easily develop habits or weaknesses that affect your quality of movement. Over time your body can compensate and areas can start to complain – one of the reasons you can pick up injuries or feel pain.

As a team of movement experts, our Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists are well versed in making sure you can move your body well. That can mean assessing your movement to find out what may not be moving as it should, re-educating how you move to address any issues, utilising movement as a way of recovering from injury and teaching your body to move effectively and efficiently, through exercises such as Pilates.

If you need some help and guidance on how to move well, give us a call to book in and see one of our experts.

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The Benefits of Group Physio and Rehab

Posted on 6th July 2017 by

A recent study from Canada has highlighted the benefits of attending group physiotherapy, for patients following a total knee replacement.

The study demonstrated that patients who participated in group-based physiotherapy after joint replacement surgery achieved statistically and clinically important improvements in mobility and function, and with similar satisfaction levels as patients who receive one-on-one therapy.

It’s not only following surgery that people can benefit from physio and rehab in a group setting, anyone recovering from an injury can reap the rewards!

Having our group rehab sessions now in full swing at goPhysio – here’s some thoughts as to why group physio can have such a positive impact!

  • Connection with other people – Often, when you’ve had an injury or a recovering from surgery, it can be a very lonely time. In a group situation, you can gain positive connections with others, working towards a common goal and helping support each other.
  • Amalgamating social and exercise – Sharing an experience with others brings a social context to rehab. This can help increase enjoyment and motivation, key indicators in longer term success and outcomes.
  • Context – Everyone has days they may struggle or relapse slightly, but you’re not alone. Sharing stories or experiences with other people helps give context and perspective to your recovery and helps ‘normailse’ things. You will also get words of encouragement when others notice how well you are doing (when it may feel to you that progress is slow).
  • Commitment and motivation – Exercising as part of a group helps you commit to your goals, you are more likely to help support your peers and be motivated to continue.

And if group rehab isn’t your thing, we also offer a 1-2-1 rehab service so you can be provided with a structured rehab programme to go and do in your own time at home or in the gym.

gophysio Rehab goPhysio Rehabilitation

Group Rehab Chandlers Ford Rehabilitation Southampton

Group Rehab Chandlers Ford Group Rehab Southampton

goPhysio Rehabilitation goPhysio Rehabilitation goPhysio Rehabilitation goPhysio Rehabilitation

Read More

Group Rehabilitation at goPhysio

1-2-1 Rehabilitation at goPhysio

Rehabilitation: Why it’s crucial to you and your performance

Why The Strong Room?

 

 

 

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Welcome Francesca, Our New Sports Therapist!

Posted on 11th April 2017 by

Francesca Wicker

Francesca Wicker, Sports Therapist

Francesca graduated from The University of Worcester with a BSc degree in Sports Therapy in 2013. Francesca spent her career to date working with sports teams, including the GB Bobsleigh team, and within private clinics.

She enjoys treating musculoskeletal conditions and helping her clients get back to their optimum level of function through utilising her skills in sports massage, soft tissue work, dry needling and exercise rehabilitation. She is a member of The Society of Sports Therapists.

Outside of work Francesca enjoys keeping fit, baking cakes and is often found on the side line of rugby pitch supporting her partner.

Francesca is a great addition to our team, bringing with her a new skill set and experience that will really complement what we already offer. Francesca will be heading up our new rehabilitation service, which we’ll be launching very soon.