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Running

Tips for How to Avoid Running Injuries

So, you’ve hit the ground running in 2021 and are now looking to finish this year with a half marathon, or dare you even say it, a full one! You can the see medals hanging from your mantel piece in your mind’s eye, and you’ve already decided on the perfect celebratory meal to crown your momentous achievement. Life is good and you look forward to getting started. There’s just one thought lurking in the background, though… a thought you can’t shake, one that seems to replay over and over again no matter what: “what if I get injured and can’t do what I want to do?” Yes, there it is: the one fear that makes you feel almost as though it isn’t worth even trying. Running injuries can debilitate people for weeks, if not months, especially when the right treatment isn’t given. And so, worrying about what might happen seems to be a legitimate concern. However, it doesn’t have to be! Your training doesn’t need to suffer at the hands of anxiety and worry, and I’m here to tell you why. In this post, then, we look at tips for avoiding injury while running. We also dive into what you can do if you do get injured so as to have the least downtime possible. Are you ready? Are your laces tied? Let’s go.

Strength Training Works Wonders: Focus on the Glutes and Calves

Have you ever seen runners with legs that aren’t strong? The next time you see Hussein Bolt run, just take a look at his legs… they’re almost as toned as his chiseled cheek bones! And if the Olympic Gold Winner is anyone to learn from, leg strength is essential for a good run. Not only that, strong legs offer more support… the more of which you have, the less chance there is of injury. Strong glues and calves offer the proper support needed for good balance and muscle stress distribution. Focusing on strengthening and toning them is a great way to keep you up and running for longer.

Stretching for the Win!

I’m sure you know that stretching is important, but do you really know quite how important? If you don’t stretch, for example, your muscles actually become shorter and therefore weaker. And, of course, the bottom line is that weak muscles are vulnerable ones… if they aren’t supple and strong, how can they possibly stave off injury? Taking a tumble, rolling your ankle, or stepping incorrectly, could result in a much more dire result if your glutes and calves haven’t been stretched and warmed up well. So, the next time you head out on the road, use the first couple of minutes to get stretching!

Your Schedule Has to be Balanced

Even the greats take a rest every now and again. Burnout is a very real phenomenon, and if you have your eyes on running that marathon in the a few months, then you need to make very sure that you actually get there! Include rest days into your schedule so as to make sure your muscles and joints have a chance to recover from the training you’ve been doing. Recovery is almost as important as the actual training, because without it you lay bare your muscles, joints, and tissue to untold amounts of risk. A recovered muscle is a strong muscle, is a protective muscle. So, get your rest on!

Avoid Overtraining: Maintain a Gradual Increased Intensity 

This links in nicely with my previous tip of not overdoing it. Training takes time, and building a resilient body and fitness level is sure to take weeks, if not months. Remember, if you put the work in over the long term, you’ll be able to reap permanent, fulfilling benefits. Don’t over-train – yes, challenge yourself, but don’t push yourself beyond what your body can handle. Running is an art – challenge yourself to go a little further and do a little more, but make sure that you listen to your body. If you do too much, too quickly, you may find yourself out of the running all together! So, plan ahead, take the time, and be sure to commit to a manageable, safe training schedule.

Make Sure you Have the Right Shoes… And that You Are Tying Them Correctly!

It’s all well and good to have the most expensive pair of Nike shoes, or the flashiest Adidas trainers, but how much does that really help you out on the road? For runners, the importance of proper footwear cannot be understated: from ankle support, through to pressure distribution and proper alignment, your shoes really, truly do matter. Make sure your shoes offer you the right support and enable you to align your posture correctly during the run. Ensure that they fit well and that they allow you room to move while still supporting your ankle and foot. And please, make sure you tie them correctly! Tight, but not too tight! A runner is nothing without a good pair of shoes, so if there’s one thing you really should invest in this year, it’s a good pair of running shoes.

Get some Physical Therapy

On the other hand, though, an even better investment may be a physical therapist! Bet you didn’t see that coming, huh? Physical therapy not only treats injuries related to running, but can also set you up for the best training of your life. With exercises tailored to you, your gait, and your personal goals, physical therapy can elevate your running game to a whole new level. To avoid running injuries, physical therapy helps you strengthen your muscles, improve your posture, and gives you the best tools and techniques for stretching and approaching your running and training schedule. Physical therapy really can help.

So, there you have it: top tips for avoiding injury as you aim towards your running goals. Don’t let the fear of getting hurt keep you back from achieving the things you want to achieve out on the road. If you’re unsure of how or where to start, though, why not give us a call? We’d be happy to help, give advice, or to simply chat to you about your options.

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Sports Performance and Physical Therapy: Two Peas in a Pod

How many times have you run that mile? How many times have you looked at your stopwatch and sighed at the missed minutes or seconds on the clock? Sport performance is an incredibly powerful driving force for athletes, and when minutes and seconds become indicators of success, making the most of every movement, every muscle, and every intentional stride, means the difference between winning and falling short. Fitness, strength, flexibility, mobility, and precision… these are but a few of the things involved in sport performance. In this post, we’re looking at the ways in which physical therapy can exponentially boost your sports performance. That’s right! It’s not all about back disks and joint pain… physical therapy can be the different between a good run, length, ski, or jump, and a great one. Let’s see how!

Maybe you’ve never considered physical therapy as a way to increase your sports performance. And why would you? In general, we see physical therapists treating the injured on the field… not the healthy, right? Well, no not really. Behind every great athlete is an equally great physical therapist. You see, physical therapy is primarily invested in the fluidity and precision of movement – the eradication of pain is a by-product of a correction within these sectors. So, when it comes to sport performance, physical therapy offers a wealth of invaluable advice, information, and tools to streamline movement and behaviour. The result? A superior gait, precise breaststroke, and enviable run down a Black Diamond slope. The bottom line? Your performance is likely to be stagnant without proper form and technique. And how do you get that? Physical therapy!

But before we get into that in more detail, sports performance is about a little bit more than that, actually. As important as it is to be precise and correct in your movement and posture, it’s also incredibly important to recover correctly. Yes, that’s right! A good warm-up and warm-down routine can make all the difference in the way you play or train – in fact, quite apart from improving your performance, if you do warm up and down well, you are much more likely to avoid injuries that could set you back for weeks or months… maybe even longer. It is so incredibly important that you remember this: you need to have proper warm up and warm down routines.


Luckily, physical therapy can help on both counts and more! Not only is it the safest and most effective way of increasing your sports performance, it is also the best way to stave off potential injuries that could set you back and lump you with unwanted downtime. Here’s how:

Exercise in a Controlled Environment

Interestingly, a big benefit of visiting a physical therapist is that you’ll be able to train and improve in a controlled environment. What this means is that your performance will increase in a precise way, that is, by ruling out differing factors in weather, environment, or time. Each session will give you the opportunity to precisely monitor your improvement, since there will be no external factors influencing it.

Ongoing Improved Awareness of Form and Correct Movement

Physical therapy looks at the movement of your body in such a way as to correct imbalances and posture abnormalities. As you work on one improvement with your physical therapist, he/she is already aware of the next step, next improvement, and next milestone. Each session sets the bar higher, and so each movement and each activity performed will become more streamlined and seamless.

Increased Awareness of Higher Level Functioning

The great thing about learning precise movement in physical therapy is that the skills translate into other areas of your life. Motor skills will improve and your cognitive ability will increase – your awareness of your body will become part-and-parcel of your competence in other tasks and hobbies. The results are truly amazing.

Tools to Constantly Improve Performance

Physical therapy offers you a lot in terms of giving you the tools to continue performing at your best at all times. Not only do you learn the correct techniques during your sessions, but you are given all of the support, advice, and routines so that you can implement them on your own out on the track, the court, or in the pool. This is incredibly important, as your own implementation allows your awareness to grow and, as a consequence, your performance to increase exponentially.

Body mechanics lie at the heart of what physical therapy can offer you in terms of sports performance. Yet, that isn’t all. If you are currently dealing with an injury that’s setting you back in your training, then physical therapy can help you, too. By treating the root cause of the problem, correcting the pattern so as to maintain pain-free training, and by giving you the tools to ensure the pain doesn’t return, physical therapy actually sets you up for long term success.

And the best part? All of the benefits of physical therapy means that you are actually in a much better position to avoid getting injured in the first place. Proper form, precise movements, and body-awareness all give rise to training that sets you apart from the rest. Unlike practically any other routine, physical therapy offers you the effectiveness of science mixed with the wisdom of repetition. In fact, for an athlete, physical therapy is the single best way of increasing one’s performance and success. Period.

If you’re interested in learning how to increase your sports performance, if you’re tired of waiting for your periods of ‘down time’ to end, or if you’re currently in pain and feel that your routine is suffering, we invite you to contact us, today. Our mission is to help you be the best you can be and for you to maintain a pain free life, excellent routine, and excitement with regards to your sport for a very long time to come. Be the best you can be and reach out to one of our professional, hands-on physical therapists, right now. We look forward to hearing from you!

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The Importance of Core Strength

What do you think about when I say the following: “Core Strength”? It’s natural to think of your core as just your abdominal muscles – surfer ‘6 packs’ and ‘washboard abs’. It’s natural to want that, too! But, what if I told you that core strength is something entirely different? What if it isn’t about having the perfect beach body or wearing a bikini like a model? What if core strength is about being strong… not so that you can pick up boulders, but so that you can stay mobile for longer? That’s exactly what this post is all about: we’re giving you the low down on what core strength is, why it’s important, and how you can achieve it. Stay tuned – here we go!

The truth is, core strength involves more than just your abdominals. In actual fact, it’s the ability of all the muscles in your mid-body to remain supple, strong, and flexible under stress and pressure. Yes, your abdominal muscles are involved, here, but so are your pelvic floor muscles, oblique muscles, and pectorals. Overall, your trunk houses a multitude of muscles, each of which plays a major role in feeding into ‘core strength’.

The medical profession mentions core strength fairly often, and if you’ve been struggling with back problems, in particular, my hope is that you’ve at least heard of it by now! Core strength – the strength and endurance of your trunk muscles – plays a vital part in upper back, lower back, and even leg and shoulder health. Without core strength, these major nerve centers lose structure, stability, and ultimately, mobility. More on that later, though.

When it comes to core strength, the important thing to know is that you ought to keep it up – even if you feel in good health and aren’t currently experiencing pain, it’s in your best interest to maintain that pain-free lifestyle by strengthening this group of muscles. It may actually surprise you quite how much having core strength benefits you. Just take a look at some of the activities core strength can either hinder or improve: sitting, standing, sleeping, working out, running, walking, playing golf, cycling, swimming, picking up your grandkids, driving a car… the list is practically endless! The bottom line? Core strength matters!

The other side of the coin in, of course, that a lack of core strength can result in injury and chronic pain. If you’ve read some of our other blogs, you’ll know by now that muscle function is interconnected – they aren’t independent of one another. Each muscle has an affect on the next – if one fails, the other will overcompensate and, in turn, will fail itself. A dramatic, sometimes life-changing knock-on effect can ensue. It’s no different when it comes to core muscles. If you fail to strengthen them, they’ll affect the other muscles in your body. In this instance, you’re likely to suffer from a variety of issues including, though by no means limited to, headaches, spasms, back pain, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, sciatica, and even foot and knee pain! It’s a bit of an eye-opener, isn’t it?

Luckily, core strength is attainable – and no, I don’t mean you need to eat raw eggs and spend a daily six hours in the gym! Simple, consistent routines and exercises can go a long way in helping you gain – and maintain – your core strength… and thereby, health. Here are a couple of examples you can try right after reading this post!

Planks

  1. Lie belly down on a yoga mat or floor.
  2. Place your hands by your side – at shoulder level – and lift your torso up.
  3. Make sure your legs remain straight.
  4. Lift your body off of the ground until your arms are just slightly bent.
  5. Remain in this position for 30 seconds at a time.
  6. Do not let your pelvis drop to the floor – try to remain as ‘straight as a plank’ from your shoulders through to your heels.

Side Planks

  1. As with the plank routine, lie down on your belly.
  2. Turn over onto your side, making sure your heels remain together.
  3. Lift one arm straight up, in line with your shoulder.
  4. Push yourself away from the floor with your other arm.
  5. Make sure your supporting arm remains slightly bent.
  6. Create an unbroken line from outstretched fingertip to supporting hand. 
  7. Lengthen your entire body and make sure it’s straight across – from your shoulders to your heels.
  8. Do not let your hip drop down to the mat.
  9. Hold this pose for 30 seconds at a time.

Bridge Pose

  1. Lie down on a mat, with your back touching the floor.
  2. Make sure your legs are stretched out and your arms are at your side, palms facing down.
  3. Place your feet squarely on the ground, now, and bend your knees.
  4. Without lifting your shoulders or elbows from the floor, slowly lift up your pelvis until you form a straight line from your shoulder to your knees.
  5. Your knees should be bent at around 90 degrees.
  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds at a time.
  7. Do not lift your hands from the floor, and make sure your arms do not leave the ground at any point. 

Yoga/Pilates

A good way of strengthening your core strength is by doing regular Yoga and/or Pilates. The routines in each form of exercise lend themselves well to overall strength as they vary in focus, yet they are particularly effective when it comes to core strength. Why not try a local class for some inspiration and motivation?

Those suggestions aren’t that hard, are they? None of that body-builder stuff is needed! Fitness is essential in maintaining health, and keeping up your core strength is a massive part of that. If you’re stuck, though, and you’re not quite sure where to start with building up your core muscles, why not contact one of our professional, hands on physical therapists? Not only will physical therapy help you build up your core strength, but it will give you the tools to maintain that strength on your own! How? Well, you’ll get tailor made exercise and stretches! Whether you’re currently suffering from back pain or any other ailment and just want to regain a pain-free, healthy lifestyle, or even if you just want to get started on building up your core strength in order to avoid injury in the future, physical therapy can help. 

Now is a great time to start building your core strength – no matter how old you are, what injury you may be suffering from, or how fit/unfit you think you are… core strength is for everyone! Contact us today for more tips, support, and advice!

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