With (hopefully!) sunnier and longer days upon us, summer is a great time of year to get your running shoes on. As a keen runner myself, I understand the appeal; it’s pure, it’s meditative, and it gets your blood pumping like little else.
Unfortunately, for all its positives, running can be problematic for the body and it tends to bring out minor issues and turn them into major ones. These often include achilles tendonitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, ITB syndrome, stress fractures, hip and lower back issues, and more knee problems than I have time to list.
Many of the problems from running come from two areas. Firstly, heel strike which is where the heel hits the ground repeatedly and sends a shock through the whole skeleton which causes issues from the heel itself all the way up to the lower back. Secondly, gait – which is the way a person walks; the whole lower limb (especially the knee) is quite finely tuned to work in certain ways, and anything that affects that can begin to cause problems. A dropped arch, tight muscle, old injury, slight one-sidedness etc can bring these issues on.
What can be done to prevent these issues?
Like always, the number one rule is to get any symptoms you are experiencing looked at as soon as possible. Early diagnosis, advice and treatment is vital.
One thing that can really help heel strike and gait is by getting the right trainers. Here’s a few things to consider:
- Don’t confuse fashion and effectiveness. Good running trainers generally don’t look cool! Some of the bigger brands will advertise to you that they are great for sports but do your research. I would usually recommend Asics or Brooks.
- Replace your shoes regularly. The soles of most trainers are good for about 200-250 miles maximum. So, if you’re running 20 miles per week, you’ll probably need to replace them after 4-6 months.
The shoe may still look okay after that but there is an increased risk of injury. It is, therefore, important to ensure that you are replacing your trainers as regularly as required.
- You don’t need to buy the most recent model. Many of the best running trainers are on their 20th/30th or so iteration. When a new model is released the price of the last couple of iterations will drop quite significantly, and will still be an excellent option.
- Good arch support. Trainers largely work on preventing pronation etc. by the way they flex. Many have little if any arch support, even with good ones you may need an additional orthotic insole made for your specific needs. This may also mean you need half a size bigger.
- Speak to the experts. A running machine in a shoe shop is useful, but remember the shop assistant has probably only had a brief introduction in what to look for, and no idea of your other contributing factors. Speak to a specialist – an osteopath, podiatrist, or physio.
OSTEOPATH AT FLEET STREET CLINIC
Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC).
Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries by calling +44 20 7353 5678, email email@example.com or book an appointment online.
Exercise More – Get Outdoors
Today is National Fitness Day. September is a great time to redress the balance after summer holidays and make a new exercise plan. Time to get out and get moving!
Regular exercise has many benefits – a healthier heart, increased well-being, and a better quality of life. Research shows that if you exercise with friends, you are more likely to continue to keep fit, as the social environment encourages positive associations with the activity.
Exercising outdoors can contribute to this feeling of wellbeing. Organised outdoor exercise groups have grown in popularity recently, with a wide range of community-based activities across the country. A few of the more popular outdoor exercise activities are detailed here:
Park Run – Over 1 million Britons have taken part in Park Run – the Saturday morning 5k run in local parks across the country.
Project Awesome – A free community exercise group based in London, Bristol and Edinburgh, Project Awesome is based on high-energy, early morning exercise classes designed to kick-start your day.
Good Gym – For those who’d like to combine voluntary work with exercise, Good Gym enables you to meet like-minded people to run and work together on community projects in your local area.
British Military Fitness – Operating in parks across the UK, British military fitness classes are run by serving or former members of the armed forces with recognised fitness training qualifications. Classes are graded by ability group and are for members of the public. They are designed for all abilities, from those just starting to exercise who want to lose weight, to the already very fit.
Open Air Swimming – If you’re a keen swimmer, have you ever tried swimming outdoors? There are many reported benefits to open-air swimming, which can be enjoyed all year round even in the UK, with or without wetsuits. Check Wild Swim for your nearest open-air swimming site.
Getting Fit with Fleet Street Clinic
Our podiatrists can offer advice on appropriate footwear for exercise and our dietician and osteopath can work with you to support your exercise regime, ensuring a holistic approach to achieving a long-term, healthier you.
FINISHING THE LONDON MARATHON
The 2018 London Marathon is just around the corner! Are you preparing for the run this year? If so, you’ll be very aware of the struggle ahead. A challenge like a marathon is incredibly rewarding but also tough on the body. Increasing your exercise capacity to this level pushes the limits of endurance both physically and mentally.
But even though this can feel torturous at times, you should not ignore recurrent pain or discomfort that persists after adequate rest. A common mistake is to push through and wait until pain prevents training before seeking care. By then, prolonged time off is often necessary to heal. It is estimated that 50 to 70 percent of first-time marathon runners drop out before their race.
If you do pick up an injury:
- First and foremost, stop and get it assessed.
- Maintain your strength and endurance as much as possible while recovering from your injury. If it prevents you from running, low-impact cardio exercise such as swimming, cycling or pool running can continue to improve exercise tolerance.
- Don’t be over-anxious to return to running, a good indicator of readiness is once you can walk for 30 minutes without pain during or after, you can begin a slow, careful return to pain-free running.
- Do not push through the pain.
As you increase your training and running, consider a biomechanical assessment. Slight problems in gait caused by many issues from footwear to posture to old injuries can cause new injuries (knees are particularly susceptible), or cause you to have to slow your pace or walk during the race.
Listen and respond to your body throughout training and recovery, and that finish line is waiting for you!
As you can imagine, a marathon takes its toll on the body in many ways. A post race assessment is well worth it, to identify any issues caused, not to mention a treatment to work out some of that lactic acid and to restore full function to the joints and muscles.
Our osteopath Andrew Doody and podiatrist George Hill can help with any marathon-related complaints. For more training tips and advice, or marathon injury treatment you can book an appointment online.
Massages are known to reduce stress and help you relax but they are often overlooked as part of an extensive exercise recovery plan. Not only are they important throughout marathon training programmes but are an essential part of recovery.
Recovering from a marathon is a critical component to a perfect training plan that runners often neglect. Post marathon massages are known to prevent injury, help repair injured muscle tissue and decrease recovery time to help you get back to your training regime quicker. Unfortunately, if you don’t properly recover from a marathon, it will be harder to break your PR and stay healthy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional runner or if it’s your first marathon, the impact of running such a distance has undoubtedly put your body under enormous stress and physical duress.
The most obvious physical impacts are muscle soreness and fatigue which cause damage. It will take your muscles approximately 2 weeks post marathon to return to full strength.
It is essential for marathon runners to have considered a 2-3 week marathon recovery protocol that focuses on rest and rejuvenation and we’d recommend 2 sports massages within that time frame to assist recovery.
It is never recommended to have a massage on the day of a marathon or the day after as your body firstly needs to rest and heal the muscular damage and correct any inflammation.
Day 1 – 3 Post Marathon
A light massage or using a roller massage stick to help loosen and stretch your muscles from any delayed muscle soreness. A deep tissue massage isn’t recommended just yet.
Day 4 – 7 Post Marathon
You should consider booking in a deep tissue sports massage. Point out any areas that are really bothering you and use massage to help prevent injuries. Your osteopath can also help identify any injuries you may have and the best action to recovery.
- Effects and benefits of sports massage
- Pumps blood and fluids around the body.
- Helps stretch muscles and improve elasticity.
- Helps get rid of lactic acid build up.
- Breaks down scar tissue.
- Reduces pain.
- Relaxes muscles, body and mind.
- Can help reduce anxiety.
Combining recovery massages with a good diet and plenty of water will help you recover much more quickly.
If you would like to incorporate recovery massages into your marathon training or book in for a post-marathon massage, you can book an osteopathy appointment online. Learn more about our osteopathy services here.