After running the Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday you may still be getting muscle soreness or other aches and pains. Simple muscle soreness will get better over the next few days and massage can help speed this up. If you have a more persistent or painful niggle then you probably want to know whats wrong and what to do about it.
We understand how annoying aches and pains can affect your running and can even stop you doing what you love. You don’t have to put up with it.
We’ll give you 50% off your next physio or massage session here at Sundial for all Brighton Half Marathon runners.
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We have treated thousands of runners over many years and have been the clinic partner for the Brighton Half Marathon for the last four years. Our patients say: A sequence of physiotherapy and home exercises continued over the next few weeks and gradually the condition improved until it completely cleared.
He tried various techniques with me to find exactly what worked for me. We tried different physio exercises to build up the strength in my knees and the pain has reduced massively. I am really grateful for his help, and the lovely team at Sundial who are always welcoming and kind.
50% off your next physio or massage session – Book now
“As a physiotherapist this is a question I get asked a lot and having just completed the Brighton Half Marathon you may be asking the yourself the same question.” says Sundial physio James Masterson. He goes on to say “So in order to help you with your post run recovery here’s a few useful tips to ease you back to fitness and potentially your next race.”
Physiotherapists love an acronym and what used to be known as RICE or PRICE is now often referred to in the industry as POLICE. With each letter relating to a useful management strategy this acronym can be a helpful tool in guiding anyone suffering from an acute injury.
Depending on the severity of your injury you may want to use a brace, tapping or in more extreme circumstances casts and crutches, this will help to prevent excessive movement and protect the site of injury.
The key part to remember here is OPTIMAL, the right amount of loading will help stimulate the healing process of a muscle, tendon, ligament and bone. This could be any type of activity such as standing, walking or swimming, however in more serious injuries such as fractures or full tendon ruptures the OPTIMAL load might be no loading and may require casting, crutches or surgical intervention
Applying ice during the initial stages of an acute injury can be beneficial for reducing both pain and swelling. Although medical professionals have been recommending ice for several years the evidence is far from conclusive. I usually advise my patients to wrap an ice pack in a flannel or thin towel and apply directly on the site of pain for 15 minutes 3 to 4 times daily within the first 72 hours of injury.
Similar to ice compression can be used for managing swelling, applying a simple tubigrip or neoprene strap can help to compress the injury site. The applied compression should be tight but comfortable with good circulation above and below the strapping, I often ask patients to remove the compression for short periods throughout the day and take the strapping of at night to allow the skin time to breath.
Can also be very useful in reducing swelling. For example, if you’ve acutely sprained your ankle lying on your back with your leg raised and supported can reduce the amount of blood rushing to the effected area. With this specific injury you may wish to do a few ankle pumps to improve the blood flow and help with the healing process.
At this point it is probably worth mentioning that I recommend anyone to seek medical advice if you are unsure about an injury. Although the POLICE protocol is a useful tool for managing an acute injury it is not a one size fits all strategy!! If you are having difficulty weight bearing or have symptoms such as bony tenderness, considerable swelling, loss of range of movement or the feeling of instability in a joint then I recommend seeing a medical professional ASAP.
Sundial Clinics offers a free 20 minute physiotherapy assessment to anyone who would like advice about an injury, this session is a great way to get some useful tips on how best to manage your injury and to see if physiotherapy is right for you. Why not call the clinic today to arrange a free informal consultation and stop that niggle turning into a pain!
Stretching may help reduce injury and improve flexibility in runners. Most runners include stretches in their routine. It is important to prepare your muscles for a run by gently warming up and keep flexible by doing these stretches. These exercises put together by our physio can help stretch the main running muscles.
These stretches should be held for over 30 seconds – don’t rush. Aim to do these exercises once a day although doing them twice a day is three times as beneficial. Stay relaxed and breathe out as you develop the stretch. Develop the stretches gently to avoid overstretching and injuring yourself.
The 3 stretches we recommend for running are: hamstring, hip flexor and calf and here is how to do these.
You can download the stretches for running for free here VBHM stretches
Dynamic hamstring stretch
Sets three each side
Hold 30 to 60 seconds
straighten one leg, grabbed the back of your thigh and target your leg towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch.
Bend your leg at the knee slightly coming off the stretch
repeat by pushing your heel towards the ceiling
alternate your legs
Note: avoid kicking violently or arching your lower back
If it’s shaking your doing it well!
Hip flexor stretch
Sets three each side
Hold 30 to 60 seconds
hands on hips, tuck your tailbone under to flat on your back
lean forwards while maintaining a straight posture and keeping your head up
avoid arching your low back or letting your hips roll forwards
Note: do it next to a wall if you feel out of balance
Sets three each side
Hold 30 to 60 seconds
have front toes and knee touching the wall
move your foot back a little until you can just about keep your knee against the wall and heel on the floor
Move the back foot away from the wall to feel a stretch
keep back heel on the ground and knee straight as possible
In partnership with the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon
Running injuries often start with a niggle. Knee pain, muscle strain, tendon pulls, bursitis, ligament sprains and all sorts of other aches and pains are a constant reminder that marathon training and actually running it can be a hazardous business. Many people who enter for the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon will not complete it because of injury. We aim make sure you are not one of them.
For the next few weeks we are offering a free Runners MOT especially aimed at runners in the Vitality Brighton Marathon. We want you to be fit, strong and ready to run in support of the Sussex Beacon.
Our physios will check you out top to bottom concentrating on your footwear and leg and foot movements. We will check all the usual things like over-pronation but also things that often over-looked like jamming of the hinge joint of the ankle which changes stride length. We will look at knees, hips and backs too. At the end of our Runners MOT you will have an in depth risk profile of the likelihood of future running injuries and a plan for prevention. If you are having problems currently then we will give you a plan for the best recovery.
So don’t let a niggle turn into a pain, call to make an appointment.
Although running shoe design and technology has progressed leaps and bounds over recent years, there are certain foot types that will require more support, explains James Masterson, physio here at Sundial, Brighton. However not everyone will benefit from orthotics and it’s important to gain professional advice before deciding on whether an orthotic is right for you. A full biomechanical assessment from a physiotherapist or chiropractor can help determine whether the underlying root of the problem stems from your feet and whether or not an orthotic is appropriate for your foot type.
Orthotics can help running and are designed to optimize the alignment of the lower limb, which can improve shock absorption in the lower extremity and realign joints from the foot all the way through the kinetic chain to the spine, preventing problems foot, knee or hip. The main role of an orthotic is to restore a neutral alignment which will in turn reduce the stress carried throughout the body during weight bearing activities. This is particularly important during running as (hopefully!) the feet are the only part of your body in constant contact with the ground.
An orthotic can either be an off the peg prefabricated orthotic, with a selection made to fit most general foot types, or a custom made orthotic, normally constructed by a podiatrist which is made specifically for the individual. The off the peg orthotics work well for most people and are considerably cheaper. We sell Superfeet orthotics at Sundial.
Another important factor worth considering with orthotics is that most people change their shoes several times throughout the day. Although your running shoe will provide you with support whilst you’re wearing them, it’s likely that you will spend more time out of these shoes than in them. This can potentially lead to overuse injuries during regular every day activities, especially if your profession requires you to spend large amounts of time on your feet. This is another way in which an orthotic can be useful as it can often be taken from one shoe and placed in another. However orthotics aren’t your only option and if possible should only be used as a short term solution, please see my future posts on physiotherapy exercises to improve overpronation.
The three basic foot types:
Firstly, it should be noted that pronation is a natural movement of the foot’s mechanics. It occurs at the joint below the ankle called the subtalar joint and this movement allows the foot to roll in slightly during the stance phase of gait and helps the lower limb deal with shock. Although this process is not necessarily detrimental to your body it can affect your running style and possibly lead to injury.
This means that you’re a neutral pronator, meaning your foot rolls in slightly and you push off evenly through the front of the foot. Sometimes you can tell if someone is a neutral runner by looking at the sole of their shoe, running from the heel to the big toe along the outer surface there will often be signs of S-shaped wear and tear.
Underpronation, or supination as it is often referred to, is when the outer surface of your foot hits the ground at an increased angle causing minimal or no natural pronation. Again this leads to access shock throughout the lower limb and can be potentially damaging to your body when running.
There is significantly more inward rolling of the foot meaning more weight is transferred to the inner surface of the foot late in the stance phase. This causes instability and leads to compensatory movement patterns throughout the kinetic chain, potentially leading to injury throughout the lower limb and within the spine.
If like me you’re considering starting your preparation for the up and coming marathon season then take a look at my top tips for staying injury free and completing the 26.2 miles with a smile on your face says James Masterson, a physiotherapist here at Sundial, Brighton.
Which running shoe shall I buy?
Inappropriate footwear is the root of all evil when it comes to running. Before embarking on the long and tedious road to the finish line every runner should start with their feet. Visiting your local running shop for a gait analysis is a good place to begin. As well as being advised on the most appropriate running shoe for your foot type it’s also an opportunity to view yourself in action. Video analysis taken during these consultations will allow you to look at your lower limb alignment whilst you’re walking and running, giving you a good idea of movement patterns which could potentially lead to overuse injury.
Top 5 running injuries caused by over use and inappropriate footwear:
When it comes to purchasing your shoe it’s likely that you will come across the below terms. Remember it’s not all about what foot type you are! Take the time to get a feel for the shoe, being able to stand, jump, walk and run before handing over your cash is a great way to find out if the shoe works for you and reduce the risk of injury later in your training.
Useful tips for purchasing your running shoe:
Try having a foot analysis in the late afternoon/evening as your feet swell as the day goes on and may give you a false feel when purchasing your running shoes in the morning.
Pick a shoe that matches the contour of your arch, you won’t be able to feel this by just standing in them so always make sure you take them for a spin before handing over your cash.
Try and have your feet measured before trying on your shoe, this will give the running shoe assistant an idea of the size and width of your foot. Different brands suit different foot types and not all shoes will equal in size, for example, Nike shoes tend to be good for wider feet and Adidas tend to be better for a narrow foot type.
Don’t buy your shoes too small, the fabric will loosen as time goes on but generally if a shoe has hot spots that aggravate your feet whilst trying them out in the shop then it’s likely this will occur during your training. Remember! Tight shoes equal blisters and potential toenail damage, this will limit the amount you’ll be able to train and will also look horrendous in a pair of flip flops.
Lace your shoe up from the bottom up, not just at the top two eyelets! This allows you to support the shoe around your foot equally and avoids excess movement. Your heel should fit snug within the shoe and your toes need to have some wriggle room at the front. A good test for this is to see if you can still scrunch up your toes whilst the shoe is fully laced up.
Change your shoes according to your individual usage, most manufactures will recommend that you change your shoe roughly every 300 – 500 miles but this is dependent on so many factors, for example a person’s weight, gait mechanics and running terrain will all play a massive factor in your choice to change your shoes. Let’s be honest running shoes are expensive, so my advice is look for signs of wear and tear and as soon as the natural cushioning of the shoe starts to depreciate this is probably a good time to start looking for your new runners.
If back or hip pain is hindering your running performance and fitness goals then here are some facts to help put a spring back in your step writes Brighton chiropractor Amy Pease. Staying fit helps to prevent aches and pains, however various factors come in to play when pounding the pavements that could put you more at risk of injury. Pain in the low back or hips can arise from inflamed muscles, ligaments, nerves, discs or spinal joints. Injuries can range from mild muscle strains to more serious conditions such as a disc herniation; a chiropractor will be able to tell you the cause of any discomfort with an examination.
Injuries occur because of underlying dysfunction
When you run, 2-3 times your own body weight is transferred from your feet into your ankles, knees, hips, pelvis and spine every time your feet strike the ground. This process should not be painful when repeated regularly providing you have a good running posture and healthy function in your joints and muscles. However underlying muscle imbalances and stiff or unstable joints could eventually cause problems; this may not be noticeable until you increase your mileage or training frequency. For more information on two common muscle imbalances below.
3 Top Running Tips…
Build up your mileage slowly – this gives your muscles, ligaments and joints time to adapt and build endurance to the increased workload, reducing your chances of injury.
Strengthen your hips and core – weakness in these areas are often associated with a poor running posture and back pain. Strengthening these areas will help to stabilise your back and pelvis protecting your spine. The chiropractors and physiotherapists at our clinic can give personal advice on what exercises you should be doing. Alternatively Pilates or yoga may be useful.
Get your shoes fitted by a professional – unstable arches or over-pronation when running often need rebalancing with a suitable trainer and/or a foot orthotic (a specialised insole). Trained staff at a running store should be able to advise you on choosing the right shoe. Additionally at Sundial we fit Superfeet orthotics.
If you think the topics raised in this article may apply to you, give us a call to make an appointment.
When you think about it, running is simply an uninterrupted series of jumps from one leg to the other. The hip abductors are an important group of muscles that stabilise the pelvis when standing on one leg. So when one or more of the hip abductors are weak (usually the Gluteus Medius) the pelvis will drop on one side. This drop places increased forces through your low back and pelvis often causing stiffness or discomfort. A recent study on 300 people found that people with low back pain had significantly weaker hip abductor muscles than those without. It is also common for the hip abductors to weaken after an ankle sprain on that side.
Weak abdominal muscles allow the pelvis to tilt forward; this overloads the joints in your low back often causing stiffness or discomfort. To compensate for this weakness your hip flexors will work harder. Interestingly the main hip flexor (Iliopsoas) connects to your spine and pelvis, and can be the root cause of low back pain when aggravated. Your deep abdominals (obliques and transverse abdominus) along with your back muscles work together like a brace to protect your spine when performing bending or twisting movements, learning how to control these muscles is essential to a healthy back.
The Brighton Marathon is the highlight of our sporting calendar. We have supported Brighton runners and their charities for many years but we have noticed that many people are not getting the support and advice they need to complete the marathon injury free. One in five people who enter the marathon will not complete it because of injury. We aim to make sure you are not one of them!
Before you begin marathon training, you should be able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. Distance is not important right now. You just need to get your body used to running.
Combinations of runs/walks are great to use during pre-training because they ease your body into the exercise and minimize the chance of experiencing a running injury. Follow a set schedule or rota of training leading up to the event, so that you can set yourself small goals to work towards on a weekly basis.
Take recovery days equally as serious as your running days.
You should not run every day as your body needs to rest between runs, so it can recover from one run to the next, getting stronger between each run.
Use your non-running days to rehabilitate and to refuel with the right foods. Ice any soreness, particularly in your knees or shins, four times per day for 15-20 minutes. Stretch all the muscle groups in your legs, spine and upper body as you use them all!
Never run through an injury, get it checked out by a professional! Most of us are aware to use the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) principle if we sustain an acute injury such as an ankle sprain or shin splints but there are other, less acute pains to be aware of, that may turn from a niggle into a strain.
Wear the correct footwear. Your trainers should be no more than 6 months old or have been subjected to 500 miles of running. Older shoes lose shock absorbing ability and increase the risk of injury. Check the soles of your trainers for abnormal wear as this could indicate a biomechanical problem elsewhere. When choosing new running shoes go to a running shop staffed by experienced runners who can advise you on the correct shoes for your foot and running style.
The 7 R’s for marathon training
Run for 30 minutes before starting specific training
Rota – set up a schedule of training with goals
Rest is important because your body builds muscle, strength and stamina in this recovery phase
Refuel – improve your diet with our video program to get the right building blocks for recovery
Rehabilitate – stretch all over and ice any injury
Replace worn out running shoes
RunnersMOT – this free check up is available to all Brighton Marathon runners – don’t let a niggle turn into a pain
Our physios and chiropractors support Brighton marathon runners with the offer of our Runners MOT at either of our Brighton clinics. So if you have an injury or just a niggle, call and get it checked out!
If you want the best advice about how to avoid injury when you are training then ask an expert. In this guest post, Lucy Howlett of LIFT Personal Training, Brighton, gives some great tips to stay fit and active without pain.
Warm Up Safely
Warming up is vital to keeping the body flexible and adaptable for what we require it to do. Before you run, jump (or fly!) ensure that you spend 5-10 minutes warming up and mobilizing all the joints. You can do this with things like leg swings (forwards and sideways), arms swings, twisting the torso from left to right, shoulder rolls and gently turning the head from left to right to look over each shoulder.
Posture & Technique
Do you know why lifting technique is taught in most workplaces? E.g. bend the legs, back straight and chest up … because technique matters and can be the difference between healthy exercise and injuring your back. So the same applies to when you’re purposefully training, whether with weights or bodyweight exercises. Training with good technique transfers into everyday life, such as having better posture, holding less tension in the body and moving with greater ease.
The importance of having a good level of core strength can sometimes only hit home when you’ve hurt your back or sustained another type injury caused by a lack of core strength. The layers of core musculature are like a corset that protects your internal organs and keeps the rest of your body stable and supported. Learning to recruit these muscles effectively can help you to look slimmer, support your overall posture and reduce back pain. Ask me for more advice on how to improve your core strength and stability.
Leave Your Ego Behind
I know someone who did his back in while training recently and admitted that his ego was the cause of it. Appreciate where you are, know that we all start somewhere and progress is still PROGRESS. With good foundations you can build a skyscraper but not before. The body (and life) is much the same; one must progress in stages. Too early and the supporting structure may fail us.
After exercise, you will need to stretch out to allow the muscles to return to their normal length. If you don’t, you could possibly land yourself an injury. Without flexibility, your muscles could pull or tear during fast paced, or explosive movements. Yoga is fantastic for realigning the body, correcting imbalances and built up tension, as well as reducing stress.
Shin splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) is easy to treat if the problem is caught early. If symptoms of pain along the inner border of the shin bone (tibia) goes on for too long then significant damage can occur to the muscle and bone bone coverings and the condition becomes chronic. Brighton physio, here at Sundial, James Masterson explains.
What can I do to help myself?
Rest and ice – Ice can be an extremely effective pain relief for shin splints as it acts as a local anesthetic by numbing sore muscle tissue. It also helps to slow down the inflammation and swelling process which occurs with injury.
Take down inflammation – Anti inflammatory medication may help to reduce any swelling and speed up your recovery time. Please consult your doctor before taking any medication.
Wear appropriate footwear!! – It may be beneficial to visit a specialist running shop where you can be advised about what might suit your needs. On average running shoes should be replaced when worn for between 300 and 600 miles, depending on factors such as body weight, running style and training surface. In some cases orthotics (inner soles) may be used to help abnormal loading throughout your lower limb and correct issues such as over-pronation and supination. More information on orthotics here.
What can the physio’s at Sundial do to help?
The first stages of rehabilitation may include advice to rest from aggravating activity for a while. We can give you ice packs to use of the first 2 day after the pain starts or is aggravated by the offending activity. We will help you switch to low impact exercise such as swimming and cycling and advise on how best to incorporate changes to maintain strength and fitness. Only in extreme cases is protected weight bearing necessary.
An important part of the recovery process is assessment of foot alignment and walking/running analysis to highlight any potential problems. Advice on appropriate footwear and the
In more severe cases our physio care involves laser therapy which improves healing, reduces pain and takes down inflammation. Soft tissue techniques such as massage may also help to ease tight muscles associated with shin splints or MTSS. application of inner soles may also be of benefit. We are experts in this sort of advice and work with local running shops to get the best footwear for you.
We will also advise on a home exercise plan consisting of stretching, balance and strength exercises to help too. This is an important part of your recovery along with a graded return to activity with symptom free progression.