Over the years we have seen countless cases of people struggling to run because of pain in their body. They maybe recreational runners, keen park runners, marathon runners or in some cases ultra-marathon runners. They will often report to us when their body cannot cope anymore, and ask us to fix them. We often ask... "what are you doing besides running to help prepare your body to run?". The answer is usually "not much" or sometimes "I go to the gym every now and again". Running is what they love, and that's all they want to do. Completely understandable.
We also see a lot of triathletes. In most cases they only experience pain during the run and not during the swim or bike. This is not always the case, but most of the time it's the running that causes them problems. Again we ask... "what are you doing to help prepare your body to be able to compete in triathlons?". The answer is usually, "I exercise enough, I don't have any more time!".
So, in previous years, we would help these people by loosening what is tight, strengthening what is weak and promoting efficient movement. The problem we have found is that as soon as people start to feel better they forget everything we have advised them. They forget to do simple movements that we may have recommended to do as part of their training program. As a result, they come back in a few months later and say that they are hurting again, "can you fix me again?"
With the above in mind, we established the running clinic. This is where we get to the root of the problem. It's also where we set out a clear plan for you to follow in order to make sure your body continues to move as efficiently as it can be, long after you coming to see us. We do this by giving you access to our online video platform with personalised, whole body exercises for you to do in-between running sessions. These simple but highly effective movement patterns encourage your whole body (yes each bone) to move through movements together as they perform functional exercise. The type of exercises we prescribe are not the typical squat or lunge type exercises you may see in running magazines. They are personal to you and your current situation.
So, you might need a little treatment from us in the beginning, but ultimately our intention is to give you the tools you need in order for you to be able to run more efficiently for many years to come.
For the running clinic appointments we wanted more time with each client. This is so we can have plenty of time to fully assess the whole body as well as have time to treat the body.
Getting the basics right.
In most scenarios, the people that come to see us have had a re-occuring injury for some time. Over that time they have had varying success with treatment. Often we will hear things like "my hamstrings always get tight so I have a massage" or "my back get's stiff when I run so I get it cracked every few months" or "I wear ankle supports because my feet feel unstable when I run". All of these approaches are not addressing why the symptoms are there in the first place. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to need regular treatment in order to run?
When we assess you we take it back to basics. Can you balance on each leg equally? Can all 26 bones in your feet and ankles move freely? Can your knees bend and straighten to their end ranges? Can your hip and pelvis rotate both ways, hike and drop, forwards and backwards tilt? Can you spine move in all three dimensions?
If these things cannot happen, then something somewhere in your body will most likely be working too hard or not enough. Very often, pain will then present itself.
These are the things we look for in a session (plus more). We then work with our clients to restore movement and create full body efficiency which often results in pain disappearing and running times improving.
Remember each person is different so what happens in each session will always depend on what the client needs. An example of what to expect over a course of three to four running clinic sessions is outlined below:
This is a full medical history, assessment and process of understanding why you are hurting. We discuss your training (whether it's a one mile run per week or a 3 x 20 mile run per week), your injury history and any other details that maybe contributing to your pain. We then develop a plan to calm your symptoms down, and begin treating. More importantly, we establish what you need to do in order for this to stop happening again in the future. Addressing the symptoms may involve soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisations, electrotherapeutic modalities etc. Addressing the cause will definitely involve specific tailored movement patterns for you to do at home to learn how to move your whole body efficiently.
Re-asessment, discussion of progress and continued treatment (joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage, electrotherapeutic modalities etc).
Re-assessement of movement patterns from previous session.
Implementation of a full strengthening and dynamic stretching programme specifically designed for running. This is where the client learns to use muscles that might not being used effectively when running. Also, the client discovers movement that may not be happening or previously forgotten.
Re-assessment, discussion of progress and continued treatment (joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage, electrotherapeutic modalities etc).
Discussion of strength and stretching programme. If suitable, progression of home exercise and movement patterns.
Discussion of progress and advice for continued improvement (if problem still not resolved).
As already stated, everyone is different. The number of sessions will vary from person to person. Some have needed just one or two, some may need more. It all depends on you, your injury history, your approach to the process and your determination. There is no obligation to continue coming to see us. When you get back to running pain free then you are always welcome to pop in for some continued advice, revision of exercises etc.