Saturday, October 9, 2010

5 Reasons why as a runner you should visit your Physiotherapist?

I had an unplanned visit to my physio last week as I had been suffering from a bit of ITB pain. I was sure that it was just down to a fairly significant increase in my running training (by about 100%, rather than the recommended 10%a week!).

It was a recommended experience for a number of reasons-

Get your form assessed – Although like many runners I’m always trying to improve my form and hoping to run past a shop window to see my reflection from the side, you can’t beat the view of a specialist third party.  What was interesting for me, and it showed the knowledge of the therapist, was that I had a very minor medial rotation of my left femur as I run. He said that if I was running the odd 10k, or even a marathon it wouldn’t cause concern, but know that you’re going to be on your feet for 12, 24 or more hours at a time, this slight misalignment will likely cause problems. 

Get a proper massage – No matter how much time you spend on a foam roller, or performing self massage, it is unlikely to be as good as a deep tissue massage from a professional. I had a full 30 minutes of treatment on my hip, and quad on just one leg and the benefit has been immeasurable. 

Learn new specific exercises for treatment – In all the running books I’ve read there numerous exercises recommended to ensure good running form and to prevent common injuries such as Runner's Knee or ITBS, and these are all good. From your therapist’s assessment you will be given specific remedial exercises to correct whatever the imbalance you have. Granted the general exercises won’t do any harm, but it is all about all the muscle groups working in harmony and balance. Not only that, but doing the exercises with your therapist you again get that third party viewpoint to ensure you have proper form with the exercises so you are getting maximum benefit.

You get back on the trails sooner - and with more confidence that you’re not doing any further damage. It can be a great motivator to know what you do when you run is taking you towards your goals, not away from them as we often do because we don’t go to the therapist. 

You get to talk about running - specifically about yourself (everyone’s favourite topic) with someone who has an interest in what you do. That’s worth going for by itself!

So my suggestion to all of you is that you should go to your nearest running savvy physiotherapist and get yourself checked over. If you’re lucky enough to have perfect form you can then use the rest of the session for a bit of a rub down, and who doesn’t like that!

Happy Running!


“Human beings, who have the almost unique ability to learn from the mistakes of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams

Training 7-10-2010 (23.5km Trail)
Training 9-10-2010 (21.3km Road run)

power systems foam rollers


  1. What an inspiring post you have!
    Thanks for sharing this, I learned something from this. More power!

  2. cheers andy! thanks for the kind words.

    well done on your training run, i certainly wouldnt recommend running at 170bpm constantly for over 3hrs! your way is far more sensible. in fact, i am always astonished at how low you manage to keep your heart rate. mine appears to be lowering all the time but never to your levels. obviously when i race that all goes out the window! has inspired me to join a running club to work on speed and interval training so i can manage a high heart rate. something ive never done before and it should help with all aspects of running.

    not long before your big race. i'll be looking forward to hearing all about it!

  3. Hi Ian
    Don't know why my HR is lower, guess my heart is just lazy, and some would doubt that I even have one. There's a guy running across the USA right now and his average HR is sub 100! I've no idea how that works, I get over that warming up.

    If you've joined Northside Running Group say hi to a good mate of mine, Rob Mattingly. We used to work and train together.

    I haven't quite managed to tempt him into the ultrarunning scene, but he's getting closer to joining up.