Spinal Mobility Series - with Practice Owner Tim Wright

LEARN ABOUT THE CONNECTION BETWEEN POOR POSTURE AND LUMBAR SPINE PAIN

Staying on Track: Running Technique Exposed

ARTICLE BY: TIM WRIGHT 

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years on running technique, more specifically forefoot VS rear foot running. Everyone is looking for the quick fix or the big change that will make all the difference. There is no such thing! In addressing this recently I have come across some real consistency in terms of the best way to approach running from a combination of improving speed and injury prevention. The number one thing is CONSISTENCY.

‘Junk miles’ is a term I love; it incorporates both over training and wasteful training. The amount of times as a physio, I have ‘strong discussions’ with runners about the fact that they don’t have to run every day is astonishing. Runners can miss sessions, and being injury free and fresh actually improves their running more than just pounding the pavement every day because they think they should. When you run to improve, you should run hard. Don’t just plod around Centennial Park like you do every other day. Push yourself. Use the clock to drive your K’s or a metronome to increase your stride tempo. In contrast an easy run should be easy.

Over-training is a significant problem and recovery should be exactly that, to recover.

Bio-mechanical weaknesses cause injury. Injury is essentially caused by overload to a tissue. If you have weak glutes do something to strengthen them. If you have tight hammies and calves you need to stretch regularly. If you ignore your weakness something will break down. It may be knee cap pain, shin splints, Achilles tendinopathy or any number of other things. Staying on top of these injuries will keep you running. Consistency is the only way to improve.

Foot strike is an extremely contentious issue. There are so many factors that need to be considered when looking at foot strike. Distance, training frequency, level of runner (what are you running for) all need to be considered. An over striding heavy heel strike is problematic, as is an extreme forefoot strike over long distances.

Distance, training, frequency, level of runner all need to be considered 

Alistair Brownlee is an extreme forefoot striker and yes he is the Olympic champion, but he has had a career plagued by injuries. Don’t be fooled into a quick fix. If you have an injury you need to address why. If you want to improve you need to stay consistent. This article is obviously only the tip of the iceberg but will hopefully give you a starting point as to where you need to go to improve. Video gait analysis is a simple and easy way to find out what you should be working on. See your physio if you have a niggle. And most importantly enjoy the run.

The Wright Way to Treat Shin Splints

With the upcoming City 2 Surf, a lot of individuals will be doing a lot of running and we begin to see a greater prevalence in shin pain or “Shin Splints” (pain on medial tibial border). There are a number of causes for shin pain and most can be simply treated or adjusted. These include:

  • Upper Kinetic Chain (upper leg)

A large cause of shin pain is actually to do with the biomechanics of the upper legs. It is therefore necessary that hip and knee stability, and flexibility and strength work in unison to allow controlled tracking and motion through the range of movement. If these are not present, it can place extra stress on the soleus and therefore create this “splinting” feeling along the medial border of the Tibia.

  • Calf strength/flexibility

The Soleus (one of the two muscles which make up the calf) attaches to the medial border of the Tibia. If the muscle is weak it becomes tired at a faster rate and begins to become tight – pulling on the border of the Tibia.

  • Running Surface and Distance

A common cause of shin splints is running on hard surfaces. Especially if you do not ease into it and gradually increase your distance. Depending on composition and strength the impact placed upon the lower limb is multiplied when running on cement or hard surface.

  • Footwear

It is of utmost importance that the footwear you run or train in suits your type of foot and running style. The ideal shoe will have good arch support, grip and be designed to cushion impact and minimise the stress when running.

Over time, the arch of the foot will naturally gradually collapse. For this reason, ideal footwear and possibly even orthotics are a necessity to prevent not only shin pain but other related injury in the leg.

To Lift or Not to Lift!

Tennis elbow effects about 40% of recreational tennis players, however can be experienced by anybody who repeatedly contracts their forearm muscles, which are used to straighten and raise the hand and wrist. Aggravating activities are generally those that involve repetitive, strenuous, squeezing or gripping, such as using a hammer, screwdriver or painting and is often associated with lifting weights regularly.

It is the overuse of these grasping muscles that cause micro-trauma to occur in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle (outer side of elbow). Repetitive trauma can cause local inflammation and the formation of rough scar tissue.

Symptoms include: Pain on outside of elbow (tendon attachment site); Pain during gripping and lifting activities; Difficulty fully straightening the forearm and Muscle weakness down the forearm.

Research supported treatment include:

  • Activity modification/load management, removal of aggravating activity

  • Progressive eccentric exercise program

  • racing/taping takes pressure off the common extensor origin, reducing aggravation