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calf pain running

foot pain, Health, running

How to Run Better, The Basics

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There are a few easy things that everyone can apply to their running to decrease injury, pain and simply make running easier and faster! Today we are simply going to show you how to run better

This is perfect for those of you that have regular niggles or if you have plateaued with your running and need a way to step it up. So here is your easy guide on to how to run better and improve your run!

running cadence 1801: Cadence:

This is basically the number of steps that you take per minute and for best efficiency, this should be 90 steps per minute on each foot (180 total per minute). To achieve this, first of all, you need to measure what your current cadence is. You can do this by counting the amount of steps your right foot takes in one minute.

Try then increasing your rate (if needed) and time again in another 5 minutes. The trick is to think like you are running on an icy or slippery surface and your heels are coming up behind you. This could well feel awkward to do at first and can take weeks to get used to, but once you get used to it, running will feel much easier.

Tip: A great way to improve your running cadence and run better is to use a metronome (some examples here)

how to stop overstriding2: Don’t stride out:

When striding out the foot lands on the heel and with the leg relatively straight out. This creates a braking force up through the leg and acts to slow you down, meaning YOU have to work harder.

Run better by kicking your heels up more – don’t run with straight legs!

 

3: Think smooth, light and easy:

If you look at the best medium to long distance runners you will see they have very little upward head movement (less bobbing up and down). This means less wasted energy! So to run better, we need to lean our body weight forward more and imagine projecting yourself forward and slightly up. Practice standing 1 meter in front of a wall and leaning forward through bending at your ankles until you are about to fall forward and then come back again in order to get a feeling of shifting your body weight forward.

Exercise: Practice standing 1 meter in front of a wall and leaning forward through bending at your ankles until you are about to fall forward and then come back again in order to get a feeling of shifting your body weight forward.

Remember – Perseverance is key with this! You will feel like you can just keep running and running when this becomes second nature – and then you tell others how to run properly – I still find it amazing that no one gets taught how to run!

Lastly, check out the video below of what I think is some close to perfect (no one is perfect) running:

YouTube player

 


Health, Shin Pain

How To Treat Shin Splints At Home

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shin splint painAre the dreaded shin splints giving you trouble? Here is a video that will show you how to treat shin splints yourself – it is easy, effective and will really relieve tension and pain!

As explained in a earlier post, shin splints is the most common lower limb injury in athletes, affecting nearly 10% of all runners!

For more detailed info about what actually causes “shin splints”, check out the link above, otherwise you can get started right now on this easy muscle release…

 

YouTube player

 

 

It is so important to stick with it and persevere a you cannot sprinkle pixie dust and have this better in a few days, 1-2 weeks and you will feel a real difference, 4-6 weeks and you will be feeling a whole lot better.

Combine this with some good rehab exercises and technique improvement (if you are an athlete/runner) and you will be away!

And remember, reduce how much you wear jandals/thongs/scuffs.

 

PhysioPrescription, giving you the tools and information to help yourself,

Shaun


Calf Pain, Lower limb, running

3 Best Calf Exercises: Keep your calf pain-free

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calf exercises for strain rehabCalves are a huge problem if they are not looked after – and often they are ignored until something goes wrong. Why not treat your calves right from the start to prevent injury and improve your performance. It is easy to do with the calf exercises I am going to show you today!

Far too often I see runners that have felt calf tightness or a little niggle and kept pushing through – only to wind up with an injury, stopping them completely! You need to run smart.

Calf Muscle Endurance is the key:

Yes, your calves need to be strong, but more importantly, the calf muscle needs endurance! If your calves lack endurance they are prone to any number of injuries including:

This is because as we run, walk and just stands on our feet throughout the day our calves are always being used and they slowly start working less and less – leading to other muscles compensating and bones being over-stressed. Men on average take around 7000 steps per day and woman 5000 – now that is a huge amount of work that your calves are doing!

Of course preferably everyone should be doing 10,000 steps per day for optimal health – 10000 step challenge.

This enormous workload that your calves are doing is why calf pain often comes on part-way into a run or walk or towards the end of the day, when they start failing.

Why do you need to exercise your calves?

As we mentioned earlier, calves take an enormous amount of load with every step we take. They are impacted as we go about our day as they support our lower body. To Prehab (preventative rehab!) your calves we need our calf exercises to improve:

  • Calf muscle endurance
  • Calf muscle length
  • Ankle and calf neuro muscular control

So here they are – Calf Exercises:

1. Calf stretch and roll:

calf stretch , soleus, gastroc - self treatment for shin splintsAction: hang your heel off a step as shown and hold for one minute each side.

Note: Static stretching (holding a stretch) before exercise isn’t recommended – It is best to do dynamic stretching or foam roll the calf as below.

You can also give yourself a good deep tissue massage with a Foam Roller:

MTSS shin splints self treatment

Action: as shown place the other leg on top to get more weight through and roll for 2 minutes each calf at least. When you find sore, knotty or tight spots, stick on them for a little longer slowly working into it.

2. Heel raises: 

Action: Standing beside a wall with one finger on it for balance, do 30 single leg heel raises on each side, performing one every second. Two times daily.

Note: If this causes pain in the Achilles or you have had or have Achilles pain – then you should do eccentric heel raises:

Action: go up with both heels (double heel raise), take the weight off the unaffected side and then lower slowly with the affected side/ side you are strengthening. Do 3 sets of 15 twice daily and if you have Achilles trouble then you need to do this for at least 12 weeks to rehab it well. (study)

3. Balance retraining:

Bosu ball, wobble board ankle and calf re-training rehab quickTo retrain balance and neuromuscular control through not only your calf but your whole lower limb (functional exercises have a great cross over into your sport) there is a number of tools you can use:

  • Bosu ball as shown in the image
  • Wobble board
  • Or you can fold up a towel and to make it tougher roll it up tightly and double up.

So there is no excuse for not doing this exercise as wobble boards are very cheap and affordable and you will have plenty of towels at home. This will not only improve calf control but also decrease the chance of and rehab sprained ankles and knee pain.

Action: Standing on one leg (don’t let your legs touch) hold it for one minute each leg, every day.

How to make it harder:

  • Add in hand weights, punching above your head
  • Add in heel raises
  • Add in single leg squats (obviously, don’t add these all in at the same time!)

Doing these three easy calf exercises every day will, reduce your injury risk, rehab current injuries and niggles and help you PERFORM BETTER, which is a huge bonus right?

Keep up the good work,
let me know how you get on and share it around!

You may also like:

Iron out your running: Easy tips to run faster, easier and free

Quick balance and stability test

 How Flip-flops make calves tighter and feet sore


Lower limb, running, Shin Pain

Shin Splints Treatment and Exercises

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runningShin splints is the most common lower limb injury in athletes and can lead to large blocks off training and serious injuries such as stress fractures if ignored. Here you will find out, what it is, what causes it and how to treat and rehab it YOURSELF with effective self treatment methods and exercises.

Shin splints is an Umbrella term that describes pain along the inside border of your tibia(shin) and covers a number of pathologies. The most common and Injury most often associated with Shin splints is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome.

shin splint painMedail Tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) Is the most common Injury in runners (Lopes et al 2012) affecting 9.5 percent of all runners, coming in just ahead of achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitits.  In MTSS pain is felt along the inside border of your shin bone (tibia), it is tender to touch and the tender/ lumpy area is larger than 5cms.

MTSS is caused by repetitive contraction of the calf muscles causing excessive stress on the tibia. The calf muscles (namely the soleus, flexor digitorum longus and tibialis posterior) attach onto the inside border of the tibia, and the repeated pulling from any of these muscles at their attachment causes micro-tears which causes inflammation, pain and excess tissue build up.

Now this generally happens due to one or a number of the following reasons:

  • Sudden increase in training that your body isn’t used to.
  • Change on footwear or training surface, eg. going barefoot (minimalist running) or changing from flats to hill running.
  • Poor hip control causing excessive internal rotation.
  • Over pronated foot type.
  • Poor running form (See Ironing out your running).

 

Differentail Diagnosis:

Stress reaction and stress fracture

These also cause shin pain and can be causes by MTSS or occur by themselves due to over training so it is important to have these ruled out by your Local physio if there is pain when you: tap on your shin bone, jump on your heel or if the pain is localised to one spot on the shin.

 

MTSS is far too often ignored and put aside as calf tightness until it is far worse than is should have got, which means some serious time off training and a lot of money spent on rehab. Below we are going to run through exercises and self-treatment that will both help heal your MTSS/shin splints AND prevent them happening again.

 

Exercises: All of these need to be done 2 x daily if you have shin splints.

calf stretch1. Calf Stretch:  Drop your heel off a step and hold it for 1 minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTSS shin splints self treatment

2. Foam roll your calf: Position as shown in the picture to get as much weight through the roller as you can. Spend 2-3 minutes slowly rolling your whole calf – ignore the pain!

 

Tip: You can also give yourself and self-massage, which is really effective at reducing tension and getting right to the point!

 

 

 

glut and Lat stretch - Hip flexibility

3. Sling stretch for hip range: Hold for 1 minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridge - increase leg strength, glute activation and decrease back pain.

4. Single leg bridge for hip stability: 

Hold for 5 seconds, 2 x 12 reps each side.

 

 

 

 

 

Single leg Squat, hip stability and strength

5. Single leg squat for lower limb strength and stability: To make it harder and better for lateral stability, keep your free leg out to the side.

Do 2 sets of 12reps each side.

 

 

 

 

 

Make the above exercises a routine even when pain-free!

Self treatment:

The main technique that will benefit you is self deep tissue massage. Check out this post for a easy video demo of this.

 

Tinker with your training:

– Decrease your training load to allow healing to take place

– decrease hill running and running or walking on hard surfaces

– Take a good look at your shoes and consult a Podiatrist of Physio re your foot mechanics.

– Once pain has gone, start SLOWLY building up your training again.

 

 

So there you have it, your guide to Shin Splints Treatment! Take some time to check out some other great posts that will help athletes and runners out a huge amount in preventing lower limb injuries as it is ALWAYS better to prehab!

Iron out your running – run faster, easier and injury free.

Quick balance and stability test.

Glute activation – the missing link

Please Share and like and let me know how you get on!


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