March 8, 2019

Hamstring strains can be tricky to resolve and they can return repeatedly if not rehabilitated correctly. Read on to learn what hamstring strains are, how to treat them and most importantly how to prevent them from reoccurring! So!


What is a hamstring?

The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles that originate at your sit bone in your pelvis and travel down the back of your thigh, crossing the back of the knee to attach at the top of the tibia. The hamstrings work to extend your hips and flex your knees.

Causes of hamstring strains?

  • Too much too soon: Running injuries are often a result of increasing distance, intensity or hill training too quickly. If you ramp up your training too aggressively you may overload your muscles and tendons which can result in a variety of injuries including a hamstring strain.
  • Over striding: Runners who heel strike are overreaching which puts more strain on the hamstrings compared to those runners who midfoot strike.
  • Hamstring weakness: Poor eccentric control of the hamstrings will make them more vulnerable to injury.
  • Gluteal weakness: Your glutes and hamstrings work closely together. If your glutes are weak your hamstrings will work harder to compensate for them.
  • Limited hamstring flexibility: The hamstrings can often tighten in people who spend a lot of time sitting, for example those of us who have desk jobs. The repetitive motion of running can also cause the hamstrings to tighten, especially on runs with little variation such as on a treadmill or flat road. So those runners who have desk jobs are more susceptible to having tight hamstrings!
  • Lack of Warm-up: If you skip your warm-up, especially during a high quality run such as intervals or tempo running, you are at a much higher risk of injuring your hamstrings (and other soft tissues!)
  • Previous lower extremity injury: If you have rolled your ankle or injured your knee your hamstring may be working extra hard to try to stabilize that leg.

Treating hamstring strains


  • Cadence: Focus on a 170-180 cadence while landing on the midfoot. This will prevent over striding which will decrease pressure on the hamstrings. (See previous blog on cadence! )
  • Eccentric hamstring exercises: Lying on your back with your heels/calves on a stability ball lift your hips in the air. Bend the knees bringing the ball towards your hips then VERY SLOWLY straighten your knees with good control. As this gets easier you can progress to doing single leg eccentrics.
  • Strengthen your glute max and med muscles: (See previous blog on how to know your glutes are weak and how to strengthen them.)
  • Stretch your hamstrings: Do not stretch before you run as studies have shown static stretching before running increases injury rates. Stretch following your run by doing the following stretch on each leg. Hold each position 30-60 seconds without bouncing.
  • Do a proper warm up: Especially if you are doing speed work. Your warm up ideally should consist of jogging, high knees, bum kicks, skip steps and frankensteins.

If you try all the above tips and you are still experiencing hamstring pain it’s best to book an appointment with a physiotherapist to get a one on one assessment done. This may also involving taping, acupuncture and manual therapy.

As always if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore
March 7, 2019

For soft tissue injuries – that is everything from a sprain to a strain or tear to tendinitis – reducing inflammation becomes your biggest objectives, thus your perspective on nutrition has to shift.  Your focus is now fighting inflammation and fueling repair. There’s something about knowing that eating clean can help heal your injury and speed your recovery that makes these tips seem more like changes and less like restrictions.

Overall, the focus should be on anti-inflammatory foods, eliminating pro-inflammatory foods, keeping essential nutrient (vitamins & minerals) intake high, and boosting your protein intake for complete healing.  The more serious the injury, the more critical the diet.  When recovering from surgery, for instance, your nutrition needs will be drastically higher than recovering from, say, tendinitis.


Increase Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats such as chia and flax seed help reduce inflammation in the body.  Think of using these foods the same way that you use ice to reduce inflammation. And while increasing the number of anti-inflammatory foods is extremely important, so is decreasing the amount of pro-inflammatory foods.  Foods that can cause inflammation: refined sugars (candy, doughnuts, white bread), oils (margarine, shortening), processed meats (hot dogs, lunch meats, sausage), and foods high in saturated and trans fats.

Hydration is Key

Take your weight in pounds and divide by two, this will give you the amount of ounces you need daily.  For example: 128lbs divide by 2=64 oz (=2 litres) of water daily.


For more help or information, book your nutrition consultation today www.wholetherapy .com

Carole Woodstock, RHN

Posted in Nutrition, Uncategorized by Carole Woodstock
February 20, 2019


What is IT Band Syndrome? Glad you asked!

The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of fascia that runs from your pelvis to the outside of your knee. Repetitive bending and straightening of the knee while running can cause constant rubbing of the IT band over the bony parts of your knee. This constant friction can cause the IT band to become irritated and eventually inflamed resulting in pain. The pain is often described as sharp. It’s typically outside the knee but can sometimes can radiate into the outer thigh or calf. Runners will usually notice more pain running downhill or during longer distance runs.




How do you treat IT Band Syndrome?


REST! The most important treatment tip is to modify your activity levels. IT band pain will not settle if you continue to run. The tissue needs a break from the friction caused by bending and extending activities in order to settle the irritation and inflammation along the outside of the knee. While resting you can cross train but you need to avoid similar activities. For example swimming is usually fine but cycling will likely just irritate the band.

Trail Run: When you’re ready, try trail running as opposed to treadmill or road running. Running on flat surfaces causes your leg to bend and extend the exact same way over and over again. Running on a varied surface mixes things up decreasing the repetitive movements at the knee.

Glute Strengthening: Make sure your glutes are strong! If your glutes are not functioning properly, your IT band may be compensating. (See my previous running blog on how to know if your glutes are weak and how to strengthen them 🙂

Foam Rolling: Try foam rolling the lateral aspect of your thigh. The IT band is not actually a muscle. It’s fascia which means it does not contract and relax. Therefore foam rolling and trying to stretch the IT band itself doesn’t actually “lengthen” the band of tissue. But rolling the outside of the thigh can get the lateral quad muscles which can definitely be tight.

TFL Release: Your tensor fascia lata is a muscle on the outside of your hip that helps stabilize your hip and knee. You can release your TFL either in lying as shown below or (if this exercise is too intense) against a wall.


If after attempting these tips you still have pain, you may need to book an appointment with a physiotherapist (Hi!) who can do a one on one assessment searching for and addressing any muscle imbalances you may have. You should also have your running form assessed! Modalities such as acupuncture, cupping and taping can also speed healing along nicely.

As always, if you have any questions at all make sure you send me an email at I am always happy to help other runners run faster and be pain free!

January 29, 2019


You know what’s the worst?

Pain along the shin that is caused by inflammation of the muscles that attach to the shin bone (aka the tibia).

Shin splints. Thy name is evil.

There are 2 types of shin splints as seen in the picture below. Pain along the outer front portion of the lower leg is called anterior shin splints. Pain along the back inside of the lower leg is called posterior shin splints. (or, posterior evil)

Common Causes:

Shin splints is an overuse injury that typically is caused by training errors such as such as increasing running distance or intensity too aggressively and changing to a hard or uneven training surface. Other causes include:

  • Poor running mechanics; heel striking.
  • Poor footwear. Sometimes people switch to minimalist footwear but if they are heel striking they can develop shin splints.
  • Weakness in the shin muscles; in particular tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior.
  • Core and pelvic muscle instability.
  • Imbalance between the quads and hamstrings with respect to strength and flexibility.
  • Foot arch abnormalities such as excessive pronation.
  • Poor intrinsic foot muscle strength.
  • Unequal leg length.



  • Rest! It is very difficult to resolve shin splints without temporarily taking a break from running. A rest break does not mean you cannot cross train to maintain your cardiovascular fitness! Try swimming, cycling, yoga or weight training. Any exercise that does not aggravate your shin splints.
  • Progress Slowly. Think of any training errors you may have made. When you start running again, make sure you do not make the same mistakes again. You may need a more gradual progression into distance or speed.
  • Mid-foot Strike. Do you heel strike? If so focus on mid-foot striking to decrease the force through your shins with each stride. The best way to do this is to focus on a 180 cadence (See earlier blog post on cadence!)
  • Footwear. Have a look at your footwear. If your sneakers are extremely worn or too big look at purchasing new ones. If you are in a more minimalist shoe you may need to switch to one with more cushioning temporarily.
  • Warm up. Do a proper warm up before your run starts, especially if you are doing a quality run such as hill training or speed work.
  • Strengthen your shins. Strengthen your tibialis anterior! Try toe walking or doing dorsiflexion with a resistance band.
  • Roll. Try rolling your shin muscle out. (Not the bone: ouch!) You don’t need to buy a fancy tiger tail as shown in the picture below. A wooden rolling pin from your kitchen works perfectly!
  • Figure out your muscle imbalances. Book an assessment with our physiotherapists to check for muscle imbalances. It is hard to know if you need your core, pelvis, thigh, shin, and/or foot muscles strengthened or stretched  if you don’t get a one on one assessment first!
  • Modalities. Your physiotherapist can also try acupuncture and/or taping to help resolve your pain faster.

Hopefully following some of these tips will help resolve your shin splints!  As always, if you have any questions or to book your assessment, email me anytime at


Posted in Blog by Pat Moore | Tags: , , ,
January 18, 2019


What is Achilles Tendonitis?

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body. It is the cord of tissue below your calf and above your heel. It points your foot and raises you up on your tiptoes. Achilles tendonitis is a common problem that occurs when the tendon becomes irritated and inflamed resulting in heel pain. There are a number of activities that place extreme loading forces on the Achilles tendon. Running, especially uphill running, is definitely one of them.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Gradual onset of pain and tenderness in the Achilles tendon often made worse with activity.
  • Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon first thing in the morning.
  • Swelling and tenderness of the Achilles tendon.


Treatment Suggestions

REST! There is no quick magical fix when it comes to tendonitis. You cannot make the pain and inflammation settle if you continue to push through your pain. Resting doesn’t mean you have to become a temporary couch potato. Try cross-training activities such as swimming or cycling (as long as they are pain free). This will maintain your cardiovascular fitness while your Achilles tendon gets a much needed rest.

Heel lifts Purchase a heel lift like the one shown in the picture below. This can be worn temporarily to reduce strain on the Achilles tendon. Even if you only have Achilles tendonitis in one heel make sure you still put an insert in both shoes so there’s no asymmetry.


Eccentric strengthening exercises. Standing on a step rise up on your toes then lift your good leg. Very slowly lower your injured heel towards the floor. Aim to repeat 15 times and do this exercise twice daily. Some discomfort during the exercise is okay but it should not linger. If you have increased pain after doing eccentrics stop the exercises and consider seeing a physiotherapist to get some individualized care.

Calf Stretches: There are 2 calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus). In order to stretch the gastroc you need to keep the back leg straight. To stretch the soleus bend the back leg. Keep the heel on the floor. Hold stretch 30-60 seconds (no bouncing). Repeat 3 times. Always stretch after you run not before!

Correct any training errors

  • Did you recently start or return to running? Maybe you progressed your distance/pace too quickly.
  • Did you recently start hill training or running hillier routes than normal? Maybe you did too many hill repeats or you ran hills too many times in one week.
  • Did you recently start doing any cross-training exercises that involve a lot of repetitive hopping, skipping or jumping?
  • Have you recently changed footwear? Did it involve transitioning to a more minimalist shoe without a heel?


Basically think back to just before your heel pain started. Often with runners it’s a result of a recent change so figure out what that was and don’t make the same mistake again!


When to seek professional help!

If you try the above treatment techniques and are still experiencing pain; I would suggest booking an appointment with a physiotherapist (That’s me!) who can do an assessment and come up with an individualized treatment plan. This may or may not include taping your Achilles, dry needling, cupping and soft tissue release.

As always, if you have any questions about ANY type of injury, running or otherwise, feel free to contact me at the clinic!



Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore
January 8, 2019

If the cold winter and ice covered sidewalks has you moving your runs indoors, give these treadmill workouts a try! I get very bored on the treadmill and have a hard time running more than 5km! However, these interval workouts help me spice things up a bit!



Disclaimer: If you haven’t been running hills outdoors or on an incline on the treadmill lately introduce these hill workouts cautiously. Too much too soon with hill training can put a great deal of strain on the Achilles tendons, calves and plantar fascia which can lead to injury.


Workout #1: Sprint intervals

1-2km Warmup

3X400m sprints with 200m walk/slow jog between.

2X600m sprints with 400m walk/slow jog between.

2X400m sprints with 200m walk/slow jog between.

1-2km Cool Down


Workout #2: Hill repeats

5 minutes jogging warmup.

1 minute at 4% incline, 1 minute at 5%, 1 minute at 6%. 2 minutes at 0%.

1 minute at 5% incline, 1 minute at 6%, 1 minute at 7%. 2 minutes at 0%.

1 minute at 6% incline, 1 minute at 7%, 1 minute at 8%. 2 minutes at 0%.

1 minute at 7% incline, 1 minute at 6%, 1 minute at 5%. 2 minutes at 0%.

1 minute at 6% incline, 1 minute at 5%, 1 minute at 4%. 2 minutes at 0%.

5 minutes jogging cooldown.


Workout #3: 10km rolling hills

1km Warmup

3 sets of the following:

500m at 3% incline, 500m at 0%.

500m at 4% incline, 500m at 0%.

500m at 5% incline, 500m at 0%.


Workout #4: Hill repeats

Jog 5 minutes to warmup.

Repeat 4-8 times.

90 seconds at 6% incline. 1 minute recovery jog at 0%.

60 seconds at 7% incline. 2 minutes recovery jog at 0%.


Give these a try and remember, we’re always here to help with any questions or concerns you may have!

Happy Trails! (or treadmills)

Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore
December 17, 2018

When I see a runner in our clinic my first goal is to get them pain free again. Once I accomplish this I then need to analyze their running form and try to correct any poor body mechanics they might have. Heel striking and excessively swinging the arms, rotating the trunk and bouncing up and down are all common running technique errors. If I had to choose one thing I would work on with everyone presenting with these issues, it would be cadence!

What is cadence?

Cadence is the number of times your feet hit the ground per minute. The ideal cadence is 180 steps/minute, or 3 steps per second. However, the majority of runners especially beginners have more of a 150-160 cadence.

Why is cadence so important?

If you heel strike you have a large stride length. This in turn will increases your joint reaction force. This excessive force can eventually lead to joint pain and injury. You also are putting the brakes on and slowing yourself down with every step by placing your foot way out in front leading with the heel. By improving your cadence to 180 you don’t have time for a long stride length therefore you start landing on the midfoot as opposed to the heel. You also don’t have time to excessively swing the arms around, rotate the trunk or bounce up and down so it greatly improves running technique and removes unnecessary movement patterns that waste energy!


What’s the best way to work on your cadence?

  • Start by running on a treadmill. Warm up for 5 minutes at a relaxed easy pace.
  • Settle into your regular comfortable pace (for example the pace you would do on a long run).
  • Over a 15 second interval count how many times your feet hit the treadmill. Multiply this number by 4. Ideally you want to be around 180!

If you are below 170, it will take a little bit of work. Try to shorten your stride and try to land on the middle of your foot as opposed to your heel. Recheck your cadence and it should be closer to 180. You’ll notice a difference in that you usually run very loudly on the treadmill but it’s quieter when you make this change. Once you’ve mastered this on a treadmill, you can move things outdoors. Some running watches like Garmin can actually track your cadence and will beep at you if you go below a preset number.


Initially it will take a lot of concentration to improve your cadence but with practice it will become natural and you will be able to run with a 180 cadence without focusing on it constantly!


Feel free to contact me with any cadence/running/physio questions.  I’m here to help!

Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore
December 17, 2018


Makes 12 squares

Treat yourself to a healthy treat for the Holiday Season!



  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1Tbsp dark chocolate chips (optional)



  1. Remove pits from dates
  2. Process the dates and peanut butter in the food processor until the dough turns into a ball. Add chocolate chips and mix just a bit more. Press the mixture firmly into a pan lined with parchment paper.
  3. Freeze for 2 hours. Cut into squares. Serve and enjoy. Extras can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or the freezer 1 month.

Helpful Hint: Cut your fudge while it is still frozen, but then allow it to sit in your refrigerator for up to 3 hours before serving for the best appearance and texture.


bon appetit!

Posted in Uncategorized by Carole Woodstock
December 7, 2018

Having difficulty staying motivated to continue running throughout the winter months? Why not consider joining one of these FREE running groups?


Bushtukah Stittsville Trail Running Group

This friendly welcoming group either trail runs or snowshoe runs every Saturday morning at 8:30am. They choose a different location every Saturday. I moved to Ottawa in August and with this group I have explored so much of the Green Belt trails in the west end. Start your weekend off right with fresh air, exercise and great company! Join their Facebook group “Bushtukah Stittsville Trail Running” for more info.

Natural Fitness Lab

If you are looking to snowshoe regularly and would like to incorporate more hill work into your routine, check out Natural Fitness Lab. They meet every Wednesday evening in Gatineau Park at 6:25pm. Join their Facebook group “Natural Fitness Lab” or go on their website:

Running Room’s Free Run Club

Use the following link to look up a Running Room near you.

They offer free group runs throughout the week! Usually Wednesday evenings, Sundays at 8:30am and either Friday evenings or Saturday mornings.  I joined the Westboro location last month for an evening run and met a great group of people!

(Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen) 112182

Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore
December 7, 2018

Boost your immune system to fight the cold and flu!

Fun fact: 80% of your immune system is housed in the lining of your digestive tract.  The remaining 20% is circulating in the blood stream.  This means that the long- term ticket to strong immunity is great digestive function. It is primarily the bacteria in the gut that communicate with the immune cells in the blood to control immune function.

If you suffer from chronic constipation, food allergies or intolerance, experience gas or bloating, if you are stressed or take NSAIDs like Advil, it can degrade digestive bacteria and leave you with a weakened immune system.  You will be prone to get every bug that comes around!


Here are some antioxidants you can take to give yourself a boost to help reduce the oxidative stress and strengthen your immune system:


  • Vitamin E, C, A, D
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Probiotics


Best food to incorporate:

  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Greens – eat a variety of colorful vegetables!
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Cod liver oil (source of Vit A, D and fatty acids)
  • Kefir (you can use this in a shake!)


Lastly, stay away from sugar! Sugar feeds pathogenic bacteria in the gut – so sugar and processed carbohydrates are not your friends this winter.

Posted in Uncategorized by Carole Woodstock