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June 28, 2019

Have you ever considered run commuting? I started shortly after moving to Ottawa last summer and am hooked! Here are my top 5 reasons to consider running to and/or from work:

1. Beat the traffic! I don’t know how many times over the past 9 months I have actually ran past backed up vehicles who are slowly crawling along.

2. If you have a desk job like most people do, this is a fantastic way to start and/or finish your day! If you are sitting for 8 hours/day at work it’s great if you can avoid spending even more time sitting in a car to get to and from your job.

3. It’s cheap! Because I run to work our family only needs one vehicle. We also save money on gas every time I run in. And with regards to equipment all you need is a comfortable pair of running shoes and a running back pack.

4. You get to spend time outside breathing in the fresh air! I’m in an office building all day long so I love my commute in where I get to be outside, whether it’s a beautiful sunny day, raining or even snowing. It’s just nice to get out!

5. You can get your daily exercise in without having to find or make time early in the morning or in the evening after work. This is definitely the main reason I run commute! I have a toddler at home so when I get off I like to spend my evenings with her. Then when she goes to bed I’m usually in lazy mode and I don’t have the motivation to grab my running shoes and head outside. I get my workout in as part of my daily routine which means I don’t have to make time for it later. (I also don’t have the chance to make excuses for all the reasons I can’t run if it’s my mode of transportation!)

And if you start run commuting why stop there? If you forgot something at the grocery store and it’s within your running distance why not strap on your backpack and run there? It’s nice to make running a part of your lifestyle!

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 richelle.wholetherapy@gmail.com. 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.

 

Treatment:

  • 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 richelle.wholetherapy@gmail.com

🙂

Posted in Blog by Pat Moore | Tags: , , ,