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Your feet are the genesis of many other complex injuries and misalignments, with imbalance and arch problems radiating up as far as the muscles in your neck and head. Common foot problems such as plantar fasciitis (jogger’s heel) or Achilles’ tendinitis can be caused by many different things, ranging from long-term overuse injuries to severe and sudden traumas. Fortunately, these injuries can be easy to treat and don’t often require corrective surgery in order to improve functional movement and comfort while performing exercises or everyday activities.
Exercise #1: Achilles Tendon and Plantar Fascia Stretch
Gently stretch your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia (foot arch) by sitting on the floor and looping either a towel or exercise band around the ball of your feet, pulling your foot back toward your body. Keep your toes straight and avoid over-stretching, especially if you’re just starting out. Hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds depending on your discomfort level and repeat three times for each foot.
Exercise #2: Toe Stretch
Sitting in a chair, bring your leg over the opposite knee and interlace your fingers through your toes. Squeeze your toes and fingers together for 10-20 seconds at a time, then stretch your toes out wide for 10-20 seconds. Repeat three times for each foot.
Exercise #3: Massage Your Arches
Stand on a narrow rolling pin or tennis ball, balancing over it with the second toe of your foot. Roll the ball or pin on the sole of your foot for a few minutes at a time, repeating three times for each foot. This can help strengthen the arches of your feet and improve balance while walking, running, or exercising.
Velo Sports Rehab recommends that people with chronic foot pain consult a physician before conducting any rehabilitation exercises or stretches. Each injury is as specific as each person’s individual body, so the treatment prescribed should follow suit. Find pain relief the healthy way and schedule an appointment with a sports physician at Velo Sports Rehab today.
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One of the most common causes of knee pain in runners, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is an inflammation of the iliotibial band, which runs along the lateral part of the knee and extends from the pelvis. The iliotibial band stabilizes and supports the knee during running, but with improper training habits, imbalances due to stretching or running on uneven surfaces, and other possible causes, the band can become inflamed and cause the athlete pain.
Symptoms of ITB syndrome can range anywhere from a slight stinging above the knee to visible swelling around the affected area over the femur. Isolating ITB syndrome symptoms from other knee problems can be as simple as bending your knee at a 45-degree angle. Pain on the outside of the knee will signify this issue. An MRI can give a more accurate diagnosis of ITB syndrome and show a thickening of the IT band.
As with many overuse injuries, proper form and preventive actions are the best way to avoid ITB syndrome. Avoiding excessive running on sloped or banked tracks, up and down hills, and other sloped surfaces (like the edge of a street or road) can help guard against muscular imbalances while exercising. Making sure your shoes are in good condition and fit your feet properly is also important, but stretching and caring for your knees is perhaps the most important step. If you feel pain on the outside of your knee while jogging or exercising, dial down your mileage or take a few days off to stretch and recover before starting again.
Treating ITB syndrome means identifying the issue, finding the cause, and undertaking a corrective movement treatment plan. Sports physicians can recommend lower-impact training like swimming, cycling, or rowing to prevent further ITB syndrome complications. If after a few weeks the problem hasn’t cleared up, a cortisone injection, fascial tissue massage, or surgery may be necessary. Thankfully, the majority of ITB syndrome cases resolve without the need for drastic measures like surgery or injections.
To find out more about treating overuse injuries like ITB syndrome, contact Velo Sports Rehab. Our physicians and sports medicine experts can identify problems and develop individualized treatment programs to get your body back to a healthy state. Call for an appointment today.
Just because the winter months are setting in doesn’t mean your running routine should slow down. Or, if you’re procrastinating and are thinking you’ll use the cold weather as an excuse to further put off a running regiment, just know it’s easier to run in Seattle than many other cities during the winter. No excuses!
However, with colder weather setting in, it’s important to take additional steps to prevent running injuries. Here are a few tips:
1. Improve Flexibility
Stretching before and after your run can help improve and maintain your flexibility, which will protect your muscles against injury. Focus on dynamic mobility warm up (butt kicks, walking lunge with a knee hug, lateral lunge, and grapevines). For best results, stretching multiple times per day (morning and evening, for example) can help maintain flexibility. If you feel you’ve overstretched before or after a run, spend a few doing static stretching – but try to keep it under 40 seconds and don’t stretch in pain.
2. Wear the Correct Type of Running Shoes
Don’t just pick up the cheapest or most readily available shoes. Finding the right shoe for your foot type and running style is monumentally important. A sports store that has specialized running footwear (Road Runner, Super Jock ‘n Jill, or Fleet Feet, for example) can help you find the best shoe for your foot.
3. Jumping in Too Fast after a Long Time Off
If you’re feeling a sudden burst of motivation that propels you off the couch, slow down a little bit. Just because your psyche has been shocked into a running mindset doesn’t mean your body will (or can) follow suit. Give your body time to acclimate to this new schedule – after a few weeks your body will begin to break down and doing too much so soon can cause overuse injuries like shin splints, knee injuries, fatigue, and burnout. As a rule of thumb, try to train at about 50% of your previous norm and slowly ramp back up over several weeks.
4. Hydrate and Eat Well
Take care of your body while you’re not exercising, too. The old adage “you are what you eat” is never more true as when you’re starting to exercise regularly again. Give your body the proper fuel to burn – you wouldn’t put beer and pizza in your car’s engine, would you? Eat your fruits and vegetables! Make sure you have enough carbs to fuel your runs and adequate protein to help with recovery.
5. Talk with a Running Expert or Rehab Specialist
A person trained in running biomechanics and sports rehab can analyze your running form and detect flaws that may result in injury over time. Especially important if you’re recovering from an injury, an exercise rehabilitation program can get your symptoms under control and get you back to your regular activities and exercises quickly. Implementing a cross training program to your exercises can help develop core and lateral hip stability, preventing IT Band Syndrome and many knee problems common in runners.
At Velo Sports Rehab, we can cater an exercise rehab regiment to your specific needs – no “cookie cutter” programs. Applying a specialized rehab treatment to your specific injury will save you time and get you back to 100%. Or, if you’re concerned about your running form or methods, we can analyze your stride and gait and help you correct any issues that may lead to injury down the road.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or call us at (425) 590-9208.
The Velo team were treated to an awesome Sunday at the 31st annual Mt. Si Relay and Ultra Runs. Individual runners competed in 50K and 50 Mile Ultra Marathons while teams of 5 battled in a 59 Mile relay.
Despite the stiff competition on the course, the biggest challenge came from Mother Nature who managed to dish out a melee of the best and worst the Pacific Northwest has to offer. The day started out perfectly with partly cloudy skies and temps creeping up toward 50, but as the day progressed a series of squalls brought driving rain and hail to the course. Most of the now soaked and frigid participants powered through although many took advantage of aid stations to warm themselves before returning to the course. All in all it was a great day with most participants crossing the finish line dripping wet but smiling.
While the race went off without incident, running in cold wet weather carries with it a real risk of hypothermia, as can be attested to by the 25 runners hospitalized for hypothermia during the 2011 LA Marathon. Appropriate clothing is the first line of defense. Wool or synthetic running socks, midweight tights, and a light running jacket are a great combo that will keep the rain and wind at bay. Layering is key especially on longer races where conditions can change drastically between the starting gate and the finish line. Hats, gloves and vests are a great way to add warmth without much bulk, and they can easily be carried in a hydration vest. Be sure to avoid cotton, which will sap heat and your energy when it gets wet.
The best defense for hypothermia however, may be a good offense. Body heat produced during a race will keep hypothermia at bay as long as you can keep your pace up until the finish line. However, the increased energy demands caused by cold and wet conditions can make this difficult. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine last year pitted runners against adverse weather in a climate chamber and found that significantly more energy was used in cold and wet conditions. This matches up with what we see on the course, where most of the hypothermia cases occur near the end of the race when runners, unable to keep up their pace, begin to slow down causing their body temperature to drop. If it is cold and wet on the course, you will need more fuel and better conditioning than you would in fair weather. So next time you head out in the cold and rain, grab some extra fuel and carry the satisfaction that you are getting a better workout than you would on a warm clear day.
For more info on cold weather running check out the resources below: