The 2 most common running injuries and how we treat them

Your knee doesn’t have to hurt when you run!

Did you know 80% of runners will be injured in a 12 month period? Studies show that at least 1 in 4 runners will suffer from knee pain during this time. ‘Runner’s knee’ can be caused by two conditions: patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or iliotibial friction syndrome (ITBFS) and both are preventable and treatable conditions.

PFPS is the most common cause of pain at the front of the knee. The patella (kneecap) sits in a groove at the end of the femur (thigh bone). When the knee is bent and straightened the patella should glide up and down in this groove. Often a muscle imbalance is present which causes the kneecap to sit laterally in the groove. Knee movement now irritates the cartilage behind the patella when it doesn’t glide smoothly. Over time this can lead to a condition called chondromalacia patella or softening and wear and tear of the patella cartilage.

Pain at the side of the knee is typically caused by ITBFS. The ITB is a thick piece of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh. Similar to PFPS, ITBFS is often due to a muscle imbalance around the knee. Weakness through the gluteals and inner thigh combined with tightness in the outer thigh cause the ITB to rub over the end of the femur.

Other factors that can lead to knee pain include excessive training, poor or old footwear, wider pelvis particularly in females, weakness in the calf and gluteal muscles and poor running technique.

If you are a runner with a sore knee the first thing to do is make an appointment to see one of our physiotherapists for an accurate assessment and treatment plan.

wall squat | best exercises for skiing | ski stretchesTreatment of Runner’s Knee can involve:

  • Massage
  • Taping
  • Footwear advice
  • Training advice
  • Technique advice and modifications
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Core stability
Please call or book online to see one of our Physiotherapists.

 

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. 

5 Steps to reduce your headaches

Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates neck treatment by Allyson FlanaganIf you suffer from headaches or migraines, you’re certainly not alone. It is estimated that 1 in 20 people do! In many cases, the pain in the head actually stems from issues with the upper spine and neck. This is why around 80% of people are able to get headache relief through physiotherapy treatment.

We’ve chosen to train in the Watson Headache® Approach, allowing us to assess the joints of the neck and their potential involvement in head pain. Here are 5 tips from Allyson, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor, on how to reduce your headaches. You can also download this handy cheatsheet to refer to later.

1. SEE YOUR PHYSIOTHERAPIST

You might wonder why your physiotherapist is treating your neck for headaches. Research at the Watson Headache Institute has found that issues with the top 3 neck joints and very first cervical disc can impact the brainstem, leading to pain in the head. With specific assessment and treatment of these 3 joints and muscles we can desensitise the brainstem therefore reducing and even resolving many headaches.

Combined with some simple home exercises, good posture, heat or ice, dry needling or segmental needling your Physiotherapist is well equipped to help headaches and migraines.

2. CORRECT YOUR POSTURE

Sustained forward head positions or ‘poked chin’ positions commonly aggravate headaches. Have a think about the ergonomics of your workspace and how you sit throughout the day and talk to your physio if you need guidance.

3. SELF MOBILISATIONS OR PRESSURES ON THE UPPER NECK JOINTS

Sustained pressure on certain joints of the upper neck can stop a headache in its tracks. Your physio can teach you these!

4. HOME EXERCISES

We can help prescribe some appropriate at-home exercises to help. This simple exercise that can help relieve a headache.

Stand with your back against a wall, with a pillow behind your upper back.

Gently retract your chin keeping your head level. Then use the space between your thumb and index finger to apply pressure to your chin. Hold for up to 20seconds or until the headache subsides. Repeat up to 5 times in a row.

5. SEE YOUR GP FOR MEDICATION

If your headaches or migraines have been around for 3 months or more, it may be worth talking to your doctor about migraine preventative medication. These medications, if taken at the very first signs of your migraine, can stop the full attack.

DID YOU KNOW

A forward head position can increase the stress on the upper neck joints, as it increases the perceived load of the head from 5.4kg to 27.2kg! You can reduce this by:

  • Sitting with your head centred on your shoulders
  • Using a pillow under books, tablets and iPhones so you don’t have to look down
  • Correcting your workstation set up

Why your feet hurt more in summer

Ever wonder why you get arch pain or sore feet in summer? Summer brings the silly season, sunshine, sandy beach trips and more people wearing sandals and thongs, and with that we often see an increase in patients presenting with arch pain in their feet.

The most common cause of arch pain is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick collagen structure that runs length ways along the bottom of your foot. It is an important structure for the stability and strength of your arch and foot. Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the fascia.

There are two common ways to injure the plantar fascia – compression and tension. Compression injuries result in direct trauma to the tissue. Imagine jumping off a step and landing on a hard surface. Tension injuries are often a result of overuse. The fascia and foot muscles are over stressed caused pain and inflammation.

Tips to prevent plantar fasciitis:

  • Increase your activity or training level gradually
  • Walk on the firmer sand at the beach
  • Wear appropriate footwear for the activity you are doing
  • Replace your running shoes regularly
  • Alternate between barefoot/thongs and joggers
  • If you have orthotics, wear them as much as you can
  • Stretch your feet and calf muscles after exercising
  • Include foot and calf strength exercises in your training program

Early treatment of plantar fasciitis is essential in reducing pain and limiting any secondary complications that can occur. If you suspect you might have plantar fasciitis is important to see your physiotherapist for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

Treatment of plantar fasciitis may involve: Allyson Flanagan | Stafford Physiotherapy Centre | Physio Brisbane North

  • Strapping with rigid or rocktape
  • Icing
  • Massage
  • Gentle pain free stretching
  • Mobilisation the foot and ankle joints
  • Strengthening exercises for your foot and arch muscles
  • Strengthening exercises for your core and hip muscles to ensure appropriate alignment of your legs
  • Orthotics
  • Training modifications and advice
Please call or book online to see one of our Physiotherapists.

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

 

How to use a spikey ball for massage and trigger points

7 Spikey ball exercises to help ease muscle pain

One of the best ways to maximise the benefits of your physiotherapy treatments is to do some basic exercises at home. We find foam rollers or spikey balls, used for self massage or trigger pointing, to be particularly effective at helping relieve pain from tight, sore muscles.

Using a foam roller for self massage can have several positive effects including reduced pain associated with delayed muscle soreness, reduced muscle tender spots and an acute increase in range of motion. Massage is also one of (if not the) the most effective ways of reducing delayed onset muscle soreness, such as from intense exercise.

To begin with you can lean your body against the ball on the floor or wall and use your body weight to apply pressure. To progress you can roll against the ball for 1-2 minutes. Check out this handy cheat sheet featuring 7 exercises you can do using a spikey ball.

It’s important not to cause further pain or injury when using your spikey ball. Tenderness and mild pain can be expected, but stop if you experience moderate to severe pain, pins and needles or tingling. You should still be able to breathe comfortably when using your ball. Certain areas such as bony prominences (eg kneecaps) and acute injuries (eg swollen, inflamed muscle) should also be avoided.

 

Please call or book online to see one of our Physiotherapists.

 

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 
References: Behm (2017), Dupuy et al (2018)

12 Simple stretches you can do at your desk

A huge number of today’s jobs require people to be sitting at a desk all day, however we all know that sitting down too much isn’t good for our posture or our health. Read on for our suggested stretches that you can easily fit into your day in the office.

If you spend a lot of your day working at a desk, it’s best to take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Try the following ideas to help you remember:

  • Set a timer on your phone
  • Put a reminder program on your computer
  • Leave your water bottle on another desk or use a small glass of water so that you need to walk to the kitchen to refill it frequently

 

 

Some workplaces now offer the option of a sit/stand desk which is wonderful and we recommend you take advantage of this if your workplace offers it!

It’s also great to leave the office at lunch time – maybe go outside and look at the sky and get some fresh air or go for a short walk if you can.

However, if you can’t do this, we’ve devised some simple stretches and exercises that you can do at your desk. Even better – stand up and do your stretches to give your body a break from sitting! Encourage your workmates to join you; we promise you’ll all feel better for it!

We’ve even created this PDF cheatsheet so you can print it out and stick it up at your desk as a reference and reminder.

Excellent desk exercises:

See PDF cheatsheet for images of all stretches

  1. NECK ROTATION
    Gently turn your head from side to side. Repeat 5 times each side.
  2. NECK SIDE FLEXION
    Gently tilt your head from side to side. Repeat 5 times each side.
  3. NECK FLEXION
    Gently bring your chin towards your chest. Repeat 5 times.
  4. NECK EXTENSION
    Gently look up towards the ceiling. Repeat 5 times.
  5. SHOULDER ROLLS
    Gently roll your shoulders forwards. Repeat 5 times, then repeat backwards 5 times.
  6. HEAD NODS
    Gently nod your chin (like making a double chin). Hold 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  7. CHEST STRETCH
    Clasp your hands together and reach behind your back. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  8. TRICEPS STRETCH
    Gently pull on raised elbow with other hand to feel stretch down back of arm. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times per arm.
  9. SHOULDER STRETCH
    Gently pull arm forward across body to feel stretch across back of shoulder. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times per arm.
  10. SIDE BENDING (pictured)
    Clasp your hands together above your head. Gently lean to one side. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times per side.
  11. TRUNK ROTATION
    Reach across body and grasp back of chair. Gently look over shoulder. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times per side.
  12. SHOULDER BLADE SQUEEZES
    Keep elbows bent. Gently squeeze shoulder blades together. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

No stretches or exercises should cause you pain. If you do experience pain or discomfort please stop the exercises. Our Physiotherapists are here to help you with any postural related issues or spinal pain you may be experiencing.

 

Please call or book online to see one of our Physiotherapists.

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

Basic Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors or Sore Hips – Part Two

We see lots of people who are experiencing tight hip flexors or other hip pain. Last week I wrote about the importance of flexible hip muscles including the hip flexors, hip rotators and hip extensors. That post also included a number of stretches and activation drills to help keep your hip muscles healthy and free from injury.

This week I’ll show you some exercise to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips. Remember, when doing these exercises you may feel a mild to moderate stretch but should not experience pain.

Strengthening

Strengthening the hip is important, as this joint is required for many of our daily activities such as walking, going up/down stairs, squatting, getting up from chairs and rolling over in bed.

The exercises below are basic and intended to begin the strengthening process. Initially, your focus should be on the quality of movement not the quantity. Once you feel comfortable performing these exercises, you can increase your repetitions and progress to more advanced exercises.

Bridging
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Roll your pelvis backwards and squeeze your bottom to lift up your hips so they are in line with your shoulders

 

Leg slides
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Straighten 1 leg away from your body keeping your back and pelvis still
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg

 

Dropouts
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Rotate leg away from body to about 45 degrees keeping other leg still
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg
Leg Lifts in Sitting 
  • Sitting on chair with feet flat on floor
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Lift 1 foot off the floor keeping back still
  • Try not to push down with arms for support
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg
 
Mini squats
  • Standing with feet shoulder width apart, arms out at shoulder level
  • Bend at the hips first – sticking out your bottom
  • Then bend at the knees to continue to squat about 45 degrees down
  • Push up through heels squeezing bottom to stand upright again

 

Got sore hips or tight hip flexors, glutes or hamstrings? Book a physio appointment today.

Some of these exercises can be difficult – if you have any questions or concerns, please come and see our experienced physiotherapists for a detailed assessment and tailored exercise plan. 

Book an Appointment

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

Basic Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors or Sore Hips – Part One

Do you experience soreness or tightness in your hips? If so, this can come from tightness in the muscles around your hips.

Some of the main hip muscles are:

  • Hip flexors: Iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fascia latae and sartorius
  • Hip rotators: piriformis, gemelli, obturators
  • Hip extensors: gluteals, hamstrings

Flexible hip muscles are important for healthy hips and also necessary for long-term mobility and stability in your lower back. This blog post includes a range of stretches and activation drills that will keep your hip muscles healthy and help you to prevent pain and injury.

If you have any questions about the following exercises (or if you would like to book an appointment for your tight hip flexors or general hip pain and tightness), don’t hesitate to contact us.

Stretches

Hip flexibility is important because it ensures full range of motion. When performing these exercises, you should feel a mild to moderate stretch and no pain.

Hamstrings
  • Put your foot up on a step or chair
  • Bend your knee slightly
  • Lean forward from your hips, pushing your bottom backwards as your chest goes forward
  • Feel stretch at back of upper thigh
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

Hip Flexors
  • Kneel on the floor with affected leg knee on the floor
  • Tuck bottom under and lean weight forward slightly
  • Feel stretch at front of hip
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

 

Gluteals
  • Sit down with unaffected leg straight
  • Bend affected leg knee over unaffected leg
  • Pull bent knee towards chest as you turn towards affected hip
  • Feel stretch around bottom
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

 

 Piriformis
  • Lying on back
  • Put affect leg foot on opposite knee
  • Pull unaffected leg towards chest
  • Feel stretch around bottom
  • Hold 30 sec x 3

 

 

Activation Drills (Isometrics)

Isometric contractions involve a muscle tensing or contracting without creating movement. These drills target the small, deep stability muscles around the hip and pelvis. These muscles are often inhibited from working properly when you have an episode of hip pain.

These exercises should be performed without pain – it is important that you master these exercises before moving on to harder exercises.

Transversus abdominis (TA)
  • Lying on back, knees bent up and feet flat
  • Gently draw in lower tummy without moving back or pelvis
  • Hold for 5 breaths
Pelvic Floor
  • Lying on back, knees bent up and feet flat
  • Gently draw pelvic floor up and in – like you are stopping the flow of urine when doing a wee
  • Hold for 5 breaths
Gluteus Minimus
  • Lying on your unaffected side with pillow between knees
  • Try to draw the ball of the hip into the socket
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
Gluteus Medius
  • Lying on your unaffected side with pillow between knees
  • Imagine lifting top leg slightly without actually moving leg
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
Hip abductors
  • Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Tie belt around thighs
  • Gently press out into belt – try to keep muscles at front of hip relaxed
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
  • This can also be done in standing
Iliopsoas
  • Lying on your back with knees bent over 2 pillows
  • Imagine lifting your affected leg off the pillows without actually moving your leg
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10

 

 

Some of these exercises can be difficult – if you have any questions or concerns, please come and see our experienced physiotherapists for a detailed assessment and tailored exercise plan.

Book Online

Stay tuned for part 2 – hip strengthening exercises! Want to find out more about how you can improve your health and wellbeing? Check out these simple lifestyle changes you can make.

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

How to get pain relief (without codeine!)

As of the first of February 2018, pharmaceutical opioids such as codeine are no longer available over the counter, but have become prescription-only medication. Though this might distress some people suffering with pain, it has been brought about to combat the significant increase in opioid overdoses in Australia over the last decade. It’s quite alarming that between 2001 and 2012 over 8,547 Australians died as a result of opioid overdoses*, and that over half of these deaths were from pharmaceutical opioids rather than heroin or methadone.

So if you cannot get relief from other over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, you could seek a prescription from your GP for stronger opioid-based medication,

OR

you could seek drug-free pain relief from your physiotherapist!

Your physiotherapist is the perfect place to start when you are in pain. Physiotherapists are highly trained health professionals equipped with the knowledge and techniques to give you a better understanding of pain, what is driving it, and how to manage it.

Allyson Flanagan | Stafford Physiotherapy Centre | Physio Brisbane NorthWhat happens when I visit my physiotherapist?

Here at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre, a physiotherapist will assess your area of pain through a series of questions and physical testing. We can then help you understand the cause behind your pain and start you on the road to better pain management.

Our treatment plan may involve activity modification and advice; manual techniques for joint mobilisations and soft tissue release; western acupuncture and dry needling; individually tailored exercise programs for the home, gym or Pilates; strapping or bracing for tissue support; and appropriate referrals for holistic management.

For safer ways to prevent, reduce, cope with, and manage your pain today, book online or phone 3857 5815. It’s time to make the change.

This post was written by Allyson Flanagan, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor. 

*Source: Alcohol and Drug Foundation