‘I suffered a severely fractured Calaneum (heel) bone during a stag do in Berlin in the summer of 2014. It resulted in open reductive surgery where a plate and screws were fitted and I was unable to weight bear for 3 months.
Once able to weight bear I was limping and in quite a lot of discomfort. I would get easily fatigued after periods of standing and after a day on my feet at work would need to spend the entire evening recovering. If I did socialise out after work I would pay for it the following day or sometimes days with further stiffness and pain.
I received hydrotherapy and physiotherapy sessions soon after fully weight bearing and although this helped to a degree it was still painful to walk. I still had a limp, some days were worse than others and I got to a stage where my physiotherapist expressed doubt about his ability to help me any further as I was unable to perform a heel raise on the one foot, usually doable by this stage.
John was recommended to me by a work colleague who had had a running injury. I was feeling mentally defeated at this point as it had been a year since my injury and I still couldn’t walk without some degree of discomfort. I had recently been to a wedding reception after a day at work and as a result the 2 weeks that followed had been more uncomfortable than usual. I was having severe doubts about ever being able to walk properly again.
After explaining my situation to John he worked the surrounding areas of my foot and manipulated areas in my back. I physically saw a change in my flexibility between the beginning and end of this first session. I could now move my right foot back as far as my left which I was unable to do before and it was noticeably easier walking up and down hills as I didn’t have this flexibility before. I’m now also able to perform a heel raise on the right foot and can hold this position for around 30 seconds. My confidence has improved considerably and I’m optimistic that I may even be able to resume more physical activities in the near future.’
Here is an update on how I’ve been getting on since my last treatment session with you back in December. I’ve delayed sending this as I wanted to include an update of the Highlander Mountain Marathon.
When I came to Physio in December I had been suffering with a strained adductor muscle (since August) and recurrent problems with my calf and ankle muscles which you’d diagnosed were caused by poor upper body posture from working at a laptop all day. I was keen to get these problems sorted out so I could be fit enough to start training in earnest in the New Year for the Highlander Mountain Marathon at the end of April. My training runs prior to seeing you had been very irregular, at the most consisting of a long weekend run and one other 10k run per week.
Your physio sessions got me back running again and the advice you gave me about my posture and running form chimed with advice I’d been given by Susie Baker, my Alexander Technique teacher, in the past.
New leaf in 2015
I decided to turn over a new leaf in 2015 and set myself a target of running or walking at least 5km every day. I’m pleased to say this is something that I am still doing and I usually only have a walking instead of running day once a fortnight or so.
Running every day
Contrary to fears that running every day was going to exacerbate the calf and ankle problems I had been suffering with, I found that the aches and pains lessened and then disappeared completely. Running every day gave me the opportunity to concentrate on my posture more and to practice running with good form. Knowing that I have to do 5km every day means that as soon as I get any pains or niggles I treat them straight away with either stretching, wobble board or foam roller as appropriate. I have even had a couple of sports massages from Katherine Golik to treat tired legs. I’m going to continue with running every day for the foreseeable future: I’m used to it now and it’s become a habit. The only thing I would add is more core exercises to enable me to maintain good form over longer distances.
Highlander Mountain Marathon and Butcombe Trail
As well as the Highlander Mountain Marathon in April (running 32 miles with 3,890m of ascent over a weekend with a backpack containing food, clothes, sleeping bag and tent), I ran the length of the Butcombe Trail during one long day in March: an unsupported solo run of 48 miles in 11 hours (which included time for map reading and stopping in several pubs on the way round for tea, coffee and extra water).
Man v Horse marathon
My next challenge is the Man v Horse marathon in June followed by a 50+ mile ultra in September.
These drills from The Running School (R) , have great potential for improving the trunk and lower limb strength and stability in a range of age groups.
I can see this style of exercise being particulary effective and engaging for teenagers. JS Physio MSc
Bristol Physio John Stephenson has been providing movement retraining courses for Health Professionals & Physiotherapists since 1999. He also works on a 1:1 basis with private clients wishing to improve their low back stability and running efficiency. Or for a more gentle introduction, ask about the Walk:BacK & Row:BacK programmes!
Book a consultation or free minute open clinic online:
So, nigh on a month ago, I ran just a little too hard up Park Street, and that slight twitch in my left ankle, became a ‘No. No I will not walk (let alone run) anymore’. I was thankful it had come near Christmas as I’d actually have some time to rest… but 2 weeks of difficulty walking (and I love to walk), and I was persuaded a visit to the GP was in order… She confirmed it was muscular and rest and gradually building it up was for the best… Two weeks after that, and my 12km peaks have dwindled to 5km if I’m lucky – before the pain reminds me that perhaps I’m starting too soon again.
So time to seek out a professional. A specialist in the running-injury-field. A (deep-breath) physiotherapist.
I must admit I was impressed. Within 10 minutes it had been discovered that irrespective of the regular running and years of yoga, one leg is stronger than the other. This, it has became apparent, is because my right leg is more flexible and thus my left-leg has to do a unique curve-and-twist to keep up… therefore making my ankle exposed to falling at an unusual angle and ultimately weakening it. Oh the vulnerabilities of the body.
Thankfully I’m told that while there are two elements to the problem, they can both be quite comfortably overcome.
Firstly I was educated that while an injury may appear in one area e.g. my ankle, actually the whole body is connected by nerves, and thus its cause may be somewhere else entirely… For me it seems that part of my spine had less give in it (all that hunched over revision I’m told!), however within half an hour and a few twists and loud cracks of the body later, and that seemed to have been de-scrunched!
The second part is slightly harder, because of the lack of give on my left side, John tells me my brain has developed new paths to overcome this – enabling me to run normally etc, however these have become part of the problem because they then expose my ankle to injury, therefore I need to retrain my body and the neural pathways. Apparently this will involve conscious walking and quiet running…. We’ll see how that goes next week!
Until then it’s neural flossing, Pilates rolling onto shoulders and core stability running arms – lets see how this goes!
Speaking at the recent Physiotherapists in Sports conference, former Olympic USA coach Vern Gambetta called on delegates to consider the whole body and the brain when treating patients. ‘If it hurts, we look for where it hurts, and we rehab the hell out of that, and leave the rest of it,’ he said.
‘You can see a lot by watching’ – Gambetta said, ‘We miss what we don’t see. Sometimes it’s as simple as watching someone from all sides.’
This approach resonates and underpins everything we do in the AAA-Physio clinic at Moti – Which is why we get great results!
So if your are stuck in a loop of; injury – rest – re-injury and can’t see a way out. Book some expert help from the Therapy Team at Moti
So last session John gave me a month to go away and come back running! Not the biggest fan of running, especially since the fall, but after the last physio session in the gym I was glad to know I could do it (if I wanted to!). I’m running much better on the treadmill now, increasing my speed from 8 to 10 km/h. I also hope that my technique has improved. I’m not a quiet, agile gazelle and I still can’t run for longer than 10-15 minutes but that’s nothing new!!
I’ve finally made it back to classes, and keeping up with the group. Apart from the occasional twinge from the ankle I’m pretty much back to full health. The fall was a big one and I did a good job of destroying the ligaments in my ankle so it’ll never really be completely the same, but I’m certainly pleased with the level of restored function.
Let’s hope John agrees at my last physio session on 9th Oct, 4 months since the fall!
So this week I haven’t been able to make it to the gym as frequently as I’d have liked- a grand total of twice! It was a busy weekend and the summer evenings have lead themsleves to social events that have taken me away from the treadmill!
However, I have taken John’s advice and am now walking to work in my trainers! Never thought I would be that person! Head held high, conscious of my posture and sporting sensible walking shoes. I haven’t quite got as far as buying a lightweight backpack yet but I have emptied my work bag of unnecessary books and now its MUCH lighter! I have used the walk up and down St Michael’s hill as a huge part of my therapy this week and doing the neural flossing on the floor at home- much to my boyfriend’s bemusement! I hope its enough!
Ankle-wise no swelling or recurrence of pain. The early morning stretch is still an issue but seems to be only in that first instance. Thursday- the day after physio my ankle was a little dodgy but I guess that was to be expected. And no balloon-fest style hill walking this weekend to cause troubles like last week! Lets hope I’ve done enough this week to see a bit of improvement!
Really hope that soon John will say I am strong enough to return to exercise classes as the four walls of the gym are making me stir crazy and aren’t helping my attendance records!