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Recovery

is it safe to run with a hangover 101?

facts of alcohol

If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably had a bit too much to drink and are working out is it safe to run with a hangover?

So let’s start with the facts. The more alcohol you drank and the later into the night you drank it, will reflect on the ability to exercise the next day.

is it safe to run with a hangover

If you can, work out how many units of alcohol you drank, because that will give you some idea as to when it’s out of your system. It takes approx one hour for one unit of alcohol to be processed by the body.

is it a good idea?

Some of the negative effects of alcohol mean a hangover isn’t a great help with running. You may have had less sleep, and thus be lacking in energy or balance – which could put you at chance of injury.

You could be dehydrated from the alcohol and risk further dehydration from the sweat you lose running. Dehydration also means your pulse is higher. Running will of course raise your pulse further. Your metabolism will be trying to clear the alcohol in your system, and so may not be in the in the best condition to cope with a run.

how to decide is it safe to run with a hangover for you.

Really, this all depends on how you feel. If you’ve just got a headache then your risks are low. If however you feel sick or have a racing heart-rate, it makes sense to delay or cancel your run for today.

To improve your health to make a run possible – drink as much water as possible, and take water with you when you run. Eating will also help counter the low blood sugar that comes from drinking.

is it safe to run with a hangover? Depends how hungover you are. So use the markers listed here alongside your common sense. There is always tomorrow.

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Categories
Leg injuries Recovery Running form

Hamstring Tendonitis treatment – The Injured Runner

Hamstring Tendonitis is a pain that is felt on and just below the boney part of your butt that you sit on. The hamstring tendon attaches to this bone and can become painful. I have seen this develop after a runner stumbles and catches them self from falling forward. The hamstrings tighten to prevent the trunk from falling forward and may result in a pulled tendon in this area. Speed training can also lead to this condition especially if you have a running style where you run very erect and “pull” yourself forward with the hamstrings. So that’s why we are looking at hamstring tendonitis treatment – focusing on things you can try today!

Treatments

  • If you stumbled, ice application will be particularly helpful.
  • Running technique – if you heel strike during speed workouts you may want to consider altering your style to striking with the mid or forefoot.
  • Core Strengthening – try the plank position for a quick, all around program. These are even good enough for women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe who was photographed performing the side plank position.
  • Agility – sidestepping, grapevine, and sideways zipper (stepping forward and backward while moving sideways). Try three sets of one minute.
  • Single leg stand windmill touches – while standing on one leg, bend forward at the hip keeping your other leg in a straight line with your back, keep your arms out to the side and rotate your trunk so that your right hand would touch your right foot (or left to left). This exercise is excellent for balance, hamstring strengthening and flexibility.
  • Stretching – avoid direct stretching. Instead of standing and bending forward to touch your toes, slide your hips to the right and then bend forward. Next, slide your hips to the left and bend forward for the stretch.
  • Massage can helps speed recovery and promote proper healing.
  • An anti-inflammatory cream may help reduce the pain and inflammation.
Categories
Leg injuries Recovery

Shin Splints – The Injured Runner

Shin Splints are a condition that result in pain along the boarder of the tibia (shinbone). These nasty little demons can be tamed with a little TLC. The pain is a result of the muscles tugging on the lining of your shinbone. If the stress of running exceeds your body’s ability to strengthen the area, your shin begins to hurt. Training errors and foot mechanics affect this area substantially. There are two locations that shin splints develop; the treatment is slightly different for each location.

A) Medial tibial stress syndrome is the term for shin splints that affect the inner border of the tibia (shinbone). If you firmly rub your finger along the inner border of the tibia you should be able to locate the sore area. Pain is more commonly felt in the middle third of the shin but can be higher or lower.

Treatments:

  • Insoles or orthotics (custom foot supports) may help support the foot so that the muscles that attach to the shin don’t have to work as hard or as long.
  • Gentle stretching of the calf muscles two to three times per day often speeds recovery. The bent knee calf stretch is particularly effective, you should stretch firmly enough to feel a gentle stretch in the painful area. See bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches.
  • Ice is particularly effective and should be applied after each run.
  • Don’t forget strengthening and balance training. You’ll be amazed at how well this works, especially if you have been struggling with shin splints for a while.
  • An anti-inflammatory cream could be used to reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • Massaging the muscle tissue along the border of the shin often speeds recovery. Simply use your thumb and some lotion to stroke upward along the shinbone. Some people will do this in the shower or tub to loosen it up at the start of the day.
  • Bare foot walking for 2-5 minutes helps to strengthening the foot muscles which will decrease the strain on the shin area. This works best in a grassy area but is also benificial if a pavement is your only option.

B) Anterior lateral tibial stress syndrome is the term for shin splints that affect the outer border of the tibia (shinbone). If you firmly rub your finger along the front, outer border of the tibia you should be able to locate the sore area. The muscles that attach to this portion of the tibia (dorsiflexors) lift your toes toward your shin. This group of muscles are actually the most used muscles during running – they are active for a greater portion of the running cycle than any other muscle.

Treatments:

    • Stretching does wonders to improve these shin splints. If your calf muscles are tight this will create more work for these muscles (dorsiflexors) and hence more stress on the bone. Perform the bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches. two to three times per day. Stretching the dorsiflexor muscles will also help workout the soreness in this area. See bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches. as well as dorsiflexor stretch.
    • Ice is particularly effective and should be applied after each run.
  • Strengthening of the dorsiflexors is often very effective for these shin splints. One way to strengthen them is by walking on your heels for a couple of minutes.  
  • Massaging the muscle on the front of the shin helps reduce the pain. You can massage your self by sliding your fingers along the front, outer border of the shin working upwards towards your knee.
  • An anti-inflammatory cream could be used to reduce the pain and inflammation. Talk to your doctor about transdermal anti-inflammatories.
  • Insoles, or orthotics (custom foot supports) may help support the foot so that the muscles that attach to the shin don’t have to work as hard or as long.
Categories
Cross training Leg injuries Recovery

Tibial Stress Fractures – The Injured Runner

Stress Fractures are a condition where training load has exceeded your body’s ability to maintain bone structure, resulting in partial to complete breakdown of the bone. The most common sites for a stress fracture in the shin are the top inner portion of the shinbone (medial tibial plateau) and the central portion of the shin. Firm pressure on the bone in these two regions is usually distinctly painful.

Initially, you may be able to run without pain after you have warmed up; however, pain is often increased after the run. As the condition progresses the pain intensifies and will often leaves you limping. An X-ray will can be used to confirm the diagnosis after three weeks of symptoms (although this varies).

Whole food provided in the form of milk products with high potein, calcum and vitamin D is the best known nutritional guidance to prevent stress fracture and may speed recovery. Vitamin D (800iu per day) and Calcium (2g per day) intake has been shown to reduce the incidence of stress fractures in military cadets by 27% and should aid in quicker healing.

Treatments:

  • This condition requires more aggressive rest. Plan on at least six weeks of not running. Cycling, swimming or deep water running are the best cross training options because of the decreased weight bearing. If you are limping when you walk, using crutches until the limp is gone will dramatically speed recovery.
  • In my experience with basic trainees, doing hamstring and adductor stretches will speed recovery for a stress fracture of the medial tibial plateau.
  • Anti-inflammatories may actually delay bone healing. Use ice to get rid of the pain and alter your training so that it is pain free.
  • Vibration has been shown to accelerate bone healing. You can try using a vibrational massager by placing the massager on the bone a couple of inches away from the sore spot and holding it for 2-4 minutes twice per day.
Categories
Recovery

Principles of Recovery – The Injured Runner

The annual incidence of injury in regularly training recreational runners is estimated to range between 37 and 56%. Unfortunately, for those of us who enjoy running, the likelihood of getting injured is quite high. Running injuries are often an interaction of several factors; however, an understanding of a few principles can help you more effectively manage an injury and prevent future injury.

Self Evaluation: It is essential to have an understanding of why runners get injured. If you don’t know why you developed an injury it is more difficult to treat it and also more difficult to prevent an injury in the future. The following are common reasons runners get injured:

  • Too much, too fast. The human body has an amazing capacity to adapt to increased loads (whether that is distance or intensity), this is what allows us to improve. Unfortunately, each person has a limit as to how much training the body can adapt to and how quickly it can adapt to that higher level. When we exceed the level that our body is able to adapt to then each training session can become destructive and injury follows.
  • Cumulative stress. Just as increasing the volume or intensity of training can exceed the limit of the body to recover; prolonged training, without distinct periods of rest, can also lead to injury.
  • Biomechanics. You don’t have to watch many runners to realize there is a lot of variability in running styles and the way our bodies are formed. Some of you may recall when men with flat feet were not allowed to join the military. Flat feet where thought to be a deformity that would lead to injury. Further research conducted by the military actually found that those with high arches were more apt to develop injuries. Runners who are naturally extremely flat footed, have high arches, have a difference in leg length, are bow legged or knock kneed may be more susceptible to injury. Your body mechanics may limit the amount of training your body will tolerate. Some of these conditions may be improved with the use of strengthening exercises, good running shoes, Save Up To 56% OFF & Get FREE Shipping Today! braces, orthotics (custom foot supports) or in extreme cases surgery. Running form can be improved with practice. For a simple but effective approach try LARS.
  • Training surface. The terrain you train on may contribute to an injury. Running downhill tends to cause more strain on the knees and lower back. Running uphill may overstress the Achilles tendon. Angled roads substantially alter running mechanics. Reapeated laps on a track place uneven strain on the legs. Trail running decreases impact but may result in unanticipated twists or sprains. Sidewalks are safe and level but the stiffness is far greater than asphalt, meaning your body gets to absorb that extra force.
  • Shoes. In a recent study of runners in British Columbia, shoe age was significantly related to injury. The optimal time to retire a running shoe is unknown. However, the older the shoe the higher the risk of injury. Your shoe is the mediator for all of the above factors. If you have great biomechanics and running form you may not need new shoes as frequently. If you have to run on sidewalks or have high arches you may want to consider replacing shoes more frequently.

PRICES: Apply the principles of sports medicine that create this acronym.

  • Protection. The area that is injured may need protection or support. Plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, heals more quickly when supported. This can be from an over the counter arch support or an orthotic (custom foot support).
  • Rest. Rest is a word that makes many runners cringe. Rest does not necessarily mean that you have to stop exercising. Often, you will be better off continuing to exercise. However, you may need to supplement with cross training. Different grades of injuries require a different degree of rest.
  1. Grade 1 Symptoms are experienced primarily while running and you can run with only mild to moderate discomfort.Your symptoms are not severe enough that you limp or anyone else would think that you are limping. The pain is no worse after your run. This type of injury is usually best treated by continuing to run and perhaps decrease distance or intensity slightly. You may want to consider cross training for more vigorous workouts (as long as you do not feel the symptoms during or after training). Initiate treatment that is specific to your condition. Injury Identifier
  2. Grade 2 Pain is moderate and may ease after you are warmed up, or pain begins after a certain amount or intensity of running (symptoms may worsen after two miles or when running at six minute per mile pace). Your pain is usually worse after the run and you may have a slight limp. Limit your running distance or intensity to what you can do without hurting after the exercise session and supplement your running with a type of cross training that is pain free. Initiate treatment that is specific to your condition.
  3. Grade 3 The pain is getting worse, it is moderate to severe and others can tell that you are limping before, during or after a run. You need to be off of your feet if you want to train! Get in the pool or on a bike so you can stay in shape and let your body heal. Initiate treatment that is specific to your condition.
  4. Grade 4 You are now wearing a cast and no doubt feeling very sorry for yourself – understandably. But someone in town has an arm cycle or Upper Body Ergometer, so work out a deal to be able to train on their machine a few days per week. You could also do upper body and core strengthening circuit training – but it has to be pain free and non weight bearing.
  • Ice. A runner’s best friend! A bag of peas works a treat! Ice can help stop the inflammation process (similar to an anti-inflammatory medication) and also numbs the nerves, which blocks the pain (temporarily). Ice application should last around fifteen minutes. I recommend a thin wet towel as the only barrier between the ice and skin. Several applications can be applied throughout the day depending on how sore you are. Ice massage is another great form of icing. Take an ice cube, or frozen cube from a paper cup and rub it back and forth over the injured area. At first it will feel insanely cold, then it begins to burn and finally after about five minutes you are good and numb at which point you are done.
  • Compression. This principle works great for a swollen ankle.
  • Elevation. A swollen joint (sprained knee or ankle) will recover more quickly if it is elevated. Elevation helps to reduce swelling which inhibits muscle function.
  • Stretching. There is some recent evidence that stretching an injured hamstring in the traditional approach may not be the best approach to recovery. A diagnol stretch improved healing time and reoccurence. See hamstring strain. Another review of studies conducted on stretching as a method to prevent injuries concluded that there is not good evidence to endorse or to discontinue stretching to prevent injury.Although the effects of stretching are not fully known, you don’t have to talk to many runners to find out that gently stretching an injured area, as well as other tight muscles, can accelerate your recovery. You will probably get the best results by stretching after you exercise. If you are injured, try to get two stretching sessions in each day. To improve the flexibility of a tight muscle, hold the stretch for thirty seconds or more and repeat three times. If you are using stretching as a general warm up or to gently stretch the tender area, then a shorter stretch perhaps five to ten seconds repeated five times will work better for you.
  • Strengthening. Recent research has made substantial breakthroughs in the understanding of strength and running injuries. Unfortunately, the emphasis in treating runners has primarily been flexibility. While flexibility is important, much more can be done to speed recovery and prevent future injury. Strengthening exercises for runners should emphasize movements that are similar to running and target the muscles involved in running: the hamstrings, hip abductors, lumbar extensors, gluteals, abominals, calves and quadriceps. Gluteal strengthening appears to be especially beneficial for runner’s knee and IT band syndrome.

Sleep: Sleep may be your body’s best opportunity to rebuild itself. Ensure you are getting sufficient sleep for your body’s needs.

Categories
Knees Recovery

Jumper Knee – The Injured Runner

Jumper’s knee is also known as patellar tendonitis. It affects the patellar tendon, which is directly below the kneecap (it actually attaches the knee cap to the tibia). This condition is more prevalent with plyometric (jumping sequences) training or sports that require sudden stops or changes of direction. However, I have seen cases where it simply occurs with normal training.

Treatments:

  • In the early stage of this condition frequent stretching of the quadriceps muscle will accelerate healing. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds and repeat three times, perform this routine three times per day.
  • Hamstring and calf stretches may also help reduce strain on the patella tendon.
  • A patellar tendon strap provides a compressive force across the patellar tendon and for some people provides quite a bit of relief. If this is going to work for you, you should notice a distinct improvement while wearing it. Only wear it when doing activities that typically aggravate your symptoms. If you wear it all day long it will become irritating.
  • An anti-inflammatory should be used to reduce the pain and inflammation. Topical anti-inflammatories would be best but would require a visit to your doctor for a prescription.
  • Physical therapists can apply a treatment called iontophoresis, which is the use of an electrical current to apply a steroid medication over the sore spot. Research has shown that this treatment delivers as much steroid (anti-inflammatory) to the tendon as an injection, without a needle. Usually, two to three treatments will improve symptoms substantially.
  • Deep tissue friction massage can also be helpful in stubborn cases.
  • Eccentric quadriceps strengthening has been shown to reverse the structural changes in the patellar tendon if the condition becomes chronic. This exercise is performed with a knee extension resistance machine. The emphasis is on lowering the knee from a straight position, to a bent position. Use both legs to straighten the knee and then lower with the painful one. Repeat for 30 repetitions and gradually increase the weight as your pain improves. This exercise is painful, but if the condition is chronic and not responding to anything else, stick with it for at least three weeks (three times per week) and continue for another six weeks if it helps.
Categories
Leg injuries Recovery

Calf Strain – The Injured Runner

Calf Strain is a strain of the calf muscles. You may feel this at the junction where the Achilles tendon blends into the muscle or right in the muscle itself. Symptoms usually develop during a race or hard work out. You may be able to run just fine at slower speeds and shorter distances, but as the distance or speed increases; watch out – it can bite. Be sure to fully recover before resuming progressive training.

  • Gentle stretching of the calf muscles will accelerate healing. Perform the bent and straight knee calf stretches two to three times per day.
  • Proper strengthening of the calf muscles is essential for a complete recovery from a calf strain. Let the calf recover for at least three days before starting a strengthening program. Try standing on the edge of a step, slowly lower your heel over the edge, and then return to the start position. Emphasize the lowering phase of this exercise. Perform this exercise for twenty to thirty repetitions with the knee straight and then with it slightly bent. Add weights if you are not fatigued after thirty repetitions.
  • Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to strengthen the calf after the pain is completely gone. Start with 20 hops with both feet, then 20 on your left foot then twenty on your right foot. Increase to 30, 40, 50 etc as your strength improves. Skipping this phase leads to compensations so be sure to feel equally confident hopping on each foot before returning to aggressive training.
Categories
Recovery

how to return to Running after injury

We know that injury is difficult and frustrating and it is also difficult to predict how soon you will be able to return to full running following an injury.   Each injury and person is unique.   Usually, the sooner you identify an injury and begin the appropriate treatment, the quicker the recovery. This guide will help you make decisions regarding your return to running and talk about how to return to running after injury.

Cross training to aid running recovery

Blending your running with cross training allows you to continue training at your pre-injury aerobic training level while gradually adding more running into your routine.

Patience is the key to progression, hang in there and you’ll soon be back on your feet!

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Categories
Knees Leg injuries Recovery

Outer Knee Pain Case study- The Injured Runner

David is a 42 year old runner that started feeling pain in the outer part of his right knee. He had run 11 marathons in the previous 2 years without any pain and then began to experience pain in his left knee. He cut back on his running for 2 months tried using a foam roller for his knee pain and then was able to get back into running.  At this point his left knee was fine but he could not run more than 3 miles before he experienced right outer knee / thigh pain. He had tried the foam roller and cutting back again on his running but nothing was working.

When I evaluate a runner I look at: the flexibility of 5 different muscle groups (calves, quads, hamstrings, gluteals and hip flexors); strength of the hip flexors, hip abductors, abdominals, hamstrings, lower back and gluteal muscles; balance; hopping ability: and running gait. David had the typical tight hamstrings and hip flexors but his gluteal muscles were half the flexibility as his left side. He had great abdominal and lower back strength but his gluteal and hip abductor muscles were disproportionally weak on both sides. His balance was horrible and he hopped like a rhinoceros but weighed a slight 150# at 6 ft. tall. His running gait was primarily heel strike but not overly hard and was essentially symmetric.

Usually when a runner has pain on the outer portion of the knee the diagnosis is IT Band syndrome but this was different. None of the tests that we use to diagnosis IT Band problems were positive. So instead of focusing on trying to give David a precise name for his condition we decided to go to work and address the issues discussed above. Specifically, we started with the gluteal flexibility because it was so tight that I was concerned he might be developing arthritis in his hip. Since David could run for 3 miles without hurting I suggested continuing to run but he had to stay in the pain free range.

David went to work on the stretching program for 2 weeks and then came back for a follow up. Luckily, the hip motion or gluteal flexibility was much better. Actually, it was the same as the other side and he had been able to increase to 4 miles 3 times per week.

Our next step in helping David get back to running was to improve the strength in his gluteal muscles. We chose one set of exercises that isolated the gluteal muscles and another set that required the gluteal muscle to work in synergy with the other leg muscles requiring dymamic movements and balance. Since he was doing so well with performing these in my clinic I decided to also advance him to rope jumping so that we could get a bit more spring in his step. David worked on these exercises for 4 weeks and then came in for his follow up.

David had run 13 miles the weekend before seeing me and was elated to be back on track. He told me that he felt transformed, he was running as a whole person – stronger and more balanced than ever.

Categories
Leg injuries Recovery stretches

Hamstring Strain – The Injured runner

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Hamstring Strain is a strain of the muscles on the back of the thigh and often a result of speed training or racing. You will usually feel a distinct tightening or pain in the middle third of the muscle. A hamstring strain can come on suddenly and send you limping off of the track or gradually as the result of cumulative strain from races or workouts.

A slight strain will allow you to continue running, but will recur if you begin speed training too soon. You are best off eliminating speed workouts for a week then resume gradually.

A more severe strain requires dedicated rehab since recurrence is so frequent with this injury. A recent study presented a promising new approach to hamstring rehab with quicker recovery and much lower recurrence. The authors of this study advocate having you work the hamstrings in different directions than they work with running. Trunk strengthening is also a component of this rehab program.

  • Core Strengthening – try the Plank for a quick, all around program. These are even good enough for women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe who was photographed performing the side position.
  • Agility – sidestepping, grapevine, and stepping forward and backward while moving sideways are great drills. In the study, participants performed three sets of one minute.
  • Single leg stand windmill touches – while standing on one leg, bend forward at the hip keeping your other leg in a straight line with your back, keep your arms out to the side and rotate your core to touch the toes – alternate arms. This exercise is excellent for balance, hamstring strengthening and flexibility.
  • Stretching – avoid direct stretching. Instead of standing and bending forward to touch your toes, slide your hips to the right and then bend forward. Next, slide your hips to the left and bend forward for the stretch.
  • Massage can helps speed recovery and promote proper healing.
  • Physical therapy treatments such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation may also speed recovery.