Ask The Experts: Injury Prevention with Sarah Connors

Catch the highlights from Friday's lunchtime debate, when ASICS PRO Team member and ASICS Super Six physio Ruth McKean, answered your injury questions live in the forums

Posted: 23 March 2011

Q. I have just finished an eight-week treatment course with a local physio, for a reoccurring achilles problem in both feet. I've now started doing short 10-15 minute runs twice a week over woodland and do lots of stretching after each run. Apart from some slight soreness in my right foot, everything seems okay.

Is it now a case of listening to my body and increasing pace and distance gradually? I currently run in ASICS 1150 shoes, as I slightly pronate. Would I get better support if I was to purchase a more expensive support shoe from the ASICS's range? If so could you recommend any? Michael Teather

A. Yes, you would definitely get more support from a different shoe.  Try the GT-2160 or the KAYANO. Go to a local shoe shop that's experienced in fitting shoes and get them to watch you running on the treadmill. 

Q. I've had a problem with my right knee for some time. It's on the outside of the knee, slightly below my kneecap. It comes on about three miles into my run and then hurts when I bend the knee, so I have to stop. The pain immediately goes when I walk, but it comes back as soon as I try to run again. It sometimes swells a bit if I push it too much and it hurts for a few days after, particularly going downstairs.

I've been to a physio and she said there were no problems with cartilage or ligaments. She wasn't sure what it was, so suggested I strengthen my inner quads and get some insoles, as I have quite flat feet. I've been doing the exercises religiously and got some insoles but it hasn't seemed to help. I've also been using a foam roller, doing ITB stretches and things like body pump and pilates, to try and improve my general strength.

I had been building up training very gradually to run a marathon in May, I ran two half-marathons at the end of last year very comfortably and hadn't really upped my training since then, but the problem started again in late January. Please can you recommend anything at all? I'm desperate to get back to running. I've now had to pull out of the Edinburgh Marathon, which I was really looking forward to.

A. It sounds like it could be your IT band, we've had lots of questions on this. I find the best ways to treat this are by looking at any lower back tightness, stretching the hips and making sure the biomechanics are right. I also go through a gluteal muscle-strengthening programme. Try discussing this with your physio.

Q. I just have three questions to ask you:

1.Can you recommend one simple exercise to strengthen the groin muscles? 

2. My toes are bending. Are there any simple exercises you can recommend to try and straighten them?

3. I keep falling in races. I have been told by a runner this is to do with my balance. Do you think that's correct? Karen Samuel

A. It sounds like you overpronate, which is causing you to increase the load on the big toes, so make sure you have the right shoes. You may even need insoles. You are probably falling as your knees are turning in. Your groin will be overloaded due to the overpronation. This can be helped by strengthening the core and the gluteal muscles.I hope that helps.

Q. I run mainly off-road, but have recently started back on tarmac. After about six or seven miles, I get a very sharp pain in the third and fourth toe on my left foot. It doesn't matter what shoes or socks I am wearing, it's just very painful. The pain subsides when I stop and there are no problems afterwards, any ideas? Ian Watkin 5

A. You need to have a good feel of the bone. Make sure that it's not tender and it's not a stress reaction to running on the harder surfaces.

Q. I got half way through training for a half-marathon last year but then I got a groin injury (tendinopathy, I think) and stopped training. I've been trying the 'rest and hope it gets better' approach but it's clearly not working. I went out for a two-mile run a couple of weeks ago. This was the first time I've run since the injury happened nine months ago, but it still felt achy.

Can you recommend any stretches or a course of action I could try? I would ideally like to try a half-marathon at the end of June, and if that went well, possibly a marathon later this year. Alexis Smith 3

A. If it hasn't got any better with all that rest, then it's time to seek expert advice. Get an assessment with a sports physio who has experience of working with runners, to find out what is going on.

Q. My right foot has a dull ache that is present in the centre of the foot/arch towards the inside edge. The area that aches is approximately 40mm in diameter. This ache is not present at the start of the day but becomes noticeable after a short 15 minute walk from the train station to work (I have a short cycle ride to the train station from my house and this does not seem to agitate this).

I walk to work in my Brooks running shoes, in a model designed to give arch support. I have been buying this design for five years and the current pair are less than six months old (less than 300 miles) and change these shoes at work to an ordinary pair of shoes.  My work involves sitting at a PC and after a while, the ache disappears and I no longer notice it. It comes back again on the return commute home, when I'm in running shoes.

The real issue is when I try run.  After five minutes of running the pain will be enough for me to have to stop. This is really inconvenient, as I need to train for a marathon. I've have been running for quite a few years now and I've never had this sort of injury before. I think the pain may have started after a long practice run in old trainers and been exaggerated by a recent half-marathon run in wet, muddy conditions with my new trainers. Do you have any advice to get me back on track? Claire Pearse 2

A. It sounds like you may have the start of plantar fasciitis. It's really tricky to treat so I would seek expert advice as soon as possible. Try stretching the bottom of foot on a step.

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Discuss this article

3weeks ago i reached my 3hr training run for the brighton marathon,which was fine then on a 6miler run, the top of my achillis started to give me a lot of pain,i stayed of my feet for a few days then went for a 7 miler flat run and no problems 3 days later, on the hastings half i managed the first 5miles (all up hill)   and just before the 6mile mark  the pain was so bad i had to be taken back to the start by the red cross,im resting and icing  and its a lot better,but its brighton marathon in 3 weeks will i make it?

Posted: 24/03/2011 at 07:23

There is the perception in running at the moment that forefoot and midfoot runners create less impact than heal strikers with the result being fewer injurys, from your experience do you consider this to be true and do you think one running for is better than another.
Do you see more injurys from heal strikers than midfoot and forefoot runners or different types of injurys in general.
Posted: 24/03/2011 at 07:49

I have always been a keen runner but have recently been diagnosed with two slipped discs - one between L5 and S1 and the other L4 and L5.  I am confused by conflicting advice regarding exercise, in particular running.  If I have to have surgery what are the chances that I will be able to return to running?  What can I do in the meantime to maintain my fitness?
Posted: 03/04/2011 at 17:15

I was running when suddenly my knee seemed to give way and i got a pain up my leg from calve to thigh wasn't bad enough to stop running at the time

 I rested after for a couple of days and have ran short distances less than a mile

now two weeks later since having hardly ran at all I am getting all kinds of sensations in my leg from pain in various places to numbness and pins and needles

what is wrong with my leg and what can I do about it

Posted: 30/06/2011 at 02:50

Hi, Please help me!!!

I have been having knee trouble for a couple if years, only brought on when I run or stand for more than 3 hours. But over the last year I have been unable to run at all, due to a very sharp pain in both knees and I am unable to walk for more than 30min without pain in my hips/knees, and if I stand for more than an hour I need to take pain killers. My muscles tighten up like elastic bands when ever I do any form of exercise. Whether due to lack of exercise or something else, I am also finding my knees and hips give way and trap nerves quite painfully. 

Prior to these problems I was a 1/2 marathon road and cross country runner as well as cycling 12miles a day to work, but I have been unable to do anything except 10min on a cross trainer 3 times a week for the last year! 

I have had blood tests which have come back clear, been treated for runners knee and IT band trouble, all with no improving result. X-rays have come back clear and I am waiting on a scan but they think it is unlikely to show anything. 

I am at a bit of a loss as to how I can go from being so fit to doing nothing! 

Any advice will be gratefully received!

Thanks, Jenny

Posted: 16/08/2011 at 13:13

hi, my husband went for a 10 mile run am, later on during the day he had really bad cramp in his thigh, he could not move and was sweating buckets. i made him sit down and gave him crisps and water. how can he prevent this in the future?   thanks for any advice.


Posted: 20/08/2011 at 15:13

I have run 12 marathons. I am 65 and in decent shape. I noticed about 6 months ago pain in my left and then right knee. The pain is not stabbing, but an ache, throb, and my pace is substanitially reduced. The pain in both knees is I believe in the ligaments around the knee. I don't know what to do- put on ice; stay away from running, have an MRI; my problem is I can't stop running. I did 16 miles last Sunday and the pain never got worse or better during the run. This is true not matter what the distance. Yet when I stand up, my knees are painful. Can you provie me any advice. Jim P.S. I do subscribe to Runner's World
Posted: 14/03/2012 at 18:01

Is the best way to avoid being injured by a Terminator Unit to escape from it on a motorcycle, or attempt to crush it in some kind of steel plant?
Posted: 14/03/2012 at 20:48

and another thing.... if the time warp field only works on living flesh (due to the energy field it creates), how come the T1000 could then be sent back in time to eliminate your son John??

 It makes no sense at all!

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 20:49

and don't get me started on Rise of the Machines!  That was rubbish.
Posted: 16/03/2012 at 10:34

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