Running with facial palsy

Can anyone help me to run comfortably with my wonky face??

16 messages
02/02/2012 at 17:19

Hello - I wonder if anyone might be able to help me.

As a result of surgery last year, I have lost the facial nerve on the left side of my face. While there has been a small amount of natural nerve regeneration and some improvement due to facial exercises, etc, there is what I can only describe as a "droop" on that side of my face. I will have remedial surgery sometime in 2013 (oh yes! A facelift on the NHS ) but that's a while away.

For normal day-to-day activities, I have to tape my forehead and cheek, to prevent the muscles lengthening due to gravity and therefore compromising the effectiveness of future surgery. This is fine for low level exercise, but I have returned to running (in a very small way!) and I don't feel this tape gives me sufficient support. While I don't want to stop running, because it does me a huge amount of good both physically and psychologically, equally I don't want to risk compromising the chances of successful surgery!

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to how I could support my face while running. At the moment, the only thing I can think of is tying a scarf around my face (the way parents used to do when their child had mumps, with the ends of the scarf sticking up like rabbit ears...) and, while I don't mind looking like an eejit when I run, I can't help wondering if there might be anything a bit less....conspicuous, shall we say?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

02/02/2012 at 18:30
Hello after a facelift people have to wear a facial compression support. Looking around there seem to be a few types and the scarf bunny ears might be preferable but not sure whether they would be any good for running as that's not what they're designed for ... does your doc have any suggestions?
Good luck with the VLM training *shakes pom poms*
M...eldy    pirate
02/02/2012 at 18:33
How about buying a childs buff which I am assuming will be tighter and wearing it like a head scarf which would encompass the chin?
Not sure if my description helps but I can see it in my mind 
02/02/2012 at 20:34
I don't know if this will be helpful or not - but one thing came to my mind. Have you seen these footballers who break their cheek-bones/eye sockets and wear a bespoke face-guard made by a surgical technician?

Perhaps you could ask your physio if there could be a similar prosthetic made to support your 'droop' when running - I'm sure it would be possible.

I'm also sure there will have been other people who've been through similar experiences who exercise and there will be many more in the future - perhaps you could break new ground with this and it will be helpful to other people?

Anyway, best of British

Edited: 02/02/2012 at 20:40
seren nos    pirate
02/02/2012 at 21:16
I was going to suggest some way of wearing a has so many uses...but looks like meldy beat me to it.
02/02/2012 at 21:45

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. I think I shall experiment with buffs etc... and, thinking about it, the surgeon who did the original surgery is a runner, so it might be worth dropping him an email to ask his advice. (lightbulb moment there!).

Corrie, I like to think that I am ground-breaker in oh, so many ways

02/02/2012 at 21:50
I think it might be worth trying a proper surgical support and then experiment with a buff over the top - from chin to crown, cos i think you could pull the back edge of the buff down over your neck like a hood- type effect.

and then a running cap to complete. A tight fitting cap would also help to keep the buff in place - or a hair clip or two.
03/02/2012 at 12:26
you can get some sort of jaw support if you break/damage your jaw. that might be worth looking into as well.

something like this sort of thing I think

some of that looks a bit gimpy LOL I thought I was going to have to wear somethign similar after my jaw surgery
Edited: 03/02/2012 at 12:30
03/02/2012 at 16:45
Is there a better grade tape? Like the stuff rugby, football players etc wear to reposition their knees and the like for games
03/02/2012 at 18:06

Thanks, everyone, for these helpful suggestions. I shall start investigating


03/02/2012 at 18:38
lol only the full face one ST you could easily disguise something with a hairband/hat/buff I think if you wanted to. good luck finding something xx
07/02/2012 at 17:51

Well, yesterday  I emailed the consultant who took out my facial nerve last year, who's a runner himself, and he has already replied, bless him. He says not to worry about soft tissue damage and that it's more a question of how comfortable I feel. He's having a word with the plastic surgeon who will operate on my face next year and will let me know what he thinks.

God bless the NHS - how great is that?

07/02/2012 at 18:27
woo hoo excellent
07/02/2012 at 18:32
Good news, sounds like a great service
09/02/2012 at 15:20
kittenkat wrote (see)
Motorbike shop and get one of those balaclavas they wear. They can be quite tight which may help with support more than a buff?

This :

Hein Gericke Balaclavas

23/04/2012 at 10:26
Just a quick update to let you know that I ran London Marathon yesterday, with no taping on my face, no special measures taken to protect my face - and it was absolutely fine!

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