Ask the Experts: Avoiding Injury Q+A with Sarah Connors

Quiz physio Sarah Connors on how to avoid injury on the way to race day

1 to 20 of 51 messages
24/02/2012 at 11:00

Morning all,

ASICS Super Six physio and ASICS PRO Team member Sarah Connors will be online 1-2pm today to answer your marathon - and half-marathon - injury questions.

Sarah is a chartered physiotherapist who has specialised in treating track and field athletes for the past 20 years. She has worked for the British Athletics Team and was lead physio for the English Institute of Sport in London before setting up a successful sports injuries clinic.

If you've got any aches or niggles from your training, or queries about the best ways to prevent injury during race training, then pipe up - Sarah's expert advice will keep you running strong.

We're opening the discussion now so Sarah will be able to get stuck in straight away at 1pm (rather than having to deal with too many questions all at once). That's enough from me - time to get posting!


24/02/2012 at 11:28
I strained my hip (apparently the right adductor) over a month ago and it is very, very slow in healing (as in, 5 weeks later i still can't run on it) - anything specific i can do (other than rest) to speed things up? and once it is healed, what can i do to strengthen it for the future? not running for a month has been one of the most frustrating things i've ever endured!
24/02/2012 at 11:33

Hi Sarah,

I've got a question myself actually! I strained my left knee medial ligament in a botched ski jump last February (I think you had a look at it on a training day in Birmingham, in fact!)

It's ok now - I get no pain walking or running (I've only run up to half-marathon distance since then) but I definitely notice something still odd when I kneel down or squat. It's like there's something moving that shouldn't be?!

Should I worry about this - is it connected? Could it affect my running over longer distances? And if so, are there any exercises I can do to continue sorting out my wonky knee?



24/02/2012 at 11:37

Hi Sarah,

 I regularly run 4-5 times a week with my long run (10-11 miles) being on a Saturday and mid-week runs being around 5-8 miles. My mid-week runs are fine but when I do my long run, I get to around mile 7/8 and I begin to get some discomfort in my left knee and right hip. My hip hasn't been causing me as much trouble as what it has done, but my left knee still causes me issues and feels like it is going to give way at times.

I had some physio last year on my right knee following a football injury and I was told that my hips are not fully straight and that my legs lean/bend inwards whenI bend down.

 Is there anything that I can do to help eliminate this discomfort and help with knees and hips?



24/02/2012 at 11:38
Hi Sarah

I've laid off running for a couple of months as I was getting a lot of little injuries followed by a torn hamstring in the latter half of last year.

I've just started back doing a few 5 milers and found that my knees start hurting straight away when I start but starts to ease off after a couple of miles, but still with some discomfort. I do stretches before I start and after I finish.

I've found the worse one is the leg I damaged the hamstring in.

Is there anything I can do to help combat this?

Edited: 24/02/2012 at 11:39
24/02/2012 at 11:43
After doing my longest run so far (14 miles) I've got blisters under nearly all of my toenails or the very ends of my toes. I wear 1000 mile socks, and my shoes were properly fitted after I had a gait analysis. (I am a neutral-gait forefoot-striker). Any tips to avoid this in the future?
24/02/2012 at 11:46

Hi Sarah

I had a inguinal hernia op on my left side two weeks ago today. Should I do any rehab before i start back running orjust start of with gentle jogs and see how it feels. And when would you start those?



24/02/2012 at 11:49

Hello, question for you. While out running last weekend I started to get a lot of pain along the top of my foot / tendon which goes to my big toe.

If I lift the front of my foot up it's extremely sore, I stopped exercising for a few days but went running last night (6 miles) and its back again.

My shoes are asics gel nimbus 11's which I've had for over a year. Done about 500 miles in them with no issues. Does this sort of injury sound like its down to the age of the trainers?

What suggestions do you have to releive the pain as I've got the LVM this yearz

My budget to purchase new shoes is very limited.


24/02/2012 at 11:51

Hi Sarah

I have had 2 sports massges so far on this campaign with 1 more due at the end of March to help ease the muscles, particuarly my calves as I have had a couple of issues with cramp in a marathon. Are there any exercises/stretches I can do to compliment the massages and if so how often should these be done? I have also noticed my calves are a bit tighter generally. Thanks.

24/02/2012 at 12:02


 i did a short 4 mile run 2 weeks ago and notice slight pain in my left knee the day after, went out to do 13 miles last saturday, it started to niggle at 5ish and by 10.5 I couldn't run on it all, by the time I walked back I couldn't put any real pressure on it. Had 2 sports massages this week and the pain has allievated did a a test run of 3 miles last night, it went through a range of different pain levels and today I can definetly feel it! The lasy who did my massages said it was too much pressure??? I'm not sure. The pain is all round the knee cap with more pain to the left side of it today - any advice greatly appreciated have mk half next sunday!! Thanks Sian

24/02/2012 at 12:25
Hi Sarah,

How important is stretching and regular sports massages in injury prevention? I know runners who do both and still get injured and I know runners who do neither and don't get injured. What would you advise?


24/02/2012 at 12:38

Hi Sarah

Do you have any view on whether yoga or pilates is best to help maintain flexibility and work on my core strength.  Would one be better than the other in terms of running benefit?  Realistically I only have time to do one or the other and enjoy both. Or should I do maybe one session of each per week? Would I still improve my proficiency if I mix and match?

Thank you


24/02/2012 at 12:53

Hi Ash Mann,

If you've hurt you're hip you need to look at the cuase, was it a sudden injury ie pulled muscle if so then could take 4-6 weeks to settle with a stretch and strengthening programme. Or more likely a gradual onset where the wrong forces are on the muscle causing it to overwork ie because the pelvis and lower back are tight and out of line and the gluts aren't working properly.

have you had an physio assessment? If not i would think about it. also try some core work activating the gluts with bridging and plank to take the pressure of the adductor.

Hope that helps


24/02/2012 at 12:56

Hi Alice,

it sounds like you may have a very samll tear in the meniscus inside the knee and it catches when you kneel or squat. i prob wouldn't do anything with it at this stage as not causing any pain.

good to do genereal knee circuits to keep the knee strong ie small sqauts and lunges.


24/02/2012 at 12:59

Hi Jamie,

it sounds like you have issues with your core and your biomechanics, you are prob ok on shorter runs but when you wind up on the long ones the core gets more tired the pelvis drops and this causes the knees to turn in more.

you need to check your trainers and make sure you have the correct ones for your gait and they are giving you enough support a good running shop will do this for you. you also need to start some strength work and core to give you the inner strength to hold your form when you run further.

A general circuit is a good starting point squats lunges calf raises plank bridging try twice a week 3 sets of 20.

Good luck


24/02/2012 at 13:01

What are your thoughts on the minimalist running revolution?

i've been struggling with medial knee pain for approx 12 months, following an impact injury whilst playing football, that is severely effect my ability to do a decent amount of mileage.

I've had physio and a biomechanical assessment which resulted in being prescribed orthotics, but still have an annoying niggle.

 i'm now considering going down the minimalist route (admittedly after reading the barefoot 'bible' "Born to Run") to see if evolution can cure me!


24/02/2012 at 13:05

Hi lfc runner

have you done any rehab to strengthen the torn hamstring? You need to specifically strengthen a muscle if torn and stretch it as it heals with scar tissue which is inelastic.

Try some prone (on front) hamstring kicks to start with lying on stamach kicking heel to bum slowly then increasing speed.

This can also be done in standing. try some bridging to see if the gluts rae working or are the hamstrings doing all the work shouldn't feel them doing a bridge. If this is the case your hamstrings have been overworking which is the cause of the tear and you need to also work on your core.

You also need to strtech the quads and hip flexors and if these are tight then the knees can be sore.

try the Thomas stretch and see if legs hang to a straight line or are hips tight and knee lifted.

thses exercises should all be on the website if not Alice can you put them up again!



24/02/2012 at 13:07

Hi Lady 1

sorry no great tips for this other than vaseline over the toes or try and see if a shoe slightly bigger helps


24/02/2012 at 13:10

HI Sarah

For a couple of months now i've been getting lower back pain and stiffness around there and down the back of my legs beginning about 10 mins into a run, it eases off around 50mins in and dissappears completely after about an hours running.

Obviously those first 50mins are not much fun - any tips/advice?


24/02/2012 at 13:12

Hi Sarah,

 Thanks for the advice and info. I have been doing some core exercises for a few weeks now, which I'm hoping has contributed to my hip not giving me as much trouble.

As for trainers, my current pair are 'off the shelf' trainers, so I will definitely be investing in some gait analysis to get the correct pair next time. I'm running the Milton Keynes Half a week on Sunday, so it's probably a bit too late to be getting new trainers for that race.

 Thanks again,


1 to 20 of 51 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW competitions

RW Forums