Ask the Experts: Marathon Injury Prevention Q+A with Sarah Connors

If you've got any aches or niggles, then Sarah’s Connor’s here to help

21 to 40 of 64 messages
18/03/2011 at 13:39

Hi ya Sarah,

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 any there any simple exercises you can recommend me,  to try and straighten  


3).  I keep falling in races I have been told by a runner it is to do with my balance.  Is that correct?

           Thank you very much.


18/03/2011 at 13:41

Hi Ferrous,

 I'm an advocate of stretching I stretch before I run and if I get a chance at another time. I think running is such a wind up sport of the same muscles it's really good to unwind them. If cold starts slowly and stretch gently at first.

Hip flexors, hamstrings gluts and clafs are the key runners areas and try and do some lower back stretches too.

see the video on stretching for the key ones I use.


18/03/2011 at 13:43

Hi Kate,

the numbness in the cocyxx won't be coming from the pirifomis, you should get your back looked at by a physio and see what the cause of this is. Is there any pain at night or weakness around that arae?


18/03/2011 at 13:47

Hi Sarah

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 doesnt matter what shoes or socks I am wearing it is just very painful, there are no nasty after effects and the pain subsides when I stop, any ideas?

Many thanks


18/03/2011 at 13:47

Hi Ciaran,

you need to find the cause of your ITB tightness, is the TFL which is your hip flexor tight? Or are your gluts weak or are your shoes correct for you or worn out.

Do you use a foam roller on your TFL which is at the top of the ITB just to the front of the hip. This muscle pulls the ITB tight and overworks when the gluts fatigue. Bridging is a great exercise to strengthen your gluts and take some pressure of the TFL. I'm sure bridging is described earlier on this website.

Let me know your thoughts on the above.


18/03/2011 at 13:51

Hi Kevin,

when you talk about the outside of your shin do you mean the small bone that runs along the outside or the outer part of the tibia the large shin bone more at the front. If the second one can come from having to lift the foot more on a treadmill. It could just be a build up of forces and caused the start of a stress reaction in the bone. Is the bone tender to touch? Is there pain at rest or at night and any pain on hopping? Lots of these point to bone ie a stress reaction that needs rst and cross training.


18/03/2011 at 13:55

Hi Steven,

it sounds like its more of a dural (nerve ) pian coming form tightness in the lower back rather than just the muscle which is why you can't stretch it. Try and stretch the hip flexors first and do some gentle roration stretches for the lower back ie on back rotate one leg across the body to the floor. Then try lying on back with leg in the air and pull the foot down 3x10 to release the sciatic nerve, don't hold this position. Then try and strech the hamstring which should be easier. If no change try and see someone to mobilise your lower bcak then look at core work to strengthen the area.


18/03/2011 at 13:57

Hello Sarah

I got half way through training for a HM last year but got a groin injury (tendonopathy i think ) and stopped training.  I've been favouring the rest and hope it gets better approach but clearly not been working.  I went out for a 2 mile run a couple of weeks ago, first time in about 9 months, since the injury happened but still feel it achy.

can you recommend any stretches or a course of action i could try?  especially as i would like to try a half marathon mid-end june (and all going well, possibly a marathon later this year).

any comments or advice appreciated.



18/03/2011 at 13:57


The main pain is on the left side of the left knee. The Hip flexor is not tight. I have three pairs of shoes (brooks GTS) which i alternate on each run, and my gait has been checked. I can do squats and lunges and walk with out problem, 

I sometimesdoubt is is an IT Band issue and could be Lateral Collateral Ligamen issues as that is the location of the pain.

Post race I do the whole RICE sheebang and in a few days it is ok.

Thanks for the Bridging tips I'll add them to my daily routines



Edited: 18/03/2011 at 14:06
18/03/2011 at 13:59

Hi Moorunner,

you need to strengthen and stretch the area prior to running again so you know it will cope.

Try the usual calf stretches leaning into a wall then bend the knee. Then as thtas ok drop your heel down on a step.

To strengthen start with 2 feet calf raises on the ground nad progress to one leg as able, upto 3x 20 then go to a step and drop the heel and lift 2 legs then one, this will help you with the hills.

You can also try some circuits step ups squats lunges etc to help strengthen around the calf.

If you can hope pain free once done all that then you should be fine to run.


18/03/2011 at 14:03

Hi Nick,

 yes your right a scan would prob still be positive.

It's best to build up steadily the 10% rule is always a good one and don't increase training by more than this each week.

Have you found the cause of your stress fracture? Is it your mechanics were you wearing old shoes, did you build up to quickly. If you've eliminated the cause you'll feel more confident building up again.


18/03/2011 at 14:08

Hi Running bez,

I know you are having US but has anyone looked at your foot and ankle? There is normally stiffness in the subtalar joint and around the ankle causing abnormal mechanics and pain. Have you had your gait checked so you know the kayano is def the right shoe? I'm not sure if they have changed the heel cup I've got the new ones and love them but everyone is different. you def need to rule out and stifness in the foot. are you seeing a physio for the U?S ? make sure they are used to seeing running injuries and get that checked out.


18/03/2011 at 14:10


thanks for response.

Stuck to 10% rule....but have stopped increasing.

Cause - not shoes. Minor biomechanical issue of dropped 1st ray in foot of problem leg - have always used 'superfeet' orthotics. Brief experiment with other orthotics gave me 6 weeks of grief before ditching them.

Suspect cause was not enough rest after too many high mile weeks, and off-road 100k was simply too much. 

18/03/2011 at 14:13

Hi Hornchurch Hammer,

lots of these tightening of the muscles that you descibe come from the lower back it would make a huge difference to your quad if you had this mobilised the the hip stretched out. everything just gets tighter and tighter when training for a marathon, in fact I sponsor my friends with physio for that reason.

Try and do some bridhing to to try and activate the gluts further to take some load off the quads. the best way to trstch is called the Thomas stretch where you hang the hip over the edge of a bed with other leg pulled towrads you and get someone to try and gently stretch the quad. This is shown in the video of stretching in the steeple chase water jump pit.


18/03/2011 at 14:18
Thanks Sarah
The pain feels more like a bruise like sensation to the muscle on the outside of the main shin bone
The bone does not hurt at all and no pain when resting
Can feel pain when I stretch it by keeping heel on floor and lift the front of foot up. Can also feel pain when pushing my thumb into the muscle about half way between knee and ankle

18/03/2011 at 14:18

Thanks Sarah for your reply.

Couple of quick questiosn

Where can I find the video? Is it on this site?

I'll do the stretches and try and get as much in between now and Sundays run (and of course after that) With a tight quad what is the worst than can happen in my half (this Sunday) if I try and race through any tightness??

18/03/2011 at 14:18

Hi Liam,

have the chiros been helping you stretch the hip and back area out as this will relieve masses of the tension, it's important to get as free as possible before the race then you can keep going longer without pain, get them to focus on freeing you up more than laser. If you've done your 20 mile you should be fine training wise, try not to run with pain as this creates more inflammation.

hope that helps.


18/03/2011 at 14:23

Hi Victoria,

you won't have damaged your ACL as this is one of the stsbilising ligaments inside your knee normally injured in footabll or skiing.

you have prob got inflammtion of the ITB which is the long fibrous band that runs down the outside of the thigh, if this is tight it can pull the patella( kneecap )out of line and cause knee pain.

Yes def keep stretching the hip and foam roller the TFl soft fleshy bit at front of hip and alos try and get your lower back loosened off as well. Do this and try some easy running you need to know you are ok before you atsrt the race.


18/03/2011 at 14:24

Hi Sarah

 the pain is in both knees, just behind the knnecaps and both inside and outside(!)

18/03/2011 at 14:25

Thanks Sarah - I think my back is ok though they pointed out that my hips are tense (is that the correct phrase?!).  Anyway, I've got exercises for the hips but only one of the IT Bands - could you point me in the direction of any more?



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