Ask a Physical Therapist

Image

What can be done for runner’s knee?

“Runner’s Knee is a broad term for pain around the knee cap. It can result from overuse injury (performing the same motion repeatedly); trauma to the knee such as falling on it; weakness; or other mechanical dysfunction from the hip, knee, and/or the ankle. It could also be a combination of any the above. If the cause is unknown, I would recommend an evaluation by a doctor and/or consult a physical therapist.

It is important to make sure you have good core control, hip strength, quad strength, hamstring strength, and ankle strength. It is also important to make sure the muscles that cross the knee joint are flexible such as the hamstrings, quads, and calf muscles. Over-tight muscles of the hip can also cause improper mechanics of the leg as it hits the ground.  Therefore, proper stretching of the hips would be recommended. As with any trauma or overuse injury, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is recommended until the inflammation is under control.  If physical therapy is recommended, an individual stretching and strengthening program will be put together, specific for that individual’s needs.  Other treatment that could be helpful include; kinesiotaping, McConnell taping, the Graston Technique, electrical stimulation for pain or muscle contraction, and ultrasound,” Kelly McCarthy, PT, DPT Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Davison.

Ask a Physical Therapist

Image

What is kinesiology taping?

You may have seen Olympic and celebrity athletes, like Kerri Walsh, wearing multicolored tape on their arms, legs or shoulders.  This breakthrough method is known as elastic taping or kinesiology taping.  Kinesiology taping helps relieve pain by lifting the skin, allowing blood to flow more freely to the injured area.  Faster blood flow means more oxygen and more lymph drainage.  This helps to remove lactic acid.  Not only does kinesiology taping increase circulation, but it also reduces muscle fatigue.    

Kinesiology tape is extremely strong and flexible.  It is, usually, made from 100% cotton and is latex free, which is good for those with allergies or sensitive skin.  The tape is applied in a specific pattern and is either stretched or not stretched, depending on the injury. Kinesiology tape can last anywhere from two to five days.  It can be worn swimming or in the shower, and it resists perspiration as well. 

“As a runner, kinesiotape can be very beneficial. It can be used for many different things including; joint stabilization, inhibiting muscles to relax from spasms or tension, stimulating muscles for better contraction and function, and reducing inflammation or swelling in a muscle or joint,” AnnMarie Jones, PT, DPT Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Clio.

Ask a Physical Therapist

Image

What is the Graston Technique?

“Graston is an instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) technique. The technique uses stainless steel instruments that have a 45 degree beveled edge to detect and treat soft tissue restrictions. Runners are susceptible to soft tissue restrictions due to the repetitive and strenuous nature of the sport. Graston is especially helpful for this population to keep them in their sport and recover quicker from injuries, because it is able to be more specific to the location of restriction. This in turn helps a patient heal quicker and more efficiently. Graston is often used in combination with stretching and stabilization exercises to encourage proper engagement of the tissue that is trying to heal and avoid further scar tissue accumulation. This technique is effective on all areas of the body with more common areas of treatment being the feet, IT band, and elbow,” Luci Harris, PT, DPT, OMPT Advanced Physical Therapy Center of Flint Clinic Director.

Ask a Physical Therapist

Image

What are some tips for running in the winter?

“I love running in the cold and snow, but cold weather running takes planning.  Here are some things that I do to make running in the cold great.   

Layering is a must.  To be perfectly honest, I am still trying to get this right, because I actually put on too much.  Recently, I received some advice from a long time runner, and he said to wear one less layer than you think you need.  If the weather is below 20 degrees, for my upper body, I start with a layer of active wear such as Cuddl Duds;  then a moisture wicking long sleeved tech shirt; then a jacket or heavier tech shirt;  and finally a wind jacket (usually my bright reflective one for good  visibility and safety).  For my lower body, I wear the Cuddl Duds pants, a winter running pant,  a pair of light wind/water resistant pants, high ankle wool socks, and  Gore-Tex running shoes that are waterproof.  On my face and head, I coat my forehead, cheeks, nose and chin with Aquaphor to protect against the wind and prevent chapping.  I also apply Chapstick on my lips.  I wear goggles or sunglasses to keep the wind out of my eyes  and a gator around my neck that I can pull up over my nose if the cold is really getting to me.  On my head, I wear a fleece hat to keep the top of my head warm or headband to protect my ears.  On my hands, I wear gloves or mittens (I have found that mittens keep my fingers warmer).  And finally, as the temperature drops, I will add another layer to my top or use hand and toe warmers. 

When it is snowy or slippery, I wear YakTrax over my shoes and shorten my stride to take small, safe steps.  

Even though it is cold, I still wear my fuel belt with water bottles to stay hydrated. 

When I am done, I take a few minutes to stretch my hamstrings, quadriceps and calves on each leg while I am still warm.  Then I get a bite to eat to replace protein, so my body does not break down muscle.  Finally, I reflect on what a beautiful and invigorating run I had,” Kim Turner, PT, CHT Advanced Physical Therapy Center, Co-Owner. 

Ask a Physical Therapist

BH-14-23317  retouching  TURNER

What are some tips for running in the heat?

“I love running in warm and hot weather, but there are things you need to keep in mind.  You need to know that you will be 10 degrees warmer when you run than the ambient temperature outside.  So if it’s a wonderful 70 degrees, it will feel like 80.  Therefore, water is key.  Always have a source of water to replenish what you are losing through sweat.
1. Hydration:   If your time running will exceed what you can carry on your fuel belt, have a plan to refill your water bottles.  When I was running my “training run” for my first half marathon, I had a friend meet me at the midway point (1 ¼ hour) at a designated spot to fill up my water bottles. 
2.  Wear tech gear.  Moisture wicking material is a must.  The old saying that “cotton is rotten” is true.  Cotton collects the weight of the lost fluid, and you end up carrying it on your skin. 
3. If you have new gear such as new running shoes, bra, top or shorts; don’t try it out on a long run or race. It could cause irritation and leave blisters.  For long training runs or races in the heat, try using a product like “Body Glide”.  It can really help to keep areas, such as your shoulder, where material tends to rub and cause chafing and bleeding. 
4.  On longer runs in the heat, it is good to have a snack to replace some of the sugar or electrolytes you lost. 
5.  After a run, use a cold wet towel to cool off your face, neck, and head.  And last on my personal checklist is to have a dry bath towel to put on your car seat, because you will be a sweaty but satisfied mess going home,” Kim Turner, PT, CHT Advanced Physical Therapy Center Co-Owner
.