After a cold, dark and seemingly endless winter – especially irksome if you’re a runner in training – dreary February has finally given way to hopeful March. Which means that spring (hopefully!) and the all-important race/marathon season are both around the corner. And with the London Marathon less than two months away, you’re probably already stepping up your training regime.
As a runner, you’re susceptible to all sorts of injuries and complaints. Among the most common are the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis, painful inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of the foot (and particularly nasty first thing in the morning), or Achilles tendonitis. This manifests itself as pain and tenderness in the heel and along the Achilles tendon (actually the thickest tendon in the human body) and is the bane of up to two thirds of runners.
Get to grips with leg pain
On a practical level, there are a couple of simple self-help measures that you can try:
- First and foremost, take an immediate break from training;
- Apply ice regularly to the painful area for the first 48-72 hours to reduce swelling.
Some sufferers find that wearing orthotics (supportive shoe inserts that lift the heel) and swapping flats for low-heeled shoes helps to ease pain and pressure. It’s never a bad idea to take a good, hard look at your training footwear too, in case it needs replacing. And gentle, stretching exercises, such as the heel drop (devised by Swedish sports doctor Dr Hakan Alfredson) that comprises three sets of 15 heel drops twice daily over three months, are often recommended to stretch and strengthen the affected tendons.
Give low-level laser therapy a go
Over time, most such treatments will provide some relief, but what if you had access to a quicker, more effective and long-lasting therapy? Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) could be the answer. It’s a pain-free, non-invasive treatment that involves a low-power light beam being placed on the injured area. The light stimulates repair by cellular organelles (specialized structures within a cell that carry out a particular function) called Mitochondria, thereby reducing pain and promoting a speedier, safer recovery.
Treatment times are relatively short and many patients report encouraging results within two or three sessions.
LLLT is used widely by osteopaths in the United States and is gaining ground here in the UK, alongside general osteopathic techniques, as a successful treatment for sports injuries, Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, back pain, various types of arthritis and many other conditions.
At Robin Kiashek Clinics we’ve been using LLLT for over 10 years with patients reporting great improvements to their symptoms. If you’d like to find out more about it then there is some useful information on our website, including a video explaining how it works.So if pain has stopped play when it comes to your exercise regime then why not contact me to see if LLLT could get you back up and, quite literally, running?