If you run, you really should be on a first name basis with a good physiotherapist.
It’s not that running is so awful that you’ll for sure need medical treatment all the time, but distance running does put some stress on the body and a good physiotherapist is just the ticket to both getting, and staying injury free.
My physiotherapist, Adriana at Athlete’s Care Liberty Village, understands me as a runner and also knows my body well. I’ve been seeing her for various aches and pains and injuries since my bike accident where she was my go-to therapist leading up to, and after my second arm surgery.
Since then, I’ve returned for treatment and advice whenever I’ve found myself with an injury that was impacting my training in any meaningful way.
Why a physiotherapist?
While a doctor can provide diagnosis of whatever is ailing you, your physiotherapist will be concerned with providing diagnosis, along with effective treatment and management of injuries. A doctor will tell you to take Advil and rest until it feels better. A physiotherapist will create an active treatment plan that might include exercises, massage, acupuncture and even running.
It’s been my experience that seeing a physiotherapist regularly contributes to far faster recovery from injuries, and also a much quicker return to running.
My latest visit
I fell running on vacation about ten days ago and one of the first things I did when I got back home was to make an appointment with my family doctor to get things checked out. As usual, the doctor was not super helpful. While I got a good diagnosis of some bruised ribs and strained muscles, I didn’t get anything resembling a good treatment plan.
So today I went to see Adriana. From the moment I walked in to the clinic, it was clear that she was highly engaged and focused on getting me back to good health and running as soon as possible.
Her assessment included looking at how I was breathing and moving along with what movements were causing pain. She quickly diagnosed that I had some muscle strain in my diaphragm along with bruising to a few ribs. A knowledge of the physiology of the body and how the muscles and skeleton interact to create movement is key to seeing what isn’t working correctly and figuring out why.
Treatment today included a deep massage of the area, some stretching and some training for some home treatments to do on my own. I’ll go back Monday (and likely again later next week) to continue the treatment including acupuncture which I have found speeds healing. Adriana assures me that my marathon in just over six weeks is still doable and I should be feeling fine in time to get in a few more longer training runs.
That’s why I love having a good physiotherapist. Adriana knows how my body reacts to treatment and understands from experience how long it takes to recover from this type of injury. That experience allows her to put my mind at ease and provides me the reassurance that everything is going to be fine.
Where to find a good physiotherapist
If you run, especially if you run long, and you don’t have a good physiotherapist, then I strongly suggest you seek one out. Sometimes it’s easy to ignore little aches and pains like some mild shin splints or a touch of plantar fasciitis. But seeing a physiotherapist can speed healing and also give you ways to avoid those types of injuries in the first place.
Ask around your running group for recommendations. Many runners will have a favourite therapist that they will recommend to you. Shop around a bit as well. You want to have a good rapport with your physiotherapist and they should understand you as an athlete and not just as a patient.
Once you find a good one, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them.