After 6 Foot Track, my first long distance run (45k, 1,900m gain), I came back to training to eager, running 10k the Sunday after followed later that day by 90min of 11-a-side football (soccer). The result was serious knee pain that lasted 8 months.
During that time I searched for answers and relief going to numerous highly regarded physios and osteopaths. Most of them determined I had weak glutes and tight ITB but they offered little in the way of effective rehab other than weekly or twice weekly hands on treatment. And at $120 a go you can imagine that wasn’t exactly sustainable. I asked for advice on what to do and it was all very generic, I didn’t feel like I was getting much of a dedicated service or in the case where I did get exercises, they hurt and that clearly wasn’t a good thing! More on that below…
That all changed when I met Mike at Fix Physio. Recommended by my running buddy Andrea who after 6FT was in a similar situation, though he saw Mike earlier than me and hence at Tarawera when I was crying in pain (who can forget that sad face), he was fine, more than fine he was strong! That was all I needed to get me in to see Mike given 12 weeks out from Tarawera Andrea wasn't able to run much more than 6k pain free and there he was smashing out 50k without a slither of knee pain.
Mike did a thorough initial assessment and immediately identified that I was significantly weaker on my left side from my stomach down to my ankle. He said there was effectively a hole in my left glute where there should have been muscle! Gulp! Hence why every time I've gone to the Chiro he's had to straighten my hips with them being lower on the left. Mike also used the ultrasound to show me my muscle density around my abdomen showing a notable deficit on the left hand side and performed basic strength tests showing my left was significantly weaker than my right. He told me it was fixable but I was sceptical, until he did a simple test where we forced my glutes to activate (faking what they should do normally) and had me redo one of the simple strength tests. The result was crazy (good) and I could actually see the results I would get if I could strengthen my core muscles and get them firing!
But other than the diagnosis what sold me on Mike was the rehab program. He explained where I'd need to get to - single leg dead lifts, squats etc with weights but that I was a long way from getting there. In fact 3.5 months into the program and I've only just started these weighted single-leg exercises. This compares to one physio who had me doing these in week 2 and couldn't understand why I wasn't getting any better.
Mike and his team build you up from where your body is at the start and my left side was at a pretty low place to begin with. So we've built the program and progressed the exercises as my body has been capable to deal with the extra load. It takes dedication - I do 25-30min of strengthening every other day and have just finished a 6 week program of small group Pilates in the Fix Studio. But mostly I'm doing everything at home with some light weights and other standard small equipment (therabands, gym ball etc).
Of course it's still important to get regular hands on treatment to kneed out any tension & check for any imbalances. But this shouldn't be the bulk of your rehab it should support a comprehensive and targeted strengthening program.
The team at Fix not only understand bodies but they understand that we're not all the same. If you don't have access to a gym (like me) they'll modify the program for you and they assess your progress in the Pilates sessions and regularly adjust your program to both your body and your progress.
Finally after almost a year of issues, I’m feeling stronger and more confident about being (knee) pain free at UTA50. I’d highly recommend you check out the team at Fix Physio for any running (or non running) related pain.
I just wish I’d found out about them sooner! www.fixphysio.com.au