The Spartan Race – Bring it on

Over the next few weeks are bringing you a new blog series – Spartan Race ; preparation, action and recovery.  If you are not familiar with the concept of Spartan Racing then pop over to their website and watch the you tube clip. You will either be inspired or horrified depending on how you feel about the idea of crawling through mud on your belly.

Carl and Helen were inspired. So they’ve signed up for the Sydney race in just over a month and they’re going to share the journey with us. You’ll be hearing directly from them over the coming days, why they’re doing it and how they’re approaching it.

To help get them over the finish line in one piece (assuming that’s even possible) we’re injecting some physiotherapy support into the equation. So we’re kicking the series off with some commentary from Willis Street Physiotherapy.

Preparation : The First Physio Assessments

‘Although it seems that neither Helen or Carl have any serious issues that would impact on them completing the event, they both have niggles which stem from a combination of old historical issues which have been complicated by altered biomechanics (dysfunctional movement patterns and associated muscle imbalances), and the usual acute sprains and strains and injuries which you get when you are pushing your body hard.

Helen Assessment

Firstly Helen is generally hypermobile with relatively flexible knees, elbows and wrists.  Interestingly Helen’s issues seemed to be predominantly right sided.  In my opinion, a relatively more mobile right sacro-iliac joint contributing to a right sided patella tendon problem, increased tone in her right quadratus lumborum, and also affecting the movement patterning around her right gleno-humeral joint (shoulder) and scapula-thoracic joint (shoulder blade).  She did have a fall 2 years ago whilst snowboarding onto her coccyx (bum) which may also have contributed to this.  Also not surprisingly, considering this altered movement patterning, she also had intermittent neck tightness and headaches when bad.  I found her to have some stiffness around T4 and also around her right upper rib articulations.  I manipulated these areas for her today, for some relief, but she heeds to continue to work on her muscle imbalances for a more long-term solution.

Carl had also independently identified most of these issues, so Helen has been tailoring her program to help correct these problem areas.

However, I did add in a specific eccentric exercise to try to reduce the pain from probable degeneration of her right patella tendon.  I also reiterated what Helen, being a Naturopath, already knew – that is to ensure she has plenty of foods which encourage collagen strength and formation and healing over anti-inflammatory foods for this.  Studies have shown that the patella tendon problem is actually more from degeneration rather than from inflammation when it becomes chronic.

I also recommended massage from Barb to release the muscle imbalances in her right quadratus lumborum (lower back) as well as teres, infraspinatus and the subscapularis muscles, and the posterior capsule around her right shoulder.

I will see her weekly and let you know how we get on.

Carl’s Assessment

Carl assessment was more simple that Helen’s.  He only has had some discomfort across the front of his left ankle and foot, especially when doing longer runs.  This has been niggly for a few years but was particularly sore after straining it when his foot got stuck when running downhill a few months ago.  His examination revealed an apparent bony prominence and soft-tissue thickening across the front of the ankle and foot, and also that his left ankle was stiff and painful when dorsi-flexed (bent backwards) when loaded in weightbearing (as trying to get his knee to the wall).

This ankle also seemed to have a greater range of movement into plantar flexion (foot pointing) which I have seen with traumatic injuries to the ankle, but which Carl cannot recall ever happening, it would have been sore for some weeks if he had done this type of injury.  I have sent him off for an x-ray and will see if that reveals anything.

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