Press & Media

Sydney Physio Solutions in the media

The expert physiotherapists from Sydney Physio Solutions appear regularly in the media, both print & digital.

Following is a selection of items which have appeared recently …

From the North Shore Times, Thursday January 12th 2017

New treadmill lightens the load

Anti-gravity technology to help arthritis sufferers

by Declan Byrne

A slice of NASA has come to Chatswood, but not in the form you might think.

The AlterG anti-gravity treadmill at Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions is helping people in the battle against arthritis after originally starting as an injury recovery tool for elite athletes.

Allowing therapists to alter a patient’s weight to just 20 per cent of the total, the AlterG has proved a useful tool in the arsenal of company director and Chatswood local, Alex Nicholson.

“The AlterG is an anti-gravity treadmill that allows us to unload someone by up to 80 per cent of their body weight whilst they walk or run,” he said.

“It is important for patients with osteoarthritis to keep moving, however weight-bearing can be painful and therefore restrict their capacity for exercise. By reducing the amount of weight-bearing, the AlterG allows patients to walk or run with minimal impact on their joints.”

Osteoarthritis plagues more than 1.8 million Australians, including 65-year-old Colleen Gray.

“I would usually avoid treadmill-type exercise due to the impact on my joints, but the AlterG felt great. It provided a wonderful feeling of lightness,” she said.

The AlterG requires the user to put on special pants before zippering into the antigravity bag where air is circulated to create the reduced level of gravity.

Currently used by a host of professional sporting clubs, Mr Nicholson said he was pleased to be able to offer local sporting clubs the chance to use the AlterG.

“Having grown up in Chatswood …and played sport with many of the local teams, I’m excited to be able to bring this revolutionary technology to the area,” he sa

 

1. Managing Director, Dr Brad McIntosh is on the Expert Panel at Women’s Fitness Magazine.

Following are a selection of articles contributed by Brad.

Fascia1

IT’S SUDDENLY COOL, LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT IT, it’s everywhere… but what is it, what does it do and how can you get one?

If you’re not sure what I’m going on about, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I asked 10 of my patients over a week what they knew about fascia, and apart from a builder telling me it was the bit that wraps around your house just below the roof line, no one had much of an idea! So, here we go with a quick 101 on this all-important body system that we’re just beginning to understand.

Fascia is everywhere throughout our bodies and to say it connects everything is not overstating things. It wraps around our muscles, bones and organs, it cushions our spine (discs are considered part of the fascial system), it holds our joints together (aka ligaments), and it connects our muscles to bones (tendons are part of it, too). Science pretty much ignored it for a long time as it appeared to just be the packing material and not that important to how our bodies function. We focused on the bones, the muscles, the tendons, the organs and the nerves, and sort of lost sight of the fact that they’re all connected.

Yep, we were wrong… big time. Researchers are now realising that because of its connectedness, the fascial system is able to provide our brains with an immense amount of information. Think of it like the world wide web of the body, constantly providing feedback about where our bodies are and how we’re moving. But it’s not only an information source, it’s also a ‘spring’, and when it works well it allows efficient and powerful transfer of forces throughout your body.

Want to jump higher, run faster, be more agile? Then a healthy fascial system should be high on your list of priorities. And when it’s not healthy and not working well, we can see all kinds of things go wrong. For example, have you ever wondered why you have more problems on one side of your body than the other? And for some reason your sore foot got better but then your hip started to hurt and then you got a stiff neck and felt like your whole body was falling apart? Fascia is a big part of the reason for this domino effect, as an injury to one part of your body will mean changes to other parts of the system. Follow these key principles that’ll prevent this from happening and lead to a healthy and happy fascial system…

■ CHOOSE FUNCTIONAL AND VARIED EXERCISE: Mix up your workout routines and pick exercises that use the whole body in natural patterns. This will work the built-in chains that exist in the body and ensure the fascial system is being strengthened. Think dancing, CrossFit or martial arts.

■ GET ADEQUATE REST: The fascial system is like a sponge. It draws water in when it’s resting and then squeezes water out when it’s working. Without rest, the tissue becomes dry and brittle and is more likely to ‘break’.

■ MYOFASCIAL RELEASE: Bad posture at work, too much sitting and too much stress can all lead to ‘knots’ or tight spots in the fascia. A good manual therapist will use techniques like dry needling and active release therapy to rid you of these little gremlins, or a good dose of self-mobilisation with a foam roller or massage ball can also be effective.

■ GOOD HYDRATION: Like resting, maintaining adequate hydration is an important part of keeping your fascia moist, malleable and out of trouble. Most Australians drink less than the recommended daily water intake of about two litres, so boost your H2O.

■ RELAXATION: Bad stress can have the impact of increasing tone or activation in your muscles and fascia. When this activity is maintained for long periods, the important rest and rehydration cycle is disrupted. Take the stress down with relaxation strategies, breathe easy and give your fascia a break!

Muscle Mayhem

Muscles

 THEY’RE USUALLY EASY-GOING AND FUN TO BE WITH, keeping you on the move and looking good. No, we don’t mean your personal trainer, we’re talking about your muscles. The same ones you hit hard with tough workouts, hot yoga and Friday night dance-offs. So it’s no wonder they sometimes repay you with odd (and ouchy) behaviour: quivers, cramps, aches and pains are all weird ways your muscles like to tell you how they’re doing. But what exactly is going on when they chuck a wobbly – literally, mid-workout – or seize up afterwards, leaving you walking like you’ve aged 50 years? Most of the time, they’re checking in with good news or a reminder to put your feet up. Read on to find out how to decipher your muscles’ chat.

MUSCLE STRAINS  Muscles don’t like surprises! Strains or tears usually happen when your muscle is stretched one way and you suddenly contract it to go in a different direction… but not all the fibres got the memo. Some or lots of the fibres can strain or even break, leaving you with a painful injury. Cue quality time with your couch and a bag of frozen peas for the RICE routine (that’s the rest, ice, compression and elevation scenario).

SORT IT: Muscles might not like surprises but they do love being warmed up before you ask them to perform to their max. Dr Sharon Hetherington, exercise physiologist from Exercise & Sports Science Australia, says a warm-up is important because it means your heart pumps harder, sending more blood and oxygen through your muscles, actually making them warmer for when you really need them. Build up to your exercise goals slowly and you’ll face less time on the couch nursing a strain and more where you want to be – out there working up a sweat.

NEXT-DAY ACHES  How can an hour of Pilates one day mean hobbling down stairs the next? Those sore quads are caused by your old friend DOMS – that’s delayed onset muscle soreness – and while it can make you feel 100 years old, it’s a positive sign that you’ve been working hard. “When you exercise your muscles, you break them down, and get these micro tears,” explains Dr Hetherington. “In a way you’re damaging them for a good reason. You’re overloading the muscles and exerting them so they grow stronger, and that’s good!” Your body sends chemicals to try to repair the muscles, causing swelling and soreness the next day and beyond. It’s these products that your body uses to heal itself that cause you to walk like a cowgirl, post-exercise.

SORT IT: Collapsing onto the couch for a restorative sesh of Married at First Sight might seem the perfect way to wrap up a hard workout, but it’s also a good way to sign up for extra aches the next day. Instead, keep moving after your workout, and drink lots of water to help flush out the inflammation. “Do some active recovery like swimming or walking to help rid your body of the products that are broken down when you have been exercising the muscle,” says Dr Hetherington.

STITCHED UP  One minute you’re powering through a 5km run, next you’re holding your side because of a weird stabbing pain. A stitch is a great way to kill a good exercise vibe, and – sorry to be the bearer of bad news – scientists don’t really know why we get them, but they tend to happen when you’re tired or dehydrated.

SORT IT: A good warm-up, drinking enough water (without overdoing it) and skipping that heavy meal half an hour before exercising are all worth a try to avoid a stitch. If it does strike, take the intensity down a notch and try to walk it off. Happily, the fitter you get, the less stitches you’re likely to get!

SUDDEN CRAMPS  There’s nothing quite like the pain of a cramp to pull you up mid-workout. It’s a sudden, strong contraction of a muscle, usually in the foot, calf, quad or hamstring. We know how they feel, but what causes cramps is a bit of a mystery. Possible culprits include shallow breathing, tiny tears in muscles, dehydration, exhaustion or an electrolyte imbalance, says WF physiotherapist Brad McIntosh.

SORT IT: “They’re hard to prevent, but ensuring that you get adequate rest, remain hydrated, eat a balanced diet and stay fit will help,” he tips. When a cramp strikes, try to gently stretch it out and hold for 30 seconds, says McIntosh. If the pain comes straight back, hold the stretch for another 30 seconds. When you’re ready to get back to work, take it easy – your muscle could be vulnerable. “A cramp does make the muscle more susceptible to strain immediately after and for the next 24-48 hours,” McIntosh adds.

JELLY LEGS  We’ve all been there – you’re killing it in the weights room and you’re about to smash a PB. You load up the bar and go for a squat and… suddenly, you’re dealing with major butt quivers and embarrassing leg shakes. Your trembling body is a sign your muscles are getting really tired, which means the contractions that hold you in the move have become a bit patchy. “When you send a message to a muscle to contract, chemicals are released and one part of the muscle slides past another, causing it to shorten,” says McIntosh. “When the muscle fatigues, or the intensity of the exercise is too great, the contraction falters and the muscle quivers.”

SORT IT: It might look strange, but it’s normal for your muscles to wobble when you put them under enough stress. The good news is, the more you train them, the less they’ll shake. “Quivering is a signal that you’re challenging a muscle and this will ultimately make it stronger,” says McIntosh. “However, be aware that you’re ‘near the limit’, and if you push the muscle too much you can cause damage.” Your new rule for leg day? When the shakes start, it’s time to call it.

Snooze Control

Find out how to tweak your sleep style for a great night’s rest.

Sleep

WHEN YOU CRASH INTO BED at the end of a long day, you probably don’t waste any time curling into the position that’s guaranteed to send you drifting off to La-La Land. You might throw yourself onto your back, flop on your tummy, curl up into a ball, or throw your own unique shape involving a precise configuration of pillows and well-positioned limbs. Although you won’t stay that way till sunrise – studies show the average person switches positions a dozen times a night – your favoured sleeping style can have both positive and negative effects on your body. Before you start to panic that your signature pretzel pose has done irreparable damage, rest assured that it’s never too late to make adjustments or teach your bod to adopt a new sleep position. “You can’t change it overnight, but it can be done,” says WF physiotherapist Brad McIntosh. Want to know what your nocturnal posture has been doing to your bod? We spoke to the experts to find out…

Back to basics Back sleeping is often touted as the Holy Grail of healthy slumber, and it certainly does have its benefits. “In terms of the positioning of the spine, head, neck and shoulders, this is a good choice for many people, especially if they can prop up their knees a bit to normalise the curve in the low back,” says McIntosh. “That said, some people with specific conditions such as osteoarthritis in the neck will find sleeping on their back uncomfortable.” You might also want to avoid snoozing supine if you’re known for sawing logs all night. “You’re more likely to snore if you sleep on your back, which can be quite disconcerting for your bed partner,” says Dr Delwyn Bartlett, health psychologist and sleep specialist at the University of Sydney’s Woolcock Institute. It can even be downright dangerous for those who suffer from sleep apnoea, a disorder affecting five per cent of Australians that causes the walls of the throat to constrict and breathing to stop up to several hundred times a night. “If you have sleep apnoea and you sleep on your back, your airway is more likely to partially or completely close,” explains Dr Bartlett. “This is particularly true when you go into dream sleep, or REM sleep, because your body is semi-paralysed. So the combination of back sleeping and dream sleep increases your risk of episodes of stopped breathing and heart problems.”

Tummy time Sleeping face-down might be super-comfy, but it can add up to an achy body. “Stomach sleeping places the lower back in an unnatural position by flattening out the curve and it can aggravate many low-back conditions,” explains McIntosh. “Keeping your head in a rotated position for extended periods can also worsen neck problems and pain. And stomach sleepers who put one or both arms above their head often end up with pain in their shoulder as well as the muscles and joints around it.” Those face-down dozes could also kibosh all your beauty-sleep efforts by creating a particularly nasty type of wrinkle known as “sleep lines”. “When the skin is repeatedly folded due to pressure from a pillow, it can eventually lead to a crease,” says specialist dermatologist Dr Chris Kearney. “The most common sites are the sides of the face and the forehead, and the lines are usually vertical as opposed to the usual horizontal expression lines.” To avoid them, sleep in a position that doesn’t put pressure on your face, such as on your back. “Alternatively, using a low-friction pillowcase material [such as satin] may reduce traction on the skin and stop the skin folding,” suggests Dr Kearney. Hey, it’s not all bad news: sleeping on your stomach can diminish snoring and a small study conducted in Turkey found that it might also help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnoea.

Side angles Love snoozing on your side? You’re in luck. A study conducted in South Australia found that side sleeping resulted in less neck, shoulder and arm pain, as well as higher sleep quality, than any other sleep position. And researchers in South Korea also found that it significantly decreased the number of airway obstructions in sleep apnoea sufferers. “I’m generally happy for my clients to sleep on their sides, particularly with a pillow or a specially designed bolster placed between their knees to even up the position of their hips and pelvis,” says McIntosh. “I do try to get people out of the habit of tucking one leg up and over the other because that causes an unnatural rotation through the lower back.” What about those who prefer to curl up in the soothing foetal position? “While it isn’t exactly the natural contour of the spine, it’s not a bad position,” McIntosh adds. “But if you have a problem with a spinal disc, this position could aggravate it. Your best bet is to consult a professional who will identify your specific issues and figure out the best sleep position for you.” If you’re not particularly attached to one side, there’s evidence that sleeping on your left has benefits. A study at Stanford University in the US found that it can improve heartburn caused by acid reflux, and it’s the preferred sleeping position when you’re pregnant. “As the baby grows, lying on your back can put a lot of pressure on a major vein and make you feel quite faint,” says Dr Bartlett. “Lying on your left side is generally best because it improves blood flow to the baby,” adds McIntosh.

Brad McIntosh shares his top tips

1. PILLOW PROP “Allow four weeks to retrain your sleep position, using pillows around your body to encourage the right pose.”

2.  ON THE BALL “If you’re a stomach sleeper who wants to flip over, tape a ping-pong ball to your sternum. You’ll be amazed how quickly you change that habit!”

3.  SWAP SIDES “ Every three or six months, change sides of the bed. It will alter your sleeping position, which is good for you.”

Shin Splints

“I can feel shin splints coming on. How do I prep my body to run without damaging my shins even more?”

There are a number of different structures that can cause shin splints, but mostly the pain comes from the tendons that run along the shinbone or the bone itself. There are lots of potential causes, but by far the biggest issue is increasing your training too quickly. The body needs to adapt to new forces and generally it does this well, but if you hit it too hard, too fast, shin splints are a classic outcome. Other things to consider include poor running shoes, biomechanical issues such as your foot type and, of course, your running style. Your best bet is to go to a good running shoe shop to get advice on the appropriate shoe for you. Physios can assess your biomechanics and style and provide personalised suggestions on how to avoid injury. It’s worth the investment!

Ankle Rehabilitation

“If there’s a part of my bod I’ve overtrained  (running ruined my ankles), is it possible to strengthen the area again?”  

The good news is, most   injuries can be rehabilitated to allow you to train again, as long as the cartilage or “soft bone” of the joint is still in good shape. With ankles, the key is the “three   S’s” – stability, strength and support. For stability, do balance work on one leg. If it gets easy, try standing on a soft surface like a pillow. Strengthen your ankles with calf raises, and support your feet and ankles with the right shoes, matched to your running style by an expert. With that under control, build up your running slowly and enjoy the freedom of getting back out on the road!

 

3 Ways to Protect Your Joints in CrossFit

It’s controversial, but there’s a lot of concern over injury rates in CrossFit. There’s no definitive data to make the case that CrossFit is any more dangerous than other forms of exercise, however, year on year, there are more people participating in CrossFit – and     that means more injuries.

The problem with CrossFit is simple – there is very little control over who is giving you advice. And like all exercise forms that grow in popularity quickly (250 affiliate gyms in 2007 to more than 10,000 today), there are trainers who know what they’re doing and there are those who don’t. So, the issue is not with the exercise itself, but with how it’s applied. Here’s what you can do to look after yourself:    

1. The single most important way to protect your joints and practise CrossFit safely is to find a top-quality gym and an experienced trainer. It’s like getting financial advice – you need to find an expert you can trust.

2. Don’t be afraid to talk to your trainer if you’re finding the exercises too hard. Many of the movements are complex and need to be taught properly and progressed     appropriately to avoid injury.

3. If you start to hurt, don’t just bang on and take a ‘no pain, no gain’ approach. If your     trainer is smart and well-trained, they’ll point you in the direction of a good physio to assess the injury and get on top of it before it becomes a major issue.

2. Brad also contributes regularly to Fairfax media.

His articles appear in various publications …

How to Avoid Injury in the Lead up to the SMH Half Marathon

SMH-Half

Whether you’re ticking your first half off the bucket list, or you’re a seasoned distance runner shooting for a PB, there’s no doubt that preparation is the key. This applies to achieving your running goal and also to avoiding injury while you build up for an event like the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.

Here are my top five tips for getting to the starting line in one piece:

1. Pick your training plan early and stick to it

Some studies suggest that up to 80 per cent of running injuries are the result of training errors. The factors you need to consider are mileage, terrain, speed and frequency. I’ll go out on a limb and say that having a good plan that slowly builds these variables up is the single most important factor in avoiding a running injury. Whether you get your programme from a running coach, sports medicine professional or a good online program, get onto it and be consistent. The body is awesome at adapting, as long as you give it the chance.

2. Don’t just run to get ready, cross-training is crucial

This is particularly true if you’re relatively new to running these sorts of distances. The more experienced you are, the less cross-training you may want to do, as it can inhibit your performance. But, if you’re fairly new to the road, break your training up with other pursuits like swimming, cycling or the cross-trainer. By increasing your fitness with different muscle actions and different stresses on your legs, you’re less likely to develop an overuse injury. Have some fun with it. It’s quite nice to change it up a little.

3. Give yourself some rest, eat well and get the odd massage

I lump these together because they relate to good recovery.  And not just recovery of your body, but also recovery of your mind.  Your cells need the right amount of rest and nutrition to bounce back, but equally, you need to feel energised and ready to take on an event like a half marathon. If you’re feeling tired and unmotivated, there’s a good chance your training will suffer and you will injure yourself. Make sure you have a massage every now and then. Research suggests it doesn’t help much with recovery of the body, but it feels good and definitely helps the psyche.

4. Do some regular strength and stability work

There’s no doubt that if you’re stronger and more controlled in your movement, you’re less likely to get injured. Do Pilates or yoga once a week, some dedicated resistance training with weights or body-weight a couple of times a week, and some good, basic core control exercises on a regular basis.

5. Get advice early if you think you have an injury

If something hurts for more than two days, or if it’s clearly getting worse, get advice early. See a good physio and get straight onto it.  I can tell you from both professional and personal experience that it’s much easier to rehabilitate an injury when it’s a few days old rather than after it has taken hold.

I can’t say this is an all-encompassing list, but if you get these elements right, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of an injury getting in the way of your preparation. Other things to think about include wearing the right footwear and your running style. Get some good advice on these things too and you will be well on the way to success. Good luck!

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 4.16.23 PM

Five Simple Ways to Relieve Neck Pain

Neck-pain

We all know that basic workplace ergonomics can support a healthy neck. If we keep our desk at elbow height, our computer screen at eye-level and our feet flat on the floor we should be fine, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. In fact, Australians suffer from high levels of neck pain and it’s consistently rated as one of the top five causes of disability. So what can be done to reduce work-related neck issues?

1. Get up and move

Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health. Even when you have the correct posture, sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and even mortality. It should come as no surprise that it can also be detrimental to your neck.

Sit-to-stand desks encourage movement and are a great place to start if the option is available. Try to alternate between sitting and standing every hour throughout the day. If you don’t have access to a sit-to-stand desk, set a reminder to stand up every 45 minutes and have a short stretch or walk.

2. Stay fit

Engaging in regular exercise and physical activities outside of the office has been shown to decrease neck pain and headaches. You don’t need to spend hours exercising. If you’re short on time, high intensity interval training is a great way to get results quickly.

3. Manage work stress

Many of us are aware that stress can lead to neck pain and tension headaches. When we stress our shoulder and neck muscles tighten, resulting in discomfort. Everyone gets stressed from time to time, but if it’s causing problems it’s important to resolve it before it gets out of control. Exercise, meditation and breathing are all great techniques for reducing stress.

4. Breathe

Take two minutes and try this… as you sit there reading, feel how much tension there is in your neck and shoulder muscles. Now concentrate on breathing deep down into your stomach so it moves in and out with each breath. How’s the tension in your neck and shoulder muscles now? Can you feel the difference?

These muscles aren’t meant to work all day to do your breathing for you, but we get stuck in a negative pattern and forget what’s actually meant to happen. Practice diaphragmatic breathing and you’ll find that a lot of your neck tension will disappear.

5. Don’t look down

Research suggests that looking down for extended periods of time increases the forces passing through your neck by 600%. The more you look down, the more likely you are to have neck problems. Keep this in mind when you’re reading a book or looking at your smartphone and aim to keep your ears in line with your shoulders.

 

 3. Physiotherapist Stuart Baptist Speaks about Men’s Health.

Stuart was interviewed on radio about his involvement with Men’s Health. Stuart is a leader in the field of guided exercises for pre and post prostatectomy patients.

The interview can be accessed here: http://www.2ser.com/component/k2/item/21506-males-need-to-work-on-pecs-and-pelvic-floor and also on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/think-health/id1086878738?mt=2

4. Man to Man – Men’s Health

This article appeared  in the Inmotion Magazine November 2015

Stu_media

5. Ultrasound Imaging in Assessment of the Male Patient with Voiding Dysfunction

Our Senior Physiotherapist and Director of Sydney Men’s Health Physiotherapy, Stuart Baptist co-authored a chapter in the above book.

Ultrasound imaging is often performed in the assessment of the male patient with lower urinary symptoms and voiding dysfunction. The male pelvis can be imaged by transabdominal, transperineal and transrectal approaches. This chapter covers the application of transabdominal and transperineal ultrasound in the assessment of voiding dysfunction in the male patient with technical tips for clinicians and case studies covering topics of voiding dysfunction, post-prostatectomy incontinence, male slings and physiotherapy.

Read more of this article published as Chapter 4 in Pelvic FloorUltrasound 2015.

http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-04310-4_4

6.  Check here to see a Youtube clip from a talk given by Stuart Baptist at the San Hospital

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/fitness/how-to-run-and-stay-injury-free/story-fneuzle5-1226686650373

7. How to run and stay injury free

Marathons can be great for fitness but injuries are common

Marathons can be great for fitness but injuries are common  Picture: Craig Golding Source: News Limited

RUNNING can do wonders for stress and fitness levels but it can come with a long list of potential injuries too.

Here, Brad McIntosh, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy, reveals the latest preventative methods to keep you on your feet and injury free at any distance.

Fun run

Problem: shin splints

If you’ve just started training, you are at greater risk of developing shin splints. Your muscles, tendons and bones are yet to adapt to the stresses of running, and although there are many contributing factors, rapidly increasing your training is the number one cause of shin splints, says McIntosh.

How to prevent it

“Start your training well in advance of an event and don’t increase your total mileage by more than 10-15 per cent per week.

If you are a beginner, leave at least one day between runs to allow the body to heal.”

Problem: blisters

“Nothing gets in the way of an enjoyable fun run faster than the dreaded blister. “Like the other tissues in the body, your skin needs to adapt to the forces of running and often it’s the skin that lets you down first,” notes McIntosh.

How to fix it

“The size and shape of your shoe needs to be perfect so it’s a good idea to be professionally fitted at a running shop.
Try wearing two pairs of socks so the friction occurs between the layers rather than between the sock and your skin.
Spray antiperspirant on your feet for a couple of weeks. Research shows this strategy is successful in reducing blisters in runners.”

Half Marathon

Problem: tendon problems

Problems with the Achilles tendon (from the back of the heel to the lower calf muscle) are one of the most common injuries seen in sports medicine practice says McIntosh. “Not only are they common, they can take a long time to heal on their own and often don’t heal with rest alone,” he says.

How to fix it

“Research shows the best way to heal a damaged Achilles tendon is by exercising it. To do this, perform a calf raise on both feet, then lift one foot off the ground and lower down on the affected foot. Aim for about 180 reps per day and add some resistance if appropriate,” McIntosh says.

Marathon

Problem: chafing

As you start to move into the longer distances, chafing can become an undesirable side effect we often forget to prepare for. Almost anything that moves can chafe, particularly the underarms, the singlet on the nipples and of course the inner thigh.

How to prevent it

“Don’t wear anything new, including shoes, socks, and underwear with a raised seam as this can rub on your skin.
Apply plenty of Vaseline to the underarms, nipples and inner thigh,” says McIntosh.

Problem: hyponatremia and dehydration

Two of the biggest problems for long distance athletes are dehydration and hyponatremia, and although some of the symptoms can be fairly similar, they are very different.

Dehydration occurs when you loose excessive amounts of body fluids through sweat. However hyponatremia occurs when the salt levels in the blood fall to a low-level, and the condition is exacerbated by drinking excessive fluids, says McIntosh. “It is dangerous, with severe cases leading to brain swelling, seizures and other life-threatening complications,” he says.

How to prevent it

“During a marathon, drink regularly, preferably sports drinks, and when thirsty, but don’t force yourself to drink fluids. Drink less if you start to feel sick and have a liquid ‘sloshy’ feeling in your stomach. Weigh yourself before the run and write your pre-race weight on your bib. If you have any trouble at the end of the run this will be useful information for the medical staff,” McIntosh says.

Don’t slam the fluids down at the end of the run as this is when the risk of hyponatremia is high. Nibble on some food and sip a sports drink slowly until you feel recovered.”

For more lifestyle stories go to bodyandsoul.com.au

Running assessment with latest technology

Keen to improve your running performance and prevent injuries? Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions is offering the first 50 competitors to contact us a half price comprehensive running assessment using Dorsa-Vi, the latest movement analysis technology. A discount of $70, this is appropriate for all runners regardless of whether you are injured or not. Offer must be redeemed by June 30, 2015.

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