Science is ALWAYS evolving, and techniques to better prepare you to attack your next goals are being developed. One area that has not changed is the general consensus that a solid warm up and priming of the areas to be challenged in the main workout is ESSENTIAL to reaching maximum potential and performance, or even avoiding injury.
Dynamic warm-up by definition is a “sequential series of movements performed prior to physical activity. It aims to increase blood flow to the muscles, increase functional mobility, maximize available flexibility of the entire body and prepare the body for activity”. Strategically choosing a combination of movements which prepare for running is how we will best be able to prevent running during this month’s project!
A combination of these exercises (knee hug + opposite calf raise, toy soldier walks, high knees, butt kicks, inch worms, fast high knees, forward skipping, back pedaling, and carioca) in 2 rounds should be a 5-8 minute routine that will prime the muscles throughout the trunk and legs to prepare for running.
The Styrofoam roll is a great tool that adds a component of deep tissue pressure to your stretching routine. The musculature of the thoracic and lumbar regions, the gluts, hamstrings, quadriceps, and gastrocnemius all respond well to this type of intervention.
Check out @PowerPhysicalTherapyandFitness on Facebook and Instagram for the full video demonstration. I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch the video of how to walk yourself through these techniques to help prepare for your next run!
How did I end up here? Well, that question is a loaded one and there are several ways to answer it. Let’s start at the beginning.
Every clinician’s favorite way to start a Patient Medical History is with a statement like “Way back in 1995, ….” 😉
So that is where we are going to begin, as a high school freshman, bright eyed and bushy tailed, fighting and clawing for a spot on the roster against a group of girls who were way out of my league on the basketball court, each practice I left everything on that court. Bucknell University, Kutztown University, Pittsburgh University, Philadelphia University, Pennsylvania State University, and St. Joseph’s University are just a few of the places those women landed playing in 4-5 different sports. Division 1 and 2 school coaches regularly attended games that year to scope out the talented upper classmen.
It had been a grueling summer of league play and early fall of scrimmages and pick-up games. Here we were, finally had made it to the week of official try-outs.
3 v 2 Full Court Drill
Break into Varsity / JV Spilt
We were running through offensive plays to prep for the games that were quickly approaching. 1/2 speed, “next run, take the lay-up, Meg” yelled Coach. With a nod and a deep breath, “be strong”, “be confident”, took two dribbles from the top of the key – I stepped on the defender’s foot, and when I landed, was off balance on the right leg. That was it – that 3 seconds set the course of my professional career. Everyone heard the pop. My first major injury. Sure, a few ankle sprains here and there – to be expected playing year round soccer and basketball, but this was different.
The next day I hobbled to John “Doc” Moyer’s office, our athletic trainer at Wilson High School in West Lawn, PA – he uttered a sentence to me “I think it might be your ACL.” I had never heard that acronym before. I thought he might have been talking about my achilles, which was weird because I KNEW it wasn’t my ankle that was bothering me. Mom came right over and to the Ortho’s office we went.
Both of us shocked, sat there for what felt like forever after the MD left the room. “Surgery?” “Never!” “I can get back without that.” Tears streaming down our faces, that just wasn’t an option. Now I know. “Doc” Moyer was talking about the Anterior Cruciate Ligament.
The rope like structure that connects the femur to the tibia, preventing anterior translation and medial rotation of the tibia, its a non-contractile support to the hamstrings.
I gave it my best effort a new knee brace, rolls of tape, hours in the training room, making it to practice as much as possible. That was November – I couldn’t make it to the end of the season, I had had several episodes of instability, and succumb to surgical intervention in February of 1996. Thankfully there was no meniscal or medial collateral ligament involvement.
Six months – that’s the timeline they gave me – the rockstar team that had me back on the soccer field in September, John “Doc” Moyer, John Guido, PT, and Gary Charles Canner, MD of Berkshire Orthopedics. We had done it.
Suited up for the Wilson Junior Soccer Leaguegame, because I couldn’t wait for travel season to start. I had to get on the field again. Those red socks, always grass stained and red/white striped jersey. What a great feeling it was, changing direction, chasing down the mid-fielders, challenging 50/50 balls. It was like home.
It was the perfect day for a soccer game, the fall chill in the air, the ground soft from last nights rain. Ten minutes into the second half, Dad had walked over to the football field to cheer on a family friend. I went to challenge a header, grazed shoulders with the player from the other team, and landed single leg in the mud. My trunk had started to turn in the air from the collision, but when my foot stuck in the ground, the left knee took the brunt of absorbing that rotational force. “POP” I knew it immediately. The left ACL, torn.
Dad started his way back to our field when he noticed that play had stopped. He couldn’t believe that it was me who coach was helping to the bench. “What could possibly have happened? I stepped away for 5 minutes.”
A few days later, running bleachers prepping for the best season of the year, I couldn’t stabilize through it. That is truely a strange sensation. Feeling your tibia slide around underneath your thigh. I stopped the sprints, and headed back to Doc’s office. He didn’t want to look me in the eye. Our initial thoughts were correct, the left ACL was gone. I was still 14 years old. Too young to put to sleep for a second elective procedure in less than 8 months. That was Dr. Canner’s recommendations, strengthen up, work with Doc and Guido to make it through this basketball season, and maybe in March.
So that is exactly what we did. Those guys kept me together. Every step of the way. My parents, Doc and Guido, and Ed Corbacio, PT – March 1997 round 2.
We worked with the team, this all-star team of clinicians who gave me the best they had to offer, EVERY, SINGLE day. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of their support through that year and a half.
This, this is why I chose Physical Therapy. These life events and what, my 14 and 15 year old self, felt were tough times are the influencing factors that showed me I wanted to help others recover from musculoskeletal injuries. Every research project I did between 1995 and 2000 was on the topic of ACL reconstruction and rehabilitation. I received my acceptance letter from Thomas Jefferson University in the fall of 2003.
This is my passion. This is my motivation.
I’m glad that these obstacles pointed me in this direction. I’m ready to help. I’m ready to be your source of support.
Running is an affordable and highly effective training mechanism that can have a great return on investment in terms positive effect on performance. It can also be a “constantly varied, high-intensity functional movement”.
Where have you heard “constantly varied, high-intensity functional movement” before? This is the first page of the Level 1 Training Manual. This is the mantra of all of Crossfit Trainers. Running is an integral part of many training regimens, and Crossfit is NO different. This is why it has appeared as our project this month.
How to get the best bang for your buck: Along with any new challenge – being educated in the benefits as well as any hurdles that can come up is important!
Here are a few of the common injuries associated with increasing running mileage and some treatments/preventative measure you can take as you ramp up!
Symptom: Warning Sign
Pain in the bottom of foot A.M. pain – 1st few steps
Tennis Ball Rollout 1st Toe Stretching
Calf Muscle Pull
Aching and soreness at the back of the calf Weakness when pushing up onto the toes Pain with climbing stairs
Point tenderness at the back of the heel Weakness when pushing up onto the toes Pain with climbing stairs
Tendon Friction Massage Calf Stretching
Nagging pain along the shin bone
Calf Stretching Strengthening of Foot Muscles
Pain at the front of the knee when sitting, squatting, climbing stairs, or jumping
Pain at the back of the thigh
Hamstring Stretch Active Stretching Pre-Run
Pain along the side of the thigh, or at the outside of the knee
Pain at the inner thigh area
Pain along the top and side of the buttock, occasional symptoms of tingling or pins/needles down the leg
1. Stretch yourself by trying something new Find new ways to practice self-care. Whether you’ve felt intimidated by yoga, you’ve always wanted to learn massage techniques, or you’re finally ready to sign up for those dance classes, this month may be the perfect time to push yourself just a little out of your comfort zone.
2. Participate in your community You could host an NPTM event, volunteer at a pro bono clinic, or serve the community by cleaning up a park. It’s all about making a positive difference.
3. Appreciate physical therapists It’s likely that most of us don’t think about physical therapists — until we need one. If you happen to know anyone who works in this profession, make a point of asking them about their work, which requires not just specialized knowledge and training, but patience, consistency, and dedication as well. Let’s thank them for the difference they make in so many lives.
The official definition is “the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery.” This isn’t a bad start, but to be honest, it doesn’t scratch the surface, of all the ways that, we as PTs, are able to help patients.
You might find us commonly in out-patient offices, but we are also highly utilized in hospitals, acute rehabilitation units, in skilled nursing facilities, in schools, and some even specialize in home care.
Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.
Physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to people at the end of life. Many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions that need treatment. But PTs also care for people who simply want to become healthier and to prevent future problems.
Physical therapists examine each person and then develops a treatment plan to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability.