sports massage osteopathy

A Runners Guide to Osteopathy

I have treated people of all shapes, sizes, levels of fitness and ages. What I have found over and over again is a complete lack of understanding of what an Osteopath actually treats. This was brought into focus recently when I attended the Runners show at the Birmingham ICC with Andy Spaak.

What I found was that, without fail, any runner who came to speak to me started their sentence with, ‘I know you treat backs but…’
This is a very common misconception; as an Osteopath I see a lot of lower back pain, however I certainly don’t just treat backs! Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy which treats the ENTIRE person. If you come in with a sore knee then that is what I will treat. What we also do is try and find out why the problem has started. It may be that the knee has become painful due to a gait problem, there may be a tightness through the hip, or even a muscular imbalance. If we can get to the bottom of how a problem started than we can work towards long term correction and the prevention of future injury.
Here are a few examples of common running injuries:

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue between your toes and your heel. Anyone who has had it will know that this can destroy the most carefully managed training regime and requires a fair amount of perseverance and management to come right.
The pain is most commonly felt in the heel area, giving rise to the name ’Joggers heel’, but may also be felt through the bottom of the foot.

2. Runners Knee

Patello Femoral Pain syndrome is an injury that most runners will have come across at one time or another. Usually the pain is felt around the kneecap and there may be some swelling around the knee too. The pain is made worse when running and better during rest periods. There are many things that may lead to runners knee, including running on tar roads or a muscular imbalance of the Quadriceps.

3. Shin splints

Medial tibial stress syndrome; a nasty and extremely painful condition which affects the Tibia bone in the lower leg and is usually caused from repetitive stress through the shin. The shins will be tender to the touch, feel worse when running and the pain can feel sharp and burning.
Correct treatment and management of these and many other running related injuries will be needed to ensure a full return to function and a prevention of further injury due to compensation.
If you’re worried about seeing an Osteopath because they don’t have the word ‘sport’ in the title, rest easy in the knowledge that we treat many common running presentations in much the same way as a Physiotherapist or a Sports Therapist would. We assess the area using our hands and ask you to move around so that range of motion can be seen, we use special tests to help establish what the injury is (a diagnosis) and we treat using a combination of massage, movement, taping, exercises and stretches, as may be needed for each case.
If you have a niggling injury that you think may need to be looked at or you feel that you’re unable to perform up to your full potential then give us a call at West Berkshire Injury Clinic to see what we can do to help.
Written by Kate Croxford (MOst)