Tuesday, October 25, 2011

They’re runners. They get it.

I had my first appointment with a sports doctor yesterday, Monday 10/24, for my leg issues I talked about last week.  I’ve met both the doctors from this office before at injury prevention clinics held at my local running store and the doctor I saw at my appointment remembered me from the most recent clinic.  He also remembered the husband and asked how he was doing {he had some ankle issues earlier this year and received assistance, both at the clinic and via email, from the doctor and he is doing much better}. 

I’m really glad I finally made an appointment and now that I’ve been I totally regret not going sooner.  My session began with discussing my running history and previous injuries and the issues I’m currently dealing with.  Then the doctor had me lace up my running shoes so he could watch me run in the parking lot.  He asked me to run a couple of laps around him then he stopped me to talk about my form.  Three main issues he addressed in regards to my form were my arm swing, my cadence, and posture when running.

Arm swing – I’m not “swinging” my arms in a front/back motion instead I’m keeping them my hands too close to each other and I’m crossing my body.  Instead I’m to focus on swinging my arms to the rear by starting each arm swing with my elbows at my rib cage and pull my hands back towards my ribs and to not let my elbows swing in front of my rib cage when they come forward {elbow to ribs – wrist to ribs – elbow to ribs – wrist to ribs}

Cadence - “the rate at which your feet hit the ground” – I am to focus on increasing my cadence

Posture – the doctor observed that I run “straight up” and I am to focus on leaning slightly forward from my ankles to allow gravity to assist my body and my running form

All the above form techniques and suggestions the doctor made are from the Chi Running technique.  After he explained the arm swing, cadence and lean to me he had me run around the parking lot again slowly incorporating each little change into my form.  I’d love to say that all my pain instantly went away --- but that was not the case.  However, I could tell the difference.  I felt more centered and my hamstrings felt looser when I focused on slightly leaning from the ankles.  Its hard to describe but I could definitely feel the difference especially when the doctor said to stop leaning and to run upright again.

After running around the parking lot, working up a little sweat and talking about running form, we headed back into the office.  The doctor had me do a couple of “tests” to gauge when and where pain began {squat down and lean towards each hip; front/back leg swings; side leg swings} and then he had me lay on the table so he could “work” {using Active Release Techniques (ART)} on my right leg – the leg with the issues.  Which basically means he had me lay on the table and he used his elbow to work the muscles.  I’m not going to lie – it hurt, but it wasn’t unbearable.  It was similar to the relief from a foam roller but different and more intense.  He “worked” all around the right calf, inner right thigh, and right hamstring.  He also “adjusted” my right foot. 

Here’s the thing --- these doctors are runners.  They get it.  He didn’t tell me I couldn’t run --- in fact, he encouraged it so that we could gauge if the treatment brought relief or not.  He did advise to avoid my speed workout this week {scheduled for today} and to instead run 3 easy miles while starting to slow focus on incorporating the three form changes he suggested.  And, if I have no pain, then I can run 5 miles on Thursday adding in few tempo miles if I am feeling better.  However, he advised me to avoid any activities that hurt.  Which means if I have “pain” on my run today then I’m to stop.  He wants me to test out the body and see what activities hurt.  And if I have no pain then I am free to do whatever activities I want.  He advised me to continue with my daily walks also because it will help promote healing to the area.

My next appointment is next Monday afternoon.  I am scheduled to run a half marathon this Sunday and the doctor stated that I can run it if I’m not having any pain while running.  So, the next step is today’s easy 3 mile run to see how I’m feeling after treatment yesterday.  And from there, I’ll be taking it one day at a time.

1 comment:

Carrie @ Maine Mom on the Run said...

What a great doctor! I'm glad you're headed in the right direction and hopefully healing.