It’s easy to take movement for granted. Each day we rely on the ability of our bodies to perform movements of daily life. When we run, we utilize our muscles in coordination to propel us forward. When this doesn’t come together and dysfunction occurs, it is really evident.
Experiencing an injury impacts not only your physical training but your mental state as well. It takes time to recover, to rebuild muscle and stamina, and to focus on limiting a reoccurrence. Once you’ve had an injury, it’s often at the forefront of your mind when you start training again.
In my running journey, I can say that I’ve been injured severely enough to stop me from continuing. While I’ve gone to a physiotherapist (PT) in the past, I’ve never been committed enough to fully recover from an injury and get back to running. In my current state, I’m happy to say that I’m not injured but I’d like to keep it that way.
In order to maintain some preventative rehabilitation, I decided to turn to a physiotherapist to help me focus on my muscles in a state of non-injury and answer some questions on how PTs can help with injury prevention and better running.
Why should someone visit a physiotherapist (PT)?
According to Romano Sulit, a physiotherapist with extensive orthopaedic training, physiotherapists believe preventing an injury is key to optimal performance. When an individual needs to take time off from training, it can hinder their mileage goal, race pace or other personal record. Romano also notes, in the event that you need to take time off from a specific activity for rehab, a PT can also provide you with alternative activities to help keep the fitness you’ve achieved without the risk of re-injury.
While some individuals can manage an injury on their own, many, including myself, need support and expertise to navigate not only getting to the diagnosis of the injury but a plan of how to heal and recover. For me, a physiotherapist with expertise in orthopaedics and movement was the right support in my running team to better understand what was causing my injuries.
What is a CAMPT certified physiotherapist and how can they help with injury?
Romano, who is a Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT) certified physiotherapist, explains that a PT who is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT) has undergone extensive post-graduate training, mentoring and internationally recognized testing. The designation itself involves not only a large amount of studying but hands-on experience and mentorship from other CAMPT certified PTs. Romano also mentions that generally FCAMPT therapists look at the person as a whole. In looking at the activities a person participates in and how they do it, FCAMPT therapists find the root problem and find a way to help move better without pain.
While all PTs undergo extensive training at a Masters knowledge level or above and continued education throughout their career, I found that having a physiotherapist with a CAMPT certification was right for my situation. Having had a chronic leg injury in the past, I was worried that I would be asked just to do exercises or stretches. Instead, I found CAMPT certified PTs, due to their extensive training, were able to critically analyze my running on a detailed level and apply evidence based recommendation and critical thinking to find the root cause of my injuries. In my most recent experience of “prehab”, I found that after an extensive analysis of my movements, I was given an explanation that helped to explain my running mechanics and muscle imbalances. From there, a plan was developed that not only included strengthening and stretching but some manual manipulation of muscles and joints, some needling to help muscles release, and exercises that I could do at home or that could easily be incorporated into my day.
How can a PT help you become a better runner?
There is a common misconception that many people believe they should only see a PT after they’ve hurt themselves. Romano responds to this by saying that this could not be farther from the truth. He notes that all PTs are passionate about getting people back to the activities they love and helping them perform at a high level.
In order to do this, Romano states,
“Physiotherapists can analyze your movement patterns and can test muscle groups to make sure that you don’t have any gross muscle imbalances. Sometimes these imbalances and movement patterns predispose you to new injuries or re-aggravate old ones. Physios are also experts in exercise prescription so they can effectively provide you with some exercise guidance for mileage, mobility, strength, power, agility and endurance activities.”
Even more, just like doctors who specialize in certain areas, physiotherapists can too. What Romano enjoys at his practice is how physiotherapists of various expertise work together through tough cases. Romano adds, this helps them share experiences and provide a thorough assessment and treatment that uses a team approach to get individuals moving better.
Any physiotherapist would be an asset to your running support team. They are experts at analyzing movements and muscles. Of course, any PT is just part of the equation. There needs to be a commitment to putting in the time to stretch, strengthen, and adjust your trajectory to prevent future injuries. Remember that as you work towards your running goals, experts in various areas can help you get to your goals faster, easier, and with minimal interruption or injury.
Thank you to Romano Sulit for providing information and contributing to this blog post. Romano Sulit is a physiotherapist who focuses on orthopaedic physiotherapy and is also a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy. He is also certified in Gunn IMS and Medical Acupuncture needling techniques. The Physio Spot is located in Markham, ON at Unit 2 2726 Bur Oak Ave. For more information about Physiotherapy and Running, or other services the clinic has to offer, visit: https://thephysiospot.ca