6 Tips for the Corporate Runner : The Balancing Act

Young woman runner with earphones in city, using smartwatch.

Now more than ever the ability to maintain the desirable work: life balance is becoming increasing difficult. Finding enough time in the busy schedule to complete our necessary (physical and psychological) exercise is tough. 

Below are a few tips to help you maximise your training time and help you stay injury free.

 

Planning the week in advance

It doesn’t matter whether you are training for a specific event or you are simply the weekend warrior who likes to go out for a few social runs during the week; the importance of planning your week is paramount.

I prefer to plan my week out on a Sunday night (it symbolises the beginning of the working week for me). Open up the smartphone calendar and put those diary entries in – locked in times that are non-negotiable. This is particularly helpful if you are running with a workmate in lunchtime – send a calendar invite so you can both dedicate the time to hitting the running circuit. 

 

Keep the system ‘moving and grooving’

As has become the case with modern society, so much of our time is spent sitting on our backsides at a desk, in the car, on a train, etc. This is no more prevalent than with corporate runners who spend 8-10+ hours sitting at desks during the day. 

Tightness through the hip flexors and associated restriction in hip extension is a very common problem with running gait. Proper hip function, in particular hip extension, is a critical element of running gait (this is too large a topic to discuss here!) and therefore tightness through the hip flexors, which limits normal hip extension, needs to be prevented. 

To help avoid tightness through the front of the hips and improve flexibility, get up from your desk every 90 minutes, walk to fill up your water bottle, go to the toilet. Above all, make sure you are moving those legs, stretching out the tightness that comes with prolonged seated posture. 

If possible, attempt a few tasks throughout the day while standing up – try holding an informal meeting with your colleague while standing instead of sitting. 

 

Substitute for H2O

It’s so easy to get caught up in your busy schedule at the office and forget a really important element of the running toolkit – consuming enough water. 

By simply placing a water bottle at your desk you can continue to sip of the precious H2O throughout the day and ensure you are ready to tackle the run fully hydrated. 

 

Be prepared to let it go

Things can change in the blink of an eye and this is none more evident than in the corporate world. Re-scheduled meetings or deadlines and hastily arranged business trips can impact on our event training plans.

It is normal to miss a session or two during a training program – what we mustn’t do is go chasing the one that got away! If for whatever reason we miss a recovery run or a mid-week long run occasionally that’s ok, don’t go out and try to fit in an extra run on top of another run later in the week. Overloading by adding in extra sessions is likely to lead to injury – resulting in even more missed sessions!

 

Buddy up

Finding the motivation or energy to go for that midday/lunchtime run is much easier when you have a running buddy to push you through. We are much more likely to stick to what we set out to do if there is someone there to motivate/push us through all those painful moments.

 

Cool down

So often forgotten when thinking about our running is the important aspect of cooling down – particularly when running during lunchtime or before/after work. We finish our run and step back into the office and before you know it the time has escaped you and you haven’t properly cool down.

Before you head back into the office – dedicate 5 mins after your run to stretch outdoors. This will save you from getting distracted from work related issue and potentially forgetting to stretch and cool down. 

 

When You Should See a Podiatrist

Save Download Preview Pain in the foot, girl holds her hands to her feet, foot massage, cramp, muscular spasm, red accent on the foot, close-up

As Podiatrist’s we’re often asked ‘what do people come and see you for?’ The answer is often a long winded response involving foot and ankle pain, shin pain, toenail or hard skin issues. The role of a Podiatrist is quite often misunderstood by the community. 

Put simply, Podiatrist’s are lower limb experts whose job it is to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate conditions of the foot and lower limb. 

To help you decide when you should see a Podiatrist, check out the questions below. If you answer YES to any of these, it’s time to book in to see a Podiatrist. 

 

  1. Can you can only walk for a short period before your feet or legs hurt?  
  2. Do you experience pain in your lower limbs at night?  
  3. Do you experience tingling in your feet?  
  4. Have you noticed your legs or feet are swollen?  
  5. Do you have cuts or fissures on your feet that take a long time to heal?  
  6. Are you returning to sport after an injury?  
  7. Are you uncertain about which running or sports shoe to buy?  
  8. Do you find that you wear out the outside of your shoes quickly?  
  9. Have you noticed your toes poke holes in the top of your shoes? 
  10. Does your forefoot become hot and painful after running or walking? 
  11. Do your hips hurt?  
  12. Has pain in your feet or legs stopped you from exercising?  
  13. Are you worried about your child’s feet?  
  14. Do you have arthritis in your feet?  
  15. Do you experience reoccurring gouty attacks?  
  16. Are you worried about the thickness of your nails?  
  17. Do you have discoloured toe nails?  
  18. Are you worried about your foot odour?  
  19. Do your toe nails cause you pain?  
  20. Have you noticed your toes are clawed? 
  21. Do you have hard skin on your feet? Is it getting worse?  
  22. Do you find it hard to cut your own nails? 
  23. Do you find it hard to fit your feet into shoes because of your bunion

Don’t let pain stop you from putting your best foot forward , See your Podiatrist today!

 

 

Quick Tips for Marathon Training

Runners run urban marathon in the the city

1 – Look Down

Test out the shoes and socks that you plan on wearing on race day. If the shoes aren’t your regular training shoes, wear them on at least one 12-15 km run at marathon pace. This test run will determine whether you’re likely to develop blisters or get sore feet–before it’s too late. If the shoes bother you on this run, get yourself another pair.
 

2 – Don’t get greedy 

Try to stick to your training plan in the weeks leading up to the race. You’re not cramming for a test so running more KM’s than you’re used to late in your training can hinder your performance rather than help it. 
 

3 – Taper

During your final week you should feel like you’re storing up energy, physically and mentally. Keep runs short, try to get good sleep and keep stress at bay. Get work projects under control, decline late night invitations and try to avoid long flights if possible. You should arrive on the start line feeling fresh and ready to smash your goals! 
 
The Melbourne Marathon is only a couple of weeks away. If you have any questions, niggles or need some more personalised advice get in touch today!

What is Plantar Fasciitis? 

Closeup young woman feeling pain in her foot at home.

The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue that runs from the base of the heel to the tips of toes. One of its primary functions is to encourage effective movement and stability of foot through the ‘Windlass mechanism. Plantar fasciitis or fasciopathy is characterised by overuse of the plantar fascia with resultant irritation and damage to the tissue which contributes to pain. 

Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

People experiencing plantar fascia pain most commonly report the following:

  • Pain in the heel/arch of foot when standing after rest (sleep, desk work)
  • Aching sensation that can be sharp at times
  • Usually feels better with athletic footwear and worse barefoot

 

Who is at Risk?

It most commonly affects women (sorry ladies!) but it does affect men also, and occurs equally in highly active and non-active populations. People who are overweight or pregnant are also at an elevated risk. Typically it occurs after long periods of reduced activity that are followed by burst (weeks/months) of increased activity (running, jumping, walking).

Our biomechanics (the way we move), exercise frequency, muscle tightness/stiffness, weight and age all play a part in why we get Plantar Fasciitis. 

 

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

As we use our feet every day, early and active treatment is the best strategy to keep you on your feet. Treatment will include a combination of:

  • Load management or relative rest (yes, we want to keep you moving 🙂 )
  • Offloading
  • Stretching
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Targeted strengthening
  • Orthotics (not in every case)
  • Footwear changes
  • Soft tissue release
  • Return to exercise
  • Injection therapy (in some cases)

 

Contact our Experts!

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain in the heel that we see at Pinnacle Health Group. Although often quite painful and upsetting, it is a treatable condition with a variety of different treatment options available. As with all injuries and pain, if in doubt get it checked out. Our team of Podiatrists at Pinnacle Health Group are experts in the management of foot and ankle conditions and are here to keep you on your wellness journey.

 

Do you want to exercise pain free?

By Podiatrist Michael Johnston

A lot of people just accept that something hurts, that’s life and there’s nothing they can do about it. Whether you put it down to old age, wear and tear, carrying too much weight, it doesn’t matter because it’s probably not true!

Pain is a protective output from the brain to keep up safe, and IT IS NOT NORMAL. For most people, it should not stop you from doing the things you love, the things that make you happy or reaching your personal goals.

Our clients exercise for numerous reasons; some do it for the competition, some to get time out of their busy lives for their own mental health, and some do it for the ones they love, whether that means coaching their kids’ footy team or walking their dog.

What we love to do at Pinnacle Health Group is to work collaboratively with you, to change the way you think about pain and get you back on track as soon as possible.

This is important for a few reasons;

  • The longer you leave pain, the harder it’s going to be to get rid of it. Your nervous system is an ever evolving network and when it is kept in a constant state of sensitivity, it can affect your bodies other systems causing stress, mood swings, digestion issues, sleep deprivation and possibly triggering mental health issues
  • Pain breeds pain. This is a consequence of a basic neural process called Potentiation, which means the more often the brain uses a certain neural pathway, the easier it becomes to activate that pathway again. This is the same process by which we learn habits or develop skills. In this context it means that the more times we feel a certain pain, the less stimulus is required to trigger that pain.
  • Exercise is a vital part of pain management. Back pain is a classic example. People who stop exercising their back because of pain become ‘de-conditioned’, weakening the scaffold of supporting muscles and ligaments, which in turn makes the back pain worse. Exercise boosts your immune system and your body’s natural pain killers called ‘endorphins’: This not only helps to ease pain but also makes a person feel better, just like the ‘high’ runners describe after jogging. Exercise is also very effective for treating stress, depression, chronic fatigue and a whole host of pain-related problems.

Pain is a whole person experience, as it affects a person’s general health, ability to work, income, travel, relationships, and all aspects of life. That’s why we need the help of a team of healthcare professionals to treat the ‘big picture’ of someone’s pain experience.

At Pinnacle Health Group, we have an experienced team of Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Dietitians, Psychologists, Massage Therapists and Myotherapists, ready to help you return to pain free activity!

You can book an appointment to visit one of our Melbourne clinics, or check out some of our other blogs here. Act today for a pain free tomorrow.

How to avoid bad health advice online!

By Podiatrist Michael Johnston

 

These days, when we have any sort of injury or medical malady the first thing most of us (myself included) will do is Google the symptoms to find out what’s going on and what to do about it.

More and more, we see patients who have been trying outlandish home remedies in search of a miracle cure for their injury, wasting valuable time while waiting in vain for improvement in their pain.

Here are some quick tips for filtering out the nonsense online;

1 – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

There is no such thing as a cure-all or an ancient secret remedy the doctors don’t want you to know about. Anything that promises to cure any ailment instantly should be approached VERY carefully. Even the most successful treatments in medical history won’t work for everyone and even less need only one treatment or application.

2 – Consider where the advice is coming from.

If I, as a Podiatrist, started selling miracle dental treatments, you would be quite right to be skeptical. Seek out articles and advice from reputable specialists in their field, not the Facebook comments section.

3 – Anecdotes are not evidence

Everything we, as health professionals, do is evidence based meaning that is has been tested and studied so that we know that it works. Your auntie’s cousin’s hairdresser who duct taped an onion to her foot and cured her heel pain does not refute decades of research into best practice.

4 – Don’t wait too long for things to improve.

By all means, give minor injuries a day or two to settle, however, the only way to get a proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan is to see someone in person who knows what they’re doing. Countless times I have seen patients who have wrongly self-diagnosed and been trying to manage the wrong injury, often making things worse in the process.

Here at Pinnacle, we have experienced Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Massage/Myotherapists, Dietitians and Psychologists working together to help you reach your wellness goals.

Check out our other blogs or book online at www.pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au

Is there a perfect running shoe?

By Podiatrist Michael Johnston

As Jay-Z and Rhianna once sang. “The only thing that’s on my mind
Is who’s gonna run this town tonight” and while their concern about running participation numbers is heart warming, they didn’t give us ANY advice about how to make sure you’re in the right running shoes?

Here are a few tips to help point you in the right direction.

1 – How far are you running?

If you are preparing for an ultra marathon you will need a different shoe than if you’re trying to smash your 5km personal best. Longer distances will require a more cushioned shoe, whereas on shorter runs you will benefit from a lighter weight, more flexible shoe.

2 – What surface are you running on?

Road running shoes will generally be slightly lighter and have more cushioning to deal with the harder surface. Trail shoes are designed to deal with rougher terrain and as such will have a more aggressive tread pattern and may have some kind of waterproofing such as Gore-tex. Avoid running on the road in trail shoes as this will wear down the sole MUCH sooner.

3 – What is your foot shape?

Every manufacturer makes shoes using a slightly different shape or “last”. This means that just as everybody’s feet are built differently, so is every shoe. Don’t worry though, just like Cinderella, there WILL be a shoe that fits your foot perfectly! This will take a bit of patience, time and research but your feet will thank you in the long run (pun 100% intended)

4 – FORGET FASHION! (controversial I know)

If you find the perfect shoe that fits wonderfully and feels amazing to run in but the colour clashes with your FitBit, just take a moment to ask yourself what is more important. Would you rather bound across the finish line with zero blisters and a smile on your face or lose a toenail but have perfectly matched activewear?

If you need any walking or running advice, whether it’s finding the perfect shoe, technique tips, training load or injury management we can help.  If you’re an elite athlete or just want to walk the dog pain free, at Pinnacle we have Podiatrists, Physios, Massage/Myotherapists, Dietitians and Psychologists ready to help you smash your goals!

Are you training for a Marathon? Here’s some things to think about.

With marathon season almost upon us, now is the time to do all you can to keep the wheels on and yourself healthy and injury-free until the big day. Learn from the professionals, the podiatrists at Pinnacle Health Group. Here are some key factors to focus on:

Stay Strong

To prevent any niggles becoming injuries at the crucial stage, it’s important you put a little time into staying strong. Introduce some full body strength work into your programme, whether that is weight based training or something like Clinical Pilates. At Pinnacle we also run a running specific Strength and Conditioning class at our ANZ Melbourne clinic.

Fuel

Pre- and post-workout fuel is absolutely crucial when it comes to performance in the lead up to and even on race day itself. As your mileage increases, you will need more calories, but it’s important to remember that not all calories are created equal. There is no perfect eating plan for everyone so knowing what to eat and when to eat it becomes critical. See our Dietitian Edwina for advice about what your body needs for your specific training, race and body type.

Sleep

Getting enough rest will allow your body to recover and repair itself, ready for the next day. Aim for at least 7.5 hours per night, avoid training less than 2 hours before bed, and avoid eating less than an hour before bed. Allow yourself time to wind down. No TV, gaming or scrolling through social media in the hour before lights out. Try reading a book or meditation instead.

Stretch

You’re tired, you’re short on time – we get it. The first thing that you’re likely to drop is stretching and recovery. Self massage using foam rollers, spiky balls etc. will help alleviate muscle soreness. For more persistent aches see a Massage Therapist or Myotherapist regularly. They are also trained in therapies such as dry needling or cupping, and can give you an exercise plan to do yourself at home. If you find it hard to motivate yourself, why not try squeezing in a yoga class?

Load Management

Poor load management, whether that’s increasing your mileage too rapidly, or not giving your body the required recovery time between training sessions causes the vast majority of running injuries. The generally accepted “safe” range for mileage increase is 10% per week. This can vary depending on a variety of factors, so book in for a running assessment and we can help guide you through a structured plan to ensure you make it to the start line in the best possible shape.

Mix It Up!

Reaching your goals should be fun! The training required to do so, however, can get monotonous and you may find yourself getting bored or struggling for motivation. The key to this is mixing up your training. Do a mix of road runs, trail runs, barefoot beach runs, short fast runs and then slow long runs, weight training, yoga, pilates, etc. Keep challenging yourself in different ways to keep your mind in the game. It will keep your progress fun and ensure you stay motivated. You need to want to get out of bed and lace up those runners in the morning; ultimately, this is how you smash your goals!

Running Assessment with a Podiatrist

We offer a 15-minute Running Assessment with a Podiatrist. Book this assessment for people who may have niggles, injuries, questions about training, shoes or just want some pointers on their running technique. Each session will include a medical and injury history, joint flexibility and strength testing, and running assessment on the treadmill. You will receive an email report with the findings and a plan for moving forward.

3 Tips To Help You Survive The Oxfam Trailwalker

The clock is ticking, it’s only 6 weeks to go until the Oxfam Trailwalker! Teams of 4 will tackle the scenic and at times gruelling path from Wheeler’s Hill to Wesburn Park, to raise money for Oxfam, in support of people who live in poverty all around the world.

Unfortunately, the strain of walking 100 km in 48 hours means that many walkers end up on the Physiotherapy table or the Podiatry chair to get some much needed treatment, during and after the walk.

We want you to experience the challenge free of injury! Below are 3 handy tips to ensure you have a truly incredible Oxfam Trailwalker experience:

  1. Start training early: If you’re reading this and thinking now is a great time to sign up, it’s best to reconsider. Ideally, you should start your training about 3 to 4 months prior to the walk. Start with smaller walks of 8 to 12 km on the weekend, and start building up from there. You want to be completing at least 45 to 60km walks during your preparation.
  2. Footwear and feet: As with any activity, the proper footwear choice is essential for having a great event. Throughout the walk there are many different surfaces or terrains that you will encounter, including footpaths, gravel tracks and muddy roads. Therefore, you will need a couple of pairs of shoes to tackle the event. It’s best to get 2 different styles of shoes, ideally a running shoe (for the easier parts of the track) and a trail walking or hiking shoe for the more arduous areas. Get these shoes at a minimum of 6 weeks before the event, to give you time to wear them in and make sure they’re comfortable.
  3. Be proactive, not reactive: Each year, out of the thousands of walkers who embrace the challenge of the Trailwalker, approximately 20% do not cross the finish line! That’s 1 in 5 people who have to pull out. Usually, this is as a result of easily preventable issues such as blistering, soreness in the foot or leg, fatigue or poor preparation. Use your training walks to assess if you get blistering, hot spots or abnormal pain in your muscles. Prevention is the best cure possible, so if in doubt, get checked out by our Pinnacle Health Group team prior to the walk. We have extensive experience in dealing specifically with Oxfam walkers, meaning we are ideally equipped to assess your feet, legs, footwear and walking style. Our physiotherapists and podiatrists will deal with any niggling injuries before the event, to make sure you get through the walk with flying colours.

 

We Want You To Succeed!

Please come in and see us if you need any further information. Our team can treat existing injuries, provide gait assessments and give specialised advice on walking styles, nutrition, footwear, sock recommendations or blister prevention and management. Book a consultation with our physiotherapists and podiatrists about the Oxfam Trailwalker.

How to Enjoy your Oxfam Trailwalker Experience

As we farewell to Summer and dive straight into Autumn it means only one thing – that the Oxfam 100km trailwalker is just around the corner, April 7-9th to be exact! The Oxfam trailwalker is one of Melbourne’s iconic bucket list events with team’s of 4 tackling the equally gruelling and scenic path from Wheeler’s Hill to Wesburn Park, to raise money for Oxfam to support people in poverty all around the world.  

While walking 100km in 48 hours may not seem like much, it certainly takes it out of you. Many walkers end up on the on the physiotherapy table or the podiatry chair to get some much needed treatment during the walk. Below are 3 handy tips to ensure you have a truly incredible Oxfam trailwalker experience:

Start training early: If you’re reading this blog and thinking now is a great time to sign up, it’s best to reconsider. Ideally you should start your training about 3-4 months prior to the walk. Start with smaller walks, 8-12 km on the weekend and start building up from there. You want to be hitting between 45-60km walks during your preparation.

Footwear + feet: As with any activity, the proper footwear choice is essential for having a great event. Throughout the walk there are many different surfaces/terrains that you encounter, including footpaths, gravel tracks, muddy roads. Therefore you will need a couple of pairs of shoes to tackle the event. It’s best to get 2 different styles of shoes, ideally a running shoe (for the easier parts of the track) and a trail walking/running shoe for the more arduous areas. Get these shoes at a minimum of 6 weeks before the event to give you time to wear them in and make sure they’re comfortable.

Be proactive, not reactive: Each year, out of the 1000s of walkers who embrace the challenge of the trailwalk approximately 20% do not cross the finish line! That’s 1 in 5 people who have to pull out. Usually this is a result of easily preventable issues such as blistering, foot/leg soreness, fatigue. Use your training walks to assess if you get blistering, hot spots or abnormal pain in your muscles. Prevention is the best cure possible, so if in doubt, get it checked out by our Pinnacle Health Group Podiatry team prior to walk to ensure you get through the walk with flying colours.