Common Sport Injury and Management


I am very pleased to have the opportunity to write a monthly article for Metros. Some of you I have already met, usually when treatment has been required. I am a physiotherapist specialising in sports and spinal injuries. For several years I represented Great Britain as a 400m hurdler. It allowed me to train and compete with the best coaches and athletes in the world.


We push ourselves to the limit sometimes in an attempt to improve performance. Regrettably, under these circumstances injury is inevitable. A failed warm-up, poor nutrition and hydrating, slipping on a wet surface, getting tripped or spiked by another athlete or just bad luck may generate a musculoskeletal injury that needs specialist physiotherapist input.


I am able to use my experience and knowledge to help reduce the likelihood of injury. If an injury occurs it is possible to facilitate treatment and get you back to running sooner than would otherwise be the case.


Running is there to be enjoyed for whatever reason you decide to take it up. It can however be hard at the best of times with the elements we are exposed to in this country. If you find yourself challenged with injury or lacking the performance you know you can achieve, then I am hopeful that my monthly articles will be helpful to you. If you want more information and assistance then I would be happy to work on a one-to-one basis with you at my clinic in Harrow, The Body Factory.


Being a physiotherapist, international athlete and a level 4 personal trainer has enabled me to hone not just my running abilities but also my treatment skills. Whatever our sporting level we all tend towards improvement. Any sport including running involves comradery, friendship, enhancement and achievement. Running a marathon in 2 hours & 30 minutes or six hours, is still running a marathon. The same applies for every distance. Having worked from grass roots and beginners to elite athletes in many sports, similar mechanisms and principles apply. On the whole you need to be fit to play the sport rather than get fit doing the sport. Running intriguingly is both a path to fitness and a means to its own end. As this is the first article it is appropriate to start at the beginning and the basics are as important as the more sophisticated.

Preparing To Run

Running involves the whole body but it is foot strike that determines our forward motion. Making sure footwear is appropriate for your personal need and even determining the right socks is often ignored. Blistering usually means that your socks and footwear are not as secure or comfortable as is needed.


There are specialist running and shoe companies that will do a gait analysis at a simple level. If there is any foot deformity then this will be a greater challenge but it can be overcome. For instance I suffered all of my career (and still do) with a dropped metatarsal head which will be explained in a later article. The provision of an appropriate insole or orthotic provided by a specialist gait analysis podiatrist proved highly beneficial.


Similar comments apply with regard to clothing. Making sure that there isn’t chaffing on the inner thighs or nipple rub. These can be avoided with the correct management.


It is remarkable how often I find in distance runners that their hydration and calorie and nutritional planning is deficient. These crucial elements in maintaining performance as well as contributing to stamina will be considered in their own right. Running in high temperatures or sunshine does require skin protection and if there is hair thinning then scalp protection is particularly important, as is making sure that the neck and upper chest isn’t too exposed without sun cream. This isn’t as easy as it seems as the wrong sun lotion applied either to the face or scalp will, in hot weather, find its way in to the eyes, giving soreness and even conjunctival oedema and swelling. All of this to the seasoned runner must seem basic. However basic, it is remarkable how often that it is something silly that leads us to pulled muscles, cramp and twisted ankles. Each month I will dissect different elements in relation to performance and then how to handle the typical injuries that runners sustain. My parting comment for this month is to feel confident in asking any question of those who have greater experience or professional athletic skills. No question is so uninformed that doesn’t benefit from a quality opinion.