Katie is in a triathlete in her late 40s. She’s been involved in triathlon for almost 5 years and been pretty much injury free until this year.
Like most triathletes, she leads a very full and busy life, squeezing her training in around her job, her husband and their three kids.
In January this year, she developed a niggle in her calf. She was fine in the pool and on the bike, but after about 20 minutes of running she’d feel a pain in her calf that eventually got so bad that she had to stop running.
Once it had reached the point where she couldn’t run, she started to look at ways to try to loosen her calf up.
She’d work on it for between ten and 20 minutes before training and got herself back to running within a few weeks.
After a while, she noticed that her calf was starting to tighten up again, despite her efforts and the pain started to come back.
Believe it or not, in this short story there are 5 mistakes that Katie made…
1 – Waiting until after pain
Katie didn’t start trying to loosen her body until after she’d started with the calf pain. Once the pain starts, it’s far more difficult to ignore the symptom (in this case, calf pain), to focus on fixing the cause of the problem.
2 – No plan
Katie didn’t have a structured plan to help her deal with her pain, she just started working on the area of the symptom in the hope that it would make the pain go away.
3 – Not specific enough
Because she was distracted by the pain, Katie failed to find the cause of the actual problem, instead just working in the general area
4 – Only half the job
Katie’s entire aim was to relieve the symptom, but this is only half the rehab process. It’s not just about removing pain, it’s about making sure the pain doesn’t come back.
5 – Not a priority
One of the main reasons that athletes end up plagued by niggly injuries is that their only goal is to get rid of the pain and get back to training. They don’t make improving movement a priority so their bodies continue to tighten up and pain is a persistent problem, even if it is intermittent at first.
When Katie asked for my help, we dealt with her issue in a very simple, 4 step process:
- Identify the cause of the issue – it turned out that Katie was having calf trouble because her inner thigh muscles were too tight, which was rolling her thighs inward and her body was compensating by turning her lower leg out, which was putting a strain on her calf. When she was running, it was increasing the strain, which resulted in pain.
- Deal with the cause – despite the symptom (pain) being in her calf, we began dealing with her inner thigh and hip flexor tightness and very quickly, her pain disappeared.
- Add resilience – By adding some complex movements into the mix that are designed to both lengthen the muscles that were tight and strengthen her body in many different directions, we are adding a layer of resilience that will ensure that her injury doesn’t come back.
- Continue to lengthen and strengthen – Now Katie is in a regular routine of improving her movement, she is not only making her calf issue less likely, but also any other injury too. We are continuing to monitor which areas of her body feel tight, and working with those. She also ensures that she doesn’t get stuck doing the same few movements for months on end.
By being proactive, having a plan of dealing with specific areas, making sure the pain doesn’t come back and making movement improvement a priority, Katie has been completely injury free for many months now, and will continue to be.
Take your first step by using my FREE Injury Predictor Assessment to discover the real cause behind your issues and let’s get rid of them for good.