Sports massage for runners
Written by Lucy Hurley Sports injuries and rehabilitation practitioner at Herts Osteopathy
With the St Albans Half Marathon in just under 2 weeks’ time and the summer running season in full swing, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how to optimise recovery and prevent injuries through sports and remedial massage therapy.
Although running has so many amazing benefits, such as:
- Improving physical and mental health
- Allowing some “me” time
- Increasing cardiovascular fitness (and adding thousands to your step count for the day!!)
- It can be done anywhere, anytime
- It requires minimal equipment,
…it is also important to recognise that running is a high impact activity that puts stress on the joints and involves repetitive movements that can cause over-use injuries especially if there are discrepancies in your biomechanics or running gait.
Common causes of running injuries are:
- a sudden increase in mileage,
- lack of stretching/foam rolling,
- not allowing enough time for recovery i.e. overtraining,
- not cross-training/varying your training
- lack of core strength, stability and flexibility
- incorrect footwear
Common running injuries are:
- ITB syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (knee pain)
- Achilles tendinitis
- Shin splints
These injuries can be treated, managed and prevented through sports massage therapy. Sports and remedial massage therapy can help treat musculoskeletal pain, help to enhance recovery, prevent injury, improve posture, alignment and function and can prolong your running life.
At Herts Osteopathy we look at your posture, test your movements and gait and check that your running trainers are suited to your feet. Our treatments are not just hands-on, we also help to correct movement, use kinesiology taping, prescribe exercises and advise how to self-manage at home through stretching, foam rolling, cross-training, yoga, Pilates and strength & conditioning.
Having regular sports massage treatments alongside your running training can help to keep your injuries at bay, help repair your muscle fibres and help to re-balance any muscle imbalances. It can also help you to keep in tune with your body and learn to manage and maintain healthy muscle tissues.
Pre and Post race treatments are also advisable;
Pre-race massage focuses on preparing the muscle tissues and allows them to fully recover in time for the race. It helps to identify any particular areas of tension within the soft tissue and can help prepare the tissues so they are in a healthy condition for optimum function for the race.
Post-race massage focuses on muscle tissue recovery- helping blood flow and speeding up the recovery process. It also lessens DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and will get you back to training sooner.
Sports massage perfectly complements osteopathy as it can help to free up soft tissue areas of tension while osteopathy can resolve any structural issues alongside treating musculoskeletal imbalances. A combination of both treatments can lead to a speedy recovery and injury-free training.
Here is one of our patients telling you his experience of a combination of osteopathy and sports massage and how it has helped him in his lead up to the St Albans Half Marathon:
“I have been building up my running over the past 6 months for the St Albans Half Marathon . More recently, averaging around 25-30 miles a week, there were warning signs that not everything was right even though I was completing my runs.
When my back eventually gave way, a combination of osteopathic diagnosis and sports massage quickly got me back up and running. The massage not just provided pain relief but freed up muscles that had simply stopped functioning as they should. It was a painful lesson to learn but also a valuable one. Sports massage and regular osteopathic check ups need to be part of my training plan as much as the runs themselves”.
Herts Osteopathy patient running St Albans Half Marathon on Sunday 11th June 2017.
Book online at Herts Osteopathy now for your initial consultation.
Article written by Lucy Hurley, Sports massage and injury rehabilitation practitioner at Herts Osteopathy. May 2017