August 19, 2015
I have been incredibly lucky over the past 10 years, having pretty much been an injury free runner…which may seem odd seeing as there is an assumption that running can’t possibly be good for you, especially if you are carrying extra weight.
But its the truth.
In fact I had a knee injury (from falling over when tipsy) in my early twenties, and if anything my running actually helped me to develop strength in my knees, and so aside from the odd fall and my ankle going over once…there has never been anything serious enough to put me out of action.
So when people used to ask me, do you have a physio and do you get regular sports massages, I was a bit like…what for? Surely only proper athletes need a physiotherapist right?
Well it appears not.
Shortly after joining my running club The East London Runners, I noticed lots of facebook conversations about where to go for the best massage, or strapping, or acupuncture…and it seemed everyone was at it. Whether it was loosening up before a big race, or recovering after a tough training session…even those without the slightest sign of an injury were going regularly to a physio as a preventative measure.
But me being me, I was like “huh, I can’t afford that outlay on top of everything else” (Running is apparently FREE you know) and so I never quite got round to getting myself a physio.
And then of course the inevitable happened.
After over ten years of nothing, I mashed myself up (ie injured myself) big time…and guess what, it wasn’t even running that did it, it was bloody crossfit. One session was all it took, and despite the fact I loved the actual session and didn’t find it a complete nightmare, my calves felt differently about it the following morning and their tightness caused my knee to dramatically pop.
This resulted in a day and a half of sheer panic and RICEing it…
Oh and lots of pretending it hadn’t happened whilst I caught up with some daytime TV.
I called my GP surgery too who were pretty useless, “Oh…well no need to come into the surgery, I guess we will just book you in for an MRI” they said. But what about the fact I couldn’t walk? I was looking at an 8-10 bleedin weeks wait for a scan as well…what the hell would I do if my job involved walking or any kind of physical exercise hey? (Doh)
And then out of desperation I put a call out for help on my running club website “can anyone suggest a good sports physio for a popped knee?” and a trusted running buddy suggested DJN Physiotherapists who fitted me in the following afternoon.
I looked a real sight as I hobbled to the top of my road and sat anxiously on a busy bus for an hour making my way to their Fenchurch Street branch, I figured I had done something pretty bad to my knee as I could barely move and every bump in the road was causing me pain…but I swear to god, after 45 minutes with a physio (Consultant Physiotherapist Neil Walker) I almost bounced out of that clinic.
Turns out (after a detailed examination) my tight calves had caused the knee problem, so with some acupuncture (which was a new experience for me) on my calves, a bit of massage and manipulation, and then some clever strapping…I was back up and running, well not running, but walking, and actually the physio said that the 10K I had planned in just 8 days time wasn’t an absolute write off either. He sent me home with a resistance band and a list of exercises, and asked me to come back the following week.
And low and behold after another session, I did find myself the following morning lining up at the start of the Newham London Great Morrisons 10K run, which I plodded gently around in a respectable time with not an iota of knee pain. These guys simply put me back together…and get this…without a single mention of my weight or body size.
However, roll on 8 weeks, and an MRI scan which revealed nothing and one further physio session and I finally had a face to face assessment with a GP…and the first words out of their mouth? “Well your weight is probably not helping things”, because of course slim runners never have injuries and never need treatment right?
After putting the doctor in her place with my new found confidence and knowledge about Fit and Fat and HAES (Health at Every Size), I was told to come back in 8 weeks if I was still experiencing pain…oh and would I like to be prescribed Orlistat…the drug that makes your body expel fat…often at the most inconvenient of times in the most embarrassing ways….did I heck.
So in conclusion, if you have an injury or a niggling issue don’t wait about for an NHS referral for a physio seek help from an expert straight away, in fact don’t even wait for an injury to strike in the first place, get your physio sorted before you actually need one. Have them asses you and support you in keeping your body in tip top shape, because after all you are an athlete and us athletes need the very best team around us regardless of what level we are at or what size out backside is.
Look out next week for part two of this blog post, with an update on my knee and some other good reasons for getting a physio…as the story is not completely over yet.
Many thanks to Neil Walker and Enrico Grilli for all their support over the last few months. Check out the DJN Physiotherapists website for details of their 7 London Clinics