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6 Pain Prevention Tips to Keep You Running

bonnie pfiesterEarlier this year I developed tendonitis in my left ankle. It was so bad, I not only had to stop running, I couldn’t even walk. I went to Total Health Vero Beach for therapy, and slowly but surely it started improving. Well, after something like that gets you down, needless to say, you are a little scared to jump back in your running shoes.
with both feet.

In the last month I have a done a few short “test runs”. So far, so good, although I still had a little twinge in the ankle following the runs so I continue to be cautious – knowing that I could irritate it if I wasn’t careful and be right back where I started.

So you can understand how hard it was to hear that a bunch of peeps from our gym were going to run, what we Veroites call, “the loop” – a 5.6 mile run that goes over both our two bridges (our only real hills in our town) over the waterway to the beach. It’s a great run! It’s scenic, it’s fun, and I didn’t want to miss it! So, I decided I’d just do what I could, and if my ankle started acting up, I’d just turn around, slow down or walk if I needed to.

Team Max

Reebok DMX SkyTo my surprise, I had literally no pain. I was running in my Reebok DMX Sky running shoes which have a ton of cushion and support. I honestly think that helped a lot. I typically wear a minimalist “barely there” shoe that’s pretty flat but, since my injury, I’ve felt I needed more of a lift in my heel, as well as more cushion for a softer impact. So far, I’ve only tested my runs in this shoe and I’ve experienced no pain while running. (below i’ll talk about post-run injury prevention)

sunriseAs we reached our halfway mark, overlooking the pretty water, enjoying the view, I was not just on top of the bridge, but I was on top of the world! I had no pain, I felt great and, I was ready for the next half of the run.

(This was the view at the top of the bridge. The water was like glass – just pure beauty!)

So off we went! I was SO excited! I ran the whole 5.6 mile loop without stopping (except to take these pictures! ha!) WOOOO HOOOO!

Girls running

As finished up our last few steps and approached our cars, I looked at my running app to check my pace, distance and all that jazz, only to find my app quit tracking my run at 2.9 miles! Ughhhhh!! DARN IT!! Since my running app and Jawbone UP app syncs with my LoseIt app, I get super bummed when I miss out on a posting calorie burned or increased activity of any type. It almost gives you that feeling as if you didn’t do it unless you can see it, sync it and share it. lol

funny facebook fitness cartoon

It reminds me of this silly facebook cartoon I’ve seen floating around facebook. I know I’m not the only runner in the world that has these silly technical error moments. However, I’m so thankful for all the fitness toys, and social media, made available today because it holds us accountable, gives us clear goals and makes fitness more fun.

For those of you runners who have had this happen to you, I made this graphic for you! ha 🙂

running app funny

Post Workout Injury Prevention Tips

Sometimes we feel great DURING our workout, but pay for it LATER. Here are a few tips to prevent pain and problems that can slow a runner down.

6 Tips to Fight Injury

Running Injury1. Prevent inflammation. Take anti-inflammatories to prevent inflammation. Once inflammation sets in, it’s much harder to manage. Don’t wait until you have noticeable pain and swelling.

2. Manage swelling. If you feel you are the least bit swollen, ice the area religiously. If you can control the swelling, you can control the pain. The problem is, people HATE to ice. No one likes to be cold – and ice can be downright painful. I use these Hot Socks to keep me cozy. They really helped me endure the ice and make it a lot more comfortable.

3. Stretch. Now that it’s 2 days after my run, I can begin to feel my ankle tightening up due to tight calves and achilles. If I want to prevent issues, I need to keep those muscles and loosey-goosey. This is going to be key for me if I want to run on a regular basis again. Most injuries are due to tight or weak muscles. I am SUPER tight, so this is something I really have to work on. Here is a good video on how stretching can prevent (or help heel) common foot issues. These are the stretches I do that also help my ankle.

4. Listen to your body. Allow your body to recover before you beat it up again. Don’t rush things. It will be tempting to want to jump right back to your old routine, but going slow at first can prevent you from having to stop completely.

5. Don’t stop rehab. Most people quit rehabbing their injury when they quit hurting. The same way we shouldn’t wait until we have a bad injury to stretch or ice, we should continue the steps that helped us to heal as preventive measures too.

Athletic Shoes: The Sole Purpose6. Consider your footwear. If you started having problems suddenly, think of what changed. Was it new shoes? Is it old shoes, and time for new shoes? For me, I believe it was going from a shoe with a greater drop to a flatter shoe (which I loved, but I don’t think they loved me).  Most running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. They call this ratio the “drop”. This tiny difference was enough to add more stretch in my Achilles, calves and surrounding ankle muscles/tendons with each repetitive step. This doesn’t mean I can’t go back to them, but not until I stretch more and get that area more flexible. Personally, I believe this also has a lot to do with wearing heels all these years – and then going to running practically flat-footed. So, this reinforces my need to stretch.

NOTE: Often times I say that running injuries can be due to shoe choice – but I don’t just mean poor shoes, I mean not the right shoes for YOU. Just because I love a shoe, doesn’t mean you will too. Reebok recommends rotating between 2-3 pair of shoes to avoid damage due to repetitive action. 

CLICK HERE to Learn More About Choosing the Right Show for You 

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Pain Prevention Tips: Ice, Heat & Pain-Relieving Cream

Pain Prevention TipsAches and pains happen – even for those who workout. If you want to continue reaching your goal, you want to have solutions for pain prevention so these minor aches don’t slow you down. That’s when ice and products like Thera-Gesic are great. When I first heard of Thera-Gesic, I honestly didn’t know what to think – or what to expect. I had never tried a pain relieving cream before. When I got my first tube, it took me a while to even break it open because I didn’t think I had any real “pain” to treat. I don’t know what kind of “pain” I thought I needed to have to warrant slathering on a pain-relieving cream, but I eventually changed my thinking.

Theragesic Product Review & Pain Prevention Tips

back painWhen I started thinking about it, I realized I had been struggling with tight traps and back muscles for a while.  I guess I had just been living with that for so long, I had gotten used to it. So, one night I decided to give my new cream a try. I coated 2 layers (for a stronger affect, as directed on the label) across my traps (tops of my shoulders) and on some meaty parts of my back that were all knotted up. I threw on a night shirt and hit the sack.

As I was lying in the bed, I could begin to feel the heating action of the cream take affect. I literally felt my muscles slowly relax. This soothing warmth was so comforting, it helped me fall asleep.

cold laserA few weeks later, I started to develop tendonitis in my left ankle. One day I bumped in to “Dr. Tom” (Tom Harmony), one of our members at Max Fitness who is a Chiropractor Total Health of Vero Beach.  I asked him about my ankle and he felt sure he could help so I went in right away. While he was adjusting my foot and applying cold laser therapy to reduce inflammation, I remembered my Thera-Gesic cream and started drilling him with questions.

I had tried it on my ankle, but it didn’t give me the same relief it did when I put it on my back. I wanted to learn more on how to use this cream properly and he really gave me some great information I wanted to pass along to you!

Ice Pack1. Ice inflammation caused by injury.  Dr. Tom told me I needed to ice my ankle to reduce the inflammation in and around my tendon. Of course this is not near as fun as using heat, but it would get me up and running again much faster since heat could actually make the inflammation worse. Since Thera-Gesic has a heating element to it, he suggested I not use that cream for my ankle. However, he did want me to loosen up the muscles in my calves and areas around my injury. So in addition to stretching my calves, I could use the Thera-Gesic cream on my calves to help relax those tight muscles.

heatingPad2. Use heat on chronic pain, not due to injury, like arthritis. When my muscles are tight or a joint is inflamed from a chronic illness, heat is comforting. This is when Thera-Gesic is helpful. I remember my grandmother, who suffered with severe arthritis in her back, was always sitting against a heating pad. Heat was extremely comforting for her. However, if your joint is inflamed from acute injury (like pulling your pack out of whack), heat should be avoided and ice should be used. He also explained that there is a lot of blood flow to big muscles, and that is why those areas warmed up so nicely in my back, which was great for my aching muscles. Knowing that made me want to put it on every single muscle in my entire body! ha 🙂

So, my regimen was to use cold laser therapy and ice for my joint injuries and use Thera-Gesic on my tight sore muscles – a winning combination!

Cool Tid-Bit: Don’t want to smell like mentol? Don’t worry, I discovered that after you let the cream penetrate completely, you can wash your skin without decreasing the effectiveness. After testing it out, it looks like I will be keeping a tube of Thera-Gesic around our house!

giveaway

TIME TO WIN! WIN! WIN!

Win a grand prize of a $100 Visa Gift Card and a 6 month supply of Thera-Gesic. PLUS 2 runners ups will win a 6-month supply of Thera-Gesic!

All you have to do is:

–       Leave a comment here on my blog with your favorite form of exercise

–       Follow Thera-Gesic on Facebook – and/or on Twitter

Winners will be selected at random, and prizes will be fulfilled by Thera-Gesic. This is a sponsored post brought to you by Thera-Gesic. The opinions expressed here are my own.

3 Ways to Stop Knee Pain

Do your knees ache? Do they hurt when you run? Do your knees get in the way of a good leg routine? Before you go off running for the operating room, your knee pain could be something a lot more simple than you think.

One popular reasons people (especially runners and fitness newbies) struggle with knee pain is because our leg muscles are out of balance. As tight muscles play tug-a-war with your knee cap knee cap, and your apposing weak muscles are losing. This cause the knee cap to float out of place – resulting in poor knee tracking and a lot of discomfort.

Steve explains how to correct the problem with a couple of simple exercises:

More Exercises

1 Stretches: 
Quadricep Stretch
IT Band Stretch
IT Band Foam Roller

2. Exercises:
Leg Extension on a Machine

Leg Extension with Bands
Leg Extension with Leg Weights

3. Ice & Rest:
Rest is crucial to allow for healing
Ice is essential to reduce inflammation (15 minutes at a time, as often as you can)

More Injury Prevention Blogs

More on Knee Pain:
Simple Fix for Knee Pain
Fast Fix for a Pain in Your Butt
Kick Heel Pain
HEROES: Fitness After Pain & Injury
Train Hurt or Go Home! (or should you?)
5 Simple Pain Prevention Tips

Kick Heel Pain

If you’ve ever stepped out of bed in the morning, only to find you barely could walk across the floor without this crazy sudden heel pain, then you may have Plantar Fasciitis. Typically, as you continue to walk, the pain will let up – but don’t be fooled. This problem will only get worse if unattended – and could potentially turn into a bone spur.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Steve explains what it is and how to prevent, or improve, it with 2 simple exercises.

SUBSCRIBE TO pFITtv for more tips, exercises and workouts.

HEROES: Fitness After Pain & Injury

Pain or injury may not be an option, but recovery is. 

I was talking with a member of our gym who was having some health issues last week. She was extremely discouraged about what she believed to be the inability to workout due to her latest ailment. I could see despair in her eyes. In this particular case, the only exercise she knew to do was the bicycle. This was extremely difficult for her to accept after many years of exercising and taking aerobics classes. She was basically ready to give up.

So many people allow an injury to set them back for life. Instead of slowing down, or changing up their exercise plan to work around their issue, they just quit. Quitting isn’t an option.

The thought of my member’s discouragement rocked me. I wondered how many other people have had the same thoughts and problems but didn’t ask for help. It is easy to use an injury or health problem as a good excuse to quit exercising. In my experience, most people really honestly believe they have no other choice but to give up.

If only the general public knew there are ways to work around health issues – and even improve them. Many times there are specific exercises which can help someone recover, or at least better cope, with their condition – ultimately improving the quality of their life. If this wasn’t the case, physical therapist wouldn’t exist.

Know Limits = No Limits
In this member’s situation, there were still plenty of exercises she could have done. Often times, even someone bound to a wheelchair can still do some type of exercise, working around their limitations. We have a member who comes in regularly, in her wheelchair, to train with one of our trainers. He has her doing laps down our sidewalk, and numerous other exercises, to keep her heart and lungs strong and her active body as fit as possible.

Unfortunately, when our body begins to break down, we mentally break down. We quit believing in our own ability to perform – or even survive. We allow our own doubts and lack of knowledge to dictate what we think we can and cannot do. When we experience pain, we are afraid to try anything in fear of making things worse. Ironically, the reality is there is even more risk in giving up and staying sedentary.

I am here to tell you fitness believes in you. I believe in you. Let me encourage you. Even if your body gives up on you, never, never, never give up on your body.

6 Stretches to Relieve Common Aches & Pains

1. Quadriceps Stretch – Helps relieve knee pain
2. Hamstring Stretch – Helps improve posture while sitting and low back pain
3. Buttocks Stretch – Helps relieve sciatica and leg pain
4. Calves Stretch – Helps relieve pain from plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
5. Chest Stretch High – Helps reduce back and shoulder pain due to forward posture
6. Side Neck Stretch – Helps improve neck pain and tightness

They Never Gave Up – When there’s a will, there’s a way

Most of us will find our ailments are small compared to these success stories:

Aaron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham (has spina bifida and has been in a wheelchair since he was 8 years old)

Jillanna “Mel” Curry, 49, who has won both gold and silver medals in United States Tennis Association Wheelchair Tennis Championships (lost her leg after discovering blood clots

Nadya Vessey had a mermaid tail crafted for her so she could swim after having both her legs amputated.

Bob Siudak lost leg to cancer.

Catherine “Cat” Hammes, 45yr old woman lost her leg in a motorycycle accident

Amy Purdy had less than a 2 percent chance of being diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis. After losing both legs, getting a kidney transplant, and battling other life-threatening health issues, Amy pledged to move on and attain goals even people with 2 legs struggle to achieve.

Now what’s your excuse?

FREE WORKSHOP
Reserve your spot in our Free Pain Prevention Educational and Interactive Workshop: Tuesday, February 28th at 11:00am with Steve Pfiester at Max Fitness Club, 970 14th Lane, Vero Beach, Florida 32960. Call 772-778-7867 to make your free reservation and walk away with more hope and knowledge.

Subscribe to my blog for more health, fitness and pain prevention tips.

Train Hurt or Go Home! (or should you?)

This was a great blog for all of you who have gotten hurt and have wondered if you should workout or not….

No matter how careful you are in the gym, sooner or later you will be faced with some sort of achy extremity or throbbing appendage.  What you learn next could redefine how you train during injuries.

I got caught in an arm bar last Monday night at the Forge, where I am learning mma.  Yes, apparently I suck; however, after being caught in this rather precarious maneuver,  I thought my elbow had been broke.  Not so much from my arm going numb, or the excruciating pain in my elbow and shoulder, but mostly because of the huge tearing sound that made my opponent let go and say “did I break it”.  Not exactly what you want to hear.  Now the critical point… Am I just “hurt”,  or am I “injured”.  If I’m hurt but not injured, should I continue fighting or should I rest?  How do I know?

READ STEVE’S BLOG to get the answers.

via Train Hurt or Go Home! (or should you?).

Runners Beware: 4 Things You Need to Know

When I think of runners I think of fit people. I picture thin peeps jogging it out every day, lookin’ and feeling good – but that is not always the case. Many runners may be doing their body (and physique) more harm than good.  Although I am a runner and love the benefits of it, there can be some negative side effects if that’s all you do.

#1 You Can Get Skinny Fat. We’ve all seen it. A person is slim, but not fit. They jiggle in the middle, their butt sags, their thighs flab, but they wear a size 4. If you aren’t preserving muscle with resistance training and getting enough protein (I take 100-125gms a day) you could lose valuable muscle that gives you the fit and firm shape you want. 

#2 Your Metabolism Can Slow Down. Our metabolism is primarily based on our muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest (Basal Metabolic Rate). For instance, most of our female clients burn between 1200-1300 calories at rest (Mine is BMR is 1500). I’m not muscle-bound by all means, but I do have more lean mass so I do burn more calories than I did without muscle. I am a runner, but I also do hit the weights HARD – and as you can see (that’s me on the right), my legs don’t look like a bodybuilder. Note: Resistance training is any exercise that uses resistance (weight) like weights, bands, kettlebells and power yoga or bootcamp (using your own body weight).  Read the rest of this entry

Injury Prevention & Recovery – Tips to keep you going

Few people are lucky enough to never experience some type of back pain in their lifetime. I know what back pain can do to someone – and it’s not fun by any means.

A few years ago I suffered from a muscle spasm after a shoulder workout. The spasm was yanking on my discs and throwing me all out of whack. Since I was leaving on vacation the following day, I immediately went running to Dr. Chris Stepanek at Total Health of Vero Beach for help.  This was my first encounter with a Chiropractor and I was impressed to say the least.

I loved that he not only treated my discs but also worked on my actual spasm that was causing my discs to jump out of place. I continued with ice and anti-inflammatories, but it took weeks for me to recover.

When it came time to do shoulders again, it was only natural for me to be a little scared of re-injury. Fear is a natural response, but I knew that if I didn’t stay active I’d only face more problems down the road.

Since injuries tend to be a good excuse to avoid exercise, I asked Dr. Stepanek to share some tips to help people get back in the saddle and prevent future injury. The following advise may surprise you.

1. Keep moving. Don’t avoid the motion that caused the injury to begin with. “If you threw your back out doing squats, the first reaction is to avoid doing squats again” explains Dr. Stepanek. He warns avoiding the same motion that created the problem can only cause more problems down the road.

Many back injuries are due to weak or tight muscles. Avoiding exercises that would strengthen and stretch the area allows your body to become weaker, compounding the problem and making the patient even more fragile. Instead, Dr. Stepanek encourages patients to repeat the same motion that caused the injury at the earliest possible moment.

2. Let joints heal. Although you should get back into motion as soon as you can when it comes to muscle related injuries, injured joints are a different story. Dr. Stepanek says people should avoid strengthening muscles around injured joints too early in the healing process. The joint must be fully functional before you can begin strengthening muscles around it.

This is very difficult for impatient people on a quest to get fit, but it’s best to heal from a minor injury than to ignore it and cause more damage.

3. Ice is best. While bed rest and heat sounds a lot more appealing than applying a Ziploc bag of crushed ice to the middle of your bare back, ice is always a safe bet.  A heating pad is not something you will find at Dr. Stepanek’s office, as heat causes an inflammatory response.

4. Get strong. Even though disc related low back pain is the number one condition treated at Total Health, Dr. Stepanek says it can be prevented and improved. Strengthening the core muscles splints the spine, giving the back more protection and support. Abdominal exercises are very beneficial as well as stretching exercises for the back, hamstrings and hip flexors.

If you have been using pain, or fear of injury, as an excuse to stay out of the gym, it’s time to look for another excuse. Dr. Stepanek says, “ It’s your future, be there healthy.”

Total Health of Vero Beach welcomes walk-ins. Call 778-BACK for more information.

 

 

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