A very common issue we see at City Physiotherapy Adelaide is patients who are runners coming in with tight and stiff muscles.
Most of us try stretching to eliminate tight muscles. Especially in the hamstrings, calf or glutes. Often, I have found that most people do no stretch enough, they don’t usually stretch for long enough, know which muscles to stretch and/or how to stretch their muscles effectively. So, effective stretching can help muscle tightness but, while it may help symptoms, the tightness can come back when you start running again.
The next step is to then use massage tools like the foam roller or spikey ball. The foam roller can help to release muscle tightness and tight fascia – it can be painful to do but it does help.
Foam rolling and spikey ball tight muscle release results still may not be the complete answer to muscle tightness in runners. At City Physio, your physiotherapists will provide you with hands on physiotherapy or you can also book in for a remedial massage or sports massage for your tight muscles. This hands-on approach is very effective in releasing the offending muscle tightness and of those muscles, joints and other soft tissue structures that are also contributing to and inhibiting full normal muscle range of movement.
Muscle tightness – what else can I do?
In a lot of the patients we see, the cause of muscle tightness is due to muscle weakness. When you run, you increase the intensity of your training or load on a particular muscle or muscle group. Your muscles fatigue easily if they are weak and so your, muscle becomes tight and firm. Part of the answer then to muscle tightness is the strengthen the weak muscles to cope with the load or minimise your training or running or if appropriate, both.
To build muscle strength in order to reduce muscle fatigue and eventually minimise muscle tightness we need to strengthen your muscles when they are under tension in a lengthened position – we call this eccentric muscle control. Your City Physiotherapy Physio can design a specific eccentric load exercise programme for you, around your muscles which are weak and causing your muscle tightness. All new exercise programmes may have you feeling stiff for the first 24-48 hours but the benefits of improving your muscle strength will outweigh any initial discomfort.
Do not just start these exercises without professional physiotherapy assessment and advice as you can worsen your symptoms or cause injury with poor technique or create or worsen existing tendon issues. Your City Physio physiotherapist will also consider factors such as overall biomechanics, running footwear, training load and any other contributing factors.
Book in for an assessment on 8212 4886 or book online at www.cityphysiotherapy.com.au