san diego Archives - Catalyst Physical Therapy & Wellness Mission Valley San Diego

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The Runner’s Rulebook: A Guide from Your Running Coach

 

What is the Runner’s Rulebook?  Well, it’s a guide from your running coach, that’s me, Coach BW, that teaches you how to keep running fun and pain-free year after year!

 

First, there’s no doubt that running is one of the world’s most popular sports.  Why?

  • No major equipment is needed to run
  • Running improves both your physical and mental health
  • Through running you build strength, and strong bones, as it’s a weight-bearing exercise
  • The attractiveness of a “high” euphoric feeling that you get running, especially outdoors, as you fall into a balance between your thoughts, effort, and your natural surroundings
  • During times of stress or long workdays, you can turn to running as an outlet.  It can provide you with a ‘reset’ that allows you to become a better version of yourself

 

A Guide Based on Experience

 

As a runner, an endurance coach, and a physical therapist for the past 14+ years, I created the Runner’s Rulebook based on my experience coaching running at all levels.  From beginners in the sport to professional runners. 

In addition, I also assess and treat running injuries on a weekly basis, and teach other physical therapists how to do the same.


Now then, the Running Rulebook does not contain hard lines drawn in the sand.  But, more of a template that can be revisited as your body evolves over time.  Let’s jump into my Top 5 Rules for Runners!

 

running marathon racing

 


1. Take time each year to understand your body

Taking the time to understand your body as a runner means taking a good look at your physiology and musculoskeletal makeup.  Therefore, a review of medical history, injuries, and, a true assessment of your flexibility and strength in all areas of your body pertinent to running.  

 

For example, have you taken a medication or been forced to wear dress shoes that have led to losing some of your ankle and toe mobility?  Well, we rely heavily on this mobility for running. 

So, a shortening of a person’s ankle dorsiflexion or change in toe extension can be directly linked to foot pain.  This pain typically does not improve unless you have a specialist identify what needs to be done.  Signing up for our run assessment is a great first step- literally! 

 

Running injuries are typically not acute.  But, they gradually evolve over time.  Therefore, the impact and stress applied to your joints needs to be balanced with the right exercise. 

For me, it may mean stretching a little more on one side versus the other.  For you, it could be activating a certain muscle set.  Moving through a strength routine.  Something to help you better control the forces applied when landing on one leg and absorbing shock. 

 

Catalyst run program

 

2. Manage your energy levels to become your best self

Next, proper energy management is essential when choosing what time of day you plan to run to keep it fun and pain-free.  Each run should complement your energy levels, allowing you to feel a sense of achievement and balance. 


As a runner and running coach, when I’ve gone for a run during a time when my energy levels were exhausted, it’s just junk miles.
  Wondering what I mean by this?  Well, there are mixed reviews on what junk miles actually are, and whether they worth having in your running training plan. 
As a running coach, I’d view junk miles as days when your running on empty.  Where each step feels heavier than the last.  Overall, you feel clunky and out of any sense of natural rhythm.


Therefore, understanding where and when you are naturally inclined to harness energy is extremely beneficial for the success of your run training plan.  How do you determine when and where to fit in your run?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you wake up with energy and need to waste a bit to feel productive?
  • Do you get energized throughout the day interacting with people?
  • Are you someone that feels low on energy regardless of the time of day? Do you always need motivation to get outside and run?


running coast Carlsbad

 

3. Understand what style of runner you are

Did you know that your running form or technique matters?  Yes, there are direct links to the mechanics of how you run that influences how long your body will last in the sport.  A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise provides robust evidence that technique explains a substantial proportion of the variance in your ‘running economy’ and performance. 

 

Do you know what type of runner you are?

Ask yourself, do you:

  • Land on the balls of your feet the majority of the time?
  • Have weak ankles or fallen arches?
  • Have a long stride?
  • Land on the heel of your foot every time despite whether you’re going uphill or downhill? 

 

By identifying and addressing some of these issues, you can actually change your running form.  And a change in your running form could actually save you a lot of time and money- helping to avoid medical expenses from injury and the purchase of unnessary equipment (shoes, braces, orthotics). 

 

Need help identifying what type of runner you are?  Make an appointment for a run assessment! One of our specialists will identify exactly what style of runner you are, and they can help you identify form issues that could lead to energy leaks costing you efficiency.

 

Why get a run assessment?  Well, having someone assess your natural style will prove extremely beneficial when it comes to becoming a more efficient runner.  What do I mean by that?  Efficiency equals faster speed, fewer impact forces on your body and less energy leaked that limits your performance.

 

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4. Set goals that make sense for what kind of runner you want to be

As a running coach, I see it all the time. Runners pick their races based on the training partners they’ve chosen. While I’m all about having people alongside you to motivate you towards your goal, don’t become a marathoner because your friends do.  Or, because it’s often seen as the pinnacle of the sport.

Think about why you enjoy running.  Then, set at least one or two races on your calendar that are your ‘A’ races.  These races should speak to the very reason you’ve taken up the sport! 

 

How do you determine what kind of runner you want to be?  Ask yourself if you:

  • Crave the hills?
  • Enjoy the environment found on trails or gravel roads?
  • Love pushing the pace on a track?
  • Need just 30 minutes of solitude to feel recharged?
  • Want to achieve a personal best in a 5k/10k? 

 

Based on your answers, you’ll be able to sprinkle in some of the motivating stuff you need each week while training and naturally increase your motivation towards your goal race.  This allows you to keep your eye on the prize!

As a running coach, I call these your soul-feeding workouts.  Fit one into each week to recharge. 

For me, this might be intervals on the track.  For you, it may be a walk/run combo in the woods to re-center and focus.

 

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5. Plan your workouts in advance and have someone hold you accountable

I’m not the most knowledgeable running coach in the world.  However, I see such success with my endurance athletes because I get to know them.  And, I help them to set realistic and fun goals that fuel them as human beings.

So, I love coaching and training runners of all ages and abilities.  In my experience, there are some of you who will need a 5-day adventure running race to feel fulfilled, while others only need a 5k.

 

How to Become Accountable

Bite-sized goal setting coupled with reality checks on performance is what allows a runner to progress.  Then, it all comes down to accountability. 

For you, accountability may come through writing in a journal or reporting progress over the phone to a running coach each week.  Or, it could be logging miles on Strava, GarminConnect, Suunto, or sharing via a social media post to allow friends and family to cheer you along. 

Either way, track what you do week-to-week.  Set goals for the year and constantly evaluate your progress towards meeting those goals.  This will lead to long-term success.

 

 

Final Thoughts from Your Run Coach

Running should never feel as though it’s a chore.  Something that you have to check off the list each day.  Therefore, pay attention to my top 5 rules.  This will allow you to feel fueled and avoid burnout year after year.

It’s a blessing to be able to run!  So, if you place emphasis each year on evolving your body alongside your goals in the sport, you’ll be able to look back with a smile and embrace the infinite amount of small steps it took to get you where you are.

Want to get started with me as your run coach?  Awesome!  The first step is to make an appointment for a run assessment. 


Personally, I want to run into my 90s, and I never lose the euphoria I get while trail running! 
I don’t need the distances to get longer and longer, I just need the views with each route I choose to be worth the challenge.

-Coach BW

 


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Top 5 Reasons to See a Massage Therapist in San Diego

During these uncertain times, self-care is more important than ever.  However, you may be wondering if you should see a massage therapist in San Diego right now.  So here are our Top 5 Reasons to not only see a massage therapist but what the benefits are of choosing Catalyst PT & Wellness for your massage therapy.

 

1.  We Are a Health Care Facility

As a healthcare facility, we are open and allowed to treat patients indoors.  This includes physical therapy, wellness, and massage.  In addition, we are taking the highest safety measures possible for our patient care.  Read our full update on the recent changes here at Catalyst to help beat COVID-19. 

Here are just a few of the new measures in place for our massage therapists in San Diego:

    • Both the patient and practitioner must wear a mask for the entire massage.
    • Health screenings are conducted prior to each person entering the clinic. 
    • There are no longer patients allowed to wait in the reception area.  At Catalyst, we ask that all clients wait in their cars to be called in by their therapist.
    • Strict cleaning protocol of massage rooms, massage table and linens and any other tools used for massage therapy

 

Catalyst Massage

 

2.  Stress Is At An All-time High

During the COVID-19 pandemic, have you been more stressed or anxious than usual?  If so, you are not alone.  Many of us are stressed about work, finances, family and friend’s health and wellness.  Read more from one of our own massage therapists, Kacey McCoig, on why massage is a great way to lower stress.

Therefore, with all this new stress in our lives, it’s been proven that therapeutic touch can help.  How?  Physical touch significantly reduces emotional and/or physical stress and anxiety.  Here’s a great piece from Harvard Medical School about The Healing Power of Touch. 

No need to read further and ready to book your massage therapy in San Diego?  Great!  Give us a call today, 619-501-2195, or email us.

chair massage

3.  New Hobby or Working From Home?

With gyms and fitness studios in San Diego shut-down, have you picked up a new hobby?  Perhaps running or biking to get your fitness on while still maintaining a safe distance from others?  Maybe you have mastered the garage home gym!

Either way, your new exercise routine may be creating pain in your muscles and joints.  Read more from the Cleveland Clinic on delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS and how to tell if it’s a good pain or bad pain.

In addition, if you’re working from home now, you may be spending all day in your flip flops.  Read our last blog on why wearing flip flops all day is bad for your feet.  Coming into our San Diego location for massage therapy can help you relieve the pain.  Furthermore, our massage therapists can help you identify what specifically might be the cause, like wearing flip flops or being barefoot all day long.  See below for more on how our massage therapists work together with our PTs!

 

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4.  Back to Training?  


Now that sports are coming back online, are you training for an upcoming event?  Whether soccer, tennis, cycling, or a half-marathon, our massage therapists have guided both professional and amateur athletes towards health and wellness.  Read more on how Dr. Kristen Campbell, PT Manager and Director of Massage, worked with the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team to prepare them for competition.

Through proper timing, technique, and intent during every massage session, our skilled professionals take into consideration your WHOLE training and competition schedule.  We make sure we are helping you recover properly.  Therefore, we get your body ready to achieve your maximum potential in the pool, on the court, track, or trail.

 

Catalyst physical therapy

5.  Our massage therapy team works directly with our physical therapists

Our team of massage therapists in San Diego works closely with our physical therapists, facilitating a collaborative approach to your care.  This multidisciplinary team of specialists learns from each other.  In turn, this allows us to better address your specific needs and diagnose what’s causing your muscle aches and pains.

Constantly experiencing pain while walking or running?  Yes, we can help alleviate muscle soreness.  However, when we work together and combine our knowledge resources, we may discover that this constant pain is not from your workouts.  Sometimes is something more simple.  Perhaps the fact that you wear flip-flops all day.  Especially here in San Diego where flip-flops are the norm, we see this often.  Curious about how wearing flip-flops every day can cause harm?  Read our blog post on flip flops and how they can harm your feet!

 

Final Thoughts on Getting a Massage

So by now, we hope you have a better understanding of the steps we take here in the clinic to ensure your health and safety.  In addition, if you’re still wondering if you should see a massage therapist in San Diego right now, fill out our contact form.  Give us a call at 619-501-2195.  From our front desk to our massage therapists, everyone is highly trained to assist you in finding the best possible care.  At Catalyst, we excel in combining our services to give you the best experience and get you back to doing what you love.

 


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Are Flip Flops Bad For Your Feet?

Are you searching for bunion pain relief from wearing flip-flops all day?  If so, you are not alone.  Millions of Americans suffer from foot and ankle related issues because of the shoes they’re wearing.  Especially here in San Diego where flip-flops are the norm, we see this often.  Not only can wearing flip flops cause pain, but they can eventually lead to a lack of proper mobility of your feet.


So is wearing flip flops everyday bad for your feet?  The answer is yes, and one of the most common problems we see at Catalyst is bunion growth due to daily flip flop wearing.  In addition, while some of these problems from wearing flip flops all day long require surgery or drugs, many of them can be addressed with less invasive care.  Below we’ll break down the science behind it all, along with at-home tips for how to get your feet back in shape!

 

What Problems Do Flip Flips Create

First, what exactly is a bunion and why does wearing flip flops create one?  A bunion is a condition that is caused by the big toe angling away from your body towards the 2nd toe. The fancy medical term we use for a bunion is hallux valgus, which translates to an “increased toe angle.”

Once the toe starts to angle away from your body, your body enters a protection phase by increasing the production of bone and soft tissue around the joint.  In the early stages, this leads to a purely cosmetic issue around the toe knuckle without pain. In the later stages, patients can complain that the area is painful to touch and even hurts while walking.

 

Bunion Pain Relief

 

What Causes Bunions? 

While the bunion manifests itself in your toe, the actual root of the problem could be higher up in your body.  Wearing flip flops as your daily shoe can create dysfunction in your ankles, knees, and hips.  Therefore, as a result of these dysfunctions, the body compensates for every step you take. 

In the physical therapy world, our fancy term for how you walk is “gait pattern.”  During optimal walking, your big toe is the last part of your foot to leave the ground.  With a perfect gait pattern, your big toe is like a bowstring during these final moments.  Fully taught ready to spring you forward.


However, in people with bunions, the midfoot begins to collapse due to weak hip muscles.  These weak muscles are unable to control the motion of the leg below.  Instead, you push off the inside of your foot like an ice skate, rather than letting your big toe spring you forward.  By taking the recommended 10,000 steps each day, and in shoes that offer little to no support, like flip flops, you can quickly see how your foot structure will change to compensate.

 

Flip Flops and Foot Pain

Still not quite certain that flip-flops could be causing these bunions?  Here’s more research to prove it:

 

Six Steps To Prevent Foot Pain and Provide Pain Relief

Here are a few quick things you can change right now to help prevent a bunion from occurring or for bunion pain relief:

 

1.  Stop Wearing Flip flops All Day Long! 

Instead of flip flops, buy some fun slip-on sneakers. The wider toe box allows your foot to splay on the ground the way it was meant to.  If you’re still not certain if flip flops are bad to wear all day, even after reading the research, try swapping them out for sneakers on your walks.  Heading to the beach?  Wear sneakers and toss your flip flops in your bag!

 

2.  Maintain a healthy weight

Staying in that healthy weight range for your age not only helps you with bunion pain relief, it also reduces your risk of heart attack and high blood pressure.  Plus, it will make you feel good and give you more energy!

 

3.  Exercise regularly

Get into the habit of exercising and adding more movement to your daily routine.  Even if its just 30 minutes a day of brisk walking.  Remember, walk in your sneakers and not your flip flops.

 

4.  Get fitted for orthotics

Orthotics can be helpful to not only support your feet properly but also keep them in the proper alignment when running, walking, or hiking.  In addition, our foot care department at Catalyst PT & Wellness can provide custom orthotic prescriptions!

Fill out our request form now, or call us at 619-501-2195 for an appointment.

 

5.  Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is one of the oldest medical practices still around today.  We’ve adapted this Eastern medicine into our routine care and offer several types of massage- sports, deep tissue, neuromuscular, prenatal, and even chair massages.  In addition, many of our massage therapists see patients that suffer from foot pain due to wearing flip flops all day.

Read more on the styles of massages we offer, what the additional benefits of massage are, and how to become one of our Monthly Massage Members!

 

6.  Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation

As with most common injuries, the tried and true method of R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) will help alleviate foot and ankle pain due to wearing flip flops.  As an example, a warm soak with Epsom salts or an ice pack in the evening will bring foot pain relief.

 

Bunion Pain Relief

Additional Treatments For Flip Flop Wearers

Bunion Surgery

The quick fix for a bunion as a result of wearing flip flops is a surgery known as a bunionectomy.  During the surgical procedure, the bone and soft tissue on the big toe is cut out and the big toe is reset into position.  Besides dealing with post-surgical pain, recovery can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months.

Unfortunately, the success rate of these surgeries is mixed.  The bunion is not the actual problem, but rather the area in the body that is compensating for the problem.  If you’re still wearing flip flops post-surgery, your feet will continue to work in the same way.  Therefore, we have seen bunions re-develop after surgery.   The cause of the foot pain or bunion is never addressed and you end up back where you started.

 

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy treatment involves assessing your walking mechanics.  First, we identify the contributors altering your foot and ankle mechanics.  We watch you walk in your shoes or flip flops.  Often we find imbalances in muscles and joints of your hip, knees, ankles, and even your core muscles! 

Second, we teach you about strengthening and stretching techniques.  Third, we have you move in functional patterns.  This allows your body to incorporate your new strength and range of motion into daily life.

 

Not sure if flip flops are causing your injury? Or if your foot pain can be treated with physical therapy?  This is why we offer free injury screenings.  An injury screen is a quick, 15-minute video or in-person chat that can allow a doctor of physical therapy to assess your signs/symptoms.   

If your therapist determines your symptoms stem from an orthopedic issue like wearing those flip flops all day, together you can discuss which course of action will work best for you.  Whether it’s telehealth or in-person PT appointments, we can help you get your body back in action.  Fill out our request form, or call us at 619-501-2195 to book an appointment.

 

Bunion Pain Relief

Summary

If we haven’t convinced you yet, wearing flip flops all day long is bad for your feet.  The constant pain you develop as a result is not only uncomfortable, but it can also make it harder to do the things you love- run, jump, play with your little ones.  Spend a little time taking care of your feet now, and you’ll be pain-free for years to come.

 

Looking for more information about foot and ankle health?  Check out our Foot and Ankle Guide. 

 


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