FROM INJURY TO COMPETING IN INTERNATIONAL IRONMAN EVENTS
HOW STEPPING OUT CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN FOR YOU
As a Sports Podiatry clinic, the team at Stepping Out get the opportunity to treat incredible people, who are doing incredible things.
So, step inside the clinic and take a closer look at what they do through their eyes.
“Mr Runner” was a young enthusiastic runner who fell into the trap of the office dare...to RUN AN IRONMAN!
While he had not run in about 12 months due to an Achilles injury and shin splint pain, he was still eager to meet the challenge head-on.
He presented to the clinic about three months into his return to run program, defeated by the return of his shin splints and the onset of serious Achilles pain. He told us he had little under 18 months to achieve his goal of completing his first Ironman competition. Inspired by his motivation to achieve his goals we set out on a quest over the next six months to resolve his shin splints and Achilles pain.
We started by assessing his functional movement and identifying his running technique faults and muscular weaknesses. We then continued to perform high-speed video gait analysis sessions with the podiatrist assessing every movement from heel strike to knee thrust. Retraining the body movement as a 28-year-old is by no means easy, and it takes a lot of dedication from the individual to practice new techniques and running cues.
After addressing the need to retrain his technique through gait therapy, we began to concentrate on pain management as well as the rehabilitation of his shins and Achilles injury.
This began with a footwear assessment. We found that Mr Runner had been pounding the pavement with an old pair of trainers that he had been using in the gym for well over six months.
We explained how the rubbers in shoes compress and change shape with repetitive
use. It was clear that we needed to get him into a dedicated running shoe and a second set for recovery. We moved him into a specialised brand of shoe that would help with his recovery. This style of shoe could help elevate calf and ankle tightness, while the other type of shoe was used to help him achieve optimal speed. Within four weeks his shin splint pain had started to reduce. During this time, we incorporated neuromuscular dry needling and Shockwave Therapy in the clinic once a week.
Throughout the process, we also discovered he had one leg longer than the other, which was corrected with fully customised 3D printed orthotics. We integrated a small heel raise adjustment on one device to bring him back to level.
All was looking well, except for his Achilles pain which had seemed to persist. Achilles tendinitis can be a longterm recovery due to its poor blood supply.
Despite the circumstances, we knew that with the right rehabilitation and muscle conditioning, we could build up enough strength in his lower limbs to support distance running.
Strengthening the calf muscles, the gluteal muscles (bottom muscles) and hamstring muscles are integral for performance in sport. We instigated a customised strengthening program and after just eight weeks, we saw the results! His longterm symptoms dealing with pain were under control and he was even breaking through the target times we had set to achieve. The result? Ironman ready!
Mr Runner went on to compete in the Sunshine Coast Ironman that year and then the following two years after. He even qualified for The KONA Ironman event in Hawaii!
This is not an easy accomplishment but to push the bar further, Mr Runner finished in the top 15 at the Hawaiian event.