Have you recently started to experience pain at the side of your hip? With the turn of the new year now behind us, maybe you’re embracing your new healthy lifestyle and have been going for a solid run several times a week to shift some of those festive kilos… Or it might just be that you’re getting a bit older, hitting the middle decades of life, and you’ve had a nagging hip for a while. There are a few structures in and around the hip that can lead to pain felt at the very outer aspect of it. Problems in the low back, the hip joint itself, and soft tissues that surround the joint can all be viable culprits.
Common culprits in the running and middle-aged populations are the tendons of the gluteal muscles. These muscles are responsible for movement at the hip (outwards, backwards and forwards) and stability of the pelvis and hip during movement. There are three gluteal muscles or ‘glutes’. The deepest muscle is the gluteus minimus, followed by gluteus medius, and finally gluteus maximus (which is the largest and most superficial of all three). Where the gluteus medius and minimus tendons wrap around the bony outer part of the hip and insert into the bone, are the areas most commonly associated with disease leading to pain in the outer hip.
There are a few terms that can describe a diseased tendon. An acutely inflamed tendon is known as ‘tendinitis’, where ‘itis‘ means inflammation occurring at the tissue. A tendon which is chronically diseased (i.e. long-standing pain that may have been present for several weeks, months or years without the presence of inflammation), is known as ‘tendinopathy’. Historically the term ‘tendinosis’ was used to describe a chronic tendon problem, but tendinopathy is now the favoured term. The important thing is to think of a tendon problem sitting somewhere on a continuum between acutely inflamed and chronically degenerated and/or torn.
Let’s take our aforementioned population, a middle-aged female (females are more affected by this issue than males), who runs. What typically happens is they will start to run with the full intent of bettering themselves. Due to poor running technique, the tendon becomes overloaded and after a few weeks or months… Bang! Inflammation, pain, can barely walk! Once the initial pain settles and movement resumes, they start to run again. If they haven’t corrected the problem that underlies the initial acute episode, the problem compounds itself. The body will compensate, and further excessive load and compression are placed on the tendons and other surrounding structures. This might go on for a while with the hip grumbling from time to time. Eventually, the changes that have occurred to the tendon tissue result in widespread degeneration and derangement of the tendon fibres and you are left with a tendon incapable of dealing with the high loads required to do something like running. If left untreated, the tendon eventually tears and leaves you with a very unhappy and less mobile hip.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a gluteus medius and/or gluteus minimus tendinopathy include any or all of the following:
• Pain felt on the outside of your hip
• Pain that radiates down the thigh to the knee
• Pain that is worse before and after exercise
• Pain that improves initially with exercise (depending where on the disease process you are)
• Pain when lying on the affected side
• Difficulty walking up stairs or hills
• Difficulty standing on one leg (on the affected side)
Your first port of call is to temporarily cease the activity that is aggravating your hip, and ring your osteo (ahem… 416-546-4887). This will help to de-load the injured tendon, and give you relief knowing soon you will be in the hands of an expert who is going to guide you through your recovery journey. We will assess your movement from top to bottom and work out where the root cause of your problem is. This is what osteopaths are great at doing. We look beyond the pain, take a picture of your whole life (occupation, hobbies, family life, etc…) and work out all of the contributing factors, so we can put a comprehensive plan in place to rid you of your problem forever.
For a gluteal tendon problem to occur in the first place, there will likely be mechanical issues to correct in the spine and/or lower limb (from the foot up). We do this with a combination of:
• Hands-on therapy to soothe your pain and improve muscle and joint health
• Re-training of poor movements into more efficient movements
• Strengthening exercises for the muscles / tendons
• Alterations to your daily life which may be contributing to your issue (i.e. increasing particular activities, decreasing aggravating activities, changing a work posture)
Over time, treatment will aim to progressively strengthen the gluteal tendons, so they are capable of withstanding greater loads again. Combined with correction of poor, inefficient movements, this will also decrease the compressive forces acting on the tissues in and around the hip, leaving you with greater strength and more flexibility.
We will be with you every step of the way. A gluteal tendinopathy doesn’t mean you have to give up running. We might need to change focus for a short period during rehab, but our goal will be to get you back to your pre-injury state… with a little extra in the tank so you’re not back with us for the same issue within two months.
Hip pain, was it? No problem. We got this! Contact us
Are you in or approaching your latter years and are wondering what you can do to ensure your bones stay strong through the next period of your life? As we age it is common to begin feeling the effects of years of ‘life’ on your body. Diseases like osteoarthritis (i.e. degeneration of joints) and osteoporosis (i.e. weakening of bones) are more common in the elderly population. But just because the figures show this, it doesn’t mean these diseases will affect your ability to lead a full and active life.
The good news is, there is plenty you can do now to reduce the risk of bone-related problems down the line. Read ahead for a few exercises you can perform regularly to keep you and your bones in tip-top shape!
Weight-bearing and resistance are key
It is widely accepted that to increase bone health, we need to stress the bones of the skeleton. The best way to do this is through weight-bearing exercises (i.e. exercises performed in an upright position with our legs impacting the ground). Resistance-type exercises are also beneficial in protecting the skeleton against the effects of ageing. ‘Resistance’’ implies an exercise that is performed against a force acting on the body. A simple example would be to compare walking through your house to walking through strong head-on winds. The wind pushing against the body is the resistance aspect.
When we exercise, forces acting on our muscles help to build strength. The forces placed upon the skeleton through the muscles help to activate special bone-building cells within the bones, and these help to maintain or build strength in the bones depending on the intensity of the exercise. In order to increase bone strength, we need to regularly push our bodies beyond the intensity of simple everyday tasks, like walking.
Age is a factor
Now, if you’re worried, we’re going to suggest a new gym membership and intense weight lifting program, then rest easy. There are lots of things to consider, and age (as well as medical history) is a big factor when it comes to prescribing exercise. Someone who is 80 will need a different exercise regime compared to someone who is 55 when it comes to targeting bone health.
Exercises to try
The following are simple weight-bearing exercises you could have a go at doing:
- Walking or jogging uphill
- Hiking across the countryside
- Stair climbing or step-ups
- A friendly game of tennis, badminton or squash
- Aerobics or dancing
You can add resistance to your exercise program by:
- Lifting weights (always start light so as to not overload the body)
- Exercising using cables or resistance bands (again, use light resistance to begin with)
Everyone has different requirements, so we suggest giving us a call on (416) 546-4887 or email me at [email protected] so we can create an individual a program that is perfect for you.
- Hong, AR. and Kim, SW. 2018. Effects of resistance exercise on bone health. Endocrinology and metabolism. 33 (4). 435-444. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/
- Benedetti, MG. et al. 2018. The effectiveness of physical exercise on bone density in osteoporotic patients. BioMed research international. 2018, 4840531, 10 pages. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/4840531/cta/
- Osteoporosis Australia. 2013. Exercise – consumer guide. [Online]. Available from: https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/Exercise%20Fact%20Sheet%202nd%20Edition.pdf. [Accessed 06 Jun 2020]
Introduction to Running
Strength & Conditioning for Runners
Warmup and Cool-down for Runners
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been seeing a few more shoulder injuries, all which have started for many different reasons. There have been falls, sports injuries and others which have been there for a long period of time. However, with some of the presentations there has been a common factor and that has been a particular exercise or rehab that has been prescribed.
After spending some time with the clients going through their medical history and working out actions that may aggravate or relieve their pain, we are able to come to a clinical impression, which gives us an ability to determine a personalised rehab plan to the shoulder joint. The shoulder can be a complicated joint as there are lots of different muscles which attach around the area and influence its movement.
While I don’t like to call out another practitioner or say that one exercise shouldn’t be performed, I do believe that there are exercises that are better for people so that we are to strengthen an area while limiting pain.
The empty can/ full can exercise involves taking your arms out to the side (abduction) on about a 45-degree angle and turning your thumbs down (pronation) or as if you are pouring a can out and then turning the can upwards (supination) this exercise is done with weights being held and repeating the pronation and supination action.
This exercise has been proven to target the supraspinatus muscle, which is one of the four rotator cuff muscles. When you pronate your wrist, we decrease the amount of space our shoulder joint has to move and this is one of the many reasons that people may get shoulder pain. So you can imagine that if you have been given this exercise from a healthcare practitioner and you are getting a sharp pain in the front of your shoulder, your desire to perform the exercise is not going to be very good. So how do we target the muscle without placing our shoulder in a painful position?
There are a number of different ways, but to keep it simple, standing external rotations and lateral raises, should be sufficient enough to train the muscles. Each person is different and require slightly different instructions or cues to help them feel the activation of a muscle, but as a general sense these 2 exercises can activate the muscle correctly without putting the shoulder into a position which may cause more impingement pain.
If you think that this could be beneficial for yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the clinic
Written By: Brendan Ashman
Over the last three weeks, the Tour De France has been running. The Tour consists of 21-day stages over a 23-day period, and the riders will cover around 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi). While not all of us are elite athletes, there has certainly been an increase in cyclist on the road with the nice weather.
Cycling can be a great form of exercise. We get a great cardiovascular workout and it helps improve the strength of the leg muscles. There are, however, many common injuries that can occur when we start to ride or with high volume riding without the correct recovery methods.
Some of the most common sites of pain in cyclists are the neck, shoulder, knee, lower back and sacroiliac joints (SIJs). There are many reasons in which a person might be experiencing pain. It could be related to a new hobby, a predisposing injury, muscle tightness, or it could even be the set-up of your bike. Just like a work desk, our bike set up can be incredibly important to ergonomics, decrease injury, aid in decreasing pain and keep you riding for a longer period of time.
Getting the correct set up on your bike will depend on what kind of bike you have, how tall you are, shoulder reach, as well as what feels comfortable.
Here are a couple of quick tests you can do:
To check your seat height get onto your bike with one leg straight and place the heel of your foot on the pedal at the lowest point, which should make your leg straight. If this does occur then your saddle should be at the correct height for you.
To find the best saddle position, you should sit on the bike with the pedal at 3 o’clock. Place your foot with the joint of the toes on the pedal spindle. In the perfect scenario an imagery perpendicular line should run from your knee-cap through the spindle of the pedal. If the line runs behind the spindle, then the saddle needs to be pushed forward. If the line runs in front of the spindle then the saddle needs to be pushed backwards.
There are a lot of measurements and angles to take into consideration when setting up your bike with an ergonomics assessment. My best advice is that if you are experiencing any pain before, during or after riding your bike, it might be worth a visit to your local bike shop or your local specialized practitioner and ask for an ergonomic bike set up. This will allow to can for longer with the correct posture and decrease your chances of dealing with some of the getting some of the common cyclist pain.
If you would like more information on ergonomic set ups on bikes. Please ask us for a bike set up hand out.
Written by Brendan Ashman
Did you know that Brendan recently did a certification course for bike fitting and setup. For more information please ask Brendan at [email protected] or call (416) 546 4887