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What the heck did you do? It worked!!

That is the question I got the other day from a runner that came in with knee pain. He had knee pain for the past year and feeling that he probably wouldn’t be able to run again he was going to take up biking.

I asked some questions, did some assessments, watched him run, and contemplated what could be going on. I did about 40min. of soft tissue work and some basic strength stuff, and had him stand up and run again to re-assess. And he said…”It feels great! What the heck did you do? It worked! One year of knee pain and now it feels fine.”

This isn’t the first time I have had this kind of response from a runner. Especially distance runners, who typically have poor tissue quality because all they do is run and they don’t make sure to work on their soft tissue, work on their flexibility, and work on their strength deficits (leading to congestion of some tissues that are being overworked).

This appears to be a problem with a lot of people (not just runners) who have chronic, nagging, injuries. It is amazing what a little soft tissue work can do to help alleviate the symptoms.

Oftentimes, with pain there is weakness and just strengthening the weak area, may be a misguided approach, as there may be trigger points or ischemic tissue built up in the muscle which needs to be worked out, before strengthening can happen. If the tissue quality isn’t first addressed, and “cleaned up”, then you may be disrupting the tissue more and creating more tissue trauma (not good!).

A book that I often recommend to people is Claire Davies’ Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. That, along with a foam roller, may be the best $30 you will ever spend in terms of self-care and enhancing your overall tissue quality (aside from a real hands on therapist).

Now go and clean yourself up!