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Running Physio Sydney: Expert Physiotherapy for Runners

Running Physio Sydney_Surry Hills Running Centre

Running is a very popular way to exercise in Sydney, and understandably so. It is great for improving your cardio, leg strength, overall fitness and mental health. Plus it’s cheap, very accessible and easy to get started. But like most sports it has it’s injury risks, especially due to very repetitive loading through the running gait cycle. So if you’re a runner and you pick up an injury, or if you want to minimise your risk of getting an injury in the first place, you should see someone who really understands running and has experience working with runners of a similar level to yourself. The Central Performance Running Centre is one of Sydney’s leading running facilities, bringing you expert running physio, coaching plus strength and conditioning services for runners. We specialise in helping runners prevent injuries, recover from them, and improve their running efficiency and performance.

Working with a skilled running physiotherapist can enhance your running experience in many ways aside from just tailored injury management and treatment plans. Running physios conduct running technique assessments to identify areas for improvement, give you injury prevention strategies and programs to help you train safely and consistently, and can provide strength and conditioning programs specifically for runners. Whether you’re new to running, a recreational runner who wants to progress their running ability, or a seasoned competitor wanting to work with a team who understands running at the elite level, the Central Performance Running Centre has all of the experience, expertise and facilities that you need.

Key Takeaways

  • Running has never been more popular in Sydney than it is now, but it’s repetitive loading during the running gait cycle means that it does have some injury risks
  • If you have a running injury you should work with a physio who really understands running and has experience working with runners of similar ability to you
  • Running physios can provide runners with far more than just injury treatment and rehab plans. They can conduct running technique assessments to improve your gait, and provide injury prevention strategies and training plans to minimise your injury risk and help you train safely and consistently
  • Strength and conditioning programs designed specifically for runners have been proven to protect runners against injury as well as increase running performance

Understanding Running Injuries

Running injuries can be disruptive to any athlete’s routine, but with preventive strategies and proper injury management, runners can reduce their risk of injury and avoid significant breaks from training. By far the best way to manage injuries is to prevent them from happening in the first place, and there are some significant things that can be done to minimise your injury risk with running. If you do pick up a running injury then starting the right treatment plan early can either keep you running at some level as you recover, or minimise your time out of running. Then you can work through a safe return to running plan so that you return to running as safely and quickly as possible.

Implementing preventative measures is crucial for runners to avoid common injuries. Extensive research proves that strength training can reduce injury chances significantly. However, to be safe and effective your strength program needs to be personalised (i.e. based on your goals, current ability and overall fitness, experience with weight training, and previous injury history), and it also needs to be targeted to develop the key strength and movement qualities required for running.

The second crucial part of running injury prevention is to make sure you’re on the right training plan. As with strength training, your running training plan should be tailored to your goals, current ability, running experience and injury history. As well as including different types of runs in your program (tempo, intervals, hills, recovery…), a good training plan helps runners avoid over-training by only increasing their training gradually, ideally by no more than 10% per week, to allow the body to adapt without overloading it. Increasing running training volume too quickly is one of the most common causes of running injury that we see as running physios.

When injuries occur, prompt and effective management is key to a swift recovery. Minimising training disruption and time out of running is always a primary goal of treatment, and whenever possible running physios try to keep clients running, at least at some level, as they recover. Early assessment, when the symptoms are at a “niggle” stage rather than being left to progress to a more serious injury, can really help avoid or minimise training disruption.

Prompt assessment is also important because we find that when runners have pain they often stop running completely, but not only is this often unnecessary (load management by reducing training volume or intensity is often enough), it can actually delay recovery due to deconditioning, i.e. weakening and loss of fitness due to time completely out of running. However, in other injuries like bone stress injuries, it is essential to stop running as early as possible to prevent it developing into a stress fracture. These scenarios highlight the importance of early assessment and diagnosis of running injuries to allow the right treatment plan and adjustments of running training to be commenced quickly.

The 5 Most Common Running Injuries

Most middle and long distance running injuries are overuse/overload type injuries, as opposed to contact sports or sprinting injuries which are more sprains and strains, often related to trauma or explosive movements. Most running-related injuries are related to overload of tendons or their bony attachments (tendinopathy or enthesopathy), joints, or bones (bone stress reactions, stress fractures). The following are the five most commonly reported injuries that our running physios see.

Shin pain begins with what is commonly known as shin splints, although it is officially called medial tibial stress syndrome. The pain is felt along the inner border of the shin bone (tibia), usually in the lower third of the shin. It is actually a range of conditions beginning with inflammation of the muscle attachment points to the bone (periostitis), and progressing through to a bone stress injury/reaction. If left to progress further it may turn into a stress fracture. For more information you can read our blogs on shin pain in runners, bone stress injuries in runners, and the link between leg strength and shin pain in runners.

One of the most common injuries for runners is ‘Runner’s Knee’ or patellofemoral pain syndrome, characterised by pain around or behind the kneecap. Runner’s Knee is responsible for a significant portion of knee pain in runners, and for more information you can read our blogs about physio for runner’s knee and strength exercises for runners knee.

The other common cause of knee pain in runners is patella tendinopathy, which is an over-load injury of the quadriceps tendon as it attaches to the tibia (shin bone), just below the kneecap. In patella tendinopathy the pain is felt at the bottom or just below the kneecap, compared to runners knee where the pain is more around or behind the kneecap. For more information on differentiating between the two conditions you can read our blog on runner’s knee versus jumper’s knee.

Achilles tendinopathy involves pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue connecting the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to the heel bone. It is caused of overloading the tendon beyond it’s capacity, usually as a result of increasing running volume or intensity too quickly. Calf weakness is another major contributor, and other factors such a foot position and running shoe choice may play a role. For more information you can read our blog on Achilles pain with running.

The most common cause of heel pain in runners is plantar fasciitis / fasciopathy. This is caused by overloading and inflammation of the plantar fascia – the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. The most common area to feel pain is underneath the heel, and it is often very sore to put weight on first thing in the morning or at the start of a run, then the pain reduces as your body warms up. However, with continued overload due to too much running, the pain intensity increases, it lasts for longer (i.e. takes longer to “warm up”), and eventually it stays sore through weightbearing to the point where running becomes impossible.

Foot and toe pain can arise from metatarsalgia, an “umbrella diagnosis” that includes several conditions involving overloading and inflammation of soft tissues in the ball of the foot. However, foot pain can also be from a bone stress injury (or stress reaction) or stress fracture, due to overloading of bones within the foot. Early diagnosis of bone stress injury/reaction and stress fractures is very important because continuing to overload the bones during running can cause significant bone trauma and in some cases non-union (i.e. the broken bone fails to heal) which may require surgery.

Each injury typically requires a tailored approach for treatment, which may include adjustments in training intensity, time out of running (although we always try to avoid this whenever possible), physiotherapy using manual therapy and targeted exercise, running gait assessment and assessing running shoes. An important part of the management plan, especially in the later stages, is ensuring that strategies are put in place to prevent the injury from coming back or other injuries from occurring. The focus of this preventative phase is usually around strength training to increase the body’s ability to withstand the loads sustained during running, and also on making sure your running program is structured correctly for your running ability and levels of strength and fitness.

What Are The Benefits of Running Physiotherapy?

Running physiotherapy offers targeted support to runners to address specific injuries, improve running performance, and prevent running-related injuries. As well as a thorough background knowledge of injury mechanisms and management principles, running physios also have detailed expertise in running biomechanics, the latest research findings on managing specific running-related injuries, assessing and optimising running technique, and how to safely progress runners back into their running training as they recover.

An early and accurate diagnosis is critical to managing and treating running injuries. Skilled running physiotherapists conduct thorough assessments to pinpoint the root cause of the pain, then develop a treatment plan to correct the underlying cause of the problem, not just treat the symptoms. Thoroughly understanding what caused the injury in the first place is critical to a safe and lasting recovery, with minimal chance of recurrence in the future.

Runners, like everyone else, want fast relief from pain as well as a long-term fix for their injury. Physios are the first-choice health providers for pain relief, using manual therapy (hands-on treatments) as well as targeted exercise, advice on load management and activity modification, taping and bracing, massage or dry needling when appropriate, and guidance on the use of ice or heat.

A guided return to running program ensures a gradual and safe return to running following an injury. Structured running plans take into account a runner’s injury history, stage of recovery, strength, fitness level, running experience and personal goals.

Performance improvement is a key benefit of working with a running physio. Interventions often focus on optimising running form, strength, endurance, and personalising your training plan. Tailored exercise programs and coaching on technique refinement can lead to significant performance gains for both recreational and elite runners. Importantly, the same qualities required for injury prevention and management (technique, strength, flexibility and training plan) are the same qualities that are most important for improving running performance.

Choosing a Running Physio In Sydney

Selecting the right running physiotherapist is crucial for both elite and recreational runners. You should consider their qualifications, experience working with runners of your ability, knowledge of running biomechanics, and their approach to running analysis and training plans. Also, finding someone with the right personality and who you can discuss goals and progress with openly and easily is important.

All physios in Australia are required to be registered with AHPRA, the Australian Health practitioner Regulation Agency. However, running physios have more formal training and experience working with runners and managing running injuries. Our team of physios at the Central Performance Running Centre have advanced training and extensive experience working with runners of all abilities, from recreational to Olympic-level competitors. Ben Liddy, our Head of Running Performance, is a Level 4 World Athletics certified middle and long distance running coach who works with our team daily to ensure we provide the most effective and up-to-date treatments based on the latest research findings. Ben also coaches our Central Performance Track invitational squads who compete at national and state competitions, and has been involved with national teams both within Australia and overseas.

The approach used for running analysis is another important consideration. A good running physio uses a holistic assessment which includes a gait analysis that looks at running biomechanics, strength, flexibility and movement control. This comprehensive analysis provides insights that enable them to design personalised plans to manage a current injury, prevent future injuries, and improve running performance. The comprehensive running assessment is one of our most popular services at the running centre, and forms the basis for our RunRight Running Coaching Program.

A well-designed running analysis addresses the unique needs of every runner, from those who run for leisure to those competing at the elite level. It’s essential that the individual goals and ability of the runner are taken into account, whether they’re aiming for their next marathon or simply looking to enjoy their run in the park. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to get the most enjoyment and success out of their running, whatever their experience, goals or level of ability.

Why Have A Running Assessment?

Improving running technique and preventing injuries are crucial for any level of runner. A thorough assessment can provide a personalised plan tailored to individual needs, and it forms a basis for developing the most effective strategy for improving running performance while minimising the risk of injury. As well as a detailed discussion about the runner’s individual goals and history, a running assessment includes two main components – a gait analysis and a biomechanical screen.

Running assessment Sydney, Surry Hills_Central Performance

Gait analysis is a core component of a running technique assessment. It involves observing and measuring the phases of a runner’s gait cycle to identify patterns that may contribute to injury or inefficiency. At Central Performance we Spark Motion Pro, a professional-grade video analysis tool. Videos are taken of a runner on a treadmill from the side and from behind, then we use the software to breakdown their running technique to clarify areas where their gait cycle can be optimised to improve running economy and efficiency. At each stage of this step-by-step process we discuss the findings with the runner and educate them about how the changes we are making will help them improve their running mechanics and reduce their risk of injury.

A biomechanical screen assesses your strength, flexibility and movement control. This is important because these factors influence the way you run, so areas of weakness, tightness or poor movement control can hold you back from optimising your running technique. For example desk workers often have tight hip flexors, which tends to makes them run with a lean-forward running gait. This is not optimal for running and so is often identified for correction, but if the person is forced to run this way due to tight hip flexors then just coaching them to “run taller” will not be effective because their body does not have the biomechanical capacity required. In this case, drills to improve their hip flexor length and increase their glute strength should be used initially, then integrated with coaching cues to help them run with a more upright alignment.

This comprehensive approach examines strength, flexibility, movement control and alignment issues that may affect a runner’s gait. Our running physios or exercise physiology team then use this information to create a targeted strength and conditioning program for runners that complements the runner’s goals and builds resilience against injuries. It is a systematic approach to building a stronger, more efficient running technique.

Running Physio Sydney

Effective physio treatment of running injuries is critical to help athletes return to their sport as soon, and as safely, as possible. This often involves a multi-faceted approach, including manual therapy (hands-on treatments) and exercise rehabilitation programs, tailored to the individual’s needs.

Manual therapy is a key component in the treatment of running injuries. Physiotherapists often utilise hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilisation, and manipulation to relieve pain, improve joint mobility, reduce muscle tension and facilitate movement. The goal is to reduce discomfort and enhance the healing process, which is particularly beneficial in the early stages of an injury. The team of running physios at Central Performance in Surry Hills are recognised as experts in running-related injuries, providing targeted manual therapy to runners of all levels.

A structured exercise rehabilitation program is crucial for long-term recovery and prevention of future injuries. These programs are designed to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and correct biomechanical imbalances. They typically progress through several phases, starting with simple movements and light strengthening and gradually increasing to complex movements with higher intensity and load.

After completing the earlier stages of their recovery journey with one of our running physios, many clients then progress on to see one of our accredited exercise physiologists to work through the later stages of their strength and conditioning program. Our exercise physiologists work with runners of all abilities and fitness levels to help them fully recover from their injury, then improve their performance and minimise their risk of injury in the future by maximising their strength, flexibility and movement control.

Strength Training for Sydney Runners

Incorporating strength training into a running regime is crucial for runners looking to prevent injuries and enhance their performance. Specialised programs are designed to cater not only to elite athletes but also to beginners aiming to improve their running capabilities and stay injury-free while their bodies are getting used to the demands of running.

Strength training plays a pivotal role in protecting runners from the common injuries associated with running. By focusing on key muscle groups, runners can increase their body’s resilience against the impact of running, which in turn minimises the risk of injury. Regular strength workouts are recommended to maintain a strong and balanced musculoskeletal system, which is essential for sustained running.

Improving running performance isn’t just about clocking up more kilometres; it’s about enhancing the body’s ability to manage those kilometres efficiently. Incorporating strength exercises into your program leads to substantial improvements in a runner’s speed, endurance, and overall energy efficiency. Runners who complement their roadwork with strength training will benefit from improvements in their running economy, which is how effectively they use energy while running. This effectively allows them to run faster for longer with less chance of injury.

At Central Performance, our team of exercise physiologists excel in creating tailored strength and conditioning programs that suit the individual needs of runners from all abilities and running experience. These programs are carefully designed to ensure that every runner meets their performance targets through a comprehensive, structured approach to strength training.

Sydney Running Coach

Working with a certified running coach can significantly enhance an athlete’s performance and help them stay free from injury, whatever their level of running experience and ability. Recognising each runner’s unique needs, a running coach provides a blend of expertise in running biomechanics, running training plans, and tailored strength training to help both novice and elite runners achieve their full potential.

Working with a running coach offers personalised guidance to help runners of all skill levels from beginners to elite competitors. Run coaches have a deep understanding of running mechanics and design training programs that focus on improving form, efficiency, and speed while also working to prevent injuries. By also incorporating professional strength and conditioning programs, runners can ensure they are strengthening the most important muscle groups for running, which is vital for developing the endurance and power required to improve running performance.

Ben Liddy – Head of Running Performance

Ben Liddy - Running Physio & Coach Surry Hills

Ben is Head of Running Performance at Central Performance, guiding runners through professionally designed programs for injury management as well as coaching for improved running performance. His expert approach combines hands-on techniques with evidence-based exercise prescription and training plans to guide injured runners to recovery and then on to improved performance. He works with runners of all abilities, including athletes at Olympic and national level as well as recreational fun-runners, to keep them injury-free as they improve their running ability and experience. He coaches our invitational Central Performance Track teams, manages the Central Performance Running Centre, and regularly delivers professional development to our team of physios and exercise physiologists.

How To Prevent Running Injuries

Injury prevention is an important concern for runners of all abilities, and there has been extensive research into the best ways to minimise running injuries. While there are many factors that can influence whether a runner gets injured or not, there are two main ways which have been proven to reduce the risk of picking up some of most common injures that we see. These two ways are to do strength training and to avoid overtraining by using a running training program that is right for you.

As discussed above, strength training is among the most effective ways to minimise and prevent running injuries. A well-designed strength program that is tailored to your particular goals, needs and level of ability will increase your body’s ability to withstand the loads placed through your body’s tissues while you run. For more information you can read our blog on how to reduce injuries with strength training.

Overtraining in runners leads to injuries by overloading the body’s tissues, which can include muscles, tendons, joints and bones. The most common mistake we see that leads to overtraining is runners following a training program that begins at too higher volume or increases too rapidly, especially in less experienced runners or people who feel they have to increase their training quickly to try and get ready for an event.

The “10% rule” is often quoted when it comes to increasing running volume, i.e. only increase your running by a maximum of 10% per week. While this can be useful as a general principle there are many factors that can influence whether this is realistic and safe for a particular runner, for example any relevant injury history, amount of running experience, sleep, nutrition, amount and type of non-running exercise that a person does etc… So while to 10% rule is useful to keep in mind, it’s definitely not a fool-proof way to plan your running program.

A personalised running training program should be based on an initial assessment that includes reviewing your fitness, running experience, injury history, goals and upcoming events, other exercise that you do, the amount of time you have to devote to your running, and any other medical or general health conditions that are relevant. This is often combined with a running assessment to see how economical your running technique is, plus a short time-trial is usually used to gauge your current level of running performance. Based on these results a plan is provided setting out your weekly runs, relevant recovery strategies, and how your program will be progressed. Working with a qualified running coach is the best way to ensure that your program is safe and avoids overtraining while still delivering the best possible improvement and results.

The Central Performance Running Centre delivers everything Sydney runners needs in one central location. Our dedicated team of running physios, run coaches and running exercise physiologists love working with runners of all abilities.

1. Running Physio: our team of expert running physios are continuously updating their skills and knowledge to ensure that you get the best and fastest possible recovery from injury. Whenever possible we keep you running as you recover, plus we work closely with some of Sydney’s best sports physicians and radiology practices so if further referral or investigation is required we can refer you easily and quickly.

2. Running Coaching: Want to feel what it’s really like to run well, with a more efficient gait that lets you run faster for longer with less chance of injury? Then our unique RunRight program is just what you’re looking for.

3. Running Strength & Conditioning Programs: A professionally designed strength and conditioning program can significantly improve your running performance plus reduce your injury risk. Our experienced strength and conditioning coaches are all degree-qualified Exercise Physiologists who love working with runners of all abilities. You have options to come and train with us in the clinic, or if you have a gym membership but need a program to know exactly which exercise to do then we can program your sessions for you to do independently.

If you have any questions for our running physios feel free to click the buttons to ask us a question or book online.

Running Physio And Coaching Sydney – FAQ’s

Physiotherapy can improve running technique by doing a gait analysis on a treadmill, assessing your biomechanics to assess and correct imbalances in strength and mobility, and providing targeted exercises and running coaching cues to enhance your running economy for improved running performance and reduced injury risk.

During a running assessment, a physiotherapist will analyse your gait, muscle strength, flexibility, and any existing injuries. They may also use video analysis to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Physios tailor rehabilitation plans based on the type and severity of the injury. Plans usually include strengthening exercises, flexibility work, gait retraining, and gradual return-to-running protocols.

It’s advisable to see a running-focused physiotherapist if you’re experiencing persistent pain, recurring injuries, or want to enhance performance through injury prevention and technique optimisation. Also, treating injuries at the “niggle” stage is usually much better than waiting until they are more painful, because your recovery is much quicker and there is usually much less (or no) disruption of your running training.

Yes, consulting a physiotherapist before starting a new running program can help identify potential injury risks, assess current fitness levels, and provide personalised advice to prevent injury and optimise performance. This is especially helpful if you have not had much running experience in the past, or have had any injuries that may affect your running training.

Yes, online running physios can offer effective guidance through video consultations, personalized running training plans, and remote monitoring. However, in-person assessments may be necessary for certain cases. Contact us for information about online running coaching at Central Performance.

You can get a professional running gait assessment at Central Performance, near Sydney CBD and Central Station in Surry Hills.

Yes, strength training is very beneficial for runners as it improves muscle strength, power, endurance, and reduces the risk of injury. Focus on exercises targeting the lower body, core stability, and movement control for optimal results.