Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What's wrong with me?

Over the past several years I've had nagging injuries that have hindered my performance and made me question my abilities. This past year was much better as I reached new heights I never thought possible, i.e., a half Ironman. I was very pleased, but still had this lingering feeling that something was wrong with me physically. I decided to contact my friend and Physical Therapist Sara Thatcher from Body Tuning Physical Therapy in Marblehead... Sara is part of my Ironman Team and is helping me prepare for IMLP. Here is what's wrong with me:

Marty’s Power/Wellness Screen. 9.14.03
After a thorough screening of your strength, flexibility and mechanics, I found that you have a lot of strength in certain areas and other areas that are weak links. I am excited that I had an opportunity to look at you early in your training and focus on prevention of injuries. All too often, as a physical therapist, I see people suffering through injuries in the middle of the race season. Many of these hang ups can be avoided if you know what areas may be susceptible to breakdown and incorporate a strength program tailored to the needs of each endurance athlete.

Overall, your range of motion in your trunk, hips and legs is within functional limits. You have some stiffness, especially segmentally in the thoracic and lumbar spine. When the segments of the spine are not gliding and moving the way they should, it can lead to increased stress on the hips and pelvis as well as on the shoulder and neck. The most marked asymmetries in your posture lie in the pelvis and your foot position. The left foot pronates, or flattens, when you are standing. This causes a slight internal torsion on the left leg which is in essence like wringing a towel - there is a twist that occurs from the foot up through the pelvis which can lead to extra wear and tear. When training intensity and volume increase, these stresses can result in IT band syndrome, SI joint pain or shin splints. The main finding today was that you have weakness throughout the hip muscles. This is probably the root of your past problems with your SI joint. The hip muscles do not have a proper firing pattern nor the strength needed to stabilize the pelvis.

You're in a great position to build up your training program for Ironman Lake Placid. You're motivated and reflective; you listen to your body. You didn’t always know what to do with the aches and pains or signals of “fatigue” but now we have gathered some data points. We can target your strength and conditioning program to build a solid framework for the upcoming year of training. You've most likely been relying on your strong quads and hamstrings to power through your run and bike. Once you build up strength in the hips, you will not only avoid injury but also become more powerful and build up incredible endurance. I am excited to see what will happen when you are at full strength. With all cylinders firing, this will be, without a doubt, an amazing year! Sara Thatcher

Oh my Lord!!! So that's what's wrong with me???? Thank you Sara... I've already started the exercises and I'm looking forward to seeing you at my next eval. If you have a nagging injury or are unsure have Sara do an eval... It's time to get to work!



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