Seary Physiotherapy Running Clinic

My mission to overcome ITBS / knee pain led me to Andrew Seary's Physiotherapy running clinic.

Based in Whitchurch, North Cardiff, Andrew came onto my radar when looking for therapists specialising in running injuries and treatments.

Now, I've had sport physio sessions before, including many deep tissue massages of varying degrees of pain/relief/success. But what appealed to me about Andrew's clinic was the thorough running assessment.

This involved a range of prodding and poking techniques, assessing how I stand, balance and move, plus a video gait analysis. I was filmed walking and running on a treadmill from behind, in front and from the sides. It was fascinating to watch, especially in slow motion. You can have all sorts of ideas about how you look when you run, it's strange when you actually see it for real.

What I liked about Andrew was that he wasn't quick to pigeon-hole a diagnosis. It's easy for therapists to see a common injury, label a common cause and prescribe common solutions. I figured out for myself that I have 'runner's knee' and weak glutes. My (free) friend Google told me that. But everyone is different, we develop unique imbalances from both our natural physiology and how we carry out our daily lives. Root causes for imbalance and injury can vary wildy, so treatment should be bespoke to you.

I liken it to cake (I mean, why not). We all have the same-ish bodies, muscle groups and whatnot, but our make-up and how we function/move is unique. We can bake a cake with all the same ingredients as the next person, but it can taste completely different. Right now, I need to understand why I have a soggy bottom and burnt-out top.

This has been something of a holy grail in my rehab quest. Where Google has let me down in the past is dredging up exercises and routines that aren't suitable for my combination of ailments and root causes. Some have even made tension worse.

Yes, Andrew identified runner's knee and my pathetic glutes. But he also spotted that I couldn't fully extend my right knee while my left could hyper-extend. This created strain in my right ITB, where it was permanently bent, and for my pelvis to dip too. Andrew then gave me a range of daily exercises, all completely new to me, to try for the next month.

Before leaving, Andrew noticed I wasn't activating my glutes, as weak and underdeveloped as they are, on one of the exercises - so he helped me correct myself. I left the clinic slightly shamed by my lazy arse, but hopeful I was on the road to progress.

Before my next run, I made sure I did the exercises and activated my pitiful bottom. Testing the waters with a gentle one-miler, I could not believe how pain-free my knee was. Instead, it felt like my glutes and legs had experienced their first ever run. I ached for two days, like my early ventures into running three years ago. Hopefully, this is a sign I'm using my body in a new, bio-mechanically correct way.    

Early days...

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