Cadence - The Why | The What | The How

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Your body loves rhythms. Heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure for example are all consistent and measurable rhythms of the body. We all know what happens if any of these get too high or low. So think of cadence like the rhythm to your running. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or even a serious runner to need to know what it means.

“Anyone that even does a little bit of running should have some idea of what their cadence is”

Cadence is essentially the number of steps per 1 minute of running.

Why is it important?

A shorter stride length and a quicker stride rate will help you to run faster and better! If you have a low cadence you are likely to have a long stride. Runners who over-stride tend to slam their heel into the ground which effectively puts the brakes on creating a choppy, bouncy looking run which puts extra pressure on bones and muscles leading to conditions such as:

  • Shin splints and stress reactions

  • Runners knee

  • Hip pain during and after running

  • Jarring pain in Lower back

  • Plantar Fascia and heel pain

What is the magic number?

Well, think of cadence like sleep. With sleep there is no magical number of hours and minutes that each of us should sleep. However we do have general guidelines that it should be between 7-9 hours per night. Essentially it is the same with cadence - there is no magic number. There are however guidelines that you can follow to help you know if you need to work on improving your cadence.

“Most good fitness tracking watches can track your cadence for you but if you don’t have one, here is a method by which you can track it yourself!”

Step 1

Cadence is best measured at an easy pace of running. We first need to calculate what an easy pace is for you. So step 1 is to go for a light 1.6km run. Do not try to set a world record here! It is just an easy run. All you are looking to do is see whether it takes you longer or shorter than 10 minutes.

If you ran it in

  • Faster than 10 minutes: Your target cadence should be between 170-180 steps per minute

  • Slower than 10 minutes: Your target cadence needs to be 160 steps per minute or higher.

Step 2

Run at the same speed for another 60 seconds and calculate how many times your right foot hits the ground. Multiply this by 2 (To account for both feet). This will give your cadence.

For example if your ran the 1.6 km run slower than 10 minutes and then you measured your cadence in the next 60 seconds to be 140 steps per minute, you will need to increase it!

Step 3

Adjust your cadence accordingly, if you were well below the target range try and download a cadence trainer or a metronome app and use it to help your trial out faster cadences. It is best to try this on a treadmill first so you can see how it feels on your body and you can keep the run at a consistent pace.

Step 4

Some other ways that can help to improve your cadence are

  • Add hill training

  • Get your running shoes fitted correctly

  • Condition your legs with some specific strength training and technique drills

  • Focus on using ‘small steps’ instead of ‘running fast’ as your main cue

IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR CADENCE OR ARE SEEKING RUNNING TECHNIQUE ADVICE SIMPLY CONTACT THE CLINIC ON 5174 7250 or BOOK ONLINE with myself or one of our expert Physio's below. We can't wait to help get you back to your best!

AUTHOR: NITIN MADAN - Physiotherapist

 

Are you suffering Neck Pain?

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Have you ever woken up after ‘sleeping funny’ and noticed some stiffness and pain in the neck?

Maybe you’ve done a quick head check in the car and ‘tweaked’ your neck?

Or perhaps you’ve had long term issues with having a ‘crook’ neck because of work, and you’re starting to think it’s not just work causing your headaches?

Let us assure you, you are not alone!

“Worldwide, neck pain is estimated to be the fourth leading cause of disability, with almost 50% of the population experiencing neck pain in their lifetime!”

Rest assured, the usual outcome of an acute episode of neck pain is usually positive, but wouldn’t it be good to prevent it from happening again?

Earlier this year, a systematic review (a big study of multiple studies) looked at what strategies are effective in reducing the likelihood of a new episode of neck pain occurring. The review included studies that looked at both exercise programs and ergonomic programs (workplace set up and posture). It was found that exercise interventions could as much as half the risk of a new episode of neck pain. Interestingly, there was little evidence to find that ergonomic changes had any effect on the chance of neck pain occurring.

As is common with most reviews, we need to take caution when it comes to interpreting the results. Firstly, there was only 5 studies all up included in the review, with most of them only including office workers in the results. Secondly, it seems most of the trials only included people who didn’t have neck pain before starting the particular exercise or ergonomic program. And lastly, the studies that looked at exercise used different exercise programs/methods, and these programs also went for a long time.

So does that mean we shouldn’t exercise or think about our work set-up to reduce the chance of neck pain? In our opinion and from experience- both can be beneficial and therefore we commonly incorporate them when it comes to treating neck pain.

“When it comes to neck-specific exercise, this is based around building up the endurance and control of the smaller, ‘fine-tuning’ muscles around the head and upper body, as well as incorporating range of motion and mobility exercises.”

When it comes to determining what is causing your neck pain, it’s essential to seek professional help, from someone such as a physiotherapist. Once the diagnosis is made, that’s when the path to recovery can start!

SIMPLY CONTACT THE CLINIC ON 5174 7250 or BOOK ONLINE with myself or one of our expert Physio's below. We can't wait to help get you back to your best!

AUTHOR: JARRYD CROXFORD - Physiotherapist

Ganz, R., Parvizi, J., Beck, M., Leunig, M., Nötzli, H., & Siebenrock, K. (2003). Femoroacetabular impingement: a cause for osteoarthritis of the hip. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 417, 112-120.

I have been told I can never run again.......

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Have you been told you shouldn't be running because of your bad knees?

What if we told you that running was actually good for your knees?

What if we told you that runners have the lowest amount of knee osteoarthritis when compared to most other athletes?

“Sadly many surgeons and doctors have told patients with a bad looking knee Xrays to give up running”

People sometimes make the decision themselves. They associate the running with wear and tear of the knees and so they give it up. Most of the time this decision is completely unfounded and often does more harm than good. If you have stopped running because of 'bad knees' let me show you the science.

A 2008 study followed approximately 100 runners and non-runners across 20 years with repeat knee Xrays. Whilst they found initial increases in arthritis in the running group; by the end of the study there was minimal difference between the two groups. In fact the running group had slightly less arthritis in their knees!

A 2017 review compared all of the available scientific literature available on the topic of running and knee degeneration and found that there was no association with running and knee osteoarthritis. It further concluded that running actually had a protective effect against a knee replacement!

“So the science says running isn’t bad for knees and also suggests it could even be protective against needing knee surgery”

Why then are so many people being told the myth that running is bad for their knees?

Obviously there are cases where inappropriate footwear, poor foot mechanics, poor running technique and inappropriate load management could lead to injuries if they are not addressed. However a carefully mapped out running program complimented with appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises as directed by a Physiotherapist is the safest way to get the running shoes back on!

IF YOU WANT ADVICE ON GETTING BACK TO RUNNING SIMPLY CONTACT THE CLINIC ON 5174 7250 or BOOK ONLINE with myself or one of our expert Physio's below. We can't wait to help get you back to your best!

AUTHOR: NITIN MADAN - Physiotherapist

Ganz, R., Parvizi, J., Beck, M., Leunig, M., Nötzli, H., & Siebenrock, K. (2003). Femoroacetabular impingement: a cause for osteoarthritis of the hip. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 417, 112-120.

I’ve been told I have hip impingement - what does that mean?

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Femoracetabular impingement (FAI) is a relatively new diagnosis (from 2003) which is used to explain pain in the hip and groin region. To simplify things we will use the term ‘hip impingement’ to explain the condition, and what that means for you as a sports person. 

To be 100% confident that you do have hip impingement, there are 3 things that need to be ticked (or crossed) off:

  1. Suffering from specific symptoms

  2. Positive physical findings (in-clinic assessment)

  3. Imaging findings (usually with an x-ray)

Let’s go into a bit more detail on each of the above:

SYMPTOMS

Hip impingement symptoms will tend to begin to show in the athletic/active younger adult population, and usually presents as a slow onset groin/hip pain with or without a traumatic incident. Pain can often feel like it starts in the hip, but refer to other areas, commonly the groin and buttock regions. Early on, the pain is usually on and off, and presents as an ache. Aggravating or exacerbating factors are commonly an increased exercise or general activity load. It is not uncommon for long periods of sitting-particularly in low chairs/seats, to increase pain levels. As well as pain, it is not uncommon to feel sensations such as locking, catching, or giving way. 

Physical Findings

You might be starting to ‘self-diagnose’ after reading through the above symptoms. However, your Physio plays a key role in the diagnosis side of things. The major things we look for is limited range of movement in the hip, particularly with the hips ability to rotate internally. At times, the flexion in the hip can also be limited/sore, with a combination of the two mentioned movements being quite painful. There a number of other tests used to determine how irritable the hip is, and also whether there may be bony abnormalities causing limitations.  

IMAGING FINDINGS

Usually an x-ray is all we need to confirm the diagnosis of hip impingement. Hip impingement itself comes about due to bony abnormalities of either the socket (acetabulum) or ball (head of femur) aspects of the hip joint. X-ray imaging will pick up whether someone has a bump on the ball (called a CAM lesion) or a hip socket which is too deep (which causes ‘Pincer’ impingement). In some cases- there can be a combination of both. In the images below; A: represents a ‘normal’ hip joint, B: shows a ‘CAM’ lesion, C: shows a ‘Pincer’ lesion, and D: the appearances of combination of both lesions. 

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In part 2 of the blog, we will discuss the treatment and management of hip impingement once the diagnosis has been made. 

IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH HIP PAIN SIMPLY CONTACT THE CLINIC ON 5174 7250 or BOOK ONLINE with myself or one of our expert Physio's below. We can't wait to help get you back to your best!

AUTHOR: JARRYD CROXFORD - Physiotherapist

Ganz, R., Parvizi, J., Beck, M., Leunig, M., Nötzli, H., & Siebenrock, K. (2003). Femoroacetabular impingement: a cause for osteoarthritis of the hip. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 417, 112-120.