There are many factors that go into the making and breaking of a runner.  As a keen social/club runner and sports physiotherapist I take a special interest in all of them.   It is both remarkable and wonderful to see just how many people are running these days. The “parkrun” phenomenon has gripped both young and old the length/breadth of the country.  For such a natural gift, the number of varying running styles is intriguing. The majority of runners (below elite level) have never had any formal run technique coaching. 

If you’re looking to improve your running efficiency to either go faster, further or just to keep running by reducing the chances of injury, then having a running assessment is a great idea.

A recent medical trial was featured in the Daily Telegraph

Their findings cited as the major cause of injury were over striding and reduced gluteal/hip stability. These two points certainly resonate with the assessments I perform.  I assess a runner’s biomechanics and running technique to see how one affects the other and vice versa.  There is little point affecting one without considering the other.  

Booking a running assessment is a good investment for you and your running

Our physiotherapy clinic, City Physio has been in the heart of Manchester for over 15 years.

In that time our team of experienced physiotherapists have helped thousands of patients towards a rapid recovery from their injuries and assisted them in avoiding further injury.

We have strong links with local GPs, sports clubs, theatres and ballet companies and we recognise the need for short-notice appointments providing rapid treatment for a speedier recovery.

We have two clinics conveniently located in Manchester city centre - St. Ann's Square and Chepstow Street.

You can now book appointments via our website using any device and you can also save 10% on all appointments booked on-line using code ‘discount10’.



Who remembers this game from “Whose Line is it anyway?”? :

It had me in stitches before I even considered being a physio. So which is best? What’s the deal with all these standing, Sit-standing desks, hot desks?

The truth is that there is a growing body of evidence telling us that prolonged sitting is bad for us. It’s bad for our joints, our backs, our muscles, our tendons, our hearts and our blood vessels…… but let’s be honest we knew that anyway. It’s just now we have the science to prove it.

So the market has developed standing desks, sit-standing desks (They move on a hydraulic pump) and of course hot desking.  As it “stands” it is too early to say if the health benefits of standing all day exist. The theory is that when standing we are recruiting more muscle activity, burning more energy, we have more option to move, but we are still fairly stationary. So we wait for the evidence.

Some notes based on my clinical experience are however:

1.  I use a standing desk, I find I am more productive while I am at it… I also find I take more breaks away from the desk than I used to. The shoulder pain that I used to get at my desk has disappeared…. Instead my feet ache.

2.  Several of my clients now use standing desks as they were suffering from back ache in prolonged sitting……. One of the clients reported being significantly more tired at the end of the day…. No back pain though.

3.  Another of my clients had the biomechanical work station set up, she had the wrist rest, the supported chair, arm rests. She was managing her neck and back pain well with modifications. Unfortunately, her employers replaced all of the desks with hot desks now though. She can work in standing, but her back and neck pains have returned and she is back in the clinic with tennis elbow from typing without the wrist support.


So the jury is out.  For me the take home message is always the same with these things:


What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next.


The fact of the matter is that our bodies were meant to move. They need motion, they need variety. So you can stand, sit, bend, kneel, lie, perch on the most ergonomically sound and biomechanically perfect surface. If you do too much of any of these at one time, you will get pain.


Move more, fit motion into your daily work environment, get away from the desk and do what’s right by you. Your health needs you to stand, sit, lie, bend, kneel, perch, jump, sing and dance- as often as possible please. And if you can pick your own desk, choose wisely. Unfortunately there is no wonder desk to solve all ills. There is only your experience. If you have a sitting desk, all modified to suit your needs and you have no pain then stick with it but maybe treat yourself to more breaks.


If you know you need a change, then be brave, stand up in that office and give it a whirl.


It can be a prickly issue with your employer, but it is their responsibility to look after the interests and health of their employees with regards to the employee’s workstation.  How they do that varies widely.  If you or your employer require any professional advice regarding ergonomic desk set up, one of our team is a Level 2 DSE assessor, capable of carrying out workstation assessments.  They are HSE (Health and Safety Executive) accredited and recognised consultants by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF).

For further information, please follow:

The team at City Physio have been asked once again to provide physiotherapy support to this biannual International festival.  In 2015 we covered 7 different shows in multiple locations both on and off site.  Our close association with MIF since 2005 has earned us a recall, and even spawned a new moniker for one of the team. “Evil” Bob Johnson is unsure how to take this well meant professional compliment. Bob will be kept busy this year with Available Light, based at the Palace Theatre.

Be sure to check out the outstanding array of bands, plays, monologues etc. that brings together artists from different art forms and backgrounds to create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking new work, which are staged in a rich tapestry of venues across Greater Manchester – from theatres, galleries and concert halls to railway depots, churches and car parks.  Expect the unexpected..

Don’t miss out, check out the line up

After much soul searching in a difficult week for Manchester and it’s much stretched public services, the race organisers decided to go ahead with this year’s Great  Manchester run on Sunday 28th May. 10km and half marathoners pounded the pavements and streets of the city and populated the busiest event of its kind in Europe.  Defiance and grit was shown by tens of thousands of runners in a very difficult week, and perhaps the coming together of a wide spectrum of the running community was yet another credit to the city that had demonstrated its resilience and strength all week.


One of many potential down sides to the thwacking of tarmac is the transmitted force from the road back up the mechanical chain of the lower limb.  Shin splints are a popular seasonal injury at this time of the year with many keen amateurs upping their mileage in preparation for spring/summers upcoming challenges. 

Shin splints are generally described as pain in the front of the shins. This pain can be on the inside or outside of the shin bone (tibia).

Typically, this pain gets worse with activity (although in early stages it can ease once warmed up, but then bites later!)

Causes: typically 2 causes

1)      Relative calf length/strength- A calf muscle that is too tight can often cause pain on the inside of the tibia. It can sometimes cause pain on the outside shin muscle too as this is the muscle working in opposition to the calf- a sort of tug of war evolves.

Rest, reducing the volume of loading (impact and calf effort can be reduced on a cross trainer or in the pool) combined with plenty of specific stretching to the group of calf muscles will generally solve shin splints caused by a short calf group.  If you have long calf muscles that are not coping with the strength requirements that you are throwing at them then some strength and balance work for the lower limb will help with both the endurance of the calf group and stability around the ankle. Proper instruction should be sought for these stretches and strength exercises.

2)      Biomechanics- the alignment of your leg and back is influenced by a variety of tensions and lengths of muscle around your legs and pelvis and by your foot position. Some or all of these can be present. Poor biomechanics can cause the outside shin muscle to tug at the outer covering of the tibia and cause pain. Assessment and treatment by an experienced sports physiotherapist is necessary to determine which areas of your leg/body need adjustment. Resting until these symptoms disappear will not fix the cause of the problem. The pains will return once running recommences.

A good running store will help you select the correct trainer type (control/stability or neutral shoes) to suit your biomechanics. Some supportive insole (Orthotics) may also be required in some circumstances.  We are lucky that our partners at both Up & Running and Sweatshop stores offer discounts for people who have sought our advice.

If you seek advice from a specialist sports physiotherapist quickly, you will return to running sooner. Biomechanical assessments, advice on footwear and Orthotics are available at City Physio. Keep on running….

Nick is a keen runner himself and has just completed a trail marathon in the Lake District.