Dear Physio

Q: I experience recurrent pain in my knees and ankles. I run 7 days per week. What can I do to fix this?

A: Many people suffer ongoing problems due to overuse. If you exercise/work excessively, your body will start to break down and you will feel pain. Your body needs time to recover after activity. This is especially so the older you get. Try to have a day off in between exercise. In the above case try to run 3-4 times per  week rather than daily. If you “have” to exercise daily, try cross training. This may involve bike riding or swimming 3-4  times per week and only running 3 times per week. Another option, if you “have” to run each day, is to try some shorter runs and top up your exercise with low impact work. For example, a 30 minute run and a 30 minute ergo bike ride instead of a 60 minute run.     

Q: Is it safe for my child to do weights?
A: A well organised and supervised resistance training program can be beneficial to pre-adolescent children. It can lead to strength gains, injury protection, better self image and better performance in sport. Most injuries to children occur during unsupervised sessions when a child attempts to lift too heavy a weight.   

Q: What is bursitis?
A: Every person has hundreds of bursae scattered throughout the body. They are like little sacks of fluid that decrease friction between two surfaces that move in different directions. You tend to find a bursa at points where muscles and tendons glide over bones. Without the bursa between these surfaces, movements would be painful. Direct trauma, overuse, infection and medical problems (such as rheumatoid arthritis) can all cause bursitis. Common areas for bursitis are the shoulders, knees, hips and under the Achilles tendon. Physiotherapy can help.

Q: I have tennis elbow, can physiotherapy help?
A: Yes! Tennis elbow is damage and pain in the tendons attaching to the outside of one’s elbow. It can be very difficult to overcome. Early intervention is very important. Physiotherapy modalities can help, so too can stretching and local massage. Special strengthening exercises (eccentric exercises) are very important in overcoming tennis elbow.


Q. I experience pain in my shoulder when I lift my arm. It came on after I trimmed the hedge recently. What can I do about it?
A: One of the most common shoulder problems we see is called “rotator cuff impingement”. This is where small tendons in the shoulder are pinched during overhead activity and are damaged. The quicker you start treatment the better the outcome. Treatment involves therapy to reduce inflammation and exercises to stretch and strengthen the shoulder. It can take several weeks to overcome this type of shoulder problem. If physiotherapy doesn't help, you may need a cortisone injection and, in some cases, surgery.