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nordic polesKirsty McNab, our Sports Physiotherapist gives as an insight to using walking poles:  

I just returned after 2 weeks in Russia, climbing Mt Elbrus, Russia and Europe’s highest mountain at 5642m.  It had been 20 years since I had done any mountaineering with crampons and ice boots and set off to scramble up a very high mountain! The big difference this time (from all those years ago) was I used Nordic trekking poles - I could not have done it without them.

Nordic poles keep you upright and tall as you walk, helping take strain off your knees, hips, back and neck……and coming downhill - WOW - they save your knees and help your balance. They conserve energy in your legs - to any trekker over distance they are a must.

And their use in protecting your joints just in every day tasks is no laughing matter. I have a client in her late 30’s trying to stave off hip surgery - she is totally pain free as long as she walks with the poles. The poles totally change how she walks and therefore the forces through her worn joint. The same happened with another client in her late 50’s trying to put off a total knee replacement - she is so pleased to have less pain that she even uses 1 of the poles to walk around the office.

Poles are expensive, hire them (we have a pair at Physiologix), or borrow a pair to try them out before spending the money to buy them from a trekking store.

Top Tips for Using Nordic Walking Poles:

You can now hire walking poles from us at Physiologix and our staff can teach you how to use them. But here are just a few tips on how to use them to best affect:

runningWith many endurance events coming up, it is important to keep an eye out for OVERUSE injuries!

Evin Scanlon, physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coach at Physiologix, has worked extensively with overuse injuries to the lower limb. He has worked in gathering research to the knee, foot and ankle. Here he gives us 10 top tips to avoiding lower limb injuries as you step up your training.

1. Remember you are exposing your body to increase stresses and strains that it may not be accustomed to. Many runners experience injury in their first 8 weeks by doing too much, too fast, too soon. Increase running volume by no more than 10% every 2 weeks

pain in the neckWhiplash is an injury that occurs to the spine, especially the neck, with sudden rapid movement.  This is usually after a car accident, but can occur with collisions in sport or with a blow to the head or body.

Often the pain does not start until a few hours after the incident.  The pain often then continues to escalate over the next few days.  Initially you may experience neck pain and stiffness.  This extends to all the muscles around the neck, often going into the front of the neck and around the throat, as well as the back of the neck.  A bad headache will often set in.  Vision can be affected and people often feel a “bit out if it”.  You may experience pins and needles into the face or arms.  The pain may often be accompanied by nausea.  At all times the injury should be checked medically with your GP or at the hospital.  A decision will then be made as to whether an x-ray or MRI is indicated.  This will check there is no bone damage.

In the first few days good, strong medication will help control the pain and reduce the muscle spasm.  A hot pack is usually best to use, keeping it on as much as you can, as this will help to relax the muscles further.  Gentle pain-free movement will help to keep the joints from stiffening.  Physiotherapy at this time releases tight muscles and mobilises joints to get them moving again.

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