Get the Spring back in your Step! Have you got Runner’s Knee?

  • January 23, 2017
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  • Get the Spring back in your Step! Have you got Runner’s Knee?

Get the Spring back in your Step!

Have you got Runner’s Knee?


Runners knee tends to affect runners, walkers and cyclists. It is a repetitive strain injury  and it tends to effect  just one knee. There are two main types of injury , Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB) and patella femoral pain syndrome (PT) (also called patella tendonitis)

In this article I will cover ITB Syndrome

Ilio tibial band syndrome

This is a very common running injury. The ilio tibial band is a band of tough connective tissue running from the hip to the outside of the knee. It helps to stabilise and give spring to the knee joint.

Pain develops on the side of the knee, it can be ¾ down the outside of the thigh, all the way along the side of the knee or sometimes at front of the knee just below the knee cap.

The pain can be a sharp or a dull ache with a numb feeling on the outside of the leg when exercising. It is caused by the tendon rubbing against the bone on movement. In some cases there may be micro tears and thickening which would be visible on an MRI scan . X-rays will show nothing.

Other symptoms of ITB pain-

  • Pain behind the knee cap, outside of the thigh
  • Pain on bending the knee or sitting for long periods
  • Pain going downstairs or hills
  • Running causes pain


Causes of ITT-

  • Worn out shoes.
  • Running up hill or banked surfaces.
  • Track workouts in the same direction.
  • Too much running
  • Pelvic imbalance/ lower back pain.
  • Foot problems (Pes Planus).
  • Weak quadriceps muscles.
  • Misalignment of bones from previous trauma.



If the symptoms have developed within 48 hours using ice on  the sore area, resting and taking anti-inflammatories will help. If the symptoms do not settle down after a week or so then osteopathy is the answer.

We will look for the cause, not just the symptoms. In most cases the lower back or the pelvis is the problem.

Commonly the patient will have some mild pain or stiffness in this area. We use gentle soft tissue and manipulative techniques to release the pelvis and soft tissue massage on the ITT and quadriceps muscles.

After a couple of sessions the runner is not only running again but, running more freely and efficiency. Patients tend to feel as if they have a spring in their step again!

This kind of treatment is also useful for walkers and older folk who feel that they are struggling to walk as far or as fast as they used to.

Call us now to book your appointment,

01392 428141

You could also do an ITB stretch by following this link





Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), also known as runner’s knee, is the most common of all kinds of knee pain, causing pain around and under the kneecap. Almost anyone can get it, but it particularly affects runners, cyclists and hikers, and also office workers or anyone else who sits for a living.

The stress of running can cause Irritation where the knee cap (patella) rests on the thigh bone. Pain can be sharp, dull or chronic. It may sometime disappear whilst running especially on the short runs, but only for the symptoms to return after running.



What are the symptoms of patellofemoral pain?

Pain around the knee. The pain is felt at the front of the knee, around or behind the kneecap. Often, the exact site of the pain cannot be pinpointed; instead the pain is felt vaguely at the front of the knee.



The pain comes and goes. It is typically worse when going up or down stairs or with certain sports. Also, it may be brought on by sitting still for long periods. For example, after going to the cinema or a long drive.


In many cases, patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused by vigorous physical activities that put repeated stress on the knee —such as jogging, squatting, and climbing stairs. It can also be caused by a sudden change in physical activity. This change can be in the frequency of activity—such as increasing the number of days you exercise each week. It can also be in the duration or intensity of activity—such as running longer distances.


Other factors that may contribute to patellofemoral pain include:

  • Use of improper sports training techniques or equipment
  • Changes in footwear or playing surface
  • Patellar Misalignment

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can also be caused by abnormal tracking of the kneecap in the trochlear groove. In this condition, the patella is pushed out to one side of the groove when the knee is bent. This abnormality may cause increased pressure between the back of the patella and the trochlea, irritating soft tissues. In some cases here we may see micro tears of the very distal part of the Patella tendon. X rays will show nothing of the patella tendon, but may show worn patella grooves. MRI may show thickening of the patella tendon and is not really necessary.




Factors that contribute to poor tracking of the kneecap include:

Problems with the alignment of the legs between the hips and the ankles. Problems in alignment may result in a kneecap that shifts too far toward the outside or inside of the leg, or one that rides too high in the trochlear groove—a condition called patella alta.

Muscular imbalances or weaknesses, especially in the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh from possible pelvic imbalance. When the knee bends and straightens, the quadriceps muscles and quadriceps tendon help to keep the kneecap within the trochlear groove. Weak or imbalanced quadriceps can cause poor tracking of the kneecap within the groove.

  • There may be a grating or grinding feeling or noise when the knee moves. This is called crepitus.
  • Sometimes there is fullness or swelling around the patella.

Pinpointing a single cause of runner’s knee is difficult. It could be a biomechanical problem—the patella may be larger on the outside than it is on the inside, it may sit too high in the femoral groove, or it may dislocate easily. Also, worn cartilage in the knee joint reduces shock absorption, high-arched feet provide less cushioning, and flat feet or knees that turn in or out excessively can pull the patella sideways.

Just the repetitive force of a normal running stride alone can be enough to provoke an attack.


As for ITT, see above. In most cases like the ITT the pelvis and the lower back is the main cause here. It causes the quadriceps muscle to shorten which then causes patella tracking malfunction. Doing strengthening exercises is not the answer here until the pelvis and lower back are straightened out first, with lots of soft tissue stretching to the quadriceps. This treatment alone can cure your knee symptoms quickly.



At the first sign of knee pain, cut back your mileage. The sooner you lessen the knee’s workload, the faster healing begins. Avoid knee-bending activities, uneven surfaces, and downward stairs and slopes until the pain subsides. As you rebuild mileage, use a smaller stride on hills. Consider orthotics if new shoes don’t fix the problem. Give Exeter Osteopaths a call on 01392 428141 or BOOK ONLINE if the pain persists, to rule out another condition, our helpful team will be more than happy to get you back on track.

At last it’s ski season!!! Fun is coming!!!

  • January 16, 2017
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  • At last it’s ski season!!! Fun is coming!!!

At last it’s ski season!!! Fun is coming!!!

Skiing is a very demanding sport and has a specification that no other has; it is usually practiced once a year and intensely (many daily hours over a week). Imagine rowing once a year for a whole week, over 5 hours a day and without any training … it might be a bit too much, won’t it? Well this is exactly what we put our bodies through when we go skiing.

So how can we prepare in order to enjoy our skiing trip fully but also and most importantly prevent injuries? Three main themes are to be considered:

Firstly general fitness, strength and endurance,

Secondly balance and proprioception (our ability to know our body’s position in space without having to look with our eyes),

And finally flexibility.


This article will focus on the first point mentioned above: general fitness, strength and endurance.

1/ Warm up: 5 mins rope skipping. If you need some help have a look at the link bellow:

Alternatively you can skip for 5 mins without the rope.


2/ Body weight squats. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions (rep) with a minute rest in between sets. Add 1 rep to each set every workout. If you need some help have a look at the link bellow:


3/ Wall sit. Start with 3 sets of 15 seconds with 1 min rest in between sets. Add 5 seconds to each set every 2 workouts. If you need some help have a look at the link bellow


4/ Core exercise: Planks. Start with 3 sets of 15 seconds with 1 min rest in between sets. Add 5 seconds to each set every 2 workouts.


Apply this training routine three times (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) a week for 4 weeks before you go on your ski trip and you will be on fire.

Our next article will focus on point 2: balance and proprioception.

In the meantime, if you require any further help with the above or want to get an existing injury sorted before you’re on the mountains come and see a lovely member of our experienced team of skilled osteopaths.

Book online now

Could you benefit from seeing an Osteopath?

  • January 16, 2017
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  • Could you benefit from seeing an Osteopath?

Q1: What do you do? I’m an osteopath

Q2: Um…that’s backs isn’t it? Or bones? Well, not exactly

Q3: So…what is an osteopath?


This is a line of questioning which happens to me frequently. Those that have come across osteopathy before normally answer Q1 with “That’s great! I’ve been having trouble with X…can you take a look?”


So here is my answer to “what is an Osteopath?” so we can help you by taking a look!


Most people first visit us because they are experiencing pain within their body. They want to know what is causing their pain, most importantly help getting out of pain, and how they can prevent the pain from returning.


First and foremost, Osteopaths are manual therapists. This means we use our hands and sense of touch as a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems.


Osteopathy is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nervous systems functioning smoothly together, and not just the spine! We treat the WHOLE BODY!


We use our hands to feel the different body tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves), assess the movement through joints (does it move as well as it should be?) and apply tests to different body structures to find out exactly what is going on within your body and find the root cause of your pain.


Once we have examined your body and from our testing know that it is something we can help you with then we can go on to treat you. We can refer you to other appropriate medical professionals if it is not something we can help you with.


Because Osteopathy is a HANDS ON therapy, treatment involves moving, stretching, manipulating and massaging a person’s muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and joints.


We also treat people who aren’t in pain! Osteopathy works as a preventative therapy too, because we can assess whether areas of the body are tight, restricted, or even too loose! We can treat these areas BEFORE they lead to injury and pain.


So next time you someone tells you that they’re an Osteopath, tell them THAT”S GREAT! CAN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT…


Alternatively  call us on 01392 428141 or book online at

Why Am I So Tired All The Time?

  • January 12, 2017
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  • Why Am I So Tired All The Time?

Why Am I So Tired All The Time?

I had a client come to me about a month ago saying, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m tired all the time. I’m sleeping 8 or 9 hours a night, and I still don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t feel like doing much during the day. I’m not usually this unmotivated’.

This client is not alone, many of us tiredness experience ongoing tiredness that is interfering with our enjoyment of life. And we often don’t know what to do about it.

The problem is, fatigue can come from so many different underlying causes, it’s hard to know how to respond. Chinese medicine recognises two major categories of fatigue: depletion and stagnation. They feel similar (tired is tired, after all), but they have different causes, and different cures.

The better you understand your tiredness, the easier it is to do the things that helps get your energy back.  Following is a quick and easy guide to diagnosing your fatigue and responding to it.

Type 1: Depleted

This is the most logical form of fatigue: you are simply, genuinely worn out. The hallmark of this tiredness is that rest helps. If you find you feel better in the morning or after a nap, and are more tired at the end of the day or after exercise, you’re dealing with depletion fatigue. To use an automotive analogy, it’s like having an empty fuel tank. Out of fuel equals no energy.

The three best things to do for this kind of tiredness:

  1. Prioritize sleep and rest. You can actually solve your tiredness problem by recharging your batteries, so make whatever changes you need to sleep later, have a restful relaxing weekend, and say no to some of the things that are tiring you out.
  2. Stop eating sweets. This can be hard, because you’re probably craving sugar. But sugar actually weakens the systems that convert food to energy. It also causes blood sugar crashes that only make you more hungry and more tired. Try eating “sweet” vegetables (squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions) – they balance the blood sugar and help with sugar cravings.
  3. Eat bland, nourishing, easy-to-digest food. This is especially important if you are experiencing loss of appetite, bloating after eating, or other digestive symptoms. Chicken, rice, and vegetable soup are good choices.

Tired Type 2: Stuck

In this type of fatigue, you actually have plenty of energy in your system, but for some reason it’s not available. Rather than an empty tank, this is more like a clogged fuel line. It doesn’t matter if the tank is full, nothing’s getting to the engine, and the effect is exactly the same. In fact, filling an already-full tank only causes more problems.

The hallmark of this type of fatigue is that anything that gets you moving will increase your energy level. If you have a lot more energy after you exercise, or when you’re having fun or feeling interested and engaged, that’s the stuck pattern of tiredness. People with this kind of fatigue often feel terrible when they wake up, or when they’ve been sitting still for a long time (long meetings can be especially brutal). Stress usually makes this kind of tiredness worse, as well.

The three best things to do:

  1. Have fun. I’m totally serious about this. Stress, tension, and boredom cause the energy in your body to clamp down and stop flowing. Anything you find fun, interesting, or connecting will help get your energy moving again. Something that makes you laugh is perfect.
  2. Exercise. This can be hard because you might feel too tired and unmotivated to want to exercise. Commit to doing it anyway and make it fun. It could be as simple as dancing in the kitchen or playing with the dog.
  3. Avoid greasy, heavy foods. These clog the energy channels in the body and weigh you down. Green vegetables are particularly good for the systems that keep energy flowing in your body.

Tired Type 3: Wired and Tired

Ever have that feeling where you’re exhausted and hyper at the same time? This is a particularly tough one, since it’s impossible to relax or get any real rest, but activity only makes you more tired.

This type of fatigue is actually a specific kind of depletion, known as “yin deficiency” in Chinese medicine. Yin refers to the deep, quiet, cooling, soothing, nourishing and grounding aspect of your energy. This is the reserve you tap into when you’re running on empty. When you start burning through too much of that reserve, you’re left with nothing but nervous energy and underlying exhaustion.

This is really common in our culture, because we’re all about doing, and doing, and doing more. We’re not so great at resting, or just letting things be, or replenishing our reserves.

If you feel profoundly drained and highly agitated at the same time, this is probably you. You might be irritable, anxious, or easily overwhelmed. Sleep is often restless, with frequent waking.  You might also feel dried-out, thirsty, or hot.

Three best things to do for this:

  1. Make room for quiet relaxation. You’re tapped out on the deepest level, and you need to nourish yourself on that level. Anything that brings you to a state of deep relaxation and/or spiritual connection is helpful. Yoga, quiet time in nature, listening to music, are things that work for people. (Watching TV doesn’t count, it’s too agitating).
  2. Stop using caffeine and other stimulants. Completely. I know, it may seem like the only thing that’s keeping you going, but it only creates false energy and further depletes your reserves. Try doing what you need to do from a more authentic energy, even if it’s lower-key than the pushing-through style you’re used to using. You might be surprised at the effectiveness and connection that can come from this place.
  3. Incorporate foods that help nourish the “yin”: Almonds, eggs, soy products, small amounts of high quality dairy are good choices. Avoid hot spicy food, especially if you feel overheated or agitated.

Just Do One Thing

The hardest part, of course, is getting started with any of these changes. When you’re tired, the last thing you want is to start a new habit, or give up something you’ve been using to get yourself through the day.

Start with the suggestion that sounds easiest, and as you feel better the other changes will seem more manageable too.

Severe or persistent fatigue may require treatment in addition to diet and lifestyle adjustments -Acupuncture can be very effective in treating fatigue. It is particularly helpful for the “stuck” kind of tiredness, since it quickly and effectively gets energy moving, and can address the underlying causes of stagnation.

Patients often find that treatment for fatigue also improves other symptoms, such as digestive problems, headaches, insomnia and anxiety.

It’s really okay if you need a little jump-start — it’s what your practitioner is there for! Treatment can help you find the energy to make changes that ultimately put your health and energy in your own hands.

Book Now with Esmee Wood (Acupuncturist) for the first step to getting your energy back or call us on 01392 428141

Get help for your Headaches

  • January 3, 2017
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  • Get help for your Headaches




There are two main types of headaches-

  1. Migraines:

This is the more intense, sharper of the headaches, and can come with flashing lights, nausea and occasionally the only remedy is to retreat to a dark room to sleep it off.

  1. Tension headaches:

This is the more common of the headaches. It tends to be a dull ache at the back of the head with a tight band across the forehead and ache behind the eyes. Rubbing/massaging your neck and temple region of your skull tends to help.


  • Migraine– Hormonal, genetics, stress, previous head trauma, certain foods and poor sleep.
  • Tension– Poor neck and shoulder posture, whiplash injuries, stress, lack of sleep and poor diet.

Self Help-

Massaging the muscles at the back of your neck at the base of your skull can help relieve tension. The nerve that exits your neck at this level supplies the membranes in your head which cause the headache.

If you have pressure in your head you can rest your elbows on the desk, place your thumbs upwards into the space above your eyes either side of the bridge of your nose. Let the weight of your head rest on your thumbs.

Dehydration can cause headaches so drink plenty of water.

Eye strain whilst working on computers is sometimes a cause. Have your eyes tested regularly and try to look out of a window or across the room regularly to change the focal length of your eyes.


  • Migraines- There is good evidence that osteopathic treatment can prevent migraines but please also look at your diet, posture and reduce your stress levels.
  • Tension- Osteopaths  assess your posture sitting and standing. We also look at how tight your neck, shoulder and skull muscles and how your spinal joints are moving. By releasing these muscles and spinal joints we can free up the tension. We also give you lots of exercises and advice for prevention.
  • Stretches

Try some of the stretches on our website for the neck and shoulders.

If they are not helpful then please call us. We can offer effective treatment as well as a custom made exercise programme to stop the headaches returning.

The treatment may enable you to reduce the amount of the pain relieving medications with all their associated side effects.

Book Online