Interview with Tom of Running Physio

 
Tom

Tom is Clinical Lead at The Physio Rooms, a keen runner, and creator of Running-Physio.com. His work has gained a worldwide audience and has been featured in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Runner’s World and Men’s Running UK. 

Tom remains an active clinician and believes in the importance of translating research findings into effective treatments for our patients. He’s recently published a narrative review paper on Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy (Goom et al. 2016) and is part of a team developing guidelines on returning to running after pregnancy.


Note: You should consult with your doctor or physical therapist for recommendations on treatment. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Tom and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of OnlinePhysicalTherapyPrograms.com


What inspired you to become a physiotherapist? What inspired you to start the Running Physio blog?

My mum’s feet inspired me to become a physio! As a teenager I used to give her a foot rub at the end of a long day and she said, “you’re good at that, maybe you should be a physio or something?…” That sowed a seed, I looked into it and the more I learned about it the more I was sure it was for me. Running inspired me to write the blog. The more I ran, the more I got to know runners and realise how little good information was out there for them. I started the blog to give them some evidence based guidance. In time I realised that physios as well as runners were reading the content so I started aiming it at informed runners and health professionals that treat them.

In our first month we had 34 page views (mostly me checking the site was working) since then we’ve had over 6 million!

 

What do you hope your readers get out of the information you share with them?

I hope they get practical, evidence-based advice that’s easy to apply and helps keep them running.

 

How does what you see day to day in the clinic influence the site?

A lot of rehab ideas and common problems we look to solve with patients help influence the site content. For example, I worked with a runner with significant pain when sitting due to proximal hamstring tendinopathy so I wrote an article on the site on addressing this. 

 

What are some of the most important things that physiotherapy can do for runners?

Keep them running! Wherever possible I think we can reduce people’s fear, reassure them and try to keep a level of running going even if it’s just a few minutes. Obviously there are exceptions to this (stress fractures, severe, irritable symptoms etc) but we should be looking to return to sport as soon as safe to do so. Running is hugely important to runners. It keeps them well physically and mentally and can form a big part of their social life. We need to recognise the impact not running can have and look to address it.

 

What are some of the most important things runners should do to prevent injury in the first place?

The most important thing a runner can do is train sensibly and gradually increase their training volume, intensity or frequency. Most injuries result for increases in training that we’re not ready for, if we can address this we can reduce injury risk.

 

Are there certain injuries that runners should watch out for that often don’t get looked into early enough?

Bone stress injuries and specifically stress fractures are the main injury that isn’t identified quickly enough. On average it takes around 3 months to diagnose a stress fracture. If a runner has pain during impact and weight-bearing, bony tenderness, swelling/ bruising, night pain or a previous history of stress fractures then they should consider a diagnosis of stress  fracture as a possibility and be seen by an experienced health professional.

 

What advice do you have for those who are interested in becoming physiotherapists?

Go for it!!

Physiotherapy is an interesting and dynamic profession. You work with different people every day and you can make a genuine difference to their lives. You never stop learning as a physio, there’s always opportunity to grow.