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Heal before the marathon

Aqua jogging literally means running in the water. It is an excellent, low-impact form of exercise that mimics running movements but in a nearly weightless environment.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 02, 2010 18:15 IST
Heath Matthews

I am a 45-year-old fitness enthusiast. My weight is 65 kg and my BMI is 23. One week ago, while preparing for the marathon, I injured the adductor muscles in my right leg. I can’t jog, skip or do brisk-walking. However, swimming and cycling are pain-free and I am continuing with them. I want to be fit in time for the race on January 17, and to complete the half-marathon in less than two hours. Kindly suggest some rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the adductor muscles.

- Amit Ghatalia

You will need a biomechanical assessment to get to the root of your specific injury but I can tell you how to address it for the time being.

Firstly, if swimming is pain free, try aqua jogging. This literally means running in the water. It is an excellent, low-impact form of exercise that mimics running movements but in a nearly weightless environment. You could do this either with a float or just stay afloat using your natural swimming ability. Start off with one length of the pool and build it up gradually. Don’t worry if you don’t go very far initially.

Secondly, start with the bridge exercise. Lie on your back, with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your buttock muscles together and raise your hips off the floor as high as possible. Return to the ground slowly and repeat. I use three sets of 30 repetitions as my gold standard for my athletes.

Once you’ve mastered the two-leg bridge, you can progress to the single-leg bridge. This involves all the same steps as the single-led bridge, but in addition, you also raise one leg towards the ceiling. From there, you need to progress to static lunges, which target the hip extensors and abductors.

Finally, I would recommend a wide range of hip mobilisation exercises to maintain full range of motion in this joint. The hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, groin, hip flexors and lower back, all need to be stretched. I would suggest you start by stretching your lower back, then your glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors, and finally the groin.

Please remember to use ice regularly. I would also suggest wearing a compression brace. Neoprene shorts, which football and hockey players wear, will work well for you.

Heath Matthews is physiotherapist with the Mittal Champions Trust