This week we introduce the Women’s Running runner’s clinic, where all your medical concerns are answered by our resident GP, Juliet McGrattan. No matter what your running-related health problem, we want to get your questions answered and help you get back on track as soon as possible. Would you like your question answered by Juliet? Email [email protected]
Running and arthritis
I’m relatively new to running (I started just over a year ago). I’ve been having a few niggling injuries this year – according to a physiotherapist they are down to weak core muscles causing stress on hips and calves. I’ve been doing Pilates and strengthening exercises to combat this but I’m wondering whether I’ve inherited my mum’s arthritis and whether this is also playing a part. Will running accelerate any inherited arthritis and could core strength help stave it off?
Good news! Running will not speed up arthritis if it’s done sensibly and correctly. Increasing distances gradually and allowing adequate recovery between runs is important. Strengthening and conditioning your muscles will help protect your joints by taking pressure off them. Having a strong core will help you keep a good running form, which will minimise injury and joint stress. Keep working hard!
I have a problem with friction burns under my boobs on my sternum. I know it’s from my running bras, but I have tried various types, from shock absorber to bra tops and they all do the same – some worse than others. I have spoken to plastic surgeons and have been given a variety of tapes and dressings, but they just end up falling off with perspiration. Vaseline doesn’t seem to work either. What can I do?
This is a very common problem. I do think the key is in the fit of the bra. Have you had a professional fitting? The right chest size is important so it’s snug and doesn’t move too much. The correct cup size will minimise the bounce of your breasts. Lubricating your skin at every point of bra-skin contact is vital and you may need to top up en route. Some runners recommend Bodyglide as an alternative to Vaseline. After showering, apply some Sudocrem to help healing. Try alternating which bra you wear so the rubbing isn’t in the same spot. I’ve heard of runners turning their bras inside out to avoid the seams.
I read recently that running and exercise in general can reduce the risk of dementia. Is this true? My mum has it and I’m worried about developing it in future.
Yes, this is true. We can’t stop ourselves ageing, but we can reduce our risk in other ways. Regular exercise will lower blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk. This, in turn, reduces narrowing of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis) which is a cause of vascular dementia. We’re beginning to understand that exercise also acts as an anti- inflammatory and evidence is mounting that all types of dementia can be reduced by taking regular exercise. Don’t forget the importance of helping your mum get some exercise too.
Please note, we’re sorry but Juliet cannot answer questions personally.