Active Release Technique Session 1

Last week I went back to the sports med doc because, after 5 weeks of not running, I suddenly had pain in the arch of my foot. The doctor diagnosed me with posterior tibial tendonitis. He told me to put an insert in my shoe and the PT gave me two stretches and two strengthening exercises to do. He told me that if it was still hurting in about 10 days to come back. After a couple of days, I eventually stopped waking up in the middle of the night with a super-stiff and painful foot, but I didn’t feel I was where I should be. Since I had been off from all exercise for 2 weeks due to bronchitis, it didn’t make sense that my tendonitis was an over-use injury. I had never had a problem with foot or ankle pain on a daily basis with my shoes so I really didn’t believe an insert was the solution either. So, just like everyone else, I started searching running forums to see what everyone else did for this condition. Some said two weeks of rest, stretching, and ice fixed it. Some had been struggling with it for months, some (gulp) for years. I started noticing one common theme – many said that Active Release Technique (ART, A-R-T, not “art”) was the only thing that helped them. I kept seeing this more and more and decided to Google and find someone certified in ART in my area. Luckily, there was a certified ART therapist that had just started offering session through my local running store where I do my training group.

While she is not a doctor, my therapist is also a runner (like a ridiculous runner, we’re talking sub 7 minute miles, winning marathons/half marathons), a certified weight trainer, a certified PT, and a track coach. I figured if there was anyone to see for ART, she was it! Another plus, her pricing was less expensive than it would cost me through insurance to see a specialist.

Today was my first session. We went over what had been going on, she put her hand on my shoulder and said, “We’re going to get you fixed up.” Down on the PT table I went and she began working away on my legs and feet for 30 minutes. While ART is not deep-tissue massage, it is a similar technique that is done while moving the muscles in the natural way they move to look for and work out anything that may be restricting them. She worked through my calf with minimal issues and then got to my soleus muscle – ding ding ding! She told me the tissue was so tight it barely moved. She worked on that for quite a while, moved down into my foot around my tendon, and back to the front area of my shin (which was also extremely tight). When she was finished I stood up and was AMAZED. While it’s not 100% yet, my foot wasn’t hurting like it was before she started. She showed me some stretches to do for my soleus muscle and told me to start running again! I was told that, as long as I can do it without limping, to get back into running. Limping had never been an issue in the first place, I had mostly not been running because I was afraid of furthering my injury, so I think this will go well. This lines up perfectly with me starting to train for the 10 miler I wanted to run at the beginning of August.

I have another session next week and hopefully will only need one more after that (or maybe no more)! She gave me a hug when we were finished and I told her she was my new favorite person.

I highly recommend ART if you think your problems may be muscle or tendon-related (plantar fascitis and Achilles tendontiis included). Many chiropractors seem to be certified in this technique. You will quickly be able to tell if this is the issue (we’re talking one session) and the person providing the ART should be able to tell, too.

One more note: I haven’t been blogging much and that’s not just related to the fact that I haven’t been running much. Since my husband finished his DMA, we have been basking in all the time we have to spend together. I am still reading all the blogs I follow (and often commenting), but am focusing most of my time on having some fun especially now that the weather is nice! I am sure my blogging will pick up once I start training again and running some races.

Everyone have a safe and happy long weekend!

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4 thoughts on “Active Release Technique Session 1

  1. Love to see that ART is helping someone else, a good ART and Graston Technique person is worth their weight in gold. Between those two, I’ve managed to avoid seeing any doctors in three years of marathon training now, love the ART especially.

    1. I was amazed! Sore and crampy today, but she did let me know that most only feel 60-70% better after the first session and then only need one or two more to clear the issue. Going to try a short run today so hopefully that will loosen things back up.

      1. Well good luck with the run! In my experience, two sessions have been enough to clear up every problem, but the total improvement wasn’t felt until a day or two after.

      2. My run went well though I am very obviously out of shape. Good to know there may be a day or two after treatment before I fully feel the results. I am definitely an advocate for ART now!

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