Friday, 21 October 2016

“When is a niggle not a niggle?”

Cris Kellet, Physiotherapy Manager at Progress, Cambridge looks at a frequently asked question,

When is a niggle not a niggle and should I just ignore it and carry on or should I get it looked at by a specialist physio?

We need to find the middle ground between being hyper-attentive to every nuance of our body or ignoring it completely and just pushing on.  As with many things in life it’s a continuum.

Here are some practical points that would indicate when you need to seek help:
1. Is the pain > 3/10? (on a scale 0-10, with 10 being the worst pain possible)

2. Has your pain occurred more than 3 times?
3. Does your pain last more than 4 hours or is it present the next day on weight/load-bearing?
4. Does your pain make the affected area feel weak?

If you answer YES to any of these questions then you should seek an assessment one of our team at Progress who will be able to identify the problem and either treat it or plan further management.  If you answer YES to more than 1 question you should do this soon.

Early prevention or intervention can save you a lot of lost training/competition time and ensure you enjoy your activities and perform at your best.

To book an assessment with one of the team please contact us on 01223 200580

Thursday, 20 October 2016

At the heart of CUCBC’s road to the 2017 Boat Race

Cambridge University Boat Club gathered at Progress for hi-tech Cardio Screening

Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) undergo heart screening with an ECG and Echocardiogram at Progress, The Cambridge Centre for Health and Performance.

Dr Leonard Shapiro, Consultant Cardiologist at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, who examined the CUBC team for cardiovascular conditions, said: “We are proud to be part of Cambridge University Boat Club’s journey to the Boat Race 2017 and look forward to beating Oxford on the Thames”

He continues “ECG and Echocardiograms are not just for elite athletes as they can be very useful to everybody offering diagnostic information to help  show any damage to the heart muscle”

Helping to ensure the athletes representing Cambridge are fit to handle the rigors of rowing for such a prestigious team, these advanced tests can assist in identifying undetected cardiovascular conditions, which are sometimes found in the healthiest of sportspeople. 

Leading the health programme is CUBC Team Medical Officer and member of the British Rowing Medical Panel, Dr Simon Owens. “The BNY Mellon Boat Race is a high profile event that pushes athletes to the limit of their endurance and cardiovascular screening is an important issue. We have worked together to develop this wonderful programme and we are very grateful to Dr Shapiro for his great expertise and to Progress for their excellent facilities in helping us to look after out athletes”

Following the team screening, Dr Shapiro reported that the strong hearted men were all fit for the challenges ahead. And for those keeping count… Cambridge currently lead Oxford with 82 to 79 wins.

For more information on our Cardiology services that are available at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital click here.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Wimbledon 2016 - Progress physiotherapist looks at common tennis elbow and other tips

It’s Wimbledon again and we naturally get inspired to get out there and start smashing winners!  If we don’t do this on a regular basis though, our over-enthusiasm could just lead to muscle and joint injuries.

The most common of these is ‘Tennis Elbow’, which as some of you might have discovered does not necessarily involve tennis! This is a pain on the outside of the elbow and is usually associated with overuse, resulting in a painful tendon. Other injuries may involve the shoulder, knee and ankle.
How do we avoid these and enjoy our court time?

The most effective way to do this to do a warm-up that involves the movements that you are going to be performing when you play; avoid deep, sustained stretching as there is now evidence suggesting that not only does this not reduce the risk of injury, but it may also reduce your chance of playing well.

The warm-up should start with light jogging followed by brisker sprints. Shoulder movements overhead, across the chest and ‘windmills’ will help prepare your shoulders. You’re now ready to hit some ground strokes and start moving around the court. Finally, practice your serve with increasing speed and power as you warm-up.

Ok, you’re ready to go. Don’t forget to stay hydrated through your match, not only will you feel fresher, you will reduce your risk of injury and your focus and concentration will last longer.
Enjoy your game!

If you are looking to get back on the court sooner, please contact us on 01223 200580 or email

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Let us help you get back on course

Let us help you get back on course

Here at Progress we have noticed that the temperatures outside are rising and the sun is out making it an ideal time for a round of golf with good friends.

It’s frustrating when you want to get back on the course if you have an achy back, pulled muscle or painful condition like arthritis. You know it may need to be treated or need a medical opinion, but you just never seem to get round to it.

Golf is a game which is now more popular than ever. It is played by a wide variety of the population with varying size, shape, age, fitness and health of players. As a result, when injuries in golf occur, these can potentially aggravate a pre-existing condition such as osteoarthritis or chronic overuse injuries. The majority of golf injuries are associated with a lack of core control, limitations in flexibility or imperfections in the swing, all that twisting and bending can lead to back pain, or even injury.

Being in good physical condition is an important factor to becoming a great golfer. Being out on the green usually means standing on your feet long periods of time and having to walk far distances. A golfer in good physical shape will have the stamina to play a full golf game.

It is never too late or too early to improve your strength and flexibility!

To make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapy team or to find out more, call 01223 200580 or for more information on our other services visit our website

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Post race/run tips

Progress - Post race/run tips. Top tips for immediately after your run 
  • Take advantage of a quick massage today
  • Try using ice to massage any sore areas or an ice bath at home
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially ones rich in electrolytes such as orange juice or tomato juice (now is the time for electrolyte drinks vs during the race)
  • Try to drink at least 180-250mls of water every 1-2 hours
  • Eat something as soon as you can - most glycogen energy stores are replaced more effectively eating within 1-2 hours post exercise.
 Top tips for the following dayYou will be sore - try to keep moving to aid the circulation and reduce stiffness; aim to do a walk or light swim in the afternoon for 20 minutes

  • Eat - replenish those energy stores!! Eat well balanced meals with 50-60% complex carbohydrates to replenish the body's energy stores. Take in adequate protein to repair any tissue damage
  • A long soak in the tub is ‘OK’ today, but ice baths thereafter will aid recovery more for your muscles
  • Rest and get to bed early
 Stiffness and soreness-when to seek helpDeveloping stiff and sore muscles after a hard run is normal and is due to a buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. This is called delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • Listen to your body - over the course of a few days post run, these aches and pains should slowly subside and can be aided by light stretching, sports massage, ice baths and low intensity jogs
  • Seek expert physio help if after a few days the aches and pains do not seem to be subsiding or are increasing
 Planning the next raceAfter you've completed this event, try to think about your running in terms of a reverse taper. It is recommended to take 2-3 days off during the last week leading up to your run, so do the same thing the week after.
Then, if you are an experienced runner, start doing whatever feels good, but even the most seasoned of runners probably won't be ready for a long run right away.
Beginners, if you have been bitten by the running bug, start looking for your next race, but give yourself enough time to recover from this one.  Be careful to build up your training intensity and mileage steadily. If in doubt seek expert advice. If you have any questions regarding the above please contact our team on 01223 200580


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Team GB Mogul Skier and Olympian shares secrets of how to care for your joints as you ski this winter

Team GB Olympian treated at Progress, Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital

Athlete and experts share tips on how to avoid injury on the slopes in 2016

Cambridge athlete, Ellie Koyander is a Team GB Winter Olympian and competes in the ultimate extreme winter sport – freestyle mogul racing. She is in peak fitness and competes at the highest levels of international sport, finishing 2nd overall in Europe last year. She gained seven podium positions on the European Cup Tour and is currently pushing herself further in 2016 for the World Cup season.

Ellie explains: “My discipline can be very grueling on the body, especially when things don’t go as planned. It involves skiing against the clock through a course of icy, bumpy, terrain (the moguls) whilst also pulling ‘tricks’ such as a 360 or backflip off the two jumps in the middle of the course. The ever changing weather conditions and snow consistency can quickly change from bullet-proof ice to sloppy, slushy snow which can all make for some spectacular crashes at any moment, but unfortunately this may mean injuries too.”

Ellie was recently treated at Progress, the Cambridge Centre for Health and Performance, Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, by Specialist Sports Physiotherapist Lauren Bradshaw.

As Ellie continues: “Lauren has helped me through both shoulder and back injuries as well as other niggles that I’ve had along the way. Being able to work with someone who understands competing at the top level is ideal. Lauren always goes out of her way to make sure I’m feeling as good as possible and know the next steps I need to take. The facilities that they have at Spire are also top of the range and it’s a very professional and friendly clinic, I can’t thank or recommend them highly enough.”

Lauren is not only a physiotherapist but is also an elite athlete in her own right, competing in Iron Man competitions and triathlons. She was an international skater before training as a physiotherapist and becoming the youngest physio for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics. Lauren clearly understands the pressure of competing and staying fit mentally as well as physically.  “As I continue to learn about my own body and the injuries I experience, it helps me to be more empathetic towards my patients and athletes and to better understand their issues”.

Whilst we aren’t all skiers of Olympic standard, if you are considering a ski holiday, try to avoid injuries this season. The most common seen by the team at Progress includes:
Anterior Cruciate Ligament rupture (ACL) of the knee; Meniscal (cartilage) damage and wrist sprain injuries, mainly for snow boarders.

To reduce the risks of accident and injury at any level, following a ski fitness program before you go away is vital.

“At Progress we offer a Snow active assessment where I examine your current fitness and strength abilities in relation to snow sports. This enables me to create a unique and bespoke pre-habilitation program to help build muscular endurance and control”.

Here are a few simple exercises from Lauren that anyone can do. They promote core strength and promote muscle groups:

Ski sit – either with your back flat against a wall and knees bent to 90 degrees or with a swiss ball behind your back up against a wall – hold a static position for 30 seconds and increase the time to increase the challenge

Swiss ball squats - put the swiss ball in the hollow of your back up against the wall and use the ball to perform a squat. Repeat 3 x 20 repetitions

Single leg balance on a cushion/wobble board – can help to improve dynamic stability at the knee joint - aim for 3 x 30 seconds on each leg. Increase the challenge by closing your eyes!

Front plank – keep your elbows under your shoulders, tight squeeze of the bottom muscles and core and hold the position for 30 seconds increasing to 90 seconds. Repeat x 3.

“Try to repeat these exercises 2-3 times per week for 4-6 weeks on the run up to a ski trip in order to ascertain sufficient changes!”

And if the worst comes to the worst and you do pick up an injury, it’s important to seek professional help when you return, as Ellie has:

“It’s been fantastic to work with Lauren at Progress, she has helped me enormously through both injuries”

Ellie Koyander 
Ellie is the GBR No.1 Female Freestyle Moguls Skier and currently competes on the FIS Freestyle Moguls World Cup (highest level).

Ellie competed at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games at the age of just 18 taking on the most experienced and elite athletes that the world has to offer.  Originally a slalom racer, she always had a talent for moguls where the discipline requires not only full out technical skiing, but also gymnastic precision in the air. Moguls is the only freestyle discipline to combine 'tricks' with racing flat-out against the clock.

Ellie follows the snow around the world throughout the year, training throughout spring and summer in the USA and Chile. Ellie is now working towards the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.

Lauren Bradshaw – Specialist Sports Physiotherapist
Lauren graduated with a degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Nottingham in 2005. She later completed a Master’s degree in Sports Injury Management at Sheffield Hallam University in 2015. She has worked in Private Practice but predominantly within Elite Sport. Lauren spent 4 years working as the Great Britain Handball Lead Physiotherapist on the run up and during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Lauren is still a contracted Physiotherapist for Great Britain Diving, Boxing and Bobsleigh squads and spends time looking after athletes competing and training across the World.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Half Marathon Training Tips - Some Finishing Touches.

As we approach the Cambridge Half Marathon the team at Progress have some tips to help you with your training.

The half marathon is an endurance race therefore it is really important that you do increase your mileage and length of your ‘long run’. If you are too busy and fall behind your schedule do not do double. Instead catch up slowly and ‘Listen to your body’.

Here are some tips to help you with your final stages of your training.

Finish each session with stretches of all major muscle groups. This allows the muscles that have been worked to return to their normal length

Run relaxed. The more relaxed you are the easier it is to run. Try to self-monitor how your body feels. Try to recognise signs of tension and let it go. Breathe slowly. Hold your shoulders low. Loosen your hands allow your arms to swing in the rhythm of your running. Smile it will help to relax your facial muscles.

Rest is essential for recovery. Schedule one day a week when you do no aerobic exercise. This will allow your body to adapt to the increased training load and help to prevent injury. Ideally you should aim for 6-8 hrs sleep a night. Try to schedule your training so that you cut down your training as the race day approaches.

Decide what clothes and shoes you want to race in. This allows you to find out if your clothes rub or if your shoes will cause any problems. Socks are very important so make sure they fit properly and have been washed this will help to prevent blisters on race day.

Be consistent. Learn to run with good style. Practice running drills this will help to develop running economy so less energy is used when you run.

Ensure adequate nutrition and hydration. It is important to replenish water and electrolytes during and following exercise to minimise dehydration, stabilise blood volumes and avoid muscle cramps. After you exercise eat some carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen (energy) stores. Protein will also help to repair any tissue damage. Ideal is a milkshake.

Race Day Food .Experiment what you can eat before your long run. Find out what works for you and how long before running you can eat something. Practice exactly what you eat on race day to avoid any abdominal discomfort.

Plan your Race. Be realistic on race day you will have adrenaline racing around your body so it is very easy to start too fast. Practice in your training what pace you can run easily at. It is easier to start slower and build up. Familiarise yourself with the course. It is a good idea to run some of the course in a routine weekly run.

Good luck in your training and race from all of us at Progress.