We are delighted to welcome back Fearghal Kerin for his second seminar on the Assessment and Management of the Sporting Hamstring. Fearghal works as a Rehabilitation Physiotherapist in Leinster Rugby and the Head Physiotherapist with Dundalk FC. He brings a wealth of experience from the Elite level of sport on the management of hamstring injuries, and he is going to share with us his insights and the latest research around hamstring injuries. Fearghal’s last seminar with us in July was a sell out so we are looking forward to what’s in store for us this time round.

Seminar content:

  • Challenges of the Hamstring Strain
  • Prevention, Prediction and the Nordic Hamstring Exercises
  • Criteria based Assessment and Rehabilitation
  • Exercise Selection
  • Return to Running and Return to Performance

With most of the seminars we will be holding, there will be a large emphasis on practical assessment and interventions, so you can take away some ideas that you may integrate into your own practice. This seminar will be 1 hour of theory and 2 hours of practical assessment and treatment. Plenty of engagement and lots to learn. This seminar is open to physiotherapists, students, physical therapists, S&C coaches and healthcare professionals.

If you have any questions, don’t hestitate to contact us at info@sportsphysioireland.com.


No refunds at any time.

Running and Lower Back Pains: When You Should Seek Help

Lower back pain is more common among runners than any other athletes. It is a result of an inadequate gait or worn-out running shoes, and it can be ignored for a long time. Runners do not recognise the first signs of back stiffness as a serious situation, and the first mild pangs of pain are treated with a topical numbing gel.

Running and Lower Back Pains - When You Should Seek Help

What Causes Back Pain in Runners?

In many situations, runners do not realise that their entire body takes part in the running process, not just their legs. When the foot slaps down on the track, the energy of the impact is taken by the lower leg muscles and propagated upwards. In many cases, this is not a fluid process: at the conjunction of the upper and lower parts of the body, this impact is absorbed more roughly, causing a continuous tensing of the lower back muscles.


Over time, this continuous strain applied on the lower back can cause more serious complaints – the most serious being spondylolisthesis and sciatica.


How Can You Treat the First Signs of Back Pain?

It is important to address lower back pain in the early stages and not allow it to set in and become chronic. The most common types of early interventions in the case of back pain are:


  1. The RICE Method

The RICE method should become a runner’s ABC in case of any type of injury. For back pain, you can replace the icing with moist heat treatment during the first 72 hours, and focus a lot on resting and allowing your lower back muscles to relax. During this initial type of treatment, you can also take NSAIDs or over-the-counter pain medication (such as Paracetamol).


  1. Massage

Specialised relaxation massage (the Swedish method) applied by a licensed professional can be of great help to remove tension from the back muscles, and improve flexibility and blood flow to the area.


  1. Stretching

Your physical therapist can recommend a series of stretching exercises which will alleviate pain and tension, and release your tight muscles.


If your back pain persists after two weeks of applying these treatment procedures, you should consult a doctor before you develop one of the conditions we specified earlier in this article and which we will discuss now more in depth.



This is a condition where you feel numbness and a tingling sensation down one of the legs. In the more advanced phase, called the foot drop, you are unable to put any weight on the leg and support yourself.


Sciatica can be the result of a herniated disc – the disk situated in the lumbar region, which ensures the mobility of the spine when we bend forward and back. If this disc slips from its natural position, it can bulge out and press on a nerve. In the most advanced forms, this condition requires surgery, which may prevent you from running again.



Known as “the spondy” among doctors and patients, this condition occurs when two vertebrae slip one over the other, causing your spine to become unstable. This is not directly caused by running, because there should be a pre-existing structural problem in the spine morphology. However, running is known to be one of the factors which favour the worsening of this condition.
These two conditions can be disguised for a long time as the type of lower back pain which runners tend to ignore. This is why you should always react to the first signs, get an appointment with your doctor and determine whether it is just a temporary strain, or whether it could be something more serious.

The Likely Causes of Calf Pain

Calf pain is a common compliant and if not managed correctly, they can persist for months and cause a lot of frustration. The calf muscles refer to two major muscles; the gastrocnemius and soleus and the small plantaris muscle. These muscles have a joint tendon called the Achilles tendon, which inserts into the heal.

As the upper part of the calf crosses both the knee and the ankle, it is more susceptible to injury. Muscle strains generally occur on the inside of the calf muscle. Soleus muscle strains are also common; tenderness is more often felt on the outside of the leg deep to the calf muscle. Stressing the muscles with the knee straight or bent can differentiate between the two injuries.

A sudden burst of speed, over-stretching or direct contact with a player or equipment may cause an acute injury. With chronic injury people often present with cramping pain in the calf that seems to come and go. This may be due to previous calf strains and weak scar tissue that hasn’t recovered fully.

Certain individuals can naturally be more susceptible to calf cramps, these may occur during exercise or at rest after activity. This is most likely due to excessive fatigue. Improving the strength and endurance of the calf muscles can improve these symptoms.

Collapsing of the upper part of the foot can overload the calf muscles as they are trying to push the body forward during running. This can lead to muscle tightness and soreness and increase the risk of muscle strains or tendinopathy.

Recovery from calf strains require progressive loading to prevent tight scar tissue developing, helping the tissue to repair. Chronic strains require more time to heal as scar tissue remodelling is necessary to reduce the chance of a recurrence. This is achieved through loading the tissues as they are lengthening  and shortening. Assessing the movement patterns during functional activities such as jogging, lunging, jumping and landing is used to help find the route cause of the issue. Looking at how the individual is adsorbing, distributing and creating forces that push them forward is a key component to understanding the cause of the injury. If necessary corrective training can then be used to help prevent injury reoccurring.

Catherine Simpson

MISCP, MSc Sports Medicine


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