Over the past few years, I have developed a passion for running, particularly on trails and throughout the beautiful backcountry of New Zealand. What started out as an effective way to keep fit has now become part of my everyday life and I hope to keep it up for as long as my body allows me!

Sometimes you forget the stress that your body endures whilst running and the increased risk of injury when you train frequently. In the past few weeks during my training, I have experienced some mild discomfort in the arch of my right foot. After researching the symptoms online I became suspicious that it could be the onset of plantar fasciitis, a condition that is often considered to be a runner’s worst nightmare. With the City2Surf fast approaching, I decided to go for a foot check with SportsMed Podiatry to see what the problem was.

I met with Loren Abel, a new addition to the highly skilled podiatry team at SportsMed. Loren started by asking about my running tendencies, what footwear I use and where exactly I had been experiencing pain. After giving some context to the issue, she started by examining my feet which included the application of some light pressure to the arch of my right foot. After ruling out the presence of a fibroma (a fibrous nodule within the plantar fascia), she then inspected my joint range of motion and general flexibility.


Assessing the injured foot and pinpointing the location of the pain


In the first exercise which tests calf flexibility, Loren was looking for my foot-leg angle to be greater than 90 degrees (see the difference between the two images below showing what is considered good and bad calf flexibility).


Good vs bad calf flexibility


Similarly with the knee to wall test, the aim was to measure flexibility of the calf and ankle. With the toes at least 10cm away from the wall, the goal was to touch the wall with the knee and once again I showed an acceptable level of flexibility in this test.











Knee to wall test


Next up, I jumped on the treadmill so that Loren could assess my running form and identify any overpronation or ‘rolling in’ of the feet. The reverse camera is set up to measure certain angles as well as provide a good visual explanation of running form to the patient. Loren observed me in two different pairs of shoes, one pair used predominantly for road running and the other for trail running. The aim was to see whether or not there was a difference in my foot strike and to assess the level of support that each shoe provides. As you can see, I have a slightly greater overpronation in the road shoes compared to the more cushioned trail shoes. To optimise efficiency and reduce the risk of injury you are aiming for a neutral foot strike where the angle is as close to 180 degrees as possible.










Assessing my foot strike


After taking into consideration all of the assessments, Loren suggested taping my right foot as a guide to see if the symptoms improve and to indicate whether orthotics may be required further down the line. Plantar fascial pain, which is focussed around the thick supportive band of fibrous tissue in the sole of the foot, is one of the most common injuries that podiatrists treat in runners. SportsMed Podiatry can help you by providing shoe advice, such as highlighting certain features that should ideally be present in current or future running shoes.












The supportive taping


The taping feels nice and supportive whilst also not restricting movement so I am keen to see how things go. I will be following up with Loren next week to provide feedback and to discuss the next steps in treating my foot injury.

If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort yourself then why not book an appointment with the SportsMed team today by clicking here.

Written by Rich Negus (City2Surf Event Coordinator)



Written by Jon

And so, I began running again with my newly improved orthotics. From the moment I started running on them, I had my first pain in a few weeks. It wasn’t very severe, but it was definitely there on every step. All on my left leg and no issue on the right leg. Perhaps it was because of the new orthotics? Perhaps it was because my training had stepped up slightly, or perhaps I had tired legs? I didn’t want to speculate.


I rested for a couple of days and went out again. I did 5km this time and found the pain was there, but faded again during the run. I took this as a good sign and carried on. I was running at a recovery pace so not pushing myself too hard at this stage. I sent Greg as message to let him know I was having a few issues. He said that I should ice it, stretch it and put some ibuprofen rub on the area. So I did as he said, and it certainly aided my recovery.


I found that the orthotics felt far firmer with the new update and, along with the pain in my shin, I was also getting a stretching sensation in the arch of my foot. I went into see Greg again and he had a look at the foot, the shin and the shoes once again. He didn’t think it would be the orthotic that was the problem, and said it could have been a case of over running, or running too much on the wrong surface at this early stage of training. Greg did, however, say that he wanted me to feel very comfortable so decided he would decrease the firmness of the arch support, but only on the left side where I was having issues. He also added in a cushioning support in the heal of my shoe to try to lessen the impact felt throughout the leg and foot. Greg recommended I run only on the treadmill and grass for a couple of weeks so I could continue training, but not on the hard surfaces. He said that this would strengthen the area so I could, in time, head back onto the roads. I was told to keep up the icing and ibuprofen rub, keep stretching, and to do some strengthening exercises regularly. He told me not to panic, and that pain was OK as long as it was minimal.


I took Greg’s advice very seriously as I did not want to continue to feel pain. I really respect his opinion as he is so well regarded in the industry. No matter what you think is right, some advice I would give, is always listen to what your physio, podiatrist or doctor has to said to you when tackling a running injury. They are the people in the know and now is not the time to be Googling solutions. You need to trust the process fully.


I headed out for a 3.5km run around Avonhead Park in Christchurch, after plenty of stretching and icing the day before. I felt that the pain was still there slightly, but it wasn’t impacting my run. It was just a little niggle in the leg. The real positive for me came after my run. I did not feel any pain post run and into that evening. Often I would come home and feel like my leg was throbbing or that I needed a rest day to cure the pain. But this time, I felt nothing afterwards. So I took it up a level and went for a 6.5km run around Burnside Park two days later. I felt my leg was far stronger, even though there was still an element of discomfort. I would say the pain was about a 2 out of 10, which in medical terms, is acceptable. Again, after my run, I felt no pain at all. My leg felt strong after doing some good strength work on the calf and ankle area.


I’m due at A Run to Remember on Saturday but really not interested in my time. My aim is to get back to running 10km without pain and, it looks like a beautiful route on the Port Hills. After the run I’m going to see Greg for a debrief and hopefully be discharged with a plan of attack.



Written by Jon


So, after my session with Greg at SportsMed, I decided I’d go out for a 4km lap of South Hagley Park to give them a little test run. On first impressions they were really comfortable. I felt that my feet were both supported and cushioned when running through the park. It was a pleasure to not have any pain at that point. I have to admit that I had not been running for a couple of weeks and therefore my legs were well rested. I really felt good on that run, but I was aware that I couldn’t go out and run too much too quickly.


A couple of days later, I went out and did a few fast paced laps of a 400m track to build up some speed and leg strength. Again, I was really impressed and at that stage, I had no pain whatsoever. I followed that a couple of days later with another lap of South Hagley Park and again, I was in control, without pain and enjoying my running.


I went back to see Greg for a follow up and told him the good news. He was pleased, but again told me, I wasn’t out of the water yet. I’d had weeks of good running before so I knew there was still a long process to go. Greg had another look at my running and foot position with the orthotics in my shoes. He said they were looking good, but could have had a little more support to stop any form of pronation. Greg decided to do some manipulations on the orthotics to angle my foot better on impact with the ground. He used the analogy of a seesaw. What he was intending to do was to move the point of pivot further towards the inside of my foot. This would result in it being supported even further when running. See the picture below of the manipulation Greg made.




You’ll see the areas of ‘Canterbury Colours’ that Greg added to the orthotics. Time would tell how this would affect my feet, but, it was deemed that this would feel more comfortable for me on my runs and put less pressure on the inside of my leg.


I’m due to head back to see Greg next week for another check up so I will continue this article once I have had a week of running on these new adjustments. Fingers crossed!


Written by Jon


As someone who loves to run, I, like many others, have come across injuries in my time. One of which has plagued me for a few months now. The shin splints. It’s a very generic term for pain that you have in the shin region during or after your runs. Shin splints have stopped me going the distances I want to go, therefore, before I kicked off my training for the Star Media City2Surf 2018, I went for a foot check with SportsMed to try to find a cure.

I went to see Greg Woolman, who is ones of the most qualified and experienced podiatrists in NZ, working with many elite athletes and top sports teams around the country. When I arrived, Greg and I had an in depth chat about my running experience, where I run, and some details on the pain I was having. It was great to hear my worries be evaluated and validated by a professional.

Greg started with a detailed analysis of my feet. They were analysed with me on my back, on my front and then standing in certain positions for an all round look. The movement of my ankles was checked and the calf flexibility was evaluated. It turns out I’ve got rather tight calves! That was the first area of concern for Greg and something I need to work on in the coming weeks.












From the photo of my feet here, you’ll be able to see that my second toe is longer than my big toe. This is what Greg diagnosed as Morton’s Foot. From this, it was determined that my feet had flat arches and a probable tendency of overpronation. This is where your feet roll in from the ankle when under pressure. Interestingly, a large proportion of people with Morton’s Foot type pronate excessively.

So from here, we headed to the treadmill. SportsMed have an excellent set up with a camera located behind the runner to determine any issues with foot position. Greg stated that I did pronate, but not to a high degree.




The technology used really helped me understand what my feet were doing when I was running. As you can see in the above image, there is a slight bend inwards at the ankle. Greg deemed that this, along with the use of an orthotic I was using that was too firm, was a contributing factor to the onset of my shin splints. It is sometimes a game of trial and error with shin splints. Greg used the analogy of a headache, with which is it tricky to determine the exact factor as there are so many possibilities.


We headed back into the office and Greg heated up some new orthotics for me. Greg chose a soft orthotic to subtly “support” the foot as opposed to “correct” the foot position. He also said that orthotics should be comfortable, with the softer types offering great cushioning and comfort. I was given a pair of Footbiotics and told I could run on those immediately. You will see the images below comparing my old orthotics (blue) and my new ones. The rigid nature of the underside of my old blue orthotics was perfect for inside a ski boot (as originally prescribed to me), but not so good for the constant impact put on the feet when running.


IMG_0127 IMG_0126 IMG_0123











This week, I will be out on the streets testing out my new running gear. I need to keep an open mind with my treatment and realise that it does not give me the right to go and run a marathon straight away, but over time, I hope to be pain free when running.


I am booked in to see Greg once more next week so he can check on my progress. I was incredibly impressed with the knowledge of the staff at SportsMed, as well as the set up they have there. I’m really looking forward to my return next week, but hope I don’t have to revisit too many more times! Stay tuned to hear how I got on.




So I think I’ve learnt over the last few weeks that I really don’t love long distance running! Haha!! although I have enjoyed incorporating more running into my busy schedule, finding the time to fit an hour and a half or so of just running has been a struggle; and then during the run I find myself getting restless and thinking about all the other things I could be doing.

After the big race this Sunday I still hope to keep up the running fitness I have developed though, and would like to be able to maintain the fitness to comfortably run 5km. Working in Healthcare we are faced daily with the grim realities of mortality and illness and I think this naturally instils in us the importance of maintaining our health and wellbeing. Our cardiovascular fitness is so essential for the overall health and running of our bodies so I know this is an important activity to make the effort to maintain.

Incorporating more running into my schedule during this training has definitely changed my way of thinking when it comes to transport. When practical I try and leave the car at home and run to my destination instead. This obviously requires a little more forward planning and preparation but the bonus is that I don’t need to contest with traffic or the hassle and stress of trying to find a car park, especially in the city and around the hospital!

I’m definitely feeling nervous about the race but I’m looking forward to the feeling of accomplishment as I cross the finish line! Good luck to all the other runners for the City to Surf!


This Blog has been sponsored by Healthy Families Christchurch,

Healthy Families NZ is a large scale initiative that brings together community leadership in a united effort for better health.
To find out more visit Healthy Families Christchurch Facebook page or  Healthy Families website.


The last couple of weeks brought some pretty warm days which made for some tough runs.

One of my training tactics has been getting a ride to work with my partner; making him drop me off on the way to his office. This means come the end of the day I’ve got no choice but to run home. My usual run home from work is between 5 and 6 kms. Over the last week we were house sitting for some friends in Halswell, so slightly further away. I searched the best route to get me home, which was an 11km run. Pretty good training for the city to surf, only a few km’s short! But holy moly it was so hot! I had my backpack with my work gear but I hadn’t fit my water bottle in… big mistake! I struggled my way through the middle part of the run but ended up stopping at a petrol station to buy a small bottle of water to save the day. The run took me around an hour and half, not too bad but I was definitely abit disappointed as I know I can run that sort of distance quicker.

If the weather’s rubbish or I can’t quite summons the motivation to go for a run then I’ve been making sure I do a decent run on the treadmill at the gym. A friend of mine, who is a great long distance runner, recommended increasing the incline on the treadmill so it more closely mimics the gradient of running outside on the pavement. Treadmill running is quite good for me to ensure I’m sticking to the same pace. My main problem running outside is that I start the run off all guns blazing and going too fast to keep the same pace for the whole run, meaning I slowly drop back to a slower speed. This next couple of weeks I want to work on starting out at a pace that I’ll be able to consistently hold. Hopefully this will help me get through the longer distances.

With the City to surf fast approaching it’s time to ramp up the training, incorporating longer sessions!

This Blog has been sponsored by Healthy Families Christchurch,

Healthy Families NZ is a large scale initiative that brings together community leadership in a united effort for better health.
To find out more visit Healthy Families Christchurch Facebook page or  Healthy Families website.



Sticking to my running schedule has been a little tricky over the past fortnight. Like many of you I’m sure the big fires on the Port Hills side tracked me a little, and even though I live a fair way away, there was even a small fire near where I like to run out east, so it really hit home and got me a little side tracked.

Since my last blog though I’ve received some advice, ‘that If I can get to around 11k before March the 19 I should be able to complete the full 14km as running with others and a little adrenaline can often help carry you further’, (and hopefully across the finish line!)

This week my goal is to hit 9km through the forest then keep building to get to 11 over the next fortnight. From there I’ll make a conscious effort to run on some harder surfaces to insure I’m ready come the City2Surf on March 19.

I guess the key is to fighting off distractions and as they say … onwards and upwards.


This Blog has been sponsored by Healthy Families Christchurch,

Healthy Families NZ is a large scale initiative that brings together community leadership in a united effort for better health.
To find out more visit Healthy Families Christchurch Facebook page or  Healthy Families website.



It can be difficult to tell if shoes are in need of replacement. This is particularly true if you cannot remember when the shoe was purchased or how frequently it has been run in.

Running shoes are the only protective element that the runner has between the foot and the ground. Replacing footwear regularly is important to avoid injury and ensure that you have maximal comfort on each run.

Outer-sole materials can be quite durable and not show much wear at all, when internally the semisolid foam becomes compressed. Nonetheless it’s a good place to start and review the outer-sole of the shoe and observe excessive wear. As per the image below, the outer-side of the heel and central portion of the forefoot will usually wear away first.


Place one hand inside the forefoot of the shoe and compress the foam with your other hand. You can often feel severe compression where the shoe has bottomed out or there may be subtle depressions in the foam that can be felt. If there is no bounce or volume of foam in this part of the shoe, shock absorption is most certainly compromised.

Another simple test is to review your shoes on a flat surface.  Looking from behind the shoe, how do they sit? Do they lean inwards or outwards or remain vertical? Ideally the heel counter of the shoe should remain vertical or perpendicular. Definitely discard your shoes if they don’t sit straight!


The simple twist test could also provide an insight as to the integrity of the mid-sole and support it is offering? If you can wring the shoe like a towel then its become pretty soft. Generally a decent running shoe should have some structural integrity and be resistant to the twist test.


There may be some signs on the upper that the shoe is on the way out. These are usually pretty obvious to see. The shoe designers tell us that the average running shoe should last around 1000km’s. Earlier research has highlighted that the shoe can lose as much as  30% of its cushioning after 800km with notable increases in foot pressures also attained. There is some controversy about the failure of the shoe and its contribution to injury as some research is conflicting with these early studies.

The humble running shoe is your friend. Look after them and rotate them frequently. They will add to the comfort of your run should give you a great ride on every outing. If they are not comfortable then there is a good chance that they could increase your injury risk. Now if the time to buy your shoes and break them in – you still have time. Don’t leave it too late. Purchasing a new pair the week before is high risk!

Take home messages

  • Review shoe wear and note any notable distortion. Note that your foot has made the shoe do this!
  • Handle the shoe, flex it and twist it – how does it feel?
  • How many km’s has it endured?
  • Are you a heavy runner or a lightweight? The lighter you are the longer the shoe will last.
  • Try a brand new shoe on your foot to gauge any differences between your shoes. Is it like night and day putting a new shoe on your foot?


Want to find out more, or book an appointment? visit the team at Sportsmed 


Tamara training at Hagley Park (photo credit: @theworldisacircus)

Tamara Milne – City2Surf running blog. 14km


I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on when it comes to running! But I’ve had my rubber arm twisted and been gently encouraged to train for the City to Surf. It’s amazing what a little encouragement from your mates can do, and now is as pretty good time as my workplace currently participating in the EDGE 100 day exercise challenge, plenty of encouragement and peer support to push me back on that exercise band wagon, the same one I seem to fall off every now and again but slowly find something to encourage me to climb back on.

I’ve run a half marathon before so I know that training and completing a race like this is achievable, it’s just that running is not a fitness favourite of mine. So I need to put in some serious feet to pavement hours in order to get myself fit enough to cross the finish line.

At the moment I’m back to struggling my way thru a 5km slog. I plan on running 3 or 4 times a week in the lead up to the City to Surf, but also I really want to keep up with the other forms of exercise that I really enjoy like circuit training, bootcamps and hill walking.

 I live on the hill so unless I drive to a particular track my run inevitably involves hills. Uphill is most definitely not a strength of mine… I end just bent over at ninety degrees trying to propel myself up rather ungracefully. I’m hoping though that the fact my training involves gradient changes it will help with my overall fitness for running on the flat… here’s hoping!

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m relatively fit, but the biggest hurdle for me will be not making excuses! Sometimes shift work at the Hospital can hinder the best laid plans… a hectic evening shift or a horrendous night on call can mean I wake up the next day thinking I’m far too tired to go for a run,  even though I’ve never regretted it when I have gone and I in fact I usually feel a hundred times better if I do!

My challenge for the next couple of weeks is no excuses.. just get it done!


This Blog has been sponsored by Healthy Families Christchurch,
Healthy Families NZ is a large scale initiative that brings together community leadership in a united effort for better health.
To find out more visit Healthy Families Christchurch Facebook page or  Healthy Families website.