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Running with scoliosis
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Good day ladies,

Posting here hoping that some of you can help me out as it is more common for women as per my understanding.

My wife has scoliosis. She had surgery about 20 years ago and a metal rod was put in. Growing up, she was still very active despite having to wear a brace for few years after surgery. She mainly played volley-ball up until 6-7 years ago. Some back pain at time but being younger, she recovered more quickly.

Now that our three little princesses are at the age where she can be more flexible (super mommy always wanted to put the kids time prior of her own personal time), she wants to start running more. Her goal is to run a 10K race in May 2014. She has done 2 x 5k race but her goal was just to finish. She had fun on both races but the last one; she started to complain about her back ‘bothering’ her during the race.

We recently visit a sport MD and was recommended that she go for x-rays to see if everything is ‘still in place’ from her surgery. She also got referred to a PT specializing in scoliosis to help her out. While waiting to get all of these appointments scheduled, I am looking at some way to make it more comfortable for her on her runs. Here are some questions I have:

1. I will bring her to a running store and get her fitted with proper shoes but should I wait until she see the PT first?
2. Should I have her go for a gait analysis to see where she can improve her running posture to prevent any future discomfort?
3. I stumble upon KT Tape. Do they really work? Anyone has experience with it?

If you have scoliosis and you don’t mind sharing your experience to help us out, please let me know. We can take it privately. All I want is ways to make sure she can still pursue her active life with minimal discomfort as much as possible.

Thanks
Minh
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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Hi there -

I can't comment on scoliosis specifically but I would advise seeing the PT before picking shoes. Not all running stores actually know what they are doing when it comes to a gait analysis. Have her PT do that with her so she can get the right shoe.

I hope she is able to find something and is able to run comfortably. High fives to her for getting out there!

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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I have scoliosis and run, swim and bike.

I never did have surgery or a brace, but the curvature is significant.

I have not had to do special orthodics or a lift or anything special. I do have issues with the back of my leg that corresponds to the shift of my back. I have to stretch very often and I have been going to a chiropractor to make sure nothing twists any more than it already has. That has helped but I am not sure with the rod if that will work. I am very careful now though. I think if she is up to it then running should be fine after getting checked out. Just pushing long miles may take a while and a very slow build. Her legs will be able to go further and faster than her back which is more difficult to monitor and control. Back spasms can incapacitate you if you are not careful.

Best of luck to her and get the shoes after the PT analysis but still get the shoes. Her gait will be off compared to the approved solution for most running stores so it may not be worth it unless they are used to working with scoliosis. Never tried KT Tape so cannot comment there. Ice does help though, just a 15 minute ice before bed has helped me a bit.
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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+1 on waiting until after the PT, etc before getting shoes and gait analysis. In fact, PT may do that analysis. Any number of issues could be contributing to the back pain, so until that gets sorted, instead of running, how about fast paced walks, or jog/walk combos, to build up miles and "time on the feet." That's what I did at the worst of my back issues, and it helped me move into a run/walk program with a bit of a base.

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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My wife has a Harrington rod in her back for scoliosis since age 12 and is 46 now. She's been athletic all her life and has done a zillion running and tri races from local 5 kms. to Kona on the lottery. She's would understand your wife's situation first hand. She rarely hangs out on ST but send me a PM with a contact email address and I'll put her in touch with your wife.
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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The hardware is a temporary holding device untl the fusion heals. If its been in there for many years and not causing problems its unlikely to cause her problems now. I dont see why she should have any restrictions at all. Most likely the PT can do a gait analysis but unless they are plugged into runners may not be able to suggest anything RE shoes so I don't think that getting shoes before or after PT is anissue butif it makes you more comfortable to wait see the PT first. KT tape is going to do nothing for a fused spine. If she has problems further down the chain (IE in her legs some place ) it might help. Basically she has a fused spine so I would not worry about that. Of more concern might be a problem related to any reisidual curvature she has effecting her gait and causing a lower extremity injury in the future. Typically the best we can hope for with a pure posterior spine fusion is a 50% reduction in the curve and usually they are up in the 50+ degree range before we do surgery on them.
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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Long-time lurker here...

I had spinal fusion (T2-T12) a few years ago, and even though doctors say scoliosis does not hurt, it does. Currently curves are around 24* and 16* with permanant hardware (previously around 54 and 48 degrees). My back bothers me at the tail end of a running workout and on my bike (mtb and sitting up on tri bike moreso than on aero bars). I would third the PT who specialized with scoliosis, and have a reliable running-focused podiatrist double-check a running store's shoe reccomendations and use orthotics if her weight distribution is off because of the curvature.

I do not see how KT tape would help her back, though it is useful sometimes for other problems.

I wish her the best of luck
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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PT and his/her recommendations, before anything else is done..
there may be muscular weakness or shortness or other imbalances that are aggravating the problem, PT can check and start fixing this.

gait analysis is mostly nonsense at the best of times, in the case of underlying scoliosis the chances of getting anything useful are small. Scoliosis often causes a leg length discrepancy, but that should be addressed through the PT rather than orthotics, at least as a first step.

KT tape can't fix the problem but it can help reduce pain, it's worth a try.
http://www.kttape.com/...it=scoliosis#p538482

my wife is making progress with her scoliosis pain now, with a new PT. Do try different PTs if the recommended one does not help, a sympathetic PT is as necessary as one that knows scoliosis..
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Re: Running with scoliosis [cerveloguy] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you everyone for your responses.

We will hold on before buying new shoes for my wife and wait until the initial assessment meeting with the PT. One of the big difficulty we are experiencing right now is getting her old file/report pre-surgery. Since it was done years back, it seems like the hospital does not have it on file anymore. I am hoping that with the x-rays and having an MD involved will facilitate the recovery of the information easier.

On behalf of my wife, I would like to say thank you for taking time to reply to my post. She does not frequent this forum but I had the thread forwarded to her.

@cerveloguy. Thanks for the offer mate. I asked my wife if she wanted to accept your offer but she said that she rather wait untill she sees the PT. We are greatful for your offer. Will get in touch with you should she change her mind.

Cheers folks and happy Thursday!!

MInh
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Re: Running with scoliosis [tixunau] [ In reply to ]
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I have scoliosis and started doing triathlons at 50. I can't say I have specific back issues but I do have a significantly short leg due to curvature and this year had a crop of injuries from knee to ankle to trochanteric bursitis. So yeah, I'd get her fit dialed in super tight and a regular PT apt. along with perhaps chiro. She may not have any issues for a year or few but they will crop up unless you are proactive (IMO).

http://harvestmoon6.blogspot.com


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