Just like your car your body really needs a regular check over. So it was with great interest and a little concern – I didn’t want a re-test, just a clean bill of health – that I headed to the TenPilates Studio in Notting Hill to have my check up with TenPhysio. My tester or I should say physio for the 90min session was Cheyne Voss.

Cheyne is one of the few London credentialed physios in the McKenzie method, which is a highly regarded and scientifically established spinal assessment and treatment technique). Initially we talked through my fitness and sports background and whether I’d had any major injuries and operations and whether I was suffering from any aches and pains at  present.

As a former athlete – who now keeps fit, by training with the group I coach – I’ve had a few ‘problems’ in my time, so I decided to focus on a current knee issue and get some advice on my lower back and Achilles tendons.

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Cheyne explained that if he was dealing with a person who was less aware of their body and injuries, that he would prompt them more and talk through their fitness, training and any competitive aspirations they may have. This would allow him to advise on strategies designed to avoid injury and the individual to start considering their biomechanics and physiology and the ways in which to train smarter.

It was the squat on my left leg that gave away one of the potential reasons for my knee pain and acted as the trigger for Cheyne to pursue his line of thought…..

We began with a look at my knee problem. I’d been experiencing pain in the outside of my left – this often ‘burned’ and was caused by sprinting. Running at lower intensities was much less of a problem. I removed my shoes and socks and stood straight so that my gait could be assessed.

Cheyne saw that I had a neutral stance – which meant that I was less likely to develop rotation through my legs and body through over-pronation (the excessive rolling in of the foot on foot-strike when running). So this as a cause of the knee problem was eradicated. Next I was asked to perform single and double leg squats.

It was the squat on my left leg that gave away one of the potential reasons for my knee pain and acted as the trigger for Cheyne to pursue his line of thought on what my problem could be caused by. When I squatted to this side my knee inwardly rotated – this indicated a potential weakness in my gluteus medius muscle on that side (this muscle is located on the side, top of the hip).

Having gained an idea of the cause Cheyne then more closely examined the knee. He ruled out that I had any major cartilage or ligament damage and also after some stretches and resisted exercises noted that I had a tight illiotibial band (this is fascia that runs down the outer portion of the thigh).

If this is tight then it can pull back on the knee, preventing it from moving in the way it was designed to do – basically the tightness, coupled with my left glute medius weakness was created a set of forces on the knees that were contributing to the knee problem. So what was the solution? Cheyne then took me through to the TenPilates gym and we performed some quite unusual exercises designed to isolate and fire my glute medius.

The idea was to specifically  strengthen the muscles, so that this would counteract the inward rotation of my knee, in time of course. Using a wall for resistance I stood on my left leg with my right leg held parallel to the ground (heel behind) and pressed into the wall – keeping its knee just forward of the left.

After a few seconds the glute medius muscle of my left leg began to protest and burn. This exercise can be progressed 1) by flexing the knee to stand in a partial squat and 2) by using a Swiss ball to apply pressure against. Other strengthening exercises were also provided. We then went back into the physio room and my range of movement that could affect the knee problem were assessed.

This involved various hip flexion and rotation exercises, designed to find the right position to get a stretch on. I was informed that I was particularly tight in the relevant muscles and joints of this area and that mobilsation work was required. Cheyne prescribed some relevant stretches.

Throughout my MOT and talking to Cheyne it soon became apparent that he certainly knew his stuff (I’ve had quite a few experiences with physios over the years on which to build my opinion). Cheyne had played rugby and cricket back in his native New Zealand and now had set his sights set on running a half marathon.

He’d been physio to leading rugby sides back home in New Zealand and that this had enabled him to specifically increase his knowledge of sports injuries, whilst keeping him involved in a sport that he clearly loved. I think I may have put my foot in it a bit just before he was going to massage my ITB band.

I know from bitter past experience that having this area massaged can be very painful….so if you upset your physio/sport masseuse be warned! I’d erroneously assumed that Cheyne must have played in the backs on the rugby field and so I was a little flustered when he said he’d been a second row forward.

Oh, well….yes, it did hurt especially when he decided to try to loosen out my right ITB band – which I’d assumed would not be so sore (it was)! We then moved onto my lower back and Achilles tendons and a similar process of analysis and recommendation as to what exercises and stretches to do was prescribed.

“I could see that the session could be really beneficial for someone who had specific sporting or fitness aims”

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After the session I reflected on how successful the body MOT concept could be. It’s obviously not like the one that you would take your car through – there’s no check-list as it were to work through and then a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’. However, through my own experience and through talking with Cheyne I could see that the session could be really beneficial forsomeone who had specific sporting or fitness aims and who wanted to learn how to keep old injuries at bay and avoid new ones.

Ten Physio does offer more standard type physiotherapy sessions and these can be booked on a half hourly and hourly basis. As indicated the body MOT is a 90min session. Whichever one you book you can rest assured the advice, treatment and service that you get will be top-notch.

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