Couch to 5K

Physiotherapist v Sports Therapist?

Which is best to go to? I did W6R2 yesterday which I loved - one of my best runs, but a few hours later developed a very sore arch in my right foot. It has ached occasionally in the last couple of weeks but nothing like it is today. I think I may have strained it a couple of weeks ago with overenthusiastic stretching and it hasn't healed. Also getting pain in my right shins again which I think may be related. So as I do want to continue but not wreck my legs I thought I'd go to a specialist to get checked out. I've had gait analysis done, so I think I'm in the right shoes.

Googling the web I see there's a bit of a debate as to which is best - sports physiotherapist v sports therapist. Any thoughts on which is best for a beginner like me - I'm in London btw so should have plenty choice but budget is a bit limited.

5 Replies

I'd say physiotherapy is more injury based and evidence based medicine - and a regulated profession available on the NHS, looking at the particular problem. Whereas sports therapy is a more holistic treatment, looking at the whole problem and the wider body. I'd be more inclined to see a sports therapist because I think that is the sort of practitioner I most like - not one for clinical atmospheres. Plus they are more likely to be able to advise on related topics such as sports nutrition e.g. extra protein to help muscle repair.

I used to work at As Nature Intended, an Organic Store in Chiswick - through them I met Luciano Paris - not a sports therapist but great therapeutic massage. If I were you, unless you get a recommendation from a past client I'd go to a local independent health store and ask for their opinion on local therapists, the usually know who's good and who's not. In London loads of people advertise, but many are not qualified with 'proper' qualifications (I don't think a 1 day course is enough to be able to know what they're doing).

Also, places like university of Surrey or uni of Westminster do a lot of therapy courses, it can be cheaper to get a supervised student to do treatment as part of their course practicals (always supervised by a true professional).


Hi Sarah, thanks very much for such a full answer. The idea of a supervised student sounds good. As you say they'll have had proper training, also I guess the facilities at a university will be good as well. I'll follow that up.


I would also go to a sports therapist because they are used to dealing with injuries caused doing sport and also appreciate that you also want to get back to doing that sport ASAP.

I go to an excellent lady who explains why I need to do the exercises she gives me and massages my legs. Beware the massage hurts if your muscles are tight! She charges £35 per half hour session in Hampshire.


thanks for the advice & the warning ! I suspect my muscles are very tight which is causing the problem.


Hi I would go by a therapist based on good recommendation, I am an osteopath and also have a MSc in sports medicine - I know Physios who are excellent and bad just as I know there are osteopaths that know what they are doing and some that don't.

How good they are is based on the individual, although regulation by a body such as HPC or GoSc is helpful in assuring some quality.

I would always go by a recommendation.

Ps. Hopefully by now problem is sorted anyway :)


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