Erin Masterson, a runner and writer based in Alexandria, Virginia, recently wrote about her Airrosti experience for Active Life DC. She is the President of the NOVA Running Club and is a RRCA certified running coach. She was having chronic running injuries that were hindering her performance. After visiting Airrosti, she was able to complete the Boston Marathon pain free. Read Erin’s story below.
Airrosti Rehab Technique: The Secret For Curing Chronic Running Injuries
For many runners, aches and pains are a way of life. We get used to dealing with chronic nagging discomfort as a side effect of the regular abuse we put ourselves through in our workouts. Sometimes this routine even includes running through serious injuries that never resolve because we don’t take time off to heal.
But eventually, we reach a point when we can no longer ignore the pain, or it begins to impact our running performance. Then we turn to physical therapy, massage, stretching, or even surgery as a last resort.
As a lifelong runner, my own experiences with injuries have been, thankfully, somewhat limited, and I’ve never had to take any significant time off running to deal with injuries. That’s the way I prefer it. I’m not a good injured person. I don’t like taking days off, I dislike cross training, and I am generally intolerable to be around on days I can’t run.
Because of my perceived invincibility, I don’t focus enough on taking the appropriate steps necessary to prevent injuries (i.e. stretching, foam rolling, or strengthening exercises). In combination with a rigorous racing schedule, to include training for the Boston Marathon this year, this approach can be risky.
My streak of good luck recently came to an end when I encountered a situation that could not be ignored. One cold night in February, I sustained an acute hamstring pull during a track workout. I knew it was serious business.
However, being me, I continued to run in order to meet my planned mileage schedule the rest of that week. The injury did not resolve. In fact, the pain only seemed to get worse. Sitting all day at work was agony, and my usual dose of NSAIDs wasn’t cutting it.
I was lucky that my injury was in the high hamstring, rather than the low hamstring behind the knee. High hamstring injuries are a nagging pain, but you can often run through them. They take longer to heal than the low hamstring, which is often agonizing pain that often takes surgery to fix.
Eventually, however, after four weeks of pain, and with Boston only five weeks away, I knew I had to see someone. My trainer at The Energy Club, Deana Edelmann, suggested I meet with Dr. Bill Kempe of Airrosti Rehab Centers. Dr. Kempe is a chiropractor and a certified Airrosti provider, with practice locations in Alexandria and McLean, Virginia.
Airrosti is an acronym that stands for Applied Integration for the Rapid Recovery of Soft Tissue Injuries. The technique is beneficial for runners because it treats the root cause of soft-tissue injuries through evidence-based, manual therapy and rehab protocols – allowing for a rapid recovery approach to resolving pain.
With an average treatment plan lasting only three visits, runners can return to physical activity quickly without dependence on long-term treatment plans.
According to Joseph Reyes, Airrosti Certified Recovery Specialist, all soft-tissue injuries can benefit from Airrosti – especially injuries related to running, like plantar fasciitis, shin-splints, IT-band syndrome, and major sprains/strains of the ankles and larger leg muscles.
Some syndromes (such as “frozen shoulder”) take longer to treat (approximately 10 sessions), but as these syndromes normally take two years with other kinds of treatment, this recovery timeframe is still accelerated.
The best part about Airrosti though, from my personal experience, is Dr. Kempe himself. He is extremely skilled in treating runners and familiar with our attitudes/neurosis and extreme dedication to racing at any cost.
Very friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and willing to answer any questions I had, he made me feel at ease and confident that he understood my goal to run Boston and feel good while doing it.
Unlike some physicians and trainers who don’t like to set expectations too high or too early for the recovery timeframe, Dr. Kempe is entirely goal focused and clear about his plan for making his patients better as quickly as possible.
Becoming a certified Airrosti provider is no easy task. As part of his work for soft tissue manipulation, powerful thumbs are key. Dr. Kempe had to practice thumb-strengthening exercises for weeks prior to his certification exam. Using a can filled with coffee beans, he would exercise for hours at a time. “The key is endurance, not core hand strength,” he says. Keep in mind though – while you and I can press approximately 17 or 18 pounds on a bathroom scale, Dr. Kempe can press up to 70 pounds. This is certainly evident when he grinds into your hip, calf, or quad.
Also, because Dr. Kempe needs to serve as a good example for his patients, he has to practice what he preaches. This includes some serious foam rolling. When he first started practicing the Airrosti technique, “I had IT bands like shards of glass,” he said. He had to work up to foam rolling 30 minutes a day in order to demonstrate the exercises appropriate to his patients.
When he told me I needed to purchase a PVC pipe from Home Depot, and begin rolling my quads on that, I knew it was serious. I did a lot of “pipe rolling” and crying that week.
The average number of sessions to reach a cure is 3.1. After just one session with Dr. Kempe, my hamstring pain lessened significantly, so I was able to run a 22 mile training run the next day with very little pain.
I had one more treatment session with Dr. Kempe, and the pain was nearly resolved. On my third visit, he decided I did not require additional treatment, so we just discussed my stretching and rehab exercises. My fourth and final session was cancelled.
Dr. Kempe is assisted in the office by Joseph Reyes, who serves to aid in a patient’s treatment plan through education and follow up of rehabilitation exercises that increase strength, range of motion, and prevention of future injury.
The day before I left for Boston, I met with Dr. Kempe for a final touch-base and prep talk. Joseph expertly taped my hamstring and quad with Airrosti-branded kinesiology tape, and I was ready to go.
Thankfully, I was able to finish Boston on April 21. My hamstring felt fine, though I did deal with the effects of the warmer weather and humidity that day. Though I missed my marathon PR by three minutes, I knew I had given it my best effort, and I had Dr. Kempe to thank for getting me in fine racing form. I recommend him to anyone who has an unresolved injury and is looking for a results-oriented rehab provider.