News from

Reform Physiotherapy and Pilates Malahide

Stiff hips? Try these 5 simple exercises at home…

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

A common complaint we see regularly is people feeling their hips are ‘tight’ or ‘stiff’. Often people can get cramps/stiffness feelings in their hips due to weakness, inactivity or an injury. Also, more and more people are sitting for a long proportion of their day-this in itself can contribute to hips feeling tight. Try limit the amount of time you sit daily, giving yourself short breaks or trying to use a sit-to-stand desk where possible.


Try these simple stretches at home every day to see if they alleviate your symptoms over 2 weeks. If your symptoms persist, attend a Chartered Physiotherapist for a thorough assessment.


1. Glut stretch:

Lying on your back, put your left foot over your right knee. Put your hands behind your right thigh and pull it up towards your chest. Pull up until you feel a deep stretch in your left buttock (gluts). Breathe so that you relax into stretch. Hold for 30 secs and do x2 each side.



2. Adductor stretch:

Sitting up, bring the soles of your feet together and pull them in towards your groin. Let your knees fall out to the side or push them outwards with your elbows. Lean forward into the stretch to make it stronger. You should feel this in your groin/inner thighs. Hold for 30 secs and repeat x 2.




3. Hip flexor stretch:

In a kneeling lunge position, stay upright and lean forward on front leg. Try tuck your bum in under to tilt your pelvis back.  Make this as wide as possible and stay upright. Hold x 30 secs and do x2 each side.





4.  Hip internal rotation:

Lying on your front, with your knees together and bent up so feet are in the air. Let your ankles drop out towards the floor. Try relax to let them drop out as far as possible. You can ask someone to apply light pressure on your ankles to encourage them out a bit more. Hold x 1-2 mins.



5. Pigeon stretch:

On your front, tuck one leg in under you with the foot up as close to your stomach as possible. Stretch the other leg out behind you and lean down onto it. You can stay on your forearms, or let your head rest down towards the floor to make it a stronger stretch. Hold x 1-2 mins.




Enjoy your stretching! Anne :)

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How to manage back pain

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

This is a nice information leaflet on how to manage your back pain:



Book in for a Physiotherapy consultation if your back pain is persisting, oh 0863582911 :)

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Muscle spasms-what to do when they happen?!

Monday, January 15th, 2018

If anyone has ever had a muscle go into spasm, they will know how painful it can be! Although muscles spasms can be common, many people do not know why they have the spasm or what to do when it happens.




Muscles can go into spasms and cramp for several different reasons- fatigue, dehydration, over loading the muscle, stress or even fear of a movement/activity can cause your muscle to spasm painfully. You can get a spasm anywhere in your body-in your back, neck, legs, arms or feet! I have seen many patients over the years that find it hard to believe that their pain is due to a muscle spasm and feel they must have ‘damaged something’ or ‘broken something’ due to the severity of the pain. It is important to understand, that muscular pain can be very severe, take your breath away on occasion and even refer pain into other areas of your body!


So how do you treat a muscle spasm? Follow these steps:


  • DO NOT PANIC! Panicking and stressing about the source of pain will cause you to subconsciously tense up more which will increase the muscle spasm.
  • Breath and focus on relaxing the muscle. Doing slow deep breathing can help stop the muscle tensing. Consciously try to relax the muscle whilst doing your deep breathing.
  • Use heat- a hot water bottle or a heat pack or even a hot shower can have an immediate effect of reducing the muscle spasm. Use for 10mins at a time. You can also get heat patches to wear during the day if you find them beneficial.
  • Keep moving! It is important not to take to one position and stay there. Moving as normally as possible will help your muscle normalise and stop it cramping. Resting for a prolonged period may feel good at the time but will be lead to a slower recovery.
  • Seek advise from your Physiotherapist if your pain is not reducing after doing all the above for a few days.


If you would like more information or want to book an appointment, call 0863582911 :)



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Getting Ski ready!

Monday, January 8th, 2018

If you have a ski trip planned, it is time to start thinking about how physically ready you are to tackle the slopes! Skiing is great fun, but unfortunately we see injuries every winter from people returning from skiing holidays with injuries that have put a dampener on their trip. Obviously falls are almost an inevitability of skiing, but the more physically prepared you are for skiing, the less likely you are to get non-traumatic injuries such as muscle strains/tendinopathies, and the more capable you will be to push yourself on the slopes.


Skiing can be a physically demanding exercise, especially if you haven’t used some of the muscle groups needed in a long time! So what is required physically to be a good skier? Gluts (buttocks muscles),quads (front of thigh), adductors (inner thigh), and core muscles are some of the most important muscle groups needed to keep you stable whilst skiing. Here are a few exercises below to get prepared for your skiing holiday.

1.Crab walk with resistance band:

With a resistance band around your ankles/above knees, have the feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Pretend you are about to sit back in a chair and squat down. Make sure your knees are in line with your ankles, and you can see your feet. Maintaining this position, step to the right with your right foot x approx 10cm, then step to the right x 10cm with your left foot. Repeat x 10 to the right and then change direction and step to the left. Spend 3 mins doing this x 5. You should feel it in your gluts if you are doing it right.

crab walk

2. Toe taps:

Holding a neutral back position, engage your deep core muscles. Bring one leg up to table top at a time. Maintain neutral and tap one foot down to the mat. Return to table top and repeat with other leg. Do slowly and make sure your back and other leg don’t move.
Do x 20 x 2-3 sets.

toe taps


3. Arabesque:

Standing on one leg with the knee soft but not bending, lift your other leg up and try to straighten it out behind you, leaning forward keeping your back straight as in picture. Do slowly x 20 times on each leg. Repeat x 3 sets.


4. Remember to foam roll!

FR montage


Remember to ease yourself into your skiing holiday, and a nice soak in the hot tub at night is great for easing out tired muscles! If you would like any specific advice on pre-skiing prep, or injury prevention, we do Clinical Pilates classes and Physiotherapy treatments in our Clinic in Malahide village. Call at 086 358 2911 if you would like more info!

Anne :)

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Make your exercise count!

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

A lot of Irish people consider ‘walking’ their main form of exercise. Walking can be excellent exercise for many people-it is free, most people can do it, it is easily accessible and can be incorporated readily into your lifestyle. However, one person’s idea of going for walk can be very different to another person’s idea of walking- is it a 10 minute stroll you are going for, or a 45 minute power walk? My advice, is make your exercise count! If you go to the effort of going for walk-you have already done the hard bit! Make sure you make the most out of your walk to benefit your body-here are some simple ways of doing this:


1. Increase the pace!

Time your normal walk, and then the next time you do the same walk-aim to do 10% faster. Each time you go out for the same walk, aim to knock a few seconds off your last time. This will keep you focused, and will ensure you are getting a better cardiovascular workout from your walk.

2. Go further!

Try go a little bit longer each time you go out walking. Again follow the 10% rule. Add on 10% extra distance a week to your walking routine. Map out your walk on before you go out so you have a plan and stick to it!

3. Add in some extra exercises!

A great way of making more out of your walk, is to add in some non-walking exercises along the way. This could be stopping at a step and doing 20 step ups, doing the monkey bars in Malahide castle, coming home and doing 20 squats/20 sits up/20 press ups etc. Plan on doing 10% of your walking time being non-walking exercise. This can help increase strength, and increase calorie burning!

4. Stretch!

To improve your flexibility, and suppleness,  do 2 mins of stretching pre and post walking. Target the legs, back and arms separately.

5. Sign up for a walk!

To keep you motivated, and give you something to focus on, sign up for a 5km walk. This could even be the ‘Park Run’ in Malahide Castle every week-you can just walk instead of run!

6. Add in some light jogging!

If you feel you have increased your walking speed and you are now a pro power walker, consider incorporating some light jogging. Start with 1 min jog every 10mins you walk and build up slowy from there. This will help increase your cardio. Remember, you are never to old to start jogging!


Malahide/Portmarnock area has so many beautiful walks so there are no excuses to get started on a walking program today!






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Why runners get injured and how to prevent it!

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

It is around this time of year we see a lot of runners coming in with a nice variety of injuries. Between the Dublin marathon fast approaching, relatively decent weather this summer, and loads of 5ks and 10ks on, the runners are out in full force and so are their injuries! Getting an injury when you are training for a race can not only be painful, but extremely frustrating and costly.

Injuries such as patellar tendinopathy, plantar fasciosis, stress fractures, achilles tendinopathy, runner’s knee, calf and hamstring strains are just some of the injuries that we see runners presenting with daily in the clinic. A clear pattern emerges time and time again when I am looking for the cause of these injuries in runners. The answer is simple: poor load management.

A loading injury occurs when training load has exceeded the bodies ability to adapt. This means that you are asking your body to do more than it is able to do. For example, if you scale up your running too quickly-jump from doing 5k x 3/week to do 10k 5/week, your body may not be able to adapt efficiently to the increased load you are putting on the muscles/tendons/joints. This is common in people training for a marathon or starting a new fitness regime.

We also see a lot of people who have good cardio, but may not have run in a while and when they return to running, they push themselves to fatigue. Even though their cardio fitness can cope, their muscles/tendons may not and they can end up with niggly injuries. Although, one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health and to lose weight is to shock the body and push yourself, this is probably one of the best ways to get an injury.

There are other elements to load too-it is not just increased distance. You can change your load through changing your speed, your running surface, your runners or your frequency of running. Therefore, theses elements all need to be monitored and considered if you are to avoid injuries.

We usually advise a 10% rule-do not increase your speed or distance more than 10% a week when you are training. Also, you need to be really consistent with your training. For example, if you are doing 5k x 3/week and then have several weeks off training, you need to build back up to 5k.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, sometimes injuries will occur. If you do get pain that is stopping you running, or going on longer than 1 week, come to see a Chartered Physiotherapist sooner rather than later-try not to let niggly injuries drag on untreated-the longer they go on the harder they can be to treat. Call us at 0863582911, if you need to make a booking!


Anne :)

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Exercise and Osteoarthritis…prevention is better than cure!

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting over 900,000 people in Ireland today. It is a condition that affects the joints, with the protective cartilage at the end of bones wearing away over time. It gradually worsens, and can cause symptoms such as pain, stiffness, a ‘grinding’ feeling, and reduced range of movement.

Unfortunately there is no cure for osteoarthritis but if it is detected early, progression may be slowed and symptoms can be treated. Often medication can be prescribed by your doctor for pain relief and to reduce swelling, and surgery may be indicated if severe enough as with a Total Knee Replacement or Total Hip Replacement.

Physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of osteoarthritis and can help to improve mobility, strength and flexibility. There is strong evidence that improving the strength of the surrounding muscles of the arthritic joint will help reduce pain and improve function of the joint. Exercise  is key to preventing osteoarthritis symptoms worsening so the sooner you start the better! Remember prevention is always better than cure so the sooner you get started on a prescribed exercise program the less likely you are to suffer from disability related to osteoarthritis.

If you have already been told you will need a hip or knee replacement, Physiotherapy becomes very important to your recovery. Often it is said that your Physiotherapy program before and after the surgery is as important as the surgery itself to get a good outcome! Following a prescribed exercise program pre and post knee/hip replacement will improve your recovery and your outcome.

If you are interested in getting Physiotherapy in the clinic or at home call us at 086 358 2911. pilates older

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Hamstring injuries and how to prevent them…

Monday, May 1st, 2017

We see people every week in the clinic with a ‘pulled’ hamstring or ‘tightness’ in their hamstring. It is a common injury that can be prevented in most cases. The hamstring (at the back of the thigh) is made up of 3 parts- semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris, and collectively their main function is to pull your knee back (as in kicking your bottom), and too extend your hip backwards.

Most hamstring injuries are due to the muscle being loaded too much too soon. This means the hamstring is being asked to work harder than it has the capacity to do so. This can result in a tear in the muscle. An example of this, would be someone who has a desk job, sitting most of the day, and decides to ‘get fit’ so starts running at weekends pushing themself as much as they can. Now, although this is good for your cardiovascular fitness, this is a shock to the body, and if the muscle is unable to cope with this sudden increased demand on it, it may result in a tear in the muscle or a tendon injury.

Another common method of hamstring injury is a sudden pain (and potentially a ‘pop’ feeling) that can occur during a fast over-stretching motion such as sprinting or kicking or sudden deceleration of running. Hamstring tears (or strains) can be graded 1-3, and with a thorough assessment by your Physiotherapist, this can be determined which will help to get a timeline on how long your rehabilitation will take.

If you have pain in your hamstring that is persisting or you suspect a strain, get an assessment with a Physiotherapist to ensure you receive the correct treatment. Don’t let it drag on and become a ‘niggly pain’-the sooner it is treated, the faster the recovery!


Even better…try to avoid getting hamstring injuries in the first place! Here are some tips: (Source Therapeutic Heat)

  • Don’t overload your hamstring too much too soon: do a gradual approach to any new exercise or change in routine. Follow the 10% rule-don’t increase your training more than 10% per week (in terms or weight/distance/speed).
  • Maintain sufficient flexibility: hamstring stretching such as the one below is a simple stretch to improve hamstring flexibility. This should be held for 30secs-1min x 3 times, and done 3/week.
  • Warm up properly: a good warm up can help prepare your muscle for exercise. Dynamic exercises such as lunges, squats, or a light walk/jog for 5-10mins before intense exercise can help warm up the muscle.
  • Strengthening: When the hamstring is strong, it should be more resistant to injury. The Nordic Hamstring Curl is an excellent exercise with good evidence demonstrating that is prevents hamstring strains.


Hamstring stretch using a band/towel/belt.


Nordic Hamstring Curl:


If you would like to be assessed and treated by a Chartered Physiotherapist, call 086 3582911. Anne :)

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Why Clinical Pilates can help people with low back pain…

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Pilates is a form of exercise created by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s as a way of keeping troops fit and healthy during the war. The benefits of this way of exercising quickly spread and became popular among dancers due to its focus on strengthening the core musculature and increasing mobility through other joints. Pilates comprises exercises designed to strengthen the deep abdominal muscles and increase flexibility of surrounding joints thus leading to good posture and alignment and better movement of the body.  It focuses on allowing the body to move as it was meant to.  The main function of the core muscles is to support the spine and increase stability leading to less pressure on the spine.

With people who have low back pain, the way in which you use your muscles can be altered as certain movements may be avoided as they are painful. Back pain can be caused by both stiffness or increased movement through the back and the vertebrae.  It can have an impact on posture and alignment. Due to the importance of the core muscles in supporting the back, it is important that they are strengthened and used as they should to decrease the pressure on the spine. This is why is it important to do these strengthening exercises correctly and engage the correct muscles. Many people think of the rectus abdominus muscle or the “six pack” muscle when they think of their core, but with pilates, the core refers to the deeper layer of muscles that connect like a band all the way around the trunk.  This is the muscle that provides the stability.

Strengthening of the core muscles can alleviate back pain as it trains the body to co-ordinate activity of the trunk muscles and aids in correct movement. This also allows for good alignment which helps with back pain that is caused by poor positioning.  As the abdominals gain strength, those of the back begin to relax.

Whether your back pain is due to stiffness or increased movement at the spine, there are pilates exercises that can help. Back pain can impact differently on different people, and for that reason, it is most beneficial when delivered as an individualised program tailored to each person’s individual needs as in our Clinical Pilates classes. If you are interested in getting an assessment, call 086 358 2911.

Written by: Roisin Carroll

HOME page pic


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Demo with AIRC horse riders

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

I really enjoyed doing a demo with the North East Riding Club horse riders in Kilronan on Monday. Sports science for horse riders needs to be embraced within the sport if we are truly going to recognise ourselves are athletes. The take home messages from the demo were:


  • Horse riders are athletes and need to start treating their bodies accordingly.
  • Having a ‘neutral’ pelvis can allow your horse to move to the best of it’s ability.
  • Horse riders need core/shoulder/leg strength in order to influence their horse effectively.
  • Symmetry is imperative for horse riders to give clear messages to their horse and allow them to be balanced.
  • What you do out of the saddle will influence how your ride.
  • Don’t ignore injuries.

If you are looking to get assessed for your posture/strength/symmetry to see how it could be affecting your horse riding, call 086 3582911 or email

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