Medical need to know

GP Juliet McGrattan answers more of your health questions

Medical need to know

Mind over matter?
My mum was recently diagnosed with dementia. I’ve heard there may be a chance that exercise can reduce the risk of developing it in later life. Is this true?

Good news! Exercising regularly promotes healthy blood vessels by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and reducing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. All these factors will improve the circulation of blood in your brain and reduce the risk of developing vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (the most common type of dementia) may be reduced by regular exercise too. Don’t forget exercise is important for your mum as well as it can help slow the progression of the disease and reduce her risk of falls.

Toe tingler
When I run longer than an hour my feet go numb. I’ve loosened my laces but this doesn’t help. It’s really annoying. What is this and what can I do about it?

Tingling, pins and needles and numbness in runner’s toes and feet is a common problem. This usually means a nerve is being compressed. You’re right to lace your shoes more loosely, try changing the lacing pattern too. Make sure your heel is fully back when you do lace up. Choose thinner socks and ensure your toes have plenty of space; you might need to go up half a shoe size. Avoid sudden increases in your distance. If none of this is helping then see your GP as you may have a neuroma such as Morton’s neuroma where nerve tissue becomes thickened and scarred. Your GP can arrange treatment.

Hurting hip
I’ve been running more often and doing longer runs for a few weeks and I’ve got a pain in my hip. It’s worse after a long run but it’s also very painful to lie on that side at night. Should I rest or am I OK to keep running?

This sounds like greater trochanteric pain syndrome (previously called trochanteric bursitis). Running for longer and more often is a
common cause. Typically pain is felt on the outside of the hip and therefore is worse when lying on it. It usually settles down after a few weeks. You don’t need to rest completely but cut right down on your running until it feels more comfortable and then gradually
increase again. Paracetamol and ibuprofen can help the pain, as can ice packs. Steroid injections are an option for bad or prolonged pain so see your GP if simple things are not helping.

QUICK HEALTH FACT
Packed with vitamins and low in calories, apples are good for your teeth and a great post-run snack.

DID YOU KNOW?
The long-held formula for working out your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) may not be accurate for women. Recent studies show that for women age 40 to 89, 220 minus 67 per cent of your age is more accurate.


Written by Women's Running Magazine | 1421 articles | View profile

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