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Transitioning to Running Injury Free

Ross McKinnon, Physiotherapist.  Kelowna Manual Therapy Centre

Many athletes will be transitioning to running over the next few weeks as the snow disappears and the weather warms up.  Runners can help reduce the incidence of overuse injury by following a few guidelines.

Training Load Management 

Overuse injuries occur as there is more stress and strain on the body than it can handle. This is termed the training load, or load for short.   In other words, the body’s musculoskeletal system’s ability to adapt to load is exceeded.   This excessive load can be any combination of increased volume, increased intensity and/or too little rest in between running sessions.  Runners should gradually increasing their running volume and or intensity. 

A general rule is to increase the training load by 10% per session.  A runner would need to make an educated guess on how long the first run should be if they have stopped for an extended period.  A conservative plan would be to start back at 25% of the average run from the previous season, this would be an ideal place to start if there have been previous injuries or they haven’t been running.  Runners that haven’t had previous injuries could start back running at a higher percentage.  Starting off, it would be beneficial not to run on back to back training days. 

Runners should also follow the ’24 hour rule’.  An increase in pain longer than 24 hours after training would be a warning sign of excessive load.  If the pain does not settle within 24 hours then the runner needs to reduce the training load.  Working through post exercise muscular soreness, though mildly uncomfortable, is okay and has been proven to have no negative effect.  More concerning would be tendon pain, joint pain or muscular pain that would be described as sharp or stabbing. 

By following those two training guidelines runners can expect to get stronger and faster while remaining injury free.  The key is to gradually increase running and be patient with progressing the distance and intensity.

Work on Running Technique

  • Increase running cadence (180-220 steps per minute) to decrease ‘over striding’.  Increasing cadence ensures that the foot cannot be place too far ahead of the body. A high cadence also minimizes the ‘braking’ i.e. sheer forces at foot contact with the ground. 
  • Run ‘softly’, minimizing foot impact sounds.  One drill would involve running in socks without shoes on a rubber track to help ‘feel’ how to minimize impact.
  • Minimize vertical oscillation, i.e excessive up and down motion.
  • Lean slightly forward snd lean from the ankles.
  • Foot strike should not be too far ahead of the body (control length of stride).  Heel strike vs forefoot strike is debatable. Runners should do what is natural but focus on a soft landing with a high cadence as mentioned above.
  • If you trail run, practice downhill running to minimize loading and reduce the chance of injury. (Salomon TV: How to downhill Run https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLScRlispoo)


  • Start with running on softer surfaces like trails rather than roads to minimize impact.  Gradually work up to hill running.  Initially a quick walk uphill is required especially on the steep hills.  Be careful on steep uphills as landing on your heel will put extra compression on the achilles tendon.
  • Runners should consider purchasing new shoes at the start of the season and begin to rotate shoes, alternating pairs with each running session.  This has been backed by research showing a 39% reduction in running injuries by rotating through 2 or more pairs of shoes.
  • Some running over the winter is beneficial to maintain running capacity for the body to handle the ‘stress and strain’ of spring running.  It will make transitioning to spring running much easier.
  • If an athlete continues to complain of pain or soreness it would be best for the athlete to consult with a local physiotherapist for advice and treatment.


Spruce Lake am

Bike Packing Adventure - South Chilcotin Park  August 2019


 Kelowna Manual Therapy Centre physiotherapist Ross McKinnon and 3 friends spent 4 days bike-packing the rugged South Chilcotin Park this August.


The South Chilcotin park is a wilderness paradise and is located about 90 minutes from Lilooet.  It is on a fairly good gravel road, though the road has a lot of rock debris from all of the erosion.  It is about a 5 1/2 hour drive from Kelowna.


Day 1. To Spruce Lake 25km.  1042m Elevation. 3h30m riding.


We started our adventure at the gate access to the Gunn Creek trail.  The ride started out on a logging road but quickly switched to nice single track riding, interspersed with some steep uphill that required pushing the bikes.


IMG 1530


After about 20km you get to the junction of the Gun Meadow trail, which is around 3 kilometres and opens up to a huge meadow.  Unfortunately we were too late to see the Balsam Root flowers which cover the slopes, but the meadows and views are still absolutely spectacular. 

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Gunn Meadow trail leading to Spuce Lake  


We chose the most northern of the two lakeside campsites at Spruce Lake. There are also a few cabins and outfitter camps at this end of the lake.  Both campsites have bear caches and outhouses.  Individual campsites have picnic tables and a fire pit.


Day 2.  Deer Pass 42km.  1,7338m Elevation. 5h52m riding.


We got a fairly early start to do our big ride, up to and over Deer Pass.  This started on the 4.5km ‘WD trail’ which junctions with the Mid Tyaughton trail.  This involves the first creek crossing without a bridge.  The creek is fast moving, rocky, cold and about mid-calf depth.  We took the time to take off our shoes and socks for the first two creek crossings but gave up and started crossing with our shoes on.  This made for much better traction and saved a lot of time.  You end up with wet feet anyway due to the numerous smaller streams and puddles you cross.  In total there were about 5 creek crossings on this trail. 

20190810 090947    The first of many trail crossings 


The trail continues as single track riding through the woods ending in a huge meadow where the trail intersects with the Deer Pass trail. 


IMG 1577

After crossing the Tyaughton Creek one more time you start the climb to Deer Pass.  There were some nice glacial fed streams near the top that we used to refill water.  At the summit, at 2300m, we stopped for a quick lunch and took the mandatory summit pictures.  We could see some nasty dark clouds in the distance so we didn’t linger long. 

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One of many bike pushing sections.  Deer Pass is visible in the upper left of the picture.

 IMG 1593

View from the top of Deer Pass

The descent was pure magic.  It was a very fun, flowing single track leading down to the Mid Gun Creek trail which took us back to Spruce Lake.

IMG 1600

Start of the Deer Pass descent.


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Beautiful lake along the Mid Gunn trail heading back to camp

We got back to the camp, had a quick dip in the lake and got into dry clothes.  Within 10 minutes torrential rain and hail pounded down for a few hours while the temperature quickly dropped.  Eventually we were forced into the tents to stay dry and warm. 


Here is a 3D map of the trail route from day 1





Day 3. Windy Pass, Camel Pass, Windy Pass 30km.1620m Elevation. 4h8m riding.


Thankfully the rain stopped during the night and we headed out to complete a three pass day. 

The day started on the High trail, which climbed up to Windy Pass transitioning from thick forest to alpine.   We had a short descent down the Taylor Creek trail followed by a quick climb up to Camel Pass.  We didn’t linger going over this pass as there was a fair amount of lightning in the distance and the pass is quite exposed.  We then looped back up and around Windy Pass and back down to camp.   The ride down was amazing. We had expected slippery roots on the High trail but it ended up being very rideable.

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Looking backwards climbing up to Windy Pass


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Windy Pass times two

Thankfully we were able to start a fire this night and dry the wet gear out…


Day 4. Back to Truck 24km. 365m Elevation.  2h 18m riding.

We got an early start taking the same trail that we came in on.  The trail has more up than down so we were making great time until we came across a mother black bear guarding her cubs.  We made sure to make lots of noise, backed up and waited until she left the area with her cubs and continued on our way.



This is true backcountry. It is remote, you are in the high mountains, the distances are big and the trails can be technical so you need to be prepared for any emergency or weather.  There is no cell service.  We did have access to an inReach in case of emergency.  Ride sensibly the downs are not over technical i.e. a blue rating but you need to take care of both bike and body!


There are base camps for the Tyax Lodge and Chilcotin Wilderness Adventures at Spruce Lake which have camp hosts.  The Tyax Lodge can arrange float plane lifts and ‘camp’ accommodations at a few of the lakes in the park.  These can be either guided or self guided.


Be prepared for a fair bit of hike-a-bike, especially when loaded down with camping gear.  These trails are steep in parts as they were originally horse trails (horses don’t need switchbacks).  Our group had a variety of bike-packing bags and backpacks.  It is best to carry as much gear as you can on the bike as riding with a back pack makes you quite top heavy and makes it hard to balance. As well, the backpack tends to ride up your back during descents.


Your feet and bike chain are going to get wet repeatedly.  Wear Merino wool socks and bring chain lube.


Water is plentiful from either the creeks or lakes.  We filtered the water from Spruce Lake using a MSR auto-flow filter (an amazing device) but felt safe drinking the water out of the faster moving creeks and glacier fed streams.


Pack light but be prepared for any weather…I had an extra pair of shorts, t-shirt, socks and pants. I am really glad I had the extras as it was very wet and cold on our second night.


Snacks and Meals:  Plan on burning a lot of calories and plan accordingly…


Check trail conditions.  Checking trail conditions on trailforks.com. is a great idea before heading out while you have cell service.  We used Trailforks offline (using the GPS dot) to help us find our way.  There is some signage at most trail junctions.


Make sure your bike is in good shape with new tires, new tire sealant and most importantly, new brake pads.


Tools:  You need to be self sufficient with a multi-tool, pump (both tire and shock), C02 inflator, tire levers, spare tubes, tire and tube patches, derailleur hanger, dental floss with needle, and as mentioned before, chain lube.  We raised our air pressure in both tires and both shocks to deal with the extra weight we carried.


Trip List:

Clothes: baggy riding shorts, 2 pairs chamois shorts, 2 t-shirts, arm warmers, knee warmers, 2 pairs of socks, 1 pair lightweight pants, insulated lightweight jacket, light toque, 1 pair riding gloves, 1 pair of light neoprene gloves, running shorts, lightweight flip flops.  There is a lot of iron in the dirt and my rain jacket, which is bright yellow, appears to be permanently stained slightly red.


Camping Gear:

Down sleeping bag (-5C), light inflatable sleeping pad, backpacking tent, fly, stove, fork, spoon, MSR auto-flow filter.



Chamois butter, bug spray, sunscreen, toiletries, light towel, headlamp, phone, bear spray, Garmin inReach.





Riding Silverstar Mountain’s Beowulf Mountain Biking Trail

Silverstar Mountain fully opened it’s Beowulf mountain biking trail this July.  The trail is reported to be 35km long with a mix of blue and black skill level riding.  The Silverstar website has a nice description of the trail, along with the trail’s background.

There is nothing very technical on this trail i.e. no rock drops, roots, etc. I think the black rating comes from the trail length rather than technical difficulty.

This trail is incredibly well built.  It is about 3 feet wide with no stumps that I could see. The trail is primarily dirt and fine sand.  Each switchback has a wide and high berm to carry speed.  The day I rode the trail it was very dry and dusty but not to the point that the front wheel lost traction on the corners.  There are a number of well built, wide bridges across the creeks.

The trail is nicely shaded except for a few sections that cross the ski runs early on and then again towards the end of the trail.  I couldn’t enjoy any views as it was quite smokey the day I did the trail, however the trail scenery is very nice, and is especially beautiful in the cedar forest.  

The trail starts on the ‘cross the mountain’ paved bike path to the start of the single track on the Silver Shack trail.  The Silvershack trail twists and turns along a flowing trail with a few double track sections out to Alder point.  The adventure of the Beowulf single track descent starts after the trail sign and gate.  The trail descends for roughly 10km, with the start of the climb back up the mountain starting after the Putnam Creek bridge crossing.  The trail then continues for approximately 10km up to the pre-existing Silverstar trails for around 4km, then gets back on the paved bike path to the Village.

The climb back to the village though long, is gradual.  It comes after the descent and about 20km into the ride.  I was able to ride every climb, though the ‘Lombard St.’ (named after the famed San Francisco street) switchbacks added a big challenge after a 10km climb. 

How long did it take:

Riding steadily I did the trail in 3 hours and 20 minutes on Strava.  This time was ‘moving’ time and didn’t include stops for snacks, water and picture.  Silverstar suggests giving yourself 4-6 hours.

What to take:

Lots of water.  I had a 2L camelback and 750ml bottle, that was just enough on a hot Okanagan day (due to the fire risk we couldn't start until after 10am).

Snacks.  Plan on burning 2000+ calories and plan accordingly…

Tools.  You need to be self sufficient as there is no cell service and it would be a long long walk back to the Village.  A multi tool, C02 inflator and/or a pump and spare tubes are a must.

Extra clothes.  Be prepared for mountain weather!   As the fall weather rolls in you must be prepared for all weather, especially considering there is a 10km descent followed by a 10km climb.

Check trail conditions:

Checking trail conditions on trailforks.com. is a great idea before heading out although trail updates can probably be found when buying your trail pass for the day.

Who are Manual Therapists?

University-trained physiotherapists who have taken a series of postgraduate courses and examinations provide manual Therapy.
Manual therapy involves ‘hands-on’ treatment which is part of the rehabilitation procedure that utilizes a variety of treatments to restore normal function after disease or injury. Manual Therapists use techniques that can include joint mobilization and manipulation, soft tissue techniques, stretching, specific therapeutic exercise, physiotherapy modalities, traction and education. In Canada the organization that has certified manipulative physiotherapists is the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists and the professional designation is Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manual Physiotherapy (FCAMPT).

  • Joint mobilization is a gentle rhythmical, repetitive, passive movement to a joint to improve function and reduce pain.
  • Joint manipulation involves a small high speed controlled movement to a specific joint to improve function and reduce pain.
  • Soft tissue techniques include muscle stretching, trigger point release, myofascial techniques and massage. These help decrease muscle spasm and tightness as well as promote tissue recovery.

Some of the scientifically proven benefits of Manual Therapy:

  • Pain Relief
  • Improved Joint Motion
  • Increased Muscle Strength and Coordination
  • Increased Function

Our clinic believes that a patient’s involvement in his or her own recovery is paramount to success. We provide education on a patient’s condition, explaining what is wrong, what caused or contributed to the injury and what treatment(s) can be done to correct the problem.

What is the difference between a manual physiotherapist and a physiotherapist?

All physiotherapists are university-trained professionals. After graduating University, a physiotherapist takes a series of postgraduate courses and examinations run by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s orthopedic division. Once these exams are successfully completed a physiotherapist earns a Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Therapy. This entitles the manual physiotherapist to become a fellow in the Canadian Academy of Manual Physical Therapist (F.C.A.M.P.T). This designation, which has a stringent examination process, has membership of less than 1% of the physiotherapists in Canada.

What is the difference between IMS (intramuscular stimulation) and acupuncture?

Both techniques utilize the same thin needles. IMS is based on the work of Chan Gunn, MD who developed a system of needling treatment based on the findings of neuropathic changes in the musculoskeletal system. Needling the tight painful band of muscle releases tension, this in turn allows increased mobility. Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the internal regulating system of the body.

What should I bring for my first visit?

You should bring any pertinent information for your first visit i.e. doctor’s referral if you have one, and your BC care card. Also, please bring or wear suitable clothing for exercising i.e. shorts.

Do I need a doctor’s referral?

A doctor’s referral is not necessary to see a physiotherapist or massage therapist in British Columbia. However, to be covered by Worksafe BC or ICBC a doctor’s referral is required. Some extended health plans require a doctor’s note to reimburse you for physiotherapy and massage therapy services, check your insurance policy if you are unsure.

Does my extended health coverage cover physiotherapy and massage therapy?

Most extended health insurance companies will cover physiotherapy and massage therapy services. It is best to check with your individual plan about the exact amount of coverage. Kelowna Manual Therapy Centre will provide you with a receipt at each visit, which you can then submit to be reimbursed.

What are your Physiotherapy fees?

  • Initial Assessment – $85
  • Subsequent Treatments – $75
ICBC Visit Fee – $40
  • MSP Premium Assistance – $30

- Worksafe BC fees covered by Worksafe BC with claim acceptance.
- RCMP/DVA – please contact our front office staff for more information.

What are your Massage Therapy fees?

Alyssa Watkins' Initial Assessment & Subsequent Treatments

  • 30 minutes – $65
  • 45 minutes – $90
60 minutes – $110
  • 90 minutes – $160

Please contact the office for more information on ICBC billing

Cancellation Policy:

Booked appointments are for you and only you! 

Please understand that Massage Therapists only get paid when they deliver treatment. Consequently, missed appointments are costly and prevent us from treating other clients.

In the event that you are not able to keep the scheduled appointment, please contact the office with at least 24hrs notice to cancel or change your treatment time. 

If you do not show up for your appointment or notify the front desk with at least 24hrs in advance, you will be charged the full cost of your booked treatment. 

Lastly, please refer to office hours for cancelling or rescheduling.


What methods of payment do you accept?

Our clinic will accept cash, cheque, debit, VISA or MasterCard.

What is MSP premium assistance?

For more information contact our front office staff or click on the link below: 



1934 Ambrosi Road, Kelowna, BC V1Y 4R9
Toll Free: 1.877.867.5152
Phone: 250.860.5152
Fax: 250.860.4192
Next to Art Knapp Plantland & Florist
- On Site Parking Available

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Physiotherapy Hours

Monday: 9:00 – 6:00
Tuesday: 8:00 – 5:00
Wednesday: 9:00 – 5:00
Thursday: 8:00 – 6:00
Friday: 8:00 – 5:00

Massage Therapy Hours

Monday: 9:00 – 5:00
Tuesday: 9:00 – 5:00
Wednesday: 9:00 – 5:00
Thursday: 9:00 – 5:00
Friday: 9:00 – 5:00

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