Patient Spotlight: Ultramarathoner Nelson Braz

Physiotherapy offers many benefits, but to fully understand how it can help, we feel it’s best to share our patients’ stories. Our patient spotlight stories showcase real stories of rehabilitation for a variety of injury types.


Nelson Braz is an avid runner, and after sustaining an injury before a major race, he looked to us for treatment. Last August, Nelson signed up for his longest race yet: The Grizzly. Held in Canmore in October, this ultramarathon challenges runners to a 50km trek across mountainous terrain. It’s the kind of race that even experienced runners shy away from — after all, it’s 8km longer than a standard marathon. But with plenty of races under his belt, including a half-marathon, Nelson embraced the challenge wholeheartedly.

With a little over two months to train, Nelson found himself running half-marathon (21km) distances every weekend, for three or four weeks in a row. That’s when he began feeling a strange numbness and pain between his shin and the arch of his foot. The pain came on suddenly, without warning, and would come and go.

“I was really concerned,” he says. “Sure, I could still run, but I worried if I was permanently damaging my body.” Worrying about the injury made it harder for Nelson to maintain the mental focus needed for his intense training regimen.

He decided to book an appointment with Chad to get the pain checked out. It was the first time he’d received physiotherapy treatments, but the clinic had been highly recommended by colleagues. Nelson was happy to discover the reputation was well-earned — from the moment he entered the treatment room, Nelson felt at ease.

“He did a body assessment right off the bat and took time to understand the activities I do and how they might have led up to the injury,” he says. “Chad did a great job of listening.” With a combination of treatments, at-home exercises, and training strategies (like taping his foot), the pain began to dissipate: “By race day, I was good. I was confident going in.”

Nelson finished the race in seven hours and has continued to train for other races since. While he does all he can to prevent injuries, he knows they’re hard for athletes to avoid — and that physiotherapy can help: “As long as I keep breaking my body, I’ll be going to see Chad.”