General sports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sports injuries are generically classified as either traumatic or overuse injuries. My physical therapy sessions address the painful conditions of Plantar Faciatis, Shin Splints,Runners Knee, Cramp, Rotator Cuff Injuries, Achillies Tendonitis, IT Band Syndrome, Wrist Tendonitis, or  Repetitive Stress Injuries, Sciatic Nerve Pain (Sciatica) Tennis Elbow & Golfers elbow (although this condition is very likely to have other associated origins other than tennis or golf), whiplash, muscle strains and general sports injuries.

Many types of injury are caused by having a hard contact with something- this often causes ligament, tendon or bone damage.

A strain (small tear) in the muscle or ligament tissue will give you inflammation, pain, localised heat, swelling, redness and loss of function. This generally is the same in all cases. The inflammation will last 5 days from the initial trauma/ event.

How do you prevent injury?

Pre-activity: Warm up effectively, stretch

Post-activity: Warm down and stretch.

Have weekly or fortnightly massage treatments to ensure the muscle is not tense to start with. This will not only prevent further damage to a tense muscle, but will allow you to ‘up your game’ I have had serious sports/ gym clients present with the severest tension, who are under the threat of a serious injury, without even realising it! Their response is always the same- whilst the initial treatment uncomfortable at times, the outcome was dynamic, stamina improved and the ability to train ‘harder’ with ease very notable and satisfying.

What Do You Do If You Injure Yourself?

Welcome to R-I-C-E!

The following regime will help speed up your recovery and reduce your pain! Until the inflammation has eased follow the simple guidelines below:

R- Rest:

Reduce or stop using the injured area for 48 hours. If you have a leg injury, you may need to stay off of it completely.

I-Ice:

Put an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times per day. Use a cold pack, ice bag, or a plastic bag filled with crushed ice that has been wrapped in a towel.

C- Compression:

Compression of an injured ankle, knee, or wrist may help reduce the swelling. These include bandages such as elastic wraps, special boots, air casts and splints. Ask your doctor which is best.

E- Elevation:

Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart. Use a pillow to help elevate an injured limb.

Anti-inflammatory gels or tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen) may be useful to help with pain relief

Massage treatment, coupled with targeted mobilisation and stretches will get you on the road to recovery.

Does general muscle tension affect my sporting ability, even though I stretch?

This is a question I get asked frequently. The answer is most definitely YES!!!

The problem is that until you get a ‘decent’ massage treatment you are (generally) unaware of the level of tension held in the body. When you exercise you put pressure on the muscles to ‘perform’ and ‘achieve’ however, if there is a serious underlying tension already you are much closer to injury without even realising!

What Causes Muscle Tension?

Physical & (you may be surprised to read) emotional stress can create the tension within the affected muscles. If this tension remains for too long it can lead to repetitive strain and inflammation in the area which results in a pain/spasm cycle. Therefore, it is important to get at the source of the tension and take preventative steps for eliminating the stress and helping the muscles return to their normal state of relaxation.

 

To avoid sports burnout you need to change your nutritional intake, otherwise you can create the symptoms of burnout whether you are a keen sports person or couch potato!

How can you avoid Sports Burnout?

Regular exercise has countless health benefits, but it can mean you need to check and ‘tweak’ your nutritional intake. The correct balance will help you maintain your energy levels and protect you from ‘burn out’ and injury.

It is crucial to keep an eye on ‘Vitamin B Complex’, this is because their group combined role is the release of energy from food and help prevent burnout. If you have an active lifestyle and partake regularly in sports you will probably require slightly higher amounts of Vitamins B1, B3 & B5.

What should you be taking?

Click on the individual below links to find out more:

Calcium

Zinc

Iron

Vitamin B complex:

Vitamin C

Remember, exercise generates free radicals and can take its toll on your immune system especially if you have a stressed  & busy lifestyle. Vitamin C has a key role for all sports participants.

Vitamin E

Many of us simply forget that efficient breathing enhances your fitness performance AND reduces stress.  As something we do naturally, it seems crazy to find myself writing about breathing. However, I’ve noted that many of my clients ‘Reverse Breathe’. Additionally, I have noted when breathing patterns are corrected that there are very obvious and dramatic results both immediately and long term.

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What is Reverse breathing?

Naturally we breathe using our diaphragm. If you watch a baby breathing you will see what I mean. However poor posture, stress, anxiety, and general tension all affect our capacity to breathe ‘properly’ Upper chest breathing causes you to expel excessive amounts of Carbon Dioxide (therefore depleting your carbon Dioxide stores). This causes you to feel tense, agitated, breathless, and can cause your nervous system to go into overdrive. In extreme cases this can result in pins and needles/ tingling in hands, a tingling feeling in the lips, metallic taste in the mouth, and cramping of the feet or hands.

Carbon Dioxide is often seen as the ‘baddie’, however it’s vital to our health and general well-being acting as our ‘natural tranquilliser’

Re-learning to use your diaphragm in breathing and to reduce your rate of breathing is an important first step in managing the symptoms of anxiety, anger, panic, AND increasing your physical activities, clearing training plateaus etc.

How Does Reverse Breathing Affect You?

I have noted that with my clients (who are keen Sports participants) the effect of reverse breathing can lead to plateauing, as well as less energy and a longer recovery period, whilst my non-sporty clients, many of whom have very stressed, busy lifestyles, feel more stressed and even more lethargic!!

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Check YOUR Breathing Pattern

  • Rest one hand on your upper chest and the other over your navel area
  • Breathe normally for a minute or so
  • Notice which hand rises first when you inhale

Results:

  •  If the upper hand rises first you are reverse breathing
  • If the lower hand rises first you are breathing with your diaphragm
  • If both move at the same time you are using a mix of both

Breathing Exercise To Reduce Stress & Normalise Breathing

Sit in an upright position looking straight ahead. (You can close your eyes if it helps). Put one palm on your upper chest and the other over your navel. (The aim is to have the lower hand rise first when you breathe in.) Breathe out gently and effortlessly. Now wait for a second or two until the body spontaneously begins the inhalation. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly.

I find it helps if you count slowly as you breathe in…. i.e. breathe in to the count of 6 (lets say) hold for 2 seconds, breathe out for 7.  Also, I find it beneficial to increase the duration of the inhale/ exhale increase when comfortable (easy), i,e Breathe in (and out) to 7, 8, 9 etc.

You may be tempted at this point to ‘force’ a deeper inhalation, but this really won’t help! Allow your body to find its natural rate, I’m certain that as you try this you will already be feeling your body automatically relax! Continue doing this for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Your New Breathing Pattern

Your new slow, relaxed, method of breathing may take a little time to get used to particularly if you have been desk-slumped or experiencing stress for a long time, but don’t despair, it gets easier and easier to change this pattern!

Feedback using this technique has been varied….from the reduction of ‘plateau’ when training to personal bests*, to ease of training, an instant calming solution and even enhanced orgasms (really!). Breathing this way also helps relieve (and alleviate)  tension between the shoulder blades!

*Please note: Whilst breathing ‘properly’ enhances many aspects of your life, muscle tension/ lack of flexibility will affect the outcome. Did you know excessive amounts of Oxygen (relative to the level of Carbon Dioxide) in our system causes us to feel agitated and jumpy. Whereas too much Carbon Dioxide (relative to the level of oxygen) can leave us feeling sluggish, sleepy and tired!

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What Is Ilio-Tibial Band syndrome (IT Band friction syndrome)?

ITB Syndrome is a common cause of knee pain and hip pain in sports participants. Knee pain is most commonly felt along the outside (lateral) knee and the lower thigh. ITB syndrome may also result in a nagging or acute pain on the outside of the hip.

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What Causes IT Band Syndrome?

ITB syndrome is typically caused by inflammation of the iliotibial band and is a common injury in runners or other athletes that run for training or during their sports. The IT band acts primarily as a stabilizer during running and may become irritated from overuse.

The pain is typically felt on the outside (lateral) aspect of the knee or lower thigh, but may be felt near the hip, and is often more intense when descending stairs, or getting up from a chair.

IT band syndrome is common in runners who perform unbalanced, repetitive exercise such as running only on one side of a crowned road, or only running one way around a track. Most roads slope off to the sides and running along the edge causes to the outside foot to be lower than the inside foot. This in turn causes the pelvis to tilt to one side and stresses the IT band.

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What can help prevent ITB syndrome?

  • Always have adequate rest/ repair time between training days
  • Regular Maga sports treatments for maintenance
  • Avoid over-training
  • If you train on an uneven road alternate directions daily to create balance.
  • Replace your old trainers
  • Run backwards- as mad as this sounds this will correct muscle imbalance & reduce pressure on the knees
  • Run on a soft, level surface
  • Stretch regularly
  • Use the correct training shoes for your sport
  • Visit a podiatrist to check your foot structure, use orthotics or inserts as necessary

Click here to view an appropriate stretch

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