Sport injuries come about for many reasons! I am going to try and shed some light on what may be causing yours…
Many injuries that we develop through sport are often as a result of overuse, i.e. playing too hard and too often. Overuse injuries such as, tennis elbow or bicipital tendinopathy, are quite often directly related to poor training techniques. In my opinion, from what I see in the clinic, Inaccurate warming up and warming down before and after exercise, is one of main reasons that people suffer from injuries. A warm up should generally involve slowly raising your heart rate and dynamic stretching (stretching with movement), whereas a warm down should slowly lower your heart rate and consist of static stretches (isolated muscle stretches while still) to every muscle group, holding the stretch for a minimum 10 seconds! I see a lot of people that tend to do some vague stretches before a work out, but barely any do anything afterwards, and that is where we are going wrong, as we aren’t lengthening the muscles we have just used (muscles contract/ shorten during aerobic activity).
Incorrect equipment is another common cause of injuries as they cause added stress to joints and soft tissues. The most common culprit is Ill-fitting footwear, which can cause hip, knee and foot injuries such as an Achilles tendinopathy. If you exercise regularly you need to replace your trainers frequently- not waiting until there are holes in them, this is because they lose shock absorption over time and so they aren’t doing their job as well as when they were new!
If you have noticed a reduction in joint flexibility or the feeling of stiffness in a joint or area, this can also cause injury, particularly if we do too much… This isn’t just relevant to sporting injuries! The feeling of stiffness can happen to anyone and it is usually down to posture, overuse or misuse, which leads to muscle tensions or joint degeneration. If you then go an enthusiastically do too much exercise, or a whole day gardening, your body is susceptible to injury, so you need to take extra care.
It is not all good for young people though, as they can be more vulnerable as their growing bodies are often expected to perform to high standards, which cause you to put excess physical demands on yourself.
The good news is that although sport injuries are common, those who are fit tend to recover more quickly and easily from their injuries!
So how can osteopathy help?
Osteopathy is particularly
useful in the prevention and treatment of sport injuries, as it looks at how
the body works as a whole. We can help restore structural balance, improve
joint mobility and reduce adhesions and soft tissue restrictions, so that ease
of movement can be restored and your performance enhanced.
Even if you aren’t injured and you just wish to keep fit, osteopathy can help keep you supple and improve your muscle tone to reduce the risk of injury- why wait to be injured to come and see me?
Osteopaths can also give you specific exercises and advice.
• Begin slowly and build up exercises, especially after injury.
• Warm up first, and then warm down with stretches afterwards.
• Drink plenty of water.
• Exercise regularly and try to alternate the types of exercise that you are doing every day.
• Following an immediate injury- Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate (Ice for 15 mins, every hour).
• Get some advice from a professional regarding your sporting technique.
• Strive for a total body workout- cardiovascular, strength training and flexibility exercises.