Getting back up again and into community sport, fitness training or general exercise is so exciting, but also poses numerous potential risks of injury. And the last thing you want when you’re just getting back into things, is to be set back with pain and time off.
There is no such thing as a ‘bulletproof body’, or a method of preventing all injuries, but there are some common injuries that I see in my clinics every year when the sun comes out, and with a little guidance you can minimise the risk of these affecting you.
Here are the top four most common injuries I come across and some easy ways to help prevent them or minimise their effects.
Hamstring/Quad/Calf Muscle Strains
We call these ‘motivated strains’. The ones where our motivation to run and ‘get fit’ again means that after months of inactivity we go and run flat out for 7 days in a row then……yep. Ping or pop and ouch! This is because our muscles simply aren’t ready for the repeated impact we put them through by running so much, and micro trauma builds up day after day without adequate time to heal and condition.
To help prevent the likelihood of muscles strains, always do a thorough dynamic warm up before you head out, stretch well after your run, and start by giving yourself a few days between runs. Then build up slowly giving your body time to recover and condition. To further support muscles or for those with a slight strain, I recommend Elastoplast kinesiology tape.
Shoulder Tip Pain
There are many reasons for shoulder tip pain, with imbalanced strength and poor control around the shoulder joint two common factors. To help improve shoulder muscle control, hold a high plank (full push up position) whilst you tap your opposite shoulder with your hand. Alternate each side whilst keeping your body still in the push up position. Imagine you have a glass of water balancing on your lower back. And remember to keep breathing.
We also commonly find patients lack muscular strength to the back of the shoulder. To improve strength in this area, hold the two ends of a resistance band in front of you with elbows bent at 90 degrees and elbows by your side. Your hands should be shoulder width apart to begin, then pull and stretch the two ends of the band away from each other whilst keeping your elbows by your side. You should feel this work the muscles behind each shoulder joint.
This is one of the most repeated injuries to the body. It is not uncommon at all to see a patient with an ankle sprain who tells you it’s the 4th time they have done it to this ankle. To help prepare your ankle for the challenges of sport and exercise, simply practice balancing on one leg with your eyes closed. Add in some hopping and jumping from two feet to land on one without falling for more of a challenge. For fun, grab a partner, because together is better, and throw a ball to each other while you both balance on one foot. These exercises improve balance, coordination and reactive control. To help support your ankle joint I recommend Elastoplast rigid 38mm strapping tape. Check out my ankle tapping ankle taping demonstration that will help you with control, stability and help you return to sport as soon as possible.
Hip/Knee Tendon Pain
Tendon injuries are common and are often simply due to the fact that the tendon is not ready for the impact and load that sport and exercise naturally brings. To help prepare your tendons, add some exercises where you hold a position for a length of time, rather than moving through a motion. Exercises such as a wall sit, a held squat or a held lunge. Work towards holding the position a few times for 45 seconds each time without any pain.
As always stop if anything causes pain, see your local osteopath or physiotherapist for a program specific to your needs.