Sports medicine professionals are now placing a much greater emphasis on preventing injuries rather just treating them, and as the saying goes prevention is better than cure! We’re in the early stages of learning what contributes to sports injuries, but here’s a list of things that you can use to assess whether an injury is looming.
Look for specific tightness and restriction
The body is quite clever. When an area is irritated or injured the nervous system usually switches on the muscles around the region to help brace or splint the region to protect it. If you’ve ever had a wry-neck you know what I mean. This increase in muscle tone can be picked up (sometimes) before you feel any pain, and it’s usually specific to one area. So if one calf starts getting tight or you’re finding hard to stretch your lower back to the left but not the right get things checked out.
Pain is not your friend
Nature gave us pain for a reason. There is a difference between working hard and feeling a bit sore after a session and a pathological pain. Use the 3-day rule: if it’s not better after a few days there might be something going on.
Changing training, routine, or technique
Change your training gradually. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, when your body is exposed to a new physical stress it takes time for your system to adapt. And it’s not only your sports activity that you need to take into consideration. That business trip you did last week where you were in meetings all week, or painting the baby’s nursery all weekend may play a part. If you’ve changed your physical routine, pay attention to the other points in this article.
Old injuries playing up
One thing we do know from research into sports injuries is that old injuries generally have a risk of recurring, and incomplete recovery or rehabilitation can play a major role. Be honest with yourself – did I finish off everything I was supposed to do after my hamstring tear or knee operation? If not, better late than never. And if you don’t know, get a health professional to check you over.
Whether you’ve eaten too much or bulked up in the gym, weight gain can be a problem. Obviously the heavier you are, the more stress is placed on your legs in particular. If you have gained weight pay attention to any niggles and try and get your weight down by eating well and low impact exercise such as cycling and swimming.
If you have any questions on this or any of my articles please do not hesitate to contact me.