Those New Year Training Injuries
So we are heading for another New Year, everyone making their New Years resolution to get back in the gym, to lose weight, give up alcohol etc. If you just go back to the gym or start running the likelihood is you are going to get an injury as you haven't
prepared properly or you just jump straight in the "deep end". "No Pain No Gain" right? This blog will tell you a little about the most common injuries I have seen through training and how best to avoid them.
As an Osteopath I treat people with training injuries on a daily basis. I have a background in sports & exercise. I have treated beginners, professional athletes, triathletes, CrossFit and functional training junkies. No matter what the level certain injuries crop up time-and-time again. Certain exercises when not done properly are common culprits.
COMMON INJURIES AS A RESULT OF TRAINING
1. Back pain from spinal joint sprains and strains;
There are hundreds of joints extending from your neck to tailbone and rib cage. Movements during training that overstretch or overload joints can cause joint sprains and strains. These are common and can range from the mild irritation to debilitating pain. Most patients can make a complete recovery from most these when treated. Untreated they can remain problematic for long periods. Without treatment they can become areas of reoccurring injury and pain.
2. Pelvic (Sacroiliac) joint sprain and strain;
Like spinal joints, the two large joints either side of your tail bone in your pelvis can be sprained. The job of the sacroiliac joints can be very complex. They must bear weight and control movement. In my experience, they often become an area of repeated problems when left untreated.
3. Overuse injuries and tendinitis;
As the name implies overuse and repetitive movements can cause injury almost any tendon. Repetitive use causes rubbing and irritation that can cause inflammation. In some cases this leads to bursitis which can easily become chronic. Tendinitis with bursitis almost always requires rest and specific rehabilitation.
4. Shoulder sprains and strains;
The shoulder has a large range of motion but it generally not a very stable joint. This large range of motion makes it susceptible to chronic muscle strains, tendinitis's, bursitis. These conditions in this area can often become chronic and can be difficult to manage.
5. Ankle sprains;
These are a common traumatic sports injury. Rolling an ankle can be just bad luck but ankles need specific rehabilitation. Bad sprains can leave ankles week and susceptible to re-injury with simple activities. Many ankle strains over a period of time need specialized rehab.
6. Groin and hamstring strains;
Are common sports-complaints and can often be the result of problems with form and technique. Tight and inflexible muscles, improper warm up can also be the cause. Overloaded weights training are another way these strains can occur. Simple examination and rehabilitation often gives excellent results.
7. Knee injuries;
Poor techniques, physical trauma and overstrain of muscles around the knee can lead to many different knee injuries. Some such as patella (knee cap) tracking disorders can respond well to rehabilitation. More severe knee injuries need surgery and extensive rehabilitation to return to exercise. Knee injuries need thorough examination and investigation to be property diagnosed and treated.
So to avoid many of these common injuries we have put together a list of Our top tips for avoiding injury:
1. Get professional advice;
This is all about GOOD TECHNIQUE and knowing your body! As an Osteopath I have an excellent understanding of peoples individual body biomechanics. It is easy for us to see what is and what isn’t good for people to do. This combined with a trainer can put you in the best possible position train in the safest way possible way. This is when you can gain maximal results.
Knowing any limitations from previous injuries and concentrating on posture, technique and form. Getting advice from trainers no matter what your level is so important. Not only will it decrease your risk of injury but it also improves results. As you increase distance or weight you should be striving for improvement in technique. Not only does it present intrinsic challenges but it prevents injury.’
2. Don’t do too much too fast;
Most of the time training is challenging yourself and pushing yourself harder. No matter what the challenge you need to allow your body time to get used to new movements or increased demand. Building things up steadily will always give you the best chance of avoiding injury. People become disheartened when they don’t see results from training sessions quickly.
You would think this is most common to beginners but that is not always true. Sometimes more experienced exercisers misjudge where they are with strength and fitness. I often see very fit people underestimating the core strength required to get them to the next level in their training. Too much weight or distance too quickly can set you back severely. Over-training and not allowing the body adequate rest periods can exhaust the body. Draining the body’s energy and not allowing time to recover and repair after can set you up for injury.
3. Warm up;
Most people are guilty of not doing this one at some point. Warm up exercises are usually done with the aim of increasing the blood flow to the muscles. The increased blood flow makes them more “pliable” and adaptable to exercise without injury. Warm up exercises are generally high-rep, low-intensity – a light jog, cycle etc. Lifting weights without a warm up is putting you at a much higher risk of injury no matter how fit you are.
4. Don’t ignore pain!!;
If it hurts, STOP! Pushing through pain (especially sharp or pain you have not had before) is not good. Pushing through fatigue for resistance training is how you progress. After an intense weights session a stretch or a foam roller can ease minor soft tissue strains. A good trainer can help you identify the difference between pushing yourself to the next level and pain due to tissues being injured. I often see patients who have been pushing through the pain not realising the damage they are doing. Continuing training with tendon injuries can cause tendinitis that can be difficult to rehabilitate. It is a similar story for stress fractures. Often the body has been trying to tell them for quite some time that it cannot deal with the loads being applied. These injuries are far more common than people realise. If identified early they have much better outcomes.
Ok, so there’s lots of different schools of thought on this one. One minute it’s essential before and after all exercise. Next minute a researcher will claim there are no beneficial outcomes. What I do know from years of treating injuries is that not stretching at all will not help your performance. Not Stretching at all will probably put you at a much greater risk of hurting yourself.
Properly performed, a stretch helps to elongate, increase circulation and warm up a muscle. Warmed up muscles are more pliable and ‘alert’. in my experience this makes it far more injury-resistant. Post exercise muscle soreness is reported less when muscles are stretched after a workout.
Yep I’ve come across body builders that don’t stretch ….. like ever!! I often find not only do they have injuries but they can be very unbalanced with their strength and flexibility. They may be able to lift very heavy weights but some simple activities can easily cause strain in them. In my experience, the best performing bodies have a perfect combination of strength and flexibility. These bodies tend to recover well from injuries.
Make sure you get advice and guidance from a trained professional on what stretches are best for you and how to do them properly before you start.
6. Optimal nutrition;
I’ve seen countless people wanting to lose weight who consume too little or the wrong type of food. They continue to try to train hard and frequently. This is a great way to get injured. If you want to perform better or gain muscle bulk diet is important. Getting advice from a sports nutritionist on what to eat is worthwhile. You need to provide your body with the best fuel possible if you want it to perform well. If you are doing resistance training you need to ‘feed’ your muscles. Optimal nutrition can feed your muscles and help them recover from a work-out.
Get the right advice from the beginning. Have a team around you to know exactly what your body can (and probably should not) do and how to do it correctly. At the first sign of injury get it assessed and treated. Follow the proper management from the beginning to avoid injuries setting you back.