Freese, Clark and Storrar - physiotherapists

Preventing sports injuries

The holidays are now behind us and many people are now returning to their normal routines. For many this includes starting up sports again or even re-starting the gym routine. Starting sporting activities again after a rest period needs to be done safely to avoid any injuries.

Here are some tips for preventing injuries during your sporting activities…

  • Warm up: Warm muscles are less susceptible to injuries. Good warm ups will slowly increase your heart rate as well as circulation to your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Warm ups also mentally prepare you for your workout. Warm ups could include gentle stretching exercises or even gentle cardio vascular exercises.
  • Wear and use proper gear for your sport: using proper sports gear such as appropriate protective guards or shoes can help to prevent sports injuries. Proper footwear help to absorb the forces and load placed on your feet, ankles and knees.

Prevent back pain after heavy lifting

Lifting heavy objects in an incorrect way could lead back, neck, leg or even arm pain. Back pain after incorrect lifting techniques is especially common; this is due to compression on the intervertebral discs as well as undue strain onto the muscles which support your back.

Here are a few tips to left safely:

1) Plan ahead: Consider the path you will follow while lifting. Ensure that there are no obstructions. Carefully consider if you will need a second or third person to help you. Should you ask someone to assist you, be clear on the instructions for your lift.

When to use strapping

Strapping is widely used amongst physiotherapists. There are many types of strapping available as well as many techniques which can be used. It is very important to match the correct strapping with the correct technique depending on what you wish to achieve with the strapping. It is used for different purposes which include preventative or therapeutic.

A more rigid tape is used to provide support to a joint by limiting excessive movement in cases such as a sprained ankle, knee or other ligament injuries.

A popular strapping currently is Kinesio tape and can be recognised as the bright coloured tape worn by many sports players. When using this tape it is very important to use the correct technique so that the strapping is effective. If the tape is simply applied to the skin without knowing the correct technique it may have no therapeutic effect.

When to use ice or heat

Acute injuries are sudden, traumatic injuries that occur and cause pain. In these cases the area of your pain can become inflamed. In this inflammatory phase the injured area become swollen, red, painful to move and warm to the touch. During this acute stage ice is used to bring down the inflammation.

Ice is the best immediate treatment for acute injuries to allow for a reduction of the inflammation in the injured area. Ice is a vasoconstrictor, which is narrowing of the blood vessels therefore slowing down the blood flow. This will reduce the pain and the swelling in that area.

Keep moving during the world cup

With the 2014 world cup quickly approaching, we are all gearing up for hours in front of the television set. Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns and musculoskeletal problems.

A soccer match is about 90 minutes long, the adverse effects of sitting can begin as soon as this!

Some of the adverse effects of sitting are as follows:

  • The couch does not offer the best support to our backs; slouching can lead to muscle shortening and therefore pain
  • When we move around, soft discs between vertebrae expand and contract like sponges, soaking up fresh blood and nutrients. But when we sit for a long time, discs are squashed unevenly and could leave you prone to herniation of these discs.
  • When you remain active your abdominal muscles keep you upright. But when you slouch in a chair, they go unused. Tight back muscles and weak abs form a posture-damaging combination.