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Natural care & prevention of sports / fitness injuries
1.“A gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure”. See a qualified practitioner, with experience in assessing sport / fitness injuries, for a pre-participation examination. This should include;
A review your medical and sports / fitness injury history
A biomechanical screening, including functional movement testing**
A review of your footwear and other equipment (i.e.- bike fit)
At Pure Healthcare, our practitioners have extensive training in assessment and specific diagnosis of neuro-musculo-skeletal problems. The common injuries that we see that we can effectively treat and prevent include;
  • Foot/ankle problems: bunions (hallux valgus), ball of foot pain (metatarsalgia), foot arch/heel pain (plantar fasciitis), lower shin pain (shin splints or posterior tibial tendonitis)
    • NOTE: many of the conditions below are directly related to faulty foot/ankle biomechanics
  • Knee problems: Jumpers/Netball/Basketball knee ( Patellofemoral Tracking Syndrome), Runners knee (Iliotibial Band Syndrome), Osteoarthritis
  • Hip Problems: Runners hip (Iliotibial Band Syndrome – yes it happens in both the knee and the hip), Piriformis Syndrome (mimics sciatica), Gluteus medius weakness, osteoarthritis
  • Lower Back pain: Sciatica, disc bulges, SCOLIOSIS, osteoarthritis
  • Mid Back pain: T4 syndrome, rib strains, SCOLIOSIS, shoulder problems

It is important to note that other conditions may mimic simple joint/muscle pain, so we screen for these more serious conditions that may need urgent medical referral.

**A functional / biomechanical assessment assesses efficiently you move. The findings will indicate areas of the body that are out of balance and compensating in a way that might eventually lead to injury or compromise your performance.

2. Have proper footwear, attire and equipment

  • Ensure your equipment is of good quality and fits properly (ie, mouth guards, face masks, helmet, tennis racquet grip, golf clubs etc).
  • Your clothing should be appropriate for the weather and your level of training. Layers in the winter, and light breathable fabrics in the summer.
  • Proper footwear is essential.  This includes: matching your foot type, good arch support, durable heel, and proper flexibility.
    • In some cases – custom orthotics may be required to meet your specific foot biomechanics to prevent injury and enhance performance.  Not all orthotics are the same, so choose orthotics that are semi-flexible, have rebound properties and are prescribed using walking or running assessment on a pressure plate and/or treadmill assessment.
    • Some experts indicate that 70% of the population is affected by over-pronation, or flat feet. This condition has varying degrees of severity. Abnormal foot function, can lead to serious foot problems like heel/arch pain, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot).

Foot problems can also cause pain elsewhere in the body. For example, an over-pronated foot will make the leg twist inwards (internal rotation), which may cause problems further up your leg and lower back (the kinetic chain). As you compensate for these foot problems you are likely to feel symptoms in the the knees, hips, low back, or even in the neck and shoulders.

Orthotics are an effective solution to these problems. Investing in a pair of custom orthotics can help to treat and prevent many muscle and joint problems.

IT’s NOT ABOUT THE ARCHES!  Orthotics do a lot more than support the arches of the feet. They restore efficient foot function, and reduce pain and injuries in the future. In addition, orthotics enable a more even weight distribution.

3. Be smart – you get fit to play sports – not the other way around

  • Avoid overuse injuries by beginning slowly and gradually increasing the time and intensity of your workouts.
  • Avoid extreme heat or cold-related stresses.  Acclimatise yourself to the environment.  Keep hydrated in both hot and cold environments.
  • Allow adequate recovery time. training too hard can result in injuries.
  • Maintain hydration or fluid levels. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after practice and competition.  2-3 litres of water per day is normally required for good health.  An athlete may need to dring 4-5 litres per day.
  • Pre-train for pre-season.  Go into the beginning of the season as fit as you can. Your pre-season conditioning program should begin 6 weeks prior to the start of your sports season.

4. Have a proper warm-up and cool-down

  • A good warm-up prepares the body for performance, decreases the potential for soft tissue injury, and helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness that can follow exercise.
  • Warm-up should consist of 15 minutes of sub-maximal sports-specific exercise. Include stretching and low intensity activities.  This increases the bodies heart rate, body and muscle temperature, and muscle performance.
  • go to the ACC sportSmart website for warm up posters and flip cards

5. Have a good stretching program

  • Stretching 
    • prepares your muscles for activity.
    • is a great way to keep muscles and joints relaxed.
    • Is simple, requires no special equipment and can be done almost anywhere at any time for free.
    • Stretches should be slow and sustained; no bouncing or jerking. You should not feel pain while stretching. Stretch the entire body. No sport requires just part of the body’s involvement. Stretch each body part two to three times for 20 to 30 seconds.
    • Here is a good general stretching video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nKrxZ3rk6w
    • Download the ACC stretching guide in this articles attachments for a quick guide reference

6. First aid treatment for injuries (RICE)

  • R-est — Relative rest to reduce the stress to the injured area.
  • I-ce — Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes / 2- 4 times per day.
  • C-ompression — Apply an elastic bandage to the injured area. Do not sleep with elastic bandage on.
  • E-levation — Raise the injured body part above the level of the heart to decrease swelling.

The soonest you do this the quicker the recovery time! See your Chiropractor, osteopath or acupuncturist if symptoms persist.

Remember acute injuries are easier to treat than chronic (long standing) ones!



About the Author

Cherye Roche