How to avoid common sports injuries (and why we all need a physio!)

If you are reading this you’ll probably agree that regular exercise has many benefits.

Exercise is not just great for your body; it helps your mindset too.

The only problem is, even considered and careful exercise includes some level of risk and this means that anyone getting physical has the potential to get injured.

 

What are the risks?

Apart from accidents most sporting injuries come from people doing too much too quickly and overestimating their ability.

Whilst it can be important to ‘push’ ourselves to achieve a goal or hit a time, this should never be at the expense of sustainable fitness.

There’s also lack of preparation, poor technique and incorrect use of equipment.

 

Where are the problems likely to occur?

It’s all about your musculoskeletal system.

To put it very simply, it’s all about what holds our bodies together!

Any damage will therefore relate to your muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bones.

Problems can hit suddenly or they can gradually build up.

 

What can I do to minimise the risk?

Warming up properly before exercise is critically important. Don’t skimp on this and ensure your warm up is appropriate for the activity you’re just about to undertake.

If in doubt seek help from a professional.

Following on from the above, it is also important to only exercise within your capabilities and this means increasing your time and intensity gradually.

Ensure you have the right kit too. This can be quite a simple thing; for example, wearing the wrong running shoes can cause long-term issues even for occasional joggers and depending on your exercise of choice, forgetting to wear the right protection (a pair of shin pads or a gum shield for example) can have very serious aftereffects.

On a more expensive scale, you must also make sure that any fitness training equipment you are using is in correct working order and is set to meet your shape and size.

This can be any kind of kit from a step machine to a road bike to a rowing boat.

 

Professional care

Not all sports injuries can be prevented but the good news is you can significantly reduce any risk by working with a professional physiotherapist.

They’ll ensure you work at the right level, use the right equipment – and meet your fitness goals.

They will therefore, not just help you manage following an injury, they will also help you avoid future injury and reduce the likelihood of an earlier injury coming back to bother you.

It’s what we do

This is exactly what we do at Black Pear Physio.

To get in contact and get started call us on 01905 611 010.

Did Team GB success boost UK sports uptake?

With the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic achievements and celebrations now behind us, many people are hoping to see an uplift in UK sport and fitness activity.

So how about you; did the amazing medal wins by Team GB inspire you to try out a new sport or add in an extra fitness session?

Are more people now taking part in sport?

To begin with, let’s rewind to 2012 to see if the London Olympics had any effect.

According to a Government paper from four years ago, sport and physical activity adoption did not change following the UK-hosted games.

In 2006 just over half of us (around 53%) were sporty and this figure had not changed by late 2013.

They told us that ‘hosting the 2012 games has not had a statistically significant positive effect on participation.’

So how about Rio?

Well, the national Team GB sport day on 27th August has been hailed a success. This offered over 2,500 free sporting activities across the UK and attracted hundreds of thousands of participants.

And whilst clear statistics are not available yet, the general feel from local sport clubs is that there has been a post-Olympic uplift in interest and participation.

The jury is however still out, about whether this effect will last.

Here at Black Pear Physio we passionately believe that sport is for everyone.

Having fun in your sport and making it sustainable is key and we are on hand to not only bring you effective relief from any sports related pain, but also help you adopt habits and strategies that prevent injury, or if you have had a problem in the past, any recurrences.

To get in contact please call us on 01905 611 010.

We’d be very pleased to have a chat so that we can help you not only achieve your sports aim, but most importantly, keep it all going!

How to prevent common cycling injuries

Cycling is more popular than ever in the UK with two million of us hopping on a bike at least once a week.

Touted as ‘the new golf’ it has become particularly popular among male professionals aged 40+.

As healthy a pastime as cycling is, it can lead to a variety of injuries, particularly for the older cyclist.

And if you’re not careful, these injuries can take you out of the office with your business suffering as a result.

The good news is the common injuries listed below can be avoided by following some simple advice:

Achilles Tendonitis
Typically brought on by over-training, Achilles Tendonitis manifests itself as a sharp pain in the Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel). Applying ice to the area will reduce swelling and take away some discomfort but to truly recover, you need to take some time off the bike.

Other causes of Achilles Tendonitis include a bike that’s poorly fitted to your frame, or shoe cleats that aren’t properly aligned. Check with your local bike shop to ensure everything is in order.

Lower back pain
The usual cause of lower back pain for cyclists is poor bike setup. If your saddle is so high that your knees are almost straight at the bottom of the stroke, it will cause your pelvis to rock leading to pain at the base of the spine. If your bike frame is too big, you will have to stretch too far forward to reach the handlebars, also resulting in pain.

Seek professional advice on your bike fit to ensure you aren’t putting unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints. If you have existing lower back pain, a course of physiotherapy can help loosen stiff joints and strengthen weak muscles.

Neck pain
Neck pain is caused by a tightening of the muscles that run along the base of the skull and down into the shoulders (which become tired due to the strain of holding your head in extension for a prolonged period of time).
Try sitting in a more upright position and loosening your grip on the handlebars to allow your neck muscles to relax.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
The continuous motion of bending and straightening the knee can lead to irritation of the iliotibial band which runs down the leg from the hip to the knee. When irritated, the IT band can cause pain and tightness in the knee, resulting in an uncomfortable ride.

ITB syndrome is typically caused by riding a bike that has not been properly adjusted for the rider. In this case, the height of the seat is usually the cause. It has to be set just right to ensure the knees are not overextending or over-bending.

Black Pear Physio can help!
We want you to enjoy your bike riding but also ensure it does not cause you any problems. That is why at Black Pear Physio we offer a range of treatments to help both professional and leisure cyclists stay injury free.

Contact us on 01905 611 010 to find out how we can help.

How to avoiding injury and enjoy ‘sustainable sport’

One of the most important things we do here at Black Pear Physio is help people who enjoy sport – keep enjoying it.

This means we help them protect against injury and, if they have been injured in the past, reduce the likelihood of any injury returning.

Whether you are an amateur or a professional, that’s what ‘sustainable sport’ is all about!

Here are a few tips to help with this:

1: Don’t overdo it

Ensure that, whilst you may from time to time strive to achieve a higher level, you avoid the ‘Bust-Boom-Cycle’.

Be realistic therefore in terms of the number of days you’re training each week and the length of each session. Three to five activity sessions each week at a comfortable level are much better than one weekly session where you really push yourself.

2: Step up steadily

Following on from the above, whilst it’s great to set yourself a fresh goal, do ensure it is realistic. A good goal should be challenging but also achievable, so ensure each ‘step up’ is appropriate for your current level.

3: Listen to your body

It is surprisingly easy for us to ignore what our body is telling us. This can for example be a niggling muscle pain or our minds subtly telling us that we ‘fancy’ certain foods. Don’t ignore your body’s signals; this is your body telling you that you must do something, before an issue becomes serious.

4: Take the long view

By making a long-term commitment to your fitness and health you won’t rush into trying to get from ‘unhealthy to healthy’ or ‘unfit to fit’. Instead, by seeing the bigger picture you’ll find ways to improve your habits and make a lifestyle change that will stay with you for years to come.

5: Seek professional support

In any sport a professional coach will ensure you continue to work at a sustainable level. They’ll also help you improve your performance techniques which will then enable you to achieve so much more without, a huge amount of additional effort.

Black Pear Physio can help!

At Black Pear Physio we offer a range of treatments and services to help you stay injury free and to ensure you continue to enjoy your sport.

Contact us on 01905 611 010 to find out more about the people we help and the difference we make.

How to get to (and through) your marathon

As many of you will know, a marathon is a uniquely challenging event.

It takes months of training, eating the right food and getting enough sleep to make it to the start line.

And after investing so much in it, the last thing you want is an injury that forces you to pull out before the big day.

The good news is; with a sensible training plan and the help of a professional physiotherapist, injuries can be avoided.

How can physiotherapy help?

A physiotherapist can be your biggest ally in the ‘run’ up to a marathon.

Physiotherapy can help prevent injuries, treat current injuries and also accelerate your recovery, post-event.

Physiotherapists use techniques to improve circulation and break down scar tissue from previous injuries so you can use your muscles more effectively.

They can also identify areas of tension and prevent injuries from developing.

Top tips to stay safe

At Black Pear Physiotherapy we’ve treated a lot of running injuries.

Based on our experience here are our ‘four top tips’ to help you avoiding injury before you’ve made it past the finish line:

1: Build Steadily

Higher intensity running puts more strain on your leg muscles and joints. This can lead to ‘overuse’ injuries, so rest, ice and stretch as required, and don’t increase your training by more than 10% each week.

2: Vary your training

Varying your marathon training runs can improve strength, stamina and speed while limiting your chances of injury. Why not add fartlek training (variable speed sets) and hill runs to your routine?

3: Strengthen your core with Yoga or Pilates

Many lower limb ‘overuse’ injuries can be attributed to poor strength or activation of the core stabilisers: the gluteals, transverses abdominals, pelvic -floor and quadriceps. Yoga or Pilates is an excellent way to improve core strength and balance.


4: Don’t ignore injuries

If you experience pain, your body is trying to tell you something; so see a physiotherapist. And while you’re at it, they will be able to re-assess any old injuries to see if they’re likely to cause problems down the line.

We can help

At Black Pear Physiotherapy we offer a range of treatments and services to help you stay injury-free from day one of your training to the finish line.

Contact us on 01905 611 010 to make an appointment and we’ll help get you not only get to, but also get through, your next marathon.

Physio is one of the best ways to get your life back following a skiing injury

One of the most popular holidays during the early part of the year is a skiing trip.

The only problem with skiing or snowboarding is, that whilst they can be exhilarating and fun, for some people they can lead to an accident.

Doing all you can to guard against this is therefore, terribly important.

Preventing injury

As any experienced skier will tell you, accidents are most likely to occur when you’re not fully prepared or when your concentration is waning.

Failure to prepare means not taking the right kind of pre-trip exercise such as boosting your knee, leg and back muscle fitness and concentration is most likely to be lost when you’re tired and it’s the end of the day.

Frustrating injuries

Common injuries on the piste include torn or bruised leg or arm ligaments, tendons and muscles as well as painful twisted knees and broken limbs.

Frustratingly, anyone who is injured may find it takes them a long time to get well.

The quickest way back

The best and fastest way to get your life back to normal after a skiing injury is to hire a professional physiotherapist.

Here at Black Pear Physio we’ve been treating professional and amateur sportsmen and women for over 25 years.

Bespoke therapies

Our extensive range of therapies include joint manipulation, rehabilitation, acupuncture and pain management and they can all be adapted and integrated to meet your requirements.

We’re proud therefore to have one of the best track records in the region for getting people back to normal health.

Call today

If you’ve suffered a sports injury and you’d love to get back to your usual levels of physical activity, then call Black Pear Physio today on 01905 611010.

 

Knee Ligament Injuries

Knee Ligament Injuries

What is a Knee Ligament?

A ligament is a short band of tough fibrous connective tissue composed mainly of long, stringy collagen molecules. Ligaments connect bones to other bones in and around joints. They do not connect muscles to bones; that is the function of tendons. Ligaments limit the amount of mobility of a joint, or prevent certain movements altogether.

What Causes Knee Ligament Injuries?

You can injure a ligament through a sharp change in direction, landing wrong from a jump, or the most common a blunt force hit to the knee, such as in a football tackle. The incident usually needs to happen at speed. Muscle weakness or incoordination predispose you to a ligament sprain or tear.

Major Knee Ligaments

ACL: Anterior Cruciate Ligament
PCL: Posterior Cruciate Ligament
MCL: Medial Collateral Ligament
LCL: Lateral Collateral Ligament Coronary Ligament
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Symptoms & Severity of Knee Ligament Injuries?

The severity and symptoms of a ligament sprain depends on the degree of stretching or tearing of the ligament.

In a mild grade I sprain, the ligaments may stretch, but they don’t actually tear. Although the joint may not hurt or swell very much, a mild sprain can increase the risk of a repeat injury.

Grade I sprains usually heal within a few weeks. Maximal ligament strength will occur after six weeks when the collagen fibres have matured. Resting from painful activity, icing the injury, and some anti-inflammatory medications are useful. Physiotherapy will help to hasten the healing process via electrical modalities, massage, strengthening and joint exercises to guide the direction that the ligament fibres heal. This helps to prevent a future tear. A moderate grade II sprain, the ligament tears partially. Swelling and bruising are common, and use of the joint is usually painful and difficult.

When a grade II sprain occurs, use of a weight-bearing brace or some supportive taping is common in early treatment. This helps to ease the pain and avoid stretching of the healing ligament. After a grade II injury, you can usually return to activity once the joint is stable and you are no longer having pain. This may take up to six weeks. Physiotherapy helps to hasten the healing process via electrical modalities, massage, strengthening and joint exercises to guide the direction that the ligament fibres heal. This helps to prevent a future tear and quickly return you to your pre-injury status. With a severe grade III sprain, a ligament tears completely, causing swelling and sometimes bleeding under the skin. As a result, the joint is unstable and unable to bear weight. Often there will be no pain following a grade 3 tear as all of the pain fibres are torn at the time of injury.

When a grade III injury occurs, you usually wear a hinged knee brace to protect the injury from weight-bearing stresses. The aim is to allow for ligament healing and gradually return to normal activities. These injuries are most successfully treated via physiotherapy and may not return to their full level of activity for 3 to 4 months. Definitely seek professional advice in these cases.

Common Rugby Injuries

Rugby is a fast-moving and high intensity team sport. Although historically dominated by males, the sport is gaining popularity among females.

As many as 1 in 4 rugby players will be injured during the season. On average each player performs 20- 40 tackles per match. Rugby injury rates are reported to be nearly three times higher than football.

When Do Rugby Injuries Occur?

  • More injuries occur during matches (57%) than in training, and more often in the second half of the game.
  • Approximately half of all injuries occur while a player is tackling or being tackled.

Which Rugby Players Suffer the Most Injuries?

  • Statistically Hookers and flankers sustain the most injuries.
  • Forwards are more frequently injured than backs because of their greater involvement in physical collisions and tackles.
  • In the backs, wings, fullbacks and centres are at the highest risk of injury.
  • In the scrum, the locks are at greatest risk of facial cuts and cauliflower ear (external deformity to the ear caused by repeated blows).
  • Players in rucks and mauls commonly suffer injuries to fingers and thumbs as well as abrasions and lacerations from cleats.

What Kinds of Injuries Occur in Rugby?

  • Over 40% of injuries are muscular strains or contusions (bruising), 30% are sprains, followed by dislocations, fractures, lacerations, and overuse injuries.
  • Sprained ankles are a common injury with ankle sprains representing almost 1 in 7 rugby injuries.
  • Between 5-25% of rugby injuries are head injuries, including concussions.
  • In youth aged 10-18 years, 35% of injuries are fractures, of which 24% involve the clavicle.
  • Superficial injuries represent 20% of rugby injuries, followed by head injuries and sprains (16%).
  • Of the head injuries, 44% are concussions.

Prevention strategies in Rugby

More injuries occur at the beginning of a season, suggesting that pre-season conditioning could reduce injuries.

A pre-season conditioning program should gradually increase in intensity and duration to prepare athletes for competition.

Injury prevention strategies to reduce the incidence, severity and cost of rugby injuries could include coaching on defensive skills, correct tackling technique, correct falling technique and methods to minimize the absorption of impact forces in tackles.

To reduce scrummaging injuries at lower rugby levels, props should crouch, touch, pause and then engage. This technique is called Depowering the Scrum. Another alternative is Sequential Engagement where the front rows engage first and then the second row joins in, so that a stable scrum is established.

 

As the rugby season approaches, make sure you stay safe.

Black Pear Physio are proud to be a Worcester Warriors affiliate partners, so for any season ticket holders check out your special offer on discount for treatment.

 

Physiotherapy and Cycling Injuries

 

Cycling regularly brings benefits your health at all ages in many types of ways, whether riding for recreation, as a serious competitor, or professionally.

Physiotherapists can use their knowledge and expertise to provide guidance on cycling posture and the setup of your bike to ensure you enjoy those benefits in a pain and injury free way.

Cyclists may incur many injuries that would benefit from seeing a physiotherapist. Broadly, these injuries fall into two main categories: overuse and traumatic.

Overuse injuries most commonly includes knee pain, back pain, and Achilles tendon problems.

Cycling is a highly repetitive sport – an average cyclist might perform well over 4,000 revolutions an hour depending on what level they are performing at so it is quite understandable how small problems can become big issues over time.

Traumatic injuries are most commonly as a result of accidents from falls and crashes at higher speeds or collisions with stable objects. Therefore, wearing safety equipment is vitally important.

The bike set up is also vitally important as one wrong adjustment could cause significant damage in light of the repetitiveness of the sport and potential distance travelled.

Inappropriate bicycle set up can often involve factors such as wrong seat height, poor foot and ankle position on the pedal causing an overload and incorrect distance from the seat to the handlebars creating stress on the back and neck.

Common injuries in cycling include:

  • Knee Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Lower back Pain

Our Physiotherapists at Black Pear Physiotherapy can help with the above and advise you on your next steps to efficient and enjoyable cycling.

Boom Bust Cycle in Young Children and adolescents

40% of all youth (children, teenager and adolescents) injuries are sports-related. Overall, male and female injury rates are becoming equal due to a gradually increasing female participation rate. Injuries related to sports participation fall into two types of trauma:

• Macro (due to a single traumatic event eg fracture)
• Micro (due to repetitive overuse trauma).

Injuries in the young athlete are often trivialised. They are usually asked or encouraged to “toughen up and play through the pain”. This approach is not in the young athlete’s best interest for the following reasons:

• It often leads to delayed healing and return to sports
• It can turn an easily treatable injury into one that becomes difficult to treat and in some cases; it can result in a permanent injury that precludes sports participation.

An accurate diagnosis is essential. Your physiotherapist can make the diagnosis via the injury history and performing a physical examination. While special tests can be helpful, in certain circumstances an accurate diagnosis can be made 90% of the time by taking a good history and performing a systematic examination of the injuries area.

Boom Bust Cycle

Going back to the focal area of topic, most overuse injuries, such as stress fractures, Osgood Schlatters Disease and tendonitis, are preventable or at least manageable. It is important to decrease the child’s activity levels until you seek medical intervention. Total rest is not always the right option for a period of time as this can be detrimental to the individual as the body response quicker to inactivity than activity. Muscles have the potential to waste away quicker than build muscle bulk which may hinder recovery and rehabilitation.

Preventable strategies

• Allow your child/children play at their own pace.

• Encourage your child to start getting into shape and conditioning a month or so before any team sports are to begin

• Emphasize stretching and flexibility exercises

• Correct footwear and equipment are fitted correctly

• Ensure a good warm up and cool down are done

• Seek help from an experienced physiotherapist on preventative and recovery strategies that have worked with children and in a sporting environment.

More on our Boom Bust Cycle soon…..