One of the most common questions I get from my patients is, “Why did my injury happen?”. Some sports, such as running, as many as 65% of people will have an injury in any given year. Aside from obvious trauma, there are only 4 causes of sports injury. Eliminate these and you eliminate sports injury.
1. Improper footwear.
Ever see someone going out for a run in their tennis shoes? What a terrible idea! Whatever your sport, you need to get the proper footwear. And this involves more than buying running shoes for running or football boots for football.
There are 3 basic foot types: pronators (those who have a fallen arch and tend to walk more on the inside of their feet), supinators (those who favour the outside aspect of their foot) and neutral. You also need to consider your running style; heavy foot striker, forefoot runner, trail runner, pavement runner, short or long distance, etc. Your best bet is to go to an independent sports shop, especially one which knows the sport. For advice on running, we highly recommend speaking to Greg Fine at Torbay Athletic Club. If you can avoid the larger stores where the employees may not have the correct knowledge of the products suitable for your needs, you could shop locally which benefits you and the community as a whole. I often use ProDirect for my running clothes and speak with the team at IronBridge Runner for information on the correct shoe. Trust me… get your footwear right or you are asking for trouble.
2. Improper training.
All too often when someone starts a new sport they build too quickly in terms of training time or effort. They get excited by the quick improvements and want to go and go and go until they burn out… Here’s the problem, your cardiovascular fitness builds very quickly. Your heart and lung capacity comes along in leaps and bounds and you will quickly lay down extra blood vessels in the muscles you are using. However, it takes a lot longer for the support structures, such as ligaments and muscles, to respond to the increased demands of the sport. Eventually the cardiovascular fitness outstrips what the support structures are able to keep up with and injury results.
Build slowly. If training for a particular event, make sure you have enough time to adequately prepare. A very good rule of thumb with running is the 10% rule: never increase your running any more than 10% weekly. Yes, of course the first time you run will grow tediously slowly, but you will lay down a good foundation to build upon and won’t be sidelined with injury.
3. Improper Recovery.
With sport, recovery is just as important as training. With higher impact sports that involve running this is particularly the case. When you exercise, you will create micro-damage in your muscles and connective tissue. It takes time to repair this damage. If you don’t allow for recovery this micro-damage will accumulate and lead to unwanted injuries!
Remember… recovery isn’t just about time either. Good nutrition will allow for a faster recovery time. Speak to one of our chiropractors to find out more.
4. Improper mechanics.
There are two aspects to this. First of all, you can exercise using poor form, such as a golfer using a bad swing. If new to a sport, consider taking lessons or joining a clinic. Secondly, joint fixations, ligament laxity or overly tight muscles can lead to injury. A good chiropractor should be able to help you with this. In our clinic, we complete a full functional assessment with any sports injury or condition presented to us. It takes some time, approximately 30 to 45 minutes, but it’s important to correctly identify the source of the problem. I recommend that everybody undergoes a biomechanical assessment before undertaking a new sport and keep a regular checkup the way they do with their dentist. Why wait for injury to arise before addressing any poor mechanics?…prevention is always better than the cure!