Meet Capital Physio, our new official physio partner who are here to help you with all manner of sports-related injuries, sports massage and rehab. They tell us some of the most common sport related injuries they see and advice on how to prevent them from happening to you.
Rotator Cuff Tear
Is this you?
- Throughout the day I hunch over my desk with my shoulders rolled forward
- I go to the gym and train on the bench press, military press and lateral raises for that awesome pump and swell to look great in a T- shirt
- I’ve joined an Olympic lifting class, or Frame Fitness class, but I can only attend the heavy shoulder days, or avoid the warm-up and mobility sessions
All of the above can lead to a rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that stabilises the shoulder joint. If you have poor balance between your trapezius, lats, deltoid and rotator cuff you can easily damage its fibres.
Ensure you do some rotator cuff strengthening at least once a week. We usually start our patients on cables or resistance bands. Keep hydrated as most tears occur due to dehydration. Foam roller your upper back to ensure you have good upper back extension – this can help you achieve better shoulder mobility.
Is this you?
- I go to the gym after a busy day at work and jump straight into a spin class. I’ve started getting knee pain
- I’m trying to build up my runs for cardio to get me through an obstacle race
- I’ve just bought snazzy new trainers from a running shop which I’ve been told are great for shock absorbing . My achilles is painful, but I’ve been told to run through it.
- Me and the lads/lasses are working on our chin-ups, we are aiming for 100 but my biceps are playing up.
All of the above are very typical complaints of how people get tendonitis. Tendonitis occurs where the attachment of a muscle joins the bone and gets over loaded repetitively, and starts to inflame and become irritable. This can affect your biceps, achilles, rotator cuff or patella. Tendonitis can often feel more comfortable as you progress into the activity, but feel worse with rest. This can happen when someone has poor mechanical alignment, such as from poor shoulder blade control, rotator cuff or glutes weakness. This can also be due to poor foot and ankle biomechanics, such as with achilles tendonitis.
If you get one of these pains, stop the activity! We don’t advise that you fully rest the area, but you will need a graded loading programme (this needs explanation as I don't know what this means, is it rehab?). Ensure you have a graded running programme, or better still, if you are building your cardio you could do this on a static bike or rower to avoid heavy joint loading. Many people require orthotic devices for running, or a more structured shoe. It’s best to consult your physiotherapist or a podiatrist to find out what’s best for you.
Strain and spasm
Is this you?
- I can deadlift 200kg but rarely warm-up beforehand, and I’ve been told my glutes don’t fire
- I just started box jumps, but I can’t find the box I used last week so I just use a higher one
- I’m practicing backwards rolls and haven't any neck mobility before class?
- I’ve no idea how to use a kettlebell, so I try to copy the person in front of me
A muscle strain is where you get a tear in the muscle fibres. This will not always show an obvious bruise or swelling. The feeling can be horrific – like a stabbing pain in the muscle. Usually you would be unable to perform any further reps due to pain or poor mobility. Spasms can occur due to dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities or overuse.
Eat plenty of protein, and add some carbohydrate to help to rebuild muscle and restore glycogen after a work out to avoid overuse injuries. Keep hydrated during your training sessions. Foam roller and stretch all muscle groups before training, or even attend a yoga class. Try saunas and heat packs to warm muscles pre-workout. Many people also find regular deep tissue massage can prevent this type of injury.
Anterior knee pain (PFPS: patellofemoral pain syndrome)
Is this you?
- I’m a Sunday runner, and I always get pain at the front of my knees when I run more than 5km
- When I’m spinning I try and come out of the saddle, but my knee doesn’t like it
- My Illiotibial band is tight, and my personal trainer tells me I need to strengthen my glutes
- When I squat my knees track inwards and my feet roll in
PFPS is described as pain under or around the kneecap (patella). It’s often associated with sitting prolonged periods at a desk, poor hip-to-foot alignment, and reduced strength of hip abductors, such as the glute muscles. The above can be due to flat feet, ineffective dorsi-flexion of the foot, ITB (iliotibial band) and groin (adductor) tightness.
Try running on soft ground or a treadmill instead of road running, this will have less impact on your knees. Try some glutes strengthening such as side lying banded clams. Custom-made orthotics are a great way to get deeper into your squat without your knees moving towards your midline. Pilates classes are also a great way to strengthen your core to stabilise you on the spin bike.
Is this you?
- When I deadlift I pull from my lower back, and have severe backache after training
- When I spar in MMA and go for a back suplex, I felt a sharp pain down my buttock
- After training I put away my kettlebells by lifting them off the floor without bending at my knees
- When I’ve not warmed up I feel tweaks on my back when I’m working on the the leg press machine
Your lower back (lumbar spine) is comprised of five spinal segments (vertebrae) between each of these is a disc with a fibrous outer rim and a soft centre. The discs degenerate over time and dehydrate therefore reducing their ability to shock absorb. A disc prolapse or protrusion is often caused by an action that flexes and rotates the spine. Lower back and glutes weakness can cause this to happen more easily. You may get pain into your leg due to the disc affecting a spinal nerve root.
Speak to a PT or gym instructor for appropriate form when deadlifting as this is vital to prevent injuries. Ensure you are not performing moves and exercises at too high a level, that you’re not conditioned for. Always gradually increase the weight you are lifting and never jump into a higher load without a warm-up set. Move equipment carefully, bend at the knees, and lift and carry equipment close to your body.
These services are available to both members and non-members in two treatment rooms, to find out more for to book visit Capital Physio or give them a call on 033 0333 0435