Stay on the pitch all summer long, reduce your injuries and up your game
I want to maximise your health so you can stay on the pitch all summer long, reduce your injuries and stay on top of your game!
The warmer weather is here, the summer sporting season is in full swing will you be able to stay on the pitch all summer long?
How is your season going?
Are you still swinging that golf club or tennis racket as well as you were at the beginning of the season?
Are you slightly off your game when kicking the ball?
Just feeling fatigued?
Is that niggle becoming more troublesome?
Feeling the strain already?
Let’s face it, we abuse out body every single day. Poor sleep, nutrition, dehydration and stress are the main culprits.
Add a regular sporting activity on top of that and something has to give.
Read on to find out the main issues I see regularly and how to avoid them so you can play all summer long and not sit on the side lines.
What is an RSI / Overuse Injury
When we use the body in a repetitive way over time, fatigue, aches and pains creep in.
Every sport has its own techniques and actions. The more we practice or play the more we are going to repeat certain actions over and over and over ….
Unless we leave sufficient time between playing, training or matches an overuse injury will occur.
If you are learning a new skill or sport the stress on your body will be increased.
Most of the time we ignore them but in the longer term, they come back and bite us BIG time!
This is when we really start to feel pain or we acknowledge we have an injury or ongoing condition.
Your next step is whether to seek help and get back to your sport asap or abuse your body even more and ignore the injury or condition, playing on, using pain relief, strapping and doing even more damage to an already damaged area.
Even worse your body is incredibly clever and will compensate when there is an injury which often results on another injury. So, you now have 2 injuries or more!
Skills and techniques
Master your techniques before progressing in level of difficulty in your game.
Get the basics right, these will form a solid foundation for everything else to be built on.
Rest days are the important days. This is when your body naturally heals and strengthens itself ready for the next game or match. By incorporating non playing days, your body has more of a chance to keep you on the pitch without any injuries.
This includes sleep! Sleep is underestimated in its powers to heal and restore.
I know you will all laugh at my next comment but really try and get 7 -8 hours good quality sleep every night.
Check out my blog about being a gold medallist sleeper for sleep tips.
Always perform some kind of warm up at the start of your game, match or training.
This can be in the way of aerobic exercise, specific movement rehearsal and dynamic stretching.
In general, a small raise in body temperature will increase blood flow, muscle temperature and lubricates the joints ready for action.
Mental rehearsal and mindset preparation also key areas of a warm up and can make a huge difference to your performance.
Post activity, where appropriate, reduce your activity gradually and incorporate stretches to encourage the muscles to return to their normal functional length.
Stretching has been shown to reduce that nasty tight and sometimes painful feeling 24 – 48 hours after exercise know as DOMs. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
Ice baths are quite popular at the moment and again research shows it may help some people to recover more quickly but it is not conclusive.
Common Issues I See
They are susceptible to overuse injuries and chronic conditions (issues that annoy you for a long time!) in racket sports, golf, cricket and even weight lifting.
What’s the Difference?
Tennis elbow will affect the outside of the elbow and forearm.
Golfers elbow affects the inside of the elbow.
Both conditions are annoying, painful and can stop you from playing.
The action of swinging the racket or the club continuously with force against an object leads to stresses in the joints.
These conditions are not confined to their namesakes. Any sport or activity involving throwing, hitting or lifting repeatedly even housework can lead to the condition.
Symptoms such as heat, sometimes swelling, aching or a sharper pain accompanies both issues. The condition affects daily movements like gripping, bending and straightening the arm.
In fact, a lot of the movements that you make throughout the day and probably in your work as well. Hence while these are tiresome issues!
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles that work together to stabilise the shoulder.
A tear will often occur after a sudden overhead movement.
Associated with sports like volleyball. swimming and tennis.
Symptoms include heat, limited movement, severe pain and a weakness in that shoulder.
Daily movements like washing your hair will be really difficult.
A common condition in the hip is a Bursitis.
The hip joint becomes inflamed, overworked and really grumpy.
Pain travels across the hip joint, lower back and down the outside of the leg on that side.
Pain maybe in the form of burning or aching and it is uncomfortable to lie on that side.
A groin strain is caused by over reaching when sprinting or kicking a ball and can also be from a sudden changes in direction.
Sports related to these injuries are of course, football, hockey and tennis.
Muscle strains can be caused by any of the following sports that involve sudden or explosive twisting or rotation. For example golf, cricket and gymnastics.
Pushing or pulling in a rugby match or even just a hard work out in the gym on the bench press could cause a potential back injury.
Fatigue can lead to injury as well.
As the muscle loses power and energy, it has to work harder to deliver . Therefore it actually becomes weaker and more prone to injury.
Can be felt as a dull ache and tenderness down the front of the leg during exercise.
Any activity that makes you walk or run faster than normal during a spell of movement can bring on this sensation.
A change in surface can have a similar effect.
Help! What do I need to do?
For any of these conditions or injuries the first thing is to stop the activity immediately.
Protect the area from further damage and support it to alleviate the weight and prevent further compensation or muscle fatigue.
Then rest the area!
Yes unfortunately, as reluctant as you are, you should stop the activity that is causing the issue.
Alternative ways of training / exercising may be possible depending on your situation.
In my experience, ice can help to reduce the pain and by using an ice pack several times during the day, you can alleviate the sensation of pain around the area.
Never apply ice directly to the skin always wrap in a tea towel or similar and for 10 mins maximum every 3 – 4 hours.
Can limit the amount of swelling to the area. A good old TubigripTM type bandage will do the job.
Ideally you want the compression to extend at least 6 inches above and below the injured area.
Any change in sensation or pins and needles in the compressed area, remove immediately and seek medical help.
Raise the area where possible to lower blood pressure and encourage drainage and reduce swelling.
Ensure the affected area is well supported with pillows, cushions chairs and so on.
Over the Counter Pain Killers
I cannot recommend the use of these medications as it would be unprofessional but I want to give you the information so you know the differences and can then make an informed decision.
Always follow the dosage guidance contained within the product.
Pain killers such as paracetamol may also help to reduce the pain and can take up to an hour to work.
Ibuprofen and similar medications may help to reduce the inflammation in and around the joint and muscles and can have an affect within 30 minutes.
Beware of stomach irritation though!
Ibuprofen gels may also be effective but take longer to work and you are less likely to overdose on it. Use every 3 – 4 hours and never apply to broken skin or sensitive areas.
Hands on Therapy
Correct massage therapy can have a really positive impact on your recovery. I highly recommend incorporating specific stretches and strengthening exercises to prevent recurrence of the problem.
The use of rehab and fitness products can often help get you back on the pitch more quickly too.
For example, I supply and use physio balls, resistance bands, arnica gel and ice/ heat packs to enhance your recovery programme and prevent the problem coming back.
Along with the appropriate corrective exercises you can continue your recovery at home.
A regular monthly massage treatment can help keep you in good nick and iron out any issues before they become a larger problem.
I love this using this within my treatments for a variety of conditions and injuries. it can also be used as a preventive measure.
A Few Benefits
The tape is non invasive and non pharmaceutical and hypoallergenic.
It helps to naturally assist the body to heal, drain and recover more easily and usually more quickly compared to not using it.
As a result, once taped, the affected area feels more stable, supported and secure.
It promotes healthy circulation by increasing blood flow and allowing more unwanted waste products to be removed.
Pain can be reduced when wearing it.
It comes in all sorts of colours and patterns too!
My favourite mobile device in my armoury!
A highly effective but gentle and relaxing treatment.
Negative pressure = positive results!
A small bag of magic that gives big results and is currently the only one* in private practice in the North East of Scotland.
Using variable negative pressures similar to cupping, tissues can be lifted allowing an increase in healthy blood flow which boosts healing and recovery. In response, the waste products are encouraged into the lymphatic system for faster removal, reducing excess swelling and pain.
Try not to be an ostrich and stick your head in the sand if you have an issue, niggle or injury.
Stop the activity, follow PRICE in the advice above, seek professional help and prevent recurrence by warming up and cooling down and of course booking a regular therapeutic massage session with me!
If you have any questions or would like more specific advice please contact me, I’ll be glad to help.
Wishing you all a safe and happy summer of sport and stay on the pitch not on the side lines!
* currently the one LymphaTouch in private practice in the NE Scotland as of June 2022.