Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Injury Prevention continued...

My good friend Dave Garrett, a leading injury rehabilitation specialist (as well as a whole lot more!) has posted a lovely comment on my last blog post. I think it is so worthy that I have given it a full blog post - so we can all learn!

It is the work and knowledge of trusted friends like Dave on which I base my practice. And where my knowledge only goes so far, I know where to go for the complete picture!

Thanks Dave, you've completed a great day's learning for me.

"Great post Gary with some sound advice.

It is commonly the case that people stick to what they are good at and overlook (or out right avoid) the exercises they find difficult, boring or just dont know about. This can create muscle imbalances or biomechanical faults that put competitors in a position where injury is inevitable... not just a risk.

From a musculoskeletal rehabilitation perspective the common biomechanical areas which need to be addressed in our patients are:

Muscle tightness

When muscles become stonger, they grow. When they grow, they become tighter, when they become tighter they then pull our joints out of alignment. If our joints are out of alignment the workload of complex functional movements becomes inefficient and leads to the body working against itself which in turn can lead to injuries regardless of the sporting environment.

Muscle weakness

On the other side of the spectrum are weak muscles. If a muscle is weak then it may not be capable of producing the movements it is designed for. Since the body will naturally find a way to perform a required movement anyway, often the wrong muscles become involved which again causes imbalances.

Joint stability

Each joint has a group of muscles which stabilise it and a set of muscles designed to move it. Some examples of the stability muscles are the core stabilisers (which stabilise the lubar spine) and the rotator cuff (which dynamically stabilise the shoulder joint). To train the stability muscles a low load approach is required as these muscles are generally slow twitch. By having good control of the stability muscles the risk of joint injuries is lessened.

Balance and Propriocetion.

Balance describes the ability to keep the body in equilibrium, proprioception is the system which provides sensory information to the brain where the body is in space (an example of this system is experienced when you almost twist your ankle whilst running but manage to save it). When these systems are firing muscles work more efficiently and the risk of injury is reduced. Training these systems can take pressure off of an existing injury.

As for muscle cramps there are many different theories on why they occur, nutrition can be a factor, specifically dehydration in endurance type activites.

Vigourous activity is often related to muscle cramps... if frequently occuring in a specific muscle, maybe there is a biomechanical imbalance causing that muscle to overwork.

Dave Garrett"

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