Common Football/Soccer Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Another world cup is here! With soccer season in full swing, it’s important to take care of yourself. Whether you are a pro athlete, a weekend warrior or anything in between, if you play soccer, you need to take care of your body.

Injuries to the lower extremities are the most common in soccer players. These injuries are generally defined as either cumulative (overuse) or acute (traumatic) injuries.

Overuse injuries occur over time due to stress on the muscles, joints and soft tissues without proper time for healing. They begin as a small, nagging ache or pain, and can grow into a debilitating injury if they aren’t treated early.

Acute or traumatic injuries occur due to a sudden force, or impact, and can be quite dramatic.

Common Football Injuries

Ankle Sprains: The most common of all ankle injuries, an ankle sprain occurs when there is a stretching and tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint.

Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis is a chronic injury that occurs primarily from overuse and it felt as pain in the back of the ankle. If this is ignored it may increase your risk of Achilles tendon rupture.

Groin Pull: A groin (adductor) pull or strain occurs when the muscles of the inner thigh are stretched beyond their limits.

Hamstring Pull, Tear, or Strain: Hamstring injuries are common among runners and can range from minor strains to total rupture of the muscle at the back of the thigh.

Knee Injuries:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injuries

Ligament injuries to the knee are very common in sports that require stopping and starting or quickly changing directions.

Cruciate ligament injuries don’t always cause pain, but typically cause a loud “pop.” Most of these injuries are confirmed with an MRI. Arthroscopic surgery is sometimes the best way to find a partial tear.

Torn Knee Cartilage (Meniscus Injuries): Torn knee cartilage is usually a torn meniscus.

These small, “C” shaped pieces of cartilage act as cushions between the thigh bone (femur) and the tibia (shin bone). Meniscus tears are often the result of twisting, pivoting, decelerating, or a sudden impact. It can be identified by various manual tests a physician can perform to detect torn cartilage.

 

How to Prevent Injuries

As mentioned above, some injuries are from bad management and some are from bad luck. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the things you can do to prevent overuse injuries.

Maintain fitness.

Be sure you are in good physical condition at the start of soccer season. During the off-season, stick to a balanced fitness program that incorporates aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility. If you are out of shape at the start of the season, gradually increase your activity level and slowly build back up to a higher fitness level.

 

Warm up

Always take time to warm up and stretch, especially your hips, knees, thighs and calves. Research studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up with jumping jacks, stationary cycling or running or walking in place for 3 to 5 minutes. Then slowly and gently stretch, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

Check out the FIFA 11+ which has shown to prevent injuries in soccer.

Here is Part 1 of 11

Here is Part 2 of 11

 

Cool down

Stretching at the end of practice is too often neglected because of busy schedules. Stretching can help reduce muscle soreness and keep muscles long and flexible. Be sure to stretch after each training practice to reduce your risk for injury.

Hydrate

Even mild levels of dehydration can hinder athletic performance. If you have not had enough fluids, your body will not be able to effectively cool itself through sweat and evaporation.

Sports Massage

It’s the best way to aid recovery in your exercise program. Helps improve circulation, improve range of motion, shorten recovery time, prevent and even heal injuries.

 

Benefits from Sports Massage

The sports massage actually came from the Swedish massage technique. Geared specifically to the athlete, this massage focuses on muscles that have seen a large degree of stress and use, often to the point of overuse. Normally, these are muscles that have seen repetitive and aggressive movement as a part of the overall sport or competition.

The sports massage is recognized by many in the training industry as an accepted component to an overall regimen of training and competition. This means the athlete can enhance pre-competition and reduce the required recovery period, which means a better and more intensive training session after competition. Flexibility, a necessary component of any athletic completion, is also a part.

Many do not realize it, but the sports massage has certain characteristics that make it ideal for athletes. The targeting of the muscle and tendons within the body is key for athletic training. There are several key elements to sports massage. To better understand each of these, let’s look at them separately.

Reduce muscle tension by decreasing muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise

Massage can alleviate muscle pain. If an athlete is stiff and sore due to an injury or working hard, he or she will not be performing at their peak with regular massage, muscle pain can be curbed and the athlete can perform at peak without being distracted by pain or injury. This occurs by removing lactic acid build up in the muscle and stripping the muscle of any other toxins.

 

Helps Prevent injuries

Consistent massage increases flexibility which leads to an increase in the range of motion a muscle requires. For an athlete to maintain optimal performance, they must have a high degree of flexibility. No matter which sport or sports the athlete is involved in, if a client can gain more flexibility from massage, then they will have an advantage over there competitors since massage stretches the muscle fibres, flexibility is promoted and maintained.

 

Improves blood and movement circulation

With better circulation, the athlete can breathe easier and move more smoothly. Since the practice of massage helps with blood flow, by pumping it back to the heart quicker to me oxygenated thus improving an athlete’s performance.

 

Dilates the blood vessels supplying fresh nutrients

Massage acts to dilate the blood vessels which increases the efficiency of both supplying fresh nutrients to the tissues and eliminating metabolic wastes out of the body at a faster rate.

 

Helps drain sluggish lymphatic material

Massage acts as a mechanical cleanser, helping to drain sluggish lymphatic material. Good lymphatic circulation is very important for ridding the body of toxic materials like lactic acid build up and calcium which are commonly known as ‘knots’.

 

Improves muscle tone

Massage improves muscle tone by mechanically stimulating inherent reflexes found within muscle fibres. (This is particularly important to those who do not obtain adequate daily exercise due to a sedentary lifestyle or long periods of convalescence.)

 

Prevents adhesions

When muscle fibres start to adhere together it restricts their full range of motion. Transverse massage strokes help to prevent adhesions from occurring in between the muscle fibres, again these adhesions are commonly known as knots. Adhesions build up bigger and the muscle cannot do its job to the best of its ability with the restriction stopping the flexibility in the muscle. Eg. The muscles belly becomes short and tight.

 

If you would like to book in for a sports massage to help with your recovery, give our office in North Sydney a call 02 9955-5110. Alternatively you can book online here.

The Lingering Effects of Ankle Sprains

The Lingering Effects of Ankle Sprains

By Dan Gartner and Andrew Lim

 

Everyone has experienced an ankle sprain before. But what exactly happens when you sprain your ankle and what could be the lingering effects? Read more to find out.

 

An ankle sprain is an injury of the ligaments of the ankle. Ligaments are like ropes that join bone to bone and hold the joint together in a stable and functional position. Their role is to restrict potentially damaging excessive movements of the bones and soft tissues of the joint.

 

Ankle sprains are a common injury, especially in the sporting population but not exclusively. They are commonly seen in sports that involves sudden stopping or changes of direction i.e.  football/soccer, rugby, netball and AFL.

Some ankle sprains are completely unpreventable and a result of unforeseen external factors, such as stepping on another player’s foot, or a player falling on top of you, poor ground conditions and even poor equipment (shoes). However, some ankle injuries may be preventable. Injuries that arise spontaneously without any external contributing factors, generally from poor mechanics and control of the lower limb, premature fatigue, or from lack of strength or flexibility are to a degree preventable.

 

455px-Lateral-ankle-ligaments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous ligaments in the ankle, which can be injured. Depending on the direction of the sprain, different structures can be damaged. By far the ‘inversion’ injury is the most common.

ankle sprain

During an Inversion sprain of the ankle the most common ligaments injured are the lateral ligaments and more specifically at the front of the ankle, called the anterior talo-fibular ligament or ATFL. This ligament is injured when the foot is rolled underneath (inverted).  When the body weight falls through this direction the ligaments’ breaking capacity is exceeded and the ligament tears.

There are 3 grades of injury, a grade 3 or complete rupture of these ligaments being the worst.  This is when the ligament separates from either itself or the insertion to the bone.  In either case there is excessive movement now that affects the movements and stability of the joint.

 

A lower grade sprain of the ATFL can be managed with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) and will usually resolve of its own accord in 2-4 weeks.  Rehab generally involves some re-strengthening of the lateral muscles of the leg and some re-learning of foot position sense and balance.  Grade 2 and 3 tears need to be managed more conservatively and should be assessed as early as it possible.

 

Fully recovered from a previous ankle sprain? Think again.

 

What we often observe in practice is that your pain and swelling may disappear over a few weeks to months, however quite often your ankle may still be left with limited range of motion. The irony is that patients are presenting with another complaint like foot, knee, hip or back pain) but we find the ‘weakest’ link in the lower limb is the ankle.

 

Dorsi-flexion movements or raising the foot towards the shin bone, is commonly decreased in ankle sprains, even after you think you have fully recovered. Dorsi flexion plays quite an important role in human movement. To walk, run, squat, lunge, kneel and/or move properly, you require adequate dorsi flexion in your ankle. Quite often if you lose the ability to dorsi flex your ankle another neighbouring joint will have to make up for it by moving more and working harder.

Let me give you a few examples of what can happen if you lose the ability dorsi flexion at the ankle:

  1. Foot pronates more
  2. Knee turns in more
  3. Hip turns in more

 

Single Leg squat

These are just the effects on the lower limb (we won’t touch on the torso and upper body) that result from poor ankle dorsi flexion. As you can see there are a lot of other joints that can compensate for the loss of motion at the ankle. This also increases the risk of other types of injuries (plantar fascitis and patella femoral pain) which may arise down the track if ankle dorsi flexion limitations are not addressed and managed properly.

 

So as you can see, an old ankle injury that is not rehab-ed back to a functional state can leave you at risk of having other injuries.

 

Am I at risk?

 

In practice, we use a few tests that may indicate if you have limited dorsi flexion or at risk of other lower limb injuries. A simple test that you can perform yourself at home or work is called a Knee to Wall test, performed in the video below.

 

During this test we suggest;

  1. Testing both sides with your shoes off.
  2. Use a ruler or measuring tape to get an accurate measure.
  3. Your heel needs to stay firmly on the ground during this test.
  4. Your knee needs to touch the wall at a point directly over your second toe.
  5. You need to have between 10 and 12 cm from your big toe to the wall to be considered a normal test. Anything less is considered a fail. Especially if one ankle measures less than the other (not so bad if both are equally less than 10-12cm, but still significant).

 

I have limited Dorsi Flexion in my ankle/s! What now?

 

Firstly, don’t stress!

This is a very common presentation in practice, and often overlooked as the initial pain and swelling of the previous injury has passed.

 

Secondly, a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Have you injured your ankle/s before?
  2. Do you have any other lower limb complaint on this side?
  3. Have you noticed previous injuries have always occurred on the same side as your dodgy ankle?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then most likely your limited dorsi flexion at your ankle may be contributing to poor lower limb function and increasing your risk for future (or past) lower limb injuries.

 

Prevention vs Cure

 

Finally, I would suggest consulting to one of our team at Functional Health and Performance, North Sydney for a more though assessment of your ankle and lower limb. Only after assessing you, will it be possible to formulate an appropriate treatment and rehab/prehab plan to minimise risk and prevention of future injuries to your lower limb.

 

To speak to one of our team at Functional Health and Performance in North Sydney, contact our office via email info@functionalhp.com.au or by phone 02 9955-5110 or via our online booking system.

 

 

The truth about Junior Tennis

This Easter, once again our team at North Sydney Sports and Chiropractic were providing treatment to the players of the North Shore Open, a NSTA hosted tennis tournament. This is the 7th year we have been associated with the tournament, and like other years, there were plenty of sore bodies to work on!

The tournament attracts some of Australia’s top players as well as some internationals. The number 1 seeded man and woman were Australia’s 22nd ranked male, Dane Kelly from Victoria and the WTA 358th ranked female Abigail Tere-Apisah, who both had to fight off some tough competition to take out the Championships this year.

As mentioned, this is our 7th year working this tournament, and I personally have been working on tennis players from all levels and ages for over a decade. One of the most alarming observations that I see is the number of serious injuries that are occurring in young tennis players. When I say serious injury, I’m talking about stress fractures, tendon injuries, low back pain and when I say young, I’m not talking about 20 year olds, I’m talking about 13 and 14 year olds!

Unfortunately this is not just my observation. The United States Tennis Association has identified that overuse injury and burnout is one of the major reasons non-participation in the sport.

Why is this happening?

I believe there are several reasons. Here are my thoughts.

The early specialization and professionalisation of the sport.

Tennis is an early initialisation sport but a late specialisation sport. Meaning players start playing at a young age, but should specialize in it once physical maturity has been developed.

Unfortunately this is not the trend that we are seeing. Due to the investment of stakeholders in the sport, and the incentives for competitive success we are seeing that kids are specialising in tennis earlier than ever.

This is happening in all sports, not just tennis. But in tennis, there appears to be so many options for school aged kids now more than ever. Tennis academies, full time players, schooling via correspondence, college scholarships and sponsorships. These are just some of the few options that are within reach of most players in this day and age. It also means that more players are taking tennis much more seriously, perhaps starting and focusing on competitive tennis at a much earlier age than before.

I’m sure you have heard of ‘the 10,000 hour rule’ which hypothesizes that after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, you will master your chosen skill. So if we apply this rule to tennis; if I practice or play 5 hours a day, 5 days of the week, for 50 weeks a year, that equals 1250 hours a year. That would take me 8 years to master the craft of tennis. So if the average player starts at 10 years old, then by 18, they will have mastered the game of tennis.

However, the recent trend  in the ATP and WTA show us that that 10,000 hour rule maybe more like the 20,000 hour rule. In 2015 the ATP released some new statistics that showed the average age of the top 100 WTA/ATP player was 28 years old. (Most people suggest the top 100 is the benchmark for success as a player as it pretty much guarantees automatic entry to the Grand Slam events, which means you are guaranteed a meal ticket at four events a year!) This year’s Australian Open hosted a whole bunch of mature aged (30+ year olds) players reaching the 2nd week. Not to mention Roger Federer’s recent run of success at almost 36 years old. If he keeps going, he’ll give our very own Ken Rosewell a run for his money!

So the trend in tennis is that older players are having more success, however if we are starting competitive tennis from a younger age, there is a longer period of time that an individual has to stay healthy, stay competitive, stay motivated, stay financially viable and endure lack of success at high level tournaments.

The asymmetrical, physical and repetitive nature of the sport.

No doubt tennis breeds asymmetries and imbalanced bodies. Just look at any player’s dominant arm to see evidence of this, Rafael Nadal most notably. Tennis is a also a highly physical sport. It engages all muscles of the body. It pushes you to the extreme ranges of movement. You can be on court for hours at a time maintaining the same level of intensity that you did in the first game of the match. Power, speed, strength, endurance, flexibility, concentration and much more are pushed to the limits during tournament play.  There are not too many sports that can replicate this.

Add the repetitive nature of sport and here is a good way to break down healthy bodies. The definition of an overuse injury is any injury to your body’s tissue that is a result of repetitive stress without allowing appropriate time to heal. If you have ever attended any tennis tournament recently, they are the perfect way of creating overuse injuries. Multiple matches a day, inappropriate scheduling of matches, not enough courts. These are just a few reasons why players just can’t perform at their optimal level.

Now add immature, undeveloped bodies into the mix and it is a recipe for a potentially a career changing problem.

Lack of awareness and knowledge on Injury Prevention.

Injury prevention research is a relatively new part of sports science and it seems right now most of the focus is going into finding new and faster recovery techniques. That is, finding ways of speeding up a player’s recovery time so that they can perform at their best sooner and more often. Most sports organisations now use GPS tracking to monitor the workload of players, so when they have been training or performing at higher than normal levels, they can predict and stop injuries from occuring simply by monitoring fatigue and workload.  Although this is where the money is being spent by larger sporting clubs like FC Barcelona or Real Madrid, this is not quite the convention yet at lower levels of sports.

Players, coaches and parents need to be informed and educated on these matters. Having the right support team (coach, trainer, physical therapist, medical doctor, psychologist, dietician, friends and family) around players to ensure they are getting the right advice. Everyone involved in the support team need to be working on common goals of the player, to stay healthy, to develop the athlete and perform at optimal levels at all times.

Working at these low level tournaments, it is quite evident that this is not what is happening. Without pointing fingers or shifting blame, there is so much information for a tennis player/parent to know, it is impossible for young athletes and parents to stay current on the latest science and medicine of tennis. At tournaments, I’m always getting asked questions such as ‘What do I eat during the match? What stretches or exercises do I do? What do I do before and after each match?’.  This should be common knowledge for tennis players, hence why having the right support team around is key.

With all that being said, what now?

We believe the first and important step in Injury Prevention is a screening. A screening is an objective assessment that simply flags normal or abnormal findings. Anything that is abnormal is followed up and examined closely, with the intention to correct it. Like a routine blood test with your GP.

With our years of experience working with tennis players, we have developed a procedure that screens tennis specific movements. We call it the Tennis Movement Screen (TMS). The TMS is made up of 11 movement based tests, which are supported by the latest clinical research and used as a reliable predictor to injury. We have worked closely with our friends at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to put together the TMS. We have screened a number of juniors from the age of 10-18 years of age, with surprising results.

Once you see abnormal findings (often not painful) only then can you put in the measures (physical therapy, exercises etc) to address these often hidden issues. Unfortunately, unless you look you will never find.

If you would like to hear more info on the TMS, please contact us at info@sportsandchiro.com.au.

 

About the Author

Andrew Lim

Andrew has a Masters in Chiropractic and his interest in Sports and Injury PRevention has led him to treat many athletes from junior to elite levels in many sports including tennis, golf, athletics, cycling, pole dancing, body building, power lifting and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. In 2009, Andrew was invited to work with a group of ATP Top 50 tennis players at the Australian Open. Other sporting events include World Masters Games, Oxfam Trailwalker, Port Macquarie Ironman, North Shore Open Tennis Tournament and Manly Seaside Tennis Tournament.

He provides corrective exercise rehabilitation as well as injury management and biomechanical correction as part of the performance based chiropractic care. Andrew has undergone training in optimizing running biomechanics with video analysis, with the specific aim at reducing and preventing injuries.

Recently, Andrew has completed his certification from the International Tennis Performance Association as a Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS). This certification allows him to work closely with competitive tennis players from junior to ATP/WTA Level (and everything in between), with the confidence that they are in good hands.

Andrew has lectured and tutored Human Anatomy at Macquarie University. Part of his role at the university involved dissecting and preparing specimens for study. The specialisation in this area allows a greater understanding of the human body and so leads to a better understanding of his patient’s problem and how to manage them. Previously, Andrew has been a Clinic Supervisor at Macquarie University Student Clinic where he was involved in the training of future Chiropractors.

In his spare time, Andrew loves to watch all sports particularly tennis, soccer and rugby league. Andrew is a competitive tennis player who still loves to get out on the court for a regular bash, when his 2 beautiful kids allow him to.

Save

Save

This may explain why you constantly have poor posture

One of the most basic body functions that is often overlooked or considered is breathing. Why is breathing so important? How do you assess your breathing? What problems do poor breathing habits result in?

Read on as Scott Bessant our new chiropractor and breathing expert will answer all these questions.

Why is correct breathing so important?

1. Oxygen
It might seem obvious, but the primary benefit of breathing is of course, oxygen. Oxygen has the very inviting side effect of keeping us alive but it also plays a vital role in keeping the chemistry of our body balanced. When we have a full and correct expansion of our lungs, there is a maximal uptake of oxygen into our blood and our optimal chemical balance is maintained, however when we stop utilizing the full potential of our lung fields, there is a reduction in the amount of oxygen uptake that occurs and this results in a state called metabolic acidosis, where the PH balance of our body chemistry drops and in mild cases can present with anxiety, headaches, nausea, muscle weakness and joint pain.

2. Stability and Mobility
The proper use of the diaphragm during breathing creates a cylinder of stability around the lower back and provides the capability for proper core muscle function and like anything, starting with strong foundations is the best way to ensure everything works the way it should. The best way to prevent pain and stiffness throughout the body is by optimizing stability and mobility and that starts with breathing.

3. Posture
When we breath correctly, our shoulder muscles stay relaxed, our core stays strong and our neck stays stable and what can result is an improved posture without you even being aware of the change and this means less stress and less load on our neck, shoulders and back.

 

What does a poor breathing pattern lead to?

• The most common breathing habit we see is the dominant use of our muscles of the upper chest (pectorals) and muscles of the neck (SCM and Scalenes). Unfortunately these muscles are not designed for 17, 000+ contractions each day and they become tense and create biomechanical changes that cause a painful cascade of events.

Poor Posture due to incorrect breathing

This pattern of breathing only allows for shorts, shallow breaths which in turn reduces the amount of oxygen uptake that occurs in our lungs. This can have a variety of effects on our body including anxiety, headaches and muscle pains. A tension within our muscles develops as a response to the lack of oxygen, which can be a reason for the complaints of stiffness and muscle aches.

 

• The overactivity of the muscles that are forced to work harder during poor respiration leads to a slouched posture where there is an increased load placed upon certain areas causing low back pain, neck pain and headaches amongst other problems.

 

 

What does correct breathing look like? Before we tell you, let’s take a test.

1. Sit up right on a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
3. Close your eyes and take 3 deeps breathes in.
4. Take note of where most of the expansion is coming from. If you can’t tell where it is happening, open your eyes and then do this in front of a mirror or get someone to film you from the side.

If you found most of the expansion is from your hand on your chest or upper body (i.e. chest, neck and shoulders) then unfortunately you have poor breathing pattern that may cause you some underlying problems as mentioned above.

 

When breathing correctly,

We should only use 1 muscle when breathing, the Diaphragm.

Breathing correctly
Breathing correctly

•When taking a breath in, the following occurs;
1. the diaphragm contracts and lowers
2. the lungs expand downwards and pushes the abdominal contents down and the ‘belly’ out.
3. Then a smaller expansion of the chest follows, with no elevation of the shoulders.
• When breathing out the reverse occurs, however exhalation is initiated by the relaxation of the Diaphragm.

 

 

Why do I have a poor breathing pattern?

This is not a simple question to answer as you may have had a poor breathing pattern for a long time but not have known about it until now!
For some people it may have started simply as;
• A result of an injury or pain
• Being in a stressful environment i.e. work
• Being taught to breathe incorrectly from the chest for cosmetic reasons i.e. ballet dancers, army or police recruits.
• Respiratory conditions i.e. asthma, blocked sinuses, sleep apnoea etc.

 

What can I do if I have a poor breathing pattern?

It’s good to know that if you have a poor breathing pattern, then there is something you can do about it.
Firstly, through a thorough assessment, we can identify your breathing pattern and even show how it may be linked to your symptoms. Often manual treatment may be required to get the process started. Then breathing exercises will re-train you on how to breathe properly again.

If you think you have a poor breathing pattern, please get in touch with us so we can help you correct this problem.

Scott is at the practice on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
If you would like to make an appointment, click here and make an ‘Initial Consultation’ with Scott.

Scott has a Masters in Chiropractic and his passion for function and performance developed during his time at University where he began developing his interests through attending a variety of seminars including the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic Sports symposium and completing a Functional Sports Chiropractic course that allowed for the development of a deep understanding of movement dysfunction, mobility, stability and rehabilitation. He has also completed his sports trainer level 1 course and musculoskeletal dry needling.
His treatment approach has a focus on correcting movement dysfunctions with thorough assessment and a wide range of modalities including muscle release techniques, dry needling, manual mobilisations and stability exercises. Scott has, through external learning, gained an understanding of functional stability through the application of rehabilitation and breathing corrections that aid in the optimisation of correct body function.

Health and fitness has always been a high priority for Scott, who has actively involved himself in sports including Rugby league, Rugby Union and Surfing and he has consistently maintained a functional approach to resistance training that has furthered his ability to apply an understanding to improving performance.

Save

Save

Save

Sick of Injuries?

Injuries suck. There is never a good time to get injured. Not being able to sit, bend, twist, work or exercise on a day to day basis can be quite inconvenient. Not to mention the pain of it all.

The truth is the average person can’t predict when an injury is going to happen. For most people, pain is often the first sign that something is injured, which is often too late. This being the case, we suggest not waiting for an injury to happen to do something about it.

This is what is called PREHAB- exercise used as a preventative measure, as opposed to REHAB- exercise designed to rehabilitate an injury. Another way to look at it is PREHAB is designed to keep you functioning at or as close to your optimal levels all the time. REHAB is designed to regain your normal function you have lost through injury.

So now that you understand what PREHAB is, it is not surprising that some of the world class sports teams and athletes around the world are utilising PREHAB techniques for years as they can’t afford to be sidelined with injuries for any part of the season. These athletes have medical teams, physios, trainers etc. to look after them on a daily basis. Their prehab sessions have been programmed into their daily schedules to ensure their optimal performance on the field.

Not a world class athlete? Don’t worry, less than 1% of the population are considered world class. However, even if you are a Division 9 Weekend Hacker, you can benefit for doing some prehab.

Here are 5 of our PREHAB tips that you can start doing today.

  1. Fix imbalances. Not many people are completely symmetrical, but the more asymmetrical you are, the more likely you will get injured. If you have no idea where to start, get functional movement assessment done and let a professional guide you through the process.
  2. Work those Glutes. Not many people know how to switch on their glutes. Literally. Even when told how to do it, they can’t! This is the use it or lose it principle in effect. Most likely due to the repetitive and habitual sitting performed on a daily basis. Learn to switch on your glutes with out all the other surrounding muscle i.e. hamstrings and lower back.
  3. Single vs Double. When you look at the conventional exercises most people perform at the gym (squat, dead lift, bench press, pull down etc) they involve activating both sides at the same time. Remember we are not symmetrical, and rarely in life do we need to use both sides of the body simultaneously. Try doing single arm/leg exercises which challenge your balance and control, forcing you to be more stable.
  4. Quality vs Quantity. This is one of my mantras in practice. The goal of prehab is to teach you to be a better quality mover. Quality refers to having stable, controlled and efficient movement. Prehab has nothing to do with strength, speed, power, weight loss, bulking up etc. Slow down all your movements, drop the weights down (sometimes the best prehab exercises use no equipment just your body weight) and make sure you are using the right muscles.
  5. Work in different planes. Most conventional exercises require you to move though a single plane i.e. bicep curl, lateral raise, chest press etc. Prehab exercises often incorporate movements that move through multiple plane, the woodchop for example. If we just look at the motion of the trunk during this exercise, it moves through multiple planes of flexion/extension, right and left rotation, right and left side bend. Therefore using many more muscle groups and stabilizers to achieve this.

We hope you can see the value in adding some prehab into your exercise program. No one likes or can really afford to get injured.

If you would like to know more about staying injury  or more information about our prehab/ ‘Desk Warrior’ classes run each week by our team, click on this link.