Preventing Injury in Contact Sports

Sports-InjuryRugby League is one of the most popular of football codes in NSW, though others, such as AFL, Rugby Union, soccer, and hockey are all very popular. While Rugby League tends to be male dominated, women are becoming more and more involved in all football codes, as was seen during the Women’s Rugby World Cup finals this past August.

The build up to the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final happening October 1st at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney this year has raised enthusiasm among fans of all ages, and more fans have begun playing football than ever before. As a result, Dr. Ben Purcell at Bathurst Chiropractic has seen more patients suffering from injuries incurred while playing sports. With the rise in those practicing and playing contact sports, injury prevention has become increasingly important.

Types of Contact Sport Injuries

Many sports involve rapid changes in speed and direction. In the case of some sports, particularly AFL and Rugby, hard tackles are also very common. Because of the high speed and violent contact involved in these sports, many players will experience some type of injury in the course of the season. Many of the injuries are the result of impact. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Bruises, cuts, and scrapes
  • Muscle strain
  • Sprains, especially ankle sprains
  • Knee, calf, and ankle injuries
  • Dislocated joints
  • Fractures
  • Concussions and other head injuries

Statistics show that a majority of injuries occur near the beginning of the season, suggesting that better conditioning during the pre-season could help prevent many of these early season injuries. Other injuries may also be prevented by coaching players to tackle, defend, and fall in ways that lessen impact.

Minimizing Injury

The first step in preventing injury is good preparation. Establish solid warm up, stretch, and cool down routines and practice these before and after EVERY practice and EVERY match. For young players and Junior Rugby athletes, Bath University in the UK has developed a 20-minute warm up routing that uses game based exercises in a four step training approach that could reduce injuries as much as 70%. The program calls for changes in exercises every four weeks through the season. The RFU in the UK is already using this program.

Train with a qualified coach

Be sure your coach has the appropriate qualifications to train you in the techniques and skills, and to help you develop the strength, flexibility, and coordination needed to minimize your risk of injury.

Use protective gear

Wearing a custom fitted mouth guard and protective headgear during all practices and matches will significantly reduce injury. Consider talking to your Bathurst Chiropractor regarding the best footwear and to determine whether bracing or taping would appropriate for you.

Avoid playing when injured

Trying to play through an injury, or trying to get back in the game before an injury has healed properly, is a sure fire way to aggravate the injury or cause it to recur. If you have an injury, your Bathurst chiropractor can help determine whether the injury is acute or a chronic problem that keeps popping up. An injury that doesn’t heal completely can recur, or can lead to other injuries as the body learns to compensate for the injury by taking on more stress in other areas.

Your chiropractor can also recommend exercises that can help improve strength and mobility in the affected area to help prevent recurrence.

If you have problems of a biomechanical nature, chiropractic offers holistic, non-invasive care that can help you heal. If an injury has you warming the bench, please call (02) 6331 1004 now to schedule an appointment.

The Best Athlete You Can Be

rugbyiActive athletes and competitors of all shapes and sizes are fully educated on the limits their bodies can be pushed to in order to achieve success. When you are a professional athlete, there is much more involved than just going to practice and playing the sports you love. There is a mental game as well as a physical demand on your body that must be taken into consideration. Training and strengthening will do wonders for your personal performance, but there are many different ways that too much training and strengthening can lead to issues and injuries down the road.

Pushing to the Limit

The worst thing you can do as an athlete is push yourself too hard, too fast. The upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup is a great example of a group of athletes who have the proper dedication and commitment to their teams and the sport they love to play, while also having the mental ability to only go as far as their bodies can carry them. By pushing too much, it can lead to injuries like strained muscles, torn ligaments and stiff joints. All of these types of injuries are detrimental in a person who makes their living off of playing physical sports and being active on a daily basis. The women who play on the Rugby World Cup teams did not get to where they are by sheer luck – they trained and educated themselves over and over on the limits and boundaries that their bodies were able to endure.

How Far is Too Far?

Chances are, if you are an athlete who has deep knowledge of your own body strengths, you will know immediately if an injury occurs and you need to seek medical attention. However, there are some people who may strain a muscle or have joint and ligament pain and think that if they rest a little bit and not push themselves to their full extent, their injuries will heal themselves and things will go back to normal after a couple weeks. This, unfortunately, is not the case in most situations and doing so can lead to worse and more lengthy injuries. The best thing you can do if you find yourself in a situation that requires medical attention, is to contact the Turramurra Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy facility. Call us at 9144-1510 now to schedule an appointment with one of our physiotherapists. We have intimate 1 on 1 sessions with our patients that will allow us to fully understand who you are and the type of injury you have sustained. Our trainings will help us to make sure you get the proper treatment you need in order to get back into the swing of things quickly and efficiently.

Conclusion

A physiotherapist is going to make sure that any type of sports-related injury is properly looked at and treated. We know that as an athlete, you want to get back to your game as quickly as possible – we will make sure that you are given the right treatments in a short enough time to fully heal without rushing back into things and risking reinjury. No matter what type of injury it may be, physiotherapy is an incredibly beneficial way of treatment to ensure proper healing and a quick recovery time.

Preventing cycling injuries with a bit of precaution

cyclingA professional cyclist may have the best cycling skills, but if he is riding at 30mph in the midst of a packed group of cyclists, then the slightest error often committed by someone else can lead to a severe injury. During cycling, the legs are constrained to the pedal, and the cyclist has to use the upper limb to cushion in case of a fall. Thus, it is the upper body which is usually involved in overuse or traumatic injuries. These injuries can be in the shoulder region, hands, wrist, elbows and sometimes even head which are extremely dangerous.

Types of injuries

The upper limbs; hand, wrist, and elbow need to have flexibility for maneuvering the bicycle. Hence, protective gear for them is not practical. However, the head or facial injuries can be avoided by using a proper helmet. Major fractures occur only during high-speed falls, and the most classic cases are fractures in the collarbone. This type of fracture happens when the cyclist tumbles over the handlebars, and as a result, the force on his shoulders and arms leads to a breakage in the collarbone.

There are certain chronic conditions which may develop due to prolonged uncomfortable position during cycling. They are-

  1. Gripping the handlebars and use of brake or gear pedals can aggravate tendinitis which typically involves the flexor tendons.
  2. Prolonged hyperextension posture of the wrist while cycling can lead to Carpal tunnel syndrome which is a compression neuropathy of the median nerve in the wrist. This condition requires check up from a surgeon or a neurologist.
  3. Another chronic condition is tennis elbow. This condition can be treated by experts painlessly.
  4. Another condition due to hand position can be Osteoarthritis. This typically happens at the base of the thumb.

With Tour de France coming up, here is some advice on preventing injuries while cycling.

  1. The first and foremost advice to the cyclist is that they should ensure that their bike is in a perfect condition. You may end up hurting your hamstring or muscle at the back of your thigh if your saddle is too low and this can have an adverse effect of tightening of your knees and back. Even an incorrect handlebar position can cause pain. So, it is better to take professional help for a professional event.
  2. It is always beneficial to maintain a good amount of flexibility. Stretching your lower legs, back, and, hamstrings are good ways to maintain flexibility. Typically cyclist ends up with tightness in hamstrings or a soft tissue pull. Therefore, it is better to warm up before you begin cycling and take enough rest post the ride.
  3. Maintaining good strength in your legs, upper body and back is also critical. Different types of strength building exercise particularly for these areas off the bike will help you in preventing injuries.
  4. Cycling involves repetition of the same action again and again for a long time. Hence, it is necessary that you do some cross training. This will help in releasing the tightness that might develop because of sustained and repetitive cycling action. Cross-training activities such as weights or running would help you in improving your performance.
  5. Last but not the least, get a good massage. This will rejuvenate you and help in reducing muscle soreness, tension and will help to prevent any cycling injuries.

A timely and precise treatment to any injury or condition can help the cyclist to return to the sport and dominate. To get help with your cycling and any injuries you might be carrying, call one of our practices now.

 

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Falls

fallsAs we age, falls, and injuries from falls, become more of a concern. Nine out of every ten hip fractures occurs as the result of a fall, and more than 80% of people over the age of 65 hospitalized for injury were injured in a fall. It may seem that simple aging is a risk factor for falls, but people don’t fall just because they get older, there are a variety of other problems, generally associated with aging, that increase a person’s risk of falling. Some of the greatest risk factors associated with a fall include:

  • Vertigo, which can be a side effect of several medications as well as a symptom of several possible conditions
  • Muscle weakness
  • Drops in blood pressure, especially on standing, which can have a variety of causes
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Problems in the legs and feet that can impair gait
  • Visual and other sensory impairments
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Trouble with balance

Good nutrition and exercise can help reduce many of these risk factors and can reduce the risk of injury in the event a fall does occur.

Preventing falls with nutrition starts with staying well hydrated and eating frequently. Dehydration and drops in blood sugar or blood pressure can cause dizziness and lightheadedness, which can lead to a fall.

Drops in blood pressure, especially on standing, may occur when the heart isn’t functioning efficiently. Consuming plenty of foods that are rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids can promote heart health and stabilize blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids also promote brain health, which can reduce confusion that can also be a factor in falls. In addition, some deficiencies, such as magnesium deficiency, can cause dizziness, and good nutrition can help prevent deficiencies and their associated symptoms.

Good nutrition also helps to strengthen bones, making them less likely to fracture in the event of a fall. Most people know how important calcium is to healthy bones, but calcium is only one of the nutrients critical to healthy bones. Magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K are all needed to build healthy bones, and vitamin D helps improve absorption and assimilation of calcium into the bones. Getting adequate sunshine and eating foods high in these nutrients helps improve bone health, making bones less likely to fracture in a fall.

Good nutrition also provides energy needed for exercise, which is just as critical to preventing falls and injuries. Weight bearing exercise doesn’t mean lifting weights (though it could). Rather, any exercise that involves staying upright against gravity, such as walking, climbing stairs, or using an elliptical, counts as weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercise can be high impact, low impact, or even no impact. The level of impact you choose will be based on your own comfort level, but any of these will provide many of the same benefits.

Weakness in the lower body can making walking difficult, while weakness in the upper back can make it difficult to stand erect, throwing off balance. Weight bearing exercise can help improve overall strength, making walking easier. Exercise also helps increase bone density and strength, protecting against injury, and builds muscle strength, providing additional support for the bones and joints.

To find out more about how how your lifestyle might be increasing your risk of falls, and what changes you can make to protect yourself, call Neurobalance now at 02 9938 5456 to arrange an appointment. We’ll talk with you about your diet and recommend specific exercises you can do to reduce your risk of a fall or fall-related injury.