A Bit on Injury & its Prevention
This week I went to a talk at my local Up & Running, by a local physiotherapist Kerstine (KH Physiotherapy). The talk was focused around both injury prevention and what to do if you have an injury. There were a few parts of the talk I found particularly interesting and I wanted to share these with you.
Now we all know this is one of the most debated subjects since running began (ok that’s a slight exaggeration). Some people say stretch before and after, others just stretch after and then there is the rest of us just pretty confused as to why there is no general agreement on the subject.
The reason this particularly grabbed my attention is Kerstine suggested that stretching actually bought about very little benefits, regardless of when it was done. Labelling it a ‘nice to do’ rather than a big preventer of injury.
In relation to already being injured she actually commented on how stretching an area that might already be misaligned could actually do more damage than good. This was based on the idea that often the site of pain isn’t the cause, runners’ knee being a key example.
Instead of focussing on stretching, Kerstine highlighted the importance of strength and conditioning, something that is certainly gaining more attention in triathlon and running circles as the time goes on. The four key exercises being:
Lateral Pull Down
We’ve all got time to fit that into our week, right?
Types of Pain – for ease of explaining I am going to bullet these
Tendons: Commonly referred to as Tendinitis. This is probably the injury a lot of us can identify with, something I would call a ‘niggle’ in the hope that if I can pretend nothing is wrong then it will get better. This was explained as a pain that gets better as the run progresses, in some cases not actually being bad until you stop again. A tendon injury is a gradual injury, so while it might feel better when you run, in reality you are making it worse.
Healing time: 6-12 months
Ligaments: This is where there is too much range of movement in one of the joints, normally caused by a trauma. This includes sprains and is likely to be very painful when weight bearing the area.
Healing time: 6-12 weeks (but depends on the severity)
Muscles: You know it’s a muscle pain when there is a sharp pain, bruising, swelling and soreness. Simply resting this injury for a week to 10 days should clear it out. If this isn’t the case, then it’s likely to be something a bit more serious so is best to get it checked out.
Bones: We have all heard of a stress fracture, which occurs when the bone just can’t cope with the repetitive forces placed upon it. This can be caused by a number of things, but mainly fatigue or abnormal mineral/ vitamin content. The most common place to experience stress fractures are in the feet.
Healing time: 6-12 weeks (but varies depending on the type of bone fracture)
Pain Scale and Continuing to Exercise
Now this is a hot topic, and having had a number of injuries myself, I am very aware of the psychological effects of not being able to run. Kerstine also identified with this and while was adamant on not running with an injury, was quite open to the idea of cross training. Doing triathlon, if I am injured, I spend the week focusing on the other two sports, the gym, or I use the cross trainer. Before IRONMAN Lanzarote last year I was unable to run until about a month before so did a lot of my training on the cross trainer – it can be done.
Just a final thought, if you are injured, it is always better to get it checked out straight away, even if just to give you some peace of mind.
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