- Thomas Lewis
Acute injuries in the sporting world
Updated: May 28, 2019
Felt a sudden sprain, strain or ‘twinge’ while playing or training?
Wonder about how long you’ll be unable to play or train for?
Worried if it might have long term consequences?
Fear not… all may not be as scary as it seems.
Over half of all muscle injuries are sustained by people participating in sport. Less than 1 in every 10 of all muscle injuries are severe without any long-term concerns.
Let me explain to you the current typical management of a muscle injury such as a hamstring strain.
Let’s say “Jimbo” was playing football on the weekend and as he went to reach down for the football while running he felt something ‘give out’ or ‘twinge’ in the back of his thigh. He limps off and puts ice on it and decides he will take a few weeks off from football training and games. Jimbo does that and returns to play football 2 weeks later. Jimbo makes sure he stretches well before the game and warms up properly. During the first quarter Jimbo sprints to mark the football and feels that same sensation he felt the first time, but this time much worse. The trainer has to help him hop off the ground and Jimbo’s season is likely over.
This is all to common in community sport. Fortunately, there is a much better way of dealing with Jimbo and his hamstring. One of the big errors Jimbo made here was that he didn't properly rehabilitate his hamstring. The key thing he needed to do was strengthen it, so that the muscle was just as strong, if not stronger, than it was pre-injury. Just warming up pre-match was never going to be enough.
Obviously, Jimbo could have sought the advice of a physio who is experienced with these type of injuries, and they would have provided him with a clear, structured plan of what he needs to do from start to finish, so that he can return to 100%. From this Jimbo would have found out that he can start the work on repairing the muscle from the very next day after the injury! If an injury is managed well early then you can significantly reduce the recovery time and get back to sport sooner. If a person rehabs well, and the return to sport is managed properly then you can significantly further reduce the chance of a re-injury. As mentioned earlier, a key area here is that the injured athlete gets really strong in and around the injured area before they return to play. It is also important to continue to maintain this strength once they have returned to sport as well. This is an area where a lot of people in community sport fall short and end up re-injured. If you do these things well then the chance of the injury being a long term issue will be very, very small.
So, If you or someone you know unfortunately experiences some sort of sporting injury, just take these simple steps:
1. Seek the advice of a health professional who is knowledgeable about musculoskeletal injuries and the best way to return to sport and other aspects of life
2. Allow the injury time to heal. Do not try to return to sport too soon
3. Stay active and mobile if pain allows. Do not let the injury become ‘stiff, stuck or sore’
4. Build up lots of strength in the injured area
If you're having trouble with a new or existing injury, make sure to contact us on (03) 5872 2221 and we'll be happy to make a time where one of our friendly physios will contact you to discuss what you can do to solve the problem for good 😊
Yours in health,
Tune in next time as we will discuss how Jimbo could have slashed his risk of getting injured in the first place