As the weather starts to improve here in the West, naturally the population begins to come out of hibernation and starts making the most of our spectacular outdoors, re engaging in the array of recreational and sporting activities that are so readily available to us here.
Inevitably, this results in exposure to potential injury. As we all know, injury is a risk in any sport or recreational activity, however, it’s at this time of year that I begin to see an influx in particular types of injuries into the clinic.
All of us will be familiar with the aches and pains that are a standard part of any return to, or elevation in activity level, that our bodies are not conditioned to. From my point of view though, the more troublesome issue that I see this time of year is something that is more challenging to manage and has potential to make the remainder of the Spring and Summer months a painful, frustrating struggle.
Tendon injuries can be some of the most difficult, recalcitrant injuries to manage, and like all injuries, prevention is the key to success in your return to activity. After all these years in clinical practice, it has become very obvious that managing a graduated increase to activity makes for a much more bearable outcome than trying to control an irritable, painful tendon, because somebody rushed back into activity too fast, too soon.
The most common Tendon complaints I see through this period of the year are;
- Rotator Cuff in the Shoulder
- Lateral Elbow (aka Tennis Elbow)
- Patellar Tendon (front of the knee)
- Achilles Tendon
The most common activities I see these related to this time of year are;
- Racquet Sports
- Throwing Sports
- Gym / Weight Training
In the natural desire to get back into shape, or prepare for competitions this time of year, unfortunately, I see my patients sidelined by these complaints.
So, what can be done to prevent this upsetting your fitness plans?
- Respect your body, recognise your fitness level, and build into activity progressively. This allows your soft tissue to adapt to the new or different load and limits the risk of injury
- Ensure you have the right equipment. An old pair of shoes or rusty bicycle chain can rapidly become the cause of frustration they shouldn’t need to be. Always make sure the equipment you have will facilitate what you want to achieve. If not, a small investment may save you a lot of heartache, and greater expense with someone like me later down the track.
- If you are getting sore, give your body the time it needs to recover. My rule of thumb is that the soreness hasn’t resolved significantly within 72 hours of the activity, there’s a chance it won’t, and you should get some advice from you Physio.
With these simple steps, you can reach your goals in the right way (rather than covered in strapping tape for the rest of the summer, spending your weekends in my clinic instead of out on the road!)