If you need help with an injury, keep seeking help and don’t be afraid that the absence of a clinic or gym means you won’t get better.
At Injury Active we see injuries that are caused by a range of risk factors, generally categorised into external or internal.
External risk factors are those that the athlete can control, for example being hit by another player. These risks are unpredictable and therefore difficult to prepare for.
Internal risk factors are those that the athlete can influence, for example, load management, recovery, and optimal movement.
In this blog, we will discuss how to limit internal risk factors to help you stay injury free this season.
Gradual Loading to avoid sudden injuries
A large proportion of non-contact soft tissue injuries are due to excessive and rapid increases in load. This is what we call a spike in load.
Soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, have a load capacity which depends on the level of fitness of each individual. Dramatically exceeding the maximum loading capacity will increase the tissue susceptibility to injury (Gabbett, 2016).
Although at the time it may feel like you are training safely, a spike in load is likely to make you more vulnerable to injury in the long term. Consequences may not be realised until up to 3-4 weeks post-spike (Drew & Finch, 2016).
Whilst it is important to avoid overloads, undertraining must be prevented as well.
Optimally increasing the workload will encourage adaptations of the soft tissues to improve in strength, endurance and flexibility, whilst minimising the risk of developing an injury (Gabbett, 2016).
How do we find the balance between under and overloading?
It has been reported that spikes in weekly training load greater than 10-15% increase the risk of injury, (Harrison et al., 2018). Therefore, we should be increasing load gradually at no more than 10% per week. This can be measured in a variety of ways such as duration– how long you are training for, intensity– how hard you are training, frequency– how often you are training, etc. A good example from Drew & Finch (2016) was recording and reviewing the throw counts in throwing sports.
Recovery to achieve top performance
Recovery is essential for achieving top performance as it allows the body to repair itself both physically and psychologically while encouraging a gradual adaptation to physical stress.
Sleep – At least 8 hours for maximum performance
It was reported that adolescent athletes who slept on average less than 8 hours per night were 1.7 times more likely to experience an injury compared to athletes that slept for more than 8 hours (Milewski et al., 2014). Surrounding research suggests that sleep deprivation can inhibit optimal recovery processes and cause impairments in muscle glycogen repletion, muscle damage repair and cognitive and mental function (Nedelec et al., 2015). As well as increasing injury risk, lack of sleep has been found to affect performance. Reyner and Horne (2013) found that in tennis players serving accuracy was impaired by up to 53% after just one night of restricted sleep of 5 hours. Additionally, consuming caffeine prior to testing showed no beneficial effects on serving accuracy. Caffeine is not a substitute for lack of sleep!
Stretching – To avoid injuries and increase performance
Stretching is a great way to assist recovery and to address deficits in range of motion. Improving the length of muscular tissue can increase its capacity to withstand stretch before experiencing straining injuries (McHugh & Cosgrave, 2010). It has also been suggested that stretching can accelerate recovery and tissue’s return to baseline lengths faster than if no stretching was to be performed (Reuther et al., 2016).
Interested in improving your streatching routine? Check out our mobility series on youtube for some ideas on how to become more flexible.
Nutrition – Fuel your body before and after physical exercise
Adequate energy consumption before, during and after exercise is important to maximise performance and recovery. Low energy availability can cause increased risk of fatigue, injury/illness, loss of muscle mass/bone density and sub-optimal adaptations and recovery processes. It is recommended that a postexercise routine should aim to replenish fluids, electrolytes, muscle glycogen stores to encourage recovery. The building and repairing of muscles can be encouraged by protein consumption (Thomas et al., 2016).
In some cases, injury can be caused by an underlying biomechanical deficit. Sub-optimal movement can place excess stress on certain aspects of the body causing an increased injury risk.
As sports therapists, we should be looking at the body as a whole to identify the chain reactions that occur while moving. Lacking range or strength in one segment of the body can cause another to compensate putting it at higher risk of injury. For example, a foot that was not mechanically performing as well as it should cause injuries along the hip and the back.
This is why an assessment that covers the entire body can help to identify the original source causing pain and dysfunction.
Here at Injury Active, we aim to identify the weaknesses and build upon them to facilitate optimal movement patterns. Whilst doing this we believe that assessments, treatments, and rehabilitation should be individualised, specific and functional to the athlete and their sport.
Thanks for reading!
Drew, M. K. and Finch, C. F. (2016) The Relationship Between Training Load and Injury, Illness and Soreness: A Systematic and Literature Review. Sports Medicine, Jan; 46 (6); 861-883
Gabbet, T. (2016) The Training-Injury Prevention Paradox: Should Athletes be Training Smarter and Harder. British Journal of Sports Medicine, Jan; bjsports
Harrison, P. W., Johnston, R. D. and Quain, D. (2018) Literature Review: Examining the Relationship Between Training Load and Both Performance and Injury Risk in Australian Football. Journal or Australian Strength and Conditioning, 26 (2); 69-81
McHugh, M. P. and Cosgrave, C. H. (2010) To Stretch or Not to Stretch: The Role of Stretching in Injury Prevention and Performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 20; 169-181
Milewski, M. D., Skaggs, D. L., Bishop, G. A. et al. (2014) Chronic Lack of Sleep is Associated with Increased Sports Injuries in Adolescent Athletes. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Mar; 34 (2); 129-133
Nedelec, M., Halson, S., Abaidia, A. et al. (2015) Stress, Sleep and Recovery in Elite Soccer: A Critical Review of the Literature. Sports Medicine, Jul; 45; 1387-1400
Reuther, K., Larsen, R., Khun, P. D. et al. (2016) Sleeper Stretch Accelerates Recovery of Glenohumeral Internal Rotation After Pitching. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 25; 1925-1929
Reyner, L. A. and Horne, J. A. (2013) Sleep Restriction and Serving Accuracy in Performance Tennis Players, and Effects of Caffeine. Physiology and Behaviour, Aug; 120; 93-96
Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A. and Burke, L. M. (2016) Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and The American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116 (3); 501-528
How to avoid injury in 2018.
Happy new year! As we say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018, one of the most common things to do is setting yourself some new year goals, targets or resolutions. Whilst this can bring about a positive change, there can also be consequences. Goal setting needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time related. They need to be well thought through and intelligent.
I love the fact that people want to achieve something and or perhaps change something they don’t like about their lifestyle. However, generally speaking these goals are very hard to achieve or they are asking for trouble. I would rather see a change of lifestyle rather than trying to stick to something for January, which generally means it is only short term. A perfect example of this is to go from no training at all to wanting to be at the gym 5 times per week, or go out running every night with the hope of running a half marathon shortly.
It’s great that you want to get active, get healthier and lose some excess body fat. However in our injury clinics one of the most common factors that cause injury is a surge in volume to ones training. This is what we class as a spike in loading. Too much of a spike in load/volume is generally not the best thing as our body doesn’t have time to adapt to these new forces. We know there is a relationship between high training loads and injuries. On the other hand, we know that training does have a protective effect against injury, we just need to find the correct balance.
A paper published by TJ Gabbett was the first of its kind to find a ratio that might help predict injury. If you want to read more about the training injury prevention paradox then head on over to the British Journal of Sports Medicine here.
Our advice to you for 2018
By all means, set yourself some goals which you think are going to improve your lifestyle. Just make sure these goals are well thought through and get some feedback from a local expert. For example, if a goal of yours is to complete a half marathon then it would be wise to follow a strength and conditioning programme along side your running to help improve movement and strength. This is why in our free half marathon programme we have included training days that involve stretching, foam roller work and strength work. If you fancy giving this a go, then head of over to the free download page here. The thinking and the planning is done for you.
If you need help and structure with your goals you can book online here.
Hope you have had a lovely Christmas.
The IAC team
What happens to a knee which collapses during a squat
Last week I showed you a video by muscle and motion on lifting injury risks. This week, have a look at their video demonstrating the knee during a values collapse (knee coming inwards) during the squat. It shows which potential anatomy pitfalls that may contribute towards this.
The best way to avoid injury whilst getting stronger.
I have seen a lot of sacrifice in form for trying to move big weights. This will only ever lead to overload which will then likely lead to injury. Time on the side lines is time away from training and progression.
My best advice is to progress safely. If form is not being lost, then it’s ok to increase the weight in order to overload and adapt from the training. Ego can play a big part in this. Avoid what others are doing. Concentrate on your own lifts and progress will be made. Have the strength in mind to stay at what you are lifting if this is just below your form threshold.
Below is a video of my back squat PB a few months back. Even though this is the heaviest I have ever lifted, there are minute deviations in the position of my back etc.
GET STRONG IN GOOD POSITIONS!