Category Archives: Sports Injuries
The London Marathon is just around the corner, you’ve been training for months, you’ve ironed your best and tightest running bottoms, and you’re determined not to embarrass yourself in front of friends, family and live TV. So what can stop you now you ask?!
Did you know that 28% of runners never make it to the starting line due to injury? And that on the day, a further 2% (about 500 runners) don’t finish the race due to injuries? We know that at this point it’s far too late to change anything drastic, but we’ve been dipping into John Shepherd’s fantastic Strength Training for Runners to find a few handy tips to stop those last-minute niggles.
‘Prevention in the case of running injuries, is very much better than cure’. Wiser words were never spoken, and in aid of preventing running injures John Shepherd recommends this great selection of resistance exercises for pre-conditioning training:
A running-specific warm-up will raise your body temperature, improve your range of movement and get you mentally ready for the task ahead! These are all fairly vital, so we thought we’d chuck in some of John Shepherd’s very own advised warm-ups to help you on your way:
Stretching, obviously, but concentrate on sites of previous injury:
Stretching everything properly is vital, but if you’ve had an injury before in a specific area, like the hamstring, it is vital to make sure that area is fully prepared. As John Shepherd points out:
‘In terms of learning from previous injuries, a team of researchers investigated hamstring injuries in elite athletes, hypothesising that those with a prior history of hamstring muscle strain were at increased risk of sustaining similar injuries in the future.’
So, if you have any previous niggles in important areas, make sure those areas are properly stretched out and warmed up before you head for the starting line.
It’s estimated that 4 out of 5 adults will experience back pain at some stage in their lives, with the NHS spending more than £1 billion per year on back pain related costs and British businesses losing an estimated 4.9 million days to employee absenteeism through work related back pain. With these statistics, it’s clear that we need to look after our backs. Dr Jenny Sutcliffe has written this excellent family reference guide packed with proven, practical approaches to caring for your back throughout your life.
With a full anatomy of the spine and back, a breakdown of different types of pain, when to see the doctor and at-a-glance diagnostic advice, The Back Bible offers a physiological run down of the problems that can affect you back, neck, and shoulders. Click on the cover to get a sneak preview of inside.
This book is an absolute must-have for anyone with back problems and for those who wish to avoid them!
The legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics some have hoped aloud is that more of us, still all geed up and whooping, will take part in sport. When I say ‘us’ imagine instead the unspoken target: some pre-teen lazybones hunched over her smartphone. Suddenly she’s shot-putting her pillowcase of junk food out the window and joining squadrons of her kind in the streets, hurdling bins, moonwalking like dressage horses, going all Beth Tweddle on lamp-posts. Healthiness being the age’s religion, this is seen as a good thing. Sport is good for you. It makes you a fitter biomechanical machine, and a fitter body is happier, lives longer and, though I have gone too far already, contributes more to society. Here I am at a sports publisher, and such a groundswell of interest in sport should have me licking my chops – moo-ha-ha! Allow me instead to pooh-pooh.
But why? Why emit a sales-sapping grump of a blog? Am I so cynical, so sour of puss, so easily prepared to kill joy and rain on the parade of something community-spirited and optimistic, something right-headed and good. I would hope so, yes.
And now I hold up exhibit A, my left ring finger in a splint. This is what sport has done to me. A detached tendon suffered while keeping goal in five-a-side football. Do not, I suggest, try to block a cannonball using your ring finger like a pool cue, tip first. The digit has contracted the deformity known as mallet finger and is now permanently bent at the top joint. It may never fully heal, and in the meanwhile I am forced to wear my plastic finger hat of shame – for weeks.
My question is this: In the light of such a catastrophe, how can anyone of passing sanity suggest that sport is good for you?
Like most people involved in such things I have an atlas of injury remnants across my body: from bone bruises and dicky joints to multiply shucked toenails. We are not alone. Sport leads to a continuous barrage of impacts, crunches, wrenches and body damage. They don’t call them tennis elbows nor swimmer’s shoulders for nothing. One of the Olympic equestrian team was discussing how commonly they break fingers after being thrown. A recent crash in the Tour de France was called the Massacre at Metz for the mangled piles of bodies and bikes it left behind, all their skimpy little bike vests in tatters, with gravel-rash oozing horribly through the holes. None of this is strictly speaking good for you, is it. And I suspect it is only the very luckiest of sportspersons who will not wear the brunt of some injury or other to the grave.
Sport is bad for you. So should we wish it upon pubescent slobs and those less disposed towards physical movement? I don’t know. The only reason I can imagine, and probably the real impetus behind our participation anyway, is – no not self-esteem, goal-orientation, team-cooperative-learning-enhancement or some other policy-speak codswallop – fun. Sport is fun. Play it if you want. Unfortunately I will continue to.