[Photo credit: nprpdx]
This time of year is renowned for starting new exercise regimes. It’s also a time when people who are used to regular physical exercise get back into it after their well deserved break. Getting back into, or starting an exercise regime, should be done so with caution. Doing too much too quickly can cause injury. Here are the four most common injuries you’re most likely to get this new year.
Physical fitness should be a lifestyle, not a task to be achieved.
Although you see me do most of my YouTube workouts and exercise demonstrations barefoot, I’ve been doing so for a long time. All types of physical activity should be progressed gradually.
I suggest starting any new exercise regime with a good pair of professionally fitted shoes. When you start, progress slowly. The road to physical fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. Do a little bit and built upon it. The following four injuries typically arise from doing too much too quickly. They can be prevented by building upon your fitness gradually, listening to your body, and acting accordingly.
The Four Most Common Injuries This New Year
- Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your heel to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is tiny tears of the ligament that result in swelling. It’s characterised by sharp pain in your arch.
Symptoms: Heel pain will start after exercise then progress to be before and after exercise, then before, during and after exercise, and finally all the time.
How to prevent it: Start your exercise regime slowly and warm up thoroughly before any physical activity. If you’re running, increase your distance no more than ten percent each week. If you’re joining an exercise group, develop your foundational strength before starting to jump.
Treatment: 1. Rest. 2. Roll the arch of your foot over a tennis ball or frozen water bottle. 3. Pull your toes back with one hand and use your opposite thumb to massage along the length of your arch. If pain persists, see a physiotherapist.
- Achilles Tendinosis
The achilles is the largest tendon in your body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel. Achilles tendinosis is noninflammatory and refers to tiny tears in and around the tendon caused by overuse.
Symptoms: Pain in the back of the heel. Difficulty walking. Swelling, tenderness and warmth of the achilles tendon.
How to prevent it: Build your exercise regime up gradually and warm up thoroughly before any physical activity. Stretch your calves by hanging your heel over a step with your knee straight. Stretch your achilles and deeper calf muscle (soleus) by hanging your heel over a step with your knee bent. Be sure to come out of the stretch first, before moving into the next stretch.
Treatment: 1. Rest. You may even need to use crutches to take the load off your achilles. 2. Place an ice pack on your achilles for 20-30 minutes every 2-4 hours for the first 2-3 days. See a physiotherapist.
- Patella Tendinosis
The patella is your knee bone and it’s literally wrapped inside a tendon that connects your quadriceps (front thigh muscles) to your tibia (shin bone). Patella tendinosis is noninflammatory and is a degeneration of the tendon due to repetitive overloading.
Symptoms: Pain over the front of your knee. Pain made worse with jumping, landing or running. Knee stiffness in the morning. The tendon may be thicker in comparison to the unaffected knee.
How to prevent it: Build your exercise regime up gradually and warm up thoroughly before any physical activity. Strengthen your quadriceps evenly with the guidance of a fitness trainer. Stretch your quadriceps regularly. Stretch your quadriceps by holding your foot in your hand, keeping your knees together and hips square. Push your foot into you hand. Hold your right foot in your right hand and left foot in your left hand. Repeat this stretch holding your right foot in your left hand and left foot in your right hand. This will target the outer part of your quadricep.
Treatment: 1. Rest. 2. Place an ice pack on your knee for 20-30 minutes every 2-4 hours for the first 2-3 days. 3. Do gentle range of movement exercises. 4. Have your biomechanics and shoes assessed by a physiotherapist.
- Shin Splints
The shin is comprised of two bones - the tibia and fibula. Shin splints commonly refer to any pain felt anywhere along the shin. True shin splints are just that - splintering of the shin bone. In most instances however, this is not the case. The pain associated with the shin in most cases is caused by muscles and tendons pulling on the bone and creating inflammation.
Symptoms: Aches and pain along the shin bone, particularly the medial side. Shin bone is tender and sore to touch. Skin on the shin may be red. Pain may be felt before, during or after exercise.
How to prevent it: As most cases of shin splints arise from exercising beyond your current level of fitness, don’t increase your level of exercise too quickly. This is particularly true for increasing your kilometres too quickly in runners. Wear professionally fitted shoes and replace them every six to twelve months.
Treatment: 1. Rest. 2. Ice massage along the shin bone. Take a polystyrene cup and fill it three quarters full of water and freeze it. Peel the polystyrene away to expose the top of the ice and run the ice along both sides of your shin bone as hard as you can handle it. In a tropical climate, the ice will take about fifteen minutes to melt. 3. Have your shoes and gait analysed by a physiotherapist.
A sure way to dampen your motivation and create an unnecessary hurdle to achieving physical fitness is to do too much too quickly. These injuries are common because people get caught up trying to get results too fast. Physical fitness should be a lifestyle, not a task to be achieved.
What’s your health and fitness goal this year?
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