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The importance of a 'warm up' is vital and is understood by most athletes these days. The trouble comes with, 'what is a good warm up?'
At Jon W Sports Injury we believe the best way to answer this is to think of the aims of a warm up. We believe they are to increase the heart rate to the level that will be required for competition and to prepare the muscles for the force they will have to exert during competition.
A sprain is damage to a ligament (fibres that connect bones to bones) generally caused by overstretching. Ligaments assist with balance and can often be damaged when our balance is compromised.
A strain is damage to the muscle or tendon (connects muscle to bone) generally caused by overstretching or fatigue.
A fracture is any break to a bone. These may be closed (beneath the skin) or open (breaking the skin). These are often caused by impact.
When two bones meet they form a joint. If one bone breaks from the joint, the joint becomes dislocated.
If an injury is suspected the instant thing to do is rest and prevent weight bearing, sit or lie down!! If it is a back injury I would suggest lying on your front. For any soft tissue injury (muscles, ligaments, tendons) a simple principle to follow is
Rest. Remove weight bearing-sit down.
Ice. 15 minutes should be sufficient.
Compress. Use a bandage or support to hold the ice in place.
Elevate. Place the injured part above the heart to help reduce swelling.
The body will go through an ‘acute phase’ for the first 72 hours following an injury. This may result in lots of pain, swelling and reduction in movement. A reminder that swelling is not something that should cause panic or worry. It is a natural process of the body to protect and heal it.
If the symptoms continue after 72 hours then it is recommended that a specialist is seen.
Children are less frequently injured but certain injuries can be severe.
Children go through many adolescent changes that leave the body vulnerable to injury. These injuries have been termed ‘growing pains’ but we are now able to be a little more specific to these injuries.
The severity of these injuries cannot be understated. It has been said that any child suffering should take one year away from sport. While this view may not be the case as we now have better understanding, any child suspecting the injuries should be seen by a specialist immediately.
This is a condition caused by damage to the growth plate below the knee. The muscles of the thigh cross the knee and attach to the growth plate. Extensive use of the thigh pulls on the growth plate and causes damage. This makes the condition very common in football players aged 10-16 years old.
Similar to Osgood Schlatters but the pain occurs in the heel rather than the knee. The calf muscle attaches to the Achilles tendon. This tendon fixes to the heel. Excessive use of the calf pulls at the heel and creates pain. The condition is very common in children who have undertaken a growth spurt or a large shoe size increase.
The role of hydration in sport is vital. Research shows that a 1% abnormality in hydration levels will affect performance by 10%. Therefore every athlete should monitor hydration closely.
Jon W Sports Injury Recommends: 2 litres of water consumed over a five hour period prior to competition.
Jon W Sports Injury Recommends: 1 small bottle of energy drink sipped over a fifteen minute period.
Jon W Sports Injury Recommends: The athlete should weigh themselves in kilograms before competition and after competition. For every kilogram lost, one litre of water should be replenished, over a two hour period.
The cool down is often forgotten but is as important as a warm up. If you consider how tight your muscles would be following a competition, why would you leave these like this and not expect to be injured?
The aims of the cool down are to gradually restore resting heart rate, stretch the muscles and prevent blood pooling. Blood pooling is when blood collects in the muscles and causes stiffness. If you imagine how much extra blood goes to the muscles during competition, then if this rate of exercise suddenly stops the heart is unable to cope with the change and extra blood is sent to the muscles. This extra blood is not required and collects causing stiffness.
Therefore, a cool down should start at match pace and return to resting level, i.e. walking pace, over a period of time. Following this, a period of static stretching should take place to return the muscles to their original length.
Stretch and other execise videos will be coming soon.