Now is the time where sport codes start to change from winter into summer and I will be on the lookout for more sports overuse related type injuries coming through our clinics. Amateur athletes have a tendency to change sports with differing physical training demands or go from doing minimal sport and activity over winter into a pre-season training regime that their body isn’t quite ready for. Particularly with the Rio Olympics just finished, the motivation and enthusiasm to rekindle those athletic days may come back as it has with myself!
I have recently decided to start running again, which was a very tough task at first. I found that because I hadn’t run consistently for a while I was firstly very sore after the first week but also that I was getting easily frustrated that I couldn’t run the distance or at the same intensity as before. The trouble I had was slowing myself down and not increasing my training too dramatically, but rather a gradual increase to allow my body to adapt to the new stresses I was placing on it.
Where this can be difficult is when your cardiovascular fitness starts to improve, your confidence grows and you decide to increase your distance without giving it much thought. Although very deceptive, since you feel comfortable with the distance, the muscles and bones tend to take a little longer to adapt to the repetitive loading placed upon it.
Whatever your goal, whether it be increasing your running distance or increasing your weights in the gym, then you need to regularly increase the stress placed on your body by adjusting things such as distance and intensity or within a gym setting, tinkering with the repetitions and weight. This is because the body adapts to the stresses placed upon it and as the adaptation takes place you will find you are able to handle the same load more efficiently. If, however, there is an abrupt and constant increase in load placed on the body, so much so that the load is greater that your ability to adapt, this is where the overuse type injuries become prevalent. The most common in runners tend to be knee pain, Achilles pain and hip pain, and in my experience for gym based work, this is where I more frequently see shoulder problems coming to the forefront.
I have always known to only gradually increase my training load to limit the risk of injury but it took me getting back into running to realise the true importance of this. I started getting a few little niggles and thought that some of you out there may be going through a similar feeling. Currently I am increasing my distance by 10% each week as this has been identified in some recent research as a safe increase in load with minimal risk of overuse injuries. In terms of weight training, an increase of about 5% is usually ideal to allow for continual progression without overloading those shoulders, backs and legs.
At Enhance Physiotherapy we take pride in keeping our clients moving, happy and healthy, and will leave no stone unturned in order to keep you doing what you love. So come see us for those little training nags that don’t seem to go away.