The benefits of exercise and sport far outweigh the negatives. Although this is the case injuries can still occur.
Injuries can happen due to overuse of a particular muscle tendon or joint. This type of injury is termed chronic as it tends to happen over a period of time. Bad technique or not warming up properly also can lead to a chronic type injury. Acute injuries which happen suddenly such as a unexpected impact in a contact sport or even tripping or falling can also damage bones, muscles, connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons as well as other structures.
Muscle strains and Ligament sprains
A strain occurs when muscle fibres stretch or tear. It’s usually the result of the muscle being stretched beyond its limits or forced to contract (shorten) too quickly.
Muscle strains are particularly common in the legs and back, such as hamstring strains and lumbar (lower back) strains.
Symptoms of a muscle strain can include:
- swelling, bruising or redness
- pain in the affected muscle at rest
- pain in the muscle or associated joint during use
- muscle spasms (when the muscles contract tightly and painfully)
- weakness and loss of some, or all, of the function in the affected muscle
Use the PRICE protocol
Seek expert advice as soon as possible- your sport rehabilitation therapist will be able to start a rehabilitation plan from the early stages
Tendons are strong bands or cords of tissue that attach muscle to bone. They help move the bones and joints when muscles contract.
The main types of tendon injury are:
- tendonitis – inflammation of a tendon
- tendinopathy – the gradual deterioration of a tendon
- tenosynovitis – inflammation of the protective sheath that surrounds a tendon
- tendon rupture – a sudden tear in a tendon
Tendon injuries usually happen during sports or activities that involve sudden, sharp movements, such as throwing or jumping, or after repeated overuse of the tendons, such as running.
They can also be caused by repetitive daily activities, such as regularly using a computer keyboard and mouse. This is known as a repetitive strain injury (RSI).
Seek advice but initially reduce your workload on the affected area by 50 % and see if this improves the injured area. Your sports rehabilitator will be able to offer soft tissue work and give you an appropriate exercise plan to improve matters.
Bursitis is inflammation and swelling of a bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac which forms under the skin, usually over the joints, and acts as a cushion between the tendons and bones.
The main symptoms of bursitis are pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected area.
Any bursa can become inflamed, but bursitis most commonly occurs in the:
- Shoulder, elbow, knee (known as housemaid’s knee), hip
Avoiding putting pressure on this area and icing are a couple of self-help ways to treat. Your sports rehabilitator can advise on an appropriate exercise plan to help reduce the pain and swelling.
Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury caused by repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia which is a thick band of fascia that runs under the foot. Through overuse the fascia can become inflamed and painful at its attachment to the heel bone or calcaneus. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis consist of a gradual onset of pain under the heel which may radiate forwards into the foot (foot arch pain). There may be tenderness under the sole of the foot and on the inside of the heel when pressing in. The pain can range from being slightly uncomfortable to very painful depending on how badly it is damaged.
Reducing pain and inflammation is the first priority. Applying the PRICE principles of protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation is important. Treatment usually consists of reducing painful symptoms, stretching the tight fascia and lower leg muscles through massage and mobilisation techniques and correcting any causes.
Pain and persistent stiffness in the shoulder joint are the two main symptoms of a frozen shoulder.
This makes it painful and difficult to carry out the full range of normal shoulder movements. You may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as: Bathing, dressing, driving, and sleeping comfortably
Symptoms vary from mild, with little difference to daily activities, to severe, where it may not be possible to move your shoulder at all.
The symptoms of a frozen shoulder usually get worse gradually, over a number of months or years.
- There are three separate stages to the condition but sometimes these stages may be difficult to distinguish. The symptoms may also vary greatly from person to person.
During stage one, often referred to as the “freezing” phase, your shoulder starts to ache and become very painful when reaching out for things. The pain is often worse at night and when you lie on the affected side. This stage can last anywhere from two to nine months.
- The “frozen” phase. Your shoulder may become increasingly stiff, but the pain doesn’t usually get worse and may even decrease. Your shoulder muscles may start to waste away slightly because they’re not being used. This stage usually lasts 4-12 months.
- The thawing phase. During this period, you’ll gradually regain some movement in your shoulder. The pain begins to fade, although it may come back occasionally as the stiffness eases. You may not regain full movement of your shoulder, but you’ll be able to carry out many more tasks. The third stage can last from six months to many years.
Early and regular treatments can help these stages so that full recovery time is reduced.
After the initial painful stage where and pain stiffness are the main symptoms the sports rehabilitator may suggest stretching exercises and utilise massage and mobilisation techniques to assist with range of movement. If you have a frozen shoulder, it’s important to keep your shoulder joint mobile with regular, gentle stretching exercises. Not using your shoulder could make the stiffness worse, so you should continue to use it as normal.
Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow. It’s clinically known as lateral epicondylitis. It often occurs after strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint.
You may notice pain on the outside of your upper forearm just below the bend of your elbow when lifting or bending your arm and when gripping small objects, such as a pen. It will be painful when twisting your forearm, such as turning a door handle or opening a jar. You may also find it difficult to fully extend your arm.
Tennis elbow is usually caused by overusing the muscles attached to your elbow and used to straighten your wrist. If the muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.
The initial advice is to rest your injured arm and stop doing the activity that’s causing the problem. Holding a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day can help ease the pain.
Your therapist will apply massage and soft tissue treatment around the upper and lower arm and will administer an appropriate exercise routine to assist with the condition.
Tension headaches can be caused by a number of factors. Bad posture in our everyday lives at work and home are common for causing these types of headaches.
Regular soft tissue massage and mobilisation treatment is recommended for muscular induced headaches. Postural exercises will be prescribed to help with the situation on a long-term basis.
Back pain is the biggest complaint that people have. It is estimated that 80% of people will have some form of back pain in their lives.
Lower back pain is felt in the area between the bottom of the ribcage and the top of the legs. It’s the most common type of back pain. Symptoms range from tension and stiffness to pain and soreness. Most people’s back pain is described as non-specific, meaning it’s caused by a minor problem with the structures in the back (such as a strain) rather than anything serious. The back is a complex area of muscles, nerves, bones and joints, and is continuously working hard to support the weight of the upper body. It’s often unclear why lower back pain occurs, but it can sometimes be triggered by things like bending awkwardly, lifting incorrectly, standing for long periods of time, slouching when sitting, and driving for long periods.
The upper and middle back is the section of the back between the base of the neck and the bottom of the ribcage. This type of back pain is less common than neck or lower back pain. Like many other types of back pain, upper and middle back pain can range from aching and stiffness to a sharp or burning sensation. Pain in this area may be the result of a problem with the muscles or ligaments (bands of tissue around joints), an injury, or a pinched nerve in the spine. One cause of pain in this area is poor posture. Try to keep your back as straight as possible and balance your weight evenly on both feet. When sitting, keep your shoulders rolled back and be sure to adopt suitable positions when driving, sitting or using computers.
Sciatica is pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, and runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks and down both legs, ending at your feet. When something compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain, numbness and a tingling sensation that travels from your lower back down your leg. The most common cause of sciatica is a slipped (or prolapsed) disc. This occurs when one of the discs that sit between and cushion the bones in the spine is damaged and presses on nearby nerves.
Massage, mobilisation and manual therapy techniques with an appropriate exercise plan are the main treatments implemented for back pain. Manual therapy is the name for a group of treatments where a therapist uses their hands to move, massage and apply careful force to the muscles, bones and joints in and around your spine. Regular maintenance massage is the best way to keep this under control.
Neck pain refers to any pain experienced in the area from the base of the skull to the shoulders. This can include stiffness or tightness, as well as sharp pain. In severe cases, it can reduce the movement of the neck and head. Neck pain can also cause headaches. Most muscles in the body relax when they’re not being used, but the muscles in the neck are permanently tensed to support the head. Neck pain can sometimes be the result of excess strain on the neck. This could include slouching, sleeping in an awkward position, or working at a computer for long periods of time.Neck pain can also develop as the result of an accident. Perhaps the best known is whiplash, an injury sustained as a result of the head being thrown forward and backwards in a car accident.
Soft tissue massage and mobilisation techniques are used to help with neck pain symptoms. As neck pain is generally caused by bad posture, an appropriate exercise plan will be administered to help with the condition long-term.
Sudden pain in one of the knees is usually the result of overusing the knee or injuring it. The knee joint is particularly vulnerable to damage and pain because it takes the full weight of your body and any extra force when you run or jump. You’re more likely to experience knee pain as you get older, and people who are overweight or do lots of sports have a higher risk of damaging their knees. Some sports that involve a lot of turning, such as football, netball and skiing carry a particularly high risk of knee injuries.
Common causes of knee pain include: sprains and strains, menisci or cartilage damage, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, bursitis (housemaid’s knee), torn ligaments or tendons, Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (normally adolescents)
As there are many various knee related problems a variety of treatments are available from your sports therapist. After initial assessment soft tissue treatment and anexercise related treatment plan will be administered.