PHYSIOTHERAPIST + DIRECTOR
There is a reason elite athletes are so rarely injured, and bounce back so rapidly after something does go wrong. They benefit from undertaking individualised, scientific exercise to prevent damage to body tissues. Let’s look at how the everyday athlete can use ‘prehabilitation’ principles to keep healthy in the long term.
WHAT are the best ways to invest your time and money in the short term to keep yourself healthy in the long term?
Anyone who has been injured, through sport or otherwise, understands the frustration of the healing process taking you away from the sports or habits that you enjoy.
What we are here to tell you is that the majority of non-traumatic injuries that we see in the clinic on a daily basis are avoidable with appropriate pre-injury intervention or ‘prehabilitaion’.
Experienced physiotherapists, particularly those with a background in elite level competition, can expertly assess your body’s suitability for the sport you undertake and provide a program to address any physical characteristics that increase risk of injury.
Prehabilitation is a term that has become more common over the last few years. It refers to injury prevention exercise and body conditioning specific to your sport that prepares your muscles, joints and nervous system for the unique demands you will put on it through repetitive competition in any given discipline.
Prehab complements your normal training regimen and in some cases can also drastically improve your performance.
The relatively small investment of time and wealth in having yourself assessed could save you extended injury rehabilitation in the future, and will certainly reduce the ‘niggles’ that we all experience through sport.
Let’s have a look at some of the injuries we often see arise from commonly played sports and some of the probe strategies to prevent them.
• Low back pain
• Anterior and lateral knee pain
• Calf strains and Plantar fasciitis
On screening athletes with such injuries common findings are weakened or ineffective gluteal and abdominal musculature, restricted length of quads, hamstrings and calf muscles and weakness of the muscles deep to the calf. All so easily corrected!
• Damaged knee and ankle ligaments extremely common
• Hammy tears
In this case even injuries that could be considered traumatic such as ligament damage are actually preventable. Improving your ability to stabilise your hip and ankle through specific exercise and keeping flexible and reduce risk significantly. As hamstrings are so common many athletes’ complete specialised programs to prevent tears all season long.
• Lower back pain extremely common
• Wrist, hand and thumb pain
For rotational athletes like golfers it’s all about flexibility. Back pain in the majority of cases is attributed to reduced mid back and hip flexibility which forces the lower back into awkward spots. Such an easy fix, but many people play for years with bad backs.
Of course, there is no ‘one fits all’ program as we’re all different. Your best bet is to seek out an experienced sports physio and invest a small amount of time and money in your physical health to avoid lengthy rehabilitation in the future.