Skiing Injuries Part 1

 

Winter breaks are drawing near, and many of you (me included) are probably starting to look forward to the beginning of the skiing season. A chance to swop the city for mountains, blue bird skies and fresh powder snow.  There is however, a flip side to this wonderful sport. No matter if you are an advanced skier or snowboarder or if you are a complete beginner, accidents do happen. Falling on the slopes may result in injuries virtually anywhere on the body, just as the severity can vary from bruising to breaks and other more serious injuries. However, there are injuries that happen more frequently than others and many we can do something about to prevent them from happening in the first place. That is what I will focus on in the next few posts.

Knees Knees Knees

First off. Knees.  Since your foot is usually locked into a more or less solid boot of some sort and your hip is one of the most stable joints of the body, it is usually your knees that end up being compromised during pressure.  Normally it is rotational forces that cause injury to the knees, like when you make a turn on the slopes and your upper body is going one way but your skis are going another. Why is the knee so susceptible to injuries during rotation, you might ask? Well, try to bend your knee. Now try to straighten it. And now try to rotate it left without moving your thigh. And now to the right, again without moving the thigh. Get it? The rotational movement in the knee is very restricted. The knee is mainly kept in place by a complex, but ingenious set of muscular (i.e. tendons) and non-muscular structures such as menisci and ligaments. This means that there are several structures that can be damaged.

I will briefly name a few, without going into too much detail about them:

*   Cruciate ligament tears (normally the ACL)

*   Meniscal tears

*   Collateral ligament injuries (MCL or LCL)

*   Unhappy triad/terrible triad/blown knee, which involves all of the above and is usually very painful. Hence the name.

Luckily to prevent injuries like these and many other knee-related injuries, the regime is more or less the same: knee control and stability training. There is a whole bunch of them, but I will however share a few of my personal favourites.

You can see it as my Christmas gift to you:

  1. The Swedish Dragon

*   I’m not sure if this exercise has a proper name in English, but this is one of my favourites for knee stability.

1) Start in single leg stance, with a micro flexion of the knee (no more than 5 degrees). Keep arms down by the side of your body.

2) Bend from you hip, arms moving forward and up. The foot that is off the floor moves towards the ceiling, heel leading. Your aim is to look like a T from the side.

3) Go as far as you can without losing your balance.

4) Come back to starting position and repeat a full set. Then do the swop legs.

Notes: Make sure your knee isn’t wobbling and that you don’t rotate your pelvis. Your chest should face the floor the entire time. The goal is controlled the movement throughout the exercise. Better to go slow and controlled, than to rush and cheat your way through it (yes, your brain will cheat whether you want it or not, in order to make the task as easy as possible). I promise if you do this you will see and feel the difference.

  1. Ice skater jumps / lateral lunges

*   Again, pardon my Swedish, but this is a great exercise for hip/knee stability. This one might also have another name in English, but no matter the exercise is still the same. It is the same movement that is repeated in long distance ice-skating, which is where the name derived from. I really like it because is easy to progress in order to make it even tougher as you build up your strength.

1) Start in with your feet hip width apart. Knees slightly bent.

2) Take a step out to one side, bringing your bodyweight onto that leg.

3) Squat down over the single leg, keeping your knee in line with your toes.

4) Straighten your leg back out as you step back towards the starting position.

5) Repeat movement to the other side.

Note: When you put your weight on the single leg, make sure hip, knee and foot are in line with each other. Start by putting some weight on your leg, and if you can do this without pain or exhausting the muscles you can gradually increase the weight you put on.  They are called jumps because eventually you can move into jumping from side to side, but this requires adequate strength and knee control.

  1. The Clam

*   The bread and butter of many physiotherapists. This is not a strict knee exercise, but rather focuses on your glutes (namely gluteus medius). Hip control is vital in order to keep your lower limb (including knee) stable during impact.

1) Lie down on your side. Knees and hip bent to 45 degrees.

2) Lift your knee towards the ceiling by rotating the hip out. Your feet stay connected.

3) Slowly bring your knee down again. With a bit of imagination your legs will look like a clam opening and closing. Do a full set and then repeat on the other side.

Note: Don’t rotate your pelvis during the exercise. Make sure the movement is slow and smooth. In the beginning it might be a bit jolty, that is because the brain needs a bit of time to learn how to perform the exercise correctly.

Aim to do 3 sets of each exercise, each set containing 8-12 repetitions, 3 times per week. You should feel tired after a finished set, but no pain. All these exercises can be made more advanced and heavier but make sure you know what you are doing before progressing the exercise. These are the general recommendations for strengthening according to American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). If you are new to strength training I suggest you ask someone well experienced for advice and instructions.

Remember, if you’ve had previous knee injuries then you are more likely to incur new ones. That’s why it is even more important that you perform these exercises and that you do them correctly. If you get pain during or after an exercise, stop the exercise and consult your physiotherapist.

Recovering from a sports injury it’s a long hard road

Recovery From A Sport Injury – A Long Hard Road.

sports injury physio kingston surrey

Sports Injury Clinic in Kingston, Physio & More Can Help!

Recovery from a sports injury can be a monumental task. The pain an athlete suffers through physically is bad enough, but the mental anguish that accompanies the pain is equally crippling. Whether you are a professional athlete or you just enjoy an active lifestyle, sports injury can wreak havoc on your life.

Don’t let your injury stop you – take action!

Accomplishing your level of ability with sports takes dedication and hard work. From the professional football player, to the weekend jogger; time and effort are spent mastering your goals. A sports injury often puts you back to square one. Not only will the injury require treatment, but it will take much effort to recover to the place you were before the injury. And if the treatment you receive is not adequate, there is a real chance that you may never get there.

Conventional medicine can offer diagnosis, pain relief, surgery and sound advice. But these things will only take you so far. Once the swelling is down and the injury is healed, physically moving and working the affected body part is required. There is no avoiding it. At this point, medical doctors will usually send the patient to a physio. With physical injury comes a flood of mental injury. Feelings of frustration, anger and loss of motivation are normal. Physiotherapists understand this. Though in some cases counselling is necessary; often the athlete finds himself healing emotionally as he takes control of his physical being. The sense of “doing something” is powerful. With every step toward recovery, he or she feels empowered. Their motivation begins to return, focused this time on doing what must be done, to get to the place of healing. There is power in self-control.

How quickly can you recover from a sports injury?

Recovery times vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. If surgery is required several weeks are added to the recovery time. The time to see a physical therapist is immediately.

Why seek the help of a chartered physiotherapist in Kingston?

Skilled physiotherapists such as Ben WildePhysiotherapists such as Ben Wilde here at Physio & More  are highly trained in all areas of injury. They will help you prepare and explain what to expect. They can work with you to map out your recovery. This is a team effort. The skills of the professionals and the effort of the injured are what matters.

Watching the days, weeks and maybe even months go by while you are stuck on the sidelines is hard. It is easy to lose hope. Fear of being left behind eats at you. In some cases by the time you are ready to resume your place, team members have changed. The fear of starting again with an altered body image is overwhelming. Those who love you see a difference but do not know what to say. Once the injury is healed, they do not understand why you don’t just get back in the game and be the person you were. Getting help with this may be necessary. Though it is true that you may not be 100% when you begin to take up your sport, you certainly are on your way. Now that you have been injured and have recovered; you are no longer afraid of becoming injured. You have been there and survived. It can be very freeing when the fear of getting hurt has left you. Your doctors, therapists, family and coach would not allow you back in the game before you are ready. They focused on the body, allowing you to focus on the mind. Once the mind, body and soul are healed; your potential is unlimited.

For more information on sports related injury and the recovery process contact Physio & More in Kingston upon Thames today on 020 8546 6464.

Three Exercises Proven To Help Back Pain

 

back pain kingston upon thamesProbably the most common pain the medical community deals with is the back. Back pain, injury, strain or sprain affects 1 in every 3 adults in the world. In the United Kingdom alone, 2.6 million people have back pain every single day. More than 8 million people have chronic back pain and 10 million work days per year are lost to back pain.

Back Pain affects more people than cancer or diabetes!

Back pain costs the United Kingdom more than cancer or diabetes! It is pretty safe to say every person will suffer from back pain at some point in their life.

Anyone can get back pain, but there are some factors that make it more likely. These are some of the following causes that affect the likelihood of a person suffering from back pain:

Obesity & Poor Physical activity

Obesity is a major contributor in back pain. Excess weight puts more strain on the spine and the muscles. Obese people are more likely to not get enough exercise which is needed to keep the back strong.

Smoking

While smoking does not cause back pain, it restricts the nutrients needed to travel to the spinal discs. This hampers the body’s natural ability to heal.

Age & Job

Most people will experience some type of back pain when they reach middle age. The average patient will be in their late 30’s or 40’s. This is especially true for people who have a job that requires them to stand, lift or sit for extended periods of time.

What can you do to stop back pain?

The best way to not have back pain is to avoid it in the first place. The following exercises are proven to be affective for keeping the back and neck healthy both before and during recovery.

Exercise #1: The Pelvic Tilt Exercise for Back Pain Prevention

  • Lie on your back on the floor.
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your arms across your chest.

While breathing deeply, slowly tilt your pelvis up then down pushing into the floor. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times adding more as you feel comfortable.

The abdomen muscles directly affect the back muscles. You cannot have one without the other. In order to strengthen the back, work your abs.

Back Pain Exercise #2: The Cat Stretch

Begin on your hands and knees. Concentrate on your breathing and do not hold your breath. Inhale deeply and as you exhale round your back and shoulders to resemble a frightened cat. Let your back move to its original position. Repeat 10 times. This stretches the spine allowing blood to flow more freely and strengthens the muscles of the spine.

Back Pain Exercise #3: V-Ups

Lie flat on the floor with toes pointed up. In one movement raise your feet and arms into the air, not touching but get as close as you can. Your body should be in a V formation. Your butt should be the only thing touching the floor. Hold this position for 3 seconds, then lower arms and legs and repeat. Do not get discouraged if it takes a while to get this one. Over time increase the hold time and the repetitions. This strengthens the core of the body.

The best time to begin incorporating these exercises into your exercise program is before you experience back pain. If it is too late for that, practice these slowly while you are recovering and after you are healed continue to do them as part of your health routine. There are many other exercises that assist in healing and prevention of muscle strain.

Need professional help?

If you need advice on back pain please contact the clinic today on 020 8546 6464

Treatment for Back Pain

at Physio & More we offer a variety of services to help with back pain including:

Physiotherapy

Chiropractic

Osteopathy

 

Cancer, let’s talk about it

At some point in our life many of us will be affected directly, or indirectly, by cancer. It is a diagnosis that affects not only the patient, but family, friends, colleagues. Most people are familiar with what cancer is. But is there anything we can do about it? That’s what I am going to talk about here, but also leave a few words at the end to those who struggle with cancer.

Cancer has more than 200 diagnoses

But firstly, cancer is cluster of more than 200 different diagnoses. They are all different, but the most common types of cancer in the UK are lung, breast, prostate and bowl cancer. Symptoms can hugely and are sometimes very general, like pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, affected vocal chords or neurological symptoms.

Why do we develop cancer?

There are several factors that contribute to the risk of developing cancer. Some we can’t do anything about. Some we can. I like to focus on the things we can do to improve odds and general quality of life. So I’m going to list five things that you and I can do to prevent or decrease the risk of some types of cancer:

  1. Don’t smoke. If you are, stop. If you aren’t, good for you.
  2. Drink in moderation. Or don’t drink at all. There’s a big debate going on at the moment on the “one glass per day keeps the doctor away” concept. It’s been found that one glass per day doesn’t decrease your risk of heart related diseases. Nor cancer. Rather the opposite. Various types of cancer in the gastric tract, breast and liver cancer are linked to excessive drinking. I could go further into this, but have to keep is short for now.
  3. Stay physically active. 150 minutes per week. Or 30 minutes per day. You can break it down to 10 minute sessions at the time. The important thing is that the work-out is at least moderately hard (i.e. makes you break a sweat and increases your breathing).
  4. Eat well. I know, what does that even mean? In general it means that you should vary what you eat, reduce the amount of pre-fabricated food as well as red meat, and maybe not eat excessively fatty or sugary food. In the midst of all this, don’t forget to enjoy what you eat. Healthy food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard.
  5. Stress less. There have been some studies showing that stress might increase the risk of developing cancer. It’s sometimes hard to control your calendar, but remember this: By having an outlet for stress, the stress-hormones released in your body can leave you system, instead of piling up. Physical activity is one way.

Things we can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer

These are things we can all do to decrease risk of cancer. As I mentioned there are things we can’t do anything about like: age, gender and hereditary factors.

Finally, to those who have cancer. Every case is different, just like human-beings are. But here are some things that I’ve learnt from working with patients that have very aggressive types of cancer: Try to follow the suggestions above. Moderate it to your ability and level of function. Staying active by going for walks or cycling can help with pain, fatigue, depression and nutrition. If you are going through chemotherapy, staying active throughout your treatment period can help you better cope it. It is important that you don’t ignore signals from your body and talk to your doctor before making any changes to your daily routines.

Here is my heartfelt best of luck to all of you. Take care of yourself and those around you.