Category Archives: Sports Therapy

What is Sport Therapy?

 

(This is a blog I really should of started with)

Sports Therapy is an aspect of health care that is specifically concerned with injury prevention and rehabilitation of your injury. It helps to get you back to full fitness, regardless of functionality, occupation or fitness concerns, whilst keeping in mind your age and ability.

The principles used incorporate sports science and exercises, in addition to physiological and pathological processes and manual therapy to prepare you for training, competition or daily lifestyle.

Some of the benefits of sport massage:

• Increases muscle flexibility and range of movement

• Prevents injuries

• Re-energises and strengthens your body’s own healing

• Speeds up recovery and improves performance

• Stress relief and relaxation

• Relieves muscle tension and soreness

Who is suitable for Sports therapy?

This is the easiest place to say “ITS NOT JUST FOR SPORTS PEOPLE”. Its for everyone.

Sports therapy, although could be named better, is solely based on improving movement and reducing discomfort, so anyone can benefit from it.

You can be of any age engaged in any type of activity. Some of my clients are people in desk type work. So seated for long periods of time. So if you are active or sedentary, I’m here to help!

Fitness and injury prevention

After effects of training, general soreness, the niggle, stiff muscles are all common and are all easily ignored. However, if these feelings are ignored and you continue training, you are likely to cause minor damage which will eventually stop you from training and hinder your physical development. You can also suffer mental effects from this too. This will in turn change your focus on training i.e. you will train what doesn’t hurt and end up either causing another injury or worsening a current injury by creating an imbalance.

Sport massage is an effective way of maintaining muscle flexibility and muscle condition, which prevents muscle strains. It can also help those minor niggles before they grow into an injury.

Also, with a further look into movement patterns identify what area your body needs to be improved to stop injury in its tracks.

Plantar Fasciitis

Lets start at the bottom, where the initial foundation of your posture begins. The Plantar Fascia is a thin ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. This ligament supports the arch in your foot. It is apparently crucial to helping you stand and walk.

The cause of a Plantar fasciitis is usually connected to a few changes within a person’s biology or functionality. For example, changes in weight may affect it, so pregnancy can cause bouts of plantar fasciitis – particularly during late pregnancy – or if you suddenly gain weight. It can occur if you are a long distance runner, or if you are on your feet all day due to your occupation. Plantar fasciitis can also be connected to physiological problems, such as high or low arches.

The general consensus on the symptoms of this condition is pain and stiffness at the bottom of the foot. It can get worse in the morning and can also get worse by either standing for long periods of time, or if you’ve sat down for a while and then you stood up. Pain is not usually felt during the activities but once the activity has finished, it sets in. Climbing stairs can be difficult with heel stiffness due to to the stiffness in the Achilles but this is often connected to plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis can affect you in more ways than just your feet. Researchers Cheung and Kai-Nan have demonstrated that increased tension in your plantar fascia can change your posture and how you distribute your body weight. In their work, they explain that it alters the ankle so that weight is distributed more anteriorly and laterally to alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia, which puts the sufferer in a more comfortable position. This in turn change your posture, which then creates difficulties in other places.

So after understanding all this, the question is: is the process reversible? The answer is yes. In fact it’s standard practice for all sports therapists. We know it as the practice of undoing fascial bonds. Here’s how it works. Stand up and grab the bottom of your T-shirt. Twist it round. The T-shirt on your body now feels tight and it’s awkward to move your shoulders. If you’re still standing, your body might want to turn towards the twisted T-shirt. And your fascia woks in exactly the same way – except under the skin. When you return your T-shirt to the right place it feels better. The same can be said for your fascia.

Book in an appointment now to see if your fascia can benefit or we can look at your plantar faciitis.

References and further research

Bird, S. Black, N. Newton, P (1998) Sports Injuries Causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention Tottenham Court Road: Stanley Thornes

Brukner, P & Khan, K (2008) Clinical Sports Medicine [3rd ed] Sydney: McGraw Hill

Cash (2002) Sport & remedial massage therapy London: Ebury press

Cheung. J, Zhang. M, Kai-Nan. A, (2006) Effect of Achilles tendon loading on plantar fascia tendon in the standing foot. Retrieved. February, 2016, from www.sciencedirect.com

Frontera, W. (2003) Rehabilitation of sports injuries Oxford: Blackwell Publishing

Paine .T, (2005) The complete guide sports massage London: A&C Black

5 Myths About Sports Therapy Busted

Where there is science, there is myth

With everything, whether its personal training, nuclear fusion or even running style there is always conflicting information out there. Or rather, differences of opinion between professionals in all fields, regardless of title or education. Sport therapy is no different.

So I wanted to take a look at some of the myths, consider why the misconception might be there and then review available research to see if we can come with a better understanding. The areas we’ll take a look at are:

1. ICE
2. Pain killers
3. Training styles
4. No pain, no gain
5. Stretching

1. Ice

Ice, or cryotherapy to give it its posh technical name, is one part of a broader initial treatment when you first get injured known as RICE:

R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compress (which has now been replaced by Support)
E – Elevate

So, why ice?

The reason given by some professional practitioners and textbooks is: It reduces pain and inflammation, which, in turn, reduces and improves healing time. The science behind this is that pain reduces when nerve receptors lose sensitivity, which occurs when the temperature reaches below -40 degrees Celsius. In the area of the body that gets cold, the arteries go through what’s known as vasoconstriction, or in other words they get smaller. This is meant to slow the circulation, and has therefore the additional effect of reducing inflammation.

What’s the catch?

Despite its widespread use, that are a number of experiments that have been done that have shown that Ice actually has no effect on the recovery time.

2. Pain Killers

To a certain number of people, pain killers are the first port of call before undergoing sports massage or injury treatment.

However, I don’t believe this is the correct route to go down for sports treatment. In any treatment, there needs to be correct feedback throughout the entire treatment. If painkillers are in the system, then that feedback will be altered and the initial goal of the treatment will not be achieved.

There’s another problem. The sports therapist’s aim is to reach a sufficient depth within a patient’s pain threshold in order to realign muscle tissue and assist the inflammation system. But, with incorrect feedback, this may be by-passed, resulting in too much pressure being applied. Instead of assisting, you are in danger of restarting the inflammation system. If there is bruising, then the body goes back to its original state once the bruising has healed. If the treatment continues, then the sports therapist will inadvertently achieve the title of “Brutus the destroyer,” or the treatment cannot be carried out.

3. Old School Vs New School training styles

Having been in the fitness for 8 years, I have encountered two radically different schools of thought that have entered the arena. Let’s call them “old school” and “new school” training styles.

It’s worth bearing in mind because it means that there is conflicting information in both and meeting the Fitness professionals from the Old world of training and Other fitness professionals from the New world style i feel i need to point out these purist point of views.

Examples

Let’s take some examples of the same techniques to illustrate the difference between them.

First of all, consider the lunge. According to the new school theorists, your knee should not be allowed to go in front of your toes. On the other hand, if you are of the old school persuasion, then your knee must be in front of your toes. Or, another example, the bench press. Old school proponents would insist that you lock out your arms at the top. New school, however, is exactly the opposite, advising that you leave your elbows soft and not locked out at all at the top.

The science behind the theories

So what gives? First of all, old school theorists believe that it is beneficial to reach the end range of motions which you know you can hold with strength. It means, or so the theory goes, you are less likely to become injured because your body can handle fatigue better and this especially comes in handy for competitive situations.

New school theorists, however, believe that this will wear away at ligaments and joints and will make you more, not less, susceptible to injury and your range of motion will suffer as a result in later life.

Who’s right and who’s wrong?

As with so many things in life, there is no easy right or wrong answer. The advice from this, on the other hand, I believe, is simple. It’s about the motive. Every movement or exercise combined with how you do it, why you do it and for how long you do it has to be based on your reason for doing it. In other words, your goal determines your training style. No one move is superior to another – it’s just how you do it, and why. This is the same for fixed versus free weights and body weight: all have a reason for using it but it’s up to you (or your coach or instructor) as to why.

4. No pain, no gain means back to pain

Being a sports therapist, this is always the first question that I get asked by people that are considering their first treatment. It’s often connected to a bad experience, or a friend telling them that they need to withstand pain, or a passage of right or whatever. A good sports therapist is not “Brutus the destroyer”.

The right touch approach

As I mentioned, the pressure that’s applied is dependent on the feedback that the therapist receives. The therapist’s aim is to relax conflicting muscle tissue by applying exactly the right pressure to the area to break down the haphazard formed healing tissue in the area.

If the therapist applies too much force then the muscle will incorrectly contract in an attempt to protect itself. There won’t be the intended physical release and the therapist might hear from the client,”it’s too much”. But the same can happen the other way round – if there’s not enough pressure, then there is no difference in the muscle tissue. I call this “the right touch” approach, and depending on the individual and level of discomfort, as a general rule, the treatment gets easier over time and the release tends to last longer.

5. Stretching in training

Well, now here’s a complicated subject. It reminds me of my early days, when I was experimenting with it at university. The methods, theories and developments of stretches are manifold. One of the debates is around the notion and use of static stretching versus dynamic stretching. As explained in an article on Competitor.com: Dynamic stretches involve a repetitive and challenging motion, pushing the body part further with each repeat; while static stretching is a sustained, less challenging stretch, that is held.

Do the right stretches at the right time

Some of the problems seen with static stretches before training include inhibiting the effectiveness of the muscle during training. Conversely, dynamic stretches will help warm up your body, and help prepare you physically and mentally for what awaits you. This will also help you in your injury prevention and, unlike static stretching, won’t inhibit your strength.

So next time you exercise, why not try some dynamic stretches before you exercise and some static stretches afterwards. As I mentioned in my previous blog, all too often, people skip stretching altogether. People always tend to do the minimum amount of static stretching, if any, after their training session. The only benefit for me is a selfish one: I get paid more this way.

Have fun with your training and let me know your experiences.

Further reading

Bruckner, P. & Khan, K. (2008) Clinical Sports Medicine [3rd ed], Sydney: McGraw Hill

Bird, S. Black, N. Newton, P (1998) Sports Injuries Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention, Tottenham Court Road: Stanley Thrones

Sources for this article

Preventing running injuries

Why we love running so much

For my first blog, I wanted to tackle running. It’s the sport with injuries that come up most frequently in the clinic. So why do so many of us love it so much? Are we built to run? Have you ever sat down and thought of what running actually is?

I am sitting in Brendan Chaplin’s class – a strength and conditioning mentor – and asking myself all these questions. Running is, in my mind, one of England’s biggest fitness crazes. People use running to accomplish great feats of distance, competition and a free source of travelling.

So I found myself thinking back to the beginning. Running for us Homosapiens is one of our most basic forms of movement. We use it to track and hunt food. Through time, running eventually became a sport, around 2,700 years ago. To honour Zeus, men would compete by sprinting from one side of the arena to the other.

After time we come to the invention of ‘jogging,’ which came about in the 16th century. Nobles would wear amour into battle and find jogging was easier and could conserve more energy.

So there is much more history to running than we might first expect. We used running to hunt, then to compete. But let’s not forget we can also use running to bet on. So, how did social running begin?

Social running or running training for long distances didn’t really come together until the legendary “Arthur Lydiad”. He created the first social jogging club 40 years ago in New Zealand who inspired people to run and introduced the ‘base training’ phase that runners use today in their training program.

Physiological requirements

In the past 30 years of marathon running, the infamous performance-limiting phenomenon known as “hitting the wall” affects 1-2% of those who race. According to sport scientist, Rapoport (2010), there are variable physiological energy constraints that provide a predictable measurement for when this will effect individual runners.

An example of the measurements include muscle mass distribution, liver and muscle densities and running speed. So if it is your first time racing and one of your concerns is “hitting the wall,” all you really have to consider is eating well and make sure you find a comfortable pace and sticking to it.

Movement analysis

Running is a pure unidirectional movement. The main muscles specifically involved with the impact and movement are your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus, illiacus and psoas major.

So what causes injury?

It is well known that marathons causes injuries especially for people doing it for the first time.

As we have seen the hunting and speed style of the past might carry over into how we react ad move today and we can relate this to our body structure. However, another sports scientist, Burnfoot (2014), found that first time marathon runners don’t suffer form knee damage due to repetitive use. Germany’s Freiburg university hospital measured the runners cartilage before the start of their training program and immediately after their first marathon and found that there was no depletion in the cartilage. So this research shows that the structure of the body is not the problem.

So we know that there isn’t a fault in the human body, but what else could it be? Let’s say you run step by step, over and over again, covering 20 – 80 miles in a week. What could go wrong? Well if that first step is wrong and putting unnecessary strain on your body, guess what happens when you do that step 100 to 1000 of times over and over? This is how niggles develop. So lets start by getting that first step right. We can do that through specific strength training – which we’ll get to grips with in my next post – so don’t forget to follow my blog to get the updates.

In the meantime, if you are suffering from any running related injuries and want to get them sorted then book up a consultation, or let me know your experiences in the comments below.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog and thanks for finding the time to read it.

My name is Tom, I am a sports therapist I work and run a clinic in south east London.

A lot of people and professionals believe that sports therapy is just for rehabilitation. So I want to show what my industry can do and how it can be applied to you in a multitude of ways, whether it’s prevention or pre-event, inter-event or post-event massage, and what to expect and why. I’ll also take a look at what the therapist hopes to achieve by these treatments and exercises.

My main goal is to introduce you to an awareness of your body. This will include a little bit of my own philosophy of movement and healthy living, backed with a lot of research. My passion lies in what I do and I wish to share that with you.

How? What? When and why? I find myself exploring these questions every day in every treatment. It makes me want to take every article, and then right back to where this question first became a question – the genesis – because only then, do I believe the right answers can be found.

There’s lots of information on how to prevent injuries from occurring and I’ll explore some helpful tips on how to exercise and what to expect if you do get injured. And if you don’t do sport – well, that’s fine too. While practising, I’ve found that injuries can occur in all circumstances: the office or just day to day lifestyle. Being an avid sportsman, I know how to overcome many injuries and address how they occur from my own personal experience. In fact, if I had to list all of the injuries I’ve had, the list would probably shock you (one of the reasons I became a sports therapist).

I want to make sure that everything I write can be applied to your situation. So if you want me to talk about ideas on how sports therapy can be applied to a sport, or concerns on a general injury, then leave a comment or better yet contact me!

My main aim is to improve myself, and in doing so share that with you and improve your life, so if you want to leave positive comments or constructive criticism I really appreciate because only then I can improve and I can tailor my article to what you are looking for.