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Ankle Injuries

A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together.

Ligaments help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.
Signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle vary depending on the severity of the injury. They may include:

Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot

Tenderness when you touch the ankle

Swelling

Bruising

Restricted range of motion

Instability in the ankle

Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury

Ankle sprains are a common sports injury, particularly in sports that require jumping, cutting action, or rolling or twisting of the foot such as basketball, tennis, football, soccer and trail running.
Uneven surfaces. Walking or running on uneven surfaces or poor field conditions may increase the risk of an ankle sprain.
Prior ankle injury. Once you’ve sprained your ankle or had another type of ankle injury, you’re more likely to sprain it again.
Poor physical condition. Poor strength or flexibility in the ankles may increase the risk of a sprain when participating in sports.
Improper shoes. Shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t appropriate for an activity, as well as high-heeled shoes in general, make ankles more vulnerable to injury

Prevention

The following tips can help you prevent a sprained ankle or a recurring sprain:
Warm up before you exercise or play sports.

Be careful when walking, running or working on an uneven surface.

Use an ankle support brace or tape on a weak or previously injured ankle.

Wear shoes that fit well and are made for your activity.

Minimize wearing high-heeled shoes.

Don’t play sports or participate in activities for which you are not conditioned.

Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility.

Practice stability training, including balance exercises.

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.

Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes.

The structure of the Achilles tendon weakens with age, which can make it more susceptible to injury — particularly in people who may participate in sports only on the weekends or who have suddenly increased the intensity of their running programs.

Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It’s also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.

Symptoms

The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more-severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting.

You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.

Your sex. Achilles tendinitis occurs most commonly in men.
Age. Achilles tendinitis is more common as you age.
Physical problems. A naturally flat arch in your foot can put more strain on the Achilles tendon. Obesity and tight calf muscles also can increase tendon strain.
Training choices. Running in worn-out shoes can increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis. Tendon pain occurs more frequently in cold weather than in warm weather, and running on hilly terrain also can predispose you to Achilles injury.

Exercises. Therapists often prescribe specific stretching and strengthening exercises to promote healing and strengthening of the Achilles tendon and its supporting structures.

A special type of strengthening called “eccentric” strengthening, involving a slow let down of a weight after raising it, has been found to be especially helpful for persistent Achilles problems.


Knee injuries

Knee bursitis:

The bursa in between the skin and the kneecap (the prepatellar bursa) is commonly affected. Housemaid’s knee is the name given to inflammation of the prepatellar bursa.

There are a number of different things that can cause housemaid’s knee:

  • A sudden, one-off injury to the knee
  • Recurrent minor injury to the knee
  • Infection

Housemaid’s knee causes pain and swelling of the affected knee. You may notice redness of the skin over the knee and your kneecap may be tender. You may also have difficulty bending your knee and difficulty kneeling and walking
Treatment includes:

Resting the knee.

The use of ice packs on the knee (a tea towel wrapped around a bag of frozen peas makes a good ice pack).

For kneeling, the use of a thick foam cushion or knee pads – these can help to prevent the condition from coming back.

A physiotherapist can help by teaching you some exercises if your knee joint is affected by a reduced range of movement.

A stick or a cane can help with walking

Runners knee:

Runner’s knee is the common term used to describe any one of several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap including, anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, chondromalacia patella, and iliotibial band syndrome.

As the name suggests, running is a common cause of runner’s knee, but any activity that repeatedly stresses the knee joint can cause the disorder. This can include walking, skiing, biking, jumping, cycling, and playing soccer.

According to the Harvard Medical School, runner’s knee is more common in women than in men, particularly in women of middle age. People who are overweight are especially prone to the disorder.

What are the symptoms of runner’s knee?

The hallmark of runner’s knee is a dull, aching pain around or behind the kneecap, or patella, especially where it meets the lower part of the thighbone or femur.

You may feel pain when:

walking

climbing or descending stairs

squatting

kneeling

running

sitting down or standing up

sitting for a long time with the knee bent

Other symptoms include swelling and popping or grinding in the knee.

What causes runner’s knee?
The pain of runner’s knee may be caused by irritation of the soft tissues or lining of the knee, worn or torn cartilage, or strained tendons. Any of the following can also contribute to runner’s knee:

overuse
trauma to the kneecap
misalignment of the kneecap
complete or partial dislocation of the kneecap
flat feet
weak or tight thigh muscles
inadequate stretching before exercise
arthritis
a fractured kneecap
plica syndrome or synovial plica syndrome, in which the lining of the joint becomes thickened and inflamed

Treatment includes rest, massage and specific exercises. 

Patella tendinitis:

Patellar tendinitis is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to extend your knee so that you can kick, run and jump.

Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping — such as basketball and volleyball. However, even people who don’t participate in jumping sports can get patellar tendinitis.

Risk factors

A combination of factors may contribute to the development of patellar tendinitis, including:

Physical activity. Running and jumping are most commonly associated with patellar tendinitis. Sudden increases in how hard or how often you engage in the activity also add stress to the tendon, as can changing your running shoes.

Tight leg muscles. Tight thigh muscles (quadriceps) and hamstrings, which run up the back of your thighs, can increase strain on your patellar tendon.

Muscular imbalance. If some muscles in your legs are much stronger than others, the stronger muscles could pull harder on your patellar tendon. This uneven pull could cause tendinitis.

Chronic illness. Some illnesses disrupt blood flow to the knee, which weakens the tendon. Examples include kidney failure, autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Causes

Patellar tendinitis is a common overuse injury, caused by repeated stress on your patellar tendon. The stress results in tiny tears in the tendon, which your body attempts to repair.

But as the tears in the tendon multiply, they cause pain from inflammation and weakening of the tendon. When this tendon damage persists for more than a few weeks, it’s called tendinopathy.

Symptoms

Pain is the first symptom of patellar tendinitis, usually between your kneecap and where the tendon attaches to your shinbone (tibia).

Initially, you may only feel pain in your knee as you begin physical activity or just after an intense workout. Over time, the pain worsens and starts to interfere with playing your sport. Eventually, the pain interferes with daily movements such as climbing stairs or rising from a chair.

Treatment

Stretching exercises. Regular, steady stretching exercises can reduce muscle spasm and help lengthen the muscle-tendon unit. Don’t bounce during your stretch.

Strengthening exercises. Weak thigh muscles contribute to the strain on your patellar tendon. Exercises that involve lowering your leg very slowly after extending it can be particularly helpful, as can exercises that strengthen all of the leg muscles in combination, such as a leg press.

Don’t play through pain. As soon as you notice exercise-related knee pain, ice the area and rest. Until your knee is pain-free, avoid activities that put stress on your patellar tendon.
Strengthen your muscles. Strong thigh muscles are better able to handle the stresses that can cause patellar tendinitis. Eccentric exercises, which involve lowering your leg very slowly after extending your knee, are particularly helpful.
Improve your technique. To be sure you’re using your body correctly, consider taking lessons or getting professional instructions when starting a new sport or using exercise equipment.
Knee arthritis:

Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. It is a major cause of lost work time and a serious disability for many people.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative,”wear-and-tear” type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone, and produce painful bone spurs.

Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.

knee joint affected by arthritis may be painful and inflamed. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. There are other symptoms, as well:

The joint may become stiff and swollen, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee.

Pain and swelling may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting.

Vigorous activity may cause pain to flare up.

Loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue can interfere with the smooth motion of joints. The knee may “lock” or “stick” during movement. It may creak, click, snap or make a grinding noise (crepitus).

Pain may cause a feeling of weakness or buckling in the knee.

Many people with arthritis note increased joint pain with rainy weather.
Treatment
There is no cure for arthritis but there are a number of treatments that may help relieve the pain and disability it can cause.

Nonsurgical Treatment
As with other arthritic conditions, initial treatment of arthritis of the knee is nonsurgical. Your doctor may recommend a range of treatment options.

Lifestyle modifications. Some changes in your daily life can protect your knee joint and slow the progress

Minimize activities that aggravate the condition, such as climbing stairs.
Switching from high impact activities (like jogging or tennis) to lower impact activities (like swimming or cycling) will put less stress on your knee.
Losing weight can reduce stress on the knee joint, resulting in less pain and increased function.
Physical therapy. Specific exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility, as well as help strengthen the muscles in your leg. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.

The knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most easily injured.  
Knee sprains are classified according to a grading system:
Grade I (mild) — This injury stretches the ligament, which causes microscopic tears in the ligament. These tiny tears don’t significantly affect the overall ability of the knee joint to support your weight.Grade II (moderate) — The ligament is partially torn, and there is some mild to moderate instability (or periodic giving out) of the knee while standing or walking.Grade III (severe) — The ligament is torn completely or separated at its end from the bone, and the knee is more unstable.
Most knee sprains occur as a result of:
Direct impact on the knee from an outside forcePressure on the knee resulting from an abrupt stopping force or change in direction
Risk Factors for Knee Sprains
– Improper footwear. – Prior injury. – Cutting and contact sports. 

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — typically sprains during one of the following knee movements: a sudden stop; a twist, pivot or change in direction at the joint; extreme overstraightening (hyperextension); or a direct impact to the outside of the knee or lower leg. 
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) —  often sprains because of a direct impact to the front of the knee, such as hitting the knee on the dashboard in a car crash or landing hard on a bent knee during sports. 
Medial collateral ligament (MCL) —  can be torn by a direct sideways blow to the outside of the knee or lower leg or by a severe knee twist. 
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) —  caused by a blow to the inside of the knee. Least likely to be injured. 

ACL Sprain
A pop inside your knee at the moment of injurySignificant knee swelling within a few hours after injurySevere knee pain that prevents you from continued participation in your sportBlack-and-blue discoloration around the kneeKnee instability — the feeling that your injured knee will buckle or give out if you try to stand
PCL Sprain
Mild knee swelling, with or without knee instabilityMild difficulty in moving the kneeMild pain at the back of the knee that worsens when you kneelMCL Sprain
Knee pain and swellingKnee buckling toward the outsideAn area of tenderness over the torn MCL (at the inner side of the knee)LCL Sprain
Knee pain and swellingKnee buckling toward the insideAn area of tenderness over the torn LCL (at the outer side of the knee)
Expected DurationHow long a knee sprain lasts depends on the type of knee sprain, the severity of your injury, your rehabilitation program and the types of sports you play. In general, milder Grade I and Grade II MCL or LCL sprains heal within 2 to 4 weeks, but other types of knee sprains may take 4 to 12 months

GETTING BACK INTO EXERCISE AFTER A BREAK (STEP BY STEP)

Taking a break from exercise is something that happens to everyone during their lives at some point or another. Covid-19 has forced sporting activities to stop however things are starting to normalise. 


We’ve made a step by step guide on how to get back into exercise from start to finish to make things as easy as we possibly could. It’s not an easy thing to do, but getting started is always the first step, and you’re certainly in the right place to do it.


STEP 1 – FIND WHY YOU STOPPED
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to find out what made you stop exercising the first time. There are a lot of factors that can come into play when thinking about your reasons to stop. Some are inevitable, some not so much. 
Once you have managed to find the reason, you’re ready to move onto the next stage of the process of getting yourself back on track!


STEP 2 – BUILD YOUR MOTIVATION
The next step of your journey back to fitness is building up your motivation to help you find a reason to keep on training. It may even be the same as it was before you took the break, but now with a fresh attitude and some extra guidance, you can give yourself a fighting chance to stick at it and make fitness a healthy and enjoyable part of your life.


REMEMBER MUSCLE MEMORY
Your body has a genius way of keeping you in good condition even after your exercise thanks to the work you already put it. It’s an amazing concept to have at your disposal.
Muscle memory means that even if you haven’t trained in a long time, the extra cells that you did produce when you were training are still there in your body. They’re actually just waiting to be needed again. That gives you much faster progress than you would have seen the first time you were training, no matter if it was for strength training or for cardio.


STEP 3 – PROGRESSIVELY BUILD UP
You won’t walk in exactly where you left off. You can’t just walk into your gym and get back on the bench with the same weight you had when you left. Trying may actually be demotivating if you feel disappointed form the get-go. You’re muscle still needs time to build up, and your form or technique may well be off too, just like when you start something new. Start slowly and work your way back up or you are just asking for an injury to happen which may take you back out of your training quicker than you started it.


STEP 4 – PLAN AHEAD
Finally, one of the most important things for you to consider when you’re getting back into your training is to plan ahead. Getting used to putting time aside for your fitness can be really challenging after a long time off as you often have other things that will be filling up your time. 


KEEP IN MIND

Remember to take things at your own pace, and don’t expect instant gratification. Fitness is a hard thing to master and needs to be a long-term situation, not a short-term fix to get to where you want to be.
Only you can control how you’ll train, but with the right attitude and the right knowledge, you can get back into a routine in no time at all and it will feel like second nature.

Normatec Compression Sleeves

What’s a NormaTec? The compression therapy elite athletes love

Like cryotherapy, compression therapy has been around for decades as a medical treatment. In fact, NormaTec started as a medical device company to treat a condition called lymphedema (chronic swelling).

Now the company’s focus is athletic recovery, but its roots lie in the science of blood flow: Your circulatory system delivers oxygen, nutrients and hormones to every cell in your body. Simultaneously, this complex circuit removes metabolic wastes such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid, effectively flushing your system of toxins.

The idea behind compression therapy is that by increasing blood flow to specific parts of the body — encouraging your body to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to those areas — you can speed up recovery, relieve pain and improve athletic performance.

Benefits of compression therapy

Reducing swelling and inflammation

Speeding up muscle recovery

Preventing delayed-onset muscle soreness

Relieving muscle pain

Improving athletic performance

Increasing flexibility and range of motion

Removing exercise-related wastes, like lactic acid

Decreasing muscle fatigue  

NormaTec

Worth the hype?

Personally, I think yes. Despite some wishy-washy clinical trials, these products are backed by a valid scientific principle: Compression therapy increases blood flow, which delivers nutrients to your muscles and removes waste like lactic acid. That’s why active recovery (like stretching and walking) is so much better than passive recovery (doing nothing).