Whether it be shoulder pain, knee pain, ankle pain or foot pain there is often commonality as to how our patient has ended up injured. Whilst the diagnosis and prognosis is different, how our patients have ended up needing treatment is often due to some similar factors.
Tendinopathies, bursitis, stress fractures, muscle strains can often feel like they come out of nowhere. Frustrating injuries with no acute cause. Having been a physio for the last 16 years, here are three key mistakes that I see my patients making that more often than not can be considered the cause of there injury.
1. Loading Errors
This is the classic going “too hard, too soon”. It is so easy to do both mentally and physically. Mentally we can feel motivated and keen to get going and establish new routines and try to make up for lost time. This can lead to poor planning from a load perspective with inadequate recovery.
Physically what happens on commencing a new training program, whether this be strength or cardio (or both) is that things change quickly. Running gets easier and you feel like you can run further or faster (or both). Strength can increase quickly, and it sometimes even feels like every time you train, you are putting more weight on the bar.
The problem here that certain structures in our body do not handle rapid and dramatic changes in loading as well as other. Bones and tendons tend to become irritated (injured) if they are subjected to repeated periods of excessive loading. So how much is excessive I hear you asking? Well this is the million dollar question and is not easy to answer. There are many factors that need to be considered when determining load but the main ones are, type of exercise, how much, how hard, how long and how much recovery time between sessions. The good thing about load is that it can be controlled, so often a reduction in load is all that is required rather than complete rest.
2. Doing the same thing all the time
Do you think that because you do F45 and a “different” workout everyday that you can train everyday? Well I am sorry to tell you, but this is probably not the case. Doing a weights session one day and high intensity cardio session the next which might happen to have push ups and burpees in it is not actually giving your shoulder joint a break. Not only that, but if your sessions are always 45 mins long and you are basically going max effort for this time, then it is not really that varied from an intensity perspective. The movements might be slightly different, but the metabolic effect on the body is the same. Most overuse injuries are the result of repetition, so the real art of programming is planning over the longer term, not just what was done within the session but also what is done in the next session, and the session after that. Variation of movement and intensity is the key. Changing intensity is vital. Even runners should look at changing intensity with the inclusion of long slow runs, mid-range fast runs and even speed / sprint work.
If you are strength training, changing your set and rep scheme is a great way to help prevent injury. It does not always have to be 5 sets of 5 reps, or 3 sets of 10 reps etc. Do you always bench press? Try Dumbbells, or Cable chest press, vary the movement and if you do want to train everyday, then look at getting a well thought out split program written for you.
3. Sleep and recovery
Professional athletes sleep a lot. Why, because it is good for them and they need it. Trying to burn the candle at both ends might be possible for a short period of time, but will likely end in injury, burnout or both. Sleep is important, so if you are training early in the morning as part of your new routine, plan for 1-2 days in the week where you sleep in and train later or even have a rest day.
Try not to be sold on the hype of pre-workouts and recovery formulas. Get enough sleep, eat well and drink plenty of water and you will have all of the fuel you need. And remember, some days it is normal and acceptable to feel sluggish, so don’t panic. Get rest and you will feel amazing in your workout tomorrow. As always, we are here to help. We can not only help with managing your injury, but with our strong backgrounds in exercise science, we are also able to help with you with your programming and provide advice and support around this. We are more than just your typically physio clinic and we love helping people be more active and achieve their physical goals. So often we see the best of intentions end in injury which in many cases could have been avoided with the right approach and a bit of pre planning and education. If any of this blog resonated with you, feel free to get in touch. Yours in health
Chris from Out of the Box Physiotherapy