Kicking off our regular fitness column, fitness instructor Chris Lee goes through the most common training injuries and how best to avoid them
Most training injuries occur for one of two reasons. The first reason is simply you are doing the wrong exercise for your body, and in the wrong way. This can occur when you copy a routine out of a magazine and interpret the images wrongly; or you simply do an exercise your body is not yet capable of attempting.
Secondly if you increase the frequency or volume of a routine too soon you can cause an overload injury as the programme isn’t structured properly and the muscles don’t get time to recover sufficiently before training again.
It’s important in the early stages of any new regime to get professional advice to have a routine tailor-made for your body and your capabilities.
The most common injures are Shin Splints and Plantar fasitus. Shin splints is a generic term for pain in the lower two thirds of the Tibia (Shin Bone) This is caused by impact exercise such as running or hi impact aerobics, and is brought about by a dysfunctional gait pattern (the way the feet hit the floor and distribute forces created by impact). If this is dysfunctional, soft tissue structures in the calf work too hard to try and control the movement causing them to weaken and eventually become unable to cope with the forces causing excess strain on the shin bone.
Plantar fasitus is an inflammation of the connective tissue in the arch of the foot normally caused by high impact activities such as running or high impact aerobics. This is most common in the high arch foot type when the muscle is already tight and not able to absorb shock as well as a more functional foot type with a more modest arch.
In the case of shin splints, professional advice should be sought to ensure the trainers you are wearing are correct for your foot strike and offer enough support and cushioning.
A professional fitness instructor will also be able to show you the correct stretches to use to help stretch out the tightening soft tissue as well as instruction on how to use a foam roller to help create a massage effect into the calf to help the tissue to relax.
Ice treatment onto the shin itself will help with the inflammation and pain felt in the shin bone. Impact training should also be drastically reduced to during the injury phase to avoid aggravation. If symptoms persist, contact a specialist sports injury physiotherapist to help with treatment and rehab.
In the case of Plantar Fasitus, again professional advice should be sought to learn specific stretches for the plantar muscles of the foot and these gentle stretches should be performed several times a day, also a form of foam rolling specific to the plantar muscles will be of great benefit, again ice will help with local area inflammation, but never put ice directly onto the skin.
Calf Stretches and foam rolling as above will also help. It may also be necessary to get very gentle support to the high arch of the foot with an orthotic device fitted into the shoe to help distribute the impact over a bigger surface area of the foot. These come in many different forms and a chiropodist or podiatrist will advise on the best one for your particular foot type. The wrong shape could worsen the condition.
Ensure your training shoes are the correct prescription for your foot type. Some shoes are of neutral cushioning and some have support on the medial side. The wrong type of shoe for your foot will increase your risk of injury so it’s worth taking the time to get right advice and investing the money in a good pair of training shoes.
A preventative flexibility program is a must in any training program and a fitness professional can show you how to stretch the muscle properly after your exercise to avoid injury. Sports massages are also a great investment once a fortnight to keep you on the training track.