Hamstring and calf strains are very common in field sport athletes. This is due to the fast acceleration, short bursts of high intensity running and repetitive kicking. These injuries can result in weeks off training and playing and are a significant loss to the season. Low grade injuries take 3-4 weeks but higher grades may take up to 8-10 weeks to return to full play. This week we bring you 6 tips to reduce the risk of these injuries.
Is your injury a sprain or a strain and what do these terms mean? This week we will bring you definitions and explain the difference between these two common injuries.
Sprains and strains both have potential to reoccur. Risk is reduced risk reduced with proper rehabilitation.
One of the most common sporting injuries is a sprain to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. This occurs when the ankle 'rolls' outwards and the ligaments are overstretched. This is often caused by weakness in the ankle when it is put in a more challenging situation, for example, stepping in a hole or off a curb.
It is best to see a physiotherapist ASAP after injury to assess the damage, get appropriate treatment and rehabilitation to get the best recovery
Reference: Hubbard, T.J., Wikstrom, E.A., 2010, Ankle sprain: pathophysiology, predisposing factors, and management strategies, Open Access J Sports Med., 1: 115–122.
An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is a complete tear of one of the important ligaments that provide knee stability in the knee.
ACL ruptures are a devastating injury requiring a lengthy rehabilitation process. The majority of people require surgery to return to full function and sport. Some risk factors such as age and gender are not modifiable. However, factors relating to strength, stability and technique can be modified to reduce the risk of ACL injury.
The ankle joint is very commonly injured in the active population. In sports such as rugby, AFL and hockey, an ankle sprain is the most common ankle injury. Ankle sprains are commonly referred to as a ‘rolled’ or ‘twisted’ ankle.
What is an ankle sprain?
Surrounding all our joints are ligaments that connect our bones and protect the joint by limiting excessive movement. An ankle sprain is when the joint is moved forcefully to the end of the available range and one or more of the ligaments gets overstretched, resulting in damage. There are 3 grades of ligament sprain; grades 1-3. These are diagnosed according to the severity of the damage, with grade 1 being minor damage and grade 3 being full rupture of the ligaments.
Types of Ankle Sprains
Mechanism of Injury
Most people sprain their ankle when walking and running on uneven surfaces or in sport when accidentally landing or standing on something, such as uneven ground or an opponent’s foot. The most common way to sprain an ankle is to roll onto the outside aspect of the ankle joint, causing a lateral ankle sprain.
Signs and Symptoms
The ankle will be painful, swollen and occasionally bruising will come up around the joint. It may be painful to take steps and the ankle is often reported as feeling unstable. In severe sprains people are unable to put weight through the injured foot.
Ankle Sprain Management
The first important step is to ensure that there is no fracture – if there is significant pain and an inability to place weight through the foot, then a visit to the hospital emergency department is recommended. Otherwise when your physio assesses the ankle in the clinic they will determine whether imaging is required and refer appropriately.
Of people who experience an ankle sprain and do not manage their symptoms appropriately, 70% will experience long lasting symptoms. Therefore, it is important to take your ankle sprain seriously. In a recent review of the literature, it was found that most management approaches are too short in duration, and unless treatment is tailored to the severity of the ankle sprain, most people will have lingering symptoms. However not surprisingly, having at least some treatment was more effective than a ‘no treatment’ approach in ankle sprain management.
Stages of Rehabilitation
Acute (approx. 0 - 10 days)
What to expect from us
Booking an appointment with us in the first few days post injury is very important to protecting your sprain appropriately. Then physio is important to complete the correct rehabilitation and get you back to activity safely and then reducing the risk of re-injury in the long term.
Your first physiotherapy appointment will involve:
If you have had multiple ankle injuries or experience chronic ankle instability, physio can help! The treatment is very similar to an acute sprain, without the initial care following after an acute injury.
If you have an acute ankle injury, want to reduce your risk of injury, or need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online.
Dijk van, C.N., Mol, B.W.J., Marti, R.K., et al. (1996). Diagnosis of ligament rupture of the ankle joint. Physical examination, arthrography, stress radiography and sonography compared in 160 patients after inversion trauma. Acta Orthop Scand, vol. 67, pp. 566-70.
Fong, D. T. P., Hong, Y., Chan, L. K., Yung, P. S. H., & Chan, K. M. (2007). A systematic review on ankle injury and ankle sprain in sports. Sports Medicine, vol. 37, iss. 1, pp. 73-94.
Kannus, P., Renström, P. (1991) Treatment for acute tears of the lateral ligaments of the ankle. Journal Bone Joint Surgery [Am], vol. 73, pp. 305-12.
Pijnenburg, A.C.M, Dijk van, C.N., Bossuyt, P.M.M., et al. (2000). Treatment for lateral ankle ligament ruptures: a meta-analysis. Journal Bone Joint Surgery [Am], vol. 82, pp. 761-73.
Nearly all of us have experienced headaches. Headaches are the most common neurological disorder with up to 1 adult in 20 experiencing one every day. When they occur repeatedly, they are a symptom of a headache disorder, which are painful and disabling.
Common types of headaches
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, fatigue, emotional upsets as well as poor posture or jaw clenching.
The symptoms of tension headaches include a constant tight, heavy or pressing sensation around the head, generalised and diffuse pain. The pain is usually felt on both sides of the head.
Cervicogenic headaches stem from the uppermost joints of the cervical spine (neck). If these joints have extra load through for example from poor posture they can get aggravated or stiff and cause headaches. Other neck disorders such as whiplash or osteoarthritis may also be a cause for these headaches.
The symptoms of cervigogenic headaches are often one sides and include reduced neck movement or increased stiffness, pain that is usually non throbbing or radiating and may begin just as a pain or heaviness in the neck.
Migraines affect at least 1 in 7 adults. They do not have a single, simple cause. Factors vary from person to person and there is need for further research into why they occur. Some triggers include hormonal changes, genetics, stress, medications and altered sleeping patterns.
The symptoms of migraine headaches include a throbbing or pulsating intense pain, with sensitivity to light or noise and sometimes comes with nausea or vomiting.
But if it’s my neck, why is there pain in my head?
The nerves in the upper neck interact with the sensory nerves that supply the neck and face such that it allows for a two way flow of painful sensations. Thus pain and reduced mobility in the neck is felt in the head.
What can BeachLife Physiotherapy do to help?
Physiotherapy can reduce the severity and frequency of headaches and also assist in long term management to reduce frequency and intensity of flare ups. This will be achieved through:
If you experience headaches or need advice on any of the above, please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online at beachlifephysio.com.
Biondi, D.M. (2005) Cervicogenic Headache: A Review of Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 105, pp. 16S-22S.
Headache Australia (2018) Headache Types: Tension-type Headache, accessed 7/3/2018, http://headacheaustralia.org.au/headachetypes/tension-type-headache/.
World Health Organisation (2018) ‘How common are headaches?’ accessed 7/3/2018. http://www.who.int/features/qa/25/en/
Most of us have experienced the sharp and uncomfortable pain caused by a stitch or a cramp.
But what's the difference and how can you prevent them?
Stitches, also known as “exercise related transient abdominal pain” present in sports that require repetitive torso movement, most commonly in running and horse riding but also in swimming, aerobics and cycling. Although it is unclear, evidence suggests that loss of blood supply to the diaphragm and stress on the ligaments surrounding our organs is the probable cause. Stitches are more common in younger athletes and those that are less fit. There are a few ways that you can prevent the onset of a stitch:
The exact cause of cramps is also unclear. One of the likely causes is muscular overload or fatigue due to a lack of conditioning. These types of muscle cramps can be resolved with stretching, massage or icing of the affected muscles. Ways to prevent these include:
Although clinical evidence is still lacking, the second likely cause for cramps is a sodium deficit within the body, mostly seen in athletes. Findings suggest that these cramps are due to exercising in a heated environment and/or over-exertion causing increased sweating. Exertional cramps can be avoided through careful matching of daily salt and fluid intake. Athletes should hydrate throughout their competition or training, avoid drinking caffeinated drinks and be aware of the signs of heat illness.
Although further research into the causes of cramps and stitches is required, it is clear that those who are active need to stay hydrated both during and after exercise. We need to be steadily progressing our training load and ensuring adequate fitness prior to commencing sport or a new exercise program.
If you are concerned about or need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online.
Bentley, S. 1996. Exercise-induced muscle cramp. Proposed mechanisms and management. Sports Med. vol. 21, iss. 6, pp. 409-20.
Bergeron, M. 2008 Muscle Cramps during Exercise- Is it Fatigue or Electrolyte Deficit?. Current Sports Medicine Reports. Vol. 7, iss. 4, pp. 50-55.
Morton, D., Callister R. 2000 Characteristics and etiology of exercise-related transient abdominal pain. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. vol. 32, iss. 2, pp. 432-438.
Zieler, T. 2016. Treating and Preventing Muscle Cramps During Exercise. http://www.sportsmd.com/performance/treating-preventing-muscle-cramps-exercise/