Happy National Bike Month! With the weather getting warmer and the roads becoming bike friendly again, cycling injuries become much more common. Not all injuries can be avoided, but there are some simple steps to help reduce the risk of injury.
1. Achilles Tendonitis
As the largest tendon in the body the Achilles tendon endures a lot of wear and tear. Your Achilles connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used for nearly all activity. Achilles tendonitis typically occurs from the overuse of the calves. Cycling puts a fair amount of strain on the calves if the bike is not fitted properly, if there is improper warm up before rides or due to inadequate rest time between long bike rides.
Because Achilles tendonitis is caused by inflammation due to overuse, it is important to rest and ice to decrease inflammation. Sometimes Achilles tendonitis occurs because the saddle sits too high. This puts constant strain on the calves because the toes are always pointing down when the leg is extended.1 Be sure to lower the saddle enough that your heel makes contact with the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Doing this will help take off some of the strain put on the calves.
2. Neck Pain
Riding in the same position for a long period of time puts quite a bit of strain on the neck. Cycling changes the natural weight distribution of the muscles surrounding the spine. This puts your neck in an awkward position which causes muscle stiffness and soreness, but often this can be prevented by insuring proper bike fit and position.
To help alleviate neck pain, use proper bike fit recommendations that puts your whole spine in a good position2:
3. Muscle Tightness
Though you may not notice it while cycling, your calves and hamstrings are probably too tight. A proper warm up is necessary for all athletic activity, including cycling. Cycling is a repetitive movement that uses a limited range of motion causing adaptive shortening, resulting in muscle tightness3. Be sure to always, warm up, dynamic stretch and cool down to avoid muscle tightness.
1. Ray, L. (2015). Is Biking Good for the Achilles Tendon? Retrieved May 09, 2016, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/380290-is-biking-good-for-the-achilles-tendon/
2. B. (2015). 3 Top Tips to Avoid a Stiff Neck from Cycling - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved May 09, 2016, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/08/3-top-tips-to-avoid-a-stiff-neck-from-cycling/
3. Murphy, S., & C. (n.d.). Eight injury-busting stretches for cyclists. Retrieved May 09, 2016, from http://www.bikeradar.com/us/gear/article/eight-injury-busting-stretches-for-cyclists-26074/
Pelvic health is a topic not often talked about due to embarrassment, and therefore few are aware of what pelvic health is. First it is important to know what the pelvic floor is. The “pelvic floor” are the muscles that attach to the front, back, and sides of the pelvic bone and sacrum. These muscles support the pelvic organs as well as control bladder, bowel and sexual function. When these muscles are damaged, become weakened, or are too tight and restricted, it leads to pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). Because the subject of pelvic health is widely unknown, many are unaware there are physical therapists who specialize in strengthening, re-training, or relaxing these muscles and help correct PFD.
Here are three common misconceptions about pelvic physical therapy:
Men do not need to worry about pelvic health
Although almost one-quarter of women face pelvic floor disorders1, everyone has pelvic floor muscles, therefore men can suffer from PFD as well. The conversation of pelvic pain, incontinence and other pelvic dysfunctions are most often geared towards women, however men also suffer from these problems. On average pelvic physical therapists patients are 20% - 30% men. The most common reasons men see a pelvic physical therapist are due to complaints of pain in the pelvic area, prostate issues, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
Postpartum women only see pelvic physical therapists
Though this is a common reason to see a pelvic physical therapist, there are other motives. Some of the most common objectives for seeing a pelvic physical therapist include incontinence, bladder dysfunction, prolapse, poor pelvic alignment, pain with intercourse and pelvic pain due to a surgery, fall, pelvic instability or chronic disease such as endometriosis.
Pelvic floor dysfunctions are just a normal part of aging
Yes, pelvic floor dysfunctions become much more common in those over 50, but it is not something you have to live with. Pelvic physical therapists can help. Simple behavior changes, exercises and manual therapy are all tool to help reduce the symptoms of a PFD or eliminate them.
1. Roughly One Quarter of U.S. Women Affected By Pelvic Floor Disorders, September 17, 2008 News Release - National Institutes of Health (NIH). (n.d.). Retrieved May 09, 2016, from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/roughly-one-quarter-us-women-affected-pelvic-floor-disorders
Just a quick glance at any playground will confirm that kids are natural jumpers. Most have a tendency to leap at any opportunity — whether on a sports field, or in the middle of the grocery store. But even though many of them love jumping, that doesn't mean they don't risk injury when it happens during practice or competition.
Improper training technique with jumping is one of the reasons that many emergency rooms and physician offices are seeing a rise in sports injuries among young athletes. When kids land poorly, they risk hurting their joints, bones, tendons, and muscles, and could be setting themselves up for long recovery periods — sometimes, a bad jump takes them out of a sport completely.
Although there are many strategies for preventing youth injuries, jump training should be part of any training regimen. Here are the main reasons why:
All athletes struggle with weaknesses and limitations, but young athletes have different concerns than adults. They have changing muscle mass and growing bones, and their joints can be more prone to overuse injuries because of tight tendons.
For example, inadequate training can cause Osgood-Schlatter disease, a condition caused by injury or overuse of the knee that results in swelling of the patellar tendon and the soft tissues surrounding it. Adolescent athletes are at much higher risk for this disease. Jump training can minimize these risks and teach young athletes to protect their whole bodies, including tendons and muscles, while they're practicing and playing.
Performance and Optimization
Preventing injuries is a significant part of jump training, but the optimization aspects are also a major benefit. By learning to jump properly, young athletes can increase speed and endurance, and advance in their chosen sports at a faster pace.
Jump training can even cause advantages in other ways. For example, a recent study showed that when jump training was followed by resistance training, overall performance soared for adolescent basketball players.
In general, it's important for young athletes to learn control and body mechanics so they can be safer in any type of movement, including jumping. Taking the time and effort to integrate jump training into everyday practice can go a long way toward preventing injuries and improving performance
Functional Movement works on the philosophy that in order to maximize your body’s performance and prevent injury, your body must be functioning properly on all levels. It uses 7 movements that test functional movement, mobility and stability. This idea has been put into effect by numerous groups, including those among the ranks of the NFL, NHL, NBA and various collegiate teams. So what does a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) measure and how can it help you?
1. Identify physical imbalances and limitations
According to Gray Cook, who developed the FMS, the primary cause of athletic injuries is not overall weakness or tightness, but rather muscle imbalance that causes areas of specific weaknesses in the body. Raw strength does not translate into equal functional strength. Strengthening muscles in isolation puts your body in much higher risk for injury. Just because someone can put up big numbers on the bench press does not mean they are not at risk for a serious shoulder injury.
2. Establish a functional baseline to mark progress
Through FMS standardization it allows you to measure performance, set realistic goals and mark progress. Starting with a benchmark of where your current functional strength and mobility is, helps show what exercises are working and which are not.
3.Improve fundamental movement patterns with simple corrective exercises
A FMS screen does not just help identify dysfunctional movement patterns, but it can help you set a course to correct them. Simple corrective exercises can easily be implemented into your everyday routine that trains the brain as well as the body. Correcting dysfunctional movement patterns requires retraining your brain from poor to correct movement patterns. Getting out of bad habits is a challenge, but sticking to the corrective exercises will eventually turn correct movement patterns into muscle memory.
4. Develop an individualize training and conditioning programs for specific results
Once imbalances are identified, a physical therapist can develop a customized program to correct any limitations or imbalances you may have. Because FMS helps find your specific limitations, a program can be implemented to elicit specific results.
5. Reduce the potential for training and sports injuries
FMS offers a preventive step to stop an injury before it happens. We never think we are going to get injured until something does happen, and only then are we forced to correct it. Studies have shown that individuals with an FMS score of 17 or less were almost 5x more likely to sustain an injury.1 Though FMS is not a stand alone test in preventing injury, taking the FMS before an injury or dysfunction presents, finding imbalances & limitations and implementing corrective exercises can lower the chance of injury, as well as optimizing athletic performance.
Did you know you can contact Viverant without a doctor referral to schedule an appointment regarding a Functional Movement Screening and other services that may help you?
1. Letafatkar, A., Hadadnezhad, M., Shojaedin, S., & Mohamadi, E. (n.d.). RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT SCREENING SCORE AND HISTORY OF INJURY. Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924605/
With an estimated 200,000 a year, ACL injuries are one of the seven most common sport related injuries. In the past couple of decades female athletics have grown exponentially, this has brought upon an epidemic of female ACL injuries. Females are 4 to 6 times more likely to have an ACL injury than boys, due to several anatomical and biomechanical differences. Check out our infographic to learn more.
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