By Nic Andrews, Assistant Physiotherapist: Woollahra Physiotherapy
The cool weather is looming and with that comes the commencement of the winter sporting seasons. You’ve been training for months now in preparation for the duress of competition and our role as Physiotherapists is keeping you fit and injury-free so you can get the most of your season.
It is often said that the best way to treat an injury is to prevent it and more and more studies are supporting this. Injury is a painful, time consuming and financially stressing condition. Participating in a physical screen before partaking in sport is a very useful tool in identifying any predispositions to injury.
A typical physical screening consists of non-invasive procedures such as; assessment of gait, postural analysis, muscle length and strength, joint range of motion and task-specific testing.
A comprehensive physical screen allows a Physiotherapist to identify any deficiencies or areas of concern that may expose you to greater risk of injury. Only after recognizing these issues can preventative strategies be put into place (such as stretching programs or strength plans put together by your Physiotherapist).
As well as a physical screen, an athlete should undergo a medical screen conducted by your GP or Sports Medicine Practitioner. This is particularly important for older athletes or those with pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure.
Whether you’re an aspiring elite athlete or a social competitor, no-one wants to spend time on the sidelines, see a qualified Physiotherapist for expert assessment and advice to get the most out of yourself!
Check out some stretches for common injury sites below:
- Hamstring Stretch
- Lie on your back and secure your strap/belt/towel/theraband around the ball of your foot
- Keeping your shoulders and non-stretching leg on the ground, raise your stretching leg to the point you can feel tightness and hold for 20-30seconds
- Exhale, lower leg and repeat 3 times each leg.
- Do not: push raise non stretching leg, compromise spine integrity, push beyond point of tightness.
- Calf & Achilles Stretch
- Facing a wall, hands at eye level, place stretching leg non-stretching leg
- Keeping your back hell on the floor, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg and hold this for 20-30seconds. Repeat 3 times each
- In the same position, bend the back leg to feel a stretch in another part of the calf, hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times each leg.
- Groin Stretch
- Stand with feet wide apart, knees straight
- Bend non-stretching leg and shift weight towards that side, ensuring stretch leg stays straight
- Should feel a stretch on the inner thigh of stretch leg. If you don’t, start with your legs wider part
- Hold this for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg