Health

New Release Ebook: Self Treatment for the Busy Athlete

November 11, 2016 • By

New release Ebook best seller, physioI am very excited to announce that we have just published a book! It’s a small, easy to read and very helpful Ebook.

This has been a work in progress for some time, as there is always something that takes priority right? Well it is here now and full of great content to keep your body moving smoothly.

The main idea behind the book is to help you help yourself.

It will help you:

  • Improve flexibility (maybe even touch your toes if you can’t already!)
  •  Gain mobility
  • Decrease pain
  • And most importantly reduce risk of injury and improve performance

Oh, and it makes you feel way better too!

So head on over via this link and check out the newly released Ebook because if you have liked past exercises and self-treatment techniques that we have shown you in our past blog posts, then you will love this.


Health

Tips for beating Knee Cap Pain

November 3, 2016 • By

 

knee cap painKnee cap pain, often called Patellofemoral pain, is very common in the active population and can be around, behind or above the knee cap.

It affects a lot of people with knee cap pain making up 8-33% of all knee injuries, which even though this is a large range, is still a lot either way! It can be tricky to treat as there is a number of different causes behind and treatment approaches.(1)

It can be tricky to treat as there is a number of different causes behind and treatment approaches but through utilizing current best practice treatment and research, these are the top tips that will help anyone with knee cap pain.

1. Exercise therapy

The first goal for most people if to reduce pain and that is what exercise has been shown to do in the short, medium and long term. It also improves function with a bit of perseverance so is well worth doing!

The aim here is to do exercises the work the hip and knee together and NOT the knee in isolation. The hip does a lot to control the knee and help stabilize the lower limb so make sure the hip is involved. If your knee is quite sore, start easy with sitting and lying exercises such as clamshells, side-planks and knee extensions.

 

As you get better, get upright and standing with some weight-bearing exercises such as wall squats, one leg squats and step-ups etc

 

Orthotic2. Foot orthosis

Orthotics are recommended to help relieve pain by guiding better joint motion. Just remember that these help in the short to medium term so working on the other tips in the meantime mean you get a great long-term outcome.

 

3. Physiotherapy (Physical Therapy)

Yup, go see a professional in real life as there are a number of things that, when combined, really help, including:

  • Patella taping to help guide the knee cap and retrain movement
  • Specific exercise prescription

Note: Patellofemoral, knee and lumbar mobilisations and electrophysical agents were not recommended.

 

4. Retrain movement

Stand in front of a long mirror and do a one leg squat. This is a great test to see how your lower limb is moving so keep an eye out for:

  • Your opposite hip dropping
  • How much your knee rolls in towards the center line
  • And how much your foot collapses in (pronates)

This way you can see what is going and work to re-train your movement. Find the problem, find what is hard and work at it.

 

5. Combined interventions

The best way to beat knee cap pain is to persevere with as many of the above 4 tips as you can for as long as is needed (up to 12 months). Stick to your exercises and go see a physio if specific exercises, individual to you are needed.

 

References:

2016 Patellofemoral pain consensus statement

The “Best Practice Guide to Conservative Management of Patellofemoral Pain”

 


Core strengthening, Health, physiotherapy, training

Exercise for Flippies, Floppies and Stiffies

September 23, 2016 • By

You might be thinking I’ve gone mad and your mouse is sliding towards closing the tab… but using the Flippy, Floppy and Stiffy principle is actually a brilliant way of preventing injury!

It has been used for some time among physiotherapists to group patients simply and effectively and has nothing to do with anyone’s nether regions! In fact, it has also been used by top tier rugby and football teams as well , instead of grouping all their players together.(1)

Training your body according to your body type has huge benefits and if you get it wrong, you can be putting yourself at real risk. Take for example someone that is super flexible. If they were to do a lot of yoga and stretching only, they would get more and more mobile and lose more stability, which they didn’t have much of to start with, potentially leading to a joint sprain.

So here are the 3 types and how we can apply exercises to them:

Floppy

beighton-hypermobility-scoreIf you are a floppy, you can probably bend down and touch the ground easily or bend your thumb down to touch your wrist. You are hyper-mobile, meaning you have a lot of mobility in your joints and laxity in your ligaments. You can get your Beighton score here to see how hyper-mobile you are.

If you are a floppy, you don’t need a lot of stretching.

You need strengthening of your muscles. This will help develop the muscles around your joints to improve stability and limit your joints going too far.

 

Stiffy stiff jointsStiffy

Stiffies, believe it or not, are typically male but that’s not a strict rule.

I’m a self-confessed stiffy. I can’t touch my toes without bending my knees a little, I’m terrible at sitting cross-legged and am simply not very mobile. For those of like me, of which there are a lot, you need to stretch and mobilise.

You need to stretch regularly, practice yoga and work on joint mobilisations and you will notice a huge difference.

 

Flippy

And lastly, flippies have a foot in both camps. They are those lucky ones that aren’t over-flexible or stiff as a board.

You flippies probably have more work to do unfortunately as you will benefit from keeping mobile and strong, having a good mix between stretching and strengthening for the best outcome.(3)

 

So are you a flippy, floppy or stiffy? Categorise yourself and take a closer look at your regular workout routine – do you need to individualise it a bit better to suit your body type?

 


Health, Spine

Why Does My Back Hurt… Again!

September 13, 2016 • By

You might often ask yourself, why does my back hurt? Or, why do I keep hurting my back?

Well, a huge 34% of who have episodes of low back pain will get it again and again. This causes a huge flow on effect with time off work, doctor and physio visits, as well as loss of quality of life during that time. If we can better understand why acute low back pain recurs then we can better manage it.

First of all, this first part of this blog is easy to explain – why do things hurt. Here is a short video from one of the best at explaining pain:

Things hurt due to a combination of our peripheral receptors signaling our brain that they have felt something and importantly how our brain interprets this signal. For more information on pain and the different types, check out this post.

So, with that covered, but we come back to the question of why does my back hurt; do we really know why acute low back pain recurs in over one-third of people?

There is most likely a number of factors and we don’t know them all, that’s for sure. But what we do know is that following an episode of low back pain, activity of your deep back muscles is decreased on the injured side – even once the pain is gone.

Multifidus why does my back hurtIt’s been shown that the multifidus muscle which runs down the side of your spine, supporting, moving and stabilising your vertebrae has different activation to that of a normal back. This shows that even with good management when you have low back pain – the muscles don’t always get back to your normal by themselves, possibly leaving you more prone to another episode of low back pain.(2)

The good thing to remember is that in 90% of cases of low back pain they are pain free and better within 6 weeks and that 85% are classed as non-specific low back pain where there isn’t a diagnosis (you don’t need a label on it saying you have injured your joint, muscle, ligament or disc).

But even with that huge amount improving within 6 weeks – many of those recur again so it is important to ensure your muscles are fully rehabilitated, just like you would if you were returning to sport following a hamstring injury for example. Because if you can get that Multifidis firing better again that is one less thing to worry about and a much better chance of your back pain not coming back.

So if you keep asking yourself “why does my back hurt again!” go see a local physio for some advice and rehab exercises – they do work and the effects do last (1)


Health

How dehydration affects performance

August 3, 2016 • By

dehydration affects performanceFluid loss, or dehydration due to activity happens daily in all of us and without replacing that loss – your entire body can be affected. The idea that dehydration can affect you physical and cognitive performance has been around for an age, but since then there has been a lot of research done to figure out how.

Since a study by et al in 1955 showed a decrease in VO2max with dehydration, a number of studies have been done to follow up on this and various other ways dehydration affects performance.

Dehydration can and often is induced by exercise, but there are a lot of other variables which come into play including:

  • Type of exercise or physical activity
  • Temperature and humidity
  • Nutrition and hydration levels before activity

Given all the various studies that looked all the things that dehydration can impair, a recent study(1) has critically analysed the current literature and this is what they found:

  1. Dehydration caused a decrease in aerobic performance which can be generalised to all physical activity that lasts for more than 15 seconds
  2. Exercising with restricted hydration caused decreased performance, increased heart rate and increased core body temperature
  3. There were no changes in performance for exercise that lasted less than 15 seconds such as the vertical jump test. (this is because a different energy system is used for intense exercise less than 15 seconds that does not need water – the alactic component)

How to check if dehydratedThat, in a nutshell, is the current research on how hydration affects performance and the main thing to take from it is that, yes, it does affect performance (unless you are a 100m sprinter maybe) and you should do your best to be hydrated before exercise and during, while of course being careful not to over-hydrate as this can cause it’s own problems.

 

Check out this earlier post on how to keep an eye on your hydration and what you should aim for.