The goal of this blog is to create a formula to help you better understand the causes of injury.
I love what I do. I get to work with athletes daily: some are fast, some slow, it doesn’t matter to me. My goal is to get them moving pain-free and efficiently. At times, I am successful, at times I am not. With that reality, I have made it my goal to never stop learning and improving. Over time, I have worked out a way of trying to figure out why people get injured.
The best way to put this is in a formula. Don’t stop reading if you are not into physics, I will try and get these thoughts into word form just now. Please note: the formula is designed to help understand injuries that develop over time. My formula, let’s say for someone twisting an ankle on a run, or falling off a bike is as follows: Stupid moment = Lots of pain. Lest you feel I am being cruel, I have been a victim of plenty of ‘stupid moments’, including cutting the top of my head twice running under a traffic sign. Oh, yes, it was the same sign on both occasions. (The sign is a, “Go Slow’ sign).
I did submit the formula below to a physics student to find out if this might rival Albert’s famous E=MC^2 equation. Below was his response. I guess I won’t be winning the Nobel prize for Physics for this one.
So, with that out of the way, here is the formula –
E/100 + TL/100 + MW/100 + MFT/100 +HF/100 = Injury.
E = Equipment.
TL = Training Load.
MW = Muscle Weakness.
MFT = Myofascial Tightness
HF = Hereditary Factors
When all numerators are added together, they need to add up to 100.
What am I trying to get to here is this :
1. Injuries never happen without a context. There is always a story behind them. Listening to an athlete is perhaps the best thing you can do as you begin to find the cause and come up with a recovery plan.
2. There is seldom a single cause to an injury. It is normally a combination of things that take place. An imperfect bike set up might go together with a weak core. A runner might suddenly up his mileage while having a specific muscle or group of interacting muscles that are a bit weak and develop an injury. It’s a mix of the two.
3. The formula is aimed at correcting the notion that certain injuries are simply remedied with a change in running shoes. That does happen from time to time, however, we need to move away from a quick fix mentality. Shoes are not like pharmaceuticals. A pack of tablets has a list of symptoms that it will hopefully improve. There is no shoe that is aimed at curing clicking ankles. (BTW, the last point was inspired by a question posed to me a few years ago)
4. The formula is also aimed at trying to put people off tablets and cortisone. Most people that come to see me have tried a course of anti-inflammatories, or worse, they have gone for a cortisone injection. The issues with these two approaches is that they never solve the problem. The problem comes from a mix of the factors listed in the above equation. Until you go about sorting them out, you can mask the pain all you want, you will still have the injury.
5. I put the term, hereditary factors in. These can play a role. Things such as a Morton’s Toe should be taken into account.
6. By Myofascial tightness I mean tightness in specific muscles or the fascia that surrounds the muscle. I always ask people what work they do. Jobs that require lots of time sitting will make people more prone to hip and shoulder/neck tightness.
I hope that helps put a bit more context into why people get injured and what to do about the injury.
Give us a call if you feel I can help.