Each week at SBR is different, in that each person that we work with is unique, and yet, each week is the same, in that there are mistakes that I see being repeated on a regular basis when looking after people. And so with that in mind, I want to look at what to do with an injury.
- Cortisone is used too often to attempt to treat sports injuries.
Cortisone is a great lifesaving tool. I trained as a paramedic years ago, we still used dinosaurs as ambulances back then. I remember watching many a life saved by cortisone. However, when it comes to a sports injury, it can only reduce inflammation. If the person is in the wrong shoes or, has a bad bike setup, or has a muscle imbalance, cortisone will just mask the pain. There was an interesting study done on cortisone that was summarized in the New York Times.
- The basics are the basics.
Most injuries are not that complex in nature. They come from a mix of tight muscles, weak muscles, wrong equipment and a training load that is too intense for the individual at that moment. I have written about this in an article called, “Mike’s Injury Formula”.
- Kinesiology tape works.
It amazes me how suspicious people are about the tape. Many believe that it is simply an ego thing, with athletes wrapping themselves in it in order to look more ‘athletic’. Correctly applied, kinesio tape becomes an effective tool.
- An injury is seldom restricted to one muscle.
Bodies move in patterns. Imagine a person starting a manual lawnmower. Their right shoulder and left hip/glute would be involved in the movement. Simply heading to the injured muscle is not enough. The body needs to be seen as a whole.
- A stitch in time saves nine.
We get a lot of people who have had an injury for months before coming to see us. The longer you have the injury, the harder it is to get rid of. On the contrary, we do have people who very quickly make an appointment as an issue arises. That is the best way of doing things. Exercising, or, just doing life with an area of pain, will cause certain compensation patterns to arise that will lead to even more problems.
- I wish the three glutes had different names.
Lots of people are told that their injury comes from a glute weakness. Off they go to a personal trainer who then puts them on his Kardashian training program. I am going to over simplify things for a moment – so stick with me. Your glute maximus, (that’s the muscle that you are probably sitting on right now), has a very different role to your glute medius and glute minimus. The muscles play different roles, and are therefore strengthened via different exercises. Strengthening your glute maximus is not going to make one iota of difference if your glute medius is weak.
- Running shoes matter.
My blood pressure goes through the roof when people tell me they are looking for a pair of running ‘tackies’. They are exquisitely engineered tools, and no two are the same. We also get a number of people coming in simply to find out if they need an antipronation shoe or a neutral shoe. This is overly simplistic. Some antipronators could stabilize an elephant with ligament weakness. Such a shoe could destroy you. You might need a shoe that gives a tiny bit of stability. Both would be seen as antipronators, however, are very different in design.
- Bike setups matter.
I hope to have a book out toward the middle part of next year on bike setups. Each millimeter matters. Every degree counts. Getting a bike setup done by someone with no anatomical knowledge is a waste of time and money. Another thing that bugs me with setups, is that a lot of setup businesses change all sorts of things on the bike at great cost without getting results. They are simply taught to sell up at every occasion.
- People get used to pain.
I had a meeting at one of the offices in the center that we are at. One of the members of the business lamented that he was sitting too much, and that his back and overall health were suffering. I gave him a few practical ideas to help. One included getting his cell phone to beep every hour and then to get up, walk down two flights of steps and then run up the two flights of stairs. A while later, one of his assistants came to see me and discussed her long term pain. Later I bumped into a third person from the business who I was hopefully able to help. Lots of people get used to pain without seeking out help. Your lot in life is not to be in constant pain. Make a plan: get help.
- Tim Noakes’ 10 commandments of running injuries are as relevant today as when they were first penned. All runners should be aware of them. You can read more about them here.
I hope that this is helpful. Take care and enjoy your training.