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SOFT TISSUE HEALING TIMES!

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We are slap bang in the middle of sports season. The GAA is preparing for Championship, the soccer clubs are completing preseason after a year out, and runners / triathletes at last have dates to aim for such as the London marathon. 
With the return to sports training with purpose, this leads to a massive spike in soft tissue injuries. We strain muscles, sprain ligaments and overload tendons. Throwing in the odd meniscus tear or bone fracture. 
Our soft tissue injuries present with different mechanisms. An acute strain sprinting, or a chronic overload without injury causing a tendonitis. 


At this time of the year most athletes are looking for the “ Holy Water” form of therapy 😂 fix a soft tissue injury in unrealistic time so they can compete. 
Tissue healing after injury is something which happens naturally within our bodies and there is usually a minimum time range that we expect an injury to heal. 
As physios we can’t speed the bodies healing response, but what we do is facilitate optimal healing rate so there is no undue delay to return to sport. 
We regularly have patients present after a muscle injury that they rested till pain disappeared only to re injure it. Injury rehabilitation has to be ACTIVE!!! 


Once our physios diagnose the grade of soft tissue injury we set about minimising secondary issues such as, muscle weakness, cardio vascular de conditioning, muscle restrictions. We use a variety of soft tissue massage techniques to clear excessive inflammatory exudate which causes muscle pain and inhibition. The very early stages of an acute injury involve a few days of rest and protection. After that we look at progressively loading with specific and global exercises so the athlete is as close to sport ready when the injury has healed. Exercises are modified such as low impact initially and progress to mimic the extremes of the athletes sport eg high catching for a Gaelic footballer, before we sign them off as injury fit. 


For any queries regarding a soft tissue injury and how best to manage it please send us an email. info@thephysio-group.com and get specialist advice and treatment 💪💪

Super-shoes: A performance enhancing gamechanger

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Super-shoe arrival

Super-shoe takeover

A revolution labelled the “super-shoe” has emerged over the last number of years in the running game. This development of footwear has aided athletes in smashing long held road and endurance running records all over the world. The new shoe technology was introduced to road running in 2016 and track running in 2019, and since then, virtually all endurance running world records have been smashed. 

Since the arrival of super-shoes, opinions have been divided in the racing world, with some arguing that the shoes are a step too far in the performance enhancing department. 

Several footwear features are behind this performance boost. They include the shoe’s weight, its material composition, the thickness of its heel, and what’s called its “longitudinal bending stiffness”, which in simple terms is how flexible the shoe is from heel to toe.

Nike Vaporfly

World Athletics, the governing body responsible for endurance running, issued updated guidance on footwear in August 2020. They permitted a heel thickness of up to 40mm in road running shoes and 25mm in distance running spikes. Many have called for further restrictions. Nike are one of the leading footwear suppliers offering the super shoes. The ‘Nike Vaporfly 4%’ running shoes are a household name for elite road runners, even helping all three male medallists to the podium in the 2016 Olympic marathon. 

The performance enhancement afforded by the super-shoe is generated by enhancing athlete’s running economy. This in turn means reducing the energetic cost of running at a given speed. In practice, this equates to a rough improvement in running performance of between 2% and 3%. 

The super-shoe impact will inevitably spread to sprint distances in the near future. New technology will usher in a new cohort of world record holders. During this process of leaderboard recalibration, greater emphasis should be placed on results as opposed to times. After all, regardless of the technology, it’s titles that transcend generations, and medals that last longer than times.

So, if you are looking to be the envy of your friends in your next 5k time trial, super-shoes could be your answer. 

GAA Return to Play PT.2

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RECOVERY IS KEY 

Your body only builds muscle on rest days and in terms of Gaelic footballers – particularly those who have been on the treatment table for an extended period of time, recovering properly before the next session is even more important says Frank. 

“If you have more time to recover from a long-term injury and you decide to do the same amount of work you could do in two weeks but spread it over four weeks, that’s fine – as long as you are continually progressive in what you do,” he advises.  

 “Building up recovery mechanisms are almost important as getting to that high level of fitness as well. If you get to a high level but you’re compensating a bit and then you go into the next session with muscles that are ever so slightly fatigued, they will shorten. You’ll get through the session, but you don’t know that over a period of a couple of weeks, the body is actually struggling to recover back to an optimal condition to actually go again for the next session. 

“Then, all of a sudden, not necessarily the injury you had in the first place, something else like a minor soft tissue injury has crept in based on an accumulation of training through too much fatigue from not recovering fully,” Frank warned.  


ILL-PREPARED 

Everyone has seen the increase in size of the modern day GAA footballer, with some not far off looking like they would be more at home on the rugby pitch. While the aesthetics might be the motivating factor for many these days, it can come at the detriment of even more important muscle groups that are vital for the actual matches.

“Two of the big problem areas that have crept into the GAA in the last five years that I’ve been dealing a lot more with are shoulder and hip surgeries Shoulder-wise, a lot of the preparation is that they build up certain muscle groups in the anterior shoulders, so pecs and anterior deltoids with biceps. They are very much in control of the anterior shoulder, but a lot of the time posterior stuff gets neglected. 

“The body is split up into two types of muscles groups – mobilisers and stabilisers. The brain operates those muscles differently. Stabilisers know when to brace and hold firm and are a slightly longer-firing muscle, whereas the mobilisers are more quick firing. If you train your mobilisers to be more prevalent than your stabilisers, you’re creating an imbalance in terms of the strength and type of muscle that the brain is used to sending the signals to around those joints,” he says, adding that no manager or coach worth their salt should be even contemplating testing the fitness levels of their players until almost a month of training has taken place.

“Players can come badly prepared in terms of the focus on one particular aspect of the game. Managers will go gung-ho in terms of trying to get the players fit quickly and a lot of them will do fitness tests very early on. You should be doing the opposite,” he says. 

“A fitness test is a maximal exertion where you’re asking players to push themselves to the maximum. Really, there should be a build-up period before a fitness test. A three or four-week period in and then take a measurement of where they’re at, rather than asking players for a maximal effort straight away from day one.”      


    Exercise during Pregnancy

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    Exercise during Pregnancy
    pregnancy physio

    Exercising during pregnancy is good for both Mother and baby

    Exercising regularly during pregnancy at a moderate level can improve posture, reduce pregnancy related musculoskeletal aches and pains such as back, rib and pelvic pain.  It can also help build the stamina required for labour and help aid physical recovery post delivery.

    It is advised that women who have been previously physically active can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy at a moderate level. If you wish to take up exercise that you previously haven’t performed you should consult  a specialist pregnancy exercise Physiotherapist or an advanced exercise instructor who has done training to safely advise on which forms of exercise are safe to commence specific to your needs.

    What is Relaxin?

    The hormone relaxin is essential during pregnancy to allow ligament / joint laxity so the body can adapt to the growing baby. This does however leave the body a little more vulnerable to aches and pains especially with high impact exercise as the soft tissues are less supportive of the joints leaving them less stable and at higher risk of injury than normal. Therefore women shouldn’t perform high impact exercise during pregnancy.

    Relaxin also regulates the mother’s cardiovascular and renal systems to help them adapt to the pregnant mother’s body’s increased demand for oxygen and nutrients. It does this by relaxing the walls of the blood vessels. This increases their ability to transport blood around the body and to the placenta. The higher quantity of waste products are more easily transported to the kidneys where they can then be filtered and expelled.

    How exercise will impact my baby?

    Recent research has shown that moderate exercise during pregnancy can improve the blood supply to the placenta by increasing the efficiency of the heart’s ability to pump blood. This improved blood supply has been shown to improve the size of the placenta and hence the blood flow and nutrition to the fetus. This may reduce the risk of full term low birth weight as improved nutrition to the fetus via the placenta during gestation has been shown to improve growth and weight of the fetus.

    Forms of moderate exercise include brisk walking, low impact aerobics (taken by instructor with pregnancy exercise qualification), swimming and indoor cycling. Jogging is considered safe if you are having a healthy low risk pregnancy and have previously been a regular jogger. It is advised to avoid activities where there is an increased risk of falling such as skiing, climbing or horse riding. It is recommended that moderate exercise can be performed for 30-45mins 5-7 days a week.

    Exercises such as pregnancy appropriate Pilates or Yoga which improve posture, muscle tone and strength of the spine, abdominal musculature and pelvic floor are advisable to help support the weight of the growing fetus and stresses on necessary changes to posture and soft tissue tone during pregnancy.

    Importantly always listen to your body and don’t exercise if tired or unwell and stop any exercise immediately which causes any pain.

    If in doubt always consult a pregnancy specialist Physiotherapist, midwife or Obstetrician.