An Osteopathic approach to injury prevention in the recreational athlete
It’s that time of year when the shoots are emerging from the trees and plants, the days are longer and the summer holiday is booked. You want to feel and look your best and what better way to do so that to reach for the racquet, club or running shoes. As an Osteopath it is not only physical treatment that patients come to see me for but advice on maintaining a healthy functioning body that can meet the demands made on it from sport. Here are some guidelines that can prove helpful in achieving that goal:-
- Take into account the weather conditions and equipment at hand.
Get that tennis racquet out and see if the grip needs changing; look at the undersides of your running shoes – how much tread is there and is it suitable for the surface you will play? If the weather is cold, you obviously want to be as mobile and move freely as possible so use layers especially bearing in mind the skins and specialist socks
- Once on the pitch, court or fairway warm ups should be done with less force, amplitude and range than when fully warmed up. e.g. when warming up serve, only do second serves.
- Hydration requirements with water or isotonic drinks will depend on weather conditions, so check reports beforehand. Ensure that you eat at least 1-1/2 hrs beforehand.
- If you develop aches, pains and/or stiffness and need to attend an Osteopath for treatment then take the shoes that you usually wear with you, it is also helpful to bring along video coverage of your sporting activity as movement patterns can be analysed. Your Osteopath will also ask about recent changes in technique or environment.
- Take notes on advice given and if necessary ask for websites to look up online. Having examined the sportsperson the Osteopath can give a diagnosis and advice as to what caused the injury in the first place, or what predisposed them to it. Typically advice involves hydrotherapy and exercises to be done at home.
- An injury does not necessarily mean that sporting activity has to cease. Many athletes benefit from continuation of activity in other areas under guidance, this can speed up recovery of the injured area.
Katie Banfield is a Registered Osteopath who works out of The Belmore Centre and Horn Street Clinic. Her work involves soft tissues work, articulation and manipulation of joints. Katie also uses Kinesio Taping, Dry Needling and exercise advice to back up her Osteopathy. Katie most commonly treats tennis players, triathletes, golfers and eventers.