Tag Archives: knee injuries

Don’t let knee pain slow you down

Most people experience knee pain at some point in their lives. Sports, exercise and other activities can cause muscle strains, tendinitis, and more serious injuries to ligaments and cartilage. For some, knee pain can be so severe that it limits daily activities. For others, mild knee pain may be a chronic hindrance to the active lifestyle they desire. In either case, chances are that you’re dealing with a knee problem that shouldn’t be ignored.

The knee joint is one of the most used and vulnerable joints in our body. It is connected to our thigh and shin bone by ligaments alone. The muscles in the thigh, including the quadriceps, adductors, hamstrings, and abductors all play a part in keeping a balanced tension on the ligaments connected to the knee joint. When one muscles group is weaker or tighter than the rest, it causes imbalance and leaves the knee joint vulnerable to injury and pain.

What Causes knee pain?

Knee pain can be divided into three major categories:

  1. Acute injury: such as a broken bone, torn ligament, or meniscal tear
  2. Medical conditions: arthritis, infections
  3. Chronic use/overuse conditions: osteoarthritis, patellar syndromes, tendinitis, and bursitis

What are knee pain symptoms and signs?

The location of the knee pain can vary depending on which structure is involved. With infection or an inflammatory process, the whole knee might be swollen and painful, while a torn meniscus or fracture of a bone gives symptoms only in one specific location.

The severity of the pain can vary, from a minor ache to a severe and disabling pain.

Some of the other findings that accompany knee pain are

  • difficulty walking due to instability of the knee,
  • limping due to discomfort,
  • difficulty walking up or down steps due to ligament damage,

What are risk factors for knee pain?

  • Biomechanics: The knee joint is complicated in its operation and is used frequently throughout the day. Any change in the movement of the joint (leg-length difference, change in walking style due to back problems) can cause subtle changes and cause pain and injuries.
  • Excess weight: The stress on the knee joint is increased with excess weight. Obesity also increases the risk of osteoarthritis as the cartilage breaks down more rapidly.
  • Overuse during repetitive motions as are found during certain exercises (jogging, skiing) or work conditions (long periods of kneeling) can cause breakdown of cartilage and lead to pain.

Injury Treatment and prevention

In most cases, as soon as a knee injury occurs, the RICE method — rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation – can help speed recovery. After you seek medical advice and a diagnosis, many health professionals will suggest gentle exercise and strengthening of the area once inflammation and initial pain has gone down.

Specific Pilates exercises performed on equipment and the mat are very useful in the course of rehabilitation for the knee, treatment of an injury, and strengthening for prevention. Pilates treatment will focus on tailored exercises to restore function to your knee and strengthen the leg muscles that support it (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Hip abductors, adductors and external rotators and the lower leg muscles). Those with biomechanical abnormalities (pain caused through body misalignment), may also benefit from orthotics and Structural Body work to help bring the body back into optimal alignment.

For more information on knee injury treatment and prevention, contact Liane at Pilates Connection on 0400 012 693

 

 

 

Power into the Football season with Pilates

Spurs do it and AC Milan do it. David Beckham, Brad Friedel and Ryan Giggs owe their long careers at the top to it. Whether you play football, rugby league, union, or AFL as a weekend warrior, or seasoned professional, Pilates can help you be stronger for longer!

Pilates is a great weapon to have in your arsenal, as it promotes flexibility by strengthening and lengthening muscles, engages the core for stability, and helps to focus breathing – which in turn assists in maintaining stamina. Added to regular exercise and training, Pilates can help meet the demands of a long season, and importantly, aims to reduce potential injury. This is especially the case in the over 40’s category, where players are trying to re-live their glory days, but their bodies are struggling to keep up!!

Common Football Injuries

Most football injuries affect areas like the pelvis and groin, hip, thigh, calf, knee, foot and ankle. There are some very common injuries and by understanding how they are caused you may be able to avoid getting injured by using a Pilates injury prevention program.

  • Knee injuries are a frequent complaint in all forms of football, because the twisting actions or blows to the knee tend to place stress on the ligament. Quick speed and direction changes, pivoting, and sideways and backwards movements all place additional demands on the body, andwearing shin pads, and the correct studs in football boots will also help protect the lower limbs.
  • Hamstring Injuries are also in the top 5 of football injuries, and mostly originate from an imbalance between the quadriceps muscle and the hamstring muscles (located at the front and back of the thigh respectively). The quadriceps are a very large, strong group of muscles which help to extend (straighten) the leg. These muscles may forcibly overstretch the hamstring, placing excessive tension on the hamstring muscles. Hamstring injuries are most likely to occur during a sudden quick change in direction, or by over-extending the muscles in a kicking action.

“Research shows that most football injuries are caused by trauma, either having collided with opponents or from landing awkwardly after jumping for the ball. Nearly one third of all football injuries develop over a period of time, due to overuse or playing with slight injuries that develop into something more serious. It’s also been shown that older players are more liable to get injured!”

Prevention through strengthening

Pilates for football players focuses on building strength and flexibility in the hip adductors, back extensors, and hamstrings, and we can tailor exercises for each of these areas suitable for your current level of fitness and any previous injury concerns.

Whether you are a soccer goalkeeper looking to work on all-round flexibility and target the trunk and spine, or a forward / striker position, who needs a more explosive sprint nature to your game with a focus on hamstrings, the overall effect of a Pilates sessions is to speed up post-match muscle and joint recovery, and help meet the demands of a hectic season.

Further Reading / Viewing

If you still need convincing, take a look at this amazing training video below of NFL player, Antonio Brown featuring his Pilates routine:

 

And …. another article on how Pilates has helped many of our elite AFL players as part of their ongoing training:

http://www.aflplayers.com.au/article/power-of-pilates-helps-players-push-on/