Physio treatments for Athletics
The term athletics encompasses a wide range of sporting disciplines from the track and field, including; sprints, middle-distance and long-distance running, hurdles, throws, jumping and combined events such as the Heptathlon. Due to the diverse range of sports within Athletics, the injuries can vary significantly between disciplines, but common injuries are associated with the stresses that each event places upon on the musculoskeletal system. Since the London Olympics in 2012 there has been an increase in the number of children and adults partaking and competing in athletics events. Running has become a popular cost-effective past-time for many people who want to improve their level of fitness. There are more opportunities for amateur athletes to compete against themselves or others due to the number of organised races such as park runs, 10k’s, half and full marathons as well as athletics meetings. At Metro Physio, we have a significant amount of experience in assessing and treating both amateur and professional athletes and have provided Physiotherapy for the Merseyside team at the English Schools Athletics Championships.
Common Athletics Injuries
Each athletics discipline puts different stresses on the body and there tends to be common injuries amongst groups of athletes. Those involved in running or jumping events are prone to lower limb injuries such as; hamstring strains, knee pain (runners knee), achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, Iliotibial band syndrome and stress fractures. These injuries tend to be related to repetitive load with insufficient rest time, unsupportive footwear or poor biomechanics. Sudden acute injury can also occur if the athlete is not sufficiently warmed up or has an accident, such as ankle sprains, torn knee meniscus (cartilage), torn muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Athletes involved in throwing events have a higher risk of upper limb and back injury due to the stresses and strains placed on the spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand joints. The long throwing events such as javelin and discus put significant strain upon the shoulder joint and can lead to over-use injuries such as labral tears, rotator cuff tendonitis and tears, shoulder impingement, shoulder instability and bursitis. Gripping the javelin, discus and shot-putt requires good strength in the hand, wrist and forearm musculature, but sometimes poor technique, over-training or an accident can cause problems such as stress-fractures, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, elbow ligament sprains and pain in the small muscles and tendons of the hand. Spinal injuries are common due to the forces that are generated from the trunk and the twisting motions involved in the throwing events.
Reducing the risk of Athletic injury
Your training regime should consist of a mixture of stretching, strengthening and conditioning exercises as well as the sport-specific training required for your event to help reduce the risk of injury. Tight, inelastic muscles can be a contributing factor to injury and therefore if you notice that your muscles groups are tightening up, the use of a foam-roller and deep tissue sports massage can help to ease that tension. Muscle imbalances and poor stability can also lead to injury, therefore if you notice you have weak muscle groups or are unsteady on one leg compared to the other, it is worth getting checked out to address these issues before they lead to injury. All our sports massages and injury prevention assessments are conducted by qualified Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists who have an excellent understanding of anatomy and physiology.
Treatments following an Athletics Injury
Most of our therapists are involved in sports themselves and so we are fully aware of the pressures associated with training for an event and being fit to compete. Alongside Physiotherapy treatment our therapists are able to give guidance on when to return to training and alternative training strategies. Correct technique is vital in all Athletic disciplines and injuries often occur when there are movement fault patterns or when a particular muscle group is over-trained. A thorough assessment of the Athlete’s biomechanics and an understanding of the demands of the event help to formulate our treatment plan to ensure optimal recovery.
Treatment sessions will be tailored towards the individual and the injury, but will typically consist of some of the following techniques; deep tissue massage, deep frictional massage, trigger point release, joint mobilisations, fascial release, Ultrasound Therapy, acupuncture, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, taping/strapping and a specific tailored exercise programme.
Athletics Physiotherapy – Our experts
Nicola Lomax is our track and field expert and is the first point of contact for Physiotherapists who require expert knowledge in this area. As a former competitive athlete herself in the event of javelin and a current throws coach she is up to date with the latest techniques and training regimes specific for each track and field event. She holds regular in-service training for the team at Metro Physio to ensure that all Physiotherapists are aware of the latest research and developments in sports injury management and specific rehabilitation for each event.
Our running expert Ben Farrelly is a competitive runner with Salford Metropolitan Athletics Club and so has a special interest in running related injuries. He has undertaken additional training to enable him to screen and assess runners with the aim of preventing injury or identifying the cause of injury. He regularly holds training sessions to update the rest of the team on current research advances in running related injuries.
You can find our clinics across Greater Manchester and Merseyside, so if you have an athletics related injury then Please click here to contact us as our team of Physiotherapists are ready to help you.