Physiotherapy for Boxing
Participation in Boxing has always been prevalent, and the success of the London 2012 Olympic games only acted as a catalyst for this – especially for the likes of Female Participants. Boxing is a great form of exercise, discipline and self-defence, hence its popularity. Regardless if people participate purely for health reasons or if they are aiming to compete to be the best, here at Metro we acknowledge the need to get them back from injury as quickly and safely as possible. We provide the highest quality service to ensure the road to recovery is as smooth as possible, in combination with a vast amount of experience in the assessment and treatment of sport related injuries.
Common Boxing injuries
As boxing is a contact sport, there are no shortages of injuries. The appropriately named ‘Boxers Fracture’ is sustained to the neck of the fourth or fifth metacarpal in the hand. This very commonly occurs in Boxing due to the high forces placed through those particular bones whilst the fist is clenched. A specialist would need to perform an X-ray to confirm this injury, then the appropriate alignment and immobilisation would be appliedas for any bony injury. It is however, important that the correct rehabilitation of the surrounding structures is undertaken to ensure full movement and strength are restored after the period of inactivity.
Shoulder dislocations are not uncommon amongst boxers. These injuries usually occur due to the position of the outstretched arm when a force is applied, causing the humeral head to be forced from its normal position often damaging the soft tissue structures surrounding it. It is important that the shoulder is repositioned by a medical professional and the adequate observations are completed to determine the extent of the damage. Following this, it is fundamental that a course of physiotherapy is undertaken to rebuild strength and maintain the mobility of the joint.
Due to the repetitive movements involved in boxing, overuse injuries of various structures can occur. Most commonly, the extensor tendons of the wrist that are located on the outside of the elbow can become irritated and inflamed (tennis elbow). Achilles Tendonitis can pose problems for boxers too, as the correct technique when punching requires utilisation of forces generated by pushing off the ground with your feet. It is imperative that training and performance habits are considered in the treatment and prevention of overuse injuries such as these.
Spinal injuries can also be sustained in boxing, again from either impact or overuse. Soft tissue injuries of the neck can be the result of impacts to the head that result in whiplash type symptoms. Lower back pain can also be the result of repeated rotation when throwing punches. The musculature and facet joints of the spine can become irritated and pain can arise from this. Manual therapy and the appropriate exercises can be very effective in the treatment of such conditions.
Reducing the risk of Boxing related injuries
In order to reduce the risk of a Boxing related injury, it is vital that your training programme consists of mobility, stretching, strengthening, sport specific movement patterns and proprioception. However, sometimes contact injuries can’t be avoided – this may be an area that you speak to your coach about!
Tight muscles can cause imbalances and restrictions that can increase the risk of injury, so it is important that joints are kept mobile and elastic structures are appropriately stretched. Strengthening muscles not only improves the muscle’s capabilities, but adds support to the structures they surround to decrease the risk of failure. It is key to include the correct mixture of stretching and strengthening to ensure there is a balance between stability and mobility.
Proprioception is the brain’s awareness of joint and limb position. It is important that this is continually trained to reduce the risk of injury. It is also fundamental, that after a traumatic injury, proprioception is trained to reprogram the neural pathways that may have been altered by any change in the joint position. At Metro Physio, your therapist will have a plethora of sport specific exercises to prescribe, ensuring a smooth transition back to sport.
Treatments following a Boxing related injury
Most of our therapists are directly involved in sport, so understand the demands that are required. Varying treatment techniques are employed to aid in the rehabilitation of a sporting injury. Your therapist will assess and observe your biomechanics to identify any underlying dysfunction that could have caused the injury or lead to a repeat injury. Following this, a plan will be formulated to overcome any issues that are detected.
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.
Our Boxing experts:
All our physiotherapists treat boxing related sports injuries, however it is something Ben has a special interest in. Ben regularly attends local boxing events and has provided physio advice and help for many coaches/fighters in the local area. Ben has links with boxing clubs in the Salford/Manchester area including Droylsden ABC. He has worked with a variety of amateur and professional fighters at various stages of their career, including Steve Williams, former English Light Welterweight champion and current British Light Welterweight title contender.