|Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:39|
How A little prehab can help prevent sports injuries
By Leif Sigurdson
Runners understand that with the many benefits that come with the sport, a host of lower extremity injuries can occur. Several factors may contribute to the development of injuries including improper or worn footwear, poor nutrition, hill running, sudden increases in distances as well as postural and biomechanical issues.
Research demonstrates that weakness of the core muscles is an important biomechanical risk factor for the development of lower extremity running injuries. Much has been written about the core muscles, but less about the hip muscles. However, these muscles are an important anatomical link between the core and the lower extremity. A growing body of evidence and clinical experience suggest hip muscle weakness is a common reason runners get injured. In fact, rehabilitation of hip muscles has been shown to play a role in the treatment of iliotibial band, patellofemoral pain, piriformis and medial tibial stress syndromes (shin splints). Distance running involves modest hip abduction, rotation and extension and therefore these muscles are often under-utilized and weakness develops.
It is with this rationale that this series of preventative exercises are described. If you currently are injured or these exercises are painful, see a qualified health professional for specific advice.
Target muscles include hip abductors (gluteus medius, tensor fascia latae), hip rotators (piriformis, gemellus, obturators), hip flexors (iliacus, psoas) and hip extensors (gluteus maximus). The exercises are done lying on your side. To ensure you are not rolling backward, position yourself with your back flat against the wall throughout the exercise. Your bottom knee should be bent for support and the top leg’s ankle stays neutral. All movements should be slow and controlled and returned to the start position following the movement. The motion for all the exercises should originate at the hip. They may cause some discomfort but should not be painful.
These exercises are done for both hips. Begin by doing 5 repetitions per set, 1-2 sets per day. Do the exercises daily for 2 days followed by 1 day off. Add repetitions to your sets as your strength increases.
Chiropractor Leif Sigurdson is a certified provider of Active Release Techniques with ptHealth in Vancouver. He would like to acknowledge Dr. Dale Buchberger of Active Physical Therapy Solutions in Auburn, N.Y. for assistance in the recommendation of these exercises.