Have you started playing Pokémon Go yet? I know I have! And I've heard stories from friends, family, and all across the internet about people getting up, getting out, and getting active! This is a game for everyone, from elite athletes to weekend warriors, to people who otherwise would not be that into exercise. As an Athletic Therapist I'm loving seeing everyone becoming an athlete, because lets face it, to become a top Trainer takes a lot of athletic dedication!
As I was playing the other day, and came across a group of trainers grouped around a cluster of lures near a gym (yep, I'm learning the lingo too!), I noticed a few things that made me nervous! I noticed a lot of poor posture and dysfunctional movement patterns, and the Athletic Therapist in me started to feel the future pain of my fellow players. This blog is designed to give a couple quick tips to injury prevention so we can all stay out there longer, cause of course, we gotta catch 'em all!
1. Keep your head up! (at least some of the time)
Like the warning tells us, we have to stay aware of our surroundings for obvious reasons, we don't want to run into things, be hit by a car, or take out a teammate , but there's an injury prevention reason too!
The neck was designed to hold up the head, and does a very good job of it when the head is in a good position. The further forward the head gets though, the harder it is for the neck to do it's job. A great way to prevent problems is to maintain as much of an upright posture as possible, and take frequent breaks to look up, stretch, and move through ranges. Maybe every time you hit a poké-stop, take the opportunity to look for the landmark, or if that would slow you down too much, set a five minute timer to give your neck a break. If you notice symptoms of neck injury such as muscle spasm, pain going through the arms or hands, or a reduction in range of motion, be sure to book in for some treatment!
2. Care for your hands and thumbs!
The hands were built to do lots of work, but the grip position of a cell phone is not optimal! The way that the thumb moves across the screen can sometimes cause strain, which can lead to many chronic hand injuries. The bigger the phone, (or the smaller your hand) the higher the risk.
There are a couple strategies that can help with injury prevention. I like to switch my hands frequently, which is also helping to improve the dexterity of my left hand. It's also a good idea to use two hands when catching a Pokémon or batting at a gym. The best advice I have is to stretch and strengthen between Pokémon Go sessions, and your local Athletic Therapist would be happy to help you set up a program!
If you notice the tell-tale signs of hand injury such as fumbling, prolonged soreness and muscle cramping, or tingling, book in with your therapist ASAP!
3. Careful not to trip!
This one seems pretty trivial, but is probably the most important! I haven't seen anyone fully bail yet, but I have seen plenty of people step off a curb without realizing and send a jolt through their hip, pelvis and low back. I've also seen some flip-flop related injuries that are totally preventable!
This tip is simple; wear appropriate footwear like the athlete you are, and make sure to be aware of changes in elevation and steps to avoid major hip and low back injuries!
Have fun out there, and stay safe!
Goal setting is hard! and it's even harder to dedicate the time to reach those goals, especially when they are wishy washy and vague. Sometimes our goals get mixed up with our dreams and that makes them seem even more far away and impossible! That's why some of the smartest people in the world set SMART goals! S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, which is a great exercise to follow to make sure you reach all of YOUR goals.
Check out the info-graphic below to get started on setting your goals, and remember that you can make every single goal in your life SMART from grocery shopping to winning a world championship! Also remember that no one becomes successful all by themselves. That's where Guelph Performance Therapy comes in. Check out the section on making your goal attainable. Sometimes the only missing link in making a goal attainable is asking the right person for help!
For instance, if your goals are to start your fitness journey, break a pain cycle, or improve your performance, we are your lifeline! The therapists at Guelph Performance Therapy can help you form your SMART goal, or if you already have one, can be part of your support team to get there! Give us a call today to book your first treatment in your journey to reach your SMART goal.
Before we re-branded the clinic as Guelph Performance Therapy, we wrote an informative blog about bracing, which you can still read here: An Introduction to Bracing. We wanted to summarize this into a quick tips blog to make sure you're all ready for spring, and are protecting your knees!
There are many injuries that knees can go through during any kind of sport including (but not limited to) patellar tendonitis, subluxed or dislocated patellas (or knee caps), meniscus injuries, MCL, LCL, PCL or ACL injuries, hamstring injuries, Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome (or PFPS), Osteo-Arthritis and much much more! There are different braces for your injury depending on your injury, the severity of injury, and the types of activities that you like to do!
So on to our tips!
1) Know the limitations of athletic tape
Tape, when properly applied by an Athletic Therapist, definitely has a time and place in the injury and treatment world. The pros of tape are that it is less expensive in the short term (if the injury will not require support within 2 weeks for instance), it's usually avaialble readily in an Athletic Therapist's kit, and it is guaranteed to fit. The con's list is much more significant: Tape just isn't as strong as a brace, it stretches and gets less strong within minutes, and cannot provide some of the stiff external supports often required.
If you or your child feels that their knee injury needs to be taped for more then 4 sessions of activity, then you need to look into a brace!
2) Know the types of brace and what they are used for
In activity we use a few different types of braces
- Compression braces - these either apply a specific point of compression to relieve the symptoms of injuries such as patellar tendinitis, or are a complete sleeve that compresses the entire joint. These don't provide any type of mechanical support, and usually will not reduce the chances of further injury. These are for symptom relief only!
- Bio-mechanical Adjustment - Some braces adjust how your joints move, such as a Patellar brace that guides the patella into correct movement patterns (for PFPS), or an Osteoarthritis brace that helps unload the problem area. These braces are both symptom relieving, and they help to correct the underlying problem (in combination with therapy). These can protect from further injury, but finding out the cause of the injury is important too.
- Ligament Braces - These braces are designed to protect an injured ligament, and limit the amount of stress put on it during movement. Realistically speaking, these braces require a rigid frame or hinge to work correctly, although there are second-best options that are available for sports that require no metal. These can work to protect ACL, MCL, LCL and PCL injuries, as well as meniscus tears.
3) Purchase your brace from a respected and qualified individual
We all see braces being sold everywhere, from sports good stores, to pharmacies, to physiotherapy and chiropractic offices. Be careful who you purchase your brace from! The individual helping you choose your brace should have a sound understanding of the injuries, severity of the injury and the rigors of the sport. The individual should measure and test your knee joint, and should ensure that it fits correctly through the movements of your sport. This means that purchasing something without taking it out of the package is a bad idea!
Here at Guelph Performance Therapy, we often don't have the correct brace is stock, simply because there are 5-6 sizes of about 30 types of braces... our offices aren't big enough! Once we have a good idea of what kind of brace you need, we order 2-3 types in different sizes (which come in 2 business days) and then try them on to see which one is best! It's one-on-one care to make sure your knee is well cared for!
It's always hard to make sure that you're drinking enough to fuel your body, and in the winter it's even harder to notice the warning signs that your body is in need of some great hydration! Your body is roughly two thirds water, and requires it for all body functions including metabolism, brain function, and performance! Water also helps your body heal and recover from hard workouts and injuries, lubricates your joints, and reduces pain and inflammation in all tissues!
So how do you know if you're drinking enough? Watch for these 4 warning signs that you may need to increase your consumption!
1) Bad Breath!
When you're dehydrated, your body conserves water and doesn't produce as much saliva. With less saliva, bacteria hangs out in your mouth longer (yuck!) and you develop a film over your tongue, cheeks and teeth. It's not just the action of water rinsing your mouth as your drink it (although that helps), you also need to be well hydrated for your mouth's self cleaning mechanism to work!
Remember that if your mouth feels dry, you're already dehydrated, and grab some water to make sure your breath stays fresh.
One of the early warning signs for dehydration is a mild to moderate headache. This is due to two reasons: Your blood is more viscus which makes it harder to deliver oxygen to your brain, and also the fluid that protects your bran isn't quite as plentiful. On the onset of a headache, reach for a big glass of water before you reach for medications!
3) Dry and Cracking Lips
Your skin cells, including your lips, are the first to loose hydration when your body is in need of water! This is another defense mechanism of the body to retain water for higher functions. If your lips are starting to dry out, this is an indication that they aren't able to draw enough water from your body to stay moist and plump! You can apply lip balm to fix the problem in the short term, but what your body is telling you it needs is some good old H20!
4) Urine Colour
Your urine is often telling you more then you think! If you are able to go more then 6-8 hours without needing to pee, or your pee is a dark colour, then you probably are not drinking enough water. This is especially important during times of increased activity, or spending time outdoors.
Take this with a grain of salt though! There are many foods and supplements that may change your urine colour to make it more fluorescent or take an orange tone. If you are concerned about the colour of your urine, visit your doctor, but for the most part, it should be one of the lighter colours on this scale.
The squat is a great exercise, and is one of the fundamental movements that we use every day! Sometimes our bodies aren't ready to squat though, either because of injury, tight muscles, weaknesses, or because we just don't like squatting!
These three exercises are a great alternate to squatting, and will help you strengthen your bum, quads, legs and core! These are also great pre-squat exercises; if you can master these, then your body will be one step closer to the perfect squat.
1) The Glute Bridge
2) The Monster Walk
3) The Ball Lunge
Please remember that these exercises could be dangerous if you are recovering from an injury. If you experience any pain, or aren't quite sure how to do them, please consult a health care practitioner, or call Guelph Performance Therapy today!
Welcome to Guelph Performance Therapy's Tips and Tricks page! Keep your eye out for great tips on how to stay active, move well and be healthy.
If you have questions about strength exercises, stretches, or how to get moving correctly, be sure to comment below, and we will be sure to feature the answer in an upcoming edition of Tips and Tricks! Please remember however that everybody is different, and every body is different. If you have specific questions about an injury or pain, please remember to book an appointment with a heath care practitioner to discuss your case. Guelph Performance Therapy is always available to consult with new patients.
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Logo and Branding provided by Cornelia Svela
Logo and Branding provided by Cornelia Svela