I pulled a muscle yesterday….what do I do now?
My first response to this is always RICE: get it rested and some ICE on it to calm it down as it will be very sore right now.
There’s a huge misconception that icing helps bring the swelling down…it doesn’t, it just helps calm the area and reduces the pain you’re going through.
The body must start the recovery process from the trauma you have just sustained, so that you can heal properly. For this to work and for you to get the best recovery my recommendation is to rest and ice for 3-4 days after the injury. This is a vital time for the body to heal and then it can recover more effectively in the next few days and weeks.
After 4 days then start to get moving and stretched it out gently. For a hamstring or groin strain then a gentle walk or even a slow jog would be beneficial to help stretch it. As a treating therapist this is also the prime time to come in and get treatment.
Scar tissue is starting to be laid down soon so it is vital you use the muscle gently so that it aligns with the original muscle tissue. If you don’t the scar tissue instead of it being realigned can set like cement, which is then going to re-tear another time when you get back to your normal exercise or sports. This period is also where you would slowly progress the exercises you do and intensity of your walks or runs so that it’s not a ‘big jump’ back to competition.
The biggest single mistake I see is people resting till it feels ok and then returning…..it’s only 50-60% recovered at this stage and needs a lot more preparing it for the return to sport.
Typically 3-4 weeks for a ‘good’ muscle tear is average for you to return to the levels of exercise you were pre-injury. Any earlier and you’ll be feeling ‘ok’ and wanting to ‘give it a go’. From my own experience of previous calf pulls……DON’T! You might get away with it first time but it will go the second time! And even after you play your first training session or game or even finish you first run its going to feel sore and tender the next day…it’s the first time it’s been used properly in weeks. So ice it that night and lots of stretches the next day……. even more importantly don’t go out and try to do the same thing the next day! Have 2-3 days of rest, exercises and stretches as the muscle although will be repaired it’s still a little weak so overworking it will cause it to pull again.
Until next time
KBS Sports Therapy
As soon as I train harder I get injured and have to start all over again?!
17th July 2017
This is a frustration I see not just across runners but all sports……just as you feel you’re getting somewhere you pull the same muscle or get the same pain as the last time!
Why does it happen then…….
Simply put….something isn’t working properly!!
All the muscles and joints that you use when you run, cycle or play sport all need to work in harmony. If it’s a sport you’ve done all your life then your body has adapted and catered for it. A new sport or activity is something completely different. You’re body won’t have the muscle strength or function to react to what your body is now required to do.
Most of the runners that I see with this recurring injury haven’t been running for long and they’ve have started steadily and are now in a position where they want to run a half marathon or want to take it onto a more serious 10K then just a run around the park or dene.
This means your body has to work harder so just like anything you have to train yourself to do it. This takes time and thinking that as you have ran 3-6 months socially means your now able to run 10K as fast as you can simply isn’t correct. Your body isn’t going to like it.
My clients are sick of me using Mo Farah as an example…think how long he took from dominating the Olympics to running his first competitive marathon. If Mo has to take 6 months to a year to modify his body…where by the way he has the best supports staff in the world and doesn’t have to go to work…what makes us; Joe Bloggs think we can?! This is the message I need you to take, your body is amazing at adapting to anything you put it through but if you don’t give it time then it’s going to break down.
When I started my career the first month I was worried about how I was going to cope with the demands of the job as I was in pain all over my arms and back. Now I have job related tightness but I correct it at the gym and with regular massages to loosen the muscles off when I overuse them.
But I’ve done it for years and it’s only now that I get a problem!
Injuries cause the body to accommodate. Over the years you’ve trained and played I can guarantee you will have had little niggles and injuries. The body has to adapt for this so muscles get tight and joint get worn. Add to this you’ve been working for 10-20 years where if you sit at a desk all your core muscles get switched off. Or in a manual job where just like myself, your muscles get tired and stiff causing you to pull other muscles and they get overused as well.
Your body now finds it harder to help you compete.
But how do I know what is causing it?
It could be muscles that are tired, weak and overused or it could even be a biomechanical fault. You just don’t know until you get it checked. A good professional will assess and look at what’s going wrong. A muscular issue simply needs retraining whereas a biomechanical fault needs correcting….a foot or a pelvis that is out of line is going to cause a huge amount of stress on the body. A simple check up now could save you from a year of frustration before you give up and never do what you really want to do.
You’re fine to do a smaller level of exercise with no effects but as soon as you ‘step up’ your exercise level that’s when problems start……get it looked at.
Until next time
KBS Sports Therapy