Injury Prevention Starts In The Off Season

- Cameron Craig, Physiotherapist

 

Muscle strains and tears just before the end of the season can stop your season in its tracks but what’s the best way of dealing with these setbacks?

Typically, athletes that sustain soft tissue injuries as well as niggles in general at the end of the season think that time away from training and games will give the muscle good rest to repair and you will be ready for the following season. To some extent it will help, however when the muscle is repairing you still need to activate it.

The way a muscle is repaired is by a complex process resulting in the development of scar tissue which occupies the space of damage. This scar tissue isn’t quite as well developed or efficient like the rest of your muscle fibres. With prolonged rest after injury the scar tissue will stay in this immature stage while the surrounding swelling in the area will diminish resulting in less pain and you will feel better. After rest with muscle injuries although you will feel better, there will be an increased risk of reinjury as the scar tissue will not activate like the rest of the muscle.

This is where physiotherapy comes into it, specific rehabilitation exercises can be prescribed to stimulate the scar tissue, improving its efficiency and therefore reducing the chance of reinjury. The biggest risk factor of sustaining a soft tissue injury is a previous injury in the same area!! So instead of completely resting make sure you get some exercises to build up the strength and length of the repairing muscle.

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