Preseason Training and Injuries – How To Reduce Your Risk of Suffering An Overuse Injury

What is preseason training?

If you are a sports enthusiast, then you will be looking forward to the start of the netball, football or soccer season. However, getting good enough to compete and excel on the court or field isn’t something that happens during the season – it all happens prior to the season.

This is called preseason training. Preseason training is where all the hard work goes in, making sure we are strong and fit for the season ahead. If no preseason training was to occur, it would be like running a marathon without running at all for three months prior. However, one risk as we push ourselves in preseason is an injury. The added stress and load we put on our bodies can result in an overuse injury.

 

Overuse injuries – What are they? Which ones are common?

  • An overuse injury is any type of muscle or joint injury caused by repetitive load and trauma. This can occur due to many factors. Training errors and technique errors are two main factors
  • Training errors can occur when you take on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of the one type of activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.
  • Technique errors through improper technique also can take its toll on your body. If you use poor form as you do a set of strength training exercises, you may overload certain muscles and cause an overuse injury.
  • Common overuse injuries often seen during preseason training include:
    • Achilles tendinopathy
    • Shin pain (medial tibial stress syndrome)
    • Knee pain
    • Stress fractures
    • Muscle strains and tightness in the lower legs

 

How do I reduce your risk of suffering an overuse injury?

Here at the Footcare Clinic we want to help keep as many people active and injury free, some top tips for keeping injury free during preseason include:

  • Warming up and cooling down before and after exercise. This includes stretching and small movements to help get your body ready for you to train. 
  • Footwear, it is important to ensure your footwear is appropriate for what you are doing and will provide you with enough cushioning and support. Consider replacing your shoes every 600-800km, or at least every 6 months if you exercise regularly. 
  • Wearing runners during preseason training instead of netball shoes or footy boots is also important. During preseason training you do a lot of running based activities. This ensures you have the appropriate shock absorption and cushioning to help absorb the stress and load going through different structures.
  • Gradually increasing your training load is also crucial. For example if you want to increase the amount of running you are doing in a week, or the amount of weight you are using during strength training, increase by no more than 10% each week.
  • Listen to your body, pain is a warning that something is wrong. Early identification and treatment is the key and will allow you to continue your activity.

 

I have an injury, what do I do?

The three most important steps in the management of overuse injuries are:

  • Remove the cause
  • Reduce the inflammation 
  • Carefully return to activity as the symptoms decrease

Professional assessment and guidance is highly recommended for overuse injuries. Not only are you repairing acute symptoms but you are also aiming to avoid its recurrence once your training resumes. In the acute stages of an injury, it is recommended you follow the R.I.C.E.R principle for the first 48hrs.

  • Rest – rest reduces further damage. It is important to avoid as much movement as possible and not put any weight on the injured part of the body to limit further injury.
  • Ice – apply a cold pack, to the injury for ~20mins every 2hours. The cold ice cools the tissue and helps reduce pain and swelling
  • Compression – apply compression to help reduce any swelling or bruising.
  • Elevation – elevate the injured area to stop the bruising and swelling
  • Referral – seek advice from your health professional.

 

 

Here at the Footcare clinic we want to keep you active and avoid sitting out the season on the sidelines. We have a range of treatment options to meet your goals ( such as Shockwave Therapy, Dry Needling, Foot Mobilisation Techniques, Orthotic Therapy) and get you back to being active and pain free. We go through a thorough discussion and biomechanical assessment with you to determine exactly what stage your injury is at, looking at all possible factors. We then work out what the best treatment and management plan is for you, your injury, activities and goals.

Professional assessment and guidance is highly recommended for overuse injuries, particularly during preseason, when you’ve got the entire season ahead of you. Not only are you repairing acute symptoms you are also aiming to avoid its recurrence once your training resumes.  Don’t wait for pain to occur to come in for an assessment, train smart, seek advice and be one step ahead.  Book your preseason assessment online now!

 

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