4 "Helpful hints" that could hurt your summer sports.
Don't believe everything that you hear!
We've all been given "helpful" advice by a friend or teammate at some point in time.
We'll separate fact from fiction and help you stay injury-free, physically active and performing at your best.
1) Myth: Prevent inflammation before it happens.
Truth: Friends may have told you to take some vitamin "I" to prevent stiff sore muscles and joints after strenuous exercise.
The truth is that taking non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as Advil, Ibuprofen, and stronger medications can actually increase the risk of injury.
This recent study from the Journal of Applied Physiology
showed that taking NSAID's can obliterate the normal tendon strengthening adaptations gained from exercise.
Runners who took anti-inflammatories felt less pain but their tendons got no stronger from the training. This could lead to tendonitis and its meaner older brother tendonosis which is harder to treat.
So think twice about this advice and use ice instead of pills to control inflammation.
2) Myth: Decrease pain with heat.
Truth: Maybe you're training for the Ottawa Race Weekend or you're feeling the effects of the first few outdoor runs with the spring weathe
If you apply heat to an inflamed muscle, you could make things worse by causing increased blood flow to the area and aggravating inflammation.
Study after study has shown that the fastest way to recover from exercise and sport related injuries is the early application of ice. Get it on early and leave it on for about 15 minutes. If there's no ice around, a bag of frozen peas will suffice.
If you're not sure whether to use heat or ice, the general rule of thumb is "Unless it's frostbite... use ice". Use heat for softening up muscles before stretching those chronically tight areas of your body.
3) Myth: Run barefoot, it'll make your foot stronger!
Truth: Barefoot running is all the rage in the media. The truth is that barefoot training can strengthen your feet if you fall into a specific category of athlete. If you're a casual runner with little or no running experience you may want to keep your shoes on.
Answer the following questions to see if you should toss your shoes for some of your workouts.
- Do you run at least 3-4/week?
- Can you currently run without painful arches, achilles tendon pain or pain under the ball of your foot?
- Do you have an area or path where you can run that is free of broken glass, small stones and bits of metal?
- Are you willing to massage your feet a few times per week to get rid of stiffness?
If you answered yes to the following questions, then specific barefoot drills may help you get stronger more adaptable feet.
Not sure what kind of drills to do? Give us a call at the clinic and we'll help you decide how much or how little you can safely do.
4) Myth: Playing sports is the best way to stay in shape.
Truth: That's true if you recently celebrated your 20th birthday!
If your goal is to truly perform in sport, or to make sure you can do the things you love for decades to come, then the phrase should read "You have to stay in shape to play sports".
Some sports are more demanding than others and a general strength and conditoning program will keep you in the game instead of in the clinic.
Have a question? Need advice you can trust? Give us a call at (613) 521-3222.