Knee pain can plague your workouts. Whether you are a runner, weightlifter, or athlete, there’s a strong chance that you have dealt with some achey knees at some point. It is a very common issue and it’s also very avoidable.
A lot of times people have limited mobility, which causes excess stress on the knees. Try these simple mobility exercises to work on reducing your knee pain.
1. Couch Stretch
Try this couch stretch for 1-2 minutes on each side and try to work your torso to be more vertical without hyper-extending your low back.
2. Knee Gapping
This knee gapping technique can help to take pressure off your joint.
3. Contract Relax Hamstring Stretch
This is a twist on a typical hamstring stretch. Drive the leg into the doorway or rig for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this about 5 times and try to inch closer to the wall each time.
Don’t continue to struggle with knee pain. At Limitless Performance Physical Therapy, we offer free consultations to help you make the best possible decision about how to eliminate knee pain for good and get back to the things you love, pain free. Click the link below to claim your free consultation now!
We only progress as well as we recover. You can put the work into your training and still not make progress if you aren’t accounting for factors that aid recovery. It’s also important to know the right things to do for proper recovery that will help you make gains and reduce your risk of injury.
Things like foam rolling, stretching, and getting a massage are too heavily weighted when people talk about recovery. Don’t get me wrong, they are all good things to include, but foam rolling your quads for 15 minutes isn’t going to magically heal your knee that’s beat up because your leg day volume is too high.
1. Load Management
The conversation about recovery starts with what your workload looks like in the gym. Are you maxing out every other week? Are you doing way too many sets in a week? Are you doing a lot of other types of training alongside your main workouts?
You have to push the limits a bit to make progress, but you also need to know when to back off. Training should be cyclical, with an increase in intensity and volume over time, followed by a week with a big drop in volume. This, in other words, is a deload week. After that, start a little higher than your previous starting point and work your way back up again.
2. Take Rest Days
This goes along with load management, but I thought it was important enough to include it as its own point. We see too many people on the internet brag about how they haven’t taken a rest day in “X months”. That’s a sure fire way to get burnt out and injured.
Your rest days will help you refresh and hit your next training session with more intensity. Many people make great progress on 3 or 4 day splits.
This is probably the most widely recommended by people that actually know a thing or two about recovery, but that’s exactly why it needs to be on this list. Lack of sleep will hinder recovery and leave you feeling gassed. Also, when we are asleep is when our muscles recover the most. Get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night and let your body do it’s work.
One of the most important things is to make sure you are eating enough protein to support muscle growth and recovery. Also, your nutritional needs and stage of training will coincide. If you are looking to lose weight, then your calories will need to be lower along with your training volume. This will help preserve muscle without getting injured.
If you are looking to gain muscle mass, then your calories will need to be higher along with increasing your training volume. Remember what we mentioned above about cycling your volume though.
There is a lot more information that goes into nutrition for performance, but that is kind of out of our scope of practice. If you want more specific information about nutrition, then find a registered dietician or nutritionist.
Obviously things like stretching and massage are not useless. Depending on your sport, you need to have a certain amount of range of motion that you can tap into. But haphazardly stretching your hamstrings or back muscles are not going to prevent injuries and, in some cases, it can actually leave you more at risk for injury.
If you have a history of getting injured or feel like you're stuck, then give us a call at (607) 425-3369 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, try incorporating these tips into your daily life and share this with your training buddies!
Tight hip flexors can be annoying for lifters and runners. It can limit your ability to squat, run, or even walk. Everyone’s instinct when they feel tightness is to stretch the “tight” muscle, but what if that muscle is not the real problem?
What is “Tightness”?
I will have people tell me that their hamstrings feel tight, yet they can bend over and touch their toes. In most cases, it’s not that the muscle is short. Instead, the nervous system is increasing the “tone” of the muscle which creates the sensation of tightness. The same thing goes for the hip flexor muscles.
Are Your Hip Flexors Short?
The Thomas Test is a classic test for assessing hip flexor tightness. If you do this test and your thigh can touch the table with knee straight and knee bent, then you do NOT have shortened hip flexors.
Why Do Your Hip Flexors Really Feel “Tight”?
The psoas is one of the main hip flexors that is a common culprit of feeling tight. The poas has attachments to the spine and has been shown to be a contributor to spinal stability. When the core muscles are weak, then the body searches for somewhere else to gain stability. So it calls upon the psoas and reflexively tightens it to support the spine.
How to Remedy Tight Hip Flexors
So instead of stretching the hip flexors constantly, work on improving core stability. No, this does not mean do more crunches. Exercises that require you to round your back are fine, but they do nothing in terms of stability. Work on stabilizing in all planes of motion (flexion/extension, lateral bending, and rotation). The McGill Big 3 is a good place to start. The three exercises are the curl up, side plank, and bird dog. Here is a good video explaining them!
Are hip issues preventing you from participating in your favorite sports and activities? Click the link below to request a FREE Discovery Visit! We will get to the bottom of what is causing your pain or tightness and let you know how we will help you fix it.
So you have been dealing with a nagging pain. You decide that you should just take a couple weeks off from running or working out and let it heal. Maybe even your physician prescribed the rest. While proper rest and recovery is important, it is likely not the solution to your problem.
People often get stuck in this rest/injury cycle. Where they get hurt, rest, come back, get hurt, rest, come back, etc. Spinning their wheels and stalling their progress.
It’s not that rest is inherently bad. Resting will help the irritated tissues heal and reduce the pain and symptoms. This is seen as the solution to the problem. “I feel better, so everything must be good, right?” Not really.
Ask yourself this, why did you get hurt in the first place? There are a lot of factors that could answer this question. This could be poor nutrition, poor sleep, and even improper rest time. If any of these are not addressed properly, then our recovery could be sub-optimal and lead to overuse injuries. But the main factor I want to focus on is finding the root cause of the problem.
If you are a runner with foot pain, is the foot the real cause of the problem? Probably not. We would look further up the chain. Some things we would asses are:
If all you do to heal an injury is rest, the root cause never gets addressed. As soon as you jump back into training, the cycle of pain and injury begins again.
Don’t get stuck spinning your wheels when you have goals that you want to achieve, group runs to participate in, or need that stress relief after work. Break the cycle by giving us a call at (607) 425-3369 or clicking the link below to request a Free Discovery Visit!
What is a Discovery Visit? It is a free 20 minute visit with a sports injury specialist where we sit down and talk about what you have been struggling with. At the end of the visit we let you know exactly what is going on and how we can help you fix it. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, then click the link below to quest one of these limited sessions!
Gymnastics can be a very demanding sport, especially for young athletes. Unfortunately injuries can be common, but we have some tips to keep your gymnast healthy and able to perform at the highest level possible.
Low Back Pain
This is one of the most common injuries in gymnastics because the sport involves a lot of backward bending. Flexibility is important, but being flexible in the right places is the key to staying injury free.
Most injuries appear when the athlete has limited flexibility at the shoulder and/or hips. When this happens the low back has to pick up the slack and you will see a “hinge point” in the low back. This “hinge point” is a sharp bend in one spot in the low back, instead of having a smooth curve along the entire spine.
Gymnasts have to bear weight on their hands and wrist with movements like handstands. They also put a lot of stress on the wrists when on the bars. Limited wrist mobility or strength is a possibility and we definitely work on it with our clients. Another possibility is poor shoulder flexibility because it can put extra strain on the wrist joint and muscles
Hard landings, especially with stiff legs, can put a lot of stress on the knee joints. When pain is focused in the front of the knee, it could be from poor knee position when landing or just doing too much high impact landing. This can be addressed by reducing the amount of repetitions in practice.
The hip controls the knee, so weakness in the overall hip muscles can be something that is causing inefficient landing technique. This would be the root cause of the problem: poor hip stability putting stress on the knees and producing knee pain.
As far as treatment goes, some gentle range of motion and strengthening exercises will be important early on to promote healing and pain reduction.
Ankle sprains are common in a lot of sports. There are ligaments that support the ankle, but the outside ligaments are not as strong as the inside ones. That is why most people roll their ankle inward and hurt the outer part of the ankle. The ankle muscles have to react to the ground with every step or landing to help prevent the ankle from rolling.
There are two important factors for ankle injuries: the strength and stability of the ankle muscles and hip control. Like I said the muscles need to turn on at the right times to support the joint and react. Also, hip control is just as important for the ankle as it is for the knee. If the foot lands too far underneath the middle of the body, then the ankle could be more prone to rolling.
Early treatment for a sprained ankle is gentle range of motion and isometrics. Regaining full range of motion will be very important, especially early on. Eventually we will need to improve balance reactions in the ankle because it is one of the biggest things affected with ankle sprains
The shoulder is meant to be very mobile which is good because gymnastics requires a lot of flexibility. The problem is that there is not a lot of structural (bony) stability at the shoulder, it requires the muscles for support. If the shoulder muscles aren’t strong enough, then the joint can become unstable and create pain or discomfort.
Treatment is mainly focused on strengthening the muscles and stabilizing the joint, so that they can have plenty of flexibility and keep the shoulder joint from becoming irritated or injured.
If you have a young gymnast that has been struggling with an injury or just wants to get better at their skills, then click the link below and we will determine if we are the right fit for you!
For most parents, the most important thing about their child playing sports is their safety. The last thing that a parent wants for their kid is to suffer an injury, but they want their kids to participate in the activities that they love. Obviously there is a risk for injuries when you play sports, but we can always take steps to reduce the risk. Here are a few steps that you can take to ensure that your child stays as healthy as possible.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Most sources recommend getting anywhere between 7-10 hours of sleep, many of them leaning more toward the higher end of the spectrum. Not getting enough sleep can reduce reaction time, reduce tolerance to exercise, and reduce their ability to properly recover from exercise.
2. Maintain a Good Diet
The two biggest things we focus on with nutrition in young athletes is their calorie intake and how much protein they are eating. They need to be eating enough to fuel their bodies and aid in recovery, but the ratio of macronutrients is also important to consider. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and will aid in recovery.
3. Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is important for optimizing recovery and preventing heat-related illness. The general rule of thumb for the amount of water to drink per day is 0.5 oz of water per pound of body weight. Have your child carry a water bottle that has the ounces clearly marked with them to ensure they are staying hydrated.
4. Take Proper Rest Days
The no “pain no gain” and “no days off” mentality puts athletes at larger risk for injury. Their bodies need some days off to recover from the rigorous routine they put themselves through at practice and any extra things they do outside of that. Rest days are when the real recovery happens, so make sure they take at least 1 or 2 days off a week from whatever sport they play.
5. Improve Any Weaknesses
Every athlete can benefit from strength training. Many aches and pains “pop up” because of weaknesses in certain areas that aren’t worked in the specific movements of their sport. Or certain muscles will try to compensate if one muscle isn’t doing it’s job. For example, the glutes are supposed to bring the leg behind us when we are walking or running. If the glutes are weak and aren’t doing their job, then the low back muscles may compensate to bring the leg behind us and lead to a low back strain.
6. See a Physical Therapist
A physical therapist is trained to evaluate and treat any sports related injuries. They can also assess for any weakness or imbalances that could increase the risk of injuries (even if you don’t have a current injury). They can look at how your athlete moves, determine what is wrong, and develop a plan of action to resolve any issues. Getting help as soon as you notice something is wrong can prevent a more serious injury. Here at Limitless Performance Physical Therapy, we work with injured athletes, athletes that want to prevent injuries, and athletes that want to improve their performance!
When To See a PT for a Sports Related Injury