Four Sneaky Factors that Can Cause Injury
When someone is injured, they often focus on why. They’ll tell their doctor or physical therapist that they just don’t know how it happened or that they were doing their usual activity with no problem until the injury. For many people, unless there was a clear reason for the injury, like a fall or impact, it can be hard to understand and accept that an injury is taking time away from their regular routine. Yet for many injuries we see as physical therapists, there can be some common, subtle precursors to injury that you might not remember or connect with getting hurt. Here are four of them:
Four Factors that Can Lead to Injury:
Cold weather: We’ve written about this before. Once the temperature drops, if you go out to run, bike, hike your regular routine without being warmed up you’re putting yourself at a higher risk for injury. The Fix: You need to stretch gently ahead of time and ease into your regular work out once you’re out in the cold weather. Be sure you’re dressed for the cold as well.
Poor form: You may not know that your form is off, and it may just be the way you’ve always done it; however, if your form is bad, you could be setting yourself up for injury. All of us tend to do things the “easy” way – it’s just what our bodies do. The easy way isn’t always the best way, though; so if you run, or play basketball, or golf, or ride your bike, etc. with bad form, over time you put strain on a variety of muscles and connective tissue that may eventually end up hurt. The Fix: Work with a physical therapist to determine what you need to adjust and how to correct your form. You’ll learn proper form and help strengthen areas of weakness, reducing injury risk.
Fatigue: The longer you work out, play a sport, run, bike, hike, etc. the more fatigue your body will experience and the higher your risk of injury will get. The reason? See above! You may start out doing well, but as your body gets tired from the effort you’re putting out, your form begins to break down and that’s when you’re at a higher risk of getting hurt. Example: you trip at the end of a long run because your form begins to suffer. The fix: Be sure your form is in good shape by working with a PT, and build up to longer amounts of time spent doing your activity. Too much, too soon is a recipe for injury!
Muscle Imbalance/Weakness/Tightness: Unfortunately, you may not learn about this until you’ve already had an injury and end up in a physical therapist’s office. If you have an area of weakness or muscle imbalance, it can cause pain and problems in that area or areas that compensate. The Fix: When you see a PT, they’ll be able to identify if you have, say, tight calves that are causing problems in your lower legs and feet. Or maybe you have tight hips so you experience back pain after a long bike ride. Working with a physical therapist is the best way to address these areas of imbalance. You’ll likely have a mix of manual (hands-on) therapy and at-home exercises and stretching to help improve your issues and reduce your risk of future injury.
Whether you’re recovering from injury or want to prevent it, Body One Physical Therapy is here to help. We’re both locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Although we can’t prevent every injury, our physical therapists can get you back to feeling great and help you learn how to prevent injury in the future. We work with clients of all ages and activity levels, and we’d love to help you get back on track. Call today for your appointment!