Athletic Injuries, Prevention & Management

Shin Splints is a common term for shin pain during running. One of the most common shin conditions is Medial Tibial Stress syndrome, an overuse injury usually caused by kicking and running. The condition is characterized by pain and tenderness in the lower leg, usually along the front edge of the shin. Mechanism of Injury There are many different opinions as to the specific cause of tibial stress, including: changing training techniques overuse (from not allowing enough time to recover) training too hard, too fast or for too long suddenly increasing the intensity or duration of exercise...Read more
Muscle cramps are painful contractions or spasms of a muscle usually caused by fatigue, water loss, or by inadequate stretching, conditioning, and/or warm-up during soccer practice or competition. Mechanism of Injury There are several reasons why a muscle goes into a painful, uncontrolled contraction. The most common are: a blow to the muscle (contusion), like when another player knees your thigh while trying to go for the soccer ball over-stretching or applying too much force to a muscle, like when you straighten your leg too far while diving for a soccer ball Cramps or fatigue may also...Read more
Stress fractures usually occur in major weight bearing bones such as those of the foot or leg. Repetitive stress weakens the bone and begins to break it down. Many researchers think that this overuse injury starts out as a microscopic fracture. As such, it is difficult to diagnose right away because the injury does not immediately show up on X-ray. When it does show up it is already starting to heal. In soccer players the most common stress fractures are found in: Second and fifth metatarsals and femur (older soccer players). Tibia and fibula (younger soccer players). Mechanism of Injury...Read more
Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs lined with synovial membrane that are usually located in or close to joints. They function to reduce friction created by the movements of skin, tendons, and muscles over rough bony surfaces. Mechanism of Injury Bursae may become inflammed as a result of: excess frictional rubbing (overuse) direct trauma Bursitis is an irritation or inflammation of a bursa sac. As a protective mechanism, bursae swell in order to limit movements that increase both friction and subsequent pain. Commonly affected are the bursae in the: shoulder elbow (olecranon bursitis) side of...Read more
Patello-femoral pain is an irritation or inflammation of the tissues under or surrounding the kneecap. This condition is often inaccurately referred to as "chondromalacia". Chondromalacia is a diagnosis that should be reserved for cases where there is actual damage to the articular cartilage on the underside of the patella. This is not always the case in patello-femoral pain. But chondromalacia may arise from chronic patello-femoral pain. Mechanism of Injury The following causes the kneecap to be squeezed excessively against the lateral femoral condyle. overuse a blow (i.e. from a...Read more
The iliotibial band (ITB) is a thick band of tissue that extends down the lateral side of the leg from the thigh down over the knee and attaches to the tibia. When the knee flexes and extends, the ITB slides over the bony parts of the outside of the knee. Mechanism of Injury Friction occurs when the knee bends during running in soccer and the tendon moves back and forth across the distal femur (along the outside). This results in localized symptoms of tendinitis. This friction can be magnified by: increased training (especially running hills or too much too soon) poor shock absorption from...Read more
The piriformis is a muscle that runs from the sacrum to the outer aspect of the greater trochanter. Piriformis Syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle goes into spasm irritating the sciatic nerve. Signs and Symptoms Piriformis Syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle becomes tight or cramps, causing pain as it compresses the sciatic nerve in the buttocks and refers pain along the path of the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can include: Deep and dull aching in the buttock and thigh Pain in the low back that is aggravated while sitting and walking Sometimes lower back pain can be...Read more
Being injured can be both disappointing and frustrating. You may feel like you have no control over your injury or getting better. Working with an athletic therapist or physiotherapist can also be intimidating if you do not know what to expect. Here are some general principles of rehabilitation. These give you a better idea about the direction you and your therapist will take with your rehab goals. No matter how you injure yourself there are many components of fitness that need to be addressed in your rehab. “Strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, power, agility, coordination,...Read more
When you push your body to its limits, and beyond, you can experience low back pain. “It is estimated that 5-10 percent of all athletic injuries are related to the lumbar (lower) spine 1 ”. This type of pain happens because you are not able to stabilize using your core muscles during your athletic activities. All athletes can experience this discomfort but few pay attention until it stops them from competing. When the pain stops you from exercising it usually is too late. Pushing through your limits day in and day out creates an injury that is harder to heal. While rehabilitation...Read more
When you get injured playing a sport, or anytime, the first 48 hours is the most important. This first phase of healing is called the acute phase; when blood rushes to the area to fix the problem. The body naturally experiences heat, pain, redness and swelling to protect itself. A change in colour and a stiff joint are also signs of injury. Chronic injuries are different than acute because they are nagging aches and pains that get worse over time. Both acute and chronic type injuries can be painful and prevent the body from healing. “Pain is the body’s number one warning that...Read more