Injury Advice

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    Sports Massage article Part 1 Overview VCB GYCC (download Word doc here)


    Sports Massage is a term applied to the discipline of using massage for the specific benefit of all sports and exercise participants. According to Ashton and Cassell “sports massage is a concept rather than an actual technique because any technique can be used and is considered as the application of soft tissue manipulation techniques on an individual for the purpose of improving athletic performance”.

    Designed to assist in correcting muscle imbalances caused by repetitive or strenuous physical activity and injury, sports massage is also successfully used in the treatment of work related muscular imbalances and soft tissue problems. You do not have to be sporty to require sports massage

    Sports massage covers the management, manipulation, articulation and rehabilitation of the soft tissues of the body e.g., muscles, tendons and ligaments.

    Sports massage is tailored to each individual’s needs to enhance ones ability to perform, and is beneficial at various stages of participation in sport and rest, for example;

    Pre and post competition, inter-event, post travel, conditioning and training phases, injury prevention and recovery.

    Benefits of Sports Massage;

    Improve circulation and lymphatic flow

    Sedate or stimulate nerve endings

    Increase or decrease muscle length

    Increase or decrease muscle tone

    Remodel scar tissue

    Assist with the removal of metabolic waste

    Assist in the mental preparation for events

    Assists in speeding up the healing process following injury

    Assists in rehabilitation

    Helps prevent injury.

    Different sports carry different types of muscular imbalances which can lead to overuse injuries building up slowly over a period of time. I will attempt to cover common problems encountered by cyclists and I hope they will be of interest and help to you.

    Unique risk factors to cyclists;

    Single plane movement pattern

    The repetitive action of cycling, average 5000 pedal revolutions an hour, one small biomechanical flaw in one pedal revolution is negligible, but over a period of an hour or more may lead to pain, dysfunction and/or impaired performance.

    Limited range of movement in hips, knees, and ankles.

    Prolonged static fixed posture and spine flexion

    Trauma, fractures and dislocations to arms and shoulders are common.

    Overuse Injuries;

    In cyclists overuse injuries are the most common, preventing and managing these injuries is key to a happy cyclist.

    The key aim is to prevent injury at all costs. Stick to the basic principles of any sport;

    Give your body enough time to adapt to training overload, increase gradually no more than 10% a week.

    Allow sufficient recovery time from training and competition with rest or light work built into your training programme.

    Make sure you have a warm up and warm down before any intense work.

    Have a core strength, stretch and flexibility programme built into your training regimen.

    Jenny Anderson MSMA, ICHFST.

    Sports Massage Practitioner

    01502 730265


    Cycling injuries part 2 Anterior knee pain (download Word doc here)


    In this, my 2nd article on sports massage and cycling injuries, I will look at common knee problems which can affect cyclists, and how to treat them. I will also focus on ways to prevent these injuries occurring in the first place.

    There are two main elements to consider with cycling, the bike and the human body. The bike is mechanical and fully adjustable, while the human body is adaptable but can only compensate within certain limits.

    There will only ever be 3 points of contact between the body and the bike, the handlebars, saddle and pedals. If these 3 points of contact are not considered and the set up of the bike is incorrect this will very likely lead to overuse injuries. Therefore the set up of the bike is very important.

    The bike must fit the rider, not the other way round.

    An increase in mileage, the intensity of training regimes, hill work, pushing big gears and interval training can all be causes of cycling injury/overuse.

    Knee pain is the most common type of problem found in cyclists. Overuse injuries in and around the knee are a result of repeated, constant stresses of riding a bike.

    Specific Knee Problems;Anterior Knee Pain

    1. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. This condition is thought to be due to maltracking of the patella (kneecap), which pushes the back of the patella on to the surface of the femur with excessive force creating stress and shearing forces and pain. If left untreated this can cause damage to the cartilage surface on the back of the patella. This condition is known as Chondromalacia Patellae.

    What causes it?

    Cycling – Excessive hill climbing and pushing too high gears

    Bike set up – the seat may be too low/too far forward, cranks too long.

    Anatomy – A Wide pelvis and knock knees can contribute to this condition.

    Muscle imbalances can cause a weakness in some muscles and tightness in others.

    Weight training and running are also causes.

    What can help?

    Adjust activity to allow healing, this is generally preferable to complete rest.

    Sports massage working on loosening and stretching tight muscles.

    Avoid running, deep squats and weight training activities (leg press and squats) which

    puts a load on the knee joint.

    A relatively high saddle position can help.

    Move seat back if too far forward.

    There should be no more than 25 degree flexion in the knee with the shoe in the cleat

    and at the bottom dead centre.

    Spin low gears, at least 85 rpm.

    Avoid hills and long cranks until the condition settles.

    Check cleat position, too much movement/float, get them adjusted.

    With a wide pelvis, more offset cranks or wider bottom bracket may help.

    Ice the knee for up to 20 minutes followed by stretching the quadriceps and

    strengthening exercises.

    A course of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help.

    Quadriceps and inner thigh strength work, working on terminal extension and

    isometric exercises.

    Example; Sitting on the floor with legs stretched out in front of you,

    Place a pillow under the knee with a weight on the ankle

    Straighten the knee, pull toes up towards the shin and hold for 5 seconds,

    slowly lower,

    Repeat 15 to 20 reps, building up to doing three to five sets daily.

    Increase the resistance gradually.

    Stretch thigh muscles front back and sides between each set.

    2. Patella Tendinopathy,(Tendinitis)

    Pain/tenderness is very localised at the lower part of the patella. This condition if not

    recognised early can have a very long recovery period.

    What Causes it:

    Often related to a sudden increase in mileage, hill-work or excessive spinning

    All the above causes for patellofemoral pain. (see above)

    What can help?

    Again see above patellofemoral pain.

    If active foot pronation is present when cycling rigid orthotics (insoles) may help.

    Eccentric loading of the quadriceps muscles by lowering the ankle slowly under load,

    Carry out 15 to 20 reps, building up to three to five sets daily.

    Increase resistance gradually

    Stretch thigh muscles front back and sides between each set.

    Acupuncture can help especially if chronic (over 3 months).

    This condition can take many months/over a year to finally recover from.

    In my next article I will continue with knee problems.

    Jenny Anderson MSMA, ICHFST.

    Sports Massage Practitioner

    01502 730265