How a Warm-Up Routine Can Save Your Knee

As football, rugby, and netball season draws nearer we thought it would be a good time to talk about sporting knee injuries. The most debilitating of all that will promptly put a stop to your season and more than likely have you visiting the surgeon is a injury to your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Recent research suggests that changing how individuals land and how sports teams warm up before practices and games could substantially lower the risk that athletes will hurt a knee.

Injuries to the A.C.L, which connects the tibia and femur and stabilises the knee joint, are soaring. The ligament is prone to tearing if the knee shears sideways during hard, awkward landings or abrupt shifts in direction – the kind of movements that are especially common in sports like rugby, netball, basketball, football, volleyball and skiing.

Motivated by the growing occurrence of these knee injuries, many researchers have been working in recent years to develop training programs to reduce their number. These programs, formally known as neuro-muscular training, use a series of exercises to teach athletes how to land, cut, shift directions, plant their legs, and otherwise move during play so that they are less likely to injure themselves. Studies have found that the programs can reduce the number of A.C.L. tears per season by 50 percent or more, particularly among girls , who tear their A.C.L’s at a higher rate than boys do (girls are 4-6x more at risk than boys, although, numerically, far more boys are affected).

To date, few clubs, schools or teams across the New Zealand have instituted neuro-muscular training, the most easiest of all are the PEP (Prevent Injury, Enhance Performance) program, which was developed by the Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation, and the FIFA 11 program, created by the international governing body of soccer. Both programs are free, and take about 15-20mins of exercises useful at ‘priming’ the body for sport which jumping, squatting and side-to-side shuffling movement.

The programs also emphasize landing with knees bent and in the proper alignment, which is where the team at Bureta Physiotherapy can help. When a player lands with the knee in the knock knee position (dynamic valgus in medical terms) their risk of knee injury is hugely increased.

how to warm up before a run

Dynamic valgus can come about from a number of factors – biomechanics, habitual, core/hip strength, foot posture and balance. The physiotherapists at Bureta will be able to teach you how to land properly and if required give you the appropriate exercises to be strong enough to land in this preferred position.

ACL reconstruction is long and involved and we would like the opportunity to protect you, your daughter or son from this injury.

Come in and see us at the clinic to take you through the PEP program or assess your jumping technique.

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Knock knees, flat feet, fallen arches – Should I be concerned about these with my child?

As children grow from babies through toddlers, young children, the dreaded teens and finally to adults they go through many growth stages. During different stages of growth their body is placed under varying stresses. There are a number of factors or biomechanical issues that are good to have checked out by a physio to help ensure your children stay pain and injury free.

Babies-toddlers: during this stage there are a number of milestones which are most often the largest concern. These include the recommended time to sit, crawl, walk and develop higher functions likes socialising and language. It is important to realise that all children develop at differing rates, and some may bottom shuffle instead of crawling or skip it altogether and go straight to walking. If you have concerns at this stage speak with your GP/paediatric nurse or physio. Odds are your child just has quite reached that stage yet.

Toddler-young children: during this stage changes in the alignment of the lower limb and growth spurts can result in a variety of problems. Many children will often suffer ‘growing pains’, flat feet, knock or bowed knees and clumsiness with sport and running. If you notice any of these it is important to have them checked to ensure that growing pains are not muscle/tendon injuries and that foot issues are within normal limits. Unchecked these can go on to generate further problems.

Teens: Once again an important area due to massive growth spurts and changes to the general structure of their body as puberty takes hold. It is also at this stage that we often see dramatic increases in the duration and intensity of activity.

Common problems during this stage for girls include frontal knee pain, ankle sprains, calf tears and shin splints.

For boys common issues include shoulder instabilities, sprained ankles and knees, tendon attachment inflammation (Osgood-schlatters etc) and shin splints.

During the school term between work, sports and after school events it can be hard to find time to get these niggling injuries or pains checked but it is important that these issues are sorted out SOONER rather than later and that the appropriate treatment and rehab programmes can be started.

For a Free assessment voucher or quick chat to see if your child is appropriate for a full assessment give us a call on 5761860 or email buretaphysio@xtra.co.nz for more information.