“The single biggest predictor of injury is previous injury”
How many of us have those ‘niggles’ that just won’t go away, no matter how much we RICE it (rest, ice, compress, elevate, and other ancient advices that have been passed down the years.) I’ll explain my undoubtedly abhorrent comment in my upcoming ‘Contrary to Popular Belief' series.
There is a reason as to why those niggles persist.
In a study conducted by people in white coats at the University of Pittsburgh, after joyfully and willingly impacting a knee joint (not their own!), mimicking those perturbations and injuries within torn ligaments, cells underlying the apparently fine joint were seen to be dead. In the hours and days after the innocuous impact, those that we rub off and give a quick wince to, or in the more serious cases, curse and hobble off the obstacle course of, the cells around the impact zone also appeared to have caught 'the death’.
The affected cartilage was thus weakened unfortunately on a pretty permanent basis.
What is also affected is the brain, or more succinctly, the receptors from the affected area to the brain. In other words, the noodle upstairs doesn’t get reliable messages about balance, force, pressure, or position anymore. Which leads to, yep, trips, falls, twists and those winces again.
Ah darn it, I hear those afflicted mumble from the far corner…
The other biggest issue for injury is training. More appropriately, training errors. Upping your game too quickly will be your downfall. Take things slowly. Change surface gradually (if you’re a runner you’ll know what I’m talking about), and if you change surface, steady on the shoe change; changed your shoes? then don’t suddenly up your mileage. Feeling a twinge? take it back a step and go back to something familiar and faithful. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.
But all is not lost for those precious few who are injury free, or relatively so.
Outside of the track, gym, or whatever your arena is, practice balance.
Stand on one leg. Stand on one leg and raise up and down. Stand on one leg and close your eyes. Stand on one leg and hop. If you want to get really clever, stand on one leg, close your eyes and brush your teeth. It’ll work. Just make sure you change legs or you’ll have one hell of an awesome left leg.