We train for, and compete in endurance sport events for a lot of reasons including competition, camaraderie and health benefits.
While it’s second nature to focus on preventing illness via exercise and healthy eating, aside from hitting up the foam roller a few days a week, athletes often do not focus on injury prevention but instead, only focus on what to do after an injury occurs.
Prevention versus intervention in respect to illness is always the preferred way to go. It costs less, is less time consuming and most importantly, it has no negative impact on one’s quality of life. The same is true for musculoskeletal injury.
The body is a complex organism and everything is interrelated. As such, it’s near impossible to make a change to one part of the body without affecting another. As an example, a biomechanical issue in the foot/ankle can result in a postural issue in the shoulders… as well as a whole host of other mechanical issues along the way.
YOU NEED A DETECTIVE
But here’s the thing, unless you’re a trained clinician such as a biomechanist or physical therapist, you likely don’t have the knowledge of the body, nor the assessment knowledge to get to the root of the issue.
For lack of a better word, a trained and experienced clinician is like a detective. They assess the body both statically and dynamically, ask questions and perform assessments to see how the body responds – all with the goal of finding the root issue of pain/dysfunction so that they can start the process of getting the patient healthy…. or in the case of preventative rehabilitation (aka Prehab) – avoid injury in the first place!
It should be noted that the clinician you seek out should ideally have experience working with athletes in the sport that you participate in.
NO ONE IS PERFECT
It’s true, no one has a perfectly symmetrical body. Everyone has postural and biomechanical asymmetries – this is normal. As such, just because one shoulder is slightly higher than the other, or one foot pronates more than the other, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an injury is around the corner.
That elevated shoulder mentioned above might be a sign of a larger issue. As such, perhaps the best way to view prehab is like your yearly physical – you don’t go because you’re sick, you go because you want to make sure that there aren’t signs of something being ‘off’ that could result in sickness down the road.
No one wants to be injured… because it sucks! It’s painful, requires you to take time away from training and perhaps cancel a pending race and most importantly, it really messes with your quality of life! So whether or not you’re new to your sport or a seasoned veteran, it’s never a bad idea to get an assessment from a clinician that can help identify potential problem areas before they become real problems!
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