Happy Monday – or as I like to call it, Muscle Monday. I hope my readers have been doing alright, things have been pretty crazy on my end but duty calls so like always, I’ve just been embracing the suck – I’m here now though so here’s another post that I think’ll be pretty helpful.
Let’s get started.
I could sit here all day and tell you about how to lift stuff until my throat runs dry and I’m blue in the face – but if you’re trying to recover from an injury you accidentally encountered – well all that information is pretty useless.
So I figured I’d make this Workout Edge all about learning how to recover from muscle and tissue trauma, where some magnesium oil or a bit or R&R just doesn’t cut it.
I’ve been lifting and doing endurance training for a long time.
A long time….and in that time I’ve encountered problems with my wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders…the list goes on. Ironically a lot of the injuries I realize lifters encounter, while they can happen from lifting, rarely do. If you end up going to any regular doctor, they’re not much help. This is where a sports therapist or sports doctor comes in.
I rarely trust a doctor who doesn’t lift or partake in any type of sport himself. I feel like when it comes to injuries, especially those of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, it’s best to get a diagnosis from someone who knows the practical, real world application of things – not just theory. That may sound offensive to some, but hear me out – I’m talking about lifting and serious gyming here.
While you respect a heart surgeon, if the only thing the guy lifts is a scapula or pen you wouldn’t trust him/her to work on your bad back the way a chiropractor who lifts heavy 3-4 times a week does, and vice versa. So naturally, when you know you’ve got to keep using a muscle, but you need it to heal, you wouldn’t take advice from a doctor who just says ‘ surgery’ or ‘stop using it and take some pain killers until you feel better’.
Injury leads to inactivity, and no athlete likes getting out of the groove unless absolutely necessary.
I remember getting an ankle injury during boxing several years back – while sparring, somewhere along the lines between stepping forward and stepping back my foot rolled a little too far, causing it to go way beyond its normal range of motion – I heard two loud “pops” and one strong “click”.
Knowing what was happening I immediately took pressure off my foot while my sparring partner got me up on a bench. I knew my ankle was in a bad way when I started to see it swell pretty damn fast. Fortunately I knew what to do to get the swelling down quick, at least until a sports therapist I knew did the rest.
This was the first time I was ever introduced to Kinesio Tape.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Kinesio Tape, it was invented by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 1970s.
Kinesio Tape works like this: It’s stretchy. Really stretchy – up to 140% of it’s original size. This means it can lift the skin, increasing space between muscle and skin, in turn increasing blood flow and circulation of lymphatic fluids.
In plain English, the extra space allows swelling to decrease, by leading to less pressure on the body’s nociceptors (pain detectors), and stimulating mechanoreceptors (receptors which detect differences in pressure or mechanical sensations) in order to improve overall joint proprioception (sense of self-movement and your body’s position). It also aids in correcting the alignment of weak muscles, and facilitating joint motion due to its (Kinesio Tape’s) recoiling qualities (Williams et al, 2012).
I learnt that the state I was in, the type of recovery would really depend on what I did and how much I could bear rehabilitative pain; in other words, I had to push myself – rather than putting my ankle into something that would severely limit its range of motion.
I was basically taught how to redress my ankle every 3-4 days with Kinesio Tape, keep it elevated the first week and iced, constantly make sure I rotated it, and when I did walk take as much pressure off it as I could while still attempting to let it go through its normal range of motion.
With smarts of my own, a little R&R, and the newfound Kinesio Tape my ankle recovered in three weeks. By the fourth week, I discovered it was a little stiff making it difficult to skip rope with boxing boots on…this led me to learn to skip barefoot while still applying the tape, which, contrary to popular belief, ended up strengthening all the little muscles, ligaments and tendons, making my ankles stronger than they’d ever been in my life…but that’s another story.
A couple weeks later, it was fully healed, stronger.
Ankles and wrists are a funny thing. You don’t realize how important they are until something goes wrong.
I never thought twice about using Kinesio Tape until I had my ankle injury, and I’ve never looked back since, using it when my other injuries popped up.
I find the biggest issue of an injury taking time to heal is the swelling. From the first instance, it’s imperative to get the swelling down – ice and compression initially does it, but has to be used intermittently and limits your ability to do different activities.
There’s a lot of controversy around Kinesio Tape – some say it’s all hype, others swear by it – you be the judge, but one thing I can say it definitely does bring down swelling – and that’s pretty damn important when it comes to alleviating a muscle or joint of pain.
Most importantly, it’s all about listening to your body. After a while, the more you learn to push yourself to the limit, the more you learn when to back off. The more you discover your level of strength and endurance, the more you learn when to rest, and prevent injury. Listen to your body, and respond accordingly.
Strip away the inessential, and you’ll learn how to do more…with less.
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Williams, S, Whatman, C, Hume, P.A., Sheerin, K. 2012. [Online]. Kinesio Taping in Treatment and Prevention of Sports Injuries: A Meta-Analysis of the Evidence for its Effectiveness. Journal of Sports Medicine. 42(2), 153–164. Available from: https://doi.org/10.2165%2F11594960-000000000-00000
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