For an athlete, nothing is more frustrating than frequent re-injuries. Injuries can be varied or recurring, nagging ones. In this week’s blog, let’s consider the following:
How to prevent re-injuries
No more substandard gear
Injury rehab checklist
Listen to your body
While watching the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this past week, the all too familiar scene on the tennis tour was injuries. The sport of tennis requires all-direction extreme lunging and movements. It requires incredible endurance. Injuries are inevitable in this physical sport, especially at the highest, most grueling levels. Injuries can short-circuit careers. Big names like Barty, Collins, Federer, Nishikori, Tsona, and Thiem are all recovering from injuries and unable to play.
I watched while trainers wrapped Simona Halep’s thigh with that antiquated elastic bandage during her semifinal match. My regular readers know how utterly infuriating this is for me – knowing there are superior materials and technology available. ATP, WTA, and USTA – please stop treating high level players like commodities. It’s incredibly disturbing that my sport continues to use inferior gear. Team Body Helix created the world’s finest compression products so we could end substandard treatment. Yet, year after frustrating year, I continue to witness apathetic tennis organizations and sponsors refusing to provide the best gear for their revenue-generating players.
It's too bad that our high-level athletes are missing out. The good news is that my injured tennis buddies and our Body Helix customers are wearing superior compression. In fact, their gear is better than that of the highest-paid tennis players in the world. And it’s great for you, too.
Coach’s side bar: Rafa Nadal fans were saddened to see him battling a chest injury during the Indian Wells tournament. I wish him a speedy recovery. Rafa inspires me. He is humble, hungry, and not a complainer. Unfortunately, injuries have continually plagued him during his career. Yet he keeps battling. Rafa also has a great team surrounding him.
My recommendations for his camp would be to move him to 10 - 12 hours of consistent sleep times during this recovery period. Check his hydration. Keep him away from sugar that contributes to inflammation. Look over his off-court strength and flexibility training to ensure his body is in balance. Make sure he has enough recovery time between events. I’m confident his team will do all the right things.
Injury rehab checklist
I’ve put together a checklist to consider if you are plagued by injuries—or an injury prevention regime:
- Increase consistent recuperative sleep time. Shoot for bedtime of 9:00-10:00 pm.
- Avoid diuretics. They can inhibit proper hydration efforts. Dehydration pulls fluid out of your tissues, which causes overall body aches and pains.
- Hydrate before, during and after your training. Be steady with hydration.
- Wear the highest medical-grade compression in the world.
- Variety rules when it comes to training. Try varied types of exercises to balance your body.
- Do dynamic warmups prior to your workout and ensure proper cool downs after.
If you do experience an injury, immediately shut down the stress to the affected area to eliminate further or more severe injury. The first stage of recovery is all about minimizing additional damage and letting the body begin the healing process. The body’s first reaction to injury is inflammation and pain. The better you can regulate inflammation, control pain, and protect the injured body part to avoid any further damage, the easier the recovery process.
Find a physical therapist and let them show you how to rehab correctly. I advise that you rethink the plan of “just let it get better on its own.” The risk of an injury healing improperly may cause the body to adapt to function around the pain instead of healing and returning to normal functioning. Stretching too far or starting activity too early can slow or even reverse the healing process.
Without proper rehab and strengthening, the probability of injury recurrence is high. Just because the pain may have stopped, doesn’t mean the injury is fully healed. Ultimately, the injured area will need to be conditioned for the rigors of your specific activity or sport and in all planes of motion. Minimizing muscle loss and strength deficits are also important rehabilitation goals. Injury rehabilitation includes restoring coordination and balance, improving speed, agility, and sport-specific skills progressing from simple to complex.
Listen to your body
The adult human body has more than 600 muscles and more than 200 bones. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, most of us are bound to experience an injury at some point in our lives. Think this through. Was your injury area weak before the acute injury? Do you have enough flexibility? Do you listen to the warning signs like tightness, aching, etc.? Even experienced athletes may not understand or recognize the messages their body is sending.
Aiming for a quick fix to just move on and get back to your routine is not listening to your body. That's silencing a symptom just for the time being. Your body is performing trillions of tasks a minute, just to keep you alive and thriving. It’s a brilliant machine that wants to work for you! And it’s constantly giving you new information on how to care for it to obtain optimal results.
The human race is the only species that exerts energy when it doesn’t need to. Humans are also the only species that deprives itself of sleep on purpose. Competitive sport comes with pain, stress and pushing your mind and body to the limit. We need to stop and question ourselves. Are we training smart or just training hard? When your body is feeling something, anything, you should consider that a signal for something. So often we feel aches, pains, stiffness, or soreness and think it's totally arbitrary.
Be curious and trust your instincts instead of trying to shut them up.
Take steps now to improve your body. Prioritize self-care and you’ll show up better and brighter to every other part of your life —guaranteed. And whatever you do, don’t settle for inferior products like those forced upon Simona Halep. Put a far superior product like a Thigh Helix on it and get better. Simona, if you read this, contact me. It is a privilege for team Body Helix to help all athletes move through it.
Learn. Share. Inspire.
Be well, my friends,