By Julia Powdrill
As October commences the temperature is dropping, the masses have returned from vacation and the sporting season is restarting. Unless the summer has been spent at an a health farm or sports camp, the UAE is now full of residents back from an overindulgent and underactive vacation, and desperate to get fit for return to sport or the beach. The problem is that this is a prime time for sports injuries.
In a study the football association found that a fifth of all football injuries occur in the first two weeks of pre-season training. The most common injuries are muscular strains, tears and joint sprains.
Why is this?
The main reason is deconditioning. Even after a break of just a few weeks from regular exercise the muscular system loses tone and power, which predisposes people to sporting injuries.
Other factors involved in this high injury rate are poor nutrition, dehydration, changes in ground surface and increased temperatures.
People generally return to exercise with plenty of enthusiasm and vigour with little regard to drop in fitness levels, and hence tend to push too far in the early stages of training, resulting in muscle pain and strains which if ignored can escalate.
How to train safely?
The best thing to do is write out a schedule, taking previous ability, length of rest period and environmental factors into account. Always start at a low level and gradually increase the level as comfortable, mixing cardiovascular, strengthening and sport specific exercises.
Consider the temperature if exercising outside and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Alternatively exercise in water or swimming is a great low impact way to get fit - and most gyms have qualified instructors who can offer advice regarding return to training.
What to do if injury occurs?
Stop the activity as soon as there is pain, discomfort or direct injury. If severe seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If the problem is mild and does not affect everyday life rest from sport, and application of ice, a compression bandage and elevation of the injured area will reduce swelling and promote healing.
If the problem does not resolve and is affecting daily life or sport, it’s important to see a specialist in sports injuries. This may be either a physiotherapist or a doctor who will be able to diagnose and treat the injury - and advise on safe return to training and sports.
- Julia Powdrill has a B.Sc. in Physiotherapy and can be contacted at Orthosports Medical Center, Tel: 04 3450601