Is your lifestyle to blame for that recurring injury?

Monday October 26 2020
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If your body is telling you not to run because of an injury that will not go away, listen to it and go for a walk or ride a bike instead. PHOTO/COURTESY

By Regina Nalujja

Over the years, many promising sports personalities have given up on their dreams while others have performed below par citing annoying recurring injuries. 

These are injuries to any body part that previously sustained the same injury. 

Such injuries have not only physically affected players and their teams, but have also negatively impacted their financial and psychological wellbeing.

Ali Ngaimoko had a promising career in athletics. The 200 and 400 metre sprinter reached the semi-finals at the African Championships in 2010 and 2011 before attaining a hamstring injury at the Africa Senior Championships in Benin, 2012, that could cost him success in subsquent competitions.

The nagging injury has over the years kept on recurring, thanks to vigorous training and competitions.

Under the advice of various physiotherapists, Ngaimoko has embarked on routine therapy, pull up exercises and massage, which have not helped a great deal.

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“At times you feel fine but when you engage in vigorous training and competitions, it re-surfaces. It has cost me a lot of money and I have even foregone some competitions,” Ngaimoko laments.

In 2018, Ngaimoko participated in the Commonwealth Games in Australia, but he hardly completed the race as the injury recurred. 
Although still reluctant to give up on athletics, Ngaimoko says he has opted for some rest.

Dr Norman Steven Merica, a physiotherapist, says most recurring injuries are actually worse than the initial injury and could have a severe impact on the health and future of the injured.

“After sustaining an injury it is best to receive immediate medical attention in order to minimise the likelihood of it recurring,” Merica advises.

However, one has to pay attention to the ultimate causes of recurring injuries as stated below;

Excess workload
Many sportsmen wear themselves out through heavy and excess workloads on and off the field. These include over-working their bodies in terms of keeping physically fit, playing many consecutive games without resting, as well as playing for more than one team. 

Doctor Edward Lumansi of Hope Medical Centre in Makindye, a Kampala suburb, says the human body should not be overworked. 

He advises sportsmen and women to follow the prescribed training routine by qualified coaches and gym masters. This way, they can protect themselves from recurring injuries.

“If one over works his or her body, he is more likely to spark off the previous injuries,” Lumansi says. 

Poor recovery habits 
Some players are perhaps unaware of the need for good rest and recovery, while others have to juggle employment with sports. It is due to this overload that injuries keep recurring.

Merica says sports people should have enough rest, especially in between games. Congested fixtures and too much training prior to games may have an adverse effect on their bodies, hence awakening previous injuries. 

“Good feeding and sleep are among the best recovering actions as they help to relieve stress and make the body stronger,” Merica advises.

Neglecting warning signs
Listening to ones’ body is key in preventing recurring injuries. However, some people neglect indicators such as pain on any body part, numbness, limited movement and reaction to touch, among others due to eagerness to continue with their daily routines.

Merica says seeking medical attention from your physiotherapist in case of unease is a wise decision as the problem may be identified before it elevates previous injuries.

“If you feel any pain in a joint or muscle, do not keep forcing yourself to perform. First seek medical attention,” Merica advises.

Poor training techniques
Many players have suffered recurring injuries due to poor training techniques prescribed by their fitness trainers, coaches or even themselves.

Proper training should be done to embark on strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments. 

Emphasis should also be put on proper warm up and cool down programmes to reduce the risk of recurring injuries, according to Merica.

“Some of the training techniques, including gym lifting, squats and press-ups, among others, are okay but if not done properly, can cause injuries,” he says.

He also advises on the use of protective equipment such as straps for joints, tapes for muscles, foam rollers for massaging and loosening tight muscles. 

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