Massage and Sports Injuries
Massage and Sports Injuries
Every single sport, from football to golf as well as swimming, carries with it the potential for injury. Any time you move your body, especially in a way that is somewhat challenging, you increase the possibility that a tendon, muscle, ligament, or joint will be injured or strained. Pain and injury can interfere not only with your ability to enjoy the sport, but with everyday life as well. Massage therapy can help to prevent many of the most common injuries from sports activity.
The Most Common Injuries
Those participating in sports should be aware that certain injuries show up fairly consistently. While it is possible to avoid these injuries to an extent, even the most careful athlete can become injured and will require treatment.
- The plantar fascia is a ligament that stretches along the bottom of the foot from the toes to the heel. This ligament is relatively easy to injure from running or even walking, leading to plantar fasciitis. This is an extremely painful condition that can make movement very painful.
- The hamstring muscles are found on the back part of the thigh. Because of the repetitive use these muscles are under from active sports, they are very prone to tearing and strain, in part because these muscles tend to be hard and tight normally.
- A torn rotor cuff can impede shoulder movement so much that it will be nearly impossible to lift the arms above the head without causing extreme pain. The rotor cuff is composed of four muscles and the tendons attached to them. It is relatively easy to tear the tendons through normal activities or repetitive use; age can be a contributing factor as well.
- The Achilles tendon runs along the back of the ankle up through the calf. Tearing this tendon is a very common sports injury and occurs mostly from running or jumping; repeated use of the heel during these activities puts the Achilles tendon at risk of strain or tearing.
- Those who participate in sports where there is running and jumping are not only at risk of damage to the Achilles tendon, they can also suffer from an adductor strain. The adductor muscles are in the upper inside of the thigh and will become painful when the muscles involved are stretched too far. This is not only a painful injury, but one that takes considerable time to heal.
- Runner’s knee involves damage to the tendons around the knee region as well as the iliotibial band that runs alongside the outer thigh. This type of injury usually strikes those who are physically active; for example, people who jog or run.
How Massage Can Help
When pain develops from sports, the first thing to do is to check with a sports doctor or physiotherapist. One of the treatments that will probably be suggested will be massage, and pain relievers maybe suggested for the reduction of inflammation, to help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with swelling. Corticosteroid injections are sometimes suggested into the affected area to reduce inflammation and can be effective especially if the problem has been long standing. Acupuncture or dry needling is also very beneficial for inflammation; however this treatment can take a little longer to work.
Massage therapy is a proven way to help treat all of the above conditions and nearly every other one that can occur on the playing field. Most massage therapists are trained to deal with injuries from sports and know how to manipulate the muscles and tendons to promote healing and reduce the level of pain.
Preventing Injuries in the Future
Not only can therapeutic sports massage help to heal injured or strained muscles, tendons, and ligaments, it can also help to prevent future injuries, especially if massage is a regularly scheduled activity. Tight, inflexible muscles make it much more likely for an injury to occur, and massage is excellent at keeping your muscles flexible and relaxed and more likely to withstand the stress put on them by your sports activities.