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Preventing Sports Injuries

Enjoy our Fitness Friday feature as submitted by Christine Blanchette each and every Friday.

When it comes to recognizing, treating, and preventing sports injuries, chiropractor, Dr. Sean Graham is a qualified expert. 

To say he’s seen it all is not a stretch when you consider he played for the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions as a Grey Cup-winning receiver in 2000. 

There are few who can get banged up in a professional football game and then expertly apply knowledge to strengthen the affected area while minimizing chances of the same injury occurring again. 

These days, Dr. Graham is the official chiropractor for the Lions, who has also developed a passion for running. 

He knows that training for a marathon takes discipline and that adding distance following a skipped workout can lead to injury. 

Having knowledge about injury prevention tips will help you reach the finish line healthy and ready for more. 

To help you start and stay on the right track, Dr. Graham, runner, chiropractor, and co-director of Satori Integrative Health Centre, offers his injury prevention tips in a Q&A interview:

Q:  At what point in a runner’s training are they most susceptible to getting injured?

A: I often see an increase in the number of injured runners at the beginning of their training for a marathon. This is usually due to them increasing their mileage too quickly and not having established a strong foundation of strength and mobility.

Q: What are some common injuries in women and men?

A: Most commonly I see hip, low back and knee injuries. I usually see more knee injuries in women due to tight iliotibial bands and weak quadriceps which can cause conditions such as iliotibial band syndrome, patellar femoral pain syndrome and patellar tendonosis.

Q: What can runners do to prevent injuries?

A: It’s not a question of if but when a runner will become injured. Proactive things a runner can do to reduce the likelihood of injury is to incorporate strength and core training into their exercise routine, perform low impact cross-training such as cycling and swimming into their training, gradually increase mileage (approx. a 10% increase per week), proper sleep and nutrition. They may also want to vary the running surfaces (trail vs. road vs. track)

Q:  What should runners do before safely embarking on a marathon training program? 

A: I would suggest a run/walk program to start. If you are a novice runner, start with 10 minutes of walking with one minute of running.

Each week increase the amount of time that you run by one minute and decrease your walking time by one minute.

Q:  How do you treat runners and what is new out there as far as injury prevention?

A: Most of my treatment is to improve the biomechanics of the runner’s body. We achieve this through addressing the soft tissues (muscles and tendons) through active release techniques (ART), addressing the joint mechanics through spinal and joint manipulation and exercise prescription to improve mobility and strength imbalances. 

As for new techniques to prevent and treat injuries, the most interesting is that of injury prevention through technology. 

New technologies that can test genetics can give additional insight about a possible heightened risk of injury or specific nutritional demands.

Monitoring health through sensors and wearable is another way of reducing injury risk. Other new rehabilitation tools include the use of anti-gravity treadmills and exoskeletons.

Unlike Dr. Graham, you are unlikely to be gang tackled during your run, and there is no expectation for you to hang onto the ball after being pile driven into the turf.

Yet if you ask how they feel after running their first marathon, the football analogy works for a lot of them.

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Photo From Whiplash Centre