Sports injuries nearly always jar and misalign the spinal column: a blow to the ribs, legs, feet, head, shoulders or body always radiates to the centre of the body – that's why a chiropractic check-up is necessary when you are injured, regardless of the nature of the injury. Chiropractic is needed, in fact, even when medical procedures may also be needed.
We at Chiro 4 Family Wellness specialise in the non-drug treatment of musculoskeletal problems, including joint sprains and disc injuries. Our initial patient examination includes standard orthopaedic and neurological tests to diagnose whether a particular pain is due to a strain, sprain, disc problem or other conditions. When needed, we use x-ray to screen for fractures and other bone disorders, such as osteoporosis. Treatment of sports injuries often include widely used physical therapies such as ice for swelling and inflammation, and heat for muscle strain and spasms.
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Two contributions chiropractic have made to sports medicine include hands-on adjustment to spinal and other joints (to maintain a full range of motion) and a strong emphasis on the overall structural balance of the body. For example, when a muscle or joint is injured, the body naturally compensates, attempting to maintain balance and protect itself by tightening other muscles and joints. Chiropractic adjustment help restores the natural balance that was present before the injury.
That's why chiropractic has been used by champions – Ivan Llendl, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
According to Arnold Schwarzenegger, "We are a perfect team. The world of fitness and the world of chiropractic".
Female tennis star Martina Navratilova stated, "A chiropractor was instrumental in putting my body back together. Since then I've visited the chiropractor many times for a variety of problems and solution. As Americans become more aware of the need for preventive medicine, alternative therapies will play a bigger role in our lives. After all, people like what works".
Evander Holyfield, former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion echoes the attitude of many world-famous athletes: "I found that going to a chiropractor helps my performance. Once I drove 20 miles to see a chiropractor before a fight. I had to have an adjustment before I go into the ring".
Research has contributed to a climate where chiropractic now enjoys far greater acceptance than in the past. In fact, chiropractic is now part of the Australian Olympic Team.
Remember, many amateur and professional athletes wouldn't dream of competing without first getting a chiropractic spinal check-up.
Of course, you don't have to be an Olympian to benefit from chiropractic care. Each year, approximately 2 million Australians go to a chiropractor, 90% of them seeking treatment for musculoskeletal problems like back pain, neck pain, other joint and muscle pains and headaches.
In short, while mild, temporary soreness after exertion is nothing to worry about, persistent aches and pains is an indication that you are over stressing your muscles and joints. It's important not to push your body to the limit while in pain. This will only increase your risk to further injury. If your athletic activities are causing more than temporary pain a chiropractor may be able to help you.
Common Sport Injuries Treated:
What is a sprained ankle?
A sprained ankle is the most common type of ankle injury. A sprain is stretching and tearing of ligaments. (You sprain a ligament and strain a muscle).
The most common damage done in a sprained ankle is to the talo-fibula ligament (in side of the ankle). If the sprained ankle is worse you might also damage the calcanao-fibula ligament which is towards the back of the heel. In addition to the ligament damage you can also cause damage to tendons as well.
There are three degrees of a sprained ankle / ligament sprain:
Footballers' Ankle (Anterior impingement of the ankle)
What is Footballers' Ankle?
Footballers' ankle occurs when you get a bony growth at the front of the ankle where the joint capsule attaches. It can follow an injury where the ankle has been over stretched or over bent. The bony deposits cause inflammation in the joint capsule and tendons.
Symptoms of this injury are:
Tennis Elbow / Lateral epicondylitis
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is a common injury and got its' name because tennis players tended to get it. Tennis elbow is an inflammation or degeneration of the tendon that attaches to the bony bit (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of the arm or elbow. A common cause in tennis is poor backhand technique or a grip that is too small. A small grip will mean the muscles in the elbow must work harder and become inflamed. The majority of people getting tennis elbow are between 40 and 50 yrs but it can affect athletes of any age.
What is a golfer's elbow?
Golfer's elbow is a similar injury to tennis elbow only it affects the inside of the elbow instead. Golfer's elbow is more common in throwers and golfers hence the 'nicknames'. Also known as flexor/pronator tendinopathy this elbow pain is seen in tennis players who use a lot of top spin on their forehand shots.
Symptoms of golfer's elbow include:
Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Spurs)
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. It is an overuse injury causing heel pain which may radiate forward into the foot. Plantar fasciitis can also be known as a heel spur although they are not strictly the same. A heel spur is a bony growth that occurs at the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone (calcaneus). A heel spur can occur (with repetitive pulling of the plantar fascia) on a foot with no symptoms at all and a painful heel can have no heel spur present.
The Plantar Fascia or arch tendon is a broad, thick band of tissue that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot (see images 1 and 1a). A rupture can sometimes occur at the origin of the arch ligament and result in inflammation and heel pain.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Who does plantar fasciitis commonly affect?
Plantar fasciitis or heel spurs commonly occur in sports which involve running, dancing or jumping. Runners who excessively pronate (feet rolling in or flattening) are particularly at risk as the biomechanics of foot pronating causes additional stretching of the plantar fascia.
Common causes of plantar fasciitis
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is a very tight calf muscle, which leads to prolonged pronation of the foot. This in turn produces repetitive over stretching of the plantar fascia leading to inflammation and thickening of the tendon. As the fascia thickens it loses flexibility and strength.
Other causes include high arch or low arch feet and other biomechanical abnormalities.
Achilles Tendon Bursitis
What is Retrocalcaneal bursitis?
Achilles tendon bursitis is a common foot pain in athletes, particularly runners. It can often be mistaken for Achilles tendonitis or can also occur in conjunction with Achilles tendonitis.
A bursa is a small sack of fluid that goes between a tendon and a bone in the feet to help the tendon move smoothly over the bone.
The retrocalcaneal bursa in situated in the feet between the Achilles tendon and the calcaneus (heel bone). With repeated trauma the bursa can become inflamed.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of the ankle. It connects the large calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) to the heal bone (calcaneus). This tendon can become inflamed through overuse as well as a number of contributory factors.
It is estimated that 11% of all running injuries can be due to Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon has a poor blood supply, which is why it is slow to heal.
Achilles tendonitis can be acute or chronic. Acute Achilles tendonitis will happen as a result of overuse or training too much, too soon especially on hard surfaces or up hills.
If your feet roll in when you run or overpronate then this can increase the strain on the Achilles tendon because the tendon is twisted as the foot rolls in.
If the warning signs of Achilles tendonitis are ignored or it is not allowed to heal properly then the injury can become chronic. Chronic Achilles tendonitis is a difficult condition to treat. The pains experienced during the acute phase of the injury tend to disappear after a warm up but return when training has stopped. Eventually the injury worsens until it is impossible to run.
The symptoms for acute inflammation of the Achilles tendon are:
Symptoms for chronic Achilles tendonitis are similar to those of acute tendonitis as well as:
Jumper's Knee (Patellar tendinopathy - sometimes called Patellar tendinitis)
What is jumper's knee?
The patella tendon (or ligament as it is sometimes called) connects the kneecap to the tibia bone. Under extreme stresses such as those involved in jumping a partial rupture can occur. This can often lead to inflammation and degeneration of the tissue. Inflammation can also result from overuse. Injury to this often affects athletes involved in jumping or throwing sports. Weight lifters, tennis and badminton players can also be affected. Rest in the early stages is important.
What are the symptoms of jumper's knee?
What the athlete can do depends on the extent or grade of the injury:
Grade 1: Pain only after training
Grade 2: Pain before and after exercise but pain reduces once warmed up
Grade 3: Pain during activity which prevents you from training / performing at your best
Grade 4: Pain during every day activities, which may or may not be getting worse
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (including CMP or Chondromalacia Patellae)
What is Patellofemoral Syndrome?
Patellofemoral syndrome is the term used to describe pain on and around the patella or kneecap. A common cause is damage to the surface underneath the kneecap. It can be started by an impact or it gradually comes on from rubbing on the bone underneath. The injury is often referred to as chondromalacia patellae, patella pain syndrome or runner's knee.
The injury is common among girls aged 10 - 20 years. Correct rehabilitation is essential for this injury along with taping. Do not ignore this injury because if it gets very bad it is extremely difficult to treat.
What are the symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome?
Who is most at risk from patellofemoral syndrome?
Medial Cartilage & Meniscus Injury
What is a medial meniscus injury?
An injury to the medial meniscus can result from an impact on the outside of the knee. It will often be injured along with the medial ligament (inside of the knee). Cartilage injuries can also occur as a result of deep knee bends. The cartilage gets squeezed between the bones with most of your bodyweight on the inside of the knee.
What are the symptoms?
Shin splints (Periostitis)
What are shin splints?
Shin splints are the general name given to pain at the front of the lower leg. Shin splints are not a diagnosis in itself but a description of symptoms of which there could be a number of causes. The most common cause is inflammation of the periostium of the tibia (sheath surrounding the bone). Traction forces occur from the muscles of the lower leg on the periostium.
Shin Splints are an overuse injury and can be caused by running on hard surfaces or running on tiptoes. It is also common in sports where a lot of jumping is involved. If you over pronate then you are also more susceptible to this injury.
Symptoms of shin splints include:
Calf Strain (Tear of the Gastrocnemius or Soleus muscle)
What are the calf muscles?
The calf muscles consist of the Gastrocnemius which is the big muscle at the back of the lower leg and the Soleus muscle which is a smaller muscle lower down in the leg and under the Gastrocnemius. Either of these two muscles can be strained (torn).
A sudden sharp pain in the calf muscle followed by difficulty using it is usually given away for a calf strain. The most common place to get this injury is at the muscle - tendon junction (MTJ) of the Gastrocnemius roughly half way between the knee and the heel. You can test for this by contracting the muscle against resistance with the legs straight. Pain is felt midway up the calf muscle.
If you have damaged the Soleus muscle you might get pain lower in the leg and also pain when you contract the muscle against resistance with the knee bent. The Gastrocnemius muscle originates above the knee and inserts via the Achilles tendon into the heel. The Soleus originates below the knee and also inserts via the Achilles tendon.
Rotator Cuff Injury
What are rotator cuff muscles?
The rotator cuff muscles control rotation of the shoulder. They consist of the infraspinatus, teres minor and supraspinatus which rotate the shoulder outwards and the subscapularis which is one of the muscles which rotate the shoulder inwards.
These rotator cuff muscles are put under a great deal of strain especially in throwing events and racket sports where your arm is above your head a lot. A sudden sharp pain in the shoulder would indicate a possible rupture of a tendon, while a gradual onset is more likely to be inflammation.
Symptoms of rotator cuff muscles include:
Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis)
What is a Frozen Shoulder?
A frozen shoulder (known also as adhesive capsulitis) is a condition that occasionally occurs in older athletes. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket type joint. The top of the humerus bone (ball) fits into the socket of the shoulder and is called the glenohumeral joint. It is this joint and the surrounding capsule that becomes inflamed. It is thought a frozen shoulder may come on as a result of a previous injury, but also can come on for no apparent reason.
It affects around 3% of the population and is slightly more common in women, with people aged over 40 more likely to be affected.
What are the symptoms?
A frozen shoulder usually passes through three phases. The first phase has reasonable movement but is very painful. Through the next phase the pain is reduced but movement becomes very limited (frozen). Finally the shoulder loosens up and returns hopefully to normal function. This whole process can take 2 to 3 years, although most of the younger athletes should recover with 10 to12 weeks of proper rehabilitation treatment.
Hamstring Strain (tear of the hamstring muscles)
What is a hamstring strain?
A hamstring strain or a pulled hamstring as it is sometimes called is a tear in one of the hamstrings muscles (Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus and Biceps femoris). It often results from an overload of the muscles or trying to move the muscles too fast.
Strains are common in all sports especially ones where sprinting is involved. Injury to the hamstring is very common. They range from a complete rupture of the muscle to small micro tears that the athlete will probably not notice at the time.
If the rupture is very bad you may feel a gap in the muscle
Strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity. A grade 1 might consist of small micro tears in the muscle. A grade 2 would be a partial tear in the muscle and grade 3 is a severe or complete rupture of the muscle.
Grade 1: What does it feel like?
Grade 2: What does it feel like?
Grade 3: What does it feel like?
What is a quadriceps strain?
The quadriceps muscles consist of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and the rectus femoris. Any of these muscles can strain (or tear) but probably the most common is the rectus femoris. A strain is a tear in the muscle.
Muscle strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on the severity of the damage done. It is important you understand what damage has been done so you can treat the injury correctly.
Grade 1: What are the symptoms?
Grade 2: What are the symptoms?
Grade 3: What are the symptoms?
Groin Strain (Adductor muscle strain)
What is a groin strain?
A groin strain is a tear or rupture to any one of the adductor muscles. There are five adductor muscles, the pectineus, adductor brevis and adductor longus (called short adductors which go from the pelvis to the thigh bone) and the gracilis and adductor magnus (long adductors which go from the pelvis to the knee).
The main function of these muscles is to pull the legs together. They are also used quite a lot in sprinting, playing football, horse riding and hurdling. A rupture or tear in the muscle usually occurs when sprinting, twisting or when kicking something that has a lot of resistance such as a heavy wet ball.
Grade 1, 2 or 3?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (pressure on the median nerve)
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The median nerve is one of the nerves, which supply the hand. It passes through the wrist in a narrow channel called the carpal tunnel along with the flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor pollicis longus tendons. Inflammation of the muscles, tendons or a fracture of the wrist can reduce the space in the carpel tunnel and so cause pressure on the nerve.