Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"The Best Predictor of Injury is Previous Injury"

By: Joel Luedke

The phrase "the best predictor of potential injury is a previous injury to that area" is fairly undisputed and for good reason.  If you injury an ankle there is damage that will never quite get back to how it was originally. Your body has an amazing capability to heal itself and adapt to the things we put it through and the injuries we suffer but try as it might there will still be some damage that isn't quite perfect.

That being said and making this a very depressing start to this post does the above phrase have to be true?  Lets address if from two angles when it comes to injury.

Our first angle is general prevention (which we are big fans of).  This doesn't have to be an expensive prevention program that someone is touting to you as the only thing that will save you from spraining ankles or tearing an ACL. We believe in simple movement screening to look for areas that could cause you problems before they occur and then you are able to address them and retest your progress (Article: The Argument for Screening).  This is going to be the simplest way to address issues that are potential predictors for injury.

Going right along with screening to look for potential issues is training with a comprehensive training program.  While there are more options to choose from when it comes to training and we can't go over them all we believe you need one that addresses both your muscular strength and power but also your movement and mobility.  Piling on slabs of muscle but not giving your joints the ability to move when the muscles are contracted is a recipe for disaster.  Simply being the biggest and the strongest isn't going to cut it if you are training and competing at a high level or you are just working to maximize your own potential.  Everything needs to be addressed in your training.

The second angle is how you approach your rehab and training if an injury were to occur.  It isn't uncommon for people who suffer ACL tears to come back and feel stronger than ever in their injured leg.  This is also common for people who have chronic shin splints or someone who has sprained their ankle.  You may be wondering how this is possible as I explained above how the body isn't able to completely revert back to its original self post-injury.  Here is the break down.

If you are able to after injury get in with an athletic trainer, chiropractor (who knows rehab), physical therapist or a strength and conditioning professional that understands the injury process you are going to be able to address areas of deficiency you never knew you had.  This is why people coming back from injury feel better and stronger post-injury than they did before.  The reason is the focus on little areas that aren't often covered in training programs.  Things like balance and proprioception work are huge in the rehab process but often overlooked on the front end of the training process.  Doing work in these areas and some targeted strengthening specifically to that joint allow for a stronger comeback.

Bottom Line: Injury isn't a death sentence and you can come back stronger and I don't believe that injury has to be the best predictor of future injury if it is addressed well on the front end (training) and on the back end during your rehab process.

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