Massage and Sports Injuries

Massage and Sports Injuries

Massage and Sports Injuries

Every single sport, from football to golf to swimming to ping pong, 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 hurt. 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 lessen or cure 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 a torture.
  • The hamstring muscles are found on the back part of the thigh. Because of the hard use these muscles get 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 – even sleeping on your side can cause damage.
  • 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 a groin sprain. The adductor muscles in the upper thigh and groin will become painful when they are stretched too far and tear. This is not only a painful injury, but one that takes considerable time to heal.
  • Runner’s knee involves damage to the tendons either to the outside of the kneecap or to the muscles and tendons under and below the kneecap. As the name implies, this malady usually strikes those who are physically active; one quarter of people who jog or run eventually develop runner’s knee.

How Massage Can Help

When pain develops from sports, the first thing to do is to check in with your personal physician. If he or she is trained in sports medicine, one of the treatments that will probably be suggested will be massage, but many conventional doctors tend to steer towards medicating the problem, rather than actually healing it. Pain relievers, over-the-counter or prescription, can help to temporarily stop the discomfort, but these only act for a limited period of time and do little or nothing to actually correct the damage. Corticosteroid shots are sometimes given into the affected area to reduce inflammation but like the pain relievers are only a temporary fix and also carry unpleasant side effects with them.

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 bring pain relief.

The area being massaged is actually heated up by the therapist’s hands, and this increased temperature serves to bring more blood to the problem area. Better circulation means that more oxygen is received at the site and the body’s ‘repair units’ can get to work to heal damaged tissue. Deep tissue massage is especially useful in dealing with hamstring injuries, groin strain, and all muscle strains.

Preventing Injuries in the Future

Not only can therapeutic sports massage help to heal up damaged 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 that an injury will 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.

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