4 Common Athletic Injuries (and how you can avoid and treat them)
Updated: Jul 12, 2019
As a personal trainer and injury therapist, I see a lot of athletes, who suffer from injuries and pain. Especially because of the active lifestyles New Yorkers tend to lead.
Some of the most common injuries they suffer from are “Shin Splints”, lower leg pain, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and/or Pronator Teres Syndrome.
What is the difference between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Pronator Teres Syndrome?
The median nerve can be entrapped by the Pronator Teres muscle (top) in the forearm. It can also be impinged by the Carpal Tunnel (bottom) at the wrist. While the symptoms can be similar in many ways, there are key differences:
- Pain, weakness and/or numbing in first 3.5 fingers.
- Symptoms may arise while sleeping
- Symptoms primarily in wrist and hand
- Symptoms with wrist and hand
- Pain, weakness, and/or numbing in first 3.5 fingers.
- Rarely night pain
- Symptoms in wrist, hand and/or forearm
- Symptoms with forearm rotation and elbow flexion
Accurate diagnosis and assessment is crucial and misdiagnosis in favor or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome isn’t uncommon. In these cases, the symptoms are less likely to respond positively to conventional carpal tunnel treatments because the problem (pronator teres entrapment in many cases) isn’t being resolved.
When properly labeled and treated, symptoms caused by pronator teres entrapment can be effectively rehabilitated through Active Release and other manual therapies, often in combination with physical therapy, appropriate stretches, strengthening and modifications in techniques for the activities that contribute to the problem in the first place. These activities include excessive typing and mouse clicking, sewing, hammering and manual labor in general as well as tennis, golf and other sports.
It is important also to note that similar symptoms can arise as a result of compression of the brachial nerve near the shoulder joint, known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and in the neck when the brachial nerve is impinged by a disc and/or vertebrae as the spinal nerve comes off of the spinal cord. Therefore, accurate diagnosis by a medical professional and/or assessment by a manual therapist is key to successful treatment outcomes.
What are effective treatments?
Active Release therapy (ART) is especially helpful in resolving Pronator Teres Syndrome because it is a straightforward soft tissue condition which ART is specifically crafted to treat. By breaking up scar tissue in the muscle, restoring proper muscle length and helping the muscle to move better and slide seamlessly in relation to adjacent muscles that may be adhered (stuck) together, ART can effectively help resolve this condition in less than 5 sessions.
Surgery should only ever be a last resort after all other options are exhausted. Because Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is so frequently misdiagnosed, the success rate for surgical intervention is only about 50%, which is a lot of pain, time and money at a high risk.
"A new client called me the day after his first treatment to say that his “carpel tunnel” symptoms were entirely gone. One session! That’s all it took." - Mark
What are “Shin Splints”?
“Shin Splints” are characterized by chronic, and often times intense pain along the inner side of the tibia (the inner and typically larger of the two bones between the knee and the ankle). It is a term used to describe overuse symptoms involving the Flexor Digitorum and Tibialis Posterior muscles, which are deep and strong muscles that play a central role in stabilizing and moving the foot and ankle.
While “Shin Splints” are a common, and in many cases debilitating condition experienced by many runners and dancers, this condition can in reality be very easily and effectively treated using medical massage applications such as Active Release Techniques.
Why are Shin Splints so common?
The initial process in the development of “Shin Splints”, medically known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, is when muscle fibers of the Flexor Digitorum Longus and Tibialis Posterior literally tear from their attachment on the bone of the leg and ankle (known as the peristeal attachment). As these muscle fibers heal, they become fibrotic which reduces their pliability, resilience and ability to lengthen properly. This leads to a vicious cycle in which the failure to lengthen causes an exponential increase in the tension on the bone, leading to further injury.
How can medical massage and Active Release help?
When muscles fail to lengthen fully they can become injured due to increased tension, improper biomechanics, poor muscle fiber recruitment, decreased blood circulation and micro-tearing. Active Release Techniques are specifically geared towards breaking up the fibrotic tissue that causes and is caused by improper tissue length. In Active Release, the muscles are brought through their full range of motion while pressure is applied. The movement through full range of motion is what makes Active Release unique and effective in helping to resolve soft tissue injuries such as “Shin Splints”.
"A client came to me with chronic shin- splints, a painful injury experienced by many runners. By targeting the 3 most common muscles indicated in this condition, she was running pain-free within 4 sessions over a 2-week period. In her half marathon two months later, she posted a personal best time." - Mark
Of course runners and dancers are not the only athletes experiencing debilitating injuries. Tennis players, swimmers, martial artists, golfers, basketball players, and participants in every sport you can think of suffer from such injuries, often times unaware of the injuries they have accumulated.
If you experience pain in your regular day to day life, it's time to get it treated. Come in for a free Injury Therapy Consultation.