More on injury self care, taping, proteolytic enzymes and using The Stick.

Dr. Michael Cerami will be available this Saturday, October 23rd, for a free, 15 minute consultation at Salt Lake Running Co.  Please call one of our stores to make an appointment.

Participation in sports usually means that at some point or another you’ll be faced with an injury. Even if you take good care of yourself, there are so many variables that can take us out that a little information ahead of time can go a long way to speed things up if you go down. That doesn’t mean you need to be a nervous Nellie, but if you can manage that injury quickly, you’ll be better off in getting back to what you like much sooner.

Deb talked about joint care and reducing inflammation with supplementation in the August 12th blog so today I’ll go over the soft tissue strategies you can use to help recovery.

When an injury occurs the patient should always use the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) plan first. This approach will limit the inflammatory response of the body and keep swelling down. Ice can usually be used for 20 minutes on and then 40 minutes off. The next step during the inflammatory phase is to employ compression with an ACE bandage.

Once the body has recovered from the initial trauma, Kinesiotape can help stabilize an injured part to allow the tissue to heal or Rocktape can be applied improve proprioception (positional awareness) which will change the way you use the muscles in the injured area. Both tapes are designed to pull the skin away from the muscle which promotes blood flow and debris removal.  Faster blood flow means more oxygen and more lymph drainage, which helps remove Lactic Acid.

Taping is great because it can be self applied by the athlete and will stay on for 2-4 days. Taping will not fix mechanical distortions or correct structural imbalances but it can get you through a race and many times allow you to use muscles without causing further injury. Many basic taping methods can be taught to the athlete by a professional and then self applied. Rocktape also has great video library of self taping on their website that I encourage runners to check out (Rocktape.com). Certain complex injuries and cases require experimentation between the athlete and professional until the correct application is found.

Another method to help reduce congestion and inflammation in the connective tissue are the use of proteolytic enzymes which help break up stuck cellular debris. These can also help in pain reduction but should not be taken if you are on blood thinners (always consult your primary care physician before combining supplements to any medications you may be taking).

I also recommend The Stick to all of my patients. It’s a great tool to help move fluid more easily throughout the tissue and improve pliability within individual muscles and adjacent muscles groups. Use the Stick each night before you go to bed to help flush tissue congestion from the arms, legs, butt, IT Band, shoulders and thighs. I suggest each person trade a 3 minute session with their Significant Other; just tell them to “Hit me with the Stick!” J

It’s amazing how much shorter the recovery time will be when the athlete takes immediate care of themselves. If you get a few basic items for your home and look over some of the references I’ve provided you’ll save yourself time and money (and pain) if and when that injury occurs.

Dr. Michael Cerami is an avid runner, cyclist and triathlete. He is available fora consultation one Saturday per month at Salt Lake Running Company (Salt Lake store) by appointment. He can be reached at 801-486-1818 or online at www.utahsportsandwellness.com

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