Comprehensive and specialised physiotherapy services
Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia

Ankle Taping 101

How to tape your ankle

Ankle injuries are very common.

They can happen to people of all ages every day and can be very painful. The most common area of injury to the ankle is on the lateral aspect (outside of the ankle).

Here is our step-by-step guide to tape for additional basic support for the lateral aspect of the ankle.

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Shin Splints

 

Most people have heard of dreaded shin splints; you may have even suffered from this in the past. The fancy (medical) name for shin splints is ‘Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome’ or MTSS.

 

MTSS is most often exercise-related and manifests as pain on the inside of the shin. The underlying issue is often a result of repetitive loading/overuse during exercise, particularly running, and jumping-type movements.

 

Management by a physiotherapist will include gathering a thorough history and a clinical assessment which is used to rule out more serious pathologies. Your plan may include advice around exercise load management/exercise modification, hands-on therapy, self-treatment advice and specific exercises to make a full recovery.

 

Here are 5 tips for helping to manage MTSS:

 

1.Monitor Load

Ensure that you are not having sudden, drastic changes in your exercise load. To do this, it is important to carefully track aspects of exercise such as distances run, intensity, types of surfaces you are training on as well as monitoring how symptoms are affected during AND following your exercise. Your physiotherapist will offer guidance on all these aspects of your exercise to ensure you’re doing the right amount.

 

2. Appropriate Rest

It’s important to know that MTSS may not mean complete rest from activity is needed. Although this may be the case for you, MTSS is an overuse injury that requires an adequate amount of rest to settle symptoms down and ensure that you do not stir things up more. Finding the optimal amount of rest:exercise ratio is difficult and this will likely be achieved by starting with reduced frequency of exercise and gradually building this back up to pre-injury levels.

 

3. Modify Training

We know everybody has a sport or type of exercise that they love, but if possible, it is important that we modify the type of training to assist with resolution of MTSS. Rather than ceasing exercise altogether, it’s possible to maintain your fitness or conditioning. If you are a runner, this may mean trying some cycling or getting on the cross trainer/elliptical. The beauty of this minimal fitness loss whilst allowing adequate rest from aggravating activities.

 

4. Consider Footwear

Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, it is worth considering what type of shoes you are wearing. It may seem obvious, but in some cases, poorly designed footwear may play a role in development of MTSS. Maybe those Converse shoes aren’t the best to run in?

 

5. DO YOUR EXERCISES!

Completing your individualised program will address each component that is important to keep you healthy, pain-free and reduce your risk of flare-ups from happening in the future. This may also mean giving your body some TLC by self-massaging, stretching or icing. JUST DO IT!

 

If you need help with shin pain, make an appointment today:

 

Do you ‘kneed’ some help?

Do you “kneed” some help understanding your knee pain?!? 

Illiotibial band syndrome 

Physio West | Workplace Injuries & Motor Vehicle Accidents | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

 

Given the closure of many sporting clubs and gyms I noticed an increase in individuals taking up new fitness endeavours. A common one amongst my friends, including the team at PhysioWest, was running. I therefore thought I would join the gang and begin my running journey. 

Without having gone for a run in years I jumped straight into it. The first couple of times was went well and I was hitting some good running goals. After a while I started noticing a sharp pain on the outer side of my knee. Initially I only experienced it whilst running, however with increased frequency of running I noticed it became more prominent and present with long distance walking. What I believed to be experiencing was Illiotibial band (ITB) syndrome, more commonly known as ‘runner’s knee’. 

Your ITB is a thick band of tissue located on the outer side of your thigh, which runs from your hip to your knee. Associated inflammation of the ITB or its surrounding structures can result/present as this sharp/burning outer knee pain. There is debate about the exact cause and source of this inflammation. Majority attributes it to repetitive knee flexion and extension movements, which cause the ITB to rub repeatedly against local bone structures. This ultimately leads to irritation and inflammation of the ITB itself. These types of movements are frequently seen in cyclists and runners, hence the name. Another proposed cause can be compression of fat and tissues that sit under the ITB, which become inflamed and produce pain. 

Multiple risk factors can be considered for the development of ITB syndrome. These include tightness of the ITB, load/distance/frequency of aggravating activity (running or walking) and muscular weakness of supporting lower limb muscles (knee extensors, hip abductors and hip flexors). 

In the early stages of rehabilitation, the primary focus is reducing pain and inflammation. Simple modalities which can help towards pain relief include icing, massage/foam rolling (to tight ITB’s) and taping (to offload ITB). Avoiding further aggravation is a key step to the recovery process, this may involve some form of rest or activity modification; however the amount will be driven by the severity of the condition. Modifying the activity intensity/time/distance to a range which is pain-free both during and after the activity is something to consider. It is also important to implement a graded return to activity after a period of rest or activity modification. Exercise prescription is crucial for maintaining mobility and targeting any strength deficits. Stretching exercises which target the ITB, tensor fascia latae and gluteal muscles are encouraged. Research also suggests implementing strengthening exercises targeting the hip abductors (gluteal muscles) to help stabilise the hip. 

Experiencing this sort of pain can be somewhat frustrating, especially if it is stopping you from achieving your activity goals. It is important to understand the cause of your knee pain in order to treat it appropriately. The physiotherapists at PhysioWest are trained to assess and treat this sort of knee pain or any other knee troubles you may be having. 

So pop into the clinic so we can get on top of your knee pain and get you back to your activity… whether that be running just like me.

 


Beals, C & Flanigan, D 2013, ‘A review of treatments for Illiotibila band syndrome in the atheletic population’, Journal of Sport Medicine, Vol. NA , pg 1-6. 

Goom, T 2012, ‘ITBS’, Running Physio, <https://www.running-physio.com/itbs/>. 

Physio-pedia NA, ‘Illiotibial band Syndrome’, Physiopedia, <https://www.physio- pedia.com/Iliotibial_Band_Syndrome>.

Feeling a bit Hamstrung?

 

Hamstring tightness is one of the most common complaints that we hear from runners and field athletes. 

 

What are the hamstrings?

The hamstrings are a group of muscles that make up the back of your thigh, and the main function of these muscles are to bend your knee, and to extend your hip backwards. The hamstrings are very active while running, and even more so while sprinting. It’s therefore not surprising that this muscle group often feels tight during and after a run.

 

How come stretching hasn’t got rid of my hamstring tightness?

While it’s true that hamstring tightness can be relieved by performing stretching or foam rolling before and after a run, it is not always the answer. The sensation of tightness can be caused by hamstring weakness, and that will require a more involved strengthening program to solve. 

If your hamstrings are weak, stretching and foam rolling will relieve the sensation of tightness temporarily, but it will not solve the issue in the long-term. This is because if your hamstrings are weak and constantly feeling tight during and after a run, they are likely fatigued and are unable to tolerate the load that is placed through them. 

It is especially important to strengthen your hamstrings if you are returning to running or sport after a long gap in training, as you are at a higher risk of sustaining an injury.  

 

What kind of exercises can I do to strengthen my hamstrings?

There are a number of different exercises that you can perform to strengthen your hamstrings, but a favourite of ours is the Nordic curl. The Nordic curl works the hamstring eccentrically, meaning that the muscle is working while it is lengthening, similar to the load that is put through it while you are running.

If you are looking to add the Nordic curl into your exercise program, make sure to come in and see one of our physios to ensure that you can perform the exercise safely and effectively. 

 

Have a look at our recent Team Tuesday post on Instagram or Facebook of our physios trying out the Nordic curl!

Glute Amnesia

A glut-torial to waking up your booty

What is Glute Amnesia?

 

Thousands of ordinary people around the world are suffering from a dangerous phenomenon scientists are calling “Glute Amnesia”. Those affected by Glute Amnesia find that their brain forgets how to activate the gluteal muscles (also known as the booty) and the consequences are quite terrifying. By not activating their glutes many people are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Sciatica-type pain

In addition to this many people getting back into sports and the gym are struggling to reawaken their glutes. This is detrimental to sporting performance and can pre-dispose individuals to injuries when squatting and deadlifting.

 

But what is the cause of this terrifying phenomena?

 

SITTING!!! COVID-19 has resulted in many of us sitting more at home whether that be for Netflix related reasons or working-from-home related reasons. The more you sit the more your brain forgets how to use your glutes. It’s time to fight back and reactivate your posterior!

 

What are my glutes even good for?

 

Your glutes are made up of three muscles called the Glute Maximus, Glute Medius and Glute Minimus and it is important to make sure you re-awaken all three of these muscles. The glutes assist us in squatting down, standing up, stabilising our hips when walking/running, protecting our lower back and maintaining an attractive physique. These guys are the biggest muscles in your body and are involved in nearly every movement you perform on a daily basis. 

 

Oh no! I think someone I love or myself may have Glute Amnesia! What should I do?

 

Answer: Get them working!

Take a gander at our “Movement Monday” posts on Facebook and Instagram for some exercise ideas to reactive your glutes and kick some booty goals.

 

If you, or someone you care about, is suffering from Glute Amnesia book in with one of our physiotherapists today. We will help you get reacquainted with your glutes using targeted exercises, whilst also addressing any aches or pains you might be experiencing. Pilates, dry needling and functional movement assessments are all techniques physiotherapists may choose to use to help you overcome your Glute Amnesia.

 

Book online at www.physiowest.com.au or call us on ph: 8352 3582

 

Hip Bursitis

Hip Bursitis: A pain in Our Butt

 

If you have had pain in the side of your hip, often aggravated by lying on your side, crossing your leg, or when walking up or down stairs, you may have been told that you have hip bursitis. This diagnosis is used quite often, but we prefer to call it by another name, greater trochanteric pain syndrome, or even just simply lateral hip pain!

Bursae typically get a bad reputation for being the cause of a lot of issues, through shoulders, knees and hips alike, but did you know that you have over 150 bursae in your body! They are small, fluid filled sacs that act as a pillow for certain locations in your joints where tendons wrap around a bone, and their primary function is to reduce friction. So sometimes when there has been in increase in load to a muscle or tendon, the bursa can get irritated and painful, hence the term bursitis.

The reason we don’t like using this term is because it doesn’t describe the actual cause of the issue too well. The reason your hip is sore is not because of the bursa, it is because the muscle and tendon surrounding it has been working harder than it can handle.

So what can you do about it?

In the short term, so settle down the irritation, it can be useful to avoid certain positions that increase pain, such as crossing your legs when sitting, or laying on your side in bed. These positions add a little bit of compression to the painful area, but will not cause you any further damage! Once you get back normal, these positions will be fine to return to.

To fix the cause of the issue, you need to get the muscle and tendon stronger to handle more load. To do this, we would prescribe some strengthening exercises for those muscles such as clamshells or resisted hip abduction movements (pulling leg out to the side). Start with something manageable, that doesn’t flare up pain, and slowly build up to doing harder and heavier exercises, until you can handle all the activities you need to, without running into pain!

If you want some guidance for how to progress your strength slowly, use the link below to book an appointment with any one of our knowledgeable physios!


Core Strength

Like to know where your core body strength is?

 

Well, let’s explore that question a little from the point of learning something that may add to our self-care habits.Have a look at this 2min 21sec YouTube clip that gives us a good picture of the mechanics of abdominal muscles as a group where our core body strength is derived:

 

So, that’s how they work. There are many core strength exercises which you can find online these days, but just be wary about the source and the expertise so that you can be informed about your own safety as you try out these exercises. My advice is:

 

  • To always follow an exercise only after viewing it to the end, so you know what is expected of you physically before you even begin
  • To go at a level and pace which suits where you are at – and practice this with conscious awareness of your body’s internal sensations – if in doubt, go slow and easy
  • The most critical tip I can give you about choosing and doing exercises to develop your core body strength is to make sure it is enjoyable for you to do it. Yes, there can be a small factor of extending your current capability – like holding a pose that few seconds longer – but it should always feel right for you to do it.
  • And afterwards, you have this feeling that you have accomplished something this day that you feel proud of within yourself – I call that experiencing an internal smile!

 

The Psoas and deep tissue treatments in remedial massage

 

In remedial massage, I have a special fondness for the psoas when it comes to treating issues like low back pain. It is not a comfortable treatment (for both the client and the therapist) but I have seen amazing results and relief in my clients after one or two or sometimes, three deep tissue treatments of the psoas.

 

The psoas is part of the Iliopsoas – the inner hip muscle whose function is to flex the thigh at the hip joint. It is a large muscle composed of the union of two individual muscles; iliacus and psoas major. It takes its name from the combination of the names of these two muscles. Iliopsoas is the chief flexor of the hip joint.

 

If you sit all day, the psoas becomes rounded like a crescent moon; then, when you stand up, the psoas pulls on your back, making you more prone to pain and lower-back injury.

 

How do you strengthen the psoas muscle?

 

This is a difficult question as I am not totally convinced with many exercises offered to achieve this. One way to strengthen a weak psoas is by bringing your knee above 90 degrees. Sit with your knees bent on a low box or bench (6 to 10 inches high). Maintaining good posture and keeping your abdominal muscles tight, use your hips to raise one bent knee slightly higher than your hips. Do this several times each day. The key to building core strength is to do exercises daily and make it into a habit that you enjoy.

 

Published by Alan Quek – Remedial Massage Therapist

 

If you need help with strengthening your muscles or would like to book a remedial Massage, click the link below


“No pain, no gain”

 

Most of us have heard this phrase before when it comes to exercising and working towards our goals. Some people live by this phrase where as others scoff at it.

 

So how much pain is acceptable to have while exercising?

Unfortunately there is no concrete answer to that question, as it depends on the context. An acceptable level of pain is different for each individual and their circumstances.

For example, we tend to encourage people with chronic pain to work through their pain as it may empower them and reduce their fear of exercise. On the other end of the spectrum, we may advise someone who doesn’t listen to their body to reduce their exercise load, which will allow their body to rest and prevent an injury.

 

Does pain mean that I’m going to have an injury?

Not necessarily.

Although pain is an output from our brains that is normally designed to warn us of an injury, this output can be reduced or heightened depending on the person. It has been shown that people with chronic pain have changes in this process that causes the experience of pain even without the risk of injury.

 

Is there a rough guideline of how much pain is acceptable?

As a rough guide, we normally advise that a pain level of 4-5/10 is acceptable while exercising as long as it settles within 24 hours.

Pain levels are different for everyone however, so it is important to listen to your own body and understand how you respond to pain.

 

How can physiotherapy help with my pain during exercise?

Acceptable pain levels during exercise depends on the context of each individual person and this can include but is not limited to; whether you have any previous or current injuries, what type of exercise that you perform, your exercise goals etc.

A physiotherapist can help you identify your exercise goals, and help you understand what level and type of pain is acceptable to keep you on track to achieving your goals.

If you or anyone you know could use some advice around pain and exercise, book online or give us a call on 83523582 to see one of our physiotherapists.

Are you suffering from pain throughout your pregnancy?

Understand your body and find out what physiotherapy can do to help!

   

Pregnancy should be a memorable and joyous time; however the reality is that 71% of women experience lumbopelvic pain (LPP) that may have very little impact or be completely debilitating. The disheartening thing is that most women (70%) believe that LPP is to be expected with pregnancy, with only 25% seeking treatment. Whilst low back pain and pelvic girdle pain is common amongst pregnant women, physiotherapy treatment can help manage your pain and support you so that you can enjoy the remainder of your pregnancy.

 

But, why is LPP so prevalent during pregnancy?

Pregnancy stimulates a number of changes within the body including biomechanical, hormonal, vascular and psychological changes.

  • The increased weight positioned at the front of the body when carrying a child shifts the body’s centre of gravity (COG) forwards. Postural changes are adopted to compensate for this altered COG, causing your back to extend (lumbar lordosis) in order to maintain an upright position. This postural adaptation places a larger stress on the lumbar spine which may contribute to low back pain.
  • The abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate an enlarging uterus. As a result, their function in maintaining body posture is reduced, placing more stress and reliance on the lower back for support.
  • A hormone called ‘relaxin’ is believed to increase production ten-fold during pregnancy, causing ligaments to become lax and pliable, reducing the stability of the pelvis and lower back.
  • Vascular supply is altered throughout pregnancy. The growing uterus, in conjunction with increased fluid retention that occurs during pregnancy, may compromise the blood supply and lead to hypoxia (absence of sufficient oxygen) in the pelvis and low back.

All these changes within the body can cause a variety of symptoms including pain, stiffness, instability, poor bladder control, tight muscles, sciatica and more.

 

Suffering from LPP during pregnancy is NOT inevitable and it does NOT have to stop you from enjoying your pregnancy.

 

So, how can physiotherapy treatment help you?

There are a range of different treatment options that can help reduce your pain, increase your support and provide you with some comfort throughout your pregnancy. Treatment varies on the individual and their presentation but can include:

  • Joint mobilisations
  • Dry needling
  • Massage
  • Physical Activity/Exercise e.g. walking, strengthening, stationary cycling
  • Pelvic floor exercises – to increase the support of the womb and speed up post-birth recovery
  • Hydrotherapy/swimming
  • Activity modification/postural advice
  • Belts and compression shorts

 

A combination of the above is most effective in providing support for both you and your child throughout the duration of your pregnancy.

 

Want to know more about some of these treatment options? Read below:

 

Joint mobilisations – Due to the postural changes mentioned above, increased load is directed through the joints in the lower back, which may cause them to become compacted and stiff. Providing gentle mobilisations to your low back joints whilst either side lying or lying face down on our comfortable pregnancy belly pillow, may help relieve compression, improve movement and provide some pain relief.

 

Dry needling – Although needling may sound daunting at first, it is completely safe to perform in the back, buttocks and legs. Dry needling works at reducing muscle tightness by increasing the blood flow to the area, flushing away all the ‘nasties’ and restoring muscle length. It can be a great tool to help provide pain relief and reduce muscle tightness.

 

Massage – Similarly to needling, massage helps to reduce muscle tightness. It can also help to reduce swelling of the feet, legs and arms which commonly occurs as a result of increased fluid retention during pregnancy. Massage can help reduce stress and relieve muscle and joint pain. Here at PhysioWest we are fortunate enough to have our very own in-house massage therapists who we work in collaboration with to ensure the best results for both you and your baby.

 

Exercise – Whilst massage can help provide temporary relief, it is important to compliment it with exercise and/or strengthening. As the ligaments soften causing the pelvis and low back to become less stable, there lies an increased need to strengthen surrounding core, hip and back structures to compensate for this reduction in pelvic stability. Strengthening the abdominal, glute and back muscles reduces the risk of further pregnancy-related back pain and also makes for a speedy post-natal recovery. Through assessment, we can identify any areas that require strengthening and create an individualised and safe program for you to perform throughout your pregnancy. Low impact physical activity such as walking, swimming or pregnancy specific exercise classes can help prevent excessive weight gain, reduce risk of gestational diabetes and enhance fitness/strength to cope with labour.

Pelvic floor exercises are also important to consider here. Strong pelvic floor muscles help support the growing weight of the baby, reduce stress incontinence (urine leakage during a cough/sneeze) and speed up post-natal recovery.

 

Hydrotherapy/swimming – Can help relieve pain as the buoyancy of the water reduces the pressure on the joints and muscles of the lower back and pelvic floor. Higher impact land-based exercises that are advised against during pregnancy such as jogging and jumping, can be performed safely in the water. Strengthening exercises can be performed in the water to increase the support of surrounding structures whilst relieving pressure on the joints. Another benefit of exercising in the water is a reduction in fluid retention and swelling associated with pregnancy.

 

Advice – We can provide our professional opinion and recommend advice regarding pain relief, activity modification and postures to help relieve your pain, symptoms and provide you the most support throughout your pregnancy. Using heat packs on the low back and buttock muscles can help reduce muscle tightness and provide pain relief for those during pregnancy. Avoiding prolonged sitting and getting up and moving regularly can reduce pain, discomfort and excessive weight gain which may lead to pregnancy complications.

 

Belly bands, belt and compression garments – These pieces of clothing can be effective in providing support and relief during pregnancy.

SRC are the leading brand in Australia for pregnancy compression garments and are highly recommended by obstetricians and specialists around the nation. They provide a range of different garments including mini shorts, over the bump shorts and leggings.

They may provide comfort, support, improve sleep, reduce vulval varicose veins and swelling, improve walking, improve sciatic nerve pain and reduce low back and pelvic girdle pain. The compression activates your muscles which promotes better core and pelvic stability.

Research shows that 82% of women who wore SRC pregnancy shorts or leggings reported a reduction in their discomfort and increase in support.

You may even be eligible to claim for health fund rebates as SRC products are classified as medical compression garments, designed to aid with the recovery and health of expectant and new mothers.

 

Book in with one of our female physiotherapists, Zoe, Lauren or Sophie to help create a management plan for you.

 

This is an amazing time that should be celebrated and cherished, so let us help you have an enjoyable pregnancy!

 

Sophie Alderslade

Physiotherapist – PhysioWest

References
George, J.W, Skaggs, C.D, Thompson, P.A, Nelson, D.M, Garvard, J.A & Gross, G.A 2013, ‘A randomized controlled trial comparing a multimodal intervention and standard obstetric care for low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy’, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 208, no. 4, p. 295, doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.10.869.
Health Direct 2019, Pregnancy massage, Health Direct Australia, <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/pregnancy-massage>
Jean Hailes 2017, Pregnancy and Weight, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, <https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/fertility-pregnancy/pregnancy-weight>
Jessica Pratley 2020, Hydrotherapy and pregnancy, LifeCare, <https://www.lifecare.com.au/clinic/lifecare-southcare/news/hydrotherapy-and-pregnancy/>
Pierce, H, Homer, C.S.E, Dahlen, H.G & King, J 2012, ‘Pregnancy-Related Lumbopelvic Pain: Listening to Australian Women’, Nursing Research and Practice, vol. 2012, no. 387428, <https://www.hindawi.com/journals/nrp/2012/387428/>
Pregnancy Birth and Baby 2018, Pelvic Floor Exercises, Health direct, <https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/pelvic-floor-exercises>
Queensland Health 2019, What you should know about your pelvic floor: pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and after giving birth, Queensland Government, <https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/pelvic-floor-pre-during-pregnancy-birth-exercises-physiotherapist>

Your Questions Answered – Low Back Pain

Most of us are familiar with low back pain, whether it be from our own personal experiences or from others we may know. Back pain can have a huge impact on our everyday life and tasks of daily living may become a struggle or even seem impossible.

Suffering from low back pain is not uncommon and you are not alone!

Typically, low back pain affects 60-80% of us throughout our lifetime.

 

How long can it last?

Low back pain can be somewhat confusing. For some it can go away so fast they forget it was even there, or for others it can feel like a lifetime of pain.

Luckily enough for most, low back pain can be short lived. Acute low back pain can resolve independently within days or last for up to only 6 weeks.

However, this pain can also progress to a chronic state and last longer than 12 weeks.

What is the source of my pain?

The sources of low back pain varies for all individuals and the causes can often not even be found via imaging. The ligaments, muscles, bones and/or discs that make up our backs can all be sources of pain.

In fact, for majority of low back cases, no one definite anatomical structure can be identified as the source of pain. This is what we call ‘non-specific’ low back pain, a term you may already be familiar with.

More serious and specific pathologies like infections, inflammatory disorders, cancer and fractures only ever make up a small amount of cases and are rarely the source of our pain.

How did this pain start?

Different factors can contribute to the initial cause of our low back pain and this varies and is specific to each individual. Some may experience pain after sudden trauma or movements (twisting, bending and lifting etc.), others may arise from repetitive movements, overload, prolonged positions/postures and many other things. Pain can also develop without any recollection of an apparent cause.

What can I do and how can Physiotherapy help?

Management differs depending on the individual and how they present.  One important thing to consider when experiencing low back pain is trying to remain as active as possible (specific to your own presentation). We don’t want our back pain to stop us from doing the things we love, so it is great to try and continue doing our normal things or even modifying them accordingly.

Seeing a physiotherapy is a great place to start, as they can help you understand your back pain and can work with you to develop an individualised management plan to help you treat/manage your pain. Some ways a physiotherapist can help is by providing manual therapy techniques (massage, mobilisation, and manipulation), guided exercises, education and advice around self-management.

If you or anyone you know could do with some help or would like further information, our group of physiotherapists are happy to help. Check out our website for more information of the techniques we can provide or contact our clinic to book your next appointment.

 


Balague, F, Mannion, AF, Pellise, F & Cedraschi, C 2012, ‘Non-specific low back pain (Author abstract)(Report)’, The Lancet, vol. 379, no. 9814, pp. 482–91.

Brukner, P, Clarsen, B, Cook, J, Cools, A, Crossley, K, Hutchinson, MR, McCrory, P, Bahr, R & Khan, K 2017, Brukner & Khan’s clinical sports medicine. Volume 1, Injuries, 5th edn., McGraw-Hill Education (Australia) Pty Ltd, North Ryde, NSW.

Should I strap my wrists when I train?

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

 

Should I strap my wrists when I train? It’s a question that we hear a lot from patients visiting the clinic. It’s usually driven by a feeling of ‘weak’ or ‘sloppy’ wrists’ when lifting or exercising.

 

For a lot of people, the first point of call is to go out a buy/find something that will provide them with a sense of stability. A quick lick of sports tape or a standard wrist brace from the pharmacy might do the job. But, by doing this is the underlying issue being addressed?

 

For a lot of regular gym goers (or more fittingly for the moment… home exercisers) the purchase of these supports can be premature. In particular, for those who have no history of a wrist injury, instability, or pain; other methods should be given a chance to succeed first.

 

In this population that feeling of ‘sloppiness’ is likely attributable to a variety of factors – lack of wrist control/strength, lack of tissue capacity to deal with the task required, and/or a lack of familiarity or exposure to the troubling exercise.

 

Consequently, by strapping or bracing the wrists to help meet the demands of the exercise, it might mask the issue, rather than truly address it.

 

So how best can we address the issue? Next time your exercising and finding your wrists are struggling with certain exercises, give these ideas a go –

  • Change the weight of the exercise and see how this changes what you feel.
  • Consider your exercise routine, does it have any wrist specific exercises in it? If the answer is no, try adding some into the program and see what happens (if you need ideas, check out our IG page for some goodies).
  • What positions are the wrists in during the exercise? Change it up! For example, if your deadlifting try palms up, palms down, one palm up and one palm down, how does this change what you feel?
  • If it’s a new exercise that the wrists are struggling with, just try giving it some time. Don’t rush to change the exercise, trust that your wrists and body will adapt as the exercise becomes more familiar.

So what’s the answer to the question – Should I strap my wrists when I train?

 

For some, in particular, those with significant wrist injury histories or genuine instabilities, strapping and bracing might be the best way to go. But, for the many, including most of us gym-goers (and home exercisers) these supports are unnecessary, particularly as the first point of call.

 

If you need help with your wrist, we can help. Book an appointment below and let’s work together.