2003-04-19 / Community

Eye On Physical Therapy

By Tim Rohrs
Eye On Physical Therapy By Tim Rohrs

Eye On Physical Therapy
By Tim Rohrs

Winter is finally loosening its grasp upon us and the warmer weather will soon be here. The golfers are itching for a nice weekend to break the snow enforced vacation from their favorite past time. Others are just hoping for a nice day to get out onto the boardwalk and feel the sun warming their faces. The return of spring and warmer weather brings the prospect of injury.

Every sport has a "spring training" to ready the athlete's bodies for competition. Yet, every year around this time I treat injuries that result from not warming up properly. We would all agree that professional athletes, for the most part, keep their bodies in peak condition. If they need a warming up period to ready their bodies, can the "weekend warrior" get away without it? Most sports use very particular muscles, such as golf. The wrist and forearm musculature specifically are heavily taxed during the golf season, but may rarely see the same work out during the off-season. To return to golf without stretching and slowly building that musculature back up to here you left off last fall is inviting injury.

Tendonitis is a common injury in many sports. Tendons connect muscle to bones. When the stress upon a tendon is greater than its strength the tendon experiences micro trauma and becomes inflamed. In the early stages you may experience tenderness in the area or a low-grade ache. As more and more damage is done to the tendon, the pain becomes sharper and swelling in the area may be noticed.

The great thing about the human body is its ability to heal itself. It can only heal itself if given the opportunity. I like to use the analogy of getting a cut on your hand to getting tendonitis. When you get a cut, you put a band aid on it; leave it alone and miraculously in five to seven days the cut is healed. If every day you were to take off the band aid and open up the cut to look inside, it would never heal. The tendon is the same way. If you stop the activities that cause that sharp or achy pain the tendon will heal. If you know a certain activity will cause that pain you need to stop doing it.

Putting stress on that tendon and experiencing that pain is like opening the cut on your hand, you are slowing the healing process. Many people, especially athletes work under the principal of "no pain, no gain". That philosophy is just plain wrong for injuries.

After a tendon is healed and pain free, then it needs to be strengthened so that it can deal with the stresses placed upon by sport. Many people come for treatment and are short sighted. The moment they are pain free they stop coming. Inevitably, they return for further treatment a few months later because they never strengthened the tendon and the tendonitis comes back.

Remember to warm up and stretch prior to return to sport. See your MD to evaluate an injury and see you on the boardwalk!

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