The Footy season has commenced, the weeknight training and weekend drives have re-entered every parents lives, diaries are filling up with to do’s for the kids sporting events all in the name of watching the young ones strive in their chosen sport. Let’s admit this, some of us live through our kids, watching them successfully contribute to their team’s accomplishments makes us proud parents, we embody their actions on the pitch, it’s like we sometimes feel like we are on the field with them, kicking goals and making the final pass to create a goal. At least I do, as a proud football dad and closet physiotherapist on weekends, I look forward to seeing my young one excel in his movement, his performance and overall health, whilst keeping his injury rates to a minimum.
Now the last thing we want to see is our child falling victim to injury. The ankle sprain sustained from a late tackle or from tripping on the concealed ditch in the middle of the pitch is out of our and their control, so it’s an inherent risk we must accept as part of the environment and the activity performed. What we can prevent is the organic and mechanical variables that their body can carry into the chosen sport.
As we run, sprint, jump, twist & turn, we require the joints of our body to extend beyond what they are normally required to do on an average day to day basis. If we think of our kids, they are sitting a lot during the day at school and then their bodies are required to perform the above tasks. Most of the time there is no issue, however, on occasions this can be too much for the system and it breaks down resulting in injury.
This is where we want to highlight risk factors frequently encountered in clinic that need to be carefully assessed and treated to prevent them from being grounded early on in their season and future recreational sporting careers.
The Big Toe
Believe it or not, the Big Toe is the most important joint in the foot. We build propulsion force from it with every step. If running places 5-12 times our body weight on our frame, we will need this small joint to move to absorb some of the force from our heel hitting the ground to our forefoot bouncing our body forward.
Stiff Ankle Joint
From the propulsion from our Big Toe, the ankle joint movement sets up the flow up our skeletal chassis. Any limitation in joint movement, or altered control in our balance will increase the probability of injuries in the calves, hamstrings and lower back
Lumbar Spine Lordosis
Our spine has three primary curves. These curves come in different angles depending on movement, posture, and hereditary variables. If an increased lumbar spine curve is present in your child, the hips may struggle to go through their full range of movement. This may prevent the proper functioning of the muscles around the hips, especially the gluteus muscles. This is very important for the athletic population.
The Thoracic Spine (trunk)
Given that rotation is highest in this region, any limitation will delegate the other neighbouring regions such as the neck and lower back to take on the load, which sets up the young athlete to both lower and upper limb injuries. It is well presented in the literature, that adequate range in the trunk improves not only breathing and fitness in the athlete but a more agility on the field.
If you have any queries about what we’ve discussed, and/or your son/daughter is picking up niggles that won’t go away please do not hesitate to reach out to the Physiotherapy team at New Body Synergies for a thorough assessment to help improve performance with less injuries going forward. We would love to be on your team.