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New Year, New Injuries: Common conditions to look for post-holiday

Welcome to 2020!

We hope that our clients, friends and family have all enjoyed some well-needed time to rest and recover.

At the start of this year, we often have an influx of new and old injuries that can be a significant barrier to the goals you’ve set for 2020. This month's blog post explores some of the common conditions that can arise over the holiday break and some simple ways to prevent them.

As we mentioned briefly in December’s blog post, there are often two culprits for new or re-occurring injuries in 2020.

1. Over-activity

2. Sedentary activity

Over-activity in this case means that you are doing too much too soon. This can be especially common at the start of the year, as it is often the “right” time for people to start new exercise programs. The key pitfall post-holiday is starting a new exercise program that is not suitable for your current fitness level. If you are starting a program without consulting a health professional or trainer and do not have previous experience exercising you could be starting at a level that is too difficult for you. Additionally, if progress your program too quickly without allowing your body time to adapt you could be vulnerable to injury.

Sedentary activity refers to the time you spend inactive, e.g seated, lying down for extended periods of time. This is not to be confused with rest days, or time taken away from an exercise program. Your body still needs to rest every now and then to allow for muscle repair and nutrients to be supplied to your body. However, with the holiday period often disrupting training due to family/social commitments or the lack of scheduled programs running, this can mean we spend more time sedentary. This combined with a sudden return to routine without any preparation can increase the risk of injury.

Some of the more common conditions and injuries we see during the immediate post-new year period are:

1. Osteoarthritis conditions

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that results in the degeneration of cartilage between the joint surfaces. The most commonly affected joints are the hips and knees. Physical activity is important in the ongoing management of osteoarthritis. If you have osteoarthritis and engage in sedentary habits, this can create a cycle of symptoms. If you are not exercising often, it can become harder to do activities of daily life without being affected by pain and stiffness. This can lead to further avoidance which will decrease your ability to cope with exercises without pain.

Our advice?

If you are re-starting an old exercise program or are starting exercise for the first time, it is best to consult your GP or health professional. Your GP is important to ensure medical clearance i.e. to make sure you do not have any other conditions that may exclude you from exercise; provide you with resources and potential group interventions in your area that you can access. A physiotherapist can assess your joint mobility and exercise capacity and help to develop a tailored program in consultation with you and your goals. Start small, and use the principle "little and often". Add in bouts of activity e.g. sit to stands, walking, stairs throughout the day to help increase how much you can do while maintaining a low level of symptoms.

2. Acute Ankle sprains

This injury doesn’t always fall into the two categories listed above. The common cause for these injuries are often related to trip hazards. The addition of clutter including toys, trees, crowds of family and the potential for spending your holiday at an unfamiliar home makes it much easier for people to trip and stumble. One of the most common ankle sprains is the ATFL ligament sprain which is caused by turning the foot down, also referred to as “rolling in”. The addition of alcohol can make this a disastrous combination.

Our advice?

Try to de-clutter as much as possible during or immediately after the holiday period and be mindful of carpets, stairs and other hazards when visiting friends and family.

3. Back pain:

This one can commonly affect people requiring long periods of travel to and from homes or on holiday e.g. sitting in the car, sitting on a plane, sitting at the Christmas lunch table. Travellers who have drastically increased their activity by spending their day walking and sight-seeing may also suffer back pain, due to their body being unprepared for the sudden change in routine.

Our advice?

If you are driving for long periods, make the most of recreational areas and rest stops to move and walk around. If you are experiencing back pain, use the principle "motion is lotion". Aim to avoid lying down and resting >30mins and instead aim to keep moving as much as tolerable. If you suffer from any of the above, or require treatment for a condition, call us on 49550143 to book an initial consultation.

As with all of our articles, this is general guidance and advice only. Please consult your health professional before starting any new program and for diagnosis of health conditions.

We hope all of our clients have a wonderful 2020!


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