With the increasing popularity of ‘Get Fit Quick’ schemes it is so important to be aware of your body and any aches and pains that you may feel along the way. For those who are involved in regular training, injuries can be a real setback to your progress and to your confidence.
This two part series will explain the most important things you need to know about preventing injuries and managing them as they arise.
How to determine if there is an injury
How can you tell if there is an injury or if you are just experiencing DOMS?
The term DOMS is short for Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. This refers to the pain or sensation that you may feel after an intense exercise session. It is usually most present between 24 – 72 hours post exercise. DOMS is generally described as a dull achy sensation that is felt when the muscle is contracted the day after exercise. It is usually felt in the muscle belly rather than close to joints and shouldn’t affect the individual’s range of motion.
There are many things that can contribute to an injury and most gym related injuries are not as a result of trauma.
Many injuries occur due to wear-and-tear of the area, which may have been developing over a number of weeks or even months. This can often make an injury hard to recognise.
Use this simple checklist to determine whether or not the discomfort you are experiencing may be the result of an underlying injury.
1) When did the pain start?
If the pain is from an injury you will usually feel it come on during or straight after exercise. Pain from chronic injuries can also develop as the body cools down after exercise.
2) Is there heat or redness in the area?
If the area that is sore is also hot or red to touch this will generally indicate inflammation in the area. This is a sure sign that there is an injury. If heat or redness is present you should apply ice to the area periodically (15 minutes on 15 minutes off) for the next 24-48 hours.
3) Is there swelling in the area?
If the area is swollen or puffy after exercise this is another indicator that the area could be inflamed. Again, ice should be applied (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off) to prevent blood pooling in the area that will prevent the healing process.
4) Is there pain and stiffness around the joints?
If there is inflammation or swelling around a joint there will usually also be a restriction in the range of motion in the area. These are all signs of an injury.
5) Is stretching painful?
Clients often describe the sensation when stretching with DOMS as good sensation. However, if there is an injury the client is likely to feel very uncomfortable and there will also be a degree of pain.
If you have answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above questions you may have an injury and you should contact an experienced therapist to have an assessment.
Have you ever had an injury? How have you recovered?