The tortoise and the hare

leg2By the end of January, physiotherapists up and down the country will be seeing lots of patients with overuse injuries.


Beware the Full On New Year’s Fitness Campaign! ‘Too much too soon’ can cause you injury and put you out of action for three months or more.


Because your soft tissues are not ready. The muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia are not pre- pared, they are not in condition to withstand this new level of use. By that I mean the repetitions, the load, the position in which you are working or the frequency of use that you are imposing.

A gradual increase in demand and time is essential in order for the tissues to respond, and yes, you guessed it, the older we get the longer it takes for connective tissue to adapt.

What makes things difficult is that it’s only after the injury has occurred that you start to feel the pain. When you are hammering away in the gym or pushing your distance in the park, you can put the work in without feeling much at all, but a couple of days later the symptoms gradually start to build up and by that time the damage is done.

Tissue repair times vary with age and other health factors but the textbooks will tell you that it takes twelve weeks for ligaments to heal and the collagen (in connective tissue) continues to re-model for months after injury, in response to – guess what? – the pattern of use.

Instead of risking ligament or tendon injury, keep it simple. A varied exercise regime is fantastic, but remember to step up the demand smoothly, whether that be the load, the frequency, the position, the repetitions or any combination of these factors.

Step back from Treadmill / ergometer, quads bench / punch bag! Think about what you’re doing. Build up your strength and condition gradually. Get some advice about what exercises work well for you and what equipment might risk injury.

In our February blog we will be getting the lowdown on the secrets to consistency from a legend in the world of marathon running Steve Wehrle has completed every single London Marathon ever, right from the very beginning! Find out how he maintains his outstanding consistency.

You can also click on this link to see how you can build your own strengthening programme with just one resistance band, (but get some advice about how to start at the level that’s right for you as well as the correct frequency and repetitions!).

Come in and see us if you would like some advice on the ideal 10 –15 minute programme to maintain your strength and condition after injury we can create a programme tailored to you that will target the issues of concern and make a difference to your long term performance.

The stress strain curve and injured ligament.

The stress strain curve and injured ligament.

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