1. What does the acronym PRICE mean?
This relates to the management of soft tissue injuries during the first 48 hours.
Protection: to protect the injury from further damage.
Rest: rest the injury to minimise bleeding and ease pain.
Ice: as short term pain relief and to assist in containing swelling that may be developing from damaged tissue.
Compression: to minimise the formation of localised swelling and bruising.
Elevation: to utilise the effect of gravity by enhancing the drainage of fluids around the injury site and so reduce pressure and resulting pain.
Good initial management is a vital aspect of the recovery process.

2. What is the most frequent injury in football?
Some years ago The F.A. surveyed the 92 league clubs to ascertain the nature of injuries incurred in training and matches over a season. Hamstring strains accounted for approximately 30% with 70% being re-injuries. Recently looking at the weekends preview of Premiership and Championship games every club had players unavailable due to hamstring injuries.

3. Runners frequently suffer from ‘shin splints ‘what are they and what causes them?
‘Shin-splints’ or Tenoperiostitis to use the clinical definition is an inflammatory condition of muscle and fascia attachments that develops along the lower to mid medial border of the tibia.

Possible abnormal biomechanics linked with an increase in frequency, intensity and volume of training can result in this overuse condition. Additionally changes in footwear and training surfaces in tandem with abnormal biomechanics and training load can also be contributory factors.

4. Will stretching before and after activity reduce injuries?
In relation to athletic performance there is no direct evidence that this is the case but having a good range of flexibility i.e. joint range of motion and correct muscle length will reduce the likelihood of a joint sprain or muscle strain. A few minutes stretching before and after activity will not be enough to develop a good range of flexibility. Dynamic stretching routines as part of the warm up and some gentle static stretching as part of a cool down are recommended as advantageous but they are not to be confused with an individual flexibility programme.

5. Some injuries just seem to come on gradually, no trauma involved, what is happening in these cases?
Injuries broadly fall into two distinct categories, Trauma and Overuse. Trauma occurs suddenly such as falling, being kicked or tackled and the consequences are instant pain. Overuse conditions develop over a period of hours, days or weeks as a result of excessive repetitive activity. What starts as mild discomfort which eases as activity starts over time progresses into constant pain or discomfort. This is due to the fact that the compromised soft tissue that has initially suffered mild micro-trauma has not been able to repair itself fully before the next activity starts. Gradually what started as a cycle of activity-discomfort-rest-activity over time becomes a cycle of pain.

6. What is the difference between ‘Pre-hab and Re-hab’?
Nothing, in an ideal sporting environment. Both relate to a range of exercises or activities specific to an individual relative to their particular sport. As an example consider a football player who has sprained his ankle. The route back to playing would be as follows: Accurate diagnosis-appropriate treatment-injury specific rehabilitation-sport specific functional rehabilitation-return to play. The player would be encouraged to continue the injury specific rehabilitation for the duration of the season in addition to the sport specific training that he would do within the team environment. So those activities done to facilitate the repair of his injured ankle, post injury re-hab would become pre-hab as they are continuing to prevent recurrence of a similar injury.

In an ideal world all athletes would be screened or assessed to identify areas of potential injury and would have individual physiological development programmes that would complement their sport specific training.

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