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Benefits and Effects of Massage
Sports massage should play an important part in the life of any sportsman or woman whether they are injured or not. Massage has a number of benefits both physical, physiological and psychological.
Sports massage can help maintain the body in generally better condition, prevent injuries and loss of mobility, cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue, boost performance and extend the overall life of your sporting career.
Physical benefits of massage
Pumping – The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.
Increased tissue permeability – Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.
Stretching – Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, so releasing any tension or pressure build up.
Break down scar tissue – Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
Improve tissue elasticity – Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.
Opens micro-circulation – Massage does increase blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.
Physiological benefits of sports massage
Pain reduction – Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the bodies endorphins.
Relaxation – Muscles relax through heat generated, circulation and stretching. Mechanoreceptors which sense touch, pressure, tissue length and warmth are stimulated causing a reflex relaxation.
Psychological effects of massage
Anxiety reduction – through the effects mentioned above relaxation is induced and so reduces anxiety levels.
Invigorating – if massage is done with brisk movements such as what would be done before an event then this can produce an invigorating feeling.
COMMON BADMINTON INJURIES
Badminton Injury does occur to a player when they are not properly warmed up or their techniques are not correct. It also happens when fatigue kicks in after playing or training for too long.
Acute Badminton Injuries
This is a common badminton injury, usually accidental. It may occur when the athlete steps on his partner’s foot and land with a plantar flexed, inverted and supinated foot. Most sprains occur on the lateral ligament complex, a group of ligaments on the outside of the ankle. It will result in a painful swelling in the outer aspect of the ankle, usually causing a partial or total rupture of one or more ligaments.
The rapid changes in direction that are required during Badminton can cause the ankle to roll over, particularly if the player is fatigued. Footwear that ‘grips’ the surface too much can also cause a Sprained Ankle in Badminton.
A Sprained Ankle refers to damage to the ankle ligaments and other soft tissues around the ankle. The ligament damage causes bleeding within the tissues and an extremely painful swollen ankle.
Immediately following a Sprained Ankle, it is important to follow the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression and elevation (never apply ice directly to the skin). Ice Therapy can reduce pain but pain-relieving medication may also be necessary. It is important not to put too much weight on the damaged ankle, so a Removable Plastic Cast Walker can be helpful to provide, protection and support and to allow early walking. Massage would help to reduce the inflammation and re-educate the tissues after the acute phase (2 -3 days). Be careful as this injury may also result in other complications e.g. fracture, tendon injuries and loss of proprioceptive control. It may take days to a few months to heal with adequate rehabilitation.
Normally caused by a sudden twisting movement of the knee during footwork resulting in the tear of the meniscus. There will be pain in the joint-line of the knee, mild swelling and unable to flex or extend the leg in full. It may be having accompanying collateral or cruciate ligament injury.
Sudden explosive loading of a muscle resulting in rapid contraction of muscle fibres like a sudden overhead smash. It may result in the disruption of muscle fibres and will cause muscle pain, swelling, bruising and loss of function (depending on severity) e.g. Hamstring strain, gastrocnemius strain, adductor strain, quadratus lumborum/ lumbocostal strain.
A sudden, tight and intense pain caused by a group of muscle locked in spasm due to excessive fluid loss, excessive heat gain, fatigue and inadequate muscle recovery and heredity. This badminton injury usually happens in the player’s leg area. Treatment should include straightening of the leg and gentle massage. Also drink as much fluid as you can in between intervals.
Superficial loss of skin due to contact with floor or mat. This is a common badminton injury as you fall to the ground to retrieve a shot. Clean the wounds thoroughly to prevent infections.
Fluid filled space under the skin caused by direct contact with hard surface. Occur mostly on the heels and toes and at times on the hands. It may lead to infection if untreated. Clean the area before pricking the blister to drain the fluid. Then leave the skin in place and cover with gauze.
No matter how safe conscious you are, there are still risks of getting the above badminton injuries. You should always consult a doctor or a physician. If the injury is not that severe, taking adequate rest would be your best option.
Overuse Badminton Injuries
All these chronic conditions could benefit from Sport massage.
Injuries during Badminton have been reported to occur at a rate of 2.9 injuries per player per 1000 hours of Badminton playing. Badminton injuries tend to be due to overuse as badminton is a non-contact sport. Badminton requires explosive power for flicks of the wrist, lunges, jumps and rapid changes of direction and these repeated actions can put stress on the tissues and cause injury.
Most Badminton injuries occur around the ankle region, with a Sprained Ankle the most common injury, followed by Achilles Tendinitis. Because of the involvement of a racket, upper limb injuries such as Tennis Elbow and Rotator Cuff Injury are also quite common in Badminton.
The published research indicates that men seem to sustain slightly more Badminton injuries than women and that more injuries occur the older the players got. Generally, overuse injuries tend to occur as we get older because the joint and tendon tissue become less able to withstand stress. Also, unlike in younger people, this tissue doesn’t heal so well when we get older.
What is Achilles Tendinitis? Known as Achilles Tendinopathy
A chronic degenerative change of the Achilles tendon due to repetitive jumping and pushing off, poor recovery, warm up and stretching. There will be pain and swelling in the Achilles tendon. It may result in the rupture of tendon. (explosive jumping)
Achilles Tendinitis is the common term for pain around the Achilles Tendon and is reported frequently in Badminton players. Achilles Tendinitis usually comes on gradually, and is more common in those aged over 40. There is pain, which is worsened by activity, and the Achilles Tendon is painful to touch. Often the tendon feels very stiff first thing in the morning. The affected tendon may appear thickened in comparison to the unaffected side.
Medical professionals refer to this condition as Achilles Tendinopathy, which is characterised by degeneration of the Achilles Tendon. The degeneration means that the tendon does not possess its normal tensile strength and may be liable to rupture with continued sporting activity. Some researchers report a high incidence of Achilles Tendon Rupture in Badminton players, but overall a rupture of the Achilles Tendon is thankfully a rare injury.
What can you do to prevent Achilles Tendinitis?
Achilles Tendinitis is an overuse condition, so sudden increases in activity levels should be avoided. The intensity, duration and frequency of Badminton sessions should be carefully monitored and gradually progressed. Care should be taken if you begin playing more frequently or you begin playing at a higher standard which is physically more demanding, particularly if you are aged over 35.
Research suggests that an ‘over pronated’ foot position (where the foot rolls inwards) can place excessive strain on the Achilles Tendon and cause Achilles Tendinitis.
If there is excessive pronation it is usually effective to insert an Arch Supporting Insole that can help to correct the problem.
What should you do if you suffer Achilles Tendinitis?
Ice Packs are effective at relieving pain, but the key to recovering from Achilles Tendonitis is to elicit a healing response by gently overloading the tendon. This may require rest from Badminton for up to three months, because the collagen tissue which the body produces to repair the damaged tendon takes three months to lay down and mature.
Research has shown that recovery is optimised by using ‘eccentric muscle work’. Eccentric muscle work refers to a muscle that is lengthening while contracting – a contraction that occurs during movements such as landing and decelerating. By progressively increasing the eccentric muscle force through the Achilles Tendon, the Achilles Tendon will adapt and get stronger.
Bandages or any orthotics that compress the heel can be very effective in relieving heel pain due to Achilles Tendinitis.
What is a Tennis Elbow?
Tennis Elbow is inflammation of the tendons of the forearm at the point where they insert into the Humours (upper arm) bone on the outer side of the elbow. This chronic overuse injury due to repetitive backhand flicks, over tension of strings, change of grip size, poor recovery and stretching. It will result in pain in the lateral epicondyle and common extensor tendon.
Tennis elbow causes pain when the outer part of the elbow (Lateral Epicondyle) is touched, and also if the elbow is straight and the hand is moved forward and back at the wrist. Typically, the pain is made worse by gripping activities and in some cases simple things like turning a door handle can cause intense pain.
Having the correct techniques and proper grip sizing is important to prevent this type of badminton injury. It is also important that you do not advance too quickly to a higher level or increase the intensity of play. Adequate rest is the best option of cure.
What can you do to prevent Tennis Elbow?
Gripping the Badminton racquet either too hard or for too long can bring on the Tennis Elbow pain. Make sure the racquet is the correct size for your hand. If it is too small, it will cause you to grip to hard. If you play Badminton for the first time in a long while, make sure you take regular breaks and stretch the muscles which work over the wrist by doing ‘limp wrist’ and ‘policeman halting traffic’ type stretches.
For those who have suffered from Tennis Elbow in the past it may be a good idea to wear a Tennis Elbow Compression Strap. Elbow Straps work by preventing the wrist extensor muscles from contracting fully, thus reducing the strain on the tendons at the elbow.
What should you do if you suffer a Tennis Elbow?
The inflammation of Tennis Elbow can be alleviated with rest and ice therapy or with the use of anti-inflammatory medication or a Corticosteroid injection. However, in longstanding cases, where there is degeneration of the extensor tendons, anti-inflammatory medication, especially Corticosteroid injections, should be avoided. This is because they can hinder tissue healing and in fact cause more degeneration.
Tennis Elbow rehabilitation is achieved using an eccentric strengthening programme for the extensor tendons. It’s crucial that the load and number of repetitions are carefully recorded and progressively.
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)
An acute or chronic overuse injury due to repeated wrist flicks, with inadequate recovery of the common flexor tendons. Pain will occur at the medial epicondyle. You can treat it with tape, tennis elbow guard, manual therapy, massage and stretching.
What is a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Shoulder pain can occur in Badminton players because there are repeated shoulder stresses during Badminton, particularly the overhead shots. The Rotator Cuff muscles (Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor) are small muscles situated around the shoulder joint, which can become damaged during the stresses of Badminton.
Typically, Rotator Cuff injuries will begin as inflammation (Tendonitis) caused by small but continuous irritation. If the cause of the inflammation is not addressed, and continues over a long period of time, partial tears may develop in the cuff that could eventually become a tear all the way through one or more of the Rotator Cuff muscles.
What can you do to prevent a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Badminton players must pay attention to flexibility, strength and endurance of the shoulder muscles. Shoulder stabilisation exercises can also help prevent pressure on the Rotator Cuff tendons.
In addition, any increases in the amount of training or competition must be gradual so as not to overload the Rotator Cuff muscles. In particular repetitions of the smash shot should be increased gradually to allow the Rotator Cuff tendons to adapt.
What should you do if you suffer a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Massage and Physiotherapy treatment is effective in treating acute (short-term) inflammation and chronic (long-term) degeneration of the cuff where a tear is not present. The first aim of treatment is to reduce the amount of inflammation using Ice Therapy (never apply ice directly to the skin) and anti-inflammatory medication.
Anti-Inflammatory Gel may be more appropriate where anti-inflammatory tablets are not well tolerated. For those who want to continue with Badminton activities a Shoulder Support can provide support and reassurance.
What is Patella Tendinitis?
Patella Tendinitis is degeneration of the Patella Tendon, which is located just below the knee cap. Patella Tendinitis is also known as ‘Jumpers Knee’. Typically knee pain comes on gradually during jumping and landing during Badminton. Over time, the strain on the Patella Tendon becomes too great and microscopic damage develops in the tissue that makes up the tendon.
Patella Tendinitis causes pain in the tendon which is worsened by activity. The areas of degeneration feel tender to touch. Often the tendon feels very stiff first thing in the morning. The affected tendon may appear thickened in comparison to the unaffected side.
A chronic overuse injury due to repetitive jumping on hard surface with poor footwear. There will be pain in the front of the knee (just below the patella). It may seem resolved initially after warming up but it’ll be aggravated by a sudden increase in intensity and frequency of jumping. It may result in tendon rapture and may involve other structures. Adequate rest is the best option of cure.
What can you do to prevent Patella Tendinitis?
Increases in the amount of Badminton practise must be gradual so as not to overload the Patella Tendon. In particular repetitions of jumping and landing should be increased gradually to allow the Patella Tendon to adapt.
Early recognition of Patella Tendinitis by a doctor or Chartered Physiotherapist helps greatly, because the outcome is better if treatment is initiated early. In minor cases of Patella Tendinitis, a Patella Tendon Strap can be effective in relieving symptoms by reducing the cross sectional area of the tendon, the pressure applied by the Patella Tendon strap prevents maximal force being transmitted through the tendon. This reduces the strain on the Patella Tendon and helps to alleviate symptoms during Badminton.
What should you do if you suffer Patella Tendinitis?
Increases in the amount of Badminton practise must be gradual so as not to overload the Patella Tendon. In particular, repetitions of jumping and landing should be increased gradually to allow the Patella Tendon to adapt.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
A chronic low backache caused by anatomic anomaly, inadequate abdominal and lumbo-pelvic muscle control (core stability). It can be prevented with stability and coordination exercises of local and global muscles (abdomen, diaphragm, back pelvic floor and gluteal). Please refer to doctor for full evaluation on this badminton injury.
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