Friday, 28 June 2019


So many people ask me how long it will take to recover from their injury and in truth there is no definitive answer because each one of us is different both in our biological make up and our mental approach to things.

That being said I would always emphasise QUALITY OVER QUANTITY when it comes to exercise rehabilitation.  Something which can also be translated into the way we approach any exercise we do and indeed how we all approach life!

It is no good doing hundreds of repetitions of something if you have poor technique as it could just cause more pain.  Take for example; someone who boasts that they can hold a plank for 4 minutes.  My first question would be why would you want or need to do that? My second, what was their posture like throughout that 4 minutes? And finally; do they engage the correct muscles throughout? So many people can do a 4 minute plank...poorly and indeed quite often when someone comes to see me with back pain they can do these types of exercises but they cannot engage their deep stabilising muscles correctly and therefore exacerbate their problem.

I always recommend going back to basics after any injury. Check that those small but vital stabilising muscles are switching on correctly. Make sure they have the endurance to support the big global muscles in their action before building up full strength and power.

I have been practicing Kyokushin Karate for may years now and in the syllabus book that you get as a beginner there is the route to power in karate.  It is so fundamental, not just to karate, but all exercise/sporting disciplines and if more people paid credence to it then more people would suffer less injuries due to trying to advance too quickly.  So here it is:

Position - Balance - Coordination - Form - Speed - Power - Reflex

As I mentioned above; we can also take the ethos of QUALITY OVER QUANTITY into anything we do.  My Daughter took up piano last year and it is recommended that they practice for 20 mins each day.  But what if that practice was poor in quality because she was tired.  She would just make mistakes and practice those mistakes over and over again.  Surely it is better to do a good quality practice for a shorter duration.  Even top Olympic athletes have to listen to their bodies and if they are 'not feeling the love' then give themselves an easier training session/rest period.  

There is such a fine line with pushing too hard and achieving you goals.  If you need advise with your injury prevention, treatment or rehabilitation needs then please contact me.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Untreated ankle sprains can create long term issues

I recently came across a good newspaper article about ankle recovery and prevention and it has prompted me to write this blog because I believe many people don't take ankle sprains seriously enough and they have the potential to cause serious long term issues such as Chronic Ankle Instability and Osteoarthritis.

So what is an ankle sprain?
A sprain is an overstretching or tearing to a ligament; the thin strap that holds bones together.  A ligament is less elastic and has a poorer blood flow than a muscle or tendon and therefore tends to heal slower.
The most common ankle sprain occurs when the ankle rolls outward and the foot turns inward. An Inversion Sprain.  It results in stretching and tearing of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.
Less commonly, the ankle rolls inward and the foot outward in an eversion injury, damaging the ligaments at the inside of the ankle. 
The high ankle sprain is the least common. It can happen when the foot is forced to rotate toward the outside (away from the other foot), or when the foot is planted so it can't move and the leg is rotated toward the inside.

How severe is your ankle sprain?
There is a generalised grading system for ankle sprains:
  • Grade I is stretching or slight tearing of the ligament with mild tenderness, swelling, and stiffness. The ankle feels stable, and it is usually possible to walk with minimal pain.
  • Grade II is a larger but incomplete tear with moderate pain, swelling, and bruising. Although the ankle sometimes feels stable, the damaged areas are tender to the touch, and walking is painful.
  • Grade III is a complete tear of the affected ligament or ligaments with severe swelling and bruising. The ankle is unstable and may feel "wobbly." Walking is usually not possible because the ankle gives out and there is intense pain, although initial pain may quickly subside.
How long does it take to heal?
Research shows that it take ankle ligaments about 4-6 weeks and up to 12 weeks to heal completely but I always say "how long is a piece of string?!"  Everyone is different and how you choose to approach rest, exercise and treatment all has an impact upon recovery

What exercise can you do?
  • For grade 1 and 2 sprains the best course of action would be immobilisation with boot or brace and RICE treatment initially then early range of motion exercises without weight bearing. The boot/brace/tape serves as a scaffold for the ankle so that the injured ligament can heal in the appropriate position and scar tissue that forms around the injured ligament can form in an anatomically correct position. Early weight bearing out of the boot/brace/tape puts patients at a very high risk of re-injury. 
  • After you are able to place your full weight on the injured ankle without pain, you may begin proprioceptive training to regain balance and control of the ankle joint.  Proprioceptive and balance exercises teach your body to control the position of a deficient or an injured joint (ankle). Swimming is also good.
  • Activities such as jogging, running and cycling should only take place once your ankle is stable enough to balance on for 3 minutes without pain.

How can a sports massage therapist help?
Sports massage can help reduce swelling and increase blood flow to the injury site.  This can speed up the healing process as it increases the flow of natural nutrients to the area, reduces the build up of scar tissue and aids mobility.
The therapist should also be able to guide you through a structured exercise rehabilitation program tailored to your specific injury and need to return to work or sport.

In short....
Don't just wait for your ankle sprain to heal on its own; seek appropriate treatment and advice from a trained professional!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Is Sports Massage just for sports people?


Sports Massage is a type of deep tissue massage aimed at relieving muscular aches pains and strains.

Anyone can benefit from sports massage.

I have treated a full age and activity range from children as young as 11 to elderly clients nearing 80 from all walks of life.

Yes people do come to have a specific injury treated but the majority of my clients return time and again to relieve stress and tension from work or repetitive strain injuries as well as to prevent injuries from occurring due to a musculoskeletal issue such as a leg length discrepancy or scoliosis.

Of course I do see those with a more active lifestyle and those that train in specific sports.  In the 16 years that I have been practising sports massage and exercise rehabilitation I have treated gymnasts, triathletes, racquet sport players, boxers and kickboxers, ice hockey players, professional football and rugby players and even the referees!

Out of all of the above I would say that the most common reason why people come and seek treatment from me is for lower back or neck and shoulder pain.

There may be some medical contraindication which may prevent treatment such as DVT but fundamentally; if you are in pain and feel that it is muscular then try a sports massage!

If you are still unsure if sports massage is for you then you can always contact me and I will be happy to chat about your options.