Our bodies aren’t in condition and an injury is a roll of a dice away rather than a distant risk. I’ve recently spent a sunny Saturday playing rounders to raise money for our local school. Injuries for this event have included dislocated shoulder from an over exuberant swing at the ball and strained hamstrings and calves from the explosive effort of sprinting round the bases. None of the teams play rounders or train regularly. We’re using muscles infrequently used and so we’re more likely to get injured.
Here’s the top 3 injuries I see as summer arrives and unconditioned bodies meet unbridled energy.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar muscles on the underside of the foot. The pain is often so intense that I see patients within days of the condition starting. This is great for me as the sooner I see the injury the quicker it can be resolved.
Whilst most people think the pain originates in the bottom of the foot in the plantar fascia, the cause can frequently be traced further up the leg. The soleus (muscle that lays deeper to the calves) and gastrocnemius (calves) insert onto the calcaneus (heel bone) via the Achilles tendon. Planter fascia tissue stretches from the heel to the toes and has little give in it.
The upward pull from tight gastrocnemius and soleus muscles can stress the plantar fascia. Quite often by releasing tightness in these muscles it releases the pressure on the overloaded fascia and eases the pain.
I love treating plantar fasciitis for the simple reason that it responds very well to acupuncture treatment.
The shoulder joint is held in place by the rotator cuff comprising the following muscles – supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. The supraspinatus is a muscle that lies across the top of the scapula (shoulder blade) and goes under the acromium (shoulder pad area on 80s blazers and jackets) to insert into the top of the arm.
It’s vulnerable to crashes and spills. Think falling off a bike or other moving craft and putting a straight arm down to absorb the impact. The pain won’t be felt in the supraspinatus itself but at the top of the arm in the deltoid area. It’s often difficult to place exactly and may come and go. Reaching up to the side and reaching back will cause pain to increase as the supraspinatus tendon is impinged by the acromium.
The poor old knee joint gets a lot of abuse from sports men and women. It’s tempting to think that pain in the knee comes from irreversible damage to the joint. In my experience this is rarely the case. Tight muscles further up the leg which insert around and under the knee joint can refer pain in and around the knee.
Tendons and ligaments can also cause problems. Compared to muscular damage, acupuncture takes longer to work in the case of tendonitis or sprained ligaments.
The outcome of a miniscal tear tends to be dependent on its location. The portion on the outside of the knee has good blood supply and so has a more favourable outcome than that portion on the inside of the knee. The inside lacks blood supply and responds poorly to acupuncture. This is an injury where you may unfortunately have to seek a surgical solution.
Tim Wright – Gower Acupuncture Swansea