A sports chiropractor is professionally trained to treat sports-related musculoskeletal injuries – that is, injuries to bones, joints or muscles – in various parts of the body. A sports chiropractor is well-versed in therapies, such as soft tissue work, trigger point therapy, stretching and rehab exercises, which alleviate sports-related injuries without the need for drugs or surgical procedures.
The knee joint, for example, is a hinge joint between the two longest bones in the body, the thigh bone, or femur, and the shin bone, or tibia. Even during normal walking, the knee joint experiences forces equal to two or three times the weight of the body. The articulation becomes less stable as it bends and is susceptible to rotational, or twisting, forces, so it should come as no surprise that sports chiropractors see a high proportion of knee injuries.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, more commonly known as ‘runner’s knee’, is an umbrella term used to describe pain at the front of the knee joint, around and behind the kneecap, or patella, caused by misalignment of the kneecap itself. While common among runners, runner’s knee can also affect cyclists, swimmers and players of other sports, such as basketball, football, tennis, and volleyball.
Similarly, participants in sports that involve a significant proportion of jumping may suffer from a condition known as patellar tendonitis, or ‘jumper’s knee’. As the name suggests, the condition is caused by inflammation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shin bone, and is characterised by sharp, throbbing pain beneath the kneecap.
Speaking of ‘jumping’ sports, track and field athletes, along with basketball, tennis and volleyball players, should be aware that increasing the intensity of participation, without an adequate, and appropriate, training programme, increases the likelihood of an Achilles tendon injury. The Achilles tendon is a tough, fibrous cord that connects the calf muscle to the heel, but can rupture during sporting activities, resulting in sharp pain in the lower leg and ankle. A ruptured Achilles tendon may be treated by surgical or non-surgical means.
Likewise, anyone who takes part in activities that involve jumping or explosive sprinting may be susceptible to a hamstring injury, particularly if they fail to warm up sufficiently beforehand. A hamstring injury is a pull, strain or tear to the muscle group or tendons at the back of the thigh and can be described as ‘grade 1’, ‘grade 2’ or ‘grade 3’, depending on the severity of the injury.
Naturally enough, sports chiropractors also commonly see back injuries, of which a lower back strain, typically caused by weakness, or imbalance, in the core muscles, improper technique or inadequate preparation is the most common.
Other common injuries seen by sports chiropractors include lateral epicondyltis, or ‘tennis elbow’, caused by a strain to the muscles and/or tendons in the forearm. Plantar fasciitis, or arch or heel pain, caused by inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot, groin pulls, or strains, shin splints, dislocations and fractures. If you have had any of these injuries and are experiencing pain and discomfort, give the sports professionals Complete Chiropractic SA a call on (08) 8362 5551.