Looking for information on treatments using IASTM for football injuries? Then check out this great blog by sports therapist & certified IASTM practitioner Heather Pearson.
IASTM For Football Injuries : An Introduction
Football is a sport which primarily uses the muscles of the front side of the body. Over time, these muscles become so overused and the opposing muscles on the back of the body become weak.
As a result, this develops into a hip imbalance and if not treated correctly can cause secondary issues. Consequently there are common injuries among professional or amateur football players. These can include debilitating injuries such as lower back, knee, ankle or foot pain.
These problems arise due to the nature of the sport. Repetitive running, turning at speed and kicking a ball for 90 minutes all lead to overuse. A lack of stretching and strength work during warm up, cool down and training sessions also adds to hip imbalances.
IASTM For Football Injuries : The Importance of Screening
As Sports Therapists we look at the function of the whole body using a vast variety of tests. Orthopaedic, neurological, active or passive ranges, resisted muscular tests and functional tests can all give us important information. All the football players I work with are physically assessed with range of motion, strength and function tests. These can be efficiently and effectively performed anywhere from my practice to their football club.
We start by taking a full case history and determine whether there are other factors involved with their injury. Typically, these issues start at the hip but may also be aggravated by other factors. For example, the cause of plantar fasciitis often starts in the hip, but a football player is likely to first feel pain in their foot. This may have been caused by a clash with another player 2 years earlier or aggravated from wearing football boots too tight. There are many factors that could cause these injuries, but a thorough case history will find them. A good physical assessment will make it clear if weak muscles in the hip are the root cause of the footballer’s injuries.
IASTM For Football Injuries : An Integrated Treatment Approach.
At 1Body4Life we believe in a team approach. We will work alongside any footballer’s coach or fitness professional to get them back to full health. We also believe in an integrated treatment approach. From the results of the assessment, we build a treatment and rehabilitation programme specific to you.
We commonly incorporate a range of therapies for football injuries that include the following techniques:
Active Release Techniques (ART)
Active Release Techniques® (ART) is a state-of-the-art soft tissue system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Numerous football injuries with soft tissue factors can often be resolved quickly and permanently with ART®. These conditions often have one important thing in common: they can be the result of overused muscles.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM)
IASTM for football injuries can be great diagnostic tool for finding dysfunctional soft tissue, particularly around bones and ligaments. IASTM also has a range of therapeutic techniques that are great for releasing tissues after ART and needling but before muscular activation. These are used to remodel injured tissue, loosen up tight muscles and increase restricted range of motion. This diverse variety of applications makes it a great accompaniment to other therapies.
Dry Needling is the use of thin filament needles as a form of pain management or treatment for injuries. Unlike acupuncture, which targets specific points along meridian lines, dry needling is used on specific anatomical structures. We use dry needling to target muscles, tendons and ligaments that may be the underlying cause of the footballers injury.
A trained practitioner will use Trigenics® as a simple way to activate soft tissue via functional neurology. It can help accelerate strength and flexibility to improve muscular dysfunction. This means it can be used for an old football injury where a muscle has become weak over time, where general posture has digressed or simply to activate ‘lazy’ tissue to improve joint function.
Muscle Activation Technique (MAT)
The MAT Jumpstart is also known as Muscle Activation Techniques. MAT is a scientific concept that brings natural physical laws together with physiology and applied to human movement. The body is enabled to literally jumpstart a weak or inactive muscle. Therapists use MAT to improve muscular function, body alignment and relieve pain.
Fascial Stretch Therapy
Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) is an ingenious system of stretching muscles, joints and predominantly, fascia. Fascia is a connective tissue that connects muscle-to-muscle, muscle to other structures and generally intertwines its way throughout our whole body. Therapists use FST for a footballer to achieve optimal muscle and joint function for sports performance and function.
We also use psychology as part of our package. Negativity promotes a physiological response and vice versa, so it’s extremely important to promote positivity. Football players aren’t happy about being injured and positivity speeds up the healing process. We administer one or two psychological techniques to help a player’s mental attitude and get them back on the pitch!
Rehabilitation exercises are the last part of a football injury therapy package. In most cases, particularly with hip imbalances and lower back pain, an injury will not be fixed with treatment alone. Rehabilitation simply means ‘re-education of the brain’ and involves simple to complex exercises. A player starts with body weight before progressing through to the weights room. Finally, functional exercises mimicking football are used before returning the player to the pitch. A sports therapist will give the player “homework” which consists exercises and stretches. Players will be expected to perform these daily with the exercises progressing at regular intervals.
All of these techniques create a package of care with the common final goal to restore full function. We always advise that prevention is better than cure. Footballers that are proactive and participate in preventative care plans help avoid these types of injuries. After all, you’ve only got one body in your lifetime!