For many of us, working from home has meant more time dedicated to daily workouts. This, however, has also meant an increase in injuries such as knee pain. Here, DR ALAN CHEUNG, orthopaedic surgeon and director of International Orthopaedic Clinic, explains common sports injuries he’s seeing and how to avoid them.
You’ve been busy seeing patients with sports injuries during the pandemic. Why the surge?
Many people have been keen to exercise and take up new activities to relieve boredom and stress. Of course, this is a great idea if done right – by building up strength and stamina slowly. Unfortunately, many people went from zero to 100 with new exercises, and got injured as a result!
What are the most common sports injuries you’ve been seeing at your clinic?
As a result of gym shutdowns and restricted team sports, many people have taken up running, cycling and online HIIT classes. Because of this, I’ve seen a change from acute sports injuries sustained in football, martial arts and basketball to chronic overuse injuries from activities like running, cycling and HIIT. I would say the main increase in sports injuries falls into three areas.
- knee pain and injuries such as meniscal tears, patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome;
- shoulder injuries such as labral and rotator cuff tears, and impingement issues; and,
- ankle injuries such as ligament sprains and tears, and plantar fasciitis.
How can these types of sports injuries be avoided?
There are various things you can do to help prevent getting hurt. Here are some of the keys to evading injury:
Rest and recovery
These days, too many people are addicted to exercise and do not rest these. However, rest and recovery is an important part of improving performance.
Setting realistic goals
Having a realistic target is important; that way, you can plan a realistic training programme – one that includes recovery periods – to achieve your goal. This is even better when under the care of professional advice and support.
Warming up and cooling down
Warming up before exercise and cooling down and stretching afterwards is another key to avoiding injury. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s best to see your doctor if you are new to exercise.
What’s your advice if an injury does occur?
Don’t keep exercising and pushing through the pain – your body is telling you to stop loading the injured body part! See your GP or orthopaedic surgeon to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
This article first appeared in the September 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!