23 Jul How to Identify and Prevent an Impending Injury?
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Written By Rameshon
Bsc (Hons) Degree in Physical Education, Loughborough University (1992-1994)
Masters in Education (University of Western Australia, 2005-2008)
There are two types of injury. One is acute, as the injury happens all of a sudden. The other is called repetitive injury, that occurs in a cumulative manner, which means over a period of time. An acute injury is something that happens all of a sudden, for example, a person trips over and fall wrongly and thus fracturing the bone of the leg or hand. This kind of injury is uncontrollable and this may need some rest for some days or it is advisable to see a doctor.
In this essay, I shall discuss about repetitive injury, which is a controllable thing, and I will use my experience in giving my level best advice, although I am still in the learning process as well. There are so many injuries that I have come across, before doing 2hr 24min 22sec for 1995 SEA Games held in Thailand, Chiangmai. Here, all I want to say to everyone is to tell that it is not worth in getting oneself injured. Injury should not be an option.
Once, in the year 2015, Haile Gebrselassie, one of the best long-distance runner ever, in the world, visited Singapore. He was asked a question about injury and his answer was, “Don’t get injured!” He told that injury is not an option and in order for him to succeed, he had to do things that enabled him to keep training and keep competing most of the time. He mentioned that if a person gets injured, it is a difficult thing to find out on when he or she will come out of it. So, the best solution is to stay away from injury.
Here, I would like to mention that there were days that I was injured and I got fed up. I decided to read a number of books that focuses on the causes of injury. There were solutions as well. I will be using my experience to answer this question.
I shall classify the degree of injuries as there are three types in total and it is simple to know. From my experience and what I have read from a number of books, I shall share in the next few paragraphs on the degree of injuries.
First Degree – Injury comes initially as a sensation
The injury of the first degree is often found to happen early in the morning. Especially at the heel area, where there is pain, where one might feel miserable. I asked my former coach Alan Guilder on this, while he was one-day training intensively with me. Sometimes the pain at the heel can be excruciating, but it usually lasts for 5min or the most 8min. After a nap of 1-2 hours, you may experience this again. Throughout the day, when you are working or walking sitting down, you usually do not experience any form of pain.
So, any sensation that you experience in the morning, and if the pain vanishes in a few minutes, 5-10min, it means that the injury can be contained. How to come out of first degree? If you rest or use an alternative method of training like swimming, stepper, elliptical machine etc, the pain may vanish over time. For an athlete who does very high mileage, will experience this pain, and it is advised not to panic as you just have to tolerate the pain for a while. In fact, it is from Coach Alan Guilder, a sub-14min 5km and sub – 29min 10km runner, that I found out that elite athletes experience the heel pain a number of times when they wake up from sleep. The answer for first-degree injury is not to panic but to keep training and be more alert to listen to the body by observation the sensation of the body.
Second Degree Injury
It is first-degree injury coupled with intermittent sensations happening throughout the day, for example, a knee pain, and it keeps taking place again and again throughout the day. Easier said it is a situation where one may go through a feeling that they have pain on a particular area and it is recurring, for a brief period of time and it vanishes. This means that one has to cut down training, for example, 50% bringing the mileage down from 50km per week to 25km per week, instead. I have tried this and it is very effective. Do not be surprised as you may be even able to go back to your usual regime of training as the pain might totally vanish. It may take a few weeks or days, or even one or two days. A second-degree injury is a sign that tells you to act, not just keep training. Alternative methods can be used and there are many manuals out there to help one to continue training. But the best mantra is to cut down to 50% training, as there will be continuity of training and there will be, at the same time, repair of injury going on as well.
When one avoids the first degree and goes to the second degree, before proceeding to 3rd-degree injury, telling, “All my years of training, will be slowed down and stopping training is not an option. I will show that I can go beyond any kind of pain.” Having said this, I have met one of my former competitor where I will not mention the name. He kept training with the injury and the mileage was more than 100km. I told him to bring down the mileage and he was not in favour of it. Hence, he remained injured for a very long time. As my time in running progressed over time, his time remained stagnant. Above all, he did not come out of injury. In third-degree injury, the pain is throughout the day and it is more of very long term injury and may even be a permanent thing.
My advice to athletes is to avoid going to second and third-degree injury at all cost. Do your best to contain at 2nd-degree injury and work to go to level one. If one has a 3rd-degree injury, do not panic, work to go to 2nd degree and over time, go to level one, and subsequently, if one is able to, it is good to bring down to no injury, if you can.
Edited By Tan Mariviv
Rameshon has taught in Hwa Chong Institution, plus several schools, and Republic Polytechnic as well. He has won many accolades and he was awarded Merit Award for 1991 marathon performance in breaking the national record of Singapore, at that time. He has made 22 male athletes do the marathon in sub-3hrs. He has made 7 female runners do sub-4 hours for the marathon, as well. He was inducted to the ‘Roll of Honour’ by the then College of Physical Education, organised by Singapore Olympic Academy, in 1998, for breaking the National record repeatedly 4 times, till he did 2hr 24min 22sec).
He also has a Coaching group and he trains them on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7pm at Botanic Gardens. Those interested can call him at 91004369 for coaching assistance, to improve performance. There is also personal training that he does for many in a week. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.