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More Training Info > Persistent Injuries

Persistent Injuries

Q. Is it normal for people to keep hitting points in their training where they might experience minor pain, injury, and/or discomfort from long ago or previous injuries (i.e. back, ankles, feet)?

A. Think of your body as a house with your bones, tendons and ligaments its architectural structure. If at some point in the past you have experienced some point of weakness that has since been shored up through strengthening, stretching, proper nutrition and adequate conditioning, under normal training conditions you may not notice them at all. However, the history of �the previous event� is still there and your body over time has had to compensate for that weakness.

As you add layers of stress to the body from an increase in training intensity, the load on smaller muscles, tendons and ligaments that may not be as well prepared for extra work, increases. You may start to feel strain in any areas that are your known �weakest links� or �Achilles� heels� (pardon the pun). If you experience recurring pains from previous injuries, it may mean that your training has become a bit too aggressive or certain exercises that you are doing may be demanding more of your weak areas. Those weak links, be they ankles, feet, lower back, or rotator cuff muscles (common problem areas for climbers) are probably sending small signals that you need to slow down, maybe even add another rest day to your routine. You may need to take extra precautions to avoid going over the top into overtraining. While I would not worry excessively at the first sign of discomfort, I would certainly recommend keeping an eye on them and backing off rather than plowing forward in hopes that the body will magically repair itself without your intervention.

In the case of a weakened back, proper stretching, icing, using precautions and sensible lifting techniques and proper core strengthening can all go a long way in preventing recurrence. As for ankles, adding single limb or balance training (see unevenex.doc for examples) in the gym and using good technique on all rock routes that might cause twists through the lower extremities should be enough to prevent problems there as well. For more tips on proper recovery and restoration from sport activities, please see www.bodyresults.com/e2restoration.asp. As always, keep the good general principles of appropriate warm-up, cool-down and stretching in your routine, and immediately notify anyone who is helping you with your training that you are experiencing recurring niggling aches and pains so you can adjust your program accordingly.


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