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Troubleshooting Strength Injuries: Redefining Injury

Injuries commonly occur in all sports and are one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome for an athlete. For the competitive strength athlete, access to care is usually limited either in quality or quantity, adding to the level of difficulty in dealing with an injury. Although lack of care is not exclusive to the strength athlete, it is much harder for an athlete trying to lift two to four times their bodyweight to find a quality health professional than a traditional tennis player or lifelong golfer.

Healthcare must be a relationship of relatively equal give and take. It is the job of the athlete to listen to and execute the plan of their health professional. But it is the job of the healthcare professional to earn the trust of the athlete before this relationship can be assumed. In my book, in order to qualify as being adequately suited for an athlete’s needs, the health professional must be knowledgeable in the sport in which the athlete participates or be willing to learn the demands of that sport, and is willing to work with the athlete to accomplish their goals. By that definition, we can now see why finding a good healthcare provider is so hard for strength athletes. Strength athletics are still seen by many in the healthcare industry as taboo, reckless sports, and are quickly blamed for the cause of all the athlete’s problems. The recreational runner is applauded for their toughness of being able to run a 10K, whereas the strength athlete pushing for an elite total is scorned. Don’t you know lifting is bad for you!? I digress.

Because of this scenario above, most strength athletes either take matters into their own hands or seek advice from other lifters to rehab and troubleshooting an injury. Now, don’t assume my previous rant lets the athlete off the hook when it comes to their handling of an injury. This is as appalling as the doctor who perches up on the throne of their medical degree and tells you that squatting is bad for your knees.

The best scenario for any athlete is to have an outlet to qualified healthcare professionals and coaches who can empathize with the demands of their sport and are capable of determining not only the severity of an injury, but more importantly, the cause. Once the cause is identified, a good healthcare provider should educate their athletes to better understand their body, work with the athlete to develop a plan for treatment, and help prevent future injury occurrence.

Don’t have anyone in your area whom you can trust to do that? That is okay. Best case scenarios are rarely reality, and the reality is that too many strength athletes are either distrusting of their current pool of local healthcare providers or too hardheaded to go to one in the first place. If you must wade through the dark waters of troubleshooting an injury, this resource is here to help make sure you don’t drown.

The goals of this series are for you to:

1. Understand the basic concepts of injury

2. Take an honest look at the variables of force, frequency, and time

3. Understand how those variables are currently affecting you

4. Identify these variables as the underlying causes of injuries

5. Tweak these variables to allow you to work around your injury

To dive deeper into this topic, check out Dr. Detweiler's full article on, Troubleshooting Strength Injuries: Redefining Injury.

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