If you’re a Sunday morning footballer looking for something to do in the close season to keep fit…
..aside from “climbing the walls” waiting for the season to get back under way, one of the things that a lot of people do is take to the streets to “jog”.
“And that’s a good thing!”
But what I’m about to write comes with a bit of warning that I had brought to my attention recently and the story, it goes like this:
So a guy in his late 30’s, almost 40, tells me that he’s been doing lots of running around the headland (Hartlepool) in an attempt to be extra fit for the new footy season (he plays in midfield).
And, much like the top players who do the same, he has been doing it on hard surfaces that are almost unavoidable at this time of year.
So, this guy (“Andy”) continued to tell me how he’s been training once or twice per week with his team mates over at the local playing fields, and as well as that, he’s been “pounding” the surfaces of the roads too – doing about 5-6 miles a couple or three nights per week with some running.
But, what’s happened is that he’s picked up an injury known as “plantar fasciitis”.
Much easier to explain than it is to pronounce. So I’ll try my best:
It’s basically an injury which you’d recognise from a very sharp “pin prick” like pain underneath your foot.
And comes on from doing too much running, having had a long term problem with an Achilles tendon that didn’t get fixed, from wearing footy boots or running trainers that are too tight (a common trait amongst “silky” football players who like to get a better feel for the ball), from running a lot on hard surfaces which causes muscles to tighten and joints to stiffen, or a lower back which is weak.
Take your pick! Either way, it’s not nice!
And it can be very painful too. Particularly for the first 20 minutes or so when you get out of bed.
And, it’s effect is made more likely by running on a hard, concrete surface, in an attempt to increase cardio-vascular fitness, as well as playing on hard “concrete” like grass surface which are all around us, at this time of the year.
Now, another injury I’d expect to see happen a lot more at this time of the year than any other is “shin splints”.
Again, it’s an over use type injury that mainly happens to grassroots footballers because of over training. In the pro-game something like “shin splints, is not so common though.
Simply because they are better prepared when it comes to having core stability muscles working to limit the risk of any of this injury happening – which commonly occur from being on hard surfaces.
In the early stages of pre-season you’re also likely to see a lot more impact or “sudden” ankle and foot injuries. And that happens because of the hard surfaces that players will start to train on over the next few weeks and such injuries are very difficult to avoid.
So, my tip for you to maintain fitness but limit stress through your foot and ankle and help you avoid “plantar fasciitis” as you begin to think about pre-season, is simple: vary your training.
Get on your bike, go swimming and do things like the X trainer or rower until the surfaces get a little softer so that you’re not training and playing on hard ground constantly.
It’s the combination of both that will add up and make injury and frustration more likely.
Physio Paul Gough
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