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Readers Question: Cracked rib, can I tape it?

I fell three weeks ago. I thought it was okay, but the next day it turned out that I damaged my ribs. Thanks to paracetamol, I have no problems with exercise. In addition, an elastic bandage gives relief during walking, but that is not really comfortable. My question is whether I would be helped extra with taping while walking? If it is possible to tape the ribs at all?

-Miek

 

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist

Yes, Athletic tape can certainly support your ribs. Thanks to the tape, there will be fewer shocks on the ribs during walking. And that can help a lot! And if the Tape is placed right on the site of the bruise, this can have a good pain-decreasing effect. Some techniques can even speed up the recovery of the bruise.

There are different techniques and you will have to find the one that works best for you. Probably, a technique that imitates the function of your bandage will be a good option to start with. That is why I advise you to do this with a certified therapist. Taping ribs is quite tricky to do yourself. He/she can show you how to do it and apply the first one for you. It should be able to stay on for 4-7 days so sometimes you only need it once!

PS.

Here are the 5 most commonly asked questions about Athletic Tape

 

Best of luck,

 

Mark

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Readers Question: Cramp during workout

Last Monday I did an hour of bootcamp. The same night I woke up with cramps and sore muscles. The Tuesday after I ran with a limp and I had really strong muscle pain. I expected even more muscle pain on Wednesday because it is usually the worst two days after exercise, but I did not have any problems anymore. How is it possible that I had such a strong pain burden, but it was quite short?

-Ilona

 

Mark Chen, physiotherapist

A muscle cramp is a relatively normal and common problem, but in most cases perfectly preventable. The cause of a cramp is simply because too many muscle fibers contract at the same time and then “hold on” to each other. That is painful, and produces enormous tension in the muscle, but in most cases it is not harmful. There are several factors that can influence the risk of cramps.

One of the contributing factors is the internal environment of the muscle, for example:

– low glucose (sugar) content in the muscle
– poor fluid balance (too little fluid intake before, during or after training)
– a mineral deficiency

The muscles have an excellent circulatory system, so if the problem is metabolic in its nature, you will often no longer suffer the next day. As seems to be the case with you.

Circumstances and sportswear also have a strong influence. Have you had very tight footwear or stockings that could impede blood circulation? Or did you, for example, train while it was very cold outside? These are also factors that can play a significant role.
Just go for a walk through cold water and then immediately go jogging again. Very uncomfortable!

Also, do not underestimate that some boot camp training can be very heavy. If your physical condition is not good enough to “keep up” with everything, muscle fatigue can simply be the cause.

The question is, was this an incidental problem? Then maybe you just had bad luck, or trained a little too hard. Do you often suffer from cramps? Then it will probably be worthwhile to look at your fluid intake, diet and other factors above.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Mark

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Readers Question: When to stretch?

In the gym, we always stretch after the lesson. I have also heard that you just have to stretch before exercising, or after warming up. What is the best?

-Merel

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist:

There is a lot of discussion about stretching. For years scientific research has been done to establish the value of stretching before, during and after training. Yet there is still little clarity about what the best way of stretching is and when it can best be done.

In addition, there are also a lot different of ways to stretch, for example static, active or dynamic. All there own strengths for different goals. So the most important question is: what do you want to achieve with the stretching?

The main reason for stretching is relaxation or restoring the resting tension of the muscle. This is often done after training because it has a soothing effect on the muscles. Especially static stretching is suitable for this. Often a light stretch is maintained for a longer period (more than 30 seconds).

To get ready for training, you can actively or dynamically stretch as warming up. This way, you prepare the muscles for a work to come.

Stretching is an important part of a complete training, but is an art in itself. Choosing the right version, maintaining good technique and breathing are all important conditions for your results. So consult your instructor or coach once and see where you can improve.

Hope that helps!

 

Mark

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Episode 4: Self testing the Front-line

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The Power of Personal Standards (RSD Video)

A lot of people simply do not have standards
Don’t let yourself off the hook
Say I’m going to examine myself
And have standards and say
“I’m F*cking pathetic for what I’m doing right now”
NOT having your health handled
NOT having the type of dating life you want
NOT having the type of sex life you want
NOT living in a situation you’re comfortable in
Use the negative emotions from saying “that’s pathetic” to focus your mind
If you’re a person who has his shit together you’re a role model to others
you’re able to bring value, a calming energy, people will actually listen to you
Make yourself strong first.
When you’re taking action,
That’s your criteria for success

 

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Episode 3: Recovering From Injury

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Myth Busted: Muscle vs. Fat

Pictures like the one featured perform very well in social media. They’re also a standard argument for when clients encounter a bit of a plateau when it comes to weight loss. “muscle weighs more than fat”.
Which would indicate that you’re still making progress even though it doesn’t show up on the scale.

Although it’s true that you can make progress without it being visible on the scale , the difference in size/weight is often heavily exaggerated.

In pictures like this one, it seems like fat takes up about 5 times more space than muscle in terms of size. This would mean that muscle is about 5x heavier than fat if the size is the same. But is that really true?

The mass of tissue can be expressed in a volume unit such as the cubic centimeter (cm3).  Water is 1 gram per cm3, while a muscle weighs 1.06 grams per cm3 (UrbanChecka M 2001). Fat mass has a weight of 0.9 grams per cm3 and would, therefore, stay afloat. In ascending order we would rank fat, water and finally muscle mass. Muscles are at most a fifth (20%)  heavier than fat, not 500 percent, as the picture suggests. The picture below would be a more accurate representation of the actual relationship. But that’s not as spectacular as the fake version of course  😉

 

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Readers Question: Noisy knees

When I squat, my left knee makes all kinds of noise. And not once, but really a series in a row. It does not really hurt, but I’m worried. And it’s just not a nice sound. Do you have any idea what this can be?

– Menno

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist

Sounds in joints are very common and exist in various forms, for example, there’s “snaps”,”pops” and “cracks”. Sometimes they are a one-time thing but they can also be constant, as you describe in your question. I can immediately reassure you; 90% of all knees crack, and as long as there is no pain, there is no clinical value. This rule of thumb applies to all sounds joints make.

The knee is a bit special when it comes to sound-making and that is mainly due to the kneecap. Visualise the kneecap as a kind of boat, which lies in the bony groove of the upper leg. There’s cartilage between the kneecap and the femur for smooth movement.

If both surfaces are smooth, there would probably never be any sounds. But that’s not how it works for most people. There are countless factors that determine how our knee is loaded and how the cartilage is stressed as a result. Think of sports, work (for example road workers) and footwear. These factors allow the structure to adjust. A “rippled” structure of your cartilage is very normal, but it does provide a bit more friction when there is a lot of pressure on the kneecap. For example, in squatting.

If you still worry after this explanation, there are ways to change the direction of your kneecap. As long as you do not experience pain, however, you do not need to take any action as far as I am concerned. Ask around in your own environment who else has noisy knees and you will be surprised. And in Dutch, we have a saying that would translate to something like this:

“creaky cars go the longest” , let’s hope that applies to your knees as well!