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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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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: Groin Pain

I play soccer and fitness, but during training I often suffer from pain in the groin. Two years ago, my left groin was strained and I started exercising a little bit too soon. Now I have a lot of problems with my right groin during and after training. I find it very annoying during exercise, but also in daily life. Do you have tips?

-Stephan

 

Mark Chen, physiotherapist

You’re partly answering your question yourself. You started training too early. We are all bound to certain laws of nature when it comes to repairing damage in the movement system. This recovery takes place in a number of phases and is time-bound. There are a number of things you can do to speed up the recovery, but speeding it up is not possible. But slowing down is!

It seems that this happened to you. If you have suffered damage to your muscle fibers, they must fully recover before they are able to be stressed at the same level again. Especially in sports like football, where the entire lower body is heavily loaded. Starting your training too early can ensure that your injuries are maintained or worsened. Time to reduce the load and practice patience.

Visit a physiotherapist and have your groin checked. This way you can exclude that damage is still present and make an estimate for how much you can stress the area at this time. Often there are also ways to take pressure off parts of your body during activity. Think of athletic tape for example. These are the brightly colored pieces of tape that you see often nowadays, with football players, runners and even swimmers to support peak effort. Sometimes this can help you to train without your groin being constantly overloaded.

Good luck!

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Reader Question: Swimming for Arthritis ?

I have osteoarthritis throughout my body. My neck, shoulders and right hip are the worst. Which sport can I practice? I would like to swim, is this possible?
– Lida

 

Mark Chen, physiotherapist:

Osteoarthritis means that the quantity and sometimes quality of the cartilage is reduced. We also call it ‘wear-and-tear’. This is a normal phenomenon and sooner or later we will all experience it. It can cause pain symptoms but it doesn’t have to. The cartilage acts as a shock absorb-er. The joints can start to hurt if there is too much pressure on the amount of cartilage.

Swimming is therefore often an obvious choice; in the water you only weigh about 20 percent of your weight ‘on the dry’. So it is a very friendly way of moving for your joints. In addition, you also use almost all muscles while swimming. It provides a good blood circulation and improves the endurance of the strength-supplying muscles. Swimming can also ensures a quick improvement of the cardio-vascular system! Swimmers are among the fittest athletes in the sports world.

There are, however, a number of side notes to make. Posture and technique are important during swimming. Especially the neck can sometimes suffer severely. Take for example the breaststroke, which is popular with many swimmers. Take a good look and you will see many people swimming with an unnatural position of the neck. Almost as if the head is forced to be kept above water. If there is wear and tear at the vertebrae where this “kink” exists, it could cause more complaints instead of less.

The same applies to the shoulder. A considerable amount of movement is needed to make a nice stroke and sometimes osteoarthritis is accompanied by clear limitations in mobility.

Swimming is a nice and friendly sport for the body, but I recommend to look at the above factors. Any physical limitations can be picked up and possibly treated by a physiotherapist possibly in combination with a swimming instructor.

 

Good luck!