Barnes Sports Clinic, chartered physiotherapists; established 1987. Call us today on 01225 859047.

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Neck

The neck is the most vulnerable part of the spine and has to support the weight of the head most of the time. Issues with the neck are many and varied, ranging from gradual onset chronic issues to sudden trauma such as a motor accident.

Problems include:

  • Torticollis - sometimes called wry neck, this is an uncomfortable condition characterised by chronic tension or spasms in the neck muscles, which restrict movement and cause aches and pains.
  • Cervical Spondylitis - this is a degeneration of the intervertebral discs in the neck. Symptoms may include pain and restricted movement of the neck. Spondylitis can also occur in other regions of the spine.
  • Whiplash - This problem is often present after car accidents, in occupants of a vehicle that was hit from behind. The sudden collision can result in a violent jerking of the neck. This in turn can cause damage to the intervertebral soft tissue, causing whiplash. Symptoms usually consist of aches, pains and stiffness in the neck.

Shoulder

The shoulder joint is one of the most complex joints in the human body and is particularly susceptible to injury and dysfunction.

Problems include:

  • Rotator Cuff Injuries - The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for the stabilisation of the shoulder joint when you move your arm. This group of four small muscles can become damaged when playing sport or doing manual work. Sometimes the tendons at the end of the muscles become inflamed or weakened as well, especially after repetitive movements from the shoulder.
  • Adhesive Capsulitis - Often called “frozen shoulder”, this occurs when the synovial fluid within the shoulder capsule becomes more viscous than normal. Symptoms include deep aches in the shoulder, and a restricted range of movement. Tight and stiff muscles around the joint can also be a problem.
  • Chronic Muscular Tension - This can occur anywhere in the body; however, the muscles of the shoulders and neck often tend to bear the brunt of physical or emotional stress. This can lead to other problems if not treated, and a sports massage is a superb way to loosen and relax the muscles.
  • Chronic Glenohumeral Instability - This can be a problem after dislocation of the shoulder joint, because the muscles, tendons and ligaments that stabilise the joint become overstretched, traumatised and weakened. As such, it can become alarmingly easy to re-dislocate the shoulder. Symptoms include feelings of laxity in the shoulder joint and weakness when performing tasks that use the shoulder muscles. Aching and pain may also be present.
  • Impingement Syndrome - This is a condition where soft tissues in the shoulder joint are punched or “impinged” when the arm is taken into abduction. It can be particularly painful to raise the arm above 90 degrees to the side. The pain is generally sharp or catching and is not present when the arm is below 90 degrees.

Elbow

The elbow is prone to problems caused by overuse where constant gripping and repetitive movements can lead to chronic discomfort.

Problems include:

  • Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis elbow) - This condition is not exclusive to tennis players or sporting individuals. Any repetitive movement from the elbow or gripping activities can result in this condition which is characterised by aches and apins around the outside of the elbow and in the forearm extensor muscles.
  • Medial Epicondylitis (Throwers’/Golfer’s elbow) - This is fundamentally very similar to lateral epicondylitis but is present on the inside of the elbow and affects the flexor muscles of the forearm. This problem is sometime called golfer’s or thrower’s elbow but is not exclusively caused by these activities.
  • Tricep Tendinopathy - Problems with the tricep tendon at the back of the elbow can occur after various activities such as throwing, weight training, or manual labour. Symptoms usually consist of pain on extension of the arm at the elbow and tenderness around the localised area.
  • Students’ Elbow (bursitis) - This is when the bursa sack on the elbow becomes agitated and inflamed, usually as a result of constant leaning on or contact with that area. Symptoms include pain and tenderness when contact is made with the elbow. Swelling may also be present.

Core

Core strength and stability is central to a healthy back and shortcomings in this area can lead to many postural and chronic problems.

These include:

  • Chronic backache/Muscle tension - Chronic aches can occur anywhere in the back but are often felt in the small of the back, just above the pelvis. The principle causes of such aches are many and varied but many treatments can offer symptomatic temporary or permanent relief.
  • Back strains - Back strains are common and usually occur as a result of sudden awkward movements or poor lifting techniques. The main symptom is a sharp pain at the time the injury occurs followed by more pain when similar movements are attempted afterwards.
  • Postural problems - Few people have perfect posture, but particularly bad posture can lead to chronic aches in the back and sometimes elsewhere in the body as well. We can give you exercises to help poor posture and treat existing pain.
  • Disc problems - These can vary from the gradual degeneration of the intervertebral discs to disc herniations often caused by bad lifting technique. Symptoms for disc herniation consist of sharp pain in the back, often accompanied by radiating pain down the backs of the legs. Symptoms for disc degeneration also include pain but can also include restricted movement.

Hip

The hip is generally a well supported and stable joint, but as it invariably gets constant use and has to bear weight, it sees its fair share of problems.

These include:

  • Trochanteric bursitis - This is where the bursa at the side of the hip becomes inflamed. It can be painful and tender to the touch and can be accompanied by swelling around the area. This condition is often triggered by repetitive activities such as running or jogging where the bursa undergoes prolonged friction.
  • Muscle weakness/tightness - Weakness in muscles around the hip can cause misalignment and imbalance in the pelvis, and this can lead to other issues like backache. Weakness in this muscles may produce aches and pains.
  • Arthritis - Arthritis is a painful degeneration of the highline cartilage at the ends of the bones. There is no cure for this condition, but the symptoms can be managed with regular treatment. It is characterised by sharp deep pains whilst moving the affected joint.
  • Overuse problems - The hip can develop overuse issues, particularly in people who undertake repetitive sporting actions such as running or cycling. Walking can also cause this problem. Symptoms are pain and tightness in the muscles of the hip and groin, particularly when moving the leg.

Wrist

The wrist is vulnerable to overuse and is often injured in falls where the hand is naturally used to break the fall.

Problems include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - This is often caused by overuse of the wrist , which in turn causes inflammation and subsequent narrowing of the tunnel which houses the nerves that serve the hand. Symptoms typically consist of tenderness of the palm just past the wrist, tingling or numb sensations in the thumb, fore and index fingers and a general loss of dexterity.
  • Tenosynovitis - Another overuse issue. This is an inflammation of the tendon sheath. It is particularly common in the tendons of the wrist, and can result from excessive computer or till work, or sports. Pain, welling, reduced movement and audible creaking from the joint are all common symptoms.

Knee

The knee is one of the most commonly injured joints in the body, particularly amongst those who play sport. The forces that act upon the knee whilst running or quickly changing direction are great; this is partially what makes it so susceptible to injury.

Problems include:

  • Ligament sprain/rupture - Knee ligament injuries are common especially in active individuals. They most often occur whilst quickly changing direction, or receiving an external impact to the area. Symptoms vary but usually consist of pain and the joint giving way when weight is applied to it. Swelling is also usually present.
  • Patella femoral pain - This condition affects the kneecap and the patella tendon and is caused when the patella no longer moves in its correct alignment. The causes of this problem vary but are often involved with the biomechanics of the leg. Symptoms comprise pain and aching on or around the kneecap.
  • Patella tendonitis - This is when the tendon that runs over the kneecap becomes inflamed. Degeneration of the tendon tissue may also occur. Pain is felt down the front of the kneecap and worsens with movement.
  • Arthritis - Arthritis is a painful degeneration of the highline cartilage at the ends of the bones. There is no cure for this condition, but the symptoms can be managed with regular treatment. It is characterised by sharp deep pains whilst moving the affected joint.
  • Meniscus tears/degeneration - Meniscus injury most commonly affects people who participate in sports like football and rugby where quick rotations of the knee occur frequently. Tears to or degeneration of the menisci can occur outside of sports as well. Symptoms include pain in the side of the knee (outside or inside) and locking of the joint.
  • Runner’s knee - A condition that is not exclusive to runners. Pain is felt down the lateral (outside) edge of the knee. It is often brought on by repetitive activity. The iliotibial band (ITB) rubs over the bony prominences of the knee and become inflamed as a result. The cause of the pain at the knee is often traced back to tight muscles in the hip that pull on the ITB.

Lower leg

The lower leg houses many balance and proprioceptive muscles which means that this area is constantly working when you are standing, walking or running.

Problems include:

  • Shin splints - A collective term for several different conditions. General symptoms include pain down the front or sides of the shin bone, reduced movement of the foot, and an inability to run or walk for long distances. It is usually induced by walking or running on hard surfaces for prolonged periods.
  • Calf strain/tear - Calf strains most often occur during quick explosive movements, and often involve damage to the muscle/tendon junction of the gastrocnemius. Symptoms most often include pain and moderate or severe aching in a specific area of the calf, especially when using the muscle in walking, jogging, or other such activities. A rupture to the muscle is usually characterised by a sharp pain at the point of injury followed by continued discomfort.

Ankle/Foot

This region of the body is under constant pressure as, out of all the areas discussed, the ankle and foot must bear the most weight.

Problems include:

  • Ankle ligament sprain/rupture - These are common injuries that affect most people at some point in their lives. The severity of such injuries can vary tremendously. Localised pain, reduced range of movement, the joint giving way and general discomfort are all symptoms. Swelling often accompanies injuries to the ankle ligaments.
  • Plantar Fasciitis (policeman’s heel) -This is an inflammation of the connective tissue in the sole of the foot and causes pain in the heel accompanied by localised tenderness. As the layman’s name suggests, it is common in individuals who are on their feet for prolonged periods.
  • Achilles tendon injuries - The Achilles tendon is very important in the biomechanical processes of walking, jogging, running and sprinting. Ruptures to the Achilles tendon can vary in their severity, but often produce pain and severe aching and inhibit general mobility of the foot. The Achilles tendon is also prone to overuse issues such as tendonitis (inflammation) or tendonosis (degeneration). These are gradual-onset problems that produce aching and stiffness and generally get worse over time, especially without proper treatment.

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