I know many of you are experiencing knee pain and I wanted to give you information on a study released in September and the quick “take away” points for you to utilize to help your athlete recover from knee pain as quickly as possible.
Researchers in Sweden found jumpers knee was significantly increased in those athletes who had restrictions in the ability to dorsiflex (bring your toes up), or flex, their feet. Why is this significant for gymnasts? Gymnasts point their feet for hours at the gym, over using their calf muscles. Stretching the calf muscles is seldom concentrated on in the gym and thus, it becomes difficult for some athletes to dorsiflex their feet.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
If your athlete is having knee pain, stretch both muscles in their calves by doing the following on a stair while holding on to the rail. Stretch only one leg at a time, and do not force the stretch, allow gravity to gently pull the body into each stretch.
1. With a straight leg and toes on the stair, allow the heel to drop below the level of the toes. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
2. Slightly bend the knee, allowing your body to gently drop into the second stretch. This stretch will feel deeper, and lower in the leg.
3. Repeat both stretches on the opposite leg
The athlete can expect to be sore after these stretches if this is the first time the athlete has stretched these muscles. If soreness occurs, ice and rest the legs, and be more gentle on the next stretch. Keep at it and you’ll see amazing results in 14-30 days. And, of course, this is only one step in helping athletes prevent knee pain and keeping them injury free at the gym. For additional steps, feel free to contact me for more information, or speak with me the next time we’re in the gym. Also check out our video posts on landing and jumping at www.youtube.com/gymnastcare
These stretches are also amazingly effective on Sever’s Disease and heel pain.
To find the knee pain article this blog was based on, click on the following link: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_117344.html