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Kinetic Chain Above and Below

Injury is never in isolation. When treating an injury you should evaluate the joint above and below. For example, a knee injury should include an assessment of the ankle and hip. Specializing in sports injuries mandates an appreciation for the kinetic chain relationship of the body. Mike Boyle and Gray Cook created the Joint by Joint theory of movement assessment. Basic premise is the body is a mechanism of alternating joints of mobility and stability. If these relationships are altered the body will compensate in an attempt to correct the dysfunction. Let's take the previous knee example. According to the Joint by Joint Theory, the knee should be more stable than mobile. The knee and hip should be more mobile than the knee. If there is a loss in mobility of the ankle or hip the knee often compensates with excessive mobility, thus becoming more susceptible to injury. Understanding how the body moves is critical for treating athletic injuries.

sports injury - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Corrective Exercise

Quality of movement trumps quantity every time. Restoring the safety of fundamental movement is pivotal to long term performance. Regress the athlete back with corrective exercise therapy to progress them forward in athletic ability. Obtaining a Diplomate degree in Chiropractic Sports Medicine or Rehabilitation can add to your arsenal of tools to help athletes. Sports specific corrective exercise is a hot topic now and this opens the avenue of you working with other professional networks in the world of fitness; athletic trainers, personal trainers, corrective exercise specialists, etc. Dynamic kinetic chain movement based protocols should be introduced as soon as possible in the therapy program of athletes. They must feel confident and comfortable with movement again. Dysfunctional neural patterns may remain long after an injury recovery and the fear of movement can negatively impact an athletes training.

Soft Tissue Matrix

Sports therapy must involve soft tissue therapy. Fascial restrictions impact mobility and stability. Soft tissue extensibility dysfunction (tightness) limits joint range of motion. Athletes lose joint centration and neural input for movement patterning is altered. Excessive wear and tear begin on the muscles, tendons, and joints. There are many techniques to choose from depending on what resonates with your methodology and practice paradigm. Some examples include: Graston, Active Release Technique, Trigger Point Therapy, Dry Needling, etc. Deep tissue laser therapy has proven to be an exceptional tool for accelerated healing tissue repair of sports injuries. Athletes want to get back in the game ASAP and laser phototherapy treatments do just that. Many professional athletic teams across the world use laser therapy and other soft tissue treatment approaches to heal from and prevent injuries.

Make a game plan strategy for your career. Map out your focus by following these simple steps.

  1. Determine your ideal athlete or sport
  2. Choose specific injuries to master
  3. Market to those people
  4. Learn movement evaluation skills
  5. Specialize more with your education
  6. Develop corrective exercise programs for athletes
  7. Train in soft tissue therapies
  8. Network with other fitness and sports professionals

Specializing in sports injuries can be extremely rewarding. Embracing a passion for helping others,improving performance and elevating the game to new heights are just a few of the benefits. Now get in the game and show them how it's done.

Resources:

  1. Cook, Gray. Movement: Functional Movement Systems : Screening, Assessment, and Corrective Strategies. Aptos, CA: On Target Publications, 2010. Print.
  2. "Dan John, Lifting and Throws Coach." Dan John. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.
  3. Elphinston, Joanne. Stability, Sport, and Performance Movement: Great Technique without Injury. Chichester, England: Lotus Pub., 2008. Print.
  4. Myers, Thomas W. Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2001. Print.
  5. Todd, Mabel E. The Thinking Body. New York: Dance Horizons, 1975. Print.
  6. Weinstock, David. NeuroKinetic Therapy: An Innovative Approach to Manual Muscle Testing. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2010. Print.

Click here for more information about Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA.

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