Chiropractic pre-race considerations for endurance eventsJuly 3, 2018 | by Fortius Chiropractic
With the summer comes race season, and an influx of athletes participating in endurance events such as marathons and ultra-distance running events; Gran Fondo and century road cycling events; endurance triathlons and Ironman distances events; and open water and swimming endurance events.
During these long distance competitions athletes can be setting a pace anywhere from a couple of hours to 24+ hours.
So how can athletes optimally prepare for the gruelling hours of wear and tear on their body? Here are a few considerations to help maximize the endurance athletes’ performance, and how a chiropractor can help:
1. Soft tissue concerns
Repetitive use or overuse of muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia during endurance activity changes the soft tissue, which can cause abnormal tension in these structures. This abnormal tension restricts the forces on the body, causing poor and inefficient movement. Changes to the tissue may cause pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and physical dysfunction. Some common repetitive strain injuries that endurance athletes experience include:
- hamstring strains
- glute tightness
- shin splints
- plantar fasciitis
- calf tightness
- hip pain
- rotator cuff injuries
- back and neck pain
- elbow and wrist pain
- piriformis syndrome
- ITB syndrome
- patellofemoral pain
While there is a lot of at home care that can be done to mitigate this (foam rolling, stretching, proper warm ups and cool downs, etc.), many chiropractors can also help address these concerns leading up to the race day. Using active release techniques, and other manual therapies, chiropractors can target the affected area to release tension and help prevent injury during the big day.
2. Joint Mobility
Keeping the joints moving is vital both for good joint health and athletic performance. Of course, endurance athletes are moving a lot, but are they maintaining their joints full range of motion?
Full range of motion in a joint is moving that particular joint as far as anatomically possible. For example, the hip joint allows you to move your leg forward and backward so you can run or bike. If you sit at a desk all day for work, it can cause your hip to feel stiff and uncomfortable, which can limit your hip range of motion and affect your mobility.
Ensuring the hip is able to go through its full range of motion will allow for better muscle balance, stability in the joint and proper activation of the working muscles. As a result of all these functioning together, the overall quality of movement will be superior, enhancing your running performance.
When joints get stuck or are limited in their range of motion, you can also pay a visit to your chiropractor. We are trained in manual therapy to assist in joint motion. Chiropractors can also provide a variety of home exercises to help maintain the joints range; these can also be used before training and competition.
3. Performance Enhancement
Often assessment, manual therapy and rehabilitation of injury are the focus of chiropractors. However, treatment can also enhance athletic performance in both training and competition.
Athletes don’t need to be injured to seek and benefit from treatment. The goal of treatment is to promote and restore proper biomechanics, strength and function.
Considering the high volume of repetitive motion of endurance athletes, establishing better quality of movement and function leads to less stress on the tissue. Used among many athletes and in a variety of sports, ongoing prevention and performance-based care can help to boost overall performance.
Fortius Sport & Health is home to a team of chiropractors who specialize in athlete care. Visit our website to learn more or call our sports medicine clinic today to book an appointment at 604.292.2501.