Top 10 Sports Injuries

The Power Yoga Pose To Avoid Them

Be grateful you're not this guy... Ouch!

Be grateful you’re not this guy… Ouch!

The most common reason for sport related injuries for a recreational athlete to a Pro, from age 10-80, is over use and abuse.  In my experience most injuries arise because athletes disconnect from their body.  Their eye is on perfection, their job or beating the next kid, and not on their tool.  We take better care of our cars than our own bodies.

The best prevention is to become acutely aware of your body its shape, how it feels, range in the joints and mostly its symmetry.  Sports create asymmetries because they are one side dominant, it’s your job to recognize imbalances before they become injury.  I will identify the top 10 most common sport related injuries and give you a few yoga poses to do to help avoid these injuries.

Hip pain, hamstring pulls, knee injuries, shoulder pain, low back strain, wrist problems, ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, neck strain.

Hip Pain:

Most hip pain is due to a lot of stop and go like in soccer, jarring moves like in tennis and pounding the ground like in running.

The simplest tool is to keep the hip open in all directions loose and free.
Before you do any recommended poses lay on your back and relax completely.  Making sure to release your legs and let them flop apart.

Slowly lift your head without changing the positioning of your legs and take note as to the angle your toes are pointing.  Do they point in the same direction or is one hip totally lax, and the other foot point straight up to the sky… usually the hip of the foot pointed straight up is the tighter one and need attention.

  • Pigeon pose
  • Frog pose
  • Hero’s pose
  • Standing forward bend

Hamstring Pulls:

It’s pretty clear that most hamstring pulls are from tight hamstrings!  This muscle group and it is a group, not a single muscle, is the source of frustration for many athletes.  They are so strong and thick it takes diligence and time to open them up.  It will not happen over night!

  • Standing forward bend with bent knees to protect the back,
  • Wall lean standing forward bend,
  • Plow pose,
  • Straddle forward bend.

Knee Injuries:

Whether you are 10 or a professional you have had or know someone that has had knee surgery.  The best way to avoid ACL, MCL and meniscus trouble is to keep the hips flexible and strong.  Think about it, if you hips are stiff and can’t move or rotate to their full potential the energy will go to the spot of least resistance which is always the very vulnerable very complex knee joint.

  • Pigeon pose,
  • Pigeon with quad stretch,
  • Double pigeon,
  • Frog,
  • IT band series.

Shoulder pain:

Another vulnerable joint, built very much like the hip joint however MUCH more shallow.  This characteristic makes it a prime spot for mis-alignments, dislocations, and impingement.  It is important for this and all body parts that you not only warm them properly but you strengthen them as well as stretch them for maximum power.

  • Wall walks,
  • Face down should stretch,
  • Face up shoulder,
  • Eagle arms,
  • Wrist openers,
  • Chataranga/ plank,
  • Arm ups.

Low back pain strain:

The most common reason for pain, and stiffness and limited range in the low back is tight hamstrings.  Since the hamstrings originate on the sits bones, if the muscle is tight it pulls down on the pelvis, tipping it incorrectly and causing you to constantly compensate in order to be upright.  Another reason for low back pain is weakness in the abdominals.

  • Seated forward bend,
  • Wall lean forward bend,
  • Seated twists,
  • Seated leg cross twist,
  • Boat/ boat pull ins,
  • Forearm plank hold.

Wrist problems:

Whether it’s carpal tunnel or a sprain from a fall, athletes are always susceptible to wrist injuries.  Offensive linemen put all their weight behind them, soccer players land on them, and tennis player’s bank on their strength.  It’s important to maintain strong forearms as well.  Indication that you are having forearm flexor or extensor problems is to take a good look at your hands in down dog before you fix them.  Notice if two fingers are stuck together or if there is nice equal space between each finger.

  • Plank wrist turns,
  • Down dog holds/ three point variations,
  • Hand stands,
  • Chaturanga, up dog.

Ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis (pain on the bottom of the foot):

These are the next three most common injuries.  I’m going to group them together because the poses to avoid these issues are the same.  You need to develop a strong ankle, flexible ankle, open  flexible toes, and work on your balance.

  • Hero’s pose toes tucked,
  • Hero’s pose toes untucked,
  • Tree pose,
  • Squat,
  • Half side squat,
  • Warrior three.

Finally…

Neck pain:

Probably the most at risk spot on the body.  The neck of an athlete needs great care.  Full rotation means being able to fight off a defender in basketball, and turn your head towards a 95 mile an hour fastball.  A flexible neck will help you roll out of a compromised wresting position, or absorb the shock of a full tackle.

  • Plow legs straight and bent,
  • Head stand,
  • Rabbit,
  • Lying spinal twist,
  • Up dog with full neck extension,
  • Bow.

You should always get permission from your doctor before beginning any yoga program.  Now you should have no excuses for lingering injuries… You’ve got the power now!