Workload and listening to your body.

With the start of a New year comes the start of school for kids across Canterbury and the beginning of the transition from Summer into Autumn (despite the amazing warm weather we have been having!). It also means the start of trainings and pre-seasons for winter sports like rugby, netball and hockey. For many kids and athletes, preseason will mean going from very little activity over the holidays all the way up to 5-6 days of full on activity such as trainings, school sports, gym sessions or running. This sudden increase in activity can lead to overuse type injuries that make up a large proportion of injuries in young people that we see here at Physio4u. Examples of these could be Osgood-Schlatter’s (knee), Sever’s (heel), tendon/muscle strains and even stress fractures. All of these injuries can lead to people having to stop the activities they enjoy.

I came across a fantastic article on the ‘We Are Canterbury’ Facebook page a few weeks ago which I would definitely recommend for any young athletes looking at taking their sport to the next level, and parents who may have kids currently suffering with one of these types of injuries:

I believe it is very valuable as it is written from the perspective of a high-level athlete and it provides great insight into how seriously overuse injuries can have on young sports performers. Rosa’s experience is towards the extreme end of the scale, but it does highlight how debilitating these overuse-type injuries can be. Rosa ended up being away from her sport for 2 years, which speaking from experience is incredibly hard to comprehend and to deal with as a young person.

So, what can you do to prevent these types of injuries?

Firstly, the most important factor with all sports no matter what level is load management. If you have many consecutive days of sport without sufficient recovery time, especially after a long break over the holidays, your chances of injury are a lot higher. Here at Physio4u, we would recommend a day on/day off approach, particularly for high level athletes, to all the body to recover from the stresses of sport.

Secondly, there is a big push across all sports to make effective warm-ups more common. Warm-ups help to prepare the body for the activity you are going to undertake, and the better your body is prepared, the less likely you are to get injured. For more information, the ACC SportSmart website has resources on warm ups and kids in sport (

Thirdly, caring for the body after and between training sessions/games is often overlooked but a very important part of preventing injury. For example, icing any areas of soreness after a game may prevent small niggles progressing into worse injuries. Physios have the knowledge of sporting injuries and recovery and are the perfect people to consult about this.

Lastly, consult a physio sooner rather than later if you have an injury and listen to their advice. We are here to help you return to 100% and get back to the activities you enjoy the most. This may mean adjusting your training routine or taking a small break from your sport, but always with the goal of getting you pain free and back playing as soon as possible.