In Clapham junction Personal Training clients with injuries is something I have become known at my gym and I have had quite a few referrals based on clients who have or are recovering from injuries.
This is something I really enjoy, not the fact that people get injured and not because “I fix them” (which I most certainly do not!!) but because generally people with an injury are highly motivated!
Motivation is absolutely key whatever your goals may be and I will talk about a few of my clients throughout this blog and their own personal motivation.
When dealing with injured people they have actually “lost” something I.e the proper function of a shoulder, knee or they are in some sort of pain!
So it’s really simple… Help them to get back the thing they’ve lost, or help them to move away from pain!
So what do I do when someone with pain comes to me?
Its really simple, if someone has an injury or is in pain which is undiagnosed I do not touch them.
I have like many other personal trainers in past stepped over this line and have learnt over time to always get a good diagnosis first from a professional such as a physiotherapist.
I have heard absolute horror stories of trainers carrying on with training and missing something that they are not qualified to give medical advice on!
Get a proper diagnosis
If it has been diagnosed then I will usually speak to the physio dealing with the client and they will be able to guide me as to what to avoid and also what to work on as well as expected treatment times.
It took me a while, in London, to find someone I trusted to send my clients to. The reason for this is that I wanted someone who looked at each case individually and didn’t have a 1 size fits all treatment which I have experienced in past.
I found Simon who is a very experienced exerciser himself and I think this gives him an insight into training and people’s attitudes towards rehabilitation.
Check out his clinics here: www.physiotherapycentral.co.uk
I do not know everything and will take guidance from someone who knows more that me. Simon has definitely been that person.
This has been key in the success I have had with my clients. Once a diagnosis has been made then I can look at what the research shows for training this type of injury and train the client accordingly!
It’s really that simple.
Education is key in dealing with special populations
My own personal studies brought me in contact with Faster Global. The courses I have studied and continue to update every year are what have given me the knowledge and tools to be able to help all my clients.
At Faster, we are taught to look at movement through all joints and to be able to create exercises for any movement the body may need. Having this knowledge of functional anatomy means no matter what the injury is I can train around it or with it, to get the correct result.
I also have access to trainers literally all over the world who are able to point me in the right direction on any really tricky conditions that I may not have had personal experience with.
Check out Faster here: www.fasterglobal.com
For any Personal Trainers reading this, I can honestly say the courses I have studied with Faster has given me all the tools I need for clients with injuries.
The most common injuries and the ones I have dealt with:
When in comes to injuries I think the fall into two main categories. One being “overuse” injuries and the other being and “acute injury” then a lot more sub-categories after that which is why it is so important to have a good diagnosis at the very start.
So an overuse injury is something that is caused by a repeated stress on one or more areas in your body. Examples of this are tendonitis in any area of the body, which includes golfers elbow, tennis elbow, texter’s thumb (which is massively on the increase) Achille’s tendonitis, bursitis, stress fractures, swimmer’s shoulder as well as shin splints and many others.
In a nutshell, it’s when you do the same thing a lot.
The best way to help your body deal with these is to look at a “cross training” approach and also do not increase your volume of work by more than 10% per week.
Very simply, do something different and do not do not increase your distance too much too soon!
Most of my endurance cyclists, runners and swimmers suffer from these and really simply strengthening the whole body around the problem as well as doing something different has worked brilliantly.
It is worth mentioning that I have just had a client Joe, run from London to Brighton which is 100k and he was able to be back in the gym the following week. We built up to this distance appropriately and we strengthened the whole body focusing on the movements through all of his joints needed for running!
Secondly to that, I have another client Casper, who has just completed the Yukon River quest which is a canoe race stretching 444 miles through the Alaskan wilderness miles from anywhere. Obviously paddling for that length of time is a massively repetitive motion and we trained the same movements using different variables in the gym environment building up the endurance weekly, as well as training all the other joints in the body.
If you want to know just how hard that was, check this out: 2016 Yukon River Quest
An acute injury can be thought of as one that happened in split second like falling off of a bike, a crash, or one part of your body staying in one place the other moving. I also this it’s worth thinking of surgery as an acute injury and I have had a fair amount of experience with post-operative orthopaedic clients.
Some of the injuries include dislocations, torn muscles like hamstrings, torn ligaments like the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), bone breaks as well as massive bruising.
The best way of dealing with these is again to get a diagnosis and then treatment for the acute stage. Almost all of these acute injuries will need a period of rest on the particular structure that has been injured. If you have a great knowledge of how the body works you can easily train the rest of the body around the injury allowing it the correct time to repair. Once this has been done returning function to the affected joint/muscle is where the focus should be made.
Training with an ACL tear
I have dealt with clients that have had the whole of their Acl repaired surgically and have managed to get them back to running and the sport that they love doing. Training the knee joint in all the motions it can do but avoiding the ones that will aggravate the repaired ACL.
The point is you can get the joint back to working properly but it needs to be done in a structured planned way.
Training with herniated discs:
I have another client of mine Kristy who came to me with a two herniated discs in her lower back. Again I took advice from the physio she was seeing. Building up the strength in the surrounding areas we managed to get her off of painkillers within a month, which was great. I have continued to train her for a while now and in the last 18 months, she has completed a few 5k races but most importantly with no pain. Most recently she has decided that once in a while she will run home from work which is 10k!
Training after an operation:
Another client Greger, who has given me permission to mention him had a large lump removed from his neck and throat area. Obviously, a lot of his nerves were severed and this meant his motor control down the right side of his body just did not work properly.
His sport was tennis and his goal to be able to serve above his head again.
With Greger, we worked on re-teaching his arm to work properly and get all the motions available at the shoulder back.
He is back to playing tennis and because we have also worked on the rest of his body too, he moves a lot better ’round the court!
Training after a car crash:
My client Sam who I am actually just about to go out for lunch with had a horrific car accident and was left in a hospital bed for months. Her pelvis was smashed as well as her femur. She no longer see’s me anymore because she has pretty much full function back and with no pain.
This is a short testimonial she did for me and I will let her tell you about it in her own words
Sam’s training testimonial
This is by no means a full in depth cover all issues kind of article. I think the main points I am trying to get across are as follows:
- I cannot fix people, only aid their own body’s amazing potential for recovery
- Moving away from pain or not being able to do anything is a great motivator
- GET A PROPER DIAGNOSIS
- Listen to your health professional i.e Physiotherapist
- Find a personal trainer that can work with or around your injury (check Faster Global in your area)
- There are acute and overuse injuries
- No matter what the injury is you can still train but you have to do it in a structured individual way.
- Training with injuries is definitely a process