- BLOG -
Prehabilitation or ‘prehab’ is the notion of taking a proactive approach to training to avoid pain and injury. The aim is to perform sport-specific exercises to build strength and stability around the most vulnerable areas of the body whilst improving mobility, balance, stability, joint function and symmetry to decrease the potential for injury.
Of course, skills are important in your chosen sport, but if you are pre-disposed to injury through lack of preparation through prehab, you might find yourself on the sideline sooner than you would like!
Prehab also encompasses regular manual therapy. This is so important to keep muscles and joints working efficiently and to avoid imbalances. Manual therapy includes having regular massage treatment, stretching and self-treatment such as foam rolling and trigger point therapy.
Prehab is also especially important pre-surgery. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done through injury, but if done correctly, completing a proper prehabilitation program greatly reduces the rehabilitation time after surgery to regain full function and strength.
Take for example an ACL injury.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament of the knee (which stops hyperextension) has been completely ruptured during sport and surgery is required to repair it. As soon as the knee is compromised, the surrounding muscles are put under even more stress to perform and often cannot cope with this extra workload. The quad and gluteal muscles switch off, causing instability of an already unstable knee joint. Therefore, the hamstrings need to take over and do triple the work – causing muscular imbalance, overload and tension.
If this continues, there is a large amount of muscle atrophy (‘wasting’) around the knee, so the aim of prehab is to get the knee back in to a stable condition before surgery. We need to have the glutes and quads firing again and increasing strength to support the knee. By doing this, by the time it comes to surgery* you’ve had the best head start possible and have a base level of strength to start your rehabilitation post-surgery.
*ACL surgery is recommended no earlier than 6 weeks’ post-injury so that you have time to do a proper prehab.
Your overall bike fit becomes a part of your prehab. If you are set up incorrectly, it can cause muscular imbalances, joint tracking issues and pain by forcing your body to maintain unnatural angles and positions. By addressing these issues in our Fit Studio and following up with assessment, treatment and undergoing a prehabilitation program in our Clinic, you can maintain strength, flexibility and stability, improve your endurance and decrease your risk of injury.
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