The 3 R’s of Recovery

Re-hydrate: The reaction that provides energy for our body requires water, so we go through a lot during a training session, regardless of how much we sweat. Replacing these losses is the first step to recovery. Shoot for 16 – 32 oz of fluid after training, more if you are a heavy sweater or if it was particularly warm out.

Replenish: Stored carbohydrates are a main source of fuel during training and a hard session can entirely deplete these stores. Replacing these carbohydrates provides the energy necessary to repair our muscle and also our fuel future training sessions. Aim for 50-100 g.

Repair: Training damages muscle; recovery rebuilds it stronger. Getting adequate protein after a session jump starts this process by providing the building blocks for muscle tissue. Try to get 20-30 g of protein. We can’t really use any more than that at once, so getting overzealous here won’t build more muscle. And remember, without replenishing carbohydrates, protein can’t do its job repairing muscle!

Tailor your recovery to your training. With longer, harder sessions, such as long rides or speed work, be aggressive with your recovery. A more relaxed approach is acceptable for easier, shorter workouts. Hitting the 3 R’s in the first 60 minutes after training is best, but life happens: do it as soon as you can. For optimal recovery, try water or sports drink with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or blend up some fruit, nuts, seeds, and water or juice to make a smoothie.

Loading and Natural Tendencies

At least 9 times out of 10 I can determine a runners injured side (right versus left) by observing them standing, sitting, or even laying down. Many running injuries are not painful in those positions; therefore you cannot infer that the runner is simply favoring the injured side. People often develop “natural tendencies” such as always standing or sitting with weight shifted to the same side or with one foot pointing consistently more outward. In people who do NOT run, these natural tendencies are unlikely to play a large roll in developing an injury. Endurance runners, on the other hand, are very unique. Running involves loading each leg with 3-4 times their body weight roughly 90 times per minute.
If you consistently unload one leg, point one foot out greater than the other, or bring your knees together in sitting, then you can expect these movement patterns to show up in your running gait. You cannot move your body one way all day, then turn your “running switch” on to symmetrically and properly accept load.Tips:
  1. Be aware throughout the day.
  2. Correct and load evenly.
  3. If you are currently injured and having trouble correcting your natural tendencies while running then ask me for help!

Achilles Tendon Injuries In Dancers

When working with dancers, achilles tendonitis is definitely one of the most common issues I have seen. It is also one of the most common reoccurring injuries I have seen dancers experience. The achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heel bone (calcaneus). The importance of these structures for dancers is evident as they are involved with relevés, pliés, all jumps, pointing the foot, dancing on pointe, etc.

Typically, I see dancers with the diagnosis of achilles tendonitis do either one of two things:

1. The dancer takes time off or rests then returns to dance only to have the injury return.

2. The dancer continues to dance while the pain continues to worsen until it becomes so

excruciating the dancer is forced to stop.

Potential Causes and Factors that Can Contribute to Achilles Tendonitis:

  •  Flaws in technique and biomechanices. For example, over pronation (rolling the foot in) or not allowing the heels to touch the floor during jumping combinations/exercises.
  • Imbalances of muscle/tendon length and strength, not only at and around the ankle but throughout the entire leg including the hip.
  • A sudden increase or change in intensity or amount of activity. There seems to be an increased occurrence of injury for dancers during competition season or right before shows/recitals/performances.
  • Genetic bone structure that predisposes the dancer to alignment issues.
  •  Improper footwear. Dancers do not typically wear supportive footwear. However, elastics or ribbons that are too tight may irritate structures around the ankle.
  •  Differences in flooring (Sprung versus non-sprung floors).

Risk of Going Untreated

Repeated episodes of tendonitis and chronic achilles pain can lead to tendonosis which is when chronic deterioration of the tendon can occur without inflammation. This increases the risk of the dancer experiencing a tendon rupture.

What to Do

Any injury, especially a reoccurring injury, should be evaluated by a health care professional. At Elite PT, a physical therapist experienced in working with dancers would evaluate technique, evaluate any limitations in strength or flexibility, and determine a plan to decrease pain and decrease the re-occurrence of injury in order to return to full function.