Top Tips To Avoid Surfing Injuries
Williamstown Physiotherapist Rachel shares some timely insights to avoid surfing injuries this summer.
It’s the time of year that we have all been waiting for. Especially our Williamstown Osteos and Physios! Yes, the Melbourne weather may be inherently unpredictable but it’s time to dust off that surfboard, squeeze into your wet-suit and head down to the beach (you might only see small waves down at Williamstown beach though).
There are several common surfing injuries. Cuts, scrapes and contusions are probably the most likely, with it being difficult to avoid all sharp fins, hard surfboards or hidden rocks. But muscular strains and joint injuries are also often seen due to all the twists and turns, landing awkwardly or just generally overdoing it.
Some injuries are preventable and others inevitable, but we know that many common injuries can be avoided by simple preparation, so let’s touch upon how you can get yourself ready for the surfing season and how to deal with any aches and pains you suffer along the way.
Know Your Capabilities
Let’s pose a relatable scenario: you used to go to the gym, then work got busy, family life was hectic and you could no longer make the time. A few months go by, things calm down and you find time again. You head off to the gym and try to lift, push and pull exactly what you were able to before. Firstly, you realise you can’t, you’ve understandably lost some strength and fitness, but you push throughout of misplaced pride and suddenly something hurts. The next day it’s very sore and it sticks around for a while. You’re annoyed that you’ve possibly injured yourself and you lay off the gym for a while. Seems counterproductive, doesn’t it?
Now, what has this got to do with surfing? Try replacing ‘gym’ with ‘surfing’ and you’ll understand my point. You haven’t been on that surfboard in a while, your body has lost some of its conditioning and fitness and you won’t be able to do as much as you could a few months ago. Your body needs to build back up again to the strength and fitness it previously had and we must respect the process. Maybe not going as hard, as soon and seeking the advice of your physiotherapist. A quick injury screen can assess your strength, movement and possible areas of weakness. Highlighting these areas early on allows you the time to prepare yourself.
Surfing requires a high degree of flexibility, every aspect from paddling, popping up and even sitting on your board, requires balance and coordination. Our everyday lives are often in polar opposites to these movements. It’s important to engage in a structured weight training program to prepare for the demands of surfing. If you’ve missed the boat on that one, a solid stretching routine is a must. See below:
Don’t just feel better, be better.
So you’re an okay surfer and your body feels good, but you want to be better. You don’t have to be injured to see a physiotherapist or healthcare practitioner. We can structure an effective exercise program to improve your balance, flexibility and strength and thus optimize your performance out in the water. Regularly checking in for treatment or an individually designed rehabilitation program to suit you and your style of surfing is only going to help you be better. Manual therapy, stretching, strengthening and movement retraining all combined together will ensure you get the most out of your surfing and keep preventable injuries at bay (pun intended). Remember, better rehab equals less time out of the water.
Keep an eye on Osteopath Chris Bell as he tours Australia with his partner and dog Ralph. Some amazing surfing images and cracking travel blog: https://www.outbackosteos.com/
If you’re interested in getting out for a surf this summer, let us help you get out there in the best shape you can be whilst preventing any injuries that may come your way, and – if they do – ensure you receive the best care and treatment from the highly experienced multidisciplinary team at Williamstown Health + Lifestyle to get you back on your board as soon as possible!