Sunday, March 11, 2007

How injuries can come back to haunt you - The Kinetic Chain

At one time or another, we've all been injured in some way. Be it a broken arm, a sprained ankle, a torn rotator cuff, a pulled muscle in the low back or even a surgery like a cesarean section. Past injuries have a huge impact on how our bodies function.

In the human body, the components that make up the human movement system include the nervous system, the skeletal system and the muscular system. Together, these components are known as the kinetic chain.

All systems of the kinetic chain must work together to move the body. If one component of the kinetic chain is not working properly, it will affect the the other components and ultimately affect movement and function of the body.

Reflecting on past injuries can help you discover possible dysfunctions. There is a vast array of research that has demonstrated that past injuries affect the functioning of the kinetic chain. This is especially true of the following injuries:
  • Ankle Sprains: Ankle sprains have been shown to decrease control to the glutes. This in turn can lead to poor control of the hips and legs during many functional activities (running, walking), which can eventually lead to injury.
  • Knee Injuries: Knee injury can cause a decrease in control to the quads. Non-contact knee injuries are often the result of ankle and/or hip dysfunctions, like the result of an ankle sprain.
  • Low Back Injuries: Low back injuries can cause a decrease in control to the stabilizing muscles of the core, resulting in poor stabilization of the spine. This can lead to various injuries in the upper and lower extremities.
  • Shoulder Injuries: Shoulder injuries cause poor control of the rotator cuff muscles which can lead to instability of the joint during functional activities (throwing).
  • Other Injuries: Injuries that result from the kinetic chain imbalances include repetitive hamstring strains, groin strains, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and headaches.
If injuries seem to be repetitive, that's a clear sign that the kinetic chain has been affected and the body isn't functioning properly. By focusing on integrated training, starting with stabilization, you can "reprogram" the kinetic chain, helping your body to preform efficiently. After a few weeks of stabilization training, your body will be at peak performance when you start true strength training. You won't need stop training to recover from injury and you'll be able to continue your success with better results.

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