Our aim at St Kilda Physiotherapy is to restore pain free movement, function and strength when at home, work and playing sport.
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Preventing Injuries

Preventing Injuries

The only negative about playing sport and exercising is the chance of injury. What can we do to minimise this chance? This also applies to people who are active at their place of work.

A proper warm up is a good place to start. Many injuries occur to muscles and joints which are cold-early in a game or early in the day. Hopping on an exercise bike for 10 minutes, walking or jogging for 5-10 minutes and you will have warmed up.

Stretching is another thing that is an important factor. Tight, restricted joints and muscles do injure easier so leg, arm, back and neck exercises are easy to do and effective. Depending on the sport or type of work you do, taping or bracing may be recommended. An example is ankle taping which is routinely used for many sports. This practise has dramatically decreased the occurrence of ankle sprains since its introduction. Another example is a back brace for an individual who carries out heavy lifting at work or lifting barbells at the gym.

If you are a serious sports person or even just a sports enthusiast, good technique is very important. The more you do something with incorrect technique, the greater the chance of injuring yourself. A bit of coaching is a good thing as is some homework on your part.

Suitable equipment is also an important part of injury prevention. If you are a runner, the correct shoe for your feet is important. Most retail outlets are excellent at advising you of correct footwear, and some have podiatrists that can professionally advise you. For tennis players the right tennis racquet is important. The grip can’t be too big or small, and again advice should be given at the time of your purchase.

Since most sports involve some sort of running, an appropriate surface is important in injury prevention. Uneven, soft terrain invites injuries to ankles and knees. The best surface is an even one with a bit of cushioning.

Appropriate training involves gradually increasing the intensity and allowing time for recovery. This is very important in order to avoid overuse injuries. All too often people present injuries caused by an increase in running distances too quickly or not allowing enough rest in between running. The human body is not a machine and therefore it needs to regenerate following vigorous exercise. Getting advice on how to progress exercise is important. You can either consult a professional or investigate over the internet. If you want to exercise often and vigorously some homework is needed.

Finally, eating well and psychological preparation is important. It goes without saying that the fuel used to exercise is provided by what we eat, as does the ability to put on muscle that gives us strength and speed. Being prepared mentally, particularly in contact sports will prevent injury. Being aware of your surrounds and having the correct level of arousal means you can escape potentially dangerous situations.

So if you like your sports, particularly the higher risk ones, make sure you are prepared and hopefully you will not have many injuries.

Good luck and enjoy!

Sitting and Posture


We are not designed for prolonged sitting, yet due to our jobs, some of us sit more than we should. We are designed to keep on the move- to chase, or to be chased, and if we force structures and parts to do otherwise problems arise.

This article will focus on the human spine and general fitness.

The spine can be viewed simply as a twig on a tree. If it keeps flexing in one direction only, it strains and stretches too far. This is what happens to some structures of our spine during prolonged sitting.  Pressure on joints, ligaments, discs, muscles and nerves can result in injury and pain.

When we say spine, we are talking of the lower back, upper and mid back and the neck. Any of these areas can be injured due to prolonged sitting.

So what do we do if our job makes us sit too long? The first thing is to keep good posture. By this we mean to sit as upright as you can. A lumbar roll, or lumbar support forces you to sit upright and physiotherapists recommend them widely. Having a low chair relative to your desk height will encourage you to sit upright as well.

If you are using a computer, try to have the screen at eye level and the keyboard about a foot lower. Laptops are therefore a problem so if you have to use a laptop plug in an exterior keyboard for greater distance apart. Your arms can be supported on the desk as you can look straight ahead.

Even with good sitting posture we can still have spinal pain. Good posture gives us a fighting chance so what else can we do?

Have frequent breaks- it is recommended to get up at least every 40 minutes or so. Don’t be too efficient – if you have to get up 9 or 10 times a day to do a task standing, then do it.
Also try to exercise and keep fit. Do you remember the twig on the tree? Stretch it the other way by swimming or walks. After sitting all day few of us can summon the energy to exercise but that is what we should do.

Sitting for long periods tires out our muscles that support sitting. When they get tired ligaments, nerves and joints are put under strain and they can be injured. To make things worse if we don’t exercise these muscles tire easily because they are weak.

Getting started with exercise is the hard part. Once you do, you will feel better, and feel you have more energy to exercise. You will be doing that you are designed to be doing- keeping on the move.

This article mainly discusses the health benefits of your spine but it is also important to talk about the general benefits of exercising versus sedentary lifestyle – lots of sitting.

Your mental state will improve. Exercise is known to decrease depression. Your heart and lungs will benefit with increased exertion as well. You will also feel better. Your bones and muscles will get stronger. You will look better too.

Being sedentary is a major factor for many serious diseases. All the evidence is compelling. In the western world, too much sitting is affecting our health negatively. So keep good sitting posture, get up more often during the working day and exercise!