Written by Michael Richardson
Having worked with collegiate athletes for more than a decade, Trevor Jameson understands how to keep a body healthy when it is enduring some tough wear and tear. Here is some insight he shared with us.
This is a difficult topic to address, Jameson says, because it is so individualized.
“Imbalances and weaknesses need to be identified in every athlete,” he says.
Each person is built differently, has different patterns of movement and has developed muscle groups differently. For example, some people have worked out only certain muscle groups, which creates imbalance that can lead to injury. Other people have relied on only one type of training, meaning parts of the body are neglected.
“When your body’s not balanced,” Jameson says, “one part of your body starts working more than others, and eventually gets injured.”
Work on flexibility and strength between the left and right sides of the body, and front and back of the body, he advises. Full body workouts are key. Jameson says that even the Ute cross country team spends a lot of time in the gym lifting weights.
“They don’t just run for miles every day. Only working toward a solitary fitness goal can lead to injury,” he says. “The whole body needs to be balanced.”
In addition, Jameson says, people often get injured when they do too much too fast. Individuals must do a careful examination of their fitness level and train accordingly.
Ankle sprains are a big nuisance, especially if you’re training for a race or are accustomed to regular exercise. Jameson is an expert on ankle wellness, and he shared some tips from his work with the Ute basketball teams.
He says that many people choose to rely on expensive braces to keep their ankles from rolling, which can be effective, but that there are exercises that can be done to prevent injury as well.
Ankles are often rolled, he says, because a person lacks balance and the spatial reckoning to know where his or her foot is during movement. The Ute men’s basketball team does ankle balance exercises every day to improve these skills. Here is one that they do:
- Get 6-7 paper cups and stand on one foot.
- Staying on one foot, bend down and place one of the cups on the ground. Stand up.
- Repeat this until the cups are in a circle around you.
- Work in reverse, staying on one foot, picking up one cup at a time.
Jameson says exercises like this don’t make ankle sprains impossible, but help with prevention and can probably reduce the severity of a sprain when it does occur.
Recovering From An Ankle Sprain
There aren’t many secrets here, Jameson says. Ute trainers use the R.I.C.E. technique (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). He explains that when tissue is damaged with a sprain, the inflammation and damage impede proper blood flow in the injured area, which is what slows recovery. Ice reduces a living cell’s need for oxygen, which is important because the tissue in the injured area isn’t getting as much oxygen as it would need otherwise. The R.I.C.E. technique reduces swelling, which means function and blood flow increase.
A good rule to follow, according to Jameson, is to ice for 20 minutes every two hours for 24-72 hours, depending on the severity of the sprain.