So you’ve modified your training, altered your diet by incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods, and have been icing religiously after workouts, yet you are still running with pain. Now what? It is always wise to seek advice from a healthcare practitioner or coach with knowledge of the biomechanics and injury dynamics of your sport. As I mentioned in a previous post, when injured, one of the body’s responses will be to send scar tissue to the area to bind up the injured area as fast as possible. Innately this is a good thing, the problem lies when the scar tissue lies down against the grain of the injured tissue. Think of scar tissue like a patch of collagen with its sole purpose of pulling together the two edges of the damaged tissue. Problem is, muscle fibers lie in a parallel formation to one another. This is what gives them their explosiveness and power while contracting. However, scar tissue doesn’t care what direction it lies down, as long as its doing its job of pulling together the damaged ends. If left unchecked following injury, a build-up of fibrous tissue can occur, which will present as limited range of motion, weakness, and abnormal compensatory biomechanics that can lead to future injury at the same site or in the compensatory tissue.
Thus, consulting with an experienced individual with knowledge of your sport-specific biomechanics is essential at ensuring proper scar tissue formation/alignment, as well as diagnosis of any muscular imbalances/inefficiencies or abnormal biomechanics that either led to the current injury or that may predispose you for future injury. As Dan Pfaff (renowned track coach suggests here http://tinyurl.com/yhq9fn6) said: consulting with a knowledgeable osteopath or chiropractor that “thinks from the ground up” rather than being “spine guys”, running specific PTs, or functional personal trainers are a few examples of people that may be able to help.
If interested, a few soft tissue treatments I use and recommend for treating areas of scar tissue and fibrosis are Active Release Therapy (www.activerelease.com) and Graston Technique (www.grastontechnique.com).
Pierre-Jean Wipff, Daniel B. Rifkin, Jean-Jacques Meister and Boris Hinz, “Myofibroblast contraction activates latent TGF-b from the extracellular matrix”, Journal of Cell Biology, December 17, 2007.