Chain Reaction Injuries – They’re Not What You Think They Are
You’ve probably heard it all your life…the toe bone connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone connected to the leg bone… So it’s really no great leap of faith to think of your ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons as an interconnected chain that work together to ensure your ability to stand, sit, walk or run.
So why is it that we so often try to treat the symptoms of our pain rather than look at the chain as a whole?
Case in point: We recently read an article about TCU athlete Clint Renfro. This young man is an outstanding athlete. But Renfro’s first years at TCU were plagued by one minor injury after another. Note the word “minor”. No one injury, in and of itself, seemed to be enough to force him to the sidelines. Yet that’s where he remained – on the sideline or more appropriately, with the athletic trainers.
Although he initially suffered from hamstring pulls and lower back pain. Then he began to experience increasing foot pain (which was later diagnosed as Achilles tendonitis). When we think back to the interconnective chain we really shouldn’t be surprised by this domino effect.
When one of the links in your body’s interconnective chain is broken (pulled, sprained, inflamed) other areas in your body suffer. In an attempt to maintain your performance levels, other parts of your body compensate for the ‘kink or break’ in your chain. What may have started out as a simple muscle imbalance or slight injury can ultimately lead to increased injury, pain, and potentially a significant breakdown of your body’s interconnective chain.
A breakdown within your interconnective chain can cause you to alter your focus. Instead of solving the actual problem, you are drawn towards the area surrounding it; those muscles forced to bear the burden of compensating for the weakness of the real problem.
Whether you are a weekend warrior, a competitive athlete, athletic trainer, physical therapist or just someone who’d like to live without pain, we challenge you to do a true evaluation of muscle strength and compensation. Look for the real problem. See which muscles are compensating for others. Realize that next time you suffer an injury the breakdown in your chain is not always what it seems, start from the bottom (your feet) and move towards finding a solution that ensures long-term healing.
So, what happened to Renfro? When his injuries continued and his healing did not, Renfro sought the specialists. After dozens of consultations and increasing personal frustration, Renfro was finally diagnosed with the real problem. A previously undetected dislocation in his right foot was determined to be the spark that lit the fuse leading to four years of fire to Renfro’s health. Renfro suffered a simple ankle sprain, but the damage caused a chain reaction that manifested into years of injury and frustration.
You can read more on Renfro at the link below (originally printed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram): http://texasjournalofchiropractic.eznuz.com/printFriendly.cfm?articleID=23079