Nutrition For Soft Tissue Injury
As runners we tend to head out the door without giving injury a second thought. BUT injury can occur so easily, especially soft tissue injury affecting our muscles, tendons and ligaments…and recovery can be slow.
So, in this episode we delve into the 3 key phases of soft tissue injury and how nutrition could support speedy repair and recovery.
LISTEN HERE Episode 26: Nutrition for Soft Tissue Injury
Defining Soft Tissue and explaining the differences between soft tissue and connective tissue. Also, confirming the importance of both soft and connective tissue in achieving overall muscle power and strength and thinking about soft tissue adaptation and how it differs from muscle adaptation.
Delving into Phase 1 of soft tissue injury and considering the chemical and physiological changes at this time. Thinking about inflammation and how it is experienced (pain, swelling, redness) before moving on to discuss the key nutrients to consider to help prevent chronic inflammation setting in. Nutrients including: calcium, magnesium and proteolytic enzymes.
Considering the female factors linked to soft tissue injury. Thinking about the prevalence in women and the influence of diet and female sex hormones.
Discussing Phase 2 of soft tissue injury linked to repair and recovery before moving on to consider the key nutrients to support the healing process. Key nutrients include: vitamin C, manganese and protein all of which are important raw materials for the synthesis of collagen.
A brief conversation about Phase 3 of soft tissue injury. This is called the wellness and prevention phase so the emphasis is on the layering effect of phases 1 and 2 whilst also introducing specific nutrients in phase 3 to help prevent re-injury and deterioration of soft tissue.
It has been found that women runners are more prone to injury than men, generally lower limb injury due to fatigue of the quadriceps muscles (the thigh muscles).
A study of 300 runners followed over a period of two years showed that 73% of women and 62% of men sustained an injury.
There appears to be an increased risk in women age 50 or older and a lower risk among those younger than 30 years – this could be linked to peri/menopause and the changes in hormone balance at that time. In those between the age of 30yrs and peri-menopause, it could be due to hormonal disturbances for other reasons…but for all women it could be linked to a poor diet or low nutrient intake leading to nutrient deficiencies.
So ladies, bear this in mind. Think about your diet and regarding your training…..build up slowly, especially if changing from one style of running to another eg. road running to trail running OR changing up distances.
- Remember that soft tissue is made up of muscle, tendons and ligaments and they are all equally important in giving muscle its power and strength.
- Remember there are 3 phases to repair and recovery of soft tissue injury and specific nutrients need to be considered for each phase.
- In phase 1, nutrition is really important in helping prevent chronic inflammation setting in. But, this said, the ACUTE inflammatory cascade is IMPORTANT in the overall keeling process.
- In phase 2 swift introduction of specific nutrients may help minimise scar tissue. This in turn may help reduce the risk of re-injury and/or tissue degeneration.
- Phase 3 nutrition is about building on the nutrition introduced in phases 1 and 2 to attain/maintain tissue health so you can return to your running whilst minimizing the chances of r-injury.
- Lastly, Ladies, remember that we are more prone to injury than men, so consider the nutritional changes YOU may want to introduce to help PREVENT soft tissue injury – prevention is always better than cure!!
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The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.