On sport injury trends: A Q&A with Kaye Kerr
Kaye, you just celebrated 30 years at Caboolture Physical Therapy Centre. What are the trends you have seen in sports injuries over the years?
A big one is the increase in the intensity of training, competition and commitment. Most people my age would have played plenty of sport at school, or for a local club for 1-2 hours a couple of days a week when they were young. We get more exercise doing household chores, climbing trees and playing backyard cricket more than anything. So we had a kind of all round fitness, but a much lower expectation for perfection at sport.
My kids are 12 and 14. Now I watch my daughter’s ballet friends training up to 3-5 hours a day, not just in ballet but in acrobatics and every style of dance. My son’s soccer mates train almost every day, at school, at the club and playing multiple games a week. A 12-year old triathlete may be training 5 hours a day. Kids have so many more opportunities now and are often playing more than one sport.
With this, comes an increase in the likelihood of overuse and accumulative injuries from minor postural or structural problems being amplified to major problems at a young age. These kids are presenting more often at Physiotherapy, but really, we would love to be seeing them for pre-season assessments before their training ramps up.
I am now seeing more and more kids with chronic pain associated with overtraining, chronic injury or unrecognised and untreated postural or structural problems. Leading them to break down at an earlier age. I am quite passionate about seeing more prevention in the area of sports injuries, especially among our kids.
What about trends with the aging population?
It’s wonderful to witness the growing trend of seeing more older people exercise. I think the world health organisation guidelines for exercising has been wonderfully helpful in the increased awareness of the need for exercise to prevent and manage chronic disease.
The World health organisation guidelines recommend that we need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of combined moderate and vigorous activity per week, as well as beneficial strength and balance training.
It seems that the older people are taking this advice up in droves.
What sort of things do older people present with when they come to see you?
If I had to break it down, I would put it into phases:
- Those who attend the clinic and are wanting to prepare to begin exercise.
- Those who are currently exercising and want to do it better.
- And those with injuries.
Although those with injuries are in fact, the smallest group. I think because the older sports person generally does the preparation well. Certainly, the working sports person probably has a higher rate of injuries as we are all time poor, so fitness, warm-up and symptom management suffer as a result.
If you could us some advice about good practices to put in place as we get older what would they be
See a physio before you get out and exercise to treat any joint problems first and to help with the right exercise plan and training for your sport.
The older people that are having fun with sport and aging well are doing this! There are so many ways to exercise now for the older person, Master’s for the competitive, walking sports for those who can’t run, classes and access to Medicare rebated treatment for the injured or those suffering Disability.
If you are participating in sport, thinking of beginning an exercise program or wanting some friendly advice from our experienced staff then please phone the practice on 5495 3255.
For a list of the services we offer at the clinic – please click here.
About Kaye Kerr, Principal Physiotherapist and Practice Owner.
Kaye graduated from the University of Qld in 1983 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. She worked in Canberra, Sydney, London, Lincoln and Redcliffe before starting her first practice in 1989. More about Kaye.