TriMuskoka helps local athletes minimize injury with free workshop

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By Don McCormick

On Wednesday, April 3, the TriMuskoka Triathlon Club hosted a workshop in the Kimberly-Clark Conference Centre focused on reducing the number of sports injuries experienced by, mainly, endurance athletes. While injuries are frequent and even expected in contact and collision sports like hockey and football, people are often surprised to hear of the extent of sports injuries in sports like running, swimming, biking and so on.

The workshop was suggested to the TriMuskoka Board by long-time local triathlete Louise Choquette.

“There are a lot of people (endurance athletes) getting injured and then they have to go through some physio exercises to strengthen the muscles, ligaments and tendons and get the body back in shape,” she said, “and, I’m thinking, ‘what if we could do those exercises before (an injury) so we don’t get injured?'”

The TriMuskoka board bought into the idea and Deanna Lavigne, a member of the board did a lot of the work coordinating the event.

The organizers recruited sport and exercise medicine physician Dr. Rich Trenholm, chiropractor Matt Diston and physiotherapist Carly Litchfield of the sports medicine clinic Reactivate Muskoka, physiotherapists Leslie Tempest and Stacey Van Schyndel of ProActive Rehab, and physiotherapist Brittany Van Dyken of Physio Works Muskoka. All these professionals are local and provided their services pro bono.

“At Reactivate Muskoka I see a lot of sport injuries but not necessarily just in elite athletes,” said Trenholm. “The majority of the patients that we see at the clinic are weekend warriors, recreational athletes of all ages, up and coming athletes who are just getting back into an exercise routine and older adults who want to keep moving and doing the sports they have enjoyed throughout their active lives. I see a lot of plantar fasciitis (foot), a lot of butt problems (hip and bum muscles).”

Chiropractor Matt Diston (left) gives Monique Charlton some pointers (supplied)

Chiropractor Matt Diston (left) gives Monique Charlton some pointers

Mark Sinnige is a very successful local triathlete who has been competing in the sport for about 20 years. And, he gets injured. “Right now I have a small back issue,” admits Sinnige. “I get Achilles issues once in a while. I hoped to get knowledge about why I am disposed to certain injuries and knowledge about how to prevent them out of this evening.”

Melanie Mar is a local physician and a triathlete. One might expect a physician to know all about sports injuries – what causes them and how to avoid them. “That is really not true,” says Mar. “We get training in certain medical specialties but not necessarily in sports medicine. And things change over time so it’s hard to keep up.” Mar admits to having sports injuries and has received good treatment locally. She also says that she learned a lot out of the evening that she will be able to incorporate into her training to, hopefully, avoid injury.

The lower body seems to be most prone to injury. “We see everything from hip to hamstring, to knee and to ankle injuries,” says Litchfield, “injuries that are especially running related.”

“We see a lot of hip pain, glute (bum muscles) pain and groin pain,” confirms Van Dyken.

Leslie Tempest (left) and Stacey Van Schyndel were among the local professionals who provided advice at the workshop

Leslie Tempest (left) and Stacey Van Schyndel were among the local professionals who provided advice at the workshop

Trenholm makes reference to a “too” syndrome as the cause of injury.  “Doing too much, too soon, for too long and too frequently. People don’t progressively apply a load to their body so the body adapts and evolves so their bodies aren’t ready to respond to the greater load that’s applied over time.”

So, what does one do to avoid injury?

“There’s a lot of evidence these days about how strength training can benefit your cardio work in swimming, biking, and running,” said Litchfield.

So a Strength Training and Injury Prevention Workshop is a very timely event as triathlon season is rapidly approaching.

Sarah MacPhee is a relative newbie to the triathlon scene. “I did the indoor triathlon a couple of years ago and a couple of Try-a-Tris since then,” she said. “I’ve had injuries and I got out of the evening what I had hoped to get. I got lots of exercises I hope to incorporate into my training.”

Dr Rich Trenholm probably speaks for the 27 participants in the workshop as to its success. “It was a fantastic evening,” said Trenholm. “It’s great to have these amazing resources for rehabilitative medicine in our community.”

Dr. Rich Trenholm (left) guides Russ Buckerfield in an exercise

Dr. Rich Trenholm (left) guides Russ Buckerfield in an exercise

This workshop was provided without cost to the participants – members of TriMuskoka Triathlon Club and non-members alike. It is part of the club’s commitment to giving back to the community.

The club also gives back to the community by donating the profits of its indoor triathlon to Enliven – a centre for self-care for people and care-givers going through a cancer journey. Deanna Lavigne is a member of both organizations and promoted this partnership with the hopes of increasing awareness of Enliven. Enliven will be holding a cancer wellness fair at the Huntsville Legion on May 1.

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