To make changes sustainable so we can avoid injury long-term, we need to tie our changes into our everyday lives. Doing so also has the added benefit of not using our precious free time for excessive exercising or going to physical therapy. It all starts with this TiPS formula:
Function x Force x Frequency = Risk
Each factor in the formula represents something that you can control to reduce your risk of injury. Here’s how.
Factor 1: Function
If we can identify our level of function (or dysfunction!) in a given area, we can take steps to optimize it. A TiP in the right direction is to get ahead of the pain. Listen to your body and take notice when you feel pressure on a joint, a muscle that cannot work easily or a muscle that gets tired or tight quickly. Decide if simple movements such as putting on your shoes or jacket have started to feel even a little difficult.
These are all indicators that the tools your body needs to protect you as you work are not what they need to be. This is where TiPS 3-Point Positioning and Movement System™ comes in. One correction for the knee, for example, is to make sure the knee and the foot continue to point the same direction when squatting. If not, you need to develop the internal support (muscle) the knee and hip joints need to be aligned correctly.
Factor 2: Force
Take a moment to consider your daily tasks at work. What jobs and activities require the most force? Take advantage of tools and supports to reduce external forces where you can. Use an electric screwdriver instead of your hands and arms to remove and tighten screws or a hand truck to move boxes. You can also significantly reduce the force effects on your body by using your large power and stabilizing muscles to reduce forces on joints and small muscles.
Remember to consider the level of function in the muscles and joints necessary for the tasks. If a knee gets a little achy from the low force of sustained or repeated activities such as sitting or walking, it is likely not operating the way that it should be (dysfunction). That means the risk is increased exponentially with external forces. You can reduce this risk by correcting the internal forces on the joint, such as the torque on the knee due to weak ligaments, poor positioning, and inadequate or imbalanced muscle support.
Factor 3: Frequency
What tasks do you perform most often? Think beyond specific jobs or tasks and consider what position your body is in most of the day, from lying down and sitting to standing and walking. All these activities provide great opportunities for physical correction and enhancement (or depletion) of our physical resources.
For instance, if we make an adjustment to how we walk, it can change how the muscles pull, which can in turn change the forces on the ligaments and tendons. Done repeatedly, even a small adjustment can make a big difference. The difference made while walking will start to cross over into other tasks and activities, creating a much broader impact. A good change can heal the body; a bad change can cause degeneration and vulnerability.
You can significantly reduce sprain and strain risk by improving your body’s ability to function efficiently through improved and added capability, reducing the forces the body is exposed to, leveraging the body’s internal assists and leveraging the tasks and activities that we do frequently to make positive changes.
So what can you do to start getting your arms around preventing sprains and strains? For starters, download our Sprains, Strains and Sustainable Solutions Planner to help you sort out what changes make the most sense. You’ll find the form to the right of this post. Then give us a call. Providing sustainable solutions is what Tailored Injury Prevention Solutions does.