As sports injuries continue to rise, especially among younger athletes, many people are turning to new ways of prevention. From strengthening programs to better athletic technology, prevention of sports injuries have risen to the top of many coaches and sports medicine professional’s priority list. One such prevention measure that is becoming more popular is that of proper movement and form, known to the sports medicine community as biomechanics.
What Is Biomechanics?
Biomechanics may sound complex and excessively scientific for the average person. However, it’s simply the study and application of proper movement. From proper positioning to proper technique, coaches and sports technicians are always concerning themselves with biomechanics. Even beyond sports, chiropractors and ergonomic specialists are well schooled in proper movement and positioning. Chances are if you sit at a desk at work, you’ve probably heard about ergonomic chairs. Or, if you do manual labor, you’ve probably heard about standing correctly or lifting with your knees instead of your back – all to avoid injury. This is all due to the science of biomechanics, which on a basic level is the analysis of human movement.
Originally, proper movement and technique were simply how to play or perform the sport correctly and efficiently. Now, however, it’s becoming a way to prevent injury – from sports to the office space. Biomechanics identifies the best technique for enhancing performance as well as safety and injury prevention.
“Form plays a big role in any exercise,” says Jason Kopp, a certified athletic trainer of 5 years. “If you’re doing any exercise incorrectly, you can injure yourself. You need to train your body to move correctly.”
Furthermore, biomechanics even includes the analysis of sports gear and equipment.
How Does Proper Movement Prevent Injury?
When you move improperly, you’re moving in a way that’s unnatural for the body, which puts added stress on the body. Furthermore, you’re not engaging the muscles that need to be engaged to support the movement.
For example, not striking right or holding the body right during running can not only create inefficiency, affect performance, but can lead to pain and injuries. Biomechanics – arm swing, foot strike, even trunk leaning will affect how someone runs, says Sarah Getty, a physical therapist with OSR who specializes in running.
“When someone comes in to see me because of a running injury, we’ll go through a running analysis,” she says. “I look at their ankle through their knee and hip, measuring joint angles, making sure that everything is lining up correctly.”
Biomechanics can even include lifting weights properly to avoid back problems, squatting properly to avoid knee injuries, and jumping correctly.
Who Ensures Proper Movement?
If you want to avoid injury, it’s important to maintain proper form and technique. These things are not only important in enhancing sports performance, but also in preventing pain and injury.
But how do you know your biomechanics are correct?
Coaches and sports technicians and specialists know that best in proper technique for their sports. However, physical therapists and athletic trainers are trained to know and analyze how the body should move naturally and optimally. Having a physical therapist or athletic trainer analyze movement is extremely important in any sports prevention program and injury prevention.