One of the oldest sports in the world, wrestling involves a combination of different grappling techniques performed by two competitors with the purpose of overpowering and pinning the opponent against a mat.
The combative nature of the sport requires athletes to maintain high levels of strength and cardiovascular fitness by following a strict regimen, constituting a specialised diet and long training sessions.
Considering the impact of injuries on performance, it becomes essential to formulate both rehabilitative and preventative strategies based on a thorough understanding of common lower limb injuries in wrestling.
A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science compared the foot and ankle conditions of elite athletes with those of non-athletes; wrestling was the main sport of the majority of the subjects.
The measures analysed in this regard were – The Visual Analog Scale (VAS), The Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) and The Foot and Ankle Outcome Score (FAOS) – for a detailed examination of the foot and ankle condition of all the participants.
There was a significant difference observed in all three measures for wrestling which was attributed to a large amount of energy needed by the athletes; intense bursts of activity such as the ones observed in the sport can increase the inflammatory response of the body and strain the joints.
While evaluating the training factors associated with wrestling injury, Staney and Dimitrova conducted an injury survey among 120 wrestling students to obtain information regarding chronic injuries, recent injuries (if any), treatment methods, training history and awareness of prevention plans.
The knee and ankle were listed as the most common sites of injury, with the following four types of injuries frequently reported – hamstring strains, adductor or groin strains, knee sprains and ankle sprains.
63 of the total 118 injuries were caused as a result of overuse and 55 due to direct trauma; previous injuries were identified as increasing the chances of recurrences amongst professional wrestlers.
Training for over 8 hours per week and training methodology were established as two significant risk factors for wrestling injuries; the authors recommend a well-planned strength and conditioning programme that focuses on improving flexibility, strength, endurance, stability and muscular balance.
Analysing injury patterns enables clinicians to design an appropriate injury prevention strategy that will help develop an athlete’s ability to decrease landing forces while protecting them from serious injuries and a premature retirement.
The provision of proper gear, training equipment, targeted exercises and experienced coaches are all necessary to further reduce incidences of lower limb injuries in wrestling.
Addressing underlying biomechanical discrepancies should be considered a prerequisite for achieving successful rehabilitative outcomes; the prevalence of foot postural disparities can increase an athlete’s predisposition to injuries of the lower extremity.
MASS4D® custom foot orthotics can help in minimising abnormalities resulting from an improper foot posture that can otherwise hinder a wrestler’s performance by weakening overall balance and stability.
The inclusion of MASS4D® as a rehabilitative tool should help in building strength in the muscles of the lower extremity by applying the greatest supportive force to the plantar surface of the foot to facilitate a positive functional change in the lower limbs.
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