Are Some People More Injury Prone?
Absolutely there are some athletes that are injury prone, but it can definitely be corrected.
It is true that some athletes are prone to injuries, but the issue can be resolved with proper therapy. The picture above shows two basketball players. The gentleman on the left is Julius “Dr. J” Erving , one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He played for over 15 years scoring over 30,000 points, and was rarely injured. The gentleman on the right is Andrew Bynum. He is an up-and-coming player who at times is one of the best centers in the NBA, but knee injuries have hindered his progress.
Bynum’s knee injuries might be blamed on bad luck, bad work ethic, or just bad genes. However, I think Bynum’s injury woes are a result of postural imbalances, specifically his valgus knees.
Take a closer look at the above picture, specifically the left leg of both gentlemen. Do you notice any differences? If not, look at the same photo below. Bynum’s left knee is valgus, or knocked kneed. This occurs when the adductor muscles (inner thigh) and rotational leg muscles compensate for the main posture and gait muscles (the ones that should flex and extend the hips, knees, and legs). When Bynum walks or runs the left knee visibly tracks to the inside and the foot turns out, pivoting on the heel, and rolls inward. This leads to a lot of instability when he walks or runs, and means that any unstable surface could spell disaster for his knee.
On the other hand, you can see how straight the line is on Dr. J’s leg- a great example of a knee in proper alignment. In my opinion this posture kept Dr. J out of the therapy room and on the court playing basketball.
How do these differences occur? In my opinion Bynum’s valgus knee position is nothing more than the product of growing up in a motion-starved environment. Dr. J grew up during a different generation where the environment was motion-enriched. For example, Dr. J had to stand up and walk to change the channel on the television, whereas Bynum can stay seated and change the channel remotely. The example may seem trivial, but the cumulative effects of the body in motion contributed to Dr. J maintaining a functional and balanced body, and led to the success of his basketball game.
Some may argue the fact that Bynum is a professional athlete and he gets plenty of motion….right? He probably spent countless hours in the gym working on his basketball game, but also think about the time he spent riding in cars, sitting in front of the television, or at desks in classrooms. Bynum’s life (like many people today) lacks the movement that provides function and balance to the body. Consequently, he steps onto the basketball court with a body and posture that lacks the proper musculoskeletal functions to keep himself injury free.
This scenario is not an isolated issue for Andrew Bynum- the rate of injury for athletes in all sports of all levels is on the rise. The reason for this increase is that more and more athletes play their sport with postural dysfunctions that predispose them to injuries. What athletes need to focus on is a pre/post exercise routine that will align their joints into a stable position both before and after they have exerted themselves on the playing field. If done regularly this will no doubt keep the athlete on the field and injury free, and it should also result in a better overall performance.
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