“Good posture, ergonomics and athletic technique are all part of proper body mechanics and are important for optimal performance and injury prevention,” according to Personal Trainer Dean Javier, a certified Titleist Performance Institute golf therapist affiliated with Sutter Delta Medical Center.
Maintain muscle strength and flexibility
If the muscles are weak or inflexible they can affect the biomechanics or movement of the joint, causing pain. Unconditioned athletes, often called “weekend warriors,” are more prone to injuries due to a muscle imbalance caused by inflexibility, overuse or weakness.
“In sports, a muscle imbalance can lead to injury,” said Personal Trainer Sam Inderias, a certified Kinesio Taping practitioner and physical therapist affiliated with Sutter Delta Medical Center. “For example, athletes whose hamstrings – the muscles in the back of the thigh – are stronger than their quadriceps – the muscles in the front of the thigh – are prone to injury because the stronger quadriceps exert more force on the knee joint during sports.”
Keep your body aligned
“Your muscles lengthen and shorten as you move,” says Dean Javier, “acting as levers and forces on your bones and joints. Good body mechanics mean that all systems – muscles, bones and joints – are in proper alignment during movement.”
With repetitive motion, muscles weaken over time and no longer keep the bone in proper alignment as it moves in the joint, leading to wear and tear and resulting in injury.
“In some ways, our bodies are like our cars,” notes Sam Inderias. “If the tires on our cars are not aligned, uneven wear and tear results. The moving parts of the body are similar and can wear out over time.”
In athletics, softball pitchers and tennis players with poor throwing or serving technique can cause wear and tear on their shoulder joints with repetitive motion. Similarly, poor ergonomics in the workplace can lead to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain.
Physical therapists can help athletes and non-athletes alike heal from an injury through methods such as core stability training for the muscles of the abdomen, lower back and hips; rotator cuff stabilization; and posture training.
Sports clinics such as the Golf Clinic at Delta help athletes maximize their performance while minimizing injury due to poor technique or body mechanics. Sutter Delta also provides Kinesio Taping, a technique that uses latex-free tape to provide extra support to facilitate healing and prevent injury.
Strengthen and stretch your muscle groups, practice good posture and ergonomics, and exercise regularly and consistently.
Julie Ruiz-Wibbelsmann is the writer and publications coordinator for Sutter Health East Bay Region.