Have you made any resolutions for the New Year? Maybe they involve getting fitter or losing weight? Or perhaps you’ve signed up for a sport or an event, which you’ve been thinking about doing for a while?


It’s great that so many of us think about improving our fitness once the festive season is over. And for many people, that can begin with something as simple as a new gym membership or a commitment to get outside more often for a healthy walk. But what if you take on goals that are too ambitious or try to get too fit, too fast?


It’s tempting when you’re getting back into exercise – either after a short break like Christmas or a longer time away – to believe you’re capable of more than your fitness allows. Maybe the last time you got on a pitch or in a pool was a few months ago. Did you know that your fitness can deteriorate quite quickly, even with a few short weeks away from exercise?


That’s why it’s important to ease yourself in gently. Now isn’t the time for showing off or for trying to beat the guy, who’s been playing sport year-round and who already has a realistic plan for getting and staying fit. You need to look at your own fitness levels to grow and build safely from there.


In fact, many coaches recommend a benchmark session at the beginning of any season (new year included) to test fitness levels and make firm plans. The good news is, you don’t need a coach to make this happen. One way you can do this for yourself is to play your sport or do your exercise, while staying within 80% of your maximum effort.


As you exercise, keep in mind how your body is feeling and don’t push yourself hard. This way, you can stay safely within your own levels. The key is to accurately and honestly measure what you can comfortably do. Once you know what you’re capable of – how fast and far you can run, how many lengths you can do in the pool, how long you can last on the pitch, for example – you can work out a weekly/monthly/yearly plan that builds on your base level fitness and which will help you to avoid injury and burn-out. A top tip is to ensure your plan builds slowly and gradually.


Of course, it’s good to have big goals and to aim for sports and events that inspire you, so don’t be afraid to reach for the stars, too. Just do it calmly and carefully, considering what you can realistically achieve week-on-week throughout the year to reach where you want to be in 2015 and beyond.


We wish you a happy, healthy and fit new year!


To talk about injury treatment or prevention or to book an appointment, just come in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management at Oxford Street Therapy Centre or call 01933 224454 or 07814 396872 for a consultation and booking. You can also email:donna@bespokeinjurymanagement.co.uk


Did you know the history of rubgy goes back at least 100 years? Rugby is one of the most popular sports played around the world. Even if you don’t like playing it, chances are you’ve seen a game in real life or on the tv. 


Rumour says the game was invented by a Victorian schoolboy. This boy was playing football at Rugby school and during a normal game, he decided to pick up the ball and run for the goal, instead of just kicking it. And so the sport of rugby was born!


Nowadays there are two types of rugby – rugby union and rugby league – with different rules, styles and history. Despite their differences, the main aim of the game stays the same. It’s two teams pitted against each other and they must score points by touching the ball over the other’s teams back line or up and through H-shaped posts. Getting the ball around the pitch involves skill and strength – not only can players kick the ball, they can throw it and tackle each team's opponents.


Rugby is a very physical sport and if you play it, you’ll need to be tough, have great stamina and be agile. You’ll also need to be smart about avoiding injury.


Everyone knows that rugby is a high impact sport. In fact, South African University of Pretoria carried out a study on rugby injuries. It found that the injury you’d get from being trampled by an elephant is the same as a hard rugby tackle injury!


Of course, you’ll want to avoid any injuries, but especially rugby bone or ligament problems. You’ll also want to avoid concussion – another common rugby injury.


You get concussion from a blow or damage to your head. If you have concussion, typically you might briefly lose consciousness and have memory loss and confusion. Just like cartoon characters, you might even see ‘stars’ or experience visual disturbances.


Most people who get concussion don’t need serious medical treatment and symptoms will be short-lived – although it is always worth getting checked out by an onsite medical team or doctor. Serious signs to look out for that need immediate medical attention are if someone remains unconscious, has difficulty staying awake, speaking or understanding what people are saying or is bleeding or having a fit.


At Bespoke Injury Management, we want to look after all of your health needs, whether that’s rehab from a serious injury, ironing out niggling strains or strains or keeping you supple and in top shape for your next game, so you maximise your chances of avoiding injury altogether.


So, whether rugby is your game or you’re a different kind of sports player, you’re always welcome to come and see us.


To talk about injury, treatment or to book an appointment, just come in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management at Oxford Street Therapy Centre or call01933 224454 or 07814 396872. You can also email:donna@bespokeinjurymanagement.co.uk


By the way, Donna Norman is the on-pitch physio for Rushden and Higham Ferrers Rugby team!




You probably already know that bumps and bruises are inevitable, when you play sport. That’s particularly true if you participate in an impact sport or a game like hockey, where a heavy ball can fly at speed or it’s possible to sustain an injury from a hard hit.


Any injury like this can be painful, even if it doesn’t stop you playing your sport. No matter how skilful you are, accidents are unavoidable.


But did you know the sooner you treat an injury, the more likely it is to get better quickly? Here are some simple steps you can take yourself to promote your body’s healing.


If you find yourself with a nasty bruise or bump, it’s best to follow the RICE process. This will help with the pain and any internal bleeding, which is happens in bruises and swelling.  RICE stands for:







Rest is really important in treating injury. We know how tough it is for active sportspeople to stand still, let alone rest up, but it’s essential for a speedy recovery. If you don’t rest, you risk further damage to your body and therefore a longer healing time.


Ice is also great for treating bumps and bruises. It will take down any inflammation and numb some your pain. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel can be effective or you could apply an ice pack. Make sure you don’t put the ice directly on the skin, as it could damage it.


Compression is useful to take down inflammation, too, but make sure the bandage or tubi-grip you use isn’t too tight, as not only will it be more painful, but it could make your injury worse. That said, compression can help to reduce  painful swelling, which is what makes movement more difficult.


Lastly, elevation is also helpful when combatting the body’s inflammatory response to pain. Raising an injured part of your body encourages blood flow back to the heart. Aim to raise the injured part of your body above your heart – whether that’s putting your arm on a cushion or lying on your back with your legs against a wall or stable surface, for example.


You can also take some painkillers for your pain and, if you can tolerate it, ibuprofen will help both with swelling and bruising.


Do be aware, however, that RICE is a first-aid treatment. If your injury is more serious or if the pain lingers beyond a day or two, it’s best to get it checked out by a professional, like Donna at Bespoke Injury Management. This is also the time when you could start to use heat on your injury, but we’ll be able to give you a proper diagnosis and treatment, should you need it. And don’t worry – we’re used to seeing people with a bag of frozen peas on their leg or ankle or head.


Of course, you can avoid impact injuries simply by watching hockey or rugby on the tv – but don’t fall off the sofa! Although we can help with those kind of injuries, too…


To talk about injury, treatment or to book an appointment, just come in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management at Oxford Street Therapy Centre or call 01933 224454 or 07814 396872. You can also email: donna@bespokeinjurymanagement.co.uk




If you’re quick on your feet and don’t fancy the outdoor slush of a muddy pitch, but are looking for an energetic team game, have you considered the excitement of a fast-paced netball or basketball game?


Both games rely on speed, agility and dexterity. Not only that, but with specific rules about how you handle the ball and where you can move on the court – in netball, your position controls where you can go and what you can do – both netball and basketball are suited to fast movers and fast thinkers.  On court, it’s crucial that you have great flexibility and stability, particularly in your feet and ankles, as you’ll often be turning on the spot.


Another favourite indoor sport that demands fast movement and agility is squash. Again, you’ll need to have strong ankles to cope with the pace, movement and change of direction that characterises this popular sport.


That’s why it’s essential you warm up and cool down properly. We talk about warm up and cool down sequences a lot at Bespoke Injury Management, but that’s because they’re so important to injury prevention and management. We recommend a dynamic stretch routine before you play – where you use movement in your stretching. And when you cool down, we think static stretches – the ones you hold for 30-90 seconds – are generally better.


A great warm-up or cool-down sequence will take you from the top of your head – stretching out your neck muscles and shoulders – through your core and down into your legs and ankles. Even a simple ankle-circle clockwise and anti-clockwise for a few seconds on each leg can make all the difference between a healthy game and one marred by a sprained or twisted ankle.


It’s also important you choose the right footwear for your sport. Sloppy, badly fitting shoes that make you slide over the court with no grip will do your body no favours. Instead, make sure you invest in properly fitting footwear with the right style and grip for the game you’re playing. Not only will your shoes make you more stable on court, they’ll probably make you faster and more responsive, too. That’s a win all round.


You might also be wondering if it’s OK to exercise through pain? Our general advice is that it’s not a good idea. What starts out as a small problem can easily turn into a full-blown injury, particularly if you don’t rest enough. That’s not to say you won’t get the odd aches and pains if you’re running around on court again, but if your pain lingers or worsens, it’s a good idea to get it checked out soon. Here at Bespoke Injury Management we’re always on hand to advise, reassure and treat, whatever your problem, so don’t hesitate to ask.


And finally, if netball, basketball or squash aren’t your thing, don’t forget this month sees the Great North Run, Ryder Cup and World Sailing Championships. So there's plenty to enjoy!


If you’d like pop in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management, you can come to Oxford Street Therapy Centre in Wellingborough or call 01933 224454or 07814 396872. You can also email donna@bespokeinjurymanagement.co.uk

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Anyone for tennis?



June sees an exciting month for tennis fans – fresh off the heels of Roland Garros (the French Open) in Paris, the world’s best tennis players will move to the UK – first for a ‘warm-up’ at Eastbourne, before the action kicks in at Wimbledon at the beginning of July.

Among the stars fans can hope to see are home-grown talent Andy Murray, as well as top seeds such as Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Stan Warwrinka and Roger Federer among the men and Serena Williams, Na Li, Agnieska Radwanska and Simona Halep among the ladies.

But the path to success and stardom hasn’t been straightforward for any of these seeds, with many of them testifying they’ve been dogged by injury and strains, preventing them from performing at their best. All professional sports players accept that injury is likely to happen – they know the key is to minimise the possibility of it happening, to get it treated when it does occur and to be mentally prepared for it.

At Bespoke Injury Management, we know that all of these things are important – prevention, treatment and psychology. That’s why we can help you when a little niggle begins, giving you advice and treatment to prevent whatever is wrong from getting worse and having a serious impact on your sport, whether that’s tennis or something else.

We also know that early and frequent treatment is likely to minimise the effect of any injury you do sustain and we will help you to get better quicker. Not only that, but when you come to see us, we’ll give you advice on how to get back to fitness without further injury or irritation.

You’ll find that we understand how tough it is psychologically when injury takes you out of your training and competition schedule, so you’ll find that, unlike a general physio, we’ll be sympathetic to your needs and your desire to get back on the court, pitch, course or wherever as fast and healthily as you can.

You’ll be pleased to discover that we’re also skilled at dealing with particular problems associated with your sport – for example, we find tennis players often struggle with shoulder problems, so we’re good not only at manipulation and massage to speed healing, but we know exactly what exercises will help you, too, and can offer effective taping – making you look just like a tennis star!

As you get better, you can trust you’re in good company. Every serious sports player has had to face performance-threatening injury. Top tennis star, Rafa Nadal, in particular, has struggled with injury in the past few years. Despite the disappointment of missing whole Slam tournaments and not being able to play to his best at key moments, Rafa remains philosophical about injury –

“That’s part of life. That’s part of sport. It’s just another tough moment,’ he says. “I’m going to keep playing, going to keep training hard and I’m going to keep enjoying the world of tennis.”

It’s our aim to keep you playing, keep you training hard and keep you enjoying your world of sport, too.

To talk about injury, treatment or to book an appointment, just come in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management at Oxford Street Therapy Centre or call 01933 224454 or 07814 396872. You can also email: donna@bespokeinjurymanagement.co.uk

Check out the latest tennis news here [http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/]

Tennis not your thing? Royal Ascot [http://www.ascot.co.uk/] happens in June and so does test cricket at Lords [http://www.lords.org/]

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Get free from back pain


2-P1080924Whether you’re a spin bowler or sofa surfer, keep your back safe this month.

Did you know that May is the month, when the UK cricket season really gets going? Or that you can now watch county teams play not just at weekends, but on weekdays, too?

Longer, warmer days and changes to the cricket schedule mean cricket fans can indulge their passion more easily this year.


Of course, like other sports, cricket has its fair share of risk and injuries. Among the top five cricket injuries are hamstring strains, lower back pain, side strain, shoulder pain and sprained ankles. All these conditions are not only painful, but can negatively affect your season – especially tough if you enjoy a sport that’s not available all year round.

If you're a keen bowler, you're particularly at risk, especially from lower back pain. You may be vulnerable to stress fractures in your back. Just bending to pick up a ball or standing still for a long time can make your back tired and stressed – leading to short-term or chronic back pain. The problem is, your back’s involved in so many movements, not only on the pitch, but off it, too.

And back strain is painful, limiting and frustrating.


If your back hurts, it affects simple, everyday jobs, like stacking the dishwasher, getting in your car or even putting on your shoes. It’s not only when you play sport, that you can hurt your back – sitting badly, twisting awkwardly, even carrying heavy shopping can all bring on back pain.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help yourself. One is to be mindful about how much strain you're putting on your back. Building core stability – through simple exercises or stretching disciplines, like yoga or pilates – can be really helpful. If the muscles in your back are stable, you're less likely to suffer injury. And if you do injure yourself, you'll heal quicker.


A good diagnosis about your back pain always helps, so do pop in to see us anytime. We're always happy to take a look at you. And we’ll be able to tell if you have a more serious problem, like stress fractures, which would mean you’d need to rest up for a while.

Sports physio will help you get back on your feet – and back on the pitch – as soon as possible and ensure you do it safely. We’ll give you solid advice on how to prevent further injury. We can take a look at issues like posture and can give you useful exercises to build strength. Although we love seeing you, we love seeing you enjoy your favourite sport even more, whether that's on the pitch or from the sofa!

If you’d like to find out more about back pain, any injury or to book an appointment, pop in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management at Oxford Street Therapy Centre or call 01933 224454 or 07814 396872. You can also email donna@bespokeinjurymanagement.co.uk


ONE billion pounds – is the amount the NHS spends on back problems each year.

FIVE million days – are lost to British business each year through back-related sick leave.

FORTY-EIGHT hours – is the maximum time you should wait, before getting your back pain checked out.

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