– LOOK AFTER YOUR BODY AND IT WILL LOOK AFTER YOU –
THE MAIN PREDICTOR FOR INJURY TO THE BODY WILL BE HOW THE BODY ADAPTS TO EVERYDAY FORCES IT ENCOUNTERS.
Thomas Myres states “whatever else they may be doing individually, muscles also influence functionally integrated body-wide continuities”. Simply put, muscles can influence more than just their own range of motion within the body. One of the key factors in injury prevention within the body is shock absorption and dispersion of force from an impact on the body, something that Ferenczi, et al., show muscles do very efficiently in their 2014 paper. If the muscles have reduced function either in the form of reduced contractility or inability to stretch, that shock absorbing property can be compromised, leading to greater internal stress within not only the muscle but the joint it surrounds.

It should come as no surprise that avoiding hard impacts is another great way to prevent injury. Although the joints themselves have a good amount of shock absorption the inner tissue of the joint surface has a poor blood supply, meaning that they take much longer to repair , relative to muscles. After a fall or jump the internal surface of the joints can become damaged due to compression. One time injuries tend not to lead to long term complications, however if the joint is repetitively damaged (from jumping or load bearing) it can create enzymatic changes within the joint cartilage leading to arthritis.

One of the most common long term stressors on the joints which can lead to early degenerative changes (such as arthritis) is continued compression of the joint. Normally found in individuals who carry heavy backpacks, as in the military, or those who are overweight. When a joint is already partially compressed due to extra weight, it has a much lower shock absorbing capacity when it encounters even low-level shocks, such as those from walking as mentioned in the paper by Bliddal, et al., 2014.

Weight loss is one of the most common ways of reducing stress and potential injury to joints. However, for those who have jobs that involve carrying heavy loads, stress can be reduced on the joints by ensuring that the weight is being dispersed evenly across the body.