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Surfing Injuries and Rehab with Charlie Castleden

As we move from summer into the winter season, the surf is not only bigger and often better, but consequently more and more surfing injuries occur too. And if your anything like PROmotion’s physiotherapist/surfer Charlie, it’s very tempting to go straight to the bigger waves without much preparation since last winter (or after a relaxed summer). Whether you're a seasoned surfer or just starting out, understanding the common injuries and how to prevent them is crucial for staying safe in the water.


Surfing is a full-body sport that demands strength, flexibility, and endurance. From the shoulders and thoracic spine required for paddling, to the arms, abdominals, and lower back engaged during take-off, and down to the hips, knees, and ankles responsible for maintaining balance and completing turns on the wave, every part of the body plays a crucial role. It's therefore no surprise then that surfing is accompanied by its fair share of injuries.


What are some common surf injuries?

Acute injuries are the most common among surfers, with your own board being the main culprit in 67% of cases where hitting the seabed and other’s boards account for the rest:

-       Knee meniscal injuries 

-       ACL ruptures 

-       MCL sprains

-       Ankle inversion sprains

-       Strains to the hamstrings and groin 


Chronic issues can also plague surfers, especially after periods of reduced activity followed by intense paddling sessions:

-       Low back pain

-       Neck pain

-       Shoulder pain 


How can PROmotion Physiotherapy help surf injuries?

Seeking prompt assessment and treatment from a physiotherapist such as Charlie is essential for a speedy recovery. As a previous national surfing competitor, Charlie has first-hand knowledge of the intricacies involved with surfing and has a keen eye for technique and personalised surf rehabilitation. 


How can we avoid injury? 

Fortunately, there are steps surfers can take to minimize their risk of injury. 

-       A regimen of physical fitness, including targeted exercises to strengthen and stretch the neck, shoulders, and back, can work wonders in warding off chronic injuries. 

-       Improving proprioception (joint awareness in space) and landing techniques can help reduce the risk of knee and ankle injuries. 

-       Correct paddling techniques can also help minimize stress on the joints and muscles, reducing the likelihood of overuse injuries. 


For high-performance surfers, a specialized surf training program can further enhance your skills and reduce the risk of injury. This program may include maximal strength training for the upper body to improve paddling performance, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for aerobic capacity, and lower-body resistance training to boost strength and power.


So, as you gear up for another season of surf (hopefully!), remember to prioritize your physical well-being. With the right preparation and care, you can enjoy surfing while minimizing the risk of injury. And if you do find yourself sidelined by an injury, know that help is available to get you back in the water.

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