We take it for granted, but did you know that your muscles lengthen as they contract? At first this doesn’t seem to make sense; however, muscles are often active while they are lengthening. This occurs when the external force is greater than the force the muscle(s) generates. Eccentric muscle contractions happen all of the time. When we step down stairs the thigh muscles (the quadriceps) are eccentrically contracting. Every time your heel hits the ground when you walk, the muscles in the front of your leg lower your toes in a controlled manner to the ground. Eccentric muscle contractions are a part of everyday life.
Injury often results in chronic weakness or loss of eccentric muscle strength. Physical therapists know that proper eccentric muscle control is necessary for normal movement. With almost every rehabilitation program we design, we are using eccentric muscle contractions to improve your ability to function.
Who do you know that is having trouble walking, getting out of a chair, or trouble going up or down stairs? Chances are, that person is suffering from weakness, and would benefit from a specialized program designed by a physical therapist.
What about the person that wants to ski again, play basketball again, or start running again. He or she may benefit from a program involving eccentric training. It may be a progressive jumping, leaping, bounding, and balance program. One thing is certain, there is plenty of good medical and exercise research that concludes that a sport-specific training program will help improve your performance. Moreover, it will decrease your risk of injury. Physical therapists design these programs all of the time.
PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO CALL IF YOU NEED ADVICE
– Hamstring Injury Rehab: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20118524
– Knee Injury Rehab: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19945588
– Prevention of Soccer Injuries: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19567665