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Sport for Women in Spain

For people who love sport, want to play sport, try new sports and tips on injury prevention and rehab. The female perspective on sport in Spain.

Start of season injuries
01 September 2009


Just starting the new season of rugby, first pre season training, and what happens?  Ankle sprain.  Typical.  But all is not lost, after a couple of days with crutches, I´m progressing my rehab, and can start running again.  Being a physio, I know how to treat myself, and so didn´t go running (I couldn´t have even if I´d wanted to) to the doctor.  Often this is the first thing that a lot of spanish do, but I don´t have a lot of faith of the doctors in "Urgencias". 

For a simple ankle sprain, the best thing to do is ice, ice and ice.  If you were to go to A&E, they would X ray the ankle, then bandage it up, a lot will put the ankle in a half cast (open plaster cast) and bandage it up, and tell you not to put weight on it for 2-3 weeks.  The funny thing is, is after telling you this, they don´t provide you with crutches!!!!  Amazing!  So you hop/hobble out of hosptal, and you have to buy your own crutches.

The thing is, now that they´ve bandaged you up, there´s no chance of you being able to put ice on the ankle, so often the ankle just swells up even more, which leads to secondary damage of the tissues.  The body always has an over reaction to try to heal it self.  Plus after 3 weeks of no weight on the leg, the ankle is so stiff (due to the swelling and due to immobilisation) that it means extra rehab to gain mobility in the ankle joint, plus the normal rehab to return to sport.


So, what should you do....this is general advice, as every case is different, and also depends on the grade of sprain.  If in doubt, always consult a physiotherapist.  First things first, is ice the area.  Don´t put ice directly on the skin, use a thin towel so that you don´t end up burning the skin.  Ice should be used for periods of 15 mins of every hour.  Even better is a bucket of water, with ice, and the foot placed in the ice water well above the ankle.  This should be done for the next 48hours.

Rest is important to allow the tissues to heal.  After 48 hours, progress to partial weightbearing, using crutches, and then progressively to fulll weight bearing.  Meanwhile, range of movement exercises can be performed non weightbearing, ie, moving the foot in all directions gently but not into the range where you feel pain.  Swimming pools are great because you can practice partial weightbearing by walking in the pool.

Once full weightbearing, you can progress to balance exercies, standing on one foot, trying to keep your balance up to 30seconds, once you achieve this, with the eyes closed to challenge your proprioception, here your ankle has to maintain it´s balance without using your eyes as a visual aid.  These balance exercises are the most important so that the ankle regains fine control, and is less likely to reinjure in the future.


This is a very basic resumen, I could talk for ages on the subject, but to be able to return to sport or normal life, each person will need a specific exercise regime.  Here I´ve outlined the important aspects only.


Anyway, thanks to the ice I used right from the beginning, my ankle didn´t swell up at all, and by day 4 I now have 90% pain free movement.  Within 5 days I should be able to get back to training, but will work on my balance and proprioceptive exercises before the training session to help prepare the ankle for the stresses it will undergo in the session.


So, I´m happy, no doctors, and best of all, no plaster cast!





Like 0        Published at 18:10   Comments (0)

Keep on running
25 August 2009

On of the things I love about Valencia is the River Turia, the old river, now 10km of parks and gardens and one of the hotspots for playing sport.   There are football pitches, an athletics track and gym, baseball grounds, rugby grounds, and you can even find table tennis and mini golf!

I think one of the easiest sports to take part in is running and you will always find people running in the river, and it´s fantastic, with the great weather you get in Valencia, plus no traffic, means no worries about geting run over (well, maybe by the odd bike or two!).

Running is great, because all you need are a pair of trainers, and you´re off!  Plus the river is well marked out in terms of distances, you often get running groups running series using the markers as a guide to distance.  It´s social, and a great workout at the same time.  In half an hour of gentle running you can burn about 500 calories, depending on your weight and speed, great for weight control, plus your heart and lung capacity.

If you´re new to running, most important thing is to make sure that you have a decent pair of trainers, and I mean trainers that are made for running, not for wouldn´t believe how many people I see running in shoes that look great, but do not provide any kind of support for the feet.  My personal favorite are asics, but this is after trying out hundreds of different brands.  Everyone is different so, if you find a brand that you find comfortable and doesn´t give you any problems, stick with that brand.  There are other things to think about, and you´l hear about it the more running you do, such as feet that over pronate, etc.  Truth is, all of us pronate when we run.  This is the term for when our foot strikes the ground the foot rolls inward.  It is part of the normal process for running and walking.  There may be problems when you over pronate, which is when the foot has to correct the strike position with the ground and rolls inwards more than normal.  Most people are born with this, or do this as part of a compensatory action for a different biomechaical problem.  Best thing to do, if you are not sure, is talk to a physiotherapist who can do an analysis of your foot and leg biomechanics, and can advise accordingly.  It is a big subject to go into, I often have to look at foot biomechanic as part of my work, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

So, now you got your running shoes, how about giving it a go.  If you´re in Valencia, check out the river, I may see you there!









Like 0        Published at 16:53   Comments (2)

Home Run!!! Softball... Baseball for Women
19 August 2009

This is a great sport to play.  I remember playing this when I was a kid, although rounders tended to be more popular with my teachers!


Softball is the female version of baseball, where the pitch is smaller, the ball is slightly bigger, and only underarm bowling (pitching) is allowed...but don´t be fooled thinking that, as it´s softball it´s soft pitching.... there were some mean high speed pitchers in this competition!


I include this sport, as recently the 2009 European Women´s Softbal Championship was held in Valencia.  It was a week of exciting matches (the crowd tends to be pretty wild and very vocal, it was great cheering and generally "gritando como una loca"!), I managed to see several matches, as I pass the local softball pitch everyday on my bike as I go to work.  Great fun.  Obviously I was supporting the spainish side, and it was great to see the other countries participating, like Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and of course Great Britain and France.  The Netherlands won the Championship, finaly beating Great Britain and Spain came 8th. 


The objective of this Championship was that the first 3 teams qualify for the International World Championships in Oklahoma next year....Plus Softball is currently bidding to be reinstated in the Olympics for 2016. 


Softball is available to play in several cities in Spain, the main ones being Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and San Sebastian.  I´ll be trying it out after the sumer holidays, here in Valencia, so keep an eye out for that post!  There is even a Spanish Softball league, check out details at, click on Spain, and there you´ll find everything.


Oh and BTW I absolutely love the way spanish have their own pronounciations for everything.  In spain Softball is "Sófbol".


I´d love to know if you have played, or have given this sport a go, let me know how you all get on!





Like 0        Published at 15:27   Comments (6)

Intro to Blog
19 August 2009

Hi guys


Welcome to my first ever blog.  Patience while I try to figure out how everything is supposed to work.


This blog is inspired by my desire to see more women participate in sport in spain.  Here, the usual sports, football and basketball are popular, but my chosen sport, rugby, is not as well known.  I´ll be including posts re the lesser well known sports and obvioulsy with sport and exercise comes injuries, many of which and stop us participating, so I´ll be handing out tips from time to time, mostly on the sorts of stuff I end up treating. 


Feel free to ask me anything, and I´ll do my best to answer!!





Like 0        Published at 14:25   Comments (0)

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