Sports clinic: Our experts sort out your health problems

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I know about the benefits of isotonic drinks, but I think they taste disgusting. Could I prepare drinks myself that taste better and are just as effective?

I know about the benefits of isotonic drinks, but I think they taste disgusting. Could I prepare drinks myself that taste better and are just as effective?
S Middleton, by email

Making your own drink with a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt in a large glass or water bottle can give you that flexibility, but the proportions will not be exact. You will need to experiment to see what is palatable, and try different flavourings. However, if you don't like any of the wide variety of isotonic drinks on the market, then it's likely you won't like your own.

At the airport a couple of months ago, someone banged into my heel with a luggage trolley. I think they must have damaged my Achilles heel, because it's been hurting and slightly swollen ever since. I like to run, but I'm worried I'll do myself even more damage.
K Usborne, Tonbridge

The story of being hit on the back of your heel is a classic one, and I'm afraid it may mean you've at least partially ruptured your Achilles tendon. You need to see your doctor to check using the "squeeze test". With luck the damage is minor, in which case you can carefully build up your exercise. Start with brisk walking and progress in stages to a gentle jog, making sure the pain doesn't get worse at each stage.

I'm the only left-footed player in my football team, so I often get called up to take corners. I'm fine at getting good height on the ball, but I rarely manage to swing it in. Any advice?
D Rundel, Farnborough

The trendy phrase is "wrap your foot around the ball", but all this really means is kick the ball with the instep while imparting as much side- and top-spin as necessary. The faster you slide your foot around the ball, the more spin is created. For practice, place the ball for a corner and try to bend it into the goal. Once you can do that, move the ball back five yards behind the goal-line and now try to score. By experimentation you will learn which actions put more curve on the ball.

I commute to work on a bicycle, and, thanks to the state of the roads, both my wrists are hurting badly. One result is that at the gym I now struggle to do press-ups. What should I do?
J S Chamberlin, by email

The wrist has nine small bones connected by ligaments and controlled by muscles and tendons running from the arm to the hand. It's common to strain any of these, but your wrist will get better if you reduce the stress on it and do strengthening exercises. Look at your position on the bike. You should be able to ride with your hands light on the handlebars, gently balancing you. To reduce the strain on your wrist until it settles down, consider a splint and rest from activities, such as press-ups, that cause you pain. Start stretching your wrist without hurting it several times a day and try to strengthen the muscles by exercises with a soft ball, but make sure they are slow and controlled. If you don't make progress, see your doctor, a sports specialist or a physiotherapist to get a diagnosis and more aggressive treatment such as anti-inflammatory pills, physiotherapy treatment or a cortisone injection.

In this week's panel, alongside Dr Richard Budgett, the medical director of the British Olympic Association, was Matt Holland, Republic of Ireland international and captain of Ipswich Town

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