Return2Fitness

  • Preventing Lower Extremity Soccer Injuries

     Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, with more than 250 million players in over 200 countries. The game of soccer involves stamina, balance, agility, coordination and teamwork, so it’s no surprise that soccer players are at high risk for injury.

     

    Jozy Altidore, U.S. forward, injured his left hamstring in Monday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup game against Ghana. After just 20 minutes of play time, Altidore had to be replaced on the field due to the pain of his injury. Sprains, strains or tears that present in the lower extremity are the most common type of injury reported by soccer athletes.

    A hamstring strain is not considered a serious injury, but activity should be stopped immediately in order to let the muscle(s) rest. The hamstring is made up of three muscles on the back thigh that help give you the ability to bend your leg at the knee. A hamstring strain is presented when one or more of these muscles have been over stretched. However, if the muscle stretches too far, a partial or full hamstring tear may occur. This would cause recovery to increase to several weeks or months without training or participating in sports.

    In addition to straining the hamstring, injuries like shin splints (pain of the shinbone), patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee) and Achilles tendinitis are also lower extremity injuries commonly seen in soccer players.

    Prevention:

    Decreasing your risk of sprains, strains and tears are possible with these preventive steps:

    Warm Up – Make sure to stretch and warm muscles before each practice and game.

    Wear Appropriate EquipmentShin guards and properly fitted footwear that are in good condition. Use a brace or taping after a sprain to prevent a re-injury.

    Know Your Limits – Make sure to fully recover from a previous injury before returning to the game. If you return too early, you’re at higher risk for injury.

    whole-body-stretching-routine

    Rest and Recovery:

    Recovery may take days, weeks or months, depending on how severe the strain, sprain or tear is. For example, a completely torn hamstring (grade 3 injury) may take several months to heal and return to normal physical activity.

    Use the RICE method for optimal recovery:

    Rest – Avoid physical activity. Keep your leg as still as possible.

    Ice – Apply ice therapy for about 20 minutes, two to three times a day.

    Compression – Use a compression sleeves to help reduce pain and swelling.

    Elevation – Further reduce swelling by slightly elevating your leg while sitting.

    Over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are safe to use to help relieve the pain. If your pain and discomfort continues longer than a few days, consult your physician immediately. You may have a grade 2 or grade 3 injury that requires more advanced treatment.

    271_thigh_black_44

    Resources:

    FIFA:
    http://www.fifa.com/

    National Center for Biotechnology Information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1725275/pdf/v039p00473.pdf

    WebMD:
    http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/hamstring-strain

    American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:
    http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/

  • Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

     

    Have you ever woken up, gotten out of bed and felt a huge stabbing pain in your heel? The pain can be excruciating. You may even want to sit down. Although continuing to walk and stretch the heel can reduce the severity of the pain, it will most likely reoccur later in the day - often after standing for a long time or strenuous activities. This is Plantar Fasciitis.

    Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults, but can be seen in youth who are extremely active. It is caused by a strain on the plantar fascia. This is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes and acts like a shock-absorber for the arch of the foot.

    A00149F01

    Photo credit: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/

     

    Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors:

     

    • Sudden Weight Gain or Obesity

    • Arch Problems (high arches or flat feet)

    • Tight Achilles tendon or Calve muscles

    • Excessive Pronation (abnormal inward twisting or rolling of the foot)

    • Run, Walk or Stand for long periods of time

    • Wearing shoes that are worn, do not fit or have poor cushioning

    • Middle Age (often occurs between ages 40 to 60)

    Most cases of plantar fasciitis will clear up in just a few months and with conservative treatment methods.

     

    Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:

     

    • Rest: Reduce activities that trigger pain, like running on hard surfaces or placing    continuous pressure on the heel.

    • Pain Relievers/Anti-Inflammatories: NSAIDs, Cortisone Injections, Ice treatments

    • Stretch: Start your day with a good stretch of your calf, foot and toes

    Arch Supports and Orthotics: Providing better support to the heel and foot

    • New Shoes: Shoes with well cushioned insoles can help relieve pain and discomfort

    Night Splints: Allows passive stretching to the calf and plantar fascia while sleeping

     

    Goals of Treatment:

     

    • Relieve inflammation and pain in the heel

    • Allow small tears in the plantar fascia ligament to heal

    • Improve your strength and flexibility

    • Correct foot problems like arches and pronation

    • Allow you to go back to your normal activities.

    With any medical injury, you should consult a physician. However, WebMD recommends you call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms:

    • Heel pain is accompanied by fever, numbness or tingling, or redness or warmth in the heel

    • Pain that continues without putting weight on the heel

    • Pain when you put weight on a heel injury

    • Pain that doesn't get better after a week of home treatment

     

    Resources: 

    NCBI: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004438/

    Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/basics/causes/con-20025664

    WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/plantar-fasciitis-topic-overview

  • Common Causes of Back Pain

    The onset of back pain can cause you major discomfort and even prevent you from participating in activities that you love. There are several ways to injure your back, but I want to discuss common habits that trigger back pain. If you’re aware of the risk factors then you will have a better chance at preventing or limiting back injuries in the future.

    #1 Marathon Sitter:

    Whether it’s on your daily commute to work, the desk job you’ve had for a decade or your obsession with watching Netflix, sitting for extended periods of time can cause havoc on your back. This is because the discs that cushion your spine need a study blood supply. When you sit still, you deprive these discs of its nutrition. Motion helps circulate the fluid through your discs.

    When sitting, try using these tips to reduce the pressure on your back:

    Maintain Healthy Posture: Do not lean or slouch when sitting and keep reading material at eye level to encourage straight posture.

    Make an Effort to Move: Doctors recommend moving every 20 minutes. Although this may not be possible while driving, if you work at a desk all day or sit on the couch for long periods, set a reminder to get up and move. On long driving trips make regular stops to stretch and move around.

    Support the Back: This means choosing a chair that supports your back or getting a back support to use with your chair. If you are looking for a homemade solution, try placing a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back.

    #2 Weekend Warrior:

    You probably already know what I’m going to say. Often on weekends, we participate in outdoor activities or try to “fix” items on our to-do list around the house that can cause stress on our bodies. Especially if you are a “marathon sitter” who turns around on the weekend and tries to be a “weekend warrior.” Even taking out a heavy load of trash can cause a back injury. You get what I’m saying, right?

    If you’re planning on participating in a pick-up game of basketball or try to fix the roof leak yourself this weekend, protect your back by:

    Strengthen Core Muscles: Work on small core workouts throughout the week to build strength. You can even use an exercise ball while sitting to build up your Ab muscles.

    Stretch Those Muscles: Make sure to stretch your muscles whether you’re on a regular exercising routine (you should be) or not. Stagnant muscle movement can also cause you to be more susceptible to injury.

    Engage Core Muscles: Make a habit of engaging your core muscles in daily activity. You can do this by “sucking in” or pulling your abs inward multiple times during your day.

    #3 Bad Technique:

    You may be an avid exerciser or someone who always tries the latest workout fad, but you aren’t familiar with proper technique. Believe it or not, this is more common than you might think. Here are some proper lifting techniques:

    Weight: Do not move, carry or lift something that is 20% of your body weight.

    Form: When lifting something, try to keep the item below your armpit and above your knees. Also make sure to lift with your knees and keep your spine straight. Try not to make sharp turns or twisting motions while carrying a heavy item.

    When to see a Physician:

    • Always consult your physician if your back pain persists over 48 hours or reoccurs often. This could be an indication of a more serious condition.

    • When your back pain is accompanied by other conditions, such as a change in body function, abdominal pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, fever, or headache.

    • Back pain that is a result of a trauma, like a hard fall, sports injury or car accident.

    Additional Information:

    • A Back Brace can be used short-term to help support the muscle weakness in the back and provide controlled motion to help limit pain during recovery.

    Icing the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling in the short-term.

    • Bed rest can be used for acute back pain to help minimize motion and tasks that can agitate the injury.

    McDavid 495 Lightweight Back Support - Moderate level support that relieves minor to moderate back pain

    Resources:

    American Academy of Family Physicians:

    http://www.aafp.org/ 

    WebMD:

    http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/features/how-to-wreck-your-back

    http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/america-asks-13/12-back-pain-tips

    Spine-Health:

    http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/should-i-see-a-doctor-back-pain

     

  • The Difference Between Golfer's Elbow and Tennis Elbow

    Spring is finally here! Now you can get outside and enjoy all the outdoor activities you’ve been missing, like baseball, golf, tennis and more. Unfortunately the increase in arm movement that is associated with these activities can sometimes cause pain in the elbow tendon. This is most commonly known as Tennis or Golfers Elbow, which is medically defined as Elbow Tendinopathy (tendinitis or tendinosis). However, it’s important to note that work-related activities can also cause elbow tendinopathy. Even Golfer’s can get Tennis elbow and visa versa.

    So what’s the difference?

    Tennis Elbow:

    • Presents itself as an injury to the outer elbow tendon (lateral epicondylitis)

    • Overused tendons inflame over time causing pain in the outer elbow and forearm

    • Gripping or extending the wrist may exaggerate the pain

    • More common than Golfer’s Elbow

    Golfer’s Elbow:

    • Presents itself as an injury to the inner elbow tendon (medial epicondylitis)

    • Overuse of the flexor muscles in the forearm cause pain and inflammation

    • Repetative gripping over time can cause tiny tears in the tendons

    • Less common than Tennis Elbow

    tennis golfers elbow

    Healing from Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow:

    You should rest your elbow and wrist from activites that exacerbate the pain. The pain could take several weeks to decrease, and could take even longer until all symptoms are gone completely. Anti-inflammatory pain releivers (ibuprofen and aspirin) and using an ice pack on the injured area can help reduce pain and swelling. Stretching and mobilizing the wrist and forearm. Make sure to seek medical attention immediately if the injury does not show improvement.

    If the pain continues for a long time, this is considered chronic epicondylitis and can require additional treatment methods. You doctor will prescribe these based on your personal condition. This may include:

    • Contrast Hydrotherapy

    • Reguarl Ice Therapy

    • Physical Therapy

    • Reducing or Eliminating Activites

    • Soft Tissue Treatments

    • Ergonomic Adjustments

    • Use of an Elbow Support Brace

    Resources:

    Emory Healthcare: https://www.emoryhealthcare.org/orthopedic-hand-upper-extremity/conditions/epicondylitis.html 

    Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tennis-elbow/basics/definition/con-20043041 ; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/golfers-elbow/basics/definition/con-20027964

    WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/tendon-injury-tendinopathy-topic-overview

    Additional Resources:

    http://sinewtherapeutics.com/golfers-elbow-information.html

    http://www.uptodate.com/contents/elbow-tendinopathy-tennis-and-golf-elbow-beyond-the-basics

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

    What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

    You could be doing anything; washing the dishes, gardening, or typing a report for work when the first tingling, numbness and weakness in your hands and wrist begins. You probably ignore it, thinking its just a muscle cramp from working so hard. These symptoms progress gradually over weeks, months, and sometimes maybe even years. Then one day the discomfort is accompanied by an intense pain that shoots through your hand and up your arm. This is what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) feels like.

    Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a passageway between the hand and forearm that is made up of bones, connective tissue, several tendons and the median nerve. CTS occurs when the connective tissues swell and cause pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve is responsible for controlling the feeling and sensation in the hand, along with the general nerve function of the upper arm.

    According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), although these symptoms may be presented with other conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known condition to be chronically compressed or traumatized.

    CTS Risk Factors:

    • Congenital predisposition: Women are at 3x the risk of men
    • Sprain or fracture of the wrist accompanied by swelling
    • Overactivity of the pituitary gland
    • Hypothyroidism, Diabetes or other Metabolic Disorders
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Mechanical complications of the wrist joint
    • Work stress - especially assembly line and data entry workers
    • Fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause

    CTS has been known to present itself without any prior risk factors identified.

    CTS Treatment & Recovery:

    *Always consult a physician before starting treatment

    • Treating early signs of CTS before the damage progresses is important
    • Use a wrist splint that does not apply direct pressure to the median nerve
    • Corticosteroid injections or prednisone (as prescribed by your doctor)
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug regimen: (aspirin, ibuprofen, and nonprescription pain relievers) may ease early symptoms of pain, discomfort and swelling
    • Stretching and strengthening exercise for the wrist
    • In some cases surgery may be necessary

    wrist splint Wrist Splint/Brace

    Resources:

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:  http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm

    University of Maryland Medical Center:    http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/carpal-tunnel-syndrome

    WebMD:                                                                                            http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/default.htm

    Mayo Clinic:                                                                                    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20030332

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