5 Tips for Coming Back Strong After a Sports Injury

 

Warrior pose from yoga by woman silhouette on sunset
Getting physically injured is a nightmare, especially for active people and athletes. Injuries mean lost time at the gym, sitting out of games, and feeling defeated. But believe it or not, the challenges that come from recovery can actually inspire improvement. Follow these five tips and return to workouts physically and mentally strong.

1. Get diagnosed. Know the difference between being hurt and suffering an injury. “We like to ‘man up’ and walk it off when we get hurt. But you know you are injured when the pain you sustained has not gone away or perhaps has gotten worse.” says Aaron Wexler, NASM CPT. “Pain is the first sign that something in your body’s kinetic chain is not right.” You can walk off being sore, but you should not walk off real pain.

2. Understand what happened. How did you get injured? Understanding what happened will be key to your rehab plan so you can avoid further injury. Knowing what went wrong will also help you mentally, as getting injured can really impact your confidence level.

3. Seek supervision. Work with your doctor on an exercise-based rehab program. A physical therapist or personal trainer can also help correct bad movement patterns and muscle imbalances in order to prevent further injuries.

4. Fuel your body. A nutrient-packed diet and adequate hydration are key during recovery. Adding a supplement like glutamine or MSM and chondroitin may also help rebuild joints. Stay away from alcohol, sugar, and white flour.

5. Keep going. Continue your prescribed rehab plan for a few weeks after you feel back to normal. This will help you continue to build strength. Focus on stabilization, core, and flexibility exercises after rehab. You’ll also want to warm up your injured muscle with a foam roller

Adapted from mensfitness.com

Weight Lifting Tips for Women

Women are hitting the weight room in record numbers, and a new study found that weight-training injuries among women have jumped a whopping 63 percent. Here are the most common slipups and how to fix them, so you leave the gym strutting—not limping.

Skipping Your Warm-up
You wouldn’t launch into an all-out sprint the second you stepped onto a treadmill, so you shouldn’t jump right into deadlifts the instant you hit the weight room. “Working cold, stiff muscles can lead to sprains and tears,” says Morey Kolber, Ph.D., a professor of physical therapy at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. “Warming up increases circulation and improves range of motion, which preps your muscles and joints for action.”

The fix: “While opinions about static stretching may differ, a dynamic warm-up can decrease your risk for injury,” says exercise physiologist Marco Borges, author of Power Moves. After five to 10 minutes of walking or jogging, do 10 to 12 lunges and pushups (the bent-knee version is fine) before starting your routine.

Using Sloppy Form
Experts agree that proper form is the single most important factor in injury prevention, yet many women don’t give it a lot of thought—especially when they’re in a rush. And women, thanks to their naturally wider hips, are more at risk for form-related injuries than men are: One study found that women had nearly twice as many leg and foot injuries as guys did.

The fix: Before you begin any exercise, think S.E.A.K., says trainer Robbi Shveyd, owner of Advanced Wellness in San Francisco: Stand straight (head over shoulders; shoulders over hips; hips over feet), eyes on the horizon (looking down encourages your shoulders to round and your chest to lean forward), abs tight (as if you were about to be punched in the gut, but without holding your breath; this helps stabilize your pelvis), and knees over your second toe (women’s knees have a tendency to turn in because of the angle created by wider hips, says Joan Pagano, author of Strength Training for Women).

Stressing Out Your Shoulders
As crazy as it sounds, women who lift weights tend to have less-stable shoulder joints than women who don’t lift at all, found a recent study. The reason: Doing too many exercises in which your elbows are pulled behind your body (think chest flies and rows) can overstretch the connective tissue in the front of the joints. If the backs of your shoulders are tight, you’re even more likely to overstretch the front, increasing the imbalance at the joint, says Kolber.

The fix: Modify your moves. First, don’t allow your elbows to extend more than two inches behind your body. In the lowering phase of a bench press, for example, stop when your elbows are just behind you. Second, avoid positioning a bar behind your head. Bring the lat-pulldown bar in front of your shoulders, and when you’re doing an overhead press, use dumbbells instead of a bar and keep the weights in your line of vision (meaning just slightly in front of your head).

Neglecting Opposing Muscle Groups
“Many women have strength imbalances, which can make them more prone to injury,” says Shveyd. Sometimes they’re the result of your lifestyle (hovering over a desk all day, for example, tightens and weakens your hip flexors while your glutes become overstretched and inactive). Other times they’re caused by not working both sides of the body equally (say, focusing on moves that rely on your quads but not your hamstrings).

The fix: For every exercise that works the front of the body (chest, biceps, quads), be sure to do an exercise that targets the rear (back, triceps, hamstrings). For instance, pair stability-ball chest presses with dumbbell rows, or step-ups with deadlifts.

Doing Too Much Too Soon
A lot of people think that more is better—more reps, more sets, more weight. But if you increase any of these things too quickly, your body may not be able to handle the extra workload. “Gradual conditioning prevents injuries such as torn ligaments and tendinitis, because your muscles and connective tissues have time to adapt,” says Pagano.

The fix: Practice a three-step progression. First, learn to do a move using only your body weight. “When you can do 15 reps with proper form, add weight,” says Pagano. Second, stick to one set with light weights for two weeks or until you feel comfortable with the move. And finally, when you can complete nearly all of your reps with proper form, add another set or more weight (increase weight by roughly 10 percent each time).

(Article originally from Women’s Health Magazine)

Why We Are Prone to Patella Dislocation?

patella_dislocation

 

 

Central Importance of the Patella

Leg bones carry the weight of the body. The thigh bone (aka the “femur”), shinbone (aka the “tibia”), and calf bone (aka the “fibula”) convey the body’s weight with each step we take with the help of the kneecap (aka “patella”).

An Interlocking System

Our skeletal system of individual bones is linked by ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. When we walk, our body weight is transferred through the thigh bone, also known as longest bone in the body and strongest bone in the leg. When this bone fails, it often has no effect on the function of lower leg bones. Femoral fractures most often occur in the central portion of the thigh bone called the “femoral shaft”, and do not directly impact the kneecap. The kneecap “facilitates” the weight transfer from the thigh bone to the shinbone and calf bone, the second strongest bone in the weight-bearing leg’s structure and the thinnest bone in the mechanism, respectively. They transfer weight to the ankle. Tibial shaft fractures are the body’s most common broken bones, perhaps related to their weight-bearing in the lower leg. Less common fibular fractures do not transfer weight in walking.

Kneecap Function

The kneecap covers and protects the front of the knee joint. It approximates the bottom of the thigh bone in a shallow trough and the shinbone at the “tibial plateau” at the top end of the shinbone. Both bones are protected by flexible cartilaginous tissue in the trough and plateau areas, permitting the bending motion at the knee. The three bones are held in place and ligament alignment by the “collaterals” (lateral and medial) and the “cruciates” (anterior and posterior). The kneecap position is maintained by additional tendons, the “quadriceps” and “patellar”. With injury at the bone insertions of the patellar and tibial tendons or with kneecap dislocation, walking will be compromised or limited. Unfortunately, injuries to these structures are common with contact athletics.

Patella Dislocation

When the tendon support structures fail to hold the kneecap in place, the knee joint fails. The medical term is “patellar dislocation”. The etiology is rather specific, either trauma directly to the knee from body or sports equipment contact or from a twisting motion occurring at the knee level (accompanied by inability to stand on the involved leg). The kneecap may be visibly in the wrong place, e.g., the side of the leg instead of the front, or there may be a lack of mobility. Pain may radiate from the front of the knee with activity or be present even at rest. Stiffness, joint noise like creaking and crackling, may be present and accompanied by swelling.

Troubleshooting a bad knee will require physical examination with x-ray and MRI imaging to define the problem and differentiate ligament tears from stretches or bone damage, visit Orthopaedic Specialist to get immediate treatment. Ligament damage may require surgical or arthroscopic reconstruction. Rehabilitation of repaired structures or for strengthening minimally damaged dislocations may be indicated. Even flaccid tissues anchoring the kneecap may benefit from physical therapy.

 

Heat Illness

When an athlete exercises, the body’s temperature is elevated and the body sweats to cool itself down. During this process, body fluid as well as critical electrolytes are lost. If the body isn’t replenished with fluids and electrolytes, dehydration may occur and increase the risk of a heat illness such as heat stroke.

Some heat illness symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Dark colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Thirst
  • Weakness

The most effective treatment for heat-related illnesses is prevention, including:

  • Proper training for the heat
  • Fluid replacement before, during and after exertion
  • Appropriate clothing—light colored, loose fitting and limited to one layer
  • Early recognition via direct monitoring of athletes by other players, coaches and medical staff
  • Monitoring the intensity of physical activity appropriate for fitness and the athlete’s acclimatization status
  • If possible, having an athletic trainer on site during events and practices to properly prevent and treat heat illnesses

At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, an athlete should initially limit the intensity and duration of exercise and then gradually increase it during a period of 7-14 days to allow time for the body to adjust to the new climate and environmental conditions. Athletes with respiratory, gastrointestinal or other illness should be evaluated before exercise, as these conditions increase the risk of heat illness.

If heat illness progresses, more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, body temperature increasing to dangerous levels, muscle cramps, nausea, and tingling of the limbs—and even death—may occur.

When you see any signs of heat illness or heat stroke, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the individual at risk.

Treatment tips include:

  • Getting the athlete to a shaded area.
  • If it is heat stroke, cool the athlete rapidly using cold water immersion. If immersion is not available you may use spray from a hose, cold water sponging or placing cold towels over the entire body.
  • Monitoring body temperature.
  • Providing cool beverages if possible (i.e., if the athlete does not have altered consciousness).
  • Getting medical assistance as soon as possible.

Heat exhaustion is a form of heat illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.