Posts Tagged ‘Athletic Injuries’

Knee Injuries in Young Athletes Live Chat- September 28th

knee-injury-emailKnee injuries in young athletes continues to be on the rise. One of the most common sports injuries, an ACL tear, could end a young athlete’s career aspirations in sports before it even begins. Twist your knee sharply or extend it beyond its normal range during play, and you may hear the telltale “pop.” Whether your child participates in football, soccer, basketball or track, their drive for the game may be setting the stage for a serious injury.

Join us on Wednesday, Sept. 28 from noon – 1p.m. EST for an online live chat with Dr. John Xerogeanes, Chief of Sports Medicine at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and head team physician for Georgia Tech. Dr. X (as he’s known in the community) will take questions regarding how to reduce the risk of injury, specific exercises for strengthening the knee, warning signs, what to do following an ACL injury, and the rehabilitation process. Sign up for this live chat below.

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About Dr. John Xerogeanes

xerogeanes-john-wDr. Xerogeanes is Chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. Known as Dr. “X” by his staff and patients, he is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University as well as an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State and Mercer University. Dr. X is Head Orthopaedist and Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. He specializes in ACL and ACL revision surgery performing over 200 of these operations each year. He is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and has his sub-specialty certification in orthopaedic sports medicine.

5 Ways to Prevent Shin Splints

runners-shinYou don’t typically think about your shins until they hurt. But by then, you could be looking at some major downtime. A recent study showed that shin splints are the most common injury for new runners, keeping them out of activity for a whopping 72 days on average! Keep yourself active and healthy – check out a few easy tips to prevent shin splints from occurring in the future:

Building Strength

Shin splints often occur when your legs are overworked. That’s sometimes from a lot of mileage, and sometimes because your shins pick up the slack for body parts that are weak, such as your feet, ankles, calves, and hips, which support your shins. One easy way to avoid shin splints is to build strength in these areas. A few basic exercises include:

  • Heel Drop – Stand on your toes on the edge of a step. Shift your weight to your right leg and take your left foot off the step, then lower your right heel down. Repeat this same process with your left leg.
  • Monster Walks – With your feet shoulder-width apart, place a resistance band around your thighs and step forward and toward the right with your right leg. Bring your left leg up to meet your right, and then step out toward the left. Repeat.
  • Toe Curls – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart at the edge of a towel. With the toes of your left foot, gather the towel and slowly pull it toward you. Repeat this process with your right foot.

Gradual Progression

Instead of running too much too soon, increase your speed and distance gradually. For building intensity and duration, 10 is the magic number. Increase your walking distance by 10% each week, while upping your run to walk ratio by 10% each week.

Cross Train

The impact of running can shock your system (another word here). Supplement miles run with other cardio exercises that are easier on your joints, such as swimming, cycling or rowing. Participating in yoga or Pilates is another great way to cross train and build core strength, which can help prevent injuries.

Arch Support

Minimalism may be the trendy new thing in running, but that doesn’t mean going barefoot is right for you. In fact, it may be causing you shin splints due to lack of arch support. Look for motion control or stability shoes, or add an orthotic insole to give you the support you need and keep your foot from rolling or overpronating.

Touch Down Mid-Foot

Hitting heel first leads the foot to slap down on the pavement, forcing the shin and foot muscles to work harder to slow you down. Running on your toes stretches the calf muscles in your leg. Try to touch down with a flat, mid-foot landing to avoid strain – a correct gait is essential to preventing injuries.

About Dr. Mautner

mautner-kennethKenneth Mautner, MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. He has a special interest in the areas of sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy.

Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries. He currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, the Atlanta Ballet, and several local high schools.

About the Emory Sports Medicine Center

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. Our sports medicine patients range from professional athletes to those who enjoy active lifestyles and want the best possible outcomes.

Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are highly specialized in diagnosing and treating sports injuries within their respective area of focus.

We are proud to be the sports medicine team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Dream, Georgia Tech and provide services for many additional professional, collegiate and recreational teams.

Appointments for surgical second opinions or acute sports injuries are available within 48 hours. Call 404-778-3350 today.

How to Train and Prepare for Summer Running Races – Join Us for a Live Online Chat!

Running Training Live ChatWhether you are a seasoned marathon runner or recreational jogger, it is important to train properly and know how to prevent injury.

If you are interested in learning more about preventing and treating sports and running injuries, join Emory Sports Medicine physician Amadeus Mason, MD, for an online web chat on Tuesday, June 9 at noon. Dr. Mason will be available to answer your questions such as:

  • Injury prevention
  • Stretching
  • Race-day tips
  • Symptoms of certain athletic injuries
  • Risk factors for athletic/running injuries
  • Treatment for specific sports injuries
  • When to visit your sports medicine physician

To register for the live chat, visit emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats! If you already have questions for Dr. Mason, go ahead and submit in advance so our team can answer during the chat!

Sign Up for the Chat

From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapies and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for a range of athletic-related injuries. Visit our website to learn more about the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

5 Tips to Make a Healthy Transition from Fall to Winter Sports

Transitioning from Fall to Winter SportsIf you think the holidays are a busy season you should trade places with a high school athlete who is juggling their studies, family life, and multiple competitive sports.   The transition from fall to winter sports can be overwhelming. For many high school athletes they play a fall sport such as football and then transition right into the next sport during the winter season.  These athletes are showcasing their versatile athletic abilities as well as learning valuable life skills such as time-management skills, discipline and commitment.

Even though many young athletes think they are invincible, it is important to prepare them and their growing bodies for the rigors of changing sports and using new muscles in order to prevent injuries.

As a physician at Emory Sports Medicine, I recommend the following:

  1. Take a short mental break for a few days to ensure your mind is ready to begin the rigors of a new sport and intense practice sessions.  Many injuries occur when a student athlete is being careless and not following the coaches instructions.
  2. Build a strong cardiovascular base by running, biking or doing other cardio exercises at least 2 times a week year round. The amount of cardio workouts you need to do is dependent upon the sport you play.
  3. Build Core Strength by doing some simple core exercises such as crunches and planks.
  4. Make sure the athlete has the proper footwear for the sport.  Transitioning from football cleats to basketball shoes can be a big adjustment.  The transition in surface (outdoor grass to wood floor) can in some cases lead to shin splints.  Proper shoes along with stretching can help prevent this from happening.
  5. Maintain proper nutrition all year round – in-season as well as off-season..  Although having a balanced diet is most important, all young athletes should make sure to eat a size appropriate amount of complex carbohydrates when participating in cardio intense sports. Doing so will ensure enough energy is present during the times when they are most needed!

Ensure your young athlete is ready to hit the ground running in winter sports by sharing these words of wisdom with them!

About Brandon Mines, MD

Brandon Mines, MD

Brandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream and Decatur High School. He is also one of the team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons.  His areas of interest are diagnosis and non-operative management of acute sports injuries, basketball injuries, tennis injuries, golf injuries and joint injections.

Athletic Injuries: Young Athletes Play Through the Pain

Athletic Injury Young AthletesA new study shows that many young athletes keep on playing after they’ve been injured. And all too often, those injuries could have been prevented. Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit organization with a mission of preventing unintentional childhood injury, found that kids are suffering from overuse injuries, dehydration, and even head injuries.

Kids are under pressure to play at a much higher level and with more intensity than they did decades ago. A pitcher who shows potential may play on two or three different teams during a single season. And Safe Kids found there’s a lot of pressure to stay in the game—even when you’re hurt.

A new Safe Kids study shows a third of young athletes who play team sports suffer injuries severe enough to require medical treatment. But nearly 90% of parents underestimate how much time kids need to recover.

As a result, Emory pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas Fletcher says, a lot of kids play hurt.

“Kids think if they take a week off, they’ll get kicked off the team, or their parents won’t let them play anymore. It’s very important for the kid to stay on the team, so a lot of times they’ll mask the injury,” says Dr. Fletcher.

Safe Kids found that half of the coaches said they’d felt pressure—either from kids or parents—to put an injured child back in the game. And nearly a third of kids said they would play hurt unless their coach made them stop.

“One of the biggest take-home messages I try to convey to coaches is that this 11-year-old also has a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old season,” says Dr. Fletcher, who sees a lot of young players with ACL tears, hip injuries, and throwing injuries. Many of those problems are from overuse. He says if a young athlete is not given time to heal and given proper treatment, he or she can be left with lifelong problems.

Has your son or daughter suffered a sports injury and kept on playing? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

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Are Football Players Suffering Concussion-Like Damage in the Absence of a Concussion?

Ken Mautner, MDWith the NFL playoffs just around the corner – and our Atlanta Falcons certain to be in them – most of us have been watching a lot of football lately. Like many football fans, I watch simply to enjoy the games, but lately I’ve been watching with a new question in the back of my mind: Are any of the players receiving what we call “sub-concussive hits” that might over time, contribute, to concussion-like brain problems?

The question was prompted by a recent study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma. The study looked at youth football players who had never had a concussion, had never complained of the symptoms typically associated with a concussion, yet showed changes in brain activity and cognitive ability that are normally associated with people who have suffered one or more concussions.

We have a lot of experience treating concussions at Emory Sports Medicine. My focus is to get athletes, parents and coaches to know and recognize the symptoms of a concussion, and to seek out prompt concussion treatment when they have those symptoms. What should be done when athletes may not present any of the traditional symptoms? Or what about athletes who have not, in fact, had a concussion but who are experiencing similar problems associated with concussions?

We’re learning about this phenomenon because our tests for concussions have become far more sensitive and sophisticated in the last few years. In the study mentioned above, “hit monitors” – telemetry units – were installed in the studied athletes’ football helmets to measure the g-forces they took with every hit in practice and games throughout the season. Computerized neuropsychological testing (CNT) was administered, both pre-season and post-season, to assess changes in cognitive functional ability. And functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to look for telltale increases of activity in certain areas of the brain that are typical in those who have suffered concussions.

The surprising finding was that some athletes never sustained a hit strong enough, as measured by the hit monitors, to cause a concussion, and yet the fMRI and CNT results showed evidence of the characteristic increases in brain activity and decreases in cognitive ability normally associated with a concussion. This result was most common among offensive linemen, who may take 40-50 sub-concussive hits in a single, ordinary practice. Over the course of a season, this massive accumulation of lower g-force hits seems to have caused the same effects we’d usually expect only from more powerful, concussion-causing hits.

Long-term consequences are what concern me most here. It’s possible that brain activity and cognitive ability return to normal after the season is over and the youth athletes have had some time to recover. It’s also possible that some of these effects are enduring. Just as with those who suffer multiple concussions, it may be that this accumulation of sub-concussive hits will, years later, result in higher incidences of depression and cognitive impairment. We don’t know yet if this is the case, but the study has raised the possibility.

My own son plays Pee Wee Football, and I appreciate the self-discipline, toughness, and teamwork he learns from it. But like any parent, I have to weigh that value against the potential for negative long-term consequences. Everything in life is a trade-off of risks and benefits, but this recent finding adds a new variable to the decision.

So, what’s to be done? Well, first of all, we have to keep pressing forward with efforts to prevent, identify, and treat concussions. Concussions remain a serious problem in football and other contact sports, particularly among adolescent athletes, whose brains are especially vulnerable. I’m part of a group of health care providers and state action planners who are working in partnership with the NFL to pass legislation in Georgia to better prevent concussions and provide better treatment for those who do suffer concussions.

Some of the same measures being considered to prevent concussions, such as better helmet technology, may also prevent the damages of sub-concussive hits. The NFL is even considering more drastic changes, such as eliminating the traditional three-point stance, thereby requiring linemen to start with their hands off the ground. This change would greatly reduce the number and force of helmet-to-helmet hits. Should the NFL make this change, it will most likely be adopted by college, club, high school, and lower grade football leagues.

Ultimately, what we need is more research. The concussion testing we perform at Emory Sports Medicine has become far more sophisticated in recent years, and it will continue to become even more sensitive. Now that we’re aware of the effects of sub-concussive hits, I’m confident we’re just a few years away from being able to identify those athletes who may be at risk. I look forward to the day when I can again watch the gridiron drama without worrying that the players are fighting their way toward that Super Bowl ring at the cost of the long-term health of their brain functions.

For more information, check out the study, Functionally-Detected Cognitive Impairment in High School Football Players Without Clinically-Diagnosed Concussion. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below.

About Dr. Ken Mautner, MD:

Dr. Mautner is an Assistant Professor in Emory’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Mautner currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, the Atlanta Ballet, and several local high schools.