Posts Tagged ‘Emory Sports Medicine’

Emory Sports Medicine Doctors- We’ve Got Your Back Video

Emory Healthcare has begun airing a new television commercial featuring Emory Sports Medicine Center. The TV spot is set appear on a number of stations in the Atlanta area, including CBS 46 as part of its SEC Football coverage running through December, as well as Georgia PBA 30 and FOX Sports Southeast during Atlanta Hawks game coverage.

Be sure to watch the commercial on Emory Healthcare’s YouTube, Facebook or Twitter accounts, share it with friends, and discover more about Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Emory Sports Medicine Center and its sports medicine doctors provide comprehensive care for athletes and active people of all ages and abilities. The Center’s physicians and athletic training teams are immersed in the world of sports medicine and hold alliances with area high school teams and youth leagues, as well as college and professional teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Learn more about our sports medicine specialists and take a closer look at Emory Sports Medicine Center here.

Emory Sports Medicine Physician Lands in Rio to Support Olympic Team

rio-squareWhen the 2016 Olympic Games kick off Friday, viewers will tune in to see the world’s best of the best athletes walking into Rio’s Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony.

Among those making their way into the stadium will be Emory Healthcare sports medicine physician R. Amadeus Mason, M.D., who is helping support Team USA Track and Field.

Dr. Mason was busy this year treating four Olympic hopefuls at Emory Sports Medicine Center. Each one had pounding, over-use type injuries in either the knees, Achilles or shin. He treated them with various non-surgical measures such as biologic injections of platelets or stem cells.

“It’s exciting that these are the types of patients we see at Emory Sports Medicine on a daily basis,” he said, “and that’s the level of care anyone can expect in terms of treatment from the doctors here.”

Emory Sport Medicine Center treats people of all levels, whether they are regularly active, a weekend warrior or even a pro.

One of Dr. Mason’s patients is 400-meter hurdler, Ajoke Odumosu, a two-time Olympian from Nigeria. Ms. Odumosu, who goes by “AJ,” and now lives in Alabama, said she has complete faith in Dr. Mason for one simple reason: He’s earned it.

“I first was seen by him in 2009 after the world championships and got some guidance on managing my body,” she said. “He knows the body of the athlete. He’s always steered me in the right direction and he puts my mind at ease as well.”

For AJ, Dr. Mason helps her know how hard she can train without damage to her knees.

“I have cartilage damage in my right knee and some swelling in my left knee,” she said. “I have to be able to train not only in speed, but strength, which is pounding on the knees, with long endurance runs. I have to trust that my knees will be OK, but also be realistic and listen to my body. Some days I can train hard and feel like Superwoman; some days I have to take it easier.”

While AJ won’t be joining the team in Rio for this Olympics, she praised the treatments and guidance she sought from Dr. Mason at Emory Sports Medicine.

“I trust him very, very much,” she said. “He gives me confidence that my knees aren’t going to go out on me on a jump.”

ACL Injury: Mikayla’s Success Story

Mikayla CoombsIn November of 2015, my daughter Mikayla Coombs had a rough start to her basketball season. Mikayla is the number one basketball player in the state of Georgia and the sudden injury came as a surprise. Mikayla was playing in a tournament at Norcross High School and fell during the game. She was not in any pain after falling on the court so the athletic trainer checked her and said she could return to play. After getting back on the court to play, she fell again and was told that she had a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) strain. The next day we had an appointment to see the team doctor without having any testing done and it was confirmed that she had an ACL injury.

After the doctor’s visit we were sent to have an MRI taken of Mikayla’s leg. The results came back around thanksgiving and the news was not good. Mikayla had an ACL tear. At that point, as a mother of a great athlete, I had no clue of what I was going to do. I had tears in my eyes. Mikayla received an invite to the USA trial scheduled for June and was not able to attend because of her injury and scheduled surgery. However, Mikayla was never sad, nor did she complain.

I’ve always heard positive feedback in the community about sports medicine physicians at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and decided to make an appointment for Mikayla. Mikayla had a successful surgery with Spero Karas, MD on December 31st. 2015. Dr. Karas went above and beyond to help her. After Mikayla’s surgery, she was in minimal pain and hardly needed any of the medications prescribed. Surprisingly, Mikayla was also doing pushups, she was able to sleep and shower with no assistance. Two days later she had her follow-up appointment and she was able to walk into the clinic. She was determined and felt good enough to not have to use her crutches.

It has been an amazing journey. Mikayla got back on her own without a brace and everyone that knows Mikayla has been impressed with her speedy recovery time. Mikayla continues to go to physical therapy with The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and at her high school with an athletic trainer. She is doing wonderful and the good thing is that nothing has changed in terms of opportunities for my daughter and in athletics. Before she had multiple offers to UConn, Stanford, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Penn State, Tennessee etc. , and now those offers are still coming in. Mikayla has a very small scar. It’s been a blessing and I cannot thank Dr. Karas enough. He was very adamant about not allowing Mikayla back on the court until she was in the correct stage of rehab and only allowed court privileges when appropriate. Dr. Karas treated her as if it were his own daughter that got injured.

Several of Mikayla’s team members have had surgery with other offices and compared to Mikayla’s small scar, it’s unbelievable. Mikayla often gets questions on whether or not, she really had surgery.

According to Mikayla “Everything happens for a reason and if Dr. Karas is taking care of any patient, they’ll be alright and are in good hands.”

Mikayla has won: 
AJC 2A Player of the year
USA TODAY Georgia First Team

Thank you to Dr. Karas and the team at the Emory Orthopaedics, & Spine Center!

A note from Dr. Karas:

The surgery I performed on Mikayla was an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction using a hamstring tendon from the back of her thigh. The hamstring tendon is actually stronger than her native ACL, and has less risk of muscle atrophy and tendinitis in her knee. Rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction is lengthy, but most athletes are able to return to their sport approximately 9-12 months after surgery.

About Dr. Karas:

karas-speroDr. Karas joined the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center in 2005 as Director of the Emory Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition to this role, he currently serves as the head team physician for the Atlanta Falcons, a consulting team physician for Georgia Tech University, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College, and St. Pius X High School. Prior to this, he served as chief of the Shoulder Service, team physician, and director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Orthopaedics.

Dr. Karas received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. After medical school, he completed a residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. After residency, Dr. Karas completed a Knee, Shoulder, and Sports Medicine Fellowship at the prestigious Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado. While in Colorado, he served as an Associate Team physician for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies professional sports teams.

He is the author of more than 150 publications, presentations, and demonstrational videos. He has trained over 100 residents, fellows, and graduate students in subspecialty care of the shoulder, knee and sports medicine. His research has been published in numerous journals, including the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the Journal of Arthroscopy, the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery and the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. Dr. Karas is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and has held leadership positions in numerous societies, including the American Orthopaedic Association, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Arthroscopy Association of North America and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Dr. Karas is a recognized expert in the field of shoulder surgery, knee surgery, and sports medicine, and has been awarded numerous grants for research and product development. A frequent speaker throughout the United States and internationally, his work has been featured in Ski Magazine, Men’s Health, and on NBC, FOX, and CNN network television. He is also active in quality musculoskeletal research, and has been honored by his peers with nominations for numerous research awards. He actively collaborates with medical corporations by developing cutting-edge technology to improve the instruments and techniques in orthopedic surgery.

Dr. Karas was selected as one of America’s “Top Sports Medicine Specialists” in Men’s Health Magazine. He has also been named one of the “Top Sports Medicine Doctors for Women” by Women’s Health magazine, “Best Orthopaedic Surgeons in America” by Castle Connoly, and the most trusted sports specialist in Atlanta, Georgia by Atlanta Magazine. He is regularly listed in Atlanta Magazine’s Top Doctors. Dr. Karas is a full member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society, a prestigious “invitation only” society with rigorous selection criteria.
A former collegiate athlete himself, Dr. Karas was a varsity letterman in wrestling at the University of Notre Dame. He continues to participate in sports such as golf, snowboarding, and fitness training. He also coaches little league sports, and is an active member of his church and community.

Dr. Karas and his wife, Johanna, are blessed with three very active and beautiful children – Gus, Elena, and Nicholas.

How Much is Too Much in a Youth Sport?

Research shows sports specialization is harming younger children, and outweighs any benefit he or she might derive from laser-like focus on one youth sport.Is your child athlete playing only one youth sport, and if so, is he or she doing it year-round, with little or no monitoring about over using certain muscles?

Research shows this kind of sports specialization is harming your younger children, and greatly outweighs any benefit he or she might derive from laser-like focus on one sport.

The Emory Sports Medicine Center, a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopaedic and sports-related injuries, has been on the cutting edge of that research.

Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, M.D., of the Emory Sports Medicine Center, is a leading expert on youth sports health and is an ardent believer in kids playing organized sports. However, he believes even stronger in a simpler plan: Kids need to play. Period. Not play soccer, per se. Or baseball. Or even tennis, which is his specialty. But just play and play multiple sports.

While Jayanthi, is not at all urging parents to steer their children away from organized teams sports, his nationally acclaimed study on youth sport injuries show playing is more important to the child than playing a sport, and that once sports become the primary way a child plays, parents should monitor the number of hours the child spends on any one sport.

“With travel leagues and kid playing one sport 10 to 12 months a year, we’re seeing more over-use injuries than we would have a generation ago,” Dr. Jayanthi said. “Everyone wants the best for their child, but the best is never to let them spend hours a day, every day, doing the same activity.”

In America, particularly in warmer weather states, baseball is probably where there is more specialization, year-round focus and over-use injuries. It has gotten so bad, particularly with pitchers, that USA Baseball and Major League Baseball have teamed up to promote an educational program that urges restraint.

“When baseball is telling young baseball players to take it easy, it helps validate what we are saying,” Dr. Jayanthi said.

Dr. Jayanthi and colleagues researched 1,200 young athletes and found that kids should not spend more hours per week than his or her age playing sports. Younger children are developmentally immature and are less able to tolerate physical stress. Also, the study suggests that kids should not spend more than twice as much time playing organized sports as they do in unorganized free play.

“I love organized sports and love to see athlete’s at their best,” he said. “And that takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I get that. I believe in it. But the two concepts are not mutually exclusive to each other. In fact, I believe they go hand in hand. Want what’s best for your child, both developmentally and athletically? Follow these guidelines.”

Dr. Jayanthi leads Emory’s Tennis Medicine program and is considered one of the country’s leading experts on youth sports health, injuries, and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA teaching professional.

About Emory Sports Medicine Center

At the Emory Sports Medicine Center, our experts specialize in advanced procedures to treat and repair a wide range of sports related injuries. Recently recognized as one of the nation’s TOP 50 orthopaedics programs, Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine has 6 convenient locations across metro Atlanta, as well as 6 physical therapy locations. To make an appointment to see one of our Emory sports medicine specialists, please call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

About Dr. Jayanthi

jayanthi-neeru-aDr. Jayanthi leads Emory’s Tennis Medicine program and is considered one of the country’s leading experts on youth sports health, injuries, and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA teaching professional. He has also been a volunteer ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) physician for 15 years, serves as a medical advisor for the WTA (Woman’s Tennis Association) Player Development Panel, and is on the commission for the International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA). He has been selected to the board of directors for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) twice, and serves as a Consultant for the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, Aspen Institute Sport and Society Program, and Mom’s Team. Dr. Jayanthi has won multiple AMSSM Foundation Research Grants for his collaborative research on early sports specialized training and overuse injury in young athletes. He previously was the medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago for 12 years where he was voted a “Top Doctor” in the Chicagoland Suburbs prior to being recruited to Emory.

Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine to offer stem cell therapy in Johns Creek to treat arthritis pain

arthritis_520Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine will start offering stem cell therapy at Emory Johns Creek Hospital in July to treat osteoarthritis.

Emory Healthcare sports medicine physician, Oluseun Olufade, MD, says he begins the treatment by applying a numbing medicine to the patient’s hip or stomach area and extracts cells from the patient’s bone marrow or adipose tissue. The stem cells are then separated using a centrifuge machine to provide a concentrated sample to inject into the patient’s damaged joint. Since the stem cells are from the patient’s own body, the rejection risk is low.

How can stem cell injections help me?

This treatment can reduce pain and provide long-lasting relief from chronic tendinitis, arthritis and cartilage damage in the joint.

“Stem cells harness the power of your own body and work to actually repair your damaged tissue,” says Olufade.

What is arthritis?

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints and affects 27 million Americans. The degenerative joint disease causes cartilage to wear down, bones to rub against one another and leads to stiffness and pain. Risk factors like age, obesity, previous joint injury and genetics contribute to the progression of osteoarthritis.

Alternative to surgery

Olufade, who is also an assistant professor in the Departments of Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation says stem cell therapy offers another alternative to patients who are facing joint-replacement surgery.

“Some patients who are seeking stem cell treatment have already tried physical therapy, cortisone shots, viscosupplementation and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections without much success,” says Olufade.

How should I prepare for my treatment?

Patients should stop taking anti-inflammatory medication seven days before their injection. You shouldn’t take Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve and Naprosyn. Remember to tell your doctor if you are on any blood thinning medications. You should also drink as much water as you can on the day of your injection.

What can I expect afterwards?

Olufade says patients who undergo stem cell injections should expect to experience soreness for a few days, but many return to their normal activities shortly after the procedure. You may resume physical therapy one week after the treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you experience unbearable pain, bleeding, or signs of infection, such as streaking, fever, or chills.

More information

The treatment is not covered by most medical insurance. Visit to learn more about stem cell injections or call 404-778-8081 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Olufade.

About Dr. Olufade

olufade-oluseunDr. Olufade is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports related injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in concussion, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration.

Dr. Olufade has served as team physician, both in the professional MLS ranks with Philadelphia Union, and as a member of the U.S. national team physician pool. He has covered the U.S. 17-year-old men’s national team in international matches in France and Turkey.

Dr. Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class. He is currently the Vice President for John Creek Healthcare Association. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences

Emory Tennis Medicine Program: Patient Story

jayanthi patient story 2It was Labor Day weekend of 2015 , and  I was in Tennessee playing  in a tennis tournament. While playing, I suddenly could not bend over very well. I could hardly walk, twist or turn. I didn’t know it at the time but I had 3 stress fractures in my back potentially from how quickly I had grown  in a year and a half. At that time I was playing about 18 hours a week on average, and in the summer I played a little more. My back had been hurting off and on for about a year, but I was going to physical therapy once a week throughout that time which seemed to be helping.  Previously I experienced tightness in my back but the tightness would come and go.  It would hurt for a few days and after physical therapy would feel better.  However, I was always nervous because I never knew when it would come back.  I had heard of other tennis players with back issues but I didn’t think mine was as serious. During that match on Labor Day weekend, my parents pulled me off after the first set and I defaulted  the tournament. Oddly enough the next day I felt fine.  I could do everything and my flexibility came back.  I even went to tennis practice.

That  random alteration in my performance is what led my mother to setting up an appointment. In October I had an x-ray taken of my back and was told that there was an area of concern in my lower spine, so I was sent for and MRI to get a better image.  The results came back soon after and  I was told that I had stress fractures in my back.  My parents picked me up from practice as soon as they got the news and I had to stop all activity immediately. I was shocked. It didn’t seem like It could be possible because I had been feeling fine, but my back was broken!

My parents started doing research trying to find a doctor with specific experience in helping tennis players with injuries like mine,  and they learned about Neeru Jayanthi, MD at the Emory Sports Medicine Center.  My mother called and asked for Dr. Jayanthi and scheduled an appointment since he was tennis specific. The process was amazing.  We were excited and blown away by the response time.  An appointment was scheduled within a few days!

During the office visit, Dr. Jayanthi mapped out a plan. As part of the Emory Sports Medicine Tennis program, I was taken to a fitness center to see if there were any flaws in my strokes that may have caused the fractures.

This was the first specialized doctor that I had seen who did an on court evaluation with me, and he gave me confidence that I would be able to return to playing. The one-on-one hands-on evaluation and interaction was great, and it was very helpful to have a step by step plan for returning to the court.

In January of 2016, I went back for another appointment and was evaluated again. This time Dr. Jayanthi let me hit full court, serve and run around. It was fun to play again after being out for so long, and I felt like I was finally getting closer to being back. Before the end of my appointment, Dr. Jayanthi gave me a plan to gradually build up a few hours each week and specific drills to work on.  Now, I’m currently playing about 10 hours a week.

I am more capable of and doing more now than I ever imagined compared to what I was able to do when I first got the shocking news.  I have  increased my flexibility, core strength and upper body strength. I don’t rely on my back as much as I did before  and I have a much greater sense of freedom when it comes to being on the court, knowing that I will not get hurt again.

It’s been a tough experience but I feel much stronger in many ways because of it. I recommend any athlete struggling with back pain to have it looked at quickly. I waited a while thinking that it was just muscle soreness and growing pains when in fact I had fractures in my back.

A note from Dr. Jayanthi

On court evaluations are performed by Dr. Jayanthi (who is also USPTA-certified teaching professional) most commonly on junior/elite level tennis players who are looking to optimally return to competitive tennis while reducing their future risk of injury to identify any opportunities for modifying strokes to accommodate for an injury.

This is typically done on the tennis court, after a medical evaluation to identify the specific medical deficits, and then coupled with a research survey, video analysis and then progressions to help modify strokes and then return to tennis effectively.  If there are any notable deficits or any more significant changes to strokes, these are often communicated to the teaching professional/coach.  We follow these players at 6 months and at 1 year to assess their injury and performance status.

About Dr. Jayanthi

jayanthi-neeru-aNeeru Jayanthi, MD, is considered one of the country’s leading experts in youth sports health, injuries and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA tennis teaching professional. He previously was the medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago prior to being recruited to Emory, where he will lead an innovative tennis medicine program.

Dr. Jayanthi’s practice is open to all children and adults with non-surgical issues related to activity and sports. He particularly loves working with young athletes of all sports, and

5 Things You Should Be Doing Before Running the Peachtree Road Race

prr-email260x200Whether you’re running the Peachtree Road Race for the 15th time or the first, be sure to join Emory Sports Medicine’s Dr. Amadeus Mason for advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing right now to ensure peak performance on July 4.

With less than two weeks to go before the race, Dr. Mason will give tips for avoiding injury, how to properly train, the best foods to eat, and what to do the night before the race and afterward. Join Dr. Mason on Tuesday, June 21 at 12p.m EST as he answers your questions online. Register now for our chat.


About Dr. Amadeus Mason

mason-amadeusDr. Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopedics and Family Medicine Department at Emory University and is board certified in Sports Medicine, with a special interest in track and field and running injuries. He is the team physician for Georgia Tech and Emory University Track & Field and Cross Country. He is also the team physician for USA Track & Field during this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

12 Things Every Woman Should Know About Stress Fractures

stress fractureLast week, Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center physician, Oluseun Olufade, MD, attended “Ladies Night Out” at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. Ladies Night Out is an annual health event for women and provides them with a fun night of shopping, free health screenings and casual consultations with local physicians.

At the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center table, Dr. Olufade spoke with women about stress fractures and how to prevent them. Studies show that female athletes are more prone to stress fractures than male athletes. As a fun activity, attendees entered a free drawing for new running sneakers, a key item to preventing stress fractures and other orthopedic injuries. Four lucky women walked away from the event with new shoes, but we want to provide everyone with Dr. Olufade’s helpful tips. Below are 12 things every woman should know about stress fractures:

What is a stress fracture?

1. A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone caused by repeated stress or force, often from overuse.

What are the symptoms of a stress fracture?

2. Pain that worsens over time; limping or tenderness. Possible swelling around painful area.

What are the risk factors for stress fractures?

3. Increased amount, distance, intensity or frequency of an activity too rapidly.
4. Female gender: lower bone density, less lean body mass in the lower limbs, low-fat diet and a history of menstrual disturbance are all significant risk factors for stress fractures.
5. Poor footwear: affects the distribution of weight.
6. Sports specific: change in training pattern (i.e., introduction of hill running), change of surface (i.e., soft clay tennis court to a hard court).
7. Weak bones: from osteoporosis, medications or eating disorders.

How do I prevent stress fractures?

8. Set incremental goals: apply stress to the bone in a controlled manner to strengthen the bone over time. Try increasing distance by <10% per week to allow bones to adapt.
9. Build muscle strength in the legs to increase shock absorption and muscle fatigue.
10. Alternate activities to help prevent injury.
11. Warm up before exercising, including stretching.
12. Use the proper equipment, including footwear. Make gradual changes to shoes and running surfaces. Well-cushioned running shoes that fit well can prevent stress fractures (depending on various factors including weight and shoe durability). Runners should replace their shoes every 300-700 miles to allow adequate mid-sole cushioning.

Think you may have a stress fracture? Make an appointment with an Emory sports medicine specialist. We’ll get you up and running again!


About Dr. Olufade

olufade-oluseunOluseun Olufade, MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine . He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports related injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in concussion, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration.

Dr. Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class and Editor of the PM&R Newsletter. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences.

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Top 6 Reasons You Experience Knee Pain While Running

runners-kneeAs the name suggests, runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a common ailment among runners. But it can also strike anyone who does activities that require a lot of knee bending, such as walking, crossfit, biking and cycling. But runner’s knee isn’t really a specific injury. It’s a loose term for any one of several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap (patella).

Research has shown that runner’s knee is more common in women than in men, particularly in women of middle age. Overweight individuals are especially prone to the disorder.

Runner’s Knee Causes:

  • The pain of runner’s knee may be activated by a variety of causes. Here are the most common causes of runner’s knee:
  • Thigh and hip/buttock muscle weakness – Weakness in thigh, hip and buttock muscles causes a disproportional load on the kneecap, leading to abnormal wear patterns and inflammatory pain. This improper alignment and tracking can be due to an imbalance of strength between the group of muscles known as the quadriceps and gluteals. This imbalance in strength causes the kneecap to track improperly because it is pulled laterally and out of its track, or causes an increased stress to the cartilage surface underneath the kneecap.
  • Kneecap out of alignment – If any of the bones are slightly out of their correct position — or misaligned — the kneecap can’t smoothly follow its vertical track as the knee bends and extends. This causes wear and tear on the joint. That leads to overuse injuries like runner’s knee and, down the line, osteoarthritis, which can really put a cramp in a runner’s career.
  • Problems with the feet – Runner’s knee can result from conditions of the feet such as fallen arches or overpronation (flat feet). These conditions may excessively stress joints and tissues of the knee. You should always assess your running shoes when experiencing any aches or pains. Make sure they are not too old, and are the correct type of shoes for your feet (more arch support, etc.) Something as simple as an over-the-counter custom insert can help to correct runner’s knee.
  • Direct trauma to the knee – such as a fall or blow.
  • Overuse – Repeated bending or high stress exercises such as lunges, squats, stairs, hills and plyometrics can irritate the kneecap joint. Overstretched tendons as a result of overuse may also cause the pain of runner’s knee.
  • Your training plan – Next, evaluate your training plan. The key points to consider are: Have you been increasing speed or distance recently? Also, are you allowing for adequate recovery time? Increasing mileage too quickly or introducing speed too soon, increases the risk of injury.

Not sure if you have runner’s knee or not? Review these symptoms of runner’s knee. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you may have to stop running temporarily until the knee pain subsides, but continuing to run will not cause long term damage. If your knee pain has not improved within 4-6 weeks, you should consult your sports medicine physician.


About the Emory Sports Medicine Center

At the Emory Sports Medicine Center, our team of knee specialists are constantly conducting research and developing new techniques for diagnosing and treating the full range of sports-related injuries. Whether you are a professional athlete, or simply enjoy an active lifestyle, Emory provides comprehensive care, in a patient- and –family- centered environment, so together we achieve the best possible outcome and you can return to the sport you love. To schedule an appointment, call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

About Dr. Hammond

hammond-kyleKyle Hammond, MD, spent his childhood in Johns Creek, GA and graduated from Chattahoochee High School before attending the University of Georgia. During his Emory residency, Dr. Hammond received the “Outstanding Resident Award”, and was twice the 1st runner-up in the Kelly Society’s Annual Research Award. Dr. Hammond’s research on the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL Surgery) won the 1st place Award for Research at the Annual Southern Orthopaedic Association and Georgia Orthopaedic Association meetings. He also worked as a Resident Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory, and Oglethorpe University Athletics. After his time at Emory, Dr. Hammond was selected to the ‘world-renowned’ Sports Medicine, Shoulder Surgery, and Concussion Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. While in Pittsburgh, Dr. Hammond was the Associate Head Team Orthopaedic Surgeon for both the Duquesne University Football team and the University of Pittsburgh Men’s Basketball team. He also worked as a Team Physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the University of Pittsburgh athletics, Robert Morris College athletics, as well as the Pittsburgh Ballet. Dr. Hammond then moved on to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, New York to work alongside the renowned, Dr. Brian Kelly and learn his techniques in the field of hip arthroscopy.

Dr. Hammond has a special interest in ligament injuries to the knee, the overhead and throwing athlete, shoulder arthroscopy, joint preservation/cartilage surgery, and is one of the few fellowship trained hip arthroscopists in Georgia.

Dr. Hammond enjoys spending time with his wife and their twin boys. When he’s not busy with family and work, Dr. Hammond enjoys working-out, golf, tennis, baseball and football.

Additional Resources
Understanding Runners’ Knee aka Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Protect Your Knees at Any Age

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.