Posts Tagged ‘injury prevention’

6 Tips for an Injury-Free Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Sports

Outdoor Sports TransitionWarm weather is right around the corner and athletes of all ages will be out in force tearing it up on the athletic fields playing the games they love! Injury prevention during the seasonal sports transition is key. It is important to take care of your body and follow certain precautions as athletes transition from winter to spring sports. This is especially important for the young athletes. Outdoor elements such as soggy, muddy field conditions or bad weather, can negatively affect young athletes. Many times young athletes don’t have as much opportunity to train in an environment similar to which they will be playing in during their season. This can greatly increase the risk of athletic injury.

Below is a list of suggestions to help athletes adjust and prepare for the transition from indoor to outside venues and prevent injuries in the process!

All outdoor and field sport athletes should know:

  1. Stretching is extremely important in all sports. Typically, you should hold stretches for 30 seconds! Do some 20 – 30 yard runs, starting out slower and ending up at full speed to loosen the muscles up.
  2. Make sure your cleats are “broken in.” W e highly recommend that the young athlete begin wearing cleats outside on the field surface which they will be playing before the season starts. This will help ensure the cleats fit well and feel comfortable on the playing surface during practice and games.
  3. Arrive to the field early on game day and allow your body to adjust to the outside temperature.
  4. If you are able to arrive early, take a few minutes to walk the field to assess for soft or uneven spots in the field. If it has rained, scout the field for standing water puddles. This is especially important if you haven’t ever practiced or played on the field.
  5. Keep your muscles warm as long as possible before the game. Keep your warm-up gear on til the last second. You can also wear thermal type clothing like Under Armour under your uniform if you are playing in cold temperatures.
  6. Do not let muscles get cool during the game. If you are not playing, stand and keep moving as much as possible.

Spring sports are exciting for the athletes and for all the spectators! We want to help you make sure you stay healthy so you can enjoy them from the field!

About Dr. Brandon Mines

Brandon Mines, MDBrandon 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.

Dr. Mines is a rotational physician for United States soccer teams and a consulting physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons along with various local high schools, colleges, and community club teams. He enjoys giving talks and lectures regarding the prevention of sports injuries. In fact, as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Society for Sports Medicine, Dr. Mines has attended and presented at various national conferences. Through the years, he has helped all levels of athletes return to the top of their game.

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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.

Takeaways from Running Injury Live Chat

Dr. Amadeus MasonOn Tuesday, Dr. Amadeus Mason of Emory Sports Medicine, held a live chat that answered your questions about preventing running injuries. Dr. Mason provided some great answers to some very interesting questions; from how to prevent running injuries to the ideal length of time one should consider when training for a 5k and other long distance races.  Dr. Mason also provided participants with resources on things like: knee pain and strengthening and IT Band Syndrome.

The following is a recap of the live chat, or you can check out the transcript from Dr. Mason’s Preventing Running Injuries chat.

Q. Is it better to stretch before a run? After a run? Or Both?

A. For runners stretching for flexibility, it’s better to stretch after their run, because muscles are looser and more receptive to the stretch at that time. Dr. Mason also noted that while stretching before a run doesn’t hurt, runners should keep in mind that it’s best to spend at least ¼ of the time you spend running on stretching. As an example, Dr. Mason suggests if a runner trains for an hour, it’s best to stretch for at least 15 minutes.

Q. How does a runner prevent shin splints from reoccurring and preventing the pain’s longevity?

A. Runners experiencing recurrent shin splints, or moderate to severe pain in the shin that lasts for a long period of time, should see a specialist. Make sure not to train too much, too quickly, that’s one of the most common causes of shin splints, according to Dr. Mason. If shin splints occur, it’s recommended that a runner modifies their training regimen to accommodate for pain relief. Females, who experience shin splints on a fairly regular or recurrent basis, should contact their Physician.  Continuous shin pain is a possible indication that there’s some sort of hormonal imbalance or insufficient caloric intake from a female runner’s diet.

For more information on preventing running injuries, check out Dr. Mason’s chat transcript. You can also download the resources he shared in the chat by using the links below.

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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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What is a Biomechnical Injury?

Dr. Amadeus Mason of Emory Sports Medicine explains biomechanical injuries and how they can be prevented and treated.

Biomechanical Injury

In sports medicine, we see a lot of biomechanical injuries. A biomechanical injury is caused by the overuse or incorrect use of a joint or muscle. This type of injury generally occurs when the joint has been stressed in the wrong way or overstressed repetitively over a short period of time. While any joint can sustain a biomechanical injury, at the Emory Sports Medicine Center, I see a lot of runners who come in complaining of knee pain.

Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, is a biomechanical injury. It usually presents as pain on the outer side of the knee and is a common complaint among middle-distance runners or in athletes when they try to do too much running too quickly. This usually occurs early in the season or when athletes increase the intensity of their training, e.g., moving up from 5K to 10K distance.

To prevent a biomechanical injury, no matter where in the body it is, you need to be cognizant of how you’re stressing your joints and give your body enough time to accommodate the increased stress. If you’re a runner, start slow with low mileage (1–2 miles) and a moderate pace and slowly increase distance or intensity, but not both. If you’re lifting, start with a lighter amount of weight and a higher number of reps in each set and then, as you increase the weight, decrease the number of reps per set.

If you think you might have a biomechanical injury, you should be evaluated by a sports medicine specialist who understands biomechanical injuries. He or she can correctly determine the source of your pain and initiate the appropriate interventions so you can get better. If you’re in pain but not sure what type of injury you have, don’t take chances—come see a specialist here at the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Things to Keep in Mind if You Have (Or Suspect You Have) a Biomechanical Injury:

  • This type of injury will not just “heal on its own” with rest. You need to address the cause of the pain, or the symptoms will come back when you return to whatever activity caused the pain in the first place.
  • Don’t push through the pain. This pain is telling you that you’re doing something wrong. This is not a no-pain, no-gain situation.
  • There’s no quick fix. There’s no pill or quick shot that can cure a biomechanical injury. The best approach is to correct the problem using a holistic approach, which may include therapy, medications, modalities, and injections (as needed). Physiotherapy, in conjunction with steroid injections or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, can help reduce inflammation and, in turn, alleviate pain and facilitate addressing the underlying biomechanical issues. This is why it’s important to seek the help of someone who understands this type of injury.

Have you had a biomechanical injury? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Dr. Amadeus MasonAbout R. Amadeus Mason, MD:

R. Amadeus Mason, MD, is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track and Field and the National Scholastic Sports Foundation Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

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