Platform Tennis Injuries; Understanding Cryotherapy; Muscle Activation Techniques

Episode 17.32 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:30): Dr. Leda Ghannad from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush discusses platform tennis injuries.IMG_0854.JPG

The first-ever national study of platform (paddle) tennis injuries revealed 66 percent of paddle tennis players say they sustained an injury from playing the game. The study also found that of the platform tennis players reporting an injury, more than half sustained two or more.

The most common conditions reported were injuries to the shin/calf (21%), knee (16%), elbow (16%), ankle (13%) and shoulder (10%). Sixty percent of the injuries were caused by overuse and 40 percent were due to an incident that occurred during play. The study, which involved an online survey of American Platform Tennis Association players nationwide, was coordinated by Dr. Leda Ghannad, a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, with approval from the internal review board at Rush University Medical Center. More than 1,000 players responded to the survey.

“We knew it was a high-injury sport based on the number of paddle patients we treat,” admits Dr. Ghannad. “But until now, there wasn’t any research that proved this. Paddle tennis requires a mixture of speed, agility and quick bursts of energy, which makes athletes more susceptible to getting hurt. Many players are also middle-aged ‘weekend warriors’ who don’t strengthen or stretch their muscles and ligaments in between games or practices.”

Paddle tennis is similar to tennis but is played outside in the winter on a small, elevated court surrounded by a screen. Courts are heated from underneath to clear snow and ice. Most participants are between the ages of 40 and 65.


Segment Two (10:25): What is Cryotherapy? Uses and application of ice vs heat by Matt Gauthier from Athletico Physical Therapy

The most long-standing and common form of “cryotherapy” is the application of ice or cold packs to injuries to cause blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow and alleviates pain, swelling and inflammation. While there is still some debate over the longer-term effects on healing, such localized (i.e., applied to specific part of the body) “cryotherapy” certainly seems to have clear short-term benefits and has long been standard practice among health professionals. 

Unlike localized cryotherapy, whole body cryotherapy consists of exposing the entire body to very low (subzero) temperatures, sometimes below -200 degrees Fahrenheit, for a few minutes (typically between 2 and 4 minutes). Often, the person will stand in a tank or closet-like device, wear minimal clothing and be bathed in liquid nitrogen or refrigerated cold air…like taking the ultimate cold shower.


Segment Three (21:42): Skip Chapman from Fitness Formula Club discusses Muscle Activation Techniques. In recent years, a revolutionary new process has evolved for identifying and correcting muscular imbalances in the body known as Muscle Activation Techniques™ (MAT). This exciting and unique system can dramatically improve joint stability, increase range of motion, reduce subjective complaints, and enhance overall function and performance for individuals of all ages and present abilities.

MAT™ looks at muscle tightness as a form of protection in the body. Weak or inhibited muscles can create the need for other muscles to tighten up in order to help stabilize the joints. MAT™ gets to the root of the complaint or injury by addressing muscle weakness rather than muscle tightness. This helps to restore normal body alignment, thereby, improving performance and decreasing subjective complaints.

If you are an athlete, fitness enthusiast, or rehabilitation patient who is:

  • Seriously concerned about joint health as you ageFitness Formula Clubs
  • Hesitant to exercise as hard as you want due to chronic injury and pain
  • Confused about how best to stop joint pain when working out
  • Worried about chronic aches and pains post workout
  • Stiff and inflexible and stretching is not working
  • Tired of nagging injuries preventing your fitness progress

Fact or Fiction About Nutrition

Flat lay of fresh ingredients with avocado, herbs, jalapeno, and egg

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 62% of adult Americans are overweight and more than 9 million teenagers and youngsters suffer with obesity. With these sorts of statistics, it should come as no surprise that the dieting culture has fueled big business, with health fads being a part of that. So just how much should we trust the nutritional facts we’re fed?

Since nutrition is such a competitive market, there is a lot of conflicting information regarding how to best take care of yourself. Questions about what to eat and what to avoid, whether or not to supplement, and how to exercise most effectively are all raised as we try to navigate our lifestyle. For this reason, it’s important to know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to nutrition.

Diet

The one accepted rule for health and nutrition is that diet plays a crucial role. Exactly what the diet should contain is where contention lies and myths come into play. Medical News Today reports that the Atkin’s diet is still the most popular diet and focuses on controlled insulin levels through a low carbohydrate diet. This has led to the myth that all forms of carbohydrate are the enemy and should be ruled out of a diet on nutritional grounds. However, Dr Hyman counters that carbs are in fact the single most important thing you can eat for health and weight-loss. He explains that the carbohydrate food group is huge and includes almost all plant-based food, such as cauliflower, which is low-glycemic so won’t spike your blood sugar but also full of nutrients and fiber.

Supplementation

Livestrong states that Americans spend more money of dieting products and weight-loss surgery than any other people in the world, with the number of people opting for these approaches growing significantly each year. This has arguably thrown the issue of supplementation into question, with myths falling on both sides of the spectrum. Along with their rise in popularity has come the spread of unsubstantiated fact and disinformation as to the benefits and potential dangers of taking supplements.

Exercise

Keeping physically active is essential for keeping healthy and nutritionally charged, but the idea that if you aren’t feeling the strain by the end, it was a pointless exercise is not entirely accurate. This is a myth that has been debunked by doctors and physical therapists alike but persists because most people conflate the idea of pushing themselves to work out harder. While pushing yourself to extend the limits of your endurance in great, pushing yourself to the point of pain is by no means the best workout.

Many myths related to nutrition and wellbeing are so persistent, they become ingrained in people’s understanding of health and can prove difficult to shift. Research into diets, supplements and exercise regimes are continuous topics of interest, regularly bringing new information to light. The main issue with these myths is that there is often elements of truth to them. The trick is sieving through the myth to recognize the fact from the fiction from the confusion.

Contributed by Jess Walter, Freelance Writer

4 Tips for Returning to Play After an ACL Reconstruction

By Anne Bierman, PT, DPT, SCS for Athletico Physical Therapy

The ACL is a major ligament that helps to stabilize the knee joint. Athletes and recreational enthusiasts of all ages can experience an ACL tear, especially those who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, volleyball and basketball.4 Tips for Returning to Play After an ACL Reconstruction After surgery, athletes tend to be very anxious to get back to the sport they love. To help them get back to their sport safely with minimal risk of re-injury, Athletico developed an ACL 3P Program. The three “P’s” stand for prevention, progression and performance. The performance aspect of the program emphasizes limb symmetry, proper landing/cutting mechanics and match fitness to minimize the athlete’s risk for re-tear. Learn more about the program by reading Athletico’s “Can ACL Tears Be Prevented?” blog.

Evidence suggests that an athlete may be 30 percent likely to re-tear an ACL, 20 percent on contralateral leg and 10 percent on same leg2. Athletico’s program aims to lower that risk by making sure an athlete has good landing and cutting mechanics when fatigued. Here are the top four things to consider before returning to play after an ACL-Reconstruction.

1)  Timing isn’t everything

A decade ago, most patients were discharged from physical therapy around the three month mark, then released by their physician to return to play at the six month mark. Instead of a time-based criteria, evidence suggests more objective criteria. Athletico’s ACL 3P program includes a cluster of tests – Y balance testing, hop testing, and video analysis of cutting and landing tasks to determine an athlete’s readiness to return to play. Educating patients from the first day of post-op about criteria-based return to play instead of returning right at the six month post-op mark will help them have realistic expectations.

2) Hop testing alone is NOT sufficient

A recent article came out suggesting that hop testing by itself is insufficient to allow an athlete to return to play. If hop testing is the only criteria for return to play, the athlete has been done a disservice. Other objective, sport-specific criteria should also be used.

Similarly, power is one of the last items to come back. Athletico includes single leg, triple hop testing in the “prevention” screen so that we have a baseline on athletes. If that athlete ever has an injury, Athletico clinicians can make sure that athlete not only returns to their baseline, but exceeds it.  Athletes often demonstrate symmetry by the 6six month post-op mark. However, their power often doesn’t return until the 7-8 month post-op mark.  By having a baseline, Athletico clinicians can ensure athletes are not only symmetrical but re-gain power as well.

3) Fatigue

Athletico’s final RTP phase includes a five minute fatigue protocol. Because athletes are most likely to get injured when they are tired, Athletico ACL 3P clinicians want to ensure that landing and cutting mechanics are flawless when fatigued. This is a key differentiator of Athletico’s program.

4) Athletes should not expect to play in a tournament their first weekend back in contact

Patients are often allowed to return to non-contact practice participation before the six month mark, or before they pass all return to play criteria under fatigue. This allows the athlete to start getting some sport-specific muscle memory and fitness. Many parents and athletes think that “getting released” means they can go back to playing a 90-minute soccer match (or even worse – an entire tournament) the first week back.

To ensure safe progression, when “released,” athletes should participate in several weeks of full contact practices before trying just a few minutes in each half of a match.  Physical therapists work hard to mimic sport-specific movements in physical therapy, but reactive decision-making is difficult and best replicated during practice and games. This can fatigue athletes quickly. Educating patients about appropriate progression is key to minimizing their risk for re-injury!

Returning To Play!

If you are interested in Athletico’s ACL 3P Return to Play testing, please email ACL@athletico.com.

These 3 Surprising Workouts Are the Best For Your Health, Says Harvard

There’s nothing like a multitasking sweat session to help us burn calories, banish stress, and clear our minds. But as Business Insider reports, not all fitness routines are created equal. A new health report released by Harvard Medical School titled “Starting to Exercise” outlined the most effective workouts that not only aid in weight loss, but also help strengthen your brain, bones, and heart.

“Research shows that just a half-hour of moderately intense exercise a day can improve your health and extend your life,” the report says. I-Min Lee, a Harvard professor and author of the study, notes that activities like long-distance running can have negative effects on your digestive system and joints. In addition to explaining the best ways to avoid injuries and use the proper breathing techniques, the research also reveals some of the most beneficial workouts for your health—and a few of them may surprise you. Read on below for three routines that help you live longer and only require 30 minutes of your time.

Walking. This activity may seem like a no-brainer, but as Business Insider reports, some studies have found that walking for at least 30 minutes at a leisurely pace can help boost your memory and reduce depression. For those who don’t exercise regularly, Harvard suggests starting off with 10- to 15-minute strolls and building up to 30- to 60-minute walks.

Tai chi. A Chinese martial and meditative art that involves a series of gentle and flowing movements, this ancient practice emphasizes deep focus and paying attention to breathing. Lee writes that tai chi is “particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose” as we age.

Swimming. Harvard’s Healthbeat newsletter calls swimming “the perfect workout,” all thanks to its ability to work almost every muscle in your body. From protecting your brain from signs of aging to raising your heart rate, this aerobic workout also reduces potential injuries “because it’s less weight bearing,” Lee writes in a recent issue of the newsletter.

By DANIELLE DIRECTO-MESTON