AHAI: A Step aHead Baseline Testing

A Step aHead baseline testing is now open

AHAI: A Step aHead Baseline Testing

Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI), Athletico Physical Therapy, the Chicago Blackhawks, and NorthShore University HealthSystem has come together to create the AHAI: A Step aHead Baseline Testing initiative to combat one of the most common head injuries: concussions.

These four groups pledge to educate the Illinois youth hockey community on the importance of concussion management and to be proactive with implementing baseline testing. Through A Step aHead, we offer free baseline concussion testing, as well as educational programs, to youth hockey players in the AHAI program.

Head Injury and Concussion Management
presented by:

AHAI Baseline Testing

For more information contact an Athletico Baseline Testing Professional by emailing baselinetesting@athletico.com.

Click here to register for an AHAI Baseline Test

Tips to Help Student Athletes Reach Peak Performance

Tips to Help Student Athletes Reach Peak PerformanceBy Athletico Physical Therapy

The Fall sport season is right around the corner! With the start of a new school year and a new sports team, the beginning of the season can be tough. Regardless of what sport is being played, there are many factors that can help student athletes have a great tryout and season, including the four tips outlined below.

ShoesProper equipment and gear at the start of the season can be a great way to prevent injuries and help athletes get an extra performance boost! Shoes are known for enduring lots of wear and tear. Worn out shoes can potentially cause foot pain and lead to overuse injuries that inhibit athletic ability. Investing in new shoes can provide athletes with more comfort, allowing them to reach peak performance. However, it is important to break in new shoes before playing in them. Doing so can help to prevent blisters and other discomfort that could occur.

Sleep: Getting a good night sleep helps athletes feel rested and ready for early morning trainings! Sleeping is essential for helping the body recover. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation notes that when sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have enough time to complete all of the phases needed for things like muscle repair or memory consolidation. This is why it is important for athletes to gain enough shuteye before tryouts, practice and games!

Nutrition: As the season begins, the importance of nutrition should be remembered. Eating consistent healthy meals helps fuel the body and provides energy that is needed to perform. Athletes should focus on consuming enough carbohydrates from the proper sources. Good food sources include pasta, bread, cereal, fruit and vegetables. Carbohydrates are a significant contributor to an athlete’s energy, so it is important to eat the right amount. Protein can also influence performance and help the body maintain its strength. A few good sources of protein include meats, fish, beans, eggs and milk. By having a balanced diet, athletes will have the energy needed to succeed.

HydrationHydration is another aspect of nutrition that can affect performance. It is important to stay ahead of dehydration by drinking water consistently throughout the day. Athletes should always have a water bottle handy, including at practices so that enough fluids are consumed during physical activity. Since the recommendations for staying hydrated vary from person to person, consider learning more about sweat rate by reading Athletico’s “Hydration for Performance and Health.

Reaching Peak Performance

Student athletes have a lot to focus on during the school year. These tips can help athletes stay healthy and reach their peak performance for tryouts and games. Should any aches or pains during training occur, make sure to schedule a complimentary injury screen at your nearest Athletico so you can get back in the game as soon as possible.

Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen

What is that Bump on My Heel?

By Tara Hackney for Athletico Physical Therapy

Haglund's Deformity - What's that Bump on my Heel

Our feet literally take us places all day long, and foot pain is a fairly common issue. For some people, the pain is located more in the heel. That heel pain can also lead to the discovery of a bump on the back of the heel.  This could be a condition known as a Haglund’s deformity.


What is a Haglund’s Deformity?

A Haglund’s deformity is a bump located at the back of the heel. This is the location where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone of the heel. The deformity is an enlargement of the bony prominence. Other common names for this issue include “pump bump” because of the frequency of this condition in women who wear pump-style shoes. The occurrence of this condition is more common in those age 15-30.

What are the causes?

Haglund’s deformity occurs with frequent pressure on the back of the heel, possibly by wearing shoes that are too tight or too stiff. There is also an increased risk of developing this condition if there is extra tightness in the Achilles tendon, or a very high arch in the foot.

Symptoms:

  • A bony bump on back of the heel
  • Pain in the area where your Achilles tendon attaches to the heel
  • Swelling in the back of the heel
  • Redness near the back of the heel
  • Pain with pressure or tight fitting shoes

What is the treatment?

Treatment is focused on relieving pain and decreasing irritation of the heel not necessarily getting rid of the bump. Treatments for the symptoms of Haglund’s deformity include:

  • Wearing open back shoes
  • Icing the bump to reduce swelling
  • Wearing shoe orthotics
  • Wearing heel pads to reduce pressure from shoes
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Stretching of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon

It is also important to note that surgery can be an option for removal of the bony prominence on the heel if it continues to be problematic. Should you discover foot or heel pain, take the first step in developing a treatment plan by clicking the link below to schedule a complimentary injury screening at your nearest Athletico location.

Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen

Fact vs. Fiction: Strength Training for Seniors

By Tara Hackney for Athletico Physical Therapystrength training in seniors

Seniors cannot gain muscle mass.  (FALSE)

There is no age limitation on the body’s ability to gain strength or muscle mass. Resistance training at a higher intensity, above 60 percent of their one repetition maximum, has been shown to cause larger increases in strength in seniors. Strength training can increase the strength, mass, power and quality of muscle as well as improve endurance performance in seniors. Strength in seniors is important for performance of daily activities and to decrease the risk of falling which is a common cause of injury in this population.

Exercise improves cognitive function.  (TRUE)

Several studies have confirmed that both long-term exercise training and short-term (under 4 weeks) exercise training showed positive results on cognitive functions including memory, reading ability, attention and processing speed in people over the age of 60. The exercise program in these studies included aerobic exercise, strengthening exercises, and stretching at least three days per week. This combination of exercises appears to be the most effective for improving cognitive function.

Strength training in elderly individuals is not safe. (FALSE)

There is risk of injury with exercise at any age but there is no evidence that senior populations are at higher risk for injury than other age groups when performing strength training. For any individual beginning a strengthening program, education is important to ensure safety when using weight machines or free weights. Individuals should consider consulting their physician before starting any new exercise program, and should also be cautious about the number of repetitions and amount of resistance for their own safety and recovery after workouts.

An Athletico physical therapist or athletic trainer may be helpful to discuss strengthening programs for added safety. Contact your closest Athletico for a complimentary screening.

Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen