What is Sports Medicine?

By Matt Nohren, Outreach Athletic Trainer for ATI Physical Therapy

trainerAlthough the origins of sports medicine can be dated back to the Roman Colosseum and training gladiators of appropriate diet and exercise, sports therapy has vastly evolved over the past 100 years. The term “sports medicine” was coined in 1928, when various team physicians attending the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, met to establish the International Assembly on Sports Medicine. From this point forward more research and education has been conducted to help protect, treat, and identify sports related health conditions.

A current day sports medicine definition can be described as a multifaceted approach to preventing, treating, and rehabilitating orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries or conditions. This concept can be applied to every age group from our youth to our elderly and every skill level from recreational to professional. Sports medicine’s goal is to keep you in your sport or activity you love. If an injury is sustained, helping identify and treat, or refer the injury are all areas of sports medicine. Sports medicine care can also provide emergency response should a critical situation arise during a game, competition, or in the workplace.

With today’s active culture, sports medicine is a multidisciplinary field that is growing rapidly!

Nationally Recognized Integrative Health Expert Karen Malkin Joins EWG Board of Directors

Sports Medicine Weekly is proud to announce that one of its valued partners, Karen Malkin, a leading integrative health coach and lifestyle practitioner, has joined the EWG board of directors, further raising the group’s profile as the nation’s leading nonprofit research organization advancing the importance of healthy foods free from toxic chemicals.

“Karen’s longtime commitment and expertise in helping people make healthier choices for themselves and their families aligns seamlessly with the core mission of EWG,” said the group’s president, co-founder and fellow board member, Ken Cook. “The advice and guidance around healthy diets Karen delivers could be found on some of EWG’s websites.”


“I have closely followed the work EWG has done pushing industry and the government to make healthy food more available and accessible, and I have relied on much of EWG’s research in my own work,” said Malkin. “I am excited to be part of such an important organization, and look forward to working with my fellow board members to build on their already incredible work.”


Malkin has a private health coaching practice in Chicago. As co-founder and CEO of MCT Foods, LLC, Malkin developed a line of high-quality vegan protein blends, MCT oil and superfood bars. She is the author of the “14 Day Transformation” series including “Toxin Takedown.”

Malkin serves on the advisory council for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine; the board of directors for Gardeneers, an organization that sustains and provides curriculum for Chicago Public Schools; and the advisory board for Spiral Sun Ventures, a mission-based capital fund investing in health and wellness products.

“Karen will undoubtedly bring her passion and energy to EWG’s board, and will be an important voice as we continue to take on new challenges and opportunities,” added Cook. “Karen’s fellow board members and I are thrilled she’s agreed to help chart our course going forward.”

To Stretch or Not To Stretch: Should you waste your time?

By Emily Haglage, PT, DPT from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

Image result for static vs dynamic stretch

The American College of Sports Medicine states that adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. That is about 20 minutes a day. Stretching is not considered to be a moderate-intensity exercise. So, do we need to add 5-10 minutes of stretching prior to our workout, like our coaches always told us? In recent years, there has been much debate over different ways to stretch and which way is the safest and most effective. There are many different types of stretching techniques, but today we are only considering two types: static and dynamic.


Static stretching is lengthening the muscle while holding a particular pose for an extended period of time, such as propping your leg up onto a chair, leaning forward, and stretching your hamstring for 30 seconds.

Dynamic stretching is elongating the muscle while completing a movement. For example, running with high knees or walking lunges. So, how do we know when to perform each type of stretching?


Static Stretching

A strong amount of research supports the effects of static stretching to be performed after a warm up, but prior to your full workout, especially if you do not have the full range of motion to complete the activity. However, there are many current research articles that raise the negative effects of static stretching. One study states, “A longer stretch duration (i.e. >60 s) are more likely to cause a small or moderate reduction in performance,” which could lead you to a higher risk of injury.

Another study looked at performance of collegiate sprinters with and without static stretching. That study found, “ significant slowing in performance with static stretching… Therefore, in strict terms of performance, it seems harmful to include static stretching in the warm-up protocol of collegiate male sprinters.” Looking at this from a broader perspective, if you are want to participate in a sport such as jogging, evidence supports that there is no need for a specific static stretching routine.

● Perform after a warm up, but prior to a full workout

● Hold stretch less than 45 seconds

● Decreases speed and power

● May have little effect on long-term flexibility, and could increase your risk for injury

Dynamic Stretching

Research seems to lean towards dynamic stretching as the most beneficial form of stretching prior to any type of exercise or sport routine. In fact, most studies found that it was beneficial to perform dynamic stretching in order to reverse negative effects of static stretching. One researcher group discovered, “ Athletes in sports requiring [leg] power should use dynamic stretching techniques in warm-up to enhance flexibility while improving performance”.

Another research article found that dynamically stretching your hamstrings can actually decrease tightness and improve flexibility over a period of 6 weeks, and therefore significantly decrease low back pain. Not only does dynamic stretching warm up your muscles, but it wakes up your central nervous system which can prepare your body for a tough workout.

● Perform after statically stretching (if you choose this modality of stretching)

● Beneficial for the athlete participating in a sport with less pivoting movements such as swimming or jogging

● Can decrease muscle tightness and improve flexibility

● Helps to decrease your risk of injury


Emily_Haglage.jpgEmily Haglage is a graduate of Saint Louis University where she received her bachelor’s of science degree in exercise science and doctorate in physical therapy. She treats a variety of orthopedic injuries with special interest in knee injuries including patellofemoral pain, meniscus injuries, ligamentous injuries, arthritis and post-operative total knee replacements. She enjoys working closely with athletes by performing Functional Sports Assessments (FSAs) which give physicians more assurance that their patients are safe to return to sports such as basketball, football, soccer, tennis and hockey.

Warming Up vs Cooling Down: Things To Know

By Matthew Buckley for Athletico Physical Therapy

warming up vs cooling down

Picture this – you walk into your local gym after carving out time in your day to  work out.. You come prepared with your headphones in, new favorite song turned up, and a game plan full of all the exercises you’re going to accomplish that day. You scan the gym and see your favorite machine with no one else on it calling your name. You scurry to it, get settled in, and just as you’re about to start you think to yourself, “I probably should warm up, shouldn’t I?”

We’ve all been here. Most people at one time or another have followed some sort of workout plan in hopes of becoming more physically fit, and yet so often these programs neglect any sort of warm up or cool down. All too often people end up in physical therapy with workout related injuries, many of which can be attributed to poor warm ups/cool downs. In fact, in 2012 roughly 500,000 people were injured while exercising or using exercise equipment. Gym-goers are not alone. A review of the incidence of running injuries shows that the average recreational runner has anywhere from a 37 to 56 percent chance of injuring themselves.


With a proper warm up and cool down prior to activity of any sort, these rates of injury can be decreased and the ever-dreaded soreness after exercise can be lessened.. A proper warm up is very different than a proper cool down, so it is important to understand what should be incorporated into each of these. Here are some tips to guide a safe, effective warm up, cool down and overall workout.


The Warm Up

Contrary to popular belief, static stretching is  not the best way to get ready for a workout. Static stretching helps to lengthen and relax muscles, which while important (see below), is not the most effective way to get your body ready for physical exertion. Instead, what is called a dynamic warm up is best for pre-exercise. These are movements designed to increase the mobility of muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the areas of the body you’ll be using for exercise, as well as increase the mobility of the joints themselves.

These movements help prime your body for more strenuous physical exertion, begin to get your heart rate up in preparation for activity, and increase blood flow to the areas to supply muscles and tendons with nutrients during the workout. All this effectively decreases the chances of causing injury to a muscle or joint that creates force to perform any type of workout movement. A few examples of these movements include:

  • Body weight squats
  • Forward and backward lunges
  • Sidestepping in a slight squat position with a band around your knees
  • Jumping jacks
  • High Knees
  • Jogging Butt Kickers
  • Forward and side planks

The Cool Down

Following a workout, muscles have exerted force for an amount of time and have the tendency to get tight. The cool down is essential to restore muscles to their proper flexibility to prevent tightness, muscle imbalances and decrease the risk of overuse injuries. Stretching is also a great way to gradually decrease your heart rate after a workout and can help decrease the amount of soreness felt later that day/the next day following exercise. A stretch should be performed for any muscle or muscle groups that were used during that workout. Stretches should be held for 30 seconds and should NOT be to the point of pain.

The use of foam rollers for warming up and cooling down has gotten much more popular over recent years, and for good reason. Using a foam roller can be beneficial for both warming up and cooling down, as well as in between workouts. The pressure of the roller may be a bit uncomfortable at the time, but no sharp pain should be felt. Foam roll use helps to mobilize the tissue making movement easier afterward and will also help work out any soreness that is felt through the muscles.

The proper use of warming up and cooling down has a variety of benefits in combination with a safe and effective workout routine of any kind. Using these methods will help improve workout function, decrease risk of injury while working out and improve recovery from workout to workout. As always, consult your physician and/or physical therapist with any pain you may be experiencing with activity.

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