DEVELOPING THE YOUNG FEMALE ATHLETE

In 2011, Naomi Kutin broke a world powerlifting record, squatting 215 lbs. She was in the 97 lbs weight clas…and was just nine years old. She broke a record previously held by a 44 year old German woman. Since then, Naomi has become a prodigy with the nickname “Supergirl” in the lifting community. Now, at 16, she has continued to astound, deadlifting 365 lbs in the last Pan American Championships with Team USA.

As you look at your own daughter, you’re probably thinking, “Thank goodness my daughter wants to play softball… “Aren’t girls like Naomi a special case?” And…most importantly, “Is what Naomi doing in that video EVEN SAFE???” As parents, coaches, trainers…we all walk a fine line. We want to keep young athletes from the life-long consequences of injury but we still want to help them be their best. Especially if they LOVE their sport. No one wants to put out the fire of a young athlete. But when is it our responsibility to draw the line? How can we prepare our young athletes for the risks of their sport?

Until recently, strength training and young athletes has been a taboo subject. Even more so for females. Most parents have no problems signing their daughter up for softball or soccer, but strength training? It just doesn’t happen that easily. Here’s the problem: Our girls are getting hurt.  In soccer. In softball. In volleyball. And, our girls are getting hurt more often- and worse -than our boys.

With more females participating in sports over the last decade, science has devoted a greater focus to female athletes and their development. Currently, data for gender-matched sports show females present a higher incidence of injuries than male athletes. And when we think about it….it makes sense!!! We KNOW that male athletes have more muscle mass and a baseline of strength due to their hormonal makeup (hello higher testosterone!).

YET in gender-matched sports with similar rules (ie softball/ baseball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, etc), males and females are exposed to the SAME FORCES on the field or court. But we keep throwing our comparatively weaker females on to this field or court.

It’s no wonder our female athletes keep getting injured!

Girls are seeing an increase in injury in sports, particularly

  • stress fractures,
  • ACL tears,
  • and other knee injuries like PFPS (patellofemoral pain syndrome)

What’s the solution? How can we prepare young female athletes for a healthy athletic career?

Strength Training.

The science is clear: strength training is not just a necessary training tool for football players; it is a necessary tool for all ATHLETES to help prepare their bodies for the forces imposed in sport. And based on the current research, it is CRUCIAL we start making strength training a PRIORITY for today’s female athlete. (1)

In this article we are going to discuss:

  • When should females begin strength training programs
  • The ‘neuromuscular spurt’ girls need for athletic development
  • Common injuries and training techniques that reduce risk
  • How CULTURE has created a dangerous myth surrounding strength training for girls

Lifting the Myth: How Young is Too Young?

“The young bodies of modern day youth are often ill prepared to tolerate the demands of sports or physical activity.”

READ MORE AT: http://relentlessathleticsllc.com/2018/12/developing-the-young-female-athlete/

Contributed by: Emily R Pappas, MS Exercise Physiology

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Injuries Impacting Professional Dancers

Injury-Prevention Tips from Joffrey Dancers Help Recreational Athletes

Injury-Prevention Tips from Joffrey Dancers Help Recreational Athletes

Professional dancers, like professional athletes, are subject to injury because of the constant stress they put on their bodies. And while these dancers and athletes have dedicated medical teams to attend to their needs, recreational athletes can learn from their experience.

“Dancers in a lot of ways are similar to everyday athletes who want to stay in shape and have fun,” says Simon Lee, MD, foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and medical director for The Joffrey Ballet.

Just like dancers, recreational athletes can experience stress fractures, sprained ankles, tendinitis and knee issues. To prevent such injuries, it’s important to start with a good warm-up.

“I don’t think people realize how much time dancers spend warming up and stretching,” Lee says. “Recreational athletes are pressed for time and want to compress their athletic activity, but that’s the way injuries occur. The older we get the more important it is to get warmed up and stretch.”

Joanna Wozniak, a full member of the Joffrey since 2003, can rattle off a list of aches, pains and injuries she has suffered because of her physically demanding profession. To prevent injuries, Wozniak, like the other Joffrey dancers, starts with a daily 90-minute class of classical ballet exercises to warm up the body.

“Every movement is important to work every different muscle system, just like every brick is important for the foundation in a house,” she says. The class is followed by six hours of rehearsal, during which dancers learn the movements of new choreography and eventually start running through the whole dance.

In addition to dancing, Wozniak is on the move in other ways. She goes for walks, rides her bike, runs to build stamina, takes Pilates classes to strengthen her core muscles and practices Bikram yoga and other forms of yoga for stretching.

“It’s good to practice different forms of exercise because they use different muscles,” Wozniak says. “It’s like rotating the tires on a car because it slows down wear and tear.”

Cross-training with other sports and strengthening core muscles is critically important for recreational athletes, Lee says. He recommends adding cycling or swimming to help maintain body balance, strength and flexibility.

“Running is probably one of the worst activities to do consistently every day,” Lee says, “because it only works certain parts of your lower body in one direction — straight — and causes a lot of issues, such as overuse in the ankles and knees that are mainly strengthened on the anterior and posterior sides.”

“So many of us are constantly getting hurt and in pain that it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is a normal ache or pain and what needs more care and attention,” Wozniak says.

Wozniak takes care of some problems on her own by stretching, staying hydrated and using hot compresses or ice. But when her arm started turning purple and swelling, it was time to consult with Rush doctors. She was quickly diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which restricts normal blood flow to the arm. In her case, the condition was caused by overuse of her arms. She had surgery to have a rib removed in order to alleviate the problem.

Whether you’re a professional dancer or a recreational athlete, ongoing aches and pains are worth a consultation with a medical professional. “We have a knowledge of physiology and anatomy so we know what can be problematic and what can be ignored or pushed through,” Lee says.

Wozniak, who is 33 and has been dancing since age 7, is so passionate about dancing that she is motivated to do what it takes to maintain and improve the quality of her performance, but recreational athletes may not always be predisposed to work out consistently.

To improve the fun factor of staying fit, Lee suggests recreational athletes participate in a group sport such as flag football or a pick-up basketball league. “When you work out together there is the camaraderie of teammates working to achieve a goal,” he says.

Wozniak finds that camaraderie at the Joffrey. “We all care a lot about each other and support each other,” she says. “We’re like a family.”

Wozniak recently performed in a dance called “Body of Your Dreams” that spoofed the notion that quick fixes can help you effortlessly achieve the ideal physique. “I think people can get caught up in the trap of the importance of the perfect body image,” she says, “but you have to put things in perspective and find happiness and fulfillment in other ways.” And working out safely and preventing injury can help achieve that goal.

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Outdoor Winter Workout Tips

outdoor winter workout tips

By Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTP for Athletico Physical Therapy

Winter is here! As the weather turns cold, snowy and icy, it makes outdoor workouts seem impossible. Cold weather does not mean all outdoor workouts must cease, but there are ways to keep up your routine or even try a new wintertime workout. Here are some tips for working out in the cold:

Outdoor Winter Workout Tips

  • Start by warming up indoors – this can include a 5-10 minute jog in place, jumping jacks or jumping rope. By doing this, your body starts off warmer when you go outside into the cold.
  • Don’t exercise outside if the temperature is too cold – know your limits and make sure to check the wind chill before deciding to work out outdoors. In general, it is a good idea to exercise indoors if the wind chill is zero or below to avoid conditions like hypothermia or frostbite.
  • Check the weather before you leave your house – make sure there isn’t a storm in the forecast or any large change in the weather that could leave you at increased risk for frostbite during the length of your workout.
  • Try to work out outside when it is warmest, which is typically near midday – to do this, try exercising on your lunch break or leave your outdoor workouts for the weekends and supplement with indoor workouts during the week.
  • Dress in layers –
    • A sweat wicking fabric should be closest to your body (not cotton)
    • The next layer is an insulation layer such as fleece or wool
    • The outer layer should be waterproof
    • Make sure to protect the head, hands, feet and ears
    • Consider a scarf or mask that can cover the face if it is really cold
  • Beware of icy conditions, as this can increase your risk for falling during a workout –
    • Make sure you select footwear with good traction
    • There are also removable options that can be attached to shoes to give added traction on icy sidewalks or terrain
  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia –
    • skin color changes
    • numbness
    • tingling or stinging
    • ice crystals on the skin
    • vigorous shivering
    • lethargy
    • amnesia
    • fine motor skill impairment

Other Options for Winter Workouts

Sometimes an outdoor workout is not going to happen during the winter months. This can be a great time to try a new workout or to change up your routine. There are several options that can be effective, including at-home workouts or gym workouts that could include using weights or joining a class. Here are a few options:

  • Water workouts – these are a great change in pace and allow you to work muscles that may not get as much attention with traditional outdoor workouts. Find a local gym with a pool to try swimming or other water based workouts.
  • Yoga – this is a great indoor activity that can help you focus on stretching, core strengthening, and can be a good compliment to your normal workout routines
  • Something new – there are many workout options that may be new to your routine, including spin, Pilates, POUND, Zumba or body pump. These classes are a fun way to work out when the weather drives you indoors.
  • Fun winter-specific workouts, like cross country skiing or snowshoeing – these are both amazing cardio and strengthening workouts for both the upper and lower body.
  • Take the time during the winter months to focus on any problem areas that may have shown during the warmer months – if you had any areas of pain or weakness during the rest of the year, now is a great time to focus on stretching and strengthening that area to prevent any aggravation when you resume your regular outdoor workouts.

Heading into the Spring Injury-Free

Regardless of the workouts you try this winter, it is important to pay attention to your body so you can head into the warmer weather without injury and ready to resume your normal routine. Should unusual aches and pains occur during or after a workout, schedule a free assessment at a nearby Athletico so our experts can help you heal.

SCHEDULE A FREE ASSESSMENT

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Inside the Chicago White Sox Clubhouse

Image result for white sox clubhouse

Dr. Nik Verma of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and head team physician for the Chicago White Sox goes ‘Inside the Clubhouse’ and shares some of his favorite training room stories with Steve Kashul. Dr. Verma credits his success to the valuable professionals and support staff that help keep our players healthy and fit.

Dr. Verma specializes in treatment of the shoulder, elbow and knee with an emphasis on advanced arthroscopic reconstructive techniques of the shoulder, shoulder replacement, knee ligament reconstruction and articular cartilage reconstruction and meniscal transplantation.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Verma completed his orthopedic residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. He then completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in sports medicine and shoulder surgery. While in New York, he served as an assistant team physician for the St. John’s University Athletic Department. He also received specialized training in treatment of shoulder and elbow disorders in the overhead throwing athlete.

Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.nikhil verma

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings.

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