Olympics 2016 ~ #TeamUSA!

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Have you been watching the Olympics this year? 

We are college touring (my son is a senior) and vacationing for the entire two weeks so I have only been catching the sports I love at the end of the day or via Sirius XM!

What are your favorite events?

Mine are gymnastics, beach volleyball and soccer. This year I did get into the swimming a bit too! Wow, we have some phenomenal athletes! #TeamUSA.

Another sport I have been following is mixed doubles Badminton!?! I know kinda random but . . . a former PT Aide that I worked with is an Olympian in this sport! I am so proud of her just being an Olympian and Athlete. She posted a picture of herself on Instagram using gradient compression pumps on her legs for recovery 🙂

In addition, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are sporting their kinesiotape and Michael Phelps has had cupping. What’s that you ask?? Stay tuned below for a link to my colleague’s blog post!

All of this had me thinking . . . I kinesiotape a few of my athletes for competition and many people come to ask me on the sideline “Does that stuff really work? What does it do??”

So here’s the scoop . . .

What is kinesiotaping?

Kinesiotaping is a technique used by Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainers, and Athletes to improve muscle performance or decrease pain during sport. It can also be used to decrease swelling in certain circumstances. It is a light elastic tape that is applied to the body to facilitate or inhibit muscles or move swelling. It is not rigid and therefore allows the body to move through its full range of motion during sport.

Does it really work?

Most medical research says there is no significant difference between use of tape and other treatments BUT . . . Athletes say YES it totally works!  Ultimately, you need to decide for yourself. Ask your Physical Therapist if kinesiotaping is appropriate for your problem and if so have him/her tape that area to see if it helps ~ reduce pain, swelling, make moving easier.

What does kinesiotaping do?

  • For use on muscles, the tape gives your body signals to either use a muscle more or less.
  • For reduction of swelling the tape lifts the skin and fascia to create movement of the fluid so it drains away from the swollen area.
  • For pain it lifts the skin and fascia to decrease the pressure on a muscle that is in spasm.

How do I know what kind of tape to buy?

Your Physical Therapist may be able to recommend the tape that is best for you. The major differences between the brands are patterns of wave forms, color options, and adhesive none of which affects the function of the tape but each person will have different preferences in brand of tape so use which every you like best!

Are they side effects?

  • You can have skin sensitivity reactions such as itching, redness, and the like.
  • If worn for many hours after sweating it can cause a rash from trapped sweat under the tape.
  • If you have latex allergies the tape may irritate your skin.
  • If the tape is close to the neck, head, armpit or back of the knee you can have dizziness, nausea and a general feeling of not being right ~ if this happens it will happen within 5 minutes of applying the tape, REMOVE THE TAPE IMMEDIATELY and the symptoms should be reduced greatly if not gone within 5 minutes. Kinesiotape should never be applied in the armpit or back of the knee.

Can I tape myself?

Yes . . . But, you will want to know what to tape and how to tape it. Speak to your Physical Therapist about your specific issue.  There are lots of YouTube videos available to teach you how to tape yourself but to avoid injury, and understand the purpose of taping, make sure they are done by reliable sources. Better yet check with your PT.

Do you have any Kinesiotaping stories to share? Comment below!

Did I answer all your questions? If not comment below or email me . . . drroxi@zptforinjury.com

Look forward to hearing from you! Be well, Roxi

P.S. here’s the cupping blog my colleague wrote!

“If I Tell You it Hurts . . .

. . . You Won’t Let Me Play!”

Its a complicated subject really . . . PAIN

There are may different kinds of pain and each structure in our body hurts differently depending on why it is hurting!

I have heard these words many, many times and my biggest concern is twofold:

  1. Kids not telling their parents they are in pain because they really fear that their parent won’t let them play and they want to keep playing! OR WORSE
  2. Mom/Dad/Coach saying “suck it up” and play through it while turning to the parent next to them to say kids are “too soft” these days.

Ever experience either of those scenarios? I have seen it first hand on the fields!

How do we find a middle ground?

Well first we need to look at the type of injury ~ how did you wind up with pain?

If you have an acute injury:

  • You probably have lots of pain, some swelling and are not in the mood to play ~ follow those instincts!
  • If you are feeling better in a few minutes try playing again ~ you’ll know if you need to stop.

If you have a chronic injury:

  • You probably have intermittent pain and of varying intensity.
  • This is the most confusing pain to deal with because there is no simple answer . . .
  • You may be able to play through the pain BUT that doesn’t mean you should . . . you could be doing more damage to the injured tissues.

If you don’t have an injury at all:

  • Your pain could be the start of an overuse injury that develops slowly or you happen to “just notice” one day – see acute and chronic injuries above . . .
  • Your pain could be just from regular muscle use and totally normal ~ when you play through it you will feel better and better.

Next we need to consider the tissues involved in your injury ~ Muscles, Tendons, Ligaments, Bone. All of these tissues send different pain signals and heal at different rates.

Muscles can be sore from normal exercising, when you are sick in bed or just from growing! These types of pain feel sore or achy and you can play through them if it feels good to do so.the healing time of muscles can range from a few days to several weeks depending on the type of injury.

Tendons are sore when you are growing or when you have overused the muscle that is attached to that tendon. This kind of pain is more sharp, like a pinch or a stab and also intense achy. You can play through this pain ONLY IF it feels better when you play 🙂 If it hurts to play then DON’T 😦 Tendons healing phase is about 10-12 weeks.

Ligaments and bones are sore when you are growing or when you have injured them (see acute and chronic injuries above). These kinds of pain are typically deep achy or very sharp and intense. You should not play through these types of pain because you can be doing more harm than good. Bones take about 2-3 months to heal and ligaments continue to heal for up to a year.

Another thing to consider . . . “Growing Pains”.  Remember above that I mentioned pain can be related to growth . . . layer on top of that the repetitive actions of some sports or the frequency with which your child participates in that sport and/or an acute injury and you have the makings of a perfect storm. How do you tease out what the pain is from in order to decide if it is okay to play through or not?

Like I said, Its a complicated subject really . . . PAIN.

Bottom line: IF it hurts to play DON’T and see your Physical Therapist for guidance.

What kind of injury or pain does your child have? Reply to this post and tell me about your situation!

Have questions? Comment and ask away! I love to answer questions ~ yes I’m a nerd!

Look forward to hearing your story . . .

The Active Play A.T.H.L.E.T.E.

The forth and final in the series: The Athlete and the Injury . . .

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Active Play Athlete

Here are some guidelines for the Active Play Athlete:

Accommodate your body

You are already doing this by participating in a variety of activities! This is what our bodies crave and what limits our injury risk

Continue this habit!

Take time to  . . . do what you dislike 🙂

There is something you don’t like to do ~ admit it! And then do it anyway!

Even though your performance is already a mixture of sports and activities you still need to strengthen, stretch and get in some cardio work to decrease your risk of injury.

Have goals

Is there a fitness goal you are working toward? If not make one. This will keep you motivated and engaged in your physical health.

Lift Weights

So many people forget to do strength training – you don’t need dumbbells or machinery, you can simply use your body weight.

Girls between the ages of 12-25 can lose bone mass and set themselves up for osteoporosis later in life if they are not getting stronger in their teens!

Environment will enhance your athleticism

If you prefer one type of activity over another then vary the environment in which you perform it! If you like  to hike or bike then do it in the mountains, the beach, trails and asphalt. The varying terrains will force your muscles to work differently reducing your overall risk of injury.

Take a class

Classes can offer flexibility, strengthening, cardio, agility all in one hour or less!

Sometimes it is easier to be motivated when you are with your friends!

Also, since variety is your spice of life you can take a different class each day and stay a well rounded athlete!

Exercise your judgement

If your body is telling you something isn’t right, listen to it. Sometimes the “No Pain No Gain” adage is not correct! (sometimes it is!)

Take rest/recovery days

Eat right to fuel your body for the activity you do

If you have an injury, or are not sure how to round out your routine . . . see a PT, the human movement specialist, who can provide you will information to make educated decisions.

So there you have it . . .  tips for all types of athletes . . .Have you decided who you are? How about your child?

Leave a comment and tell me how you are going to prevent injury now that you know?

No matter the type of athlete you are, risk of injury is part of living. Use the tips above to mitigate your risk and see your PT for more help!

Be Well, Roxi

The Sport Specialized A.T.H.L.E.T.E.

The third in the series: The Athlete and the Injury . . .

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Sport Specialized Athlete

Here are some guidelines for the Sport Specialized Athlete:

Allow for rest and recovery

You must build in recovery days to your training schedule to maximize the benefit of your training as well as reduce risk of injury.

Your training is designed to build specific skills but in doing this the muscles, tendons, and ligaments take stresses that the body is not designed to take. The body needs time to recover and heal from these stresses placed upon them in order to improve your athletic performance.

Take time to condition

Incorporate flexibility, strengthening, agility, and cardiovascular exercises into your training. If you are just playing your sport you will miss out on needed conditioning that will prevent injury and improve your skill!

Hydrate

As you sweat you will need to replenish with water. You should be taking in about one ounce of water per 2/3rds of your body weight, so if you weight 150 pound = 100 oz of water a day. This can change based on how active you are. If you are sweating for more than an hour a day drink more maybe add a sports drinks for the electrolytes you are losing.

Two hints

  1. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated! 
  2. Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink for after competition or a intense workout!

Live your whole life

Remember that sports is one component of you life ~ school, family, friends, relaxation, and fun must all play a role!

Expect overuse problems

When you perform the same types of motions day in and day out those body structures can suffer fatigue and failure. Because you are training at such a high performing, highly skilled level you are prone to injuries that we used to only see in adults. And your growing body presents other challenges as well. Sometime in your athletic career you will have an injury, the important thing to know is how to manage it without creating permanent problems or losing your edge.

Talk to your PT

Your Physical Therapist is the human movement specialist. They will help you with injury prevention strategies, general and sport specific conditioning, and injury rehabilitation. If you do not have a physical therapist you consult and trust, FIND ONE!

Exercise in other ways

Like living your whole life, be active in ways that don’t involve your sport. Take a walk, hike, bike or swim. Play a different sport with friends. The physical demands of soccer are much different than the physical demands of basketball! Providing your body with multiple physical experiences helps to prevent injury and enhances your overall sport performance!

Stay tuned . . . Up Next, the Active Play Athlete!

The Virtual A.T.H.L.E.T.E.

The second in the series: The Athlete and the Injury . . .

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Virtual Athlete

Here are some guidelines for the Virtual Athlete:

Activity pacing – ease into it.

Start slow 15 minutes once or twice a day with walking, biking, cardio equipment. Daily stretching for 15minutes. Every other day for strengthening – push ups, crunches, squats and the like. Most importantly . . . MOVE EVERY DAY for about 60 minutes!

Technique is everything!

Proper technique is critical to performance, if you are doing an exercise unsafely you could get injured, hate the exercise or just quit your activity altogether. Proper technique also helps you get the most out of an activity with the least effort!

Hydrate

As you sweat you will need to replenish with water. You should be taking in about one ounce of water per 2/3rds of your body weight, so if you weight 150 pound = 100 oz of water a day. This can change based on how active you are. Sports drinks are not necessary but . . . Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink after sweating!

Laugh and engage your core

We hear a lot about work your core but what the heck does that even mean?A good belly laugh causes you to tighten your tummy muscles and tone them. So . . . seeing a comedic movie is technically exercise? HAHAHAHA. But seriously, any full body exercise will strengthen your core muscles as long as you are tightening your tummy while doing it!

Enjoy . . .

. . .What you do, or you will not stick with it!

Take a class

Sometimes it is easier to be motivated when you are with your friends! Classes offer you the opportunity to experiment with different types of exercise and find something you like. Classes also are generally designed to incorporate flexibility, strength and cardiovascular exercise so you get more bang for your buck!

Exercise your judgement

If your body is telling you something isn’t right, listen to it. Sometimes the “No Pain No Gain” adage is not correct! (sometimes it is!).

Eat right to fuel your body for the activity you do.

If you have an injury,  are concerned about the best exercises for you, have a  health issue or don’t know where to begin . . . see a PT, the human movement specialist, who can provide you will information to make educated decisions.

Stay tuned . . . Tomorrow we will talk about the Sport Specialized Athlete!

The Athlete and the Injury . . .

Kids these days fall into one of three categories of activity participation:

  1. The Virtual Athlete who plays FIFA Soccer, Madden Football, MLB The Show and NBA 2K on a gaming system.

  2. The Active Play Athlete who plays many different sports or participates in a wide variety of activities – individual and team sports or exercise.
  3. The Sport Specialized Athlete who plays one sport year around and may be on a few different teams – school, club and community.

Injury can occur no matter what category your child is in but for different reasons!

  • The Virtual Athlete may get injured when beginning an activity or sport due to lack of strength, flexibility, agility or control for the activity they are performing.
    • Of Special Note: Kids who play active games on the Wii or Xbox Kinect systems can get injured as well! Especially if they play one game over and over – think overuse or repetative movements!
  • The Sport Specialized Athlete may get injured due to repetitive movements done during practice and games  that wears a body part down and prevents healing.
  • The Active Play Athlete may get injured for the same reasons a Virtual Athlete or Sport Specialize Athlete depending on the situation.

Think of spraining your ankle . . .

The Sport Specialized tennis player or basketball player is prone to these injuries by nature of the sport, the Active Play Athlete may be running and step in a hole twisting their ankle and a Virtual Athlete may slip off the Wii board twisting their ankle ~ it’s all still an ankle sprain!

So . . .

Who are you? Who is your child?

How do you prevent injury now that you know?

Hint: its different for each category!

See tomorrow’s post for advice particular to each type of athlete . . .

Should I Ice or Should I Heat Now?

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There is a great debate about heat versus ice for pain. Everyone has experiences and recommendations that guide their decision making. My hard and fast rule: use which ever sounds like it would feel better! There are many reasons I have this rule but the biggest is: if it doesn’t feel good it is not going to help! If you are still unsure, here are some basic guidelines you can use to help you decide . . .

Ice is best used within the first 72 hours of an acute injury:

An Acute Injury is when an event happened and you knew immediately that you were injured or something wasn’t right.

  • if you have bruised your knee running into a opposing team player,
  • twisted your ankle landing from a jump shot,
  • strained your back or shoulder throwing from the outfield . . .

ICE IT!

Heat is best used when you have muscles that feel tight or sore and stiff:

  • if you slept funny and woke up with a stiff neck,
  • if you walked a lot yesterday and today your hip is sore,
  • if you were working in the garden over the weekend and midweek you have a backache . . .

HEAT IT!

There are also some conditions that prefer one over the other.

Conditions that like ICE:

  • Tendonitis
  • Ligament Sprain
  • muscle strain
  • Swelling

Conditions that like HEAT:

  • Arthritis
  • stiff joints
  • back aches
  • muscle spasms
  • stress, anxiety

DO NOT USE HEAT IF

You have an open sore, stitches, infection, blood clot, cancer, circulation problems or sensation problems.

DO NOT USE ICE IF

You have circulation problems or sensation problems, aversion to cold.

And those are just some of the reasons my rule is: USE WHICH EVER SOUNDS BETTER! Always ask your PT for clarification about your specific situation if you have questions!