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Don’t Fall Victim To Unnecessary Sports Injuries

Unnecessary sports injuries are an absolute tragedy for young athletes. These type of injuries are noncontact in nature and are more common than you may think. Over ⅓ of knee injuries in women’s soccer are noncontact in nature (1). The sad part is that most of these injuries can be prevented!

This topic hits home for me. I tore my UCL, a ligament in my elbow, when I was a young athlete. Tommy John Surgery and a long rehab process was a necessity if I wanted to continue in my sport. This was not simply an overuse injury as my pitch count was strictly monitored. This was a pitching form problem that could have, and should have been fixed. If only I knew then what I know now! It is a passion for me to help young athletes from all athletic backgrounds prevent unnecessary injuries such as this.

My high-school friend, Matthew Young, and myself recovering together post-surgery. Not the way anyone wants to spend the summer before college.

One of the most common injuries in high school and collegiate sports is ACL tears. A non-contact ACL tear can be the resultant of many biomechanical faults. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, athletes with the highest risk of ACL injury are between the ages of 14-18 and are twice as likely to happen to females than males (2). According to another study by the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, athletes that have a low score on their functional movement screen have a four-fold risk increase of lower extremity injury (3).

A functional movement screen is a series of tests to evaluate the way an individual moves. These exercises can range from the ability to balance to the ability to withstand stress. The goal is to pick out flaws in an individual’s movement pattern that can leave them susceptible to injury. If we can fix these flaws, then we can prevent injury with the added benefit of actually improving performance at their sport!

Let’s make it a priority to have young athletes screened for the risk factors associated with noncontact knee injuries! Better yet, let’s make it a priority to have all young athletes screened in order to prevent life altering injuries that can be prevented!

1. Fulstone, D., et al. “Continued Sex-Differences in the Rate and Severity of Knee Injuries among Collegiate Soccer Players: The NCAA Injury Surveillance System, 2004–2009.” International journal of sports medicine 37.14 (2016): 1150-1153.
2. Renstrom, P et al. “Non-Contact ACL Injuries in Female Athletes: An International Olympic Committee Current Concepts Statement.” British journal of sports medicine 42.6 (2008): 394–412. PMC. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
3. Chorba, Rita S. et al. “Use of a Functional Movement Screening Tool to Determine Injury Risk in Female Collegiate Athletes.” North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy : NAJSPT 5.2 (2010): 47–54. Print.

This site does not represent individualized professional medical advice. Please seek medical attention for any concerns regarding your personal health. Do not avoid, delay, disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking it because of something you read on this site. If you want to be evaluated and receive personalized treatment, please call the office or send us an email.

Taking Squat Tips From A Baby

This is my little girl Callan Kay who is obviously the cutest thing in the world (I’m not at all biased). What is not so obvious is how perfect her squat is or how the heck she got there. Why do babies squat with such ease but when us adults are asked to squat, we act like we’ve been asked to play darts with spaghetti?! I mean, I thought we got smarter as we aged! Let’s discuss some of the reasons squatting is so difficult and why babies are really just out to piss us off with their amazing squat form.

First things first. How did a baby get this perfect form? Put yourself in a baby onesie and let’s think. When a baby learns to move, he/she has limited muscle strength and coordination to perform a task. When a baby rolls over for the first time, all of the muscles that made this happen worked PERFECTLY. There was no other way for the baby to roll over except for this one way. Thus, a movement pattern is born. There are windows in babies lives that are ideal for these movement patterns to be built. Otherwise, the baby will get stronger, miss the window, and forever compensate around this ideal movement. Missing this window may lead to malformation of joint surfaces, less coordination during movement, or even early arthritis. Don’t freak yourself out about missing these windows. Simply follow one rule and these windows won’t be missed: Never put your baby in a position that they cannot themselves get in. For example, putting a baby in a walker before they can walk themselves will only cause problems (this is why they are banned in Canada)!

Now on to the adults… The reasons not every squat will be the same include: a bunch of science and terms that confuse people. The bottom line is that every body type is different and this has a profound effect on how you move. For example, someone with a longer torso and shorter legs will squat much differently than someone with a short torso and longer legs. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has a unique ideal squat that should be strived for. The hard part is picking out what needs to be changed from what needs to be compensated around.

One thing that I hate to hear is someone in the gym describing what they think is ideal squat form. Telling someone to get their “butt back” is not always the best cue! There is a reason why not every pitcher in the major leagues throws the same way. In fact, it is near impossible to find the same exact form! Of course, squatting is much less complex than pitching form, but the point is that not everyone’s squat will be the same, nor does it need to be.

With this being said, there are certain key points that must be addressed to maintain good squat form.

1. Intra-abdominal pressure, created by your core musculature, is the foundation of any dynamic movement including a squat. Great intra-abdominal pressure keeps you upright in your squat, limits spinal flexion, and actually decreases the pressure in your discs! Training intra-abdominal pressure will not be accomplished by doing sit ups and crunches. A good place to start training this motor pattern is to think of filling up your stomach like a balloon having equal pressure 360 degrees around your core.

2. Equal loading of the “tripod” of the foot allows for ideal stability and function of the knee. The tripod of the foot consists of the heel, the ball of the foot, and the knuckle of the pinkie toe. Finding the tripod of the foot and being able to actively load the arches before squatting will save your knees! Make sure you do this before every squat under load.

3. Hip hinging at the correct angle with the correct rotation of your thigh allows you to use your glutes and hamstrings. This is a common problem seen in squat form which is why you always hear “Get your butt back!” The problem is that this angle is not the same for every person. Make sure you know what angle is correct for you in order to limit future low back pain and knee pain.

4. Ankle mobility is a necessary component that must be addressed to have good squat form. It is very difficult to get full range of motion in your squat if you have poor ankle mobility. Decreased ankle mobility can be because of many reasons but the most common reason is because of tight or shortened calves. And no, simply stretching your calves will not fix the problem. To see if you have an ankle mobility problem, try placing weights underneath your heels during a squat, 1 or 2 inches in height. If you are able to get lower into your squat with better form, then “Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!”

Don’t let the vagueness stress you out, everyone is different and they need to be analyzed as such. Let an expert examine you to find YOUR perfect squat.

This site does not represent individualized professional medical advice. Please seek medical attention for any concerns regarding your personal health. Do not avoid, delay, disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking it because of something you read on this site. If you want to be evaluated and receive personalized treatment, please call the office or send us an email.