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Stretching Before Exercise: Static vs. Dynamic

Stretching

While making time for exercise may seem like a challenge, we all know the importance of squeezing in even just a few minutes whenever we can. When we do finally make time for that jog, gym session, or simply taking the dog out we may not feel like spending any more time than necessary on our task. No matter if you take a quick walk around the block, or are a professional marathon runner, it’s absolutely crucial to manage your exercise time properly. Thus, it is also important to make time for stretching even if you only have a few minutes.

Static Stretches are Out

If you’re like many people, working stretches into a workout routine may feel like a waste of time. Or perhaps, the idea of dedicating time to stretching may conjure up bad memories of contorting your body before some archaic PE class activities. If you can recall what passed as stretching in your gym class, then you may remember the long, cold stretches where you were asked to hold a clumsy pose for as long as possible, until you couldn’t stand it any longer. Well, the good news is that this type of stretching is out. This is what is known as static stretching, which the American Sports College of Medicine has deemed outdated. The reason static stretching has been ousted is because studies have shown that not only is it ineffective, but it can even be dangerous. Static stretches don’t do any of the things they claim to. For example, static stretches don’t warm up your muscles before a workout. This is just one of the reasons that the static method actually impairs athletic performance, particularly before explosive exercises. Similarly, a poorly stretched body could end in a serious injury, requiring the attention of an athletic injury specialist. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Dynamic stretching.

Dynamic Stretches are In

Getting away from the old school world of static stretching before exercising is easy. Simply engage your body a bit more with dynamic stretching. Before any stretching, however, get the blood moving with a quick jog, or brisk walk. It’s fundamental that your body is warm before you do anything remotely strenuous. So, what is dynamic stretching? Well, in a nutshell, dynamic movements look a lot like yoga, which has been proven to be awesome for our bodies time and time again. Just think about the slow, controlled motions in much of yoga and that’s essentially what dynamic stretching is. It’s important to note that, just like yoga, dynamic movements always require proper form. So, before you do anything, be sure to consult reliable sources for what’s best for your physical fitness level. You may also want to consult your physician and ask them which dynamic stretches are best for you. While it may seem like a waste of precious workout time, getting your body properly warmed up and ready to exercise is vital to staying healthy.

Alleviating Knee Pain with Yoga

Knee injuries are among the most common types of injuries that athletes suffer. Just last month Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted an article that identified key players for multiple cities that have been sidelined due to knee injuries—the list spanned key players for Chicago, Oklahoma, Boston, Arizona, Tennessee, New York, and two Los Angeles stars from different teams, making it clear just how common and dangerous knee injuries can be for athletes.

Even if you are not an athlete, accidental slips, sharp movements, or abrupt changes in direction can cause tears in ligaments or fractures that cause pain and discomfort. The most important thing to do after injury is to have your knee specialist look at the extent of the damage to set you on the road to recovery as quickly and safely as possible.

If you are still lucky enough to be in the stages of preventing injury before it happens, leg and knee strengthening through Yoga is something to consider. For the nearly 11 million Americans who complain about knee pain to their doctors, Yoga has been an unexpected helper that not everyone is willing to consider.

The misconception about Yoga is that you have to be incredibly flexible or be able to perform complex physical contortions. The truth, however, is that there are multiple levels that all help to strengthen muscles, tendons, and ligaments that we don’t usually work out or take care of. What Yoga does, that other types of workouts don’t do as well is keep your joints properly aligned as you build strength.

Of course, when considering Yoga it is best to stick with the basics if you are new and to find others in your area with more experience for guidance. Yoga can help you to build flexibility and strength which will help you to avoid injury, or it can help you as a great tool for recovery post injury.

If you’ve never considered Yoga in order to strengthen your knees and ligaments, then perhaps trying it out to see if it’s for you could save you potential knee problems in the future. Yoga is a great physical work out whether or not you decide to move past the initial levels.

You cannot always protect yourself from injury, but having stronger knees and legs can definitely help with prevention. Remember that they key is to be safe and to take care of your body. Regardless of whether you already suffer from knee problems, you are considering Yoga for strengthening, or you’re simply curious about other safety measures the best course of action is always to contact a specialist.

Tackling a Knee Injury Like NaVorro Bowman

Anyone who watched the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks likely cringed when they saw the replay of NaVorro Bowman’s goal line stand. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, Bowman ripped the ball from the hands of Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse before two players collapsed on the side of his left leg. The play was ruled a fumble, recovered by Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch. But the truly startling part of the play was the vicious injury Bowman sustained to his left knee.

Knee injuries are more common than even some athletes recognize. The knee is stabilized by a series of ligaments, allowing for a wide range of motion in the joint. Athletes routinely make a number of sharp movements with their knees, especially in sports like football, where players regularly make cuts and direction changes. However, when the knee is moved out of its normal range of motion, strains and tears can occur in the ligaments.

In Bowman’s case, he suffered a sprain to his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). ACL injuries are considered among the most severe for athletes (this is the same injury that sidelined star Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson in 2011). Fortunately for Bowman, surgery to repair a torn ACL has come a long way in recent years. In fact, Peterson famously recovered from his ACL repair in record time and nearly broke the single-season rushing record the very next year. What was once considered a career-ending injury is now very treatable.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a knee injury, it is important to seek medical attention. Mild sprains may heal without treatment, but it is important to rule out more serious problems. In the event of a knee injury, keep your weight off of that leg and schedule an appointment to see a doctor. Most people can recover from these types of injuries quite nicely with the proper treatment, although no one should expect to compare to Adrian Peterson.

Are ACL Injuries Declining in the NFL?

Despite some high-profile players being sidelined this season, the National Football League is reporting a decline in injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament, one of the primary ligaments of the knee. ACL injuries are often considered the most severe knee injuries and usually end a player’s season. In a report to its Health and Safety Advisory Committee, the NFL has said that these types of injuries are down compared to recent years, a good thing for professional football players and fantasy team owners alike. However, in the same report, medial collateral ligament injuries saw no change from recent years.

Many people have speculated that new rule changes designed to reduce head injuries have resulted in an increase in knee injuries, as players are now forced to hit lower than they were before. However, the data do not seem to bear this out. As more information is gathered over the years, it will become easier to compare injury rates before and after the rule changes.

As specialists in sports orthopedics, we see injuries to the ligaments of the knee all the time. These injuries can be extremely difficult, even for people who aren’t professional athletes. They can end a professional football career, but they can also keep a lifelong recreational athlete from keeping an active lifestyle. Fortunately, there are numerous treatments for ACL and MCL injuries, and you don’t have to Adrian Peterson to get the most out of them.

Watching out for knee ligament strains and tears is important for people of all activity levels. In the first 13 weeks of the current NFL season, 32 percent of ACL injuries were not caused by player contact. That means that you don’t have to get hit by a linebacker to suffer this kind of injury. In fact, outside of football, more ACL strains and tears are the result of sudden changes in direction than physical contact. If you enjoy sports like football or soccer, where players frequently change direction over short distances, it’s important to train properly to minimize your risks. Exercises that emphasize power, agility, and flexibility can reduce your chances of begin sidelined by an ACL strain. Of course, if you do suffer an injury, we have a wide range of treatments to get you back on your feet.

Regain Strength for Performance with Runner’s Knee Treatment

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, known as runner’s knee, is the damage at the meeting point of the kneecap and the thighbone. Mostly athletes who run or put a great strain on their knees are the victims of this condition. Rest and elevation may seem to reduce pain and symptoms, depending on the condition it is likely to make a full recovery. People affected by runner’s knee should seek orthopedic treatment before returning to regular physical activities and sports.

Runner’s knee treatment is needed for an individual who has developed a pain in the knee from wear and tear activities such as running, walking, biking and jumping. It is most often seen in women than men, and becomes aggravated after completing a run or soreness from bending the knee for a lengthy time period.

There are many factors that lead to the development of this syndrome, and determining the root of the injury is what Dr. Dee specializes in. Careful evaluation and consultation can prove the cause of the injury, while respecting the limits of the patient’s body.

What Does Runner’s Knee Feel Like?

People do not realize that they have runner’s knee, because the presence of a sharp, severe pain is not experienced. Instead, people experience a dull and persistent pain after mobility actions or discomfort in flexibility. The knowledge and evaluation of an orthopedist like Dr. Dee can determine the significance of the injury and apply necessary treatment. Symptoms of runner’s knee include:

  • Pain behind or around kneecap

  • Pain when the knee is bent

  • Increase of pain when walking downhill or downstairs

  • Swelling

  • Popping and grinding sensations

Causes of Runner’s Knee

There is no universal connection as to why people develop the disorder. Biomechanical issues, such as the patella sitting too high in the femoral groove or easy dislocation. Worn cartilage in the knee joint reduces shock absorption or knees that turn in or out excessively can pull the patella from side to side.

Muscle issues can also be the reason for injury. Tight hamstring and calf muscles put too much pressure on the knee to perform. Weak quadriceps can cause the patella to fall out of alignment. Runner’s knee can be linked to several issues including:

  • Knee malalignment

  • Dislocation

  • Flat feet

  • Previous knee injuries

  • Infection of the joint

According to an article from Gait & Posture, a publication dedicated to provide research and scientific knowledge related to gait and human movement, lots of mature women develop ailment problems with their knees. Researchers compared young and old female runners and found misalignment of the knee to be common in older women. As female runners age, their knees will sag inward, bow outward or rotate irregularly.

Forms of Treatment Available

Only the knowledge of a doctor or orthopedist can determine the proper method of treatment. If problems in the knee continue, make an appointment with Dr. Dee for proper treatment. Fortunately there is good news for athletes who experience minor or moderate injuries which should heal over time. Common conservative steps of treatment include:

  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation

  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as Advil, Aleve or Motrin

  • Stretching and strengthening

  • Arch supports for shoes

Dr. Dee may also implement a recovery program which includes corticosteroid injections to reduce pain at the site, physical therapy and in more severe cases surgical options.

Can Runner’s Knee Be Prevented?

Conventional runners have a number of options available to prevent the effects of runner’s knee. They can run on softer surfaces, increase distance by no more than 10 percent in mileage per week, and gradually increase hill workouts.

Visit a specialty running shop to ensure shoes are associated with the runner’s foot type and gait.

Increase strength of quadriceps to improve patellar tracking. Stretching hamstrings and calves regularly will prevent from over pronation, rolling inward.

If you are experiencing symptoms of runner’s knee and wish to seek treatment, visit board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dee. He specializes in injuries for major athletes and active patients. Discover what treatment is best for you to get back to running quickly for a fit and healthy body.

Are Safer Snow Jumps on the Way?

Skiing and snowboarding has become more than just a weekend getaway, if you play your cards right you come away with thrills and memories that will last a lifetime. However, amateur and professional athletes who push themselves to the limit on the slopes, can suffer devastating injuries trying to take on bigger obstacles to win the gold. Canadian freeskier Sarah Burke, was one of those athletes who pushed herself farther than imagined. She was practicing for her superpipe event in January 2012 in Utah, when she crashed after failing to complete a jump, suffering irreversible damage to her brain leading her to death nine days later.

Researchers are studying these injuries in a broader aspect that relates to the engineering of snow jumps and ramp angles. The ramps and snow jump angles may be the cause of skiers and snowboarders landing awkwardly. Injuries such as Burke’s are forcing resorts and professional gaming experts to develop safer jumps that prevent injuries for less-experienced riders as well as professionals.

Snow Injuries in Vermont

A study from the American Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that most snowboarding injuries resulted from jumping and losing control, following up with the impact of hitting the snow. From 1988 to 2006 the researchers noted that a majority of skiers suffered ACL and MCL injuries, LCL sprains, and tibia fractures. While snowboarders suffered wrist injuries, shoulder and ankle injuries, concussions and clavicle fractures more than skiers. On average of those injured, skiers and snowboarders were younger and less experienced during the time of their accident.

Most victims of fatal accidents in snow sports have been predominantly male from their late teens to early 30s. A majority of the fatally injured are skiers and snowboarders were reaching high rates of speed on intermediate trails.

What Should Snow Thrill-Seekers Do for Protection

There are many of us out there aching to tackle the alpine this Winter, but there are many precautions to consider to help prevent injuries. Skier and snowboarders should consider their health before every trip to the mountain to ensure they are performing physical activities without prior injury effects or illness. Snow sports men and women should always consider the following before enjoying a day of snow activities, no matter what level of experience:

  • Check equipment for repairs or replacement

  • Avoid snow sports if injured prior to activity

  • Take lessons on the mountain to avoid injury and learn how to fall safely

  • Ski with a group, not alone

  • Stay within marked slope boundaries

  • Wear knee and ankle braces or padding under clothing for protection

  • Avoid jumps, rails or obstacles that look unsafe or out of skill level

  • Rest and hydrate when necessary

Snow jumps and obstacles are being evaluated and constructed to fit the skill levels of skiers and snowboarders, however sports injuries may occur at any time while riding the alpine. If mildly injured or experiencing symptoms of pain following a crash, seek the attention of medical professionals. Do what you can to avoid large jumps or obstacles that are out of your range of experience and protect your body from injury everyday this Winter.