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Why We All Need To Care About Metabolic Syndrome

I wrote in last week’s post about five important risk calculators that if applied together will give a person an excellent picture of their overall health status. In today’s post I want to go into more detail about the metabolic syndrome, its effects on the body as a whole and how it is linked to joint pain and osteoarthritis.

It appears to also heavily influence the common generalized body ache that many people feel. Metabolic syndrome is one of the conditions that is a precursor to many problems, and will have a negative effect on sports health, joint health, and physical performance.

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Five Numbers Every Adult Needs To Know

Adults in most western countries are faced with many day-to-day challenges that interfere with our ability to achieve good health. Work stress, family stress, too much time spent commuting, easy access to low quality fast food, etc.- these all have negative effects on our health. Yet it’s still possible to start making inroads towards better health.

I believe in data, and there are some numbers all of us should know. For those motivated to take action you can then use the numbers to target areas of focus. There are literally hundreds of data points you can gather but I highlight here five measurements that you might not be familiar with, but are incredibly useful and easily obtained. In coming weeks I’ll expand on each of these topics along with practical applications. For now, have a look at these risk calculators to get an idea of where you stand.

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When Can I Come Back From: Talus Osteochondral Surgery

The talus is one of the three bones that form the ankle joint, along with the tibia and the fibula. Injuries to the cartilage and bone of the talus are likely more common than many people know, and these injuries are often the cause of ankle joint pain that persists long after a prior ankle sprain.

If the injury to the talus is significant it may require surgery. Surgery can range from minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery possibly with a technique called “microfracture” or more invasive resurfacing of the cartilage and underlying bone. Regardless of which type of surgery is done, one of the unfortunate aspects of cartilage surgery is that recovery takes a long time. It’s common to take 6 to 12 months to return to sports.

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Hockey Rules And Equipment Changes Reduce Injury Risk

In collision-based sports such as hockey and tackle football, modifications to rules and equipment are effective ways to reduce injury risk. The authors of a recently published clinical review state that “Preventative measures, such as mandatory facial protection and delayed body checking in games until age 13 years, are proven strategies to reduce the risk of facial injury and concussion.”

Many of the advocated tactics are based upon common sense, however, prospective studies are now starting to show that these efforts lead directly to a reduction in injury risk and injury rates.

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Five Tips To Help You Come Back From An Injury

Most folks come to the orthopedic surgeon after they’ve been injured. We’ll often prescribe rehabilitative therapy or surgery to help with the condition. Either way, you’ll be making your way back to your objectives, starting typically from a deconditioned point. Here are a few things I often recommend, and with some modifications these are applicable for people who’ve had surgery and also for those who haven’t.

Start doing something as soon as you can
Restore normal motion as rapidly as possible
Nutrition is critically important
Work with your physical therapist or athletic trainer to learn the difference between pain and soreness, and how hard to push
Walk before you run

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A Decade Of Sports Health

The first decade of the 2000s saw significant advancements in sports health, many of which I expect will continue to be major themes over the next ten years. From my perspective, here are some areas that stood out:

Surgical procedures strongly moved towards minimally invasive techniques
Biologics and non-surgical therapies multiplied
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most effective way to build cardiovascular fitness in the shortest amount of time
Active movement for life has critical benefits for every body system and across all age groups

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Why Kids Keep Playing Sports

What makes kids drop out of sports, and equally importantly, what can we do to keep kids playing? It’s been commonly believed that boys play for the “competitive” aspects of team sports and girls play for the “social” aspects of sports. However, a recently published study of young soccer players shows that there are many similarities motivating kids to play sports: both girls and boys place a heavy emphasis on “fun”.

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One ACL Tear Is Disappointing; A Re-tear Is A Problem

ACL tears in young athletes are becoming more common, and surgery to rebuild a new ACL is also increasingly common. If you happen to be a young athlete with an ACL tear, the thought of needing surgery, a lengthy recovery, and time away from your favorite sport activities can be truly disappointing.

Technical advancements allow us to do the surgery with accuracy, avoid growth disturbances, and with a very favorable outcome in about 90% of teenagers and adolescents. But some people will re-tear the new ACL, requiring what is called “revision ACL reconstruction.” The unfortunate reality is that the results from revision surgery are not as good as the original surgery. The failure rate is about 20%, which is a real problem for those athletes needing the second surgery.

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When Can I Come Back From: Arthroscopic Surgery For Hip Impingement

We’ve previously written about a condition called “femoroacetabular impingement”, commonly referred to as “FAI”. The hip is a ball-and-socket type of joint. FAI is a condition where the femoral head (the ball), acetabulum (the socket), or both do not fit normally in place due to an alteration in the shape of the femoral head or rim of the acetabulum. The result is increased contact (impingement) as the hip is placed through a range of motion.

A review of our results from FAI surgery across all age groups showed that 95% of athletes (all levels – including recreational, high school, college, and professional / Olympic) successfully returned to sports with excellent pain relief, function, and performance. The physical therapist or performance specialist will have the athlete go through a series of tests to determine readiness for return to sport, and return can be expected at 4 to 6 months after surgery, depending on the type of sport.

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Are Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes A Performance Enhancer? (Probably Not…)

There will be a lot of mashed potatoes consumed at Thanksgiving meals across America this week. I came across a research study suggesting that potato puree is as effective as an energy gel in promoting performance improvements in endurance cycling. Is it possible that mashed potatoes are also performance enhancers? Probably not, especially when they’re accompanied by 3000 calories of turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and bread. 🙂

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