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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When Can I Come Back From Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Total Shoulder Replacement surgery is becoming increasingly common in the U.S., and for the right reasons in the right person it can be a very helpful operation. Active people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s should expect to see a meaningful improvement in quality of life, and in a very high percentage of cases a return to sport participation.

In this post I’ll outline the basics of total shoulder replacement, go over the types of sport you should expect to return to, and review the general timeline for return to sport.

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Toes or Heels?  The Runner’s Debate

As an orthopedic surgeon I generally see folks in my clinical practice once something has gone wrong. Either they’ve been injured already or there is some ongoing reason that affects pain, performance, or quality of life. But in our role as team physicians we get a chance to interact with athletes before a problem has occurred.

I’ll often see athletes with Achilles tendinitis or shin splint syndrome and discover that they recently changed their running style from heel strike to forefoot strike. It’s easy for me to jump to the conclusion that forefoot running is somehow bad for runners. Or am I seeing a skewed population? I recently spoke with my Stanford colleague Michael Fredericson M.D., an internationally recognized running expert to find some answers.

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It’s Time To Think About Vitamin D

Over the past weekend many parts of the U.S. turned their clocks backwards one hour, which means we are now in “Standard Time”.  I like to think of this as “daylight losing time”. Our afternoons get darker earlier. With fewer opportunities for sunlight exposure we’ve got fewer opportunities to make a critical component of health, fitness, and athletic performance: Vitamin D.

In today’s post I’ll briefly describe where Vitamin D comes from, outline Vitamin D’s effects on sports performance and fitness, and what to do if you need to get more Vitamin D in your body.

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