Risk Factors For Adolescent Stress Fractures

Stress fractures in adolescent athletes are unfortunately fairly common. Here’s an interesting recently published scientific study that aims to identify risk factors for stress fractures in adolescent athletes. The authors found several characteristics associated with stress fracture risk: lower than normal body mass index, four weeks or more history of shin splints, minimal involvement in weight training, decreased amount of sleep, daily stress, and low dairy intake.

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How Does Exercise Actually Make You Better?

I’m sure pretty much everyone knows that exercise is a good thing and makes us fitter and better. The right kind of exercise will make you feel better, look better, and likely add to your healthspan. But the exact mechanisms that lead from exercise to better health are surprisingly hard to pinpoint.

A recently published scientific studyshows that certain groups of proteins in the body are present in larger quantities in people who exercise regularly, suggesting that the proteins are somehow responsible for actions leading to improved health status. This study did now investigate cause and effect, but it sheds light on a previously poorly understood area. The field of “proteomics”- the study of body proteins and their functions- may lead to exciting discoveries in exercise science.

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Three Innovations That Will Drive Sports Medicine In 2019

It’s very easy to get caught up in moonshots, longshots, and fantasy in the world of medicine, but I believe there are three highly innovative technologies that will have an increasingly prominent role and impact sports medicine in 2019.

The first of these is increasing use of biologics in sports medicine injury treatment. Second is the rapidly expanding range of treatment options for active individuals with knee arthritis. And finally, I expect to see an exponential increase in telemedicine and mobile algorithms to provide initial injury guidance.

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Pandora’s Box Of Gene Editing Is Now Open

I’ve written previously about a remarkable new technology called CRISPR and the promise it holds for leading to genetic cures for disease, and possibly gene editing for performance enhancement. With recent news that a Chinese scientist used the technique to produce genetically modified twin girls, we’ve entered a very real era of human genetic manipulation.

The question is whether scientists will proceed responsibly, or whether some rogue individuals will hurtle headlong into ethically questionable areas. Do we aim to cure previously incurable diseases, make designer babies, or find new ways for athletes to enhance performance without getting caught?

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Move More, Sit Less

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services, a shocking 80% of US adults and adolescents are not physically active enough. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association and comes up with a simple conclusion that all of us should live by: move more, sit less.

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Revisiting the Artificial Turf vs. Natural Grass Injury Debate

I’ve written previously about injury rates on FieldTurf versus natural grass and in 2011 one well conducted study showed a substantially higher injury rate on FieldTurf. I revisited this issue in 2013 when my partner at Stanford Dr. Jason Dragoo presented results of his study of NCAA athletes with ACL tears and found a substantially higher incidence of ACL tears in games played on field turf. Is this still the case with the newer generation of artificial turf surfaces?

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Can A Concussion Increase Lower Extremity Injury Risk?

Is it possible that a concussion can place an athlete at increased risk of injuries to other areas in the body, such as injuries in the lower extremity? This might not make sense at first, until you consider that a concussion has effects on the athlete’s visual field and balance. Essentially, this means that a concussion could alter the normal visual field and balance, placing the athlete at risk for contact injuries from players or objects out of their field of view, or noncontact injuries due to poor balance and coordination.

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Real-Time Mobile Sensor Data Shows Pitchers’ Arm Fatigues Quickly

Many people have a sense that injuries happen more often when you’re tired. We see this all the time in the orthopedic clinic: someone tears an ACL on the last planned run of a long weekend of skiing; a volleyball player injures her ankle after the final game of a long series of tournament games. There is a common belief that fatigue plays a major role in increasing injury risk, but proving this can be difficult. A recent study on pitching mechanicsperformed at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, takes an interesting step in connecting the dots between fatigue, biomechanics, and possible injury risk. A wearable motion capture device allowed for real-time data acquisition in a simulated game setting.

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Questionable Science

Sensational headlines frequently drive viewership through social media and mainstream news outlets. In the world of sports health, research about diet, nutrition, exercise regimens, and even the long-term effects of childhood injury are frequently hijacked by the media to fuel their agenda. I’m going to deviate a bit from my typical blog post to highlight a few things to beware of when you are reading about scientific studies. The problem frequently stems from something called an “observational study” that claims to show cause and effect.

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Are Wealthier Kids at Higher Risk for Sports Overuse Injuries?

There are a number of factors that appear to be correlated with an increased risk of youth sports overuse injuries:

Single sport specialization prior to the age of 14
Playing that single sport more than eight months out of the year
Practicing and playing a combined number of hours per week more than your age in years
Conversely it appears that free unstructured play rather than organized sport lowers a child’s risk of overuse injury. Appropriate periods of rest from sport as well as limitation in participation hours per week also appear to reduce injury risk. Is it possible that children from wealthier households are at higher risk of developing overuse injuries than children from poor households? One recently published study suggests that household wealth may be correlated with overuse injury risk.

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