Patellar Tendonitis Jumper’s Knee Patellar tendonitis is inflammation of the patellar tendon. This is the tendon that attaches the knee cap to the shin bone, and is critical in straightening the leg and slowing the knee down during bending or squatting. Patellar tendonitis can range from a slight inflammation and microscopic tearing of the tendon to a complete rupture of the tendon. Tendonitis can develop after a sudden increase in either the amount or intensity of activity, or after a direct blow to the knee or patellar tendon. This is a common injury among athletes who participate in sports that require repeated jumping, kicking, sprinting and quick cuts. Patellar tendonitis is also common in individuals with weak quadriceps, tight hamstrings and or flat feet. For most individuals, the first sign of patellar tendonitis will be pain in the front of the knee. Tenderness can occur just below the knee cap. If this does happen, the athlete should stop all activities that may be the cause of the symptoms. To help reduce any pain or discomfort, ice and anti-inflammatory medications may be very helpful in the initial phase of treatment. If symptoms are severe, a knee immobilizer may be recommended by your physician. Once the symptoms have improved, the athlete should begin exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility of the quadriceps and hamstrings. Once flexibility and range of motion have started to improve, strength and conditioning exercises should be added to the rehab program. The athlete should be able to complete all exercises without pain, before they are allowed to participate in their sport again.
I reached out to a few of my colleagues who are strength and conditioning coaches at major college programs around the country. I asked them, what is it that they look for when recruiting female athletes entering their programs. Majority of the coaches said it’s not about how much weight these young ladies can lift, pull, or carry. They’re more concerned about them being fit, mobile, and to have a solid level of conditioning. Of course, if she has participated in a strength and conditioning program prior to entering college, her chances of being able to participate sooner and compete on that level will be increased. As far strength training is concerned coaches would like to see their athletes be able to perform some of the basic strength movements such as, front/back squats, dead lifts, bench presses, and pullups. Being able to do these movements and doing them with good form and as well as going through a full range of motion is very important. Once an athlete is capable of performing these movements correctly, then and only then will weight be added to the movement. Some of the coaches have also expressed concern about the athletes having some level of base conditioning. Prior to entering college, they should have participated in some type of speed, change of direction and plyometric program. The last thing any athlete wants to do is to show up for training camp and not be in shape.
The Importance of Nutrition for Athletes For athletes consuming the appropriate types of nutrition is just as important as your training sessions and the amount of time that you spend practicing your particular sport. As an athlete without the proper fuel and nourishment that your body needs, you will not be able to obtain your full athletic ability and will be more susceptible to fatigue and injury. In order to realize the full benefits of a performance training program, you need to consume a diet that is nutrient dense and is consumed every three to four hours. Your meal plan should consist of balanced portions of Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins. The amount of time and energy that an athlete puts into their performance, will only be as good as the type of food that they’re using to fuel their performance. One of the main factors for the onset of fatigue during competition is the reduction of carbohydrates from an athlete’s diet. Carbohydrates provide our bodies with the energy that we need to perform during our chosen sport. Without consuming the proper amount of carbohydrates prior to and during competition, your body will run out of fuel and shut down regardless of how well the athlete may be trained. This can lead to cramping, dizziness and fatigue, which could cause the athlete to miss time from his or her chosen sport.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes Participation in youth sports can be an enjoyable experience for children and adolescents with many potential benefits. It offers opportunities for peer socialization, the development of self-esteem, leadership qualities, and also promotes health and fitness. However, the increasing highly competitive nature of youth sports has fueled trends of extensive training, sport specialization, and participation in large numbers of competitive events at young ages. Consequently, overuse injuries and burnout have become common. Burnout is basically a result of overtraining or overreaching for these young athletes. Burnout can also cause chronic stress that may result in the young athletes’ desire to stop participating in a sport that they once loved. The athlete then withdraws from the sport. There is data that suggest that athletes who specialize in one sport early in their careers, tend to withdraw from that sport because of injury or burnout from the sport. This could be a result of continuous participation in practices, games, camps, tournaments and other activities associated with the chosen sport without any time off for rest and recuperation throughout the year. To help reduce the chances of burnout, there should be more emphasis placed on skill development and not competition. Getting young athletes involved in pre-season strength and condition programs, as well neuromuscular programs will help with reducing injuries to the lower body. Most of all just limiting the amount of time that a young athlete spends participating in one sport will pay huge dividends. First of all it will allow the athlete to rest and also address any injuries that may have occurred during the previous season. This time could also be used for the athlete and his or her parents to decide if this is the right sport for them or if participating in another sport could be beneficial for their long term success.
Shoulder Injuries In The Throwing Athlete Overhead throwing places a high level of stress on the shoulder. In throwing athletes these stresses are repeated many times and can lead to numerous overuse injuries. Although throwing injuries are a common occurrence in baseball pitchers, they can occur in any athlete who participates in sports that require a repetitive overhead motion such as; tennis, volleyball and some track and field throwing events. When an athlete throws repeatedly at a high rate of speed, there is a large amount of stress that is placed on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold the shoulder in place. In the case of pitchers who perform the cocking motion that prepares the shoulder for the throw and the follow through motion which helps to decelerate the arm after the ball is released, after performing these actions hundreds of times during the course of a season, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the shoulder joint can become weakened. Once the muscles and ligaments of the shoulder joint have weakened, the risk of injury to the rotator cuff and labrum increases. Shoulder Injuries That Could Occur: · Bicep tendonitis: An inflammation or irritation of the upper bicep tendon · Rotator cuff tendonitis or tear: The rotator cuff becomes inflamed. Pain that occurs from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm. · Internal Impingement: Can be caused by some looseness in the front of the joint and tightness in the back of the joint. This can result in a partial tearing of the rotator cuff tendon. · Instability: Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the humerus slips out of the socket. Instability occurs gradually over a period of time from the repetitive throwing motion that stretches the muscles and ligaments and creates a looseness of the joint. Treatment May Include: · Reduction in activity · Ice the problem area · Physical therapy · Change of technique and or position · Cortisone shots In recent years there has been a lot of focus placed on shoulder injuries of the throwing athlete. […]
The Importance of Hydration in Young Athletes As the summer months approach and more young athletes are involved in some type of athletic programming, it is very important that they are properly hydrated. Drinking water or sports drinks before, during and after their competition can help to reduce their chances of acquiring some type of heat illness. One of the most important functions of water in the body is to keep it cool. As young athletes become more active their bodies generate more heat, which raises the body temperature and causes the body to sweat which also helps to keep the body cool. If they do not replace the fluids that where lost through sweating, by consuming more water and or sports drinks, the body will overheat. Dehydration is very serious and can be potentially life threatening. Parents, coaches and trainers all need to be proactive and able to identify the signs of dehydration: Body temperature rises Dry lips and tongue Infrequent urination Bright or dark colored urine Lack of energy Sudden decline in strength, energy and coordination A few ways that dehydration can be avoided in young athletes are as follows: Parents, coaches and trainers can start by stressing the importance of proper hydration to their athletes. Athletes should be given enough time during their practices or competition to consume some water or some type of sports drink. Athletes should be encouraged to consume a good amount of fluids prior to their athletic competition beginning. Adding electrolytes to your young athlete’s water or sports drink is also a good idea. Added electrolytes will help to replace any electrolytes that may hay been lost during competition and it will also help them to retain fluids. Electrolytes also help to stimulate thirst, which would cause the athlete to drink more. Parents, coaches and trainers who are involved with these young athletes should educate them on dehydration and what some of the warning signs are. During the course of a competition, other players and teammates may be able to identify if an athlete is experiencing some type of heat related symptom quicker […]