• high school female volleyball team preparing

    Posted on 9/22/2021

    Sports and exercise are part of the lives of many young individuals. Typically, people who participate in sports are known to be healthier and less likely to partake in outside negative distractions compared to people who do not play sports. However, for some adolescent girls, when they only focus on the sport and not their bodies, consequences can arise. 
    Many girls who participate in sports are at risk for an issue called the female athlete triad. This triad consists of three conditions, and the athlete can have one, two or all three. The three conditions include disordered eating, amenorrhea and osteoporosis.

    Disordered eating

    Disordered eating is a term that refers to an individual having unhealthy eating behaviors and worrying about body image. Some of the most common forms of disordered eating include extreme dieting and restrictive eating. On the top end of the spectrum are eating disorders, which involve things such as self-induced vomiting, binge eating and laxative abuse. An individual can have disordered eating and not be diagnosed with an eating disorder. Most girls with disordered eating are trying to lose weight to help them improve their athletic performance. For these specific athletes, this eating pattern can range from not eating enough calories to sustain the amount of activity that they are participating in, to trying to avoid “bad” foods, all the way to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

    Amenorrhea

    Amenorrhea is the lack of menstruation, or one or more missed menstrual periods. Women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row have amenorrhea, as well as girls who have not started their periods by the age of 15. Intense exercise accompanied with not eating enough calories can lead to a decrease in the hormones needed for menstruation. As a result, a girl’s period may never come, become irregular or stop altogether. Some girls who have been participating in sports since a young age may never get their first period, because they have been training so hard. On the other hand, some girls may have gotten their period, but it disappears as their training intensifies or their eating habits change. On one hand, dysfunction of the menstrual cycle can lead to infertility. And on the other hand, it can lead to unplanned pregnancies in young women recovering from the triad. While the cycle is being restored, an egg may be dropped early and, without contraception, pregnancy can occur.

    Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is translated as porous bone. It is a disease in which the density and quality of the bone are reduced. For people with osteoporosis, boss loss overtakes the growth of new bone. Consequently, over time the bone becomes more porous and fragile, and the risk of fracture greatly increases. This typically happens silently, and there are usually no symptoms until the first fracture occurs. In girls with the triad, estrogen is typically lower. Low estrogen accompanied with a poor diet, especially low calcium, can lead to osteoporosis. During the teen years, a lot of bone growth is supposed to happen and the peak bone mass should be reached. An athlete with the female athlete triad will have a hard time getting to her peak bone mass, and it can affect her greatly later in life.

    Takeaway: Diagnosing and treatment

    Girls who have female athlete triad are typically invested in their sports and would do almost anything to be the best athlete possible. Girls in particular sports have more of a risk than others. Sports with a weight class like wrestling, martial arts and rowing, and sports where being thin is more optimal for performing like gymnastics, diving, figure skating, cross country and ballet, have a higher risk. However, the truth is, being very thin, and losing those last few pounds, doesn’t typically improve performance at all.

    If a female athlete is suspected to have the triad, a wide-ranging physical examination is needed for diagnosis. A doctor will likely ask questions about her period, diet, exercise habits and overall feelings about her body. From there, blood test will be ordered to check for vitamin deficiencies and to rule out any other reasons for a lack of period and weight loss. A doctor may also order a bone scan to check for osteoporosis, since the athlete will be at a higher risk for bone breaks.

    Doctors will not work alone to help treat a girl with female athlete triad. Coaches, athletic trainers, parents, physical therapists, nutritionists and dietitians and mental health specialists all work together and play a role in the recovery of this athlete. They focus on both the physical and emotional issues that the girl is likely facing to help prevent long term issues.

    References:

    By: Wyneisha Mason, MAT, ATC. ‘Neisha is an athletic trainer with RUSH Physical Therapy in Chicago, Illinois.

    RUSH and KORT are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.

     

  • illustration of glute medius and glute minimus

    Posted on 8/11/2021

    Recently, I had a runner try to increase their pace by 30 seconds from one weekend to the next. The result? Severe pain along the inside of their shin and the start of spending two days a week in physical therapy.

    Many running injuries are due to overuse and/or improper training. Up to 70% of recreational and competitive distance runners sustain an overuse running injury during any one-year period.1 One of my favorite questions to ask runners is, “Other than running, what exercises are you doing?” Usually the response is, “You mean running isn’t enough exercise?”

    Running injuries can be prevented. One of the keys to proper training is cross training. The most important group of muscles to strengthen for runners are those along the side of your hip, mainly your glute medius and glute minimus.

    When people hear glutes, they immediately think of their buttocks. But, two of the smaller glute muscles – the glute medius and minimus – are often overlooked. The glute medius and minimus are vital hip muscles and their main function is to stabilize your pelvis.

    When you’re walking, think about the moment you put your right foot down and swing your left leg through. Does your left hip drop down? If so, then you may have some weakness in these stabilizers along your right side. Now, imagine running more than five miles and this is repetitively happening without you knowing. Imagine the wear and tear this is taking on your body. Weak hips place unnecessary stress along your back, knees and feet. The good news is that this can be prevented.

    How do you strengthen your glutes? Here are some simple exercises that do not require much equipment.

    • Sidestepping: Place a resistance band just above your knees (easier) or above your ankles (harder). Keeping your toes pointing forward, side-step in a mini squat about 20 feet. Then, return to the start without turning around.
    • Jane Fondas: Lay on your left side completely against the wall, head, back and heels. Place a towel behind your right heel and keeping your toes pointing straight forward. Slowly lift your leg up/down. Repeat on other side.
    • Side planks: These can be done from your knees or feet.
    • Knee side plank: Slowly bring your buttocks back then forward to target multiple fibers of the muscle.
    • Hydrants: On all fours, lift your knee out to the side without letting your hips tilt.

    glute exercises

    For more information or to request a complimentary injury screen with one of our licensed physical therapists, please contact the center nearest you today. In the meantime, train smart, run fast and run happy!

    By: Sarah Zayyad, DPT, CMPT, CDNT, Cert-ART, physical therapist with RUSH Physical Therapy 

    RUSH Physical Therapy and KORT are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.

    1:  Ferber, R., Hreljac, A., & Kendall, K. D. (2009). Suspected Mechanisms in the Cause of Overuse Running Injuries: A Clinical Review. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 1(3), 242–246. https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738109334272 

  • man stretching

    Posted on 7/22/2021

    We have all heard the old adage, “You are what you eat.” The nutrients that you put into your body dictate your overall health, function and performance in any activity you do. A similar motto could be, “You are how you train.” The way you move is important. Allowing your body to move in the correct manner will not only decrease your chances of injuries, but it will also allow you to move in a pain-free manner with all daily activities.

    Rotational athletes move their bodies through high velocity motions that cause increased stress on tissues. This stress then leads to increased strain on the body. Golfers undergo some of the quickest changes in body movement in any sport, and that precision of movement is key in preventing injuries.

    Our bodies are comprised of a system of joints that are either considered a stable joint or a mobile joint. When we confuse the two systems and change a stable joint into a mobile joint, injuries occur. For golfers, low back injuries can occur due to changing a stable joint (the lumbar spine) into a mobile joint because of not conditioning and stretching enough. The good news is that can be changed, and injuries can be prevented if you take the time to stretch.

    By training your body in the proper manner, you can learn to swing your golf club pain-free and improve your overall mechanics. This would allow you to hit the ball farther, and without that wicked slice. Stretching is a key component in any sport and is often overlooked. By allowing your body to stretch certain muscle groups, you are permitting for improved movement. In order to perform your best on and off the links, incorporate stretching into your daily regiment starting from the tips of your toes, to the top of your head. Low back spasms, neck strains and shoulder injuries can all be lessened or even avoided if you stretch properly before your next round.

    Below are body regions that are important to stretch before your next round in order to avoid injuries and enhance your game.

    • Neck: The neck is a vulnerable body part when it comes to the golf swing, and can be the source of some tissue strains if there is restriction in movement. If you lack proper cervical flex and rotation, that can lead to injury and a poor golf shot. To ensure you have proper mobility and range of motion, complete some cervical flexion and rotation stretches.
      • Curl your chin to your chest until you feel a slight stretch in the back of your neck. Rotate your head side-to-side slowly in small motions. This will help to loosen up your muscles, minimize stress and keep focus on the ball during your swing.
    • Shoulders: When a golfer lacks mobility in the shoulder girdle (the clavicle and scapula), this can lead to poor swing and shoulder pain. A golfer needs good shoulder rotation to ensure a fluid backswing and follow through in order to not compromise both the labrum and rotator cuff. A stretch that can be completed prior to your swing is the standing prayers stretch.
      • Place your golf club in front of you with both hands on top of the handle with the club head on the ground. Lean backward while hinging at your waist until you feel a comfortable stretch across your shoulders. Some players will also feel a stretch across their lumbar spine, so don’t be surprised!
    • Thoracic and lumbar spine (see image): Low back strain and other injuries are common amongst golfers. No matter what phase of your swing, your thoracic spine is one of your main forces for rotation; however, too many golfers learn to rotate through their lumbar spine due to decreased overall core stability. Many golfers also have poor mobility along their thoracic spine (located in the upper and middle part of the back) as a result of improper training. The exercise below retrains your body to rotate through the thoracic spine while keeping your lower abdominals engaged, thus creating a stable base along the lumbar spine and preventing excessive rotation. This stretch can also help minimize injury and improve overall swing mechanics.
      • Start by laying on your side with your arm straight in front of you. Keep your eyes on your hand and allow your chest to open. Lift your arm to your side and keep your abs tight. You will feel a stretch in your middle back, and your low back should be stable with no pain.
    • Hips: Just like the shoulders, the hips are meant to move freely in three different planes. Your hips ensure you have enough mobility to move efficiently with golfing. In order to improve your swing, hip internal and external rotation are important as it pertains to the backswing and follow through. If you do not have enough mobility in your hips, you will pull off early from hitting the ball. This causes many faulty swing mechanics. Stretching your hips will allow you to address the ball better in all phases of the golf swing, and help you strike the ball straight each time.
      • While standing, complete small circles with a straight leg in a clockwise and then a counter-clockwise motion.

    Golf is an amazing sport, but in order to compete pain-free you have to learn to move correctly. Proper body mechanics help to decrease stress on your body and avoid injuries. Remember to stretch first, then swing. And who knows, by doing this you may even add a few more yards onto your drive!

     

  • Posted on 7/8/2021

    Select Medical, KORT's parent company, was proud to collaborate with the CDC on an important clinical study regarding the long-term impact of COVID-19. The study validates our Recovery and Reconditioning Program to focus on specific deficits in patients recovering from COVID-19 and other debilitating illnesses and conditions.

    Findings of the study indicate that patients recovering from COVID-19 could benefit from additional personalized rehabilitation services aimed at both physical and mental health. As the nation’s largest provider of outcomes-based, innovative physical therapy, Select Medical, along with KORT, is expertly positioned to guide the recovery of this 33.5 million patient population.

    The Recovery and Reconditioning program launched in June 2020 amid the pandemic and was developed in partnership with leading physicians, including physiatrists, pulmonologists, infectious disease specialists as well as physical and occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists. Following evidence-informed program guidelines, our licensed physical and occupational therapists tailor a plan of care to address patients’ specific needs and goals to resume pre-COVID activities and routine.

    KORT centers are “direct access” and do not require a physician referral to receive care. If you or a loved one are recovering from COVID-19, please click here to find a center near you and schedule an appointment today.