Play It All
How To Keep Your Child On The Field And Out Of The PT Clinic
Taylor was recently referred to physical therapy with a painful shoulder and a right hand that frequently went numb. For the last five years, she had been a year round participant in softball. At the age of fifteen, she was missing out on softball and a good night sleep secondary to the pain and limited function in her right arm.
Andy played soccer, and at the age of thirteen, he developed knee pain that prevented him from changing directions and sprinting. Andy practiced or played soccer four days a week for 50 of the 52 weeks in a year. It took four years of year round soccer to create the knee damage that required surgery and an twelve week rehab.
Many of the young athletes we treat in physical therapy are the victims of over exposure to the same training stimulus for far too long a period of time. Gymnastics, dancing, baseball, soccer, and softball are worthwhile endeavors, but a developing body needs a break in order to stay healthy. This becomes even more important as the athlete becomes stronger or more skilled.
Take a moment and read the *article by Jane Brody in the May 7th, 2018 edition of the New York Times. Jane interviews several Orthopedic Surgeons that are treating younger patients with injuries that usually occur ten or fifteen years later in an athlete’s career. The research they present is clear; year round single sports participation is not the best way to excel in athletics or remain healthy.
The recent popularity of the club system has children playing the same sport year round. In the clinic, we are treating more young athletes with old person overuse injuries. Participation in a variety of athletic activities is infinitely more beneficial and safer than single sports specialization. It is no coincidence that most successful collegiate and professional athletes are the product of multi-sport participation.
*New York Times, Jane Brody, May 7, 2018, How to Avoid Burnout in Youth Sports. View article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/well/how-to-avoid-burnout-in-youth-sports.html
Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS
Advice From The Experts At Fenton Fitness/Fenton Physical Therapy
Tara Parker-Pope wrote a great article in the October 17, 2016 edition of The New York Times entitled “The 8 Health Habits Experts Say You Need in Your 20s.” While I agree with some of these recommendations, we at Fenton Fitness and Fenton Physical Therapy have some suggestions of our own.
#1—Don’t do dumb stuff
The cumulative injuries you suffer in your twenties echo through a lifetime. My long and busy career as a physical therapist has taught me that this is true. The 20 year old with a knee arthroscopy returns as a 32 year old with a ligament reconstruction and then again as a 50 year old knee replacement patient. Surgery and rehab can only do so much. Resist participation in the “hold my beer” events that inevitably present themselves in the social lives of 20 year olds. Think twice before you enter that Gladiator Challenge Race, swing from that rope suspended over a river, or text and drive. Your sixty-year old self will thank you.
-Mike O’Hara, Physical Therapist for the last 32 years. Fitness coach and board certified orthopedic specialist
To read the article, click on the link below:
Listen to Mike’s advice: https://youtu.be/8JCtFzj539M
The New Year brings millions of people back to the gym, determined to make exercise a consistent part of their life. Six to eight weeks later, they start arriving in the physical therapy clinic with sore lower backs, aching knees, post-surgical shoulders, and painful feet. Injury is the number two reason people stop exercising. Lack of results is number one. In an effort to make everyone more successful at reaching his/her 2015 fitness goals, I have some suggestions:
Do less of what you are already doing
Most of us have occupations or hobbies that place far too much stress on one area of our bodies. If your day consists of multiple hours of driving in a car, sitting at a desk, slumped in front of a computer, or planted in a recliner, do not go to the gym and sit. If you use your hands all day to grip tools, pull on handles, or build widgets, do not perform 100 repetitions of resisted wrist and elbow exercises. If you bend over and lift for a living, do not perform more forward bending during your fitness program.
Consider your posture
The question mark spine is as common as Under Armour in today’s fitness centers. It is probably related to an overall lack of fitness and/or our newfound love of staring at social media. It is a pain-producing problem that keeps physical therapists and surgeons busy. If you resemble a human apostrophe, do not go to the gym and perform activities that pull you further into that posture. Drop the medicine ball rotational crunches, stop doing the extremely slouched over barbell rows, and leave the “ab circuit” alone. Perform activities that pull you up and out of the position. Find a physical therapist or trainer for instruction on these activities. Six weeks later, you will move, look and feel better.
It is always better to do too little than to do too much
Most fitness related injuries occur when training volume is ramped up too quickly. Many of the internet and late night television fitness programs play a role in this all too common problem. Rampage, Infinite Hypoxia, and the Warrior Death Workout have been wonderful for the physical therapy business, but they are less than ideal for the deconditioned person returning to fitness. Remember, you are not a Navy Seal. Have an honest conversation with a qualified trainer and let him/her help determine where you are on the strength and mobility spectrum before adding more to your program.
Have some respect for pain signals
Physical Therapist: So, how long have you had that hip pain?
Patient: Eight months.
Physical Therapist: How did it start?
Patient: Running on the treadmill.
Physical Therapist: What do you currently do for exercise?
Patient: I run on a treadmill.
In my work as a physical therapist, I have a version of this conversation once a week. It has been my experience that the fitness beginner is more prone to this problem. Ignoring pain and training through symptoms is a fantastic method of taking a fairly manageable problem and turning it into an inflammatory nightmare. Pain is not “weakness leaving your body,” it is the disc bulging in your lower back, the meniscus being shredded in your knee, and the abdominal hernia evolving in your groin.
Set reasonable and worthwhile goals
If you watch infomercials for fitness products, you are bombarded with incredible fat loss testimonials. Please remember the best body composition changes occur slowly and steadily. Make those body composition goals, but also set performance goals such as being able to execute a full and pain-free squat, hike with your grandchildren, or do ten perfect push ups. Consistent exercise can produce life changing improvements in health. I can think of no better goal than being able to reduce blood pressure medication, normalize blood sugar levels, or decrease the use of anti-inflammatory medications.
Have someone help you
You know what they say about the lawyer who represents himself or the doctor who treats himself. Losing fat, gaining muscle, and moving better are some of the hardest things to do. Lots of people want to become more fit, but few people succeed. If you have been away from exercise for some time consider hiring a qualified trainer to evaluate your present physical capacity and develop a training program. A trainer will help you manage present physical limitations and make plans to conquer prior fitness challenges. The people who enlist in some help do much better in developing and maintaining the fitness habit.
-Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS