High school baseball season has officially concluded, and the summer club season is underway! Younger and younger ages are playing longer and longer seasons, which leads to more and more strain on the athlete. Most associations have done a good job of implementing pitch counts and other protective measures, but the fact remains that baseball can be tough on the upper extremity. While we have covered it in the past, arm care is a complex topic that requires a complete and thorough strategy for management. In this blog, we are going to go over a simple way to begin your arm maintenance routine!
When beginning an arm maintenance routine, soft tissue work is a nice way to get moving and warm specific muscles up. Our preferred tool of choice is the foam roller, because of their ease of use and low cost. For the shoulder, begin rolling on the lats (short for latissimus dorsi) with big, slow rolls across the full length of the muscle, being sure to hit each side for approximately 60 seconds. After rolling the lats, you can move up into the triceps muscle, again being sure to roll each side for approximately 60 seconds.
Foam rolling is a great tool to create a temporary increase in a joint’s range of motion. After foam rolling, we want to push our joints through a full range of motion to maximize the effectiveness of both the foam rolling and our mobility drills! Baseball requires a ton of rotation through the torso and shoulder, and our favorite drill for upper body rotation is our quadruped thoracic rotation exercise. Getting on all fours, reach one of your arms across your body as far as you comfortably can, curling your wrist back towards yourself. Then pull your arm back through back across your body, and reach your hand towards the ceiling, trying to face your palm towards the ceiling. Perform this drill with each arm, with at least 10 repetitions per side!
After completing the foam rolling and mobility drill, it is time to challenge your upper extremity musculature with a resisted exercise. Bands are a great form of resistance due to how portable they are, you can take them anywhere! For our baseball players we really like what we call a D2 Extension pattern. It relatively mimics the reverse of a throwing motion, allowing us to directly strengthen the muscles that assist with decelerating the shoulder in a throwing motion. Grabbing the band in one hand, secure the opposite end of the band under the opposite foot. Reach your hand across your body as if you were trying to put that hand in the opposite pocket, with your thumb pointing behind you. Begin the movement by bringing your hand back across your body, up towards your shoulder, and turning your hand so your thumb is pointing up all at the same time. Repeat this exercise for 10 repetitions with each hand!
Like we said before, caring for the arm/upper extremity can be complicated. So while we have laid a foundation with this blog, it is important to have a thorough plan that addresses the other aspects of arm care. If the demands of the season do start to add up and begin affecting your arm, we have a variety of ways of helping get you back on track. Schedule an appointment with us to see if we can help!
It is May, which means high school track and field is reaching its peak! The diverse nature of track and field makes the warm-up crucial for success. Over the course of a meet, an athlete may need to warm up and cool down as many as 4 times! This can be complicated further if the athlete has events that are close together. While a comprehensive and thorough warm-up is preferred, doing something is definitely better than nothing. Today we are covering the bare bones minimum track and field warm-up that requires minimal time and energy for those unique situations that only track and field provides!
If you have been following along with our previous posts, you will know that we are big fans of foam rollers. A time crunch is when foam rollers really start to shine! All track and field events could benefit from a quick (~60 second) foam rolling of the hips.
Once you have foam rolled your hips, we will take advantage of the foam rolling with a targeted mobility drill. A quick and easy mobility drill for the hips is the Hip 90/90 drill. This drill allows us to work the hips through internal and external rotation, as well as working on some flexion. By driving your knees into the ground at either end position, we can also work some hip extension!
Track and field events do not only challenge the hips, so it is important to add in a mobility drill that targets just the hips. A lunge with rotation is a great option for building on the hip work we have already done, while incorporating the rest of the body. Both forward and reverse lunges can work here, and a mixture of both allows you to get the benefits of both! The rotational component should be smooth and controlled with the intention of working into the end ranges of motion of the rotation.
Up to this point, our warm up has been slow and controlled. Now it is time to add in some speed to really prime your body for performance! One of our favorites is the squat jump, with a particular emphasis on achieving triple extension. Triple extension refers to extending the ankle joint, the knee joint, and the hip joint. Running, jumping, and throwing activities are rooted in triple extension at their core, making the squat jump a quick and easy way to generally replicate those movements anywhere, at any time.
We would like to emphasize that a complete and thorough warm up is preferable to what we have put together here. This warm up is meant to serve as a way to serve as a “better than nothing” alternative for those unique situations where the complete warm up may not be feasible. The length of this warm up also makes it easy to add in another exercise or two more specific to the athletes event.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a track and field injury, we can help! Call our office or schedule online today!
The weather is warming up, and while the cold has not stopped some of you die-hard runners out there, for many of you that means running outside again! With the increase in running frequency and intensity outside (let’s admit it, pushing yourself on the treadmill can be difficult), our clinic begins to see an increased rate of injury in our runners. Patellofemoral pain is defined as pain around the knee cap while performing an activity with a bent knee. Multiple studies cite patellofemoral pain as the top injury in runners, with an average estimate of 20% of recreational runners dealing with it at some point. Today we are going to cover our recommended strategy for reducing your risk of developing patellofemoral pain!
Soft tissue treatments are a great way to start any session, and if you are familiar with our blogs, you know that we are fans of foam rollers. Foam rolling your quads helps to relax the muscle and ensure that our tissues have the ability to hit full extension easily. You can replace a foam roller with any soft tissue tool you prefer such as a massage gun.
Now that we have our quads and knees prepped, we want to reinforce comfort in that fully extended position. Quad sets are a great starting point! Sit down with your legs straight in front of you. Squeeze your quads (the muscles on the front of your thigh) and gently push your knee cap towards the floor at no more than 70% of your maximal force. Hold this contraction for around 5 seconds, relax, and repeat. Placing a towel under your knee may make this exercise more comfortable. Be sure to perform this exercise on both knees!
Now that we have reinforced that fully extended position, we want to incorporate the knee into a more complex movement. A reverse lunge allows us to generally emulate a running position while allowing for greater balance because the working leg is staying in a fixed position. If the reverse lunge becomes too easy, consider progressing to a forward lunge!
This series of exercises is a solid starting point for reducing your risk of developing patellofemoral pain, but it needs to be combined with appropriate programming. Avoid increasing your weekly volume by more than 10% unless under guidance of a coach, and avoid increasing by 15% unless you are an experienced runner under guidance of a coach.
In our office, one of our primary goals while treating runners is to maintain some degree of training as much as reasonably possible. We also take the time to identify the mechanism of injury. The most common issues we see leading to patellofemoral pain are lower leg mechanical issues and programming acquired issues. For mechanical issues, we perform a foot and gait analysis, re-establish any lost range of motion, and go through a rehab protocol to strengthen and stabilize the lower leg. For programming acquired issues, we establish that the training program being followed is sound, confirm that appropriate recovery measures are being taken, and manage pain symptoms to minimize the amount of time lost from running.
If you are dealing with persistent knee pain or planning on getting back into running soon, we can help! Give our office a call or schedule online today!
March means the beginning of the high school boy’s tennis season in Kansas and Missouri! Combined with the weather beginning to warm up, tennis participation across age groups is going to really start to pick up. With our satellite clinic located inside of Overland Park Racquet Club, we see our fair share of tennis players of all ages and abilities. A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that while most injuries in tennis are acute injuries to the lower extremity (think ankle sprains), that most chronic issues occur in the upper extremity! Of those chronic issues, approximately 25% of those issues were shoulder related, which held true across age groups. We have found with our tennis players that these issues arise from a combination of poor shoulder blade mechanics and poor mid back motor control. Today we are going to cover a way to improve both to keep your shoulders healthy!
We like to start with some sort of soft tissue work to get your muscles and joints loosened up. When addressing the mid back and shoulder blades, foam rollers tend to shine, but really you can use any tool you feel comfortable with. Spending a minute or two rolling on your mid back and shoulder blades will create a temporary increase in range of motion that we can take advantage of in our next step.
After we have created some extra range of motion with our soft tissue work, we want to reinforce that range of motion with a mobility exercise. There are a ton of exercise options to choose from in this case, but one of our favorites is what we call ‘mad cat/old horse’. Begin on all 4’s with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your back upward into a “mad cat” position. Next, flex your back downward to sag into an “old horse” position. Beautifully simple and exceptionally effective!
Now that we have created more range of motion and reinforced it with our mobility exercise, we want to add some resistance. Similar to the mobility exercise, there are a ton of options for adding resistance to challenge the shoulder blades and mid back. Today we are going to cover a simple banded pull apart. Begin by gripping a light band approximately shoulder width apart at shoulder height. Simultaneously pull both arms apart until the band touches your chest. For maximal effectiveness, pull your shoulder blades together as the band gets closer to your chest, and actively reach your arms away from you at the start of the movement. This exercise teaches you to be aware of where your shoulder blades are in space while strengthening the new range of motion we created earlier!
This simple set of exercises is a great starting point for developing healthy shoulders, but it is far from a complete program for such a complex joint. Combine the complexity of the shoulder joint with the highly technical nature of tennis, and it becomes all the more important to have access to professional help. We recommend our friends at Overland Park Racquet Club for help with your tennis game, but any qualified professional you are comfortable working with will be helpful!
While we see a lot of issues with shoulder blade mechanics and mid back motor control in our clinic, we also see shoulder pain stemming from a host of other issues as well. The key to shoulder injuries is appropriate diagnosis by a professional (like the providers in our office). Once a diagnosis is made, an appropriate plan of care can be established emphasizing complete ranges of motion with stability throughout those ranges of motion. If you are experiencing persistent shoulder pain, call our office or schedule online today!
We are entering the thick of basketball season! Games are adding up, and each is becoming more important than the last. At Inside Sports Clinic, we believe one of the best athletic abilities is availability. It is tough to help your team win games if you are sidelined with an injury! Taking care of your body down the stretch is critically important to increasing the likelihood you are available to help your team. A study by the National Athletic Trainer Association showed that over 40% of high school basketball injuries are sprain-type injuries to the foot/ankle. This coincides with what we see in our clinic, with lateral ankle sprains being an injury we see A LOT in our basketball players. Today we are going to cover an effective strategy for strengthening ankles for basketball players!
To start, we like to do some self-administered soft tissue work to loosen the muscles and joints we are targeting. We are big fans of foam rollers for this purpose, but you can use a massage gun, PVC roller, or any other soft tissue tool you have access to that you feel comfortable utilizing. Spending a minute or two working on the calves and ankles creates a temporary increase in range of motion, which feeds into our next step perfectly!
After you have worked on the muscles and joints, we want to reinforce that temporary range of motion we just created with some simple stretching. In the case of the ankle, a top tier stretch choice is the ankle driver! By getting into a deep lunge position and driving your knee towards and over the big toe, we can begin to make our temporary range of motion into a newly acquired range of motion!
Now that we have created a new range of motion and begun to solidify it, we want to add some resistance to create more permanent changes. The age old classic for strengthening the ankles is a simple calf raise. Beginning with the balls of the feet slightly elevated, push through the foot to raise your body up. Hold the position at the top for a second or two, then slowly lower yourself down. As you become more comfortable with the basic calf raise, adding in some variety could be useful for basketball players considering the dynamic nature of the sport! This could mean performing a single leg calf raise, bent knee calf raise, adding extra resistance, increasing the height of foot elevation, and more.
When combined with a well rounded basketball and athletic development program, this trio of activities will lead to strong and resilient ankles. Unfortunately, injuries like ankle sprains are not totally preventable. Sometimes things just happen. If after spraining your ankle you cannot bear weight or lose feeling in your lower leg/foot, then be seen by a provider immediately as these are signs something could be seriously wrong. Tenderness and difficulty walking after 2-3 days are also indications to be seen by a provider. Lastly, if you do not feel confident rehabbing your ankle after a sprain on your own, be seen by a provider!
At Inside Sports Clinic, we begin our treatment protocol by managing pain and swelling with modalities like our NormaTec boots, GameReady cryotherapy, and interferential current therapy. If/when pain and swelling are under control, we utilize joint manipulations and soft tissue therapy treatments to improve joint range of motion. Once the joint’s range of motion has been restored, we begin loading the ankle to tolerance, culminating in balance and proprioception training to ensure the ankle is adequately prepared for a return to activity!
Need help getting your ankles stronger or rehabbing an ankle sprain? Call our office or schedule online so we can help you out!
Happy New Year! With the ringing in of the New Year comes New Year’s resolutions. One of the more popular focuses of these New Year’s resolutions is fitness, with many people returning to or beginning an exercise routine. While these resolutions are great and have a ton of health benefits, they are also notorious for not lasting! One of the most common reasons we see for people “falling off the wagon” with their fitness resolutions is injury and inadequate recovery. We are going to cover the most important considerations for reducing the likelihood that an injury derails your fitness resolution!
The biggest mistake made by most New Year’s resolutioners is doing too much, too soon after doing too little for too long. For example, if a person has not done any sort of physical activity for the last 6 months, starting the new year by hitting the gym 7 days a week for 90 minutes at a time increases the risk of suffering some sort of injury. Research on the subject shows us we can increase our exercise up to 20% per week, creating a “sweet spot”. While increasing it more than 50% puts us in the “Danger Zone”, and not the cool one with Kenny Loggins and Top Gun. Once you push over that 50% threshold, your body has a hard time recovering from the workload! Lesson to be learned: listen to your body and have reasonable expectations of what you can handle!
Another big mistake we see with fitness resolutioners is not taking sleep into account. Sleep is your body’s favorite time to heal itself. Chronically getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night will push your risk of injury up. Now that does not mean if you are unable to get 8 hours of sleep per night that you will end up hurt, it just makes the other factors associated with recovery more important to emphasize, particularly the increase in workload factor discussed above. If you are not able to get consistent quality sleep, then you may need to increase your workload closer to 10% or even 5% per week instead of 20%.
Third on our list of recovery and injury risk reduction is nutrition. Starting a new exercise routine and combining it with fad crash diets is a sure fire way to increase your risk of injury and impair your recovery. You need to fuel your body and give it what it needs to rebuild itself! Perform due diligence with any new diet plans and make sure it is compatible with your goals and lifestyle. If you are unsure, consider getting help from a professional like Amy, who is currently accepting new clients in our office. For more information, contact her at email@example.com.
Let’s say you follow the advice in this article, things are going great, yet you still end up banged up and injured. That’s okay! There is a reason we have been referring to it as “injury risk reduction” instead of “injury prevention”, because it is virtually impossible to completely prevent injuries. That is why our providers are here to help! Exercise and sports related injuries are our specialty. We are here to help guide you back into your routine and develop a plan that continues to reduce your risk of injury while helping to maximize the outcomes of your exercise resolution!
To set up an appointment with one of our providers, give us a call at 913-888-4845!
A Dietitian’s tips to help your
My Top 20 Foods at Costco
By Amy Arnold, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Looking for healthy food shopping inspiration at Costco? Take a look at what I always put in my grocery cart at the food warehouse.
Amy Arnold, RDN consults with patients of all ages on how to build a healthier life through food and activity choices. If you are interested in learning more about scheduling a consultation with Amy contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at (913)888-4845.
Instant Pot Applesauce
Instant Pot Applesauce is quick, easy, healthy and delicious! Fresh applesauce is less than 10 minutes with no added sugar!
Prep time 5 minutes
Cooks in 7 minutes
Serves 8 (1/2cup)
Inspired by domesticsuperhero.com
Don’t have an Instant Pot? No worries! This recipe can easily be made in a slow cooker. Add all the ingredients except for the water to the slow cooker. Set on high for 4 hours, then continue with the same directions.
This is a quick, healthy snack for adults and kids! The best part of these fruit nachos is you can get creative and use different toppings you have around the house.
Prep time less than 5 minutes
Created by Amy Arnold
Call 913-888-4845 or email email@example.com to set up a consultation!