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The Injury Prevention Series

Post By: Adrianna Nebedum PT, DPT, OCS

This past summer I had the pleasure of working as the physical therapist for Atlanta’s very own WNBA team, the Atlanta Dream.  It gave me an opportunity to see the athletes immediately after an injury. This is often very different from our traditional patient populations when therapists generally don’t see patients until several days or even weeks after injury.  It was an AWESOME experience, but the most resounding thing I took with me was the old adage by Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Recently, there has been a rapid increase of sports injuries in athletes of all ages.   Since 2000, there has been a five-fold increase in serious shoulder and elbow injuries among youth baseball players and a 400% surge in meniscal and ACL tears observed between 1999 and 2010.   Overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle and high school students.  Sadly, according to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in our youth are preventable.

There are many contributing factors to this recent surge in injuries with the main culprits being overuse, improper training, and poor movement strategies.  Increasing exercise intensity and too rapidly can cause undue stress to tissues accelerating tissue breakdown and increasing risks of muscle strains, stress fractures, and shin splints. We have all heard stories of friends and co-workers who have started “Insanity” or signed up for a marathon without truly training or building up to that level of exercise.  Poor movement patterns, limitations in flexibility and strength imbalances in muscles can alter movement biomechanics and increase risk of ligamentous tears, fractures, dislocations, etc.

Recent research has begun to identify key movement deficiencies and muscle imbalances that may predispose athletes to injury. This allows clinicians to easily identify at-risk populations.  These findings have also helped in creating corrective exercise and performance programs (i.e. Fusionetics) that have been shown to significantly reduce injury by more than 50% in professional sports.  Many injuries are easily preventable for players through proper training, proper equipment, and the addition of 5-10 minutes of a specific corrective exercise program.  Several years ago, it was found that ACL tears in female soccer players could be reduced by over 40% if teams implemented a short warm up program, however compliance in implementing the program was the main issue.

Movement Sports has partnered with “Stop Sports Injuries” and “Fusionetics” to help reduce injuries in our athletes of all ages and hopefully these blogs will help you do the same. In this upcoming series, we will tackle many of the common injuries like patellar tendonitis, rotator cuff injuries, and lower back pain.  Even more importantly these upcoming blogs will introduce ways that you can prevent many of these ailments in the comfort of your own home!

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