Does Sports Medicine Make a Difference?

You are an athlete who has experienced a sports injury — a torn ACL, a damaged rotator cuff, or maybe just a bad sprain. Should you go to your regular doctor, an orthopedic specialist, or seek out a sports medicine doctor? Is there a difference?

What is Sports Medicine?

First, let’s look at what a sports medicine doctor is, and how one differs from an orthopedic surgeon or other doctors. Sports medicine does not have its own board certification, so most sports medicine specialists train as either family practice physicians or orthopedic surgeons. Some specialize in pediatrics as more and more kids and adolescents train at elite competitive levels.

After completing residency requirements, a doctor specializing in sports medicine undergoes training through an accredited program or fellowship, and must pass a national exam to gain the official qualification through the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. (link anchor text: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.

With this training, sports medicine doctors join general practices or sometimes work as team doctors for college or professional teams. Many join specialty clinics that offer full services including diagnosis, treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and even nutrition and exercise counseling for athletes.

Why Choose a Sports Medicine Specialist?

If you have an injury requiring surgery, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine knows what you are up against as an athlete. You want to be confident that the surgery will resolve your injury, be minimally invasive, with the fastest and best recovery possible. Sports medicine orthopedic surgeons do hundreds of surgeries and have the most up-to-date training in recent techniques for arthroscopy. More important, they also know when your injury does not require surgery.

A sports medicine doctor does much more than surgery or referrals for surgery. They are trained to diagnose injuries quickly and correctly, and determine the best approach, whether surgical or not. The doctor follows the patient through treatment including physical therapy and other rehabilitation, and advising a patient on how to avoid repeated injuries. With the increased concern about head injuries and concussions in sports, it’s more important than ever to have all injuries correctly evaluated and treated.

Finally, sports medicine isn’t just for athletes. Casual exercisers, people who have other conditions but who are trying to get more fit, people beginning or ramping up a fitness regime, “weekend warriors” and people who suffer injuries at work also benefit from sports medicine doctors. Next time you have a need or injury that sports medicine specialists treat, consider if they might be the right choice for you.

How to Prevent Tearing Your ACL

ACL tear — just the words can make athletes shudder. An ACL tear can destroy a season or a whole career; even if you are just a casual exerciser, ACL injuries hurt, destabilize your knee, take a long time to recover from, and often require surgery. So the best way to deal with this injury is to take every precaution to keep it from happening in the first place.

What is the ACL?

ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. The ACL is one of the bands of connective tissue (ligaments) that link bones together. When the ACL is injured, the bones are not securely connected and can move in ways they are not supposed to, which can damage other tissues in the complex knee joint. Moreover,, there is a tendency for the bones of the legs to rub together instead of being held apart by the ligament. This in turn can lead to further injuries as well as chronic conditions like arthritis.

Good Mechanics

Sports like football, basketball, and soccer see frequent ACL injuries at all levels, from children’s leagues to professional teams. One way to prevent these injuries is for coaches, athletes, and trainers to teach and drill the basic mechanics of motions like running, landing, and pivoting correctly. Many players have never had training that focuses at this basic level, and poor mechanics is often a culprit in ACL injuries. Even when there has been some training, as athletes tire over the course of an event or game, there is a tendency to regress to sloppier technique. Frequent attention to basic mechanics can reinforce the muscle memory for good movements rather than poor ones, which lowers the chances of injury.

The Right Way to Start Practice

Dr. Thomas Merchant has created a 20-minute workout with 4 segments: Warm Up, Strengthening, Plyometrics, and Agility and Balance. He stresses that the coach or trainer should watch the athletes closely and make corrections to their movements if they are not doing them correctly. This conditioning should begin at least four weeks before the start of any competition, and is most effective when done year round several times a week, even in the off season.

Give the Body Time to Recover

One reason doctors say that they are seeing more frequent ACL injuries among younger athletes in college and high school is that student athletes frequently play multiple sports, and may even have additional sessions outside of school with a private trainer.

Even professional athletes have a stretch of time between seasons for their bodies to rest and repair in preparation for the next season. Many younger athletes do not give their bodies any break, and this is dangerous. It exacerbates the chances of injury.

Concentrating on getting the basic mechanics down, having a workout/warm-up that focuses on stretching and strengthening the leg muscles as well as agility and balance, and maintaining a reasonable workout schedule alternating harder and easier workout days along with rest days will go a long way toward preventing ACL injuries.


Why Eating Too Much Soy Is Problematic

Environmental and animal welfare awareness has increased in recent years and one result has been an increase in the consumption of soy based products. The soy bean is high in protein, and is well suited for use in meat substitute products, like soy-based ground beef or burgers. These products are promoted as a healthy and animal-friendly alternative to meat, but how healthy are they really? As we all know protein is essential to keeping you healthy. Below is a further explanation on soy.

Manufacture of soy-based products

Soy-based products are highly processed, factory-made food that’s designed and mass-produced in bulk to look and taste like something completely different. Any factory-made food product is likely to have lost nutritional value in processing. And there’s often ignorance about what exactly is contained in a soy burger.

The way the burgers are held together uses substantial amounts of oil in place of the meat fats in hamburgers. Those oils are often less healthy than the natural fat in meat.

To get close to the savory taste and appealing appearance of meat, excessive quantities of salt are frequently added, together with flavorings and colorings that sound fine, like caramel, but may be associated with health risks. Caramel is suspected to be linked to several serious health problems including some cancers.

Dangers of soy itself

It’s not just the additives put into burgers that are problematic.

Soy itself contains compounds called ‘isoflavones’ which mimic the effects of oestrogen.

Recent animal studies have suggested that eating large amounts of these compounds can affect the development of fetuses and of young animals.

Reduced fertility in adult isoflavone-fed lab rats has been observed too.

These findings are particularly worrying given the common use of soy in baby formula. Currently, the official advice is that soy is safe in infant formula, but there are other voices that favor a precautionary approach.

GM Soy

Nearly all the soy consumed in the US is genetically modified. Monsanto’s own tests show Roundup Ready soybeans contain more of an allergen that inhibits protein digestion, and less nutrients than normal soybeans.

Choosing what to eat is complicated these days. The public knows little about the processed foods they consume, as the ingredients listed are often opaque. That can make it hard to be confident your diet is healthy.

As always though, the message is that food that you produce yourself from natural ingredients, organic where possible, is the best. And maintaining as much variety as possible in your diet should ensure that you are not eating too much of any one ingredient.

Preventing Meniscus Problems

Your knees are complex joints with multiple parts working together to allow flexibility and movement combined with stability and balance. One of these parts is the meniscus, a thick disc of connective tissue that cushions the connection between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia) and keeps the bones from rubbing against each other. There are two of these menisci in each knee and together they also help keep the joint stable during movement.


The menisci take a lot of wear over a lifetime of walking, squatting, kneeling, and jumping. As you age, they begin to wear away and become frayed, and more susceptible to tears.  However, there are steps you can take to help preserve your menisci and avoid injuring them.


Risk Factors for Meniscus Injuries


First, you should be aware of certain risk factors, some of which you can minimize. For example, people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or over are at greater risk, which can be lowered by losing weight. If you have a job or a hobby that involves a lot of kneeling or squatting, use good protective gear like kneepads or a small stool to help support you.


The biggest risk, however, is physical activity, particularly in sports that involve running, jumping, landing and pivoting, such as soccer, basketball, and football. However in any activity, or even in simply walking, you can step on an object or in a hole in the ground that can twist your knee and cause tears in the meniscus.


Stretch Before Exercise!


One way to guard against injury is to do targeted, thorough stretching before beginning your physical activity. You can ask your doctor or a personal trainer for some tips on good stretches, or check online for articles and videos.


The best stretches work the entire leg, from quads to calves and even feet. Any tightness can put more strain on the knee as you move, and increase the possibility of injury.


If You Do Have an Injury


However, even with stretching and care, knee injuries still happen. Tears to the meniscus often occur in tandem with injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). If you have any injury to your knees, it’s important to see a doctor that specializes in orthopedics or sports medicine. They see the most knee injuries and are experienced in diagnosing and treating them. Be sure to follow all instructions as to what kind of exercises and movements are safe for you, and which to avoid, while waiting for the injury to heal.


Injuries to the meniscus can sometimes heal on their own. Others may need to be repaired, often with some form of knee arthroscopy. This can involve suturing the meniscus, removing the injured section and redistributing the tissue to provide adequate flexibility, or even grafting in replacement meniscal tissue.


The best approach, of course, is to take all the steps you can to avoid such injuries in the first place. Take good care of your knees and they will continue to carry you for many years!

Quick and Easy Ways to get the care you need!

Whether you are meeting live face to face, on the telephone, or communicating via computer, a human being is at the initial level of every care transaction that you experience in your life. Care transactions cross space and time and are always personal. Do you want to receive quick and easy care and final resolutions in the correct fashion the first time you ask? If you answered “yes,” remember and apply these key points: asking for care is not dispassionate—often, asking for resolution to a pressing issue is subjective to all parties; everyone involved in solving your problem wants to feel recognized and appreciated—at the end of the day, the technician who wrote your computer program or the representative you are speaking with over the telephone or face to face wants to take away with them the sense that they have done an excellent job. It will bode well for you not to use a negative angry approach. Keep it positive and upbeat.

Whoever is in charge of solving your tale of woe has been put on notice by their supervisor that time is money, and they are encouraged to solve as many problems as swiftly as possible. To express your challenge and achieve a clear and expedient understanding, take a few moments to prepare before sending your email, punching numbers into the telephone, or standing in line at the customer care window. See this as a cooling off period and time to create a scenario note for your eyes only. Keep the note simple and well edited. Do not include details that are not absolutely germane to the subject under consideration. Make your contact only after you feel that your understanding of what you want to say and what goals your resolution must meet are firmly in place.

Bear in mind that when asking for a resolution to a disturbing challenge, you want to appear credible. To this end, do not exaggerate or falsify your issue. Recognize that the representative that sees you, hears your voice or reads your written words will usually know more about their company policies, services and products than you do.

Recognizing the fundamental humanity in a care situation, communicating in your best business English, maintaining a specific focus, and offering your positive voice and bearing will lead to swift resolutions and receiving care the quick and easy way. Be patient; problem solving is an art and a practice.


How To Overcome Knee Pain

Millions of people struggle with knee pain every year. It affects everyone, from children to adults to the elderly. Yet knee pain tends to get worse as you age.

If you’re struggling with this health problem, the top tips below will help you overcome knee pain so you can walk, jog, and otherwise exercise to your heart’s content.

Lose That Extra Weight

Did you know that being overweight is the number one cause of knee pain? Those extra pounds put a lot of pressure on your knees and other joints. Simply losing that extra weight, even as little as a few pounds, can work wonders to erase knee pain. Low impact exercises like walking and a healthier diet can help.

Find a Fun Low-Impact Exercise

Knee pain only worsens the less you use your knees. Failing to exercise because it’s painful will only make the pain worse in the long run. The key is finding a low-impact exercise that you enjoy – and then doing it on a regular basis. Swimming is one of the absolute best exercises for knee pain. Avoid exercises that involve running or jumping.

Examine Your Lifestyle

Our lifestyles often directly impact knee pain. In addition to regular exercise and a healthy diet, failing to get enough rest and relaxation can result in health problems including knee pain. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Waking up well rested can do wonders to reduce the amount of knee pain you experience on a regular basis.

Consult a Physical Therapist  

If you have trouble designing a suitable workout routine, it’s a smart idea to visit a physical therapist. They’ll help you design an exercise program that’s specifically designed to increase the strength and mobility of your knees to reduce pain in the future. Those that experience knee pain during daily activities should visit an occupational therapist for the best results.

Consider Knee Surgery

Talk to your doctor about knee surgery. If your problem is too severe to be fixed with any other method, surgery can help as a last resort. Orthopedic experts like those at The Core Institute offer a variety of surgical procedures directly aimed at getting your knees back into better working order.

Knee pain can seem impossible to overcome. Yet there is a lot you can do to combat the issue on your own. If you can’t get a handle on knee pain yourself, a physical therapist or doctor will be able to set you straight.

The Best and Worst Times to Stretch Your Muscles

If you’ve ever competed in athletics or spent a lot of time at the gym, you’ve undoubtedly been told of the value of stretching. According to WebMD, you should stretch each of your major muscle groups twice a week (at least) for 60 seconds. Stretching helps you maintain flexibility and aids in smoother movements, and is beneficial for your body as you age. So, you know that stretching is important, but when are the best and worst times to do so?

The Worst Time

Tina Vindum, a fitness guru, notes that the worst time to stretch your muscles in when they are cold. Stretching before a workout is not proven to significantly help reduce or prevent injuries, and can in fact lead to an injury on its own. As an exception to this, she notes that you can and should stretch a muscle prior to working out if you feel that something is tight or otherwise bothersome during your warmup.

An OK Time to Stretch

If you’re already in the habit of stretching before a workout, it has proven in some cases to be neither beneficial nor harmful. WebMD notes that if you are going to stretch before a workout, you should focus on dynamic stretches rather than static stretches. Static stretches, such as those you hold for 15 to 30 seconds, can actually dampen your performance during a workout. For example, stretching your legs before sprinting can actually lead to slower speeds because your muscles tire during the stretch.


For those who insist upon stretching before a workout, consider dynamic stretches instead. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, a fitness expert or physician can provide you with examples, but the concept focuses on putting a muscle group through a fluid range of motion to help loosen up prior to exercise, rather than holding static stretches for a set amount of time.

The Best Time to Stretch

If you really want to effectively stretch your muscles, the best time to do so is after you have completed a workout. Since your body has already been working hard and there is increased blood flow to your muscles, this is the perfect time to stretch. You can help cool down your body and muscles, and avoid soreness by stretching after a workout. If you’re a fan of static stretches, now is a good time to use those techniques.

When It Is Time To See Your Doctor For Ankle Pain

Our ankles are prone to many different problems. Because they support almost all of our body weight when we are upright, they are placed under a lot of physical stress. It is very easy to hurt our ankles even when undertaking normal activities. Many injuries to our ankles are minor problems that will heal naturally. However, ankle pain could be a sign that something is seriously wrong, and it is important to seek medical help, according to an orthopedic expert from The Core Institute. You should always seek medical help if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  1. The ankle is visibly deformed

If your ankle looks a different shape to what it normally is, it may be dislocated or broken. Sometimes, the ankle joint may look different because the tissue around it is swollen. Compare your good ankle with your damaged one to see if they are essentially the same.

  1. The bone has penetrated the skin

All bones are prone to fractures. Depending on the cause of the fracture, the damage may twist bone so much that it breaks through the skin. These fractures should be treated as soon as possible.

  1. The foot feels numb

It is common to experience some numbness for a time after an injury occurs. If the numbness persists, or you feel tingling sensations in the toes or other areas of the foot, you should get medical attention.

  1. The pain is severe

People have different pain thresholds, so severe pain may not be an indication that the injury needs medical intervention. However, it is best to have the ankle checked out when the pain is severe.

  1. The pain stays severe when there is no weight on the foot

When a damaged ankle has to bear our weight, it is understandable that that can cause a lot of pain. If the pain is equally bad when the ankle is not bearing weight, it is necessary to get medical help.

  1. Ankle or foot change color

Some redness often accompanies swelling and may not be a concern. If the ankle or foot go very pale or blue, get medical help.

  1. Excessive tenderness

It is necessary to get medical help if the ankle hurts a lot when it is being touched gently.

  1. Pain persists

As injuries heal, the pain should begin to subside, especially when the injured ankle is rested as much as possible. If pain persists, see a doctor.


Effective Ways To Address Body Pains

Pain is our body’s way of letting us and others know that something is wrong. Pain may be the result of physical stress, injury or illness, and it can range from being mildly uncomfortable to being seriously debilitating. It can also be short-term (acute) pain, or long-term (chronic).


For many types of pain, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are enough to bring relief. Generally speaking, if you experience mild to medium pain, using one of those medications may be all you need to do. If the pain is caused by strain or stress, you should try to avoid putting more strain or stress on the part that is affected.


Some types of pain can be indications of serious conditions, and should be regarded as medical emergencies. Sudden, sharp pains in the chest are an example. If pain persists for several days, or it clears up but frequently reoccurs, you should visit your doctor to find out what the cause is.


Joint pains

Joints are where bones meet. The joints are padded by a substance call cartilage. This acts as a cushion or buffer between the separate bones. It stops the bones from grinding off each other. However, as we age, the cartilage gets less effective at providing the cushioning effect. This often results in the joint becoming painful and inflamed. The hip and knee joints are particularly prone to this type of disorder.


In the early stages, inflamed joints may respond well to treatment with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications. However, the deterioration is likely to continue, and an affected person may become partially or totally disabled and may be in chronic pain. For many people, the solution to this is to have hip or knee replacement surgery.


The spine

The vertebrae that make up the spine are separated by discs. Like cartilage, these discs act as cushions between the vertebrae, but they too can deteriorate. When they are not functioning properly, a person may get shooting pains. Sometimes, this type of pain is caused by a disc slipping out of place. It is sometimes possible for chiropractors to manipulate slipped discs back into place.


Getting help

Apart from causing physical discomfort, pain can also be mentally stressful. People often worry that there may be something seriously wrong. It’s best to get medical advice if you are worried about any types of pain you have. Your doctor may refer you to specialist treatment centers like The Core Institute for investigation and treatment.

The Impact Physical Therapy Can Have

Physical therapy can be the best answer for a number of disabling conditions. Its aim is to improve a patient’s ability to move around and perform the actions they need to, to live a normal life.


What is physical therapy?


The name ‘physical therapy’ is given to therapeutic interventions that act directly on the patient’s body in order to improve physical function. Physical therapy improves mobility following injury, immobilizing illness, or for people with chronic conditions.


Good candidates for this type of therapy can’t move around and carry out tasks as well as they would like to on a daily basis. Physical therapy can reduce the need for prescription drugs and even surgery by teaching the body how to move effectively again.


What are the different types of physical therapy?


Physical therapy can be divided into methods that involve the patient carrying out routine exercises in order to improve function, and methods where manual manipulation or physical devices are applied to a passive patient. The term physical therapy also covers assistive devices that help with the patient’s functioning.




Well-established exercise routines can improve strength and mobility in different parts of the body when repeated regularly. The success of this kind of physical therapy depends on the patient’s active participation in the program. The more disciplined the patient is, the more effective the exercises will be.


Unless the subject is a hospital in-patient, they may not have anyone to supervise their exercises. Friends and relations can play an important part by encouraging and motivating the patient


Manual manipulation


Massage therapy, chiropractic therapy and some other specialisms involve the practitioner manipulating the patient’s body manually, sometimes to diagnose as well as to treat conditions.


There are a number of schools of thought behind manual therapies and they enjoy varying degrees of acceptance by mainstream medicine.


Other agents acting on the body


Heat and cold, electric currents and needles are among the other forces that are used to relieve pain and loosen up the affected part of the body. These techniques have been used traditionally to reduce pain and inflammation and have been found empirically to be effective.


The best intervention for any given patient often involves a combination of different techniques, and may need adjustment over time. If inflammation and pain are reduced by manual manipulation or other techniques, that can enable the patient to practice more active exercise techniques to improve function in the long-term.


The selection of the right combination for a particular patient needs time, patience and expert advice.