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Bridging the Gap

RS924 shutterstock 84331045 resizeIf you have ever rehabilitated an athletic injury, you know there is a big difference between completing your rehab, and returning to competition.  You are pain free, have full range of motion, and are completely functional, but are you prepared for the true demands of your sport, both mentally and physically?

Bridging the gap between rehabilitation and competition is an important component to recovery that many people do not consider. Strength deficits, motor control, speed, agility and reaction time are often affected by an injury. When we have reached our rehabilitation goals we sometimes still fall short of where we need to be to return to sport.

This is where a Return to Play program comes in.

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tiff 1Growing up I was an athlete.  While being a perfectionist and competitive by nature helped me reach some goals, it has also held me back.  There were times in my life where I avoided things because I was afraid to fail. In 2009, I took a chance and trained for a ½ marathon.  Despite playing multiple sports, long distance running has never been “my thing”.  I was nervous to participate for fear of failure, but I put these thoughts aside and I trained.  I followed a plan, I was consistent, and I didn’t get hurt.  When race day rolled around I was nervous but I felt I had prepared well.  I had been experiencing some mild health issues at the time which had altered my diet, but I didn’t worry too much about it.  I woke up the morning of the race with my legs feeling like lead.  I attributed this to being nervous and over-thinking things.  I started the race hoping I just needed to get into my rhythm, but I never did. I trudged on for 12 of the 13.1 miles willing my non-cooperative body to keep moving.  Just past mile 12, there was a hill.  I knew there was no way my body would carry me to the finish line if I tried to run up it.  My entire body was letting me down in a way it never had during any of my training runs.  As I began to walk, a medic asked if I was okay. I stubbornly said yes, but when asked to walk a straight line, I couldn’t come close.  He checked my blood pressure, oxygen, and blood sugar, all of which were too low.  I had to stop.  My body had failed me.  I had failed.

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Preventing Winter Related Injuries

When the winter weather arrives, there is no need to stop exercising outdoor; it just needs to be done the right way in order to prevent an injury. Following is a list of steps that will help you get the fresh air you crave and the exercise your body needs; while minimizing the risk of an injury:

 

  • Snow RunningDress in layers (loose clothing) and either add or remove when your body temperature changes.

 

  • Wear the proper shoes for the activity.

 

  • Drink plenty of fluids; water is preferable.

 

  • Know your surroundings: when you know your surroundings, you know where the sidewalks are uneven, the trails marked for running or walking, hills, closed roads, and construction areas. This will help you to avoid such areas.

 

  • Warm-Up: a gentle and short stretch is needed to prepare your muscles for the activity that will follow. After the warm-up, follow with some stretching.
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Playing it Safe on the Playground


Now that nice weather seems to be here to stay, everyone is anxious to get outside. Area playgrounds are a great place to take your little ones for some long-overdue exercise. However, playground injuries are more common than most of us realize.  In 2008 the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that just over 220,000 emergency room visits occurred from children being injured on playgrounds. This actually reflects a small increase from their 1999 estimate of 205,000. Eighty-five percent of playground injuries that required medical attention were due to fractures, contusions (bruises), cuts or sprains.

Here are a few tips to make sure that your fun visit to the playground doesn’t end with a quick trip to your local emergency room or urgent care center. Most of these suggestions are linked to preventing falls. First, it is extremely important to monitor your children’s activities, both using your eyes and your ears.  Also, make sure your kids’ activities are appropriate (look for pushing, shoving, and children crowding each other or inappropriately using equipment) and that the equipment being used is age-appropriate. Avoid playgrounds that do not use loose-fill materials like rubber mulch, fine sand, or woodchips/mulch as a groundcover. Finally, to decrease risk of strangulation, make sure kids are not wearing clothing with drawstrings, necklaces, purses or scarves while using equipment.

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When Is It Safe To Return To Play?

How do I know when my child is safe to return to sport after injury?

It is becoming more and more common for kids today to specialize in a single sport.  This means that kids are playing one sport year-round, often for several hours per week.  They are undergoing significant and repeated stresses on their growing bodies.  This increase in sport specialization may be one reason we are seeing a rise in youth sport injuries in our clinic. 

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