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TAP evaluation of high school aged pitcherCoach my arm hurts”.  “Are you feeling ok, can you throw one more inning?”  The scene of seeing a young baseball player complaining of arm pain to their coach or parents is all too familiar.  Not many people are well-trained in HOW to handle a baseball player complaining of pain.  As physical therapists we have seen the alarming rise of sports injuries especially in younger kids.  Especially concerning is the sharp trend of overhead throwing athletes developing serious tendonitis, dead arm syndrome or worst of all the “Tommy John injury”.  I believe a lot of these throwing problems can be avoided with sound education to the athlete, parent and coaches.

Baseball is a passion of mine and I have helped lead our company in developing a throwing video analysis program.  We call our program TAP (Thrower’s Athletic Performance).  We have also expanded into doing community talks and educating local coaches and parents on what is so special about throwing that can lead to minor and major injuries.  Prevention is always the best model (something our whole healthcare system is sorely lacking).  So here goes my two cents on helping our baseball athletes.



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Don't Forget About Your Gluteal Muscles

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With summer now officially here, there seems to be an increase in how many times a week a person performs a cardio based workout. The convenience and enjoyment of a quick jog or bike ride during these warm months is quite enticing. However, the importance of a well-balanced workout routine remains consistent even despite an increase in outdoor activity. This is not to say that a steady cardio routine is not an excellent addition to a daily routine, but rather to emphasize the need for some degree of weight training to be tossed in the mix. In doing so, one important muscle group that should receive special attention is the gluteal muscles. The gluteal muscles play a crucial role in the prevention of back, hip, knee, and ankle injuries.



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Protecting Your Joints When You Have Arthritis

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Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak to members of the Arthritis Foundation about managing their activities when dealing with osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis.  Many people either have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis or know someone who does.  However, not all people understand the fundamental differences between these two types of arthritis.  In osteoarthritis, the articular cartilage (the cartilage that lines the ends of your bones) starts to degenerate.  The joint space becomes narrowed and bone spurs can form at the edges of the joint.  Eventually, if enough degeneration occurs, there is injury to the bone lying underneath the cartilage and a person is told her joint is "bone on bone." In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the synovial tissue produces diseased and excessive synovial fluid.  Normally, a person's synovial fluid gives proper nutrition to your cartilage and lubricates your joints but rheumatoid arthritis interrupts this process. This results in swollen, red and painful joints that can lead to deformities in the involved joint(s) if untreated. Osteoarthritis is more common in the weight-bearing joints, like your knees, hips and spine where rheumatoid arthritis typically involves the hands, feet or neck (but is not exclusive to these).



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Could Posture Be Causing Your Back Pain?

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Growing up, my parents were always telling my brother "stop slouching!" Although, he viewed this comment as nagging, research proves that this is in fact excellent advice. There is a direct correlation between proper posture and efficient body function during daily activities. Poor posture causes postural stress on the spine, which can lead to headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain. Our environment promotes poor posture because everything we do is in front of us, our body must fight gravity to not hunch over but to sit and stand up right. By becoming aware of the positions that can cause postural stress we can strive to decrease the various triggers of back pain. Take a moment to assess your posture while you are reading this.



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