Friday, October 30, 2015

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

With volleyball being a sport of quickness, cutting, explosiveness, and an emphasis on landing, it is crucial that the lower body be able to handle all the demands it takes. The ankles, knees, and hips take an extreme amount of pressure whether it is in a game or in practice. If an athlete’s body is not prepared for the physical stress it takes on, injuries are likely to occur. Once an injury happens, it starts off as an “acute injury” but once the injury lasts for more than a few weeks or even months, it becomes known as a “chronic injury.” The injury that is going to be focused on this week is a chronic injury known as chondromalacia.
Chondromalacia is known as “patellofemoral pain” since the pain is located around the distal end of the femur and patella region.1,2,3 As the patella moves up and down, various forces can cause irritation to the cartilage under the kneecap which is where the patellofemoral pain comes into play.2 This injury is seen more in women than men due to a difference in hip/knee angles known as the “Q-Angle”;this is the measurement of the angle between the quadriceps muscles and the patella tendon.2 A few other causes of this injury may be tightness of the iliotibial band known as the “IT-Band”, bursitis, or even overuse of the knee.1,3
Signs and symptoms that associate with this injury are pain in the front of the knee near or over the patella.1,3 The pain starts off as “achy” but then turns “sharp” when excessive squatting, stair-climbing, or kneeling is involved.1,3 Pain can also be noted towards the posterior or back part of knee as referred pain.1,3 This injury is indeed seen in volleyball players due to the amount of jumping, explosiveness, and hard landing that can be associated with this sport.1
Treatment options for chondromalacia focus around “RICE” which stands for “rest, ice compression, elevation” as well as a strengthening rehabilitation program and a doctor’s visit to rule out a more severe injury.1,2,3 Surgery is not always needed but it is crucial to see a doctor to get a better inside look of the knee to see what is going on.1 One article states that the rehab should be focused on “correcting any deficits in strength speed, agility and flexibility.”1
In conclusion, patellofemoral pain can turn into a nagging injury if not treated correctly or if it is not caught early enough to avoid turning into something worse. A solid rehabilitation program for the upper leg can make a world of difference to take the load off the patella and ease the pain.
1.      Patellofemoral pain syndrome. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2015, from
2.      Cluett, J. (2014, December 16). Chondromalacia: Signs and Symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Retrieved October 22, 2015, from
3.      Chondromalacia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2015, from

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Causes and Symptoms of Flat Feet

The human foot has twenty six bones, thirty three joints, and more than one hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments1 that work all day every day as we walk, run, stand, or perform any other activity where our feet  touch other objects.  From the time we get up to the time we lay back down to go to bed much stress is put on our feet.  Most people spend an average of four hours a day on their feet and walk on average eight thousand to ten thousands steps every day.2 One fairly common foot issue people have is pes planus or also referred to as pes valgus (flat feet) or having fallen arches.  

It is normal for infants, toddlers, and young children to have flat feet and foot arches should develop as they age.  However, in some cases foot arches never develop.3

image retrieved from
Flat feet may also arise or develop in adults due to:
  • Stretch, torn, or some otherwise damaged tendons3
  • Damage or inflammation to the posterior tibial tendon (PTT)3
  • A broken or dislocated bone3
  • Also other health conditions may play a factor in the development of flat feet such as obesity, diabetes, aging, and pregnancy3

Having flat feet does not mean problems with arise due to the condition but some symptoms to look for that may stem from having flat feet are:
  • Ones feet get tired easily3
  • Having painful feet3
  • Aches in the arches and heel regularly3
  • The underneath middle of the foot is swollen3
  • If standing on your toes is difficult3
  • If back and leg pain develop3

Keep in mind, many people have flat feet never have issues that cause pain, discomfort, or any of the above symptoms.  So, unless you are having any issues of pain or discomfort with your feet you need not be concerned if you have flat feet or not.   If you have have any of these issues and suspect that you may have symptoms that indicate problems of flat feet visit your doctor for a professional option.

1How to tell if you have flat feet (2013). Livestrong. Retrieved September 20, 2015, from

2Flat feet in adults (2001) Dynamic Chiropractic. Retrieved September 20, 2015, from

3What are fallen arches? (n.d) Webmd. Retrieved September 20, 2015, from

Image taken from

The Importance of Recess in School

As a child growing up I remember always having recess everyday for at least a half hour all the way up through my fifth grade year of school.  I remember many days playing games and creating relationships with other children that has lasted to this day.  Now as an adult,  I am seeing many schools moving away from regular recess to allow more instructional time for other academics.  Schools may still provide recess to the children but it may be limited to a short time, only on certain days, or in general put second behind the needs of other academic subjects.   The trend of cutting recess may actually be more harmful to our children than helpful.  The American Heart Association created a survey done in 2010 found that the majority of states mandate physical education for our children but most do not require a specific amount and allow exemptions, waivers, and substitutions that diminish that time.1
image retrieved from

  An article from the American Academy of Pediatrics called “The Crucial Role of Recess in School” agrees that recess serves a necessary break from academic challenges that offers cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits to children.2  Playing may not seem to help a student learn more about a single subject, however, it has the potential to promote cognitive understanding through interactive and manipulative experiences.2 In addition, it allows the children time to engage in peer interactions and learning skills such as communication, negotiation, cooperation, sharing, coping, self-control, and problem solving.2

All individuals, from parents to the lawmakers, want the best for our children and their futures.  Decisions that are made with good intentions may not always end up being the best decision.  With studies such as the above mentioned and others that are sure to come in the future, maybe the masses’ perception of recess may change from being only a physical activity to seeing that there are other aspects of a child’s development that can be greatly affected though regular recess.

To learn more, read my previous blog about the importance of exercise for our children visit  

1National Association for Sport and Physical Education & American Heart Association.  (2010).  2010 Shape of the nation report: Status of Physical education in the USA. Reston, Va: National Association for Sport and Physical Education.  Retrieved from

2The Crucial Role of Recess in School. (2012), Pediatrics January 01, 2013 Vol. 131 No. 1 pp.183-188. Retrieved from

Ways to keep your child active

With today’s world many children young and old spend much more time doing activities in the home instead of being out and active.  This could be due to many factors such as technology in the form of computers, video games, and television.  The effects of lack of exercise can lead to several negative factors such as obesity, weaker muscles, and bones, increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, higher blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and a more negative outlook on the world.1  However, many children do not understand or really consider these issues. So, what can you do to motivate children to stay active and participate in physical activities? Listed are a few suggestions and things that may help.   

  • image from
    One of the best things you can do is know your child and pick the right activity for them.  This involves knowing what they like and do not like and what they think would be interesting.  This could also involve knowing their abilities and limitations.  So, picking the right activity for your child will keep your child from becoming bored or frustrated.2

  • A second thing you might do is make sure they have plenty of opportunity for physical activities by making sure you regularly take them to places they can participate in activities as well as provide any equipment they may need to participate in an activity.2  To help in this, check the internet for local places and organizations that provide activities for children as well as call on people you know to find out if they know any great organizations or activities in the local area. In regards to equipment, a quick trip to your local sports store and conversation with an employee there would set you in the right direction.

  • Most of all, when motivating your child to be active make sure whatever the activity is they are having fun and enjoy it. This is easily done by observing and questioning your child during and after the activity.

So get your child motivated and excited about exercise by taking an active role in facilitating that desire in them.  Be a good role model and be active yourself if possible, and never give up staying focused on the best thing for your child.

1Lack of exercise for children. (2015). Livestrong. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from

2Motivating kids to be active. (2004). Kids Health. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from

image retrieved from

Monday, October 26, 2015

Preparing for a Cross Country Championship

Preparing for a Cross Country Championship
In light of the championship season in Cross Country I thought I would address the strategies and preparation a runner goes through as they prepare for the post season. Whether you are in high school or a college athlete each runner has the same thing in common the last three meets of the year are always the most important and are emphasized the most. At this time the work has already been done and runners can’t get any fitter, it is strictly about who is healthiest, most rested, and best prepared at the time of the race.

Months of Preparations
Some high school and most college runners have been training since the start of June. They have had several benchmark runs between here and now and their preparation and hard work is about to pay off. Behind these months of running are the little things that spectators never think about hydration, nutrition, and sleep. With the championship season being so late in your season you must take care of these key ingredients in order to achieve the result you want, some individuals will be sidelined by injury or have a performance altering injury because they didn't take care of business in the months prior to this day.  

Race Day
Finally, the time has come and it is race day. These final three meets have so much emphasis put on them but they should not be there to intimidate you and alter your performance. Conference and District Championships are made to show the true competitor inside each individual. Runners should do the exact same prerace and race day routine as they have done all season, nothing different because it is just a bigger meet that is how nerves are crept in and and negative performances happen. The most important thing to remember is just relax and calm yourself and just see this meet as something you have done several times before. Nothing enjoyable comes out of anything if you over stress and panic about the task at hand.

Tips for Race Day
  1. Capitalize on your strengths
  2. Surge on every turn to attain great position on the coarse
  3. Don’t worry about pace, worry about EFFORT
  4. Don’t give up before the race is over
  5. Challenge yourself!!

Work Sited:

  1. "Tips For Cross-Country Training And Racing -" Competitorcom. 16 July 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
  2. "Cross-Country Specific Training Tips." Runner's World. 1 Sept. 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lean Muscle Mass by Protein Supplementation

One of the most common supplements used today, Protein, is a compound composed of long chains of amino acids that are essential in the structure of body tissues such as muscles and hair. Protein is available in many different forms such as whey, soy, animal, or egg. From post-workout supplementation to high protein diets, protein can have a significant effect on the skeletal muscle system.

Resistance training can be more beneficial when protein supplementation is followed afterwards. In a 2005 study, it was found that after a 14 week protein vs carbohydrate supplementation period, combined with resistance training, resulted in increased muscle mass in the subjects using protein supplementation.1  In another study, conducted in 2012, findings suggest that protein increases lean body mass more in conjunction with resistance training than resistance training without protein supplementation. It was also found that protein supplementation is required to increase muscle mass, especially in elderly people.3 Likewise, a third study from 2006 found that protein supplementation with as little as 6 weeks of resistance training had beneficial effects on lean tissue mass and strength over resistance training or isocaloric placebo alone.2

In result, it is obvious the beneficial effects that protein supplementation combined with resistance training has on the muscles versus resistance training alone. From young adults to elderly, protein is a must to see muscular benefits. If increasing lean muscle mass or improving strength is a goal, a high protein diet with protein supplementation post-workout could be a very gainful aid.

1Andersen, L. L., Tufekovic, G., Zebis, M. K., Crameri, R. M., Verlaan, G., Kjaer, M., . . . Aagaard, P. (2005). The effect of resistance training combined with timed ingestion of protein on muscle fiber size and muscle strength. Metabolism, 54(2), 151-156. doi:

2Candow, D. G., Burke, N. C., Smith-Palmer, T., & Burke, D. G. (2006). Effect of whey and soy protein supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism., 16(3), 233-244. Retrieved from

3Tieland, M., Dirks, M., Zwaluw, N., Verdijk, L., Rest, O., Groot, L., & Loon, L. (2012). Protein Supplementation Increases Muscle Mass Gain During Prolonged Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Frail Elderly People: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 713-719.

The use of Visualization

Visualization is a widely used technique by athletes and weight lifters. The thought behind visualization is that if you can imagine yourself achieving your goal then you are more likely to achieve it in real life. “If want to increase the likelihood of reaching your goals and dreams, visualization is where it all begins. By having the ability to visualize your goals you do a few important things:
  • It teaches your brain to recognize what resources it will need to help you succeed in reaching your goals.
  • It creates an inner motivation to strive for your goals and dreams
  • It promotes positive thinking, which will help you to stay on track to be successful in the long run.”1.
Whenever I am working out I always imagine myself lifting the weights before I even touch the bar. For example if I am on the bench press and I am about to lift a heavy weight I will sit on the bench, close my eyes and imagine myself lifting the weight the desired amount of reps that I want to. This helps me get myself mentally prepared for the lift. “World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus has said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head”. Even heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, used different mental practices to enhance his performance in the ring such as: “affirmation; visualization; mental rehearsal; self-confirmation; and perhaps the most powerful epigram of personal worth ever uttered: “I am the greatest””.2.

1.The Importance of Visualizing Your Goals

Published on on the website by Don Dulin in 2015
2.Seeing Is Believing: The Power of Visualization
Published on the website by Angie LeVan in 2009

Yoga: Taking it Outdoors

As the weather begins to change and cooler temperatures are approaching this may be the best time to take your yoga practice outside.  It is important to keep your practice safe when moving to the outdoors.

Lose the yoga mat. Yoga mats, particularly thick mats, are designed to provide some cushion and anti-slip when placed on solid surfaces. Put your yoga mat down on the sand or grass, though, and you will find it bunches, folds, and makes a softer surface even harder to navigate.
A blanket or simple beach towels are better options for practicing outdoors. These surfaces will cling to the Earth, forming to the natural surface without making it any softer. As an additional benefit, if you put your towel or blanket down in the mud, you can simply toss it in the washing machine after practice.1

Go Upside down. The one exception I make to standing on the wrists too much while on soft surfaces is the handstand. There are two main benefits to hand-standing outside:
  1. If you fall on sand or grass, it is more forgiving than hardwoods. This fact alone makes many people who normally rely on the wall when hand-standing much bolder outside.
  2. The soft surface will force you to activate your fingers and grip into the Earth. This is great practice for when you return to the studio, as active fingers enhance your ability to balance.
    All photos courtesy of Savannah Wishart.

Stay hydrated. For a safe and successful yoga session, don’t forget to load up on water. Bring a water bottle with you so you can quench your thirst—and your body’s water refilling needs—in an arm’s reach.2

Being able to get outside and practice, even in the full sun of the afternoon (with sunscreen on of course) and you will be able feel how being with nature helps you connect even deeper to the sense of being with yourself.


  1. Eanes, Bethany. 5 Tips for Practicing Yoga Outside. Retrieved on October 20, 2015 from
  2. Chung, Beate. 7 Things to Remember When Doing Yoga Outdoors. Retrieved on October 20, 2015 from

Thumb Sprains in Volleyball Players

As mentioned in last week’s blog, there are a variety of injuries that can occur depending on where the injury site is. Every joint is stabilized by muscles, tendons, bones, fascia, and ligaments, however, out of the anatomy just mentioned ligaments are more susceptible to injury. More specifically, in this blog we are going to be discussing sprained ligaments within the thumb.
Finger and thumb injuries are likely to occur due to “wrong contact” from the ball during the game or practice.1 These mechanisms can happen at any time during the game but are more likely to occur on an attempt to block the ball.1 In the event that this happens, the ball either bends the thumb backwards or the ball makes a direct impact to the thumb “jamming” it into the joint.1 Once the injury occurs only a few symptoms become present such as swelling in the palm, severe pain, and limited movement within the joint.1,2 These symptoms demonstrate the severity of the ligament damage within the thumb joint therefore an x-ray may be needed to rule out any possible fracture that could have occurred alongside this injury.2,3
Consequently a doctor’s visit would be helpful to make sure no further damage has happened as well as getting the thumb immobilized by a splint so that the joint can rest, as well as be protected.2,3 Rest followed by rehabilitation for the joint is the best protocol to follow when dealing with a thumb sprain.1,2,3 Another treatment that would be helpful would be compression wraps as well as cold therapy to reduce the inflammation process and minimize the pain throughout the initial injury.2
In summary, thumb sprains can be hard to manage because volleyball players use their hands for everything, therefore initial rest is crucial to get the jump start on minimizing pain and swelling. If you take the correct primary steps following the injury, the athlete is less likely to re-injure that thumb and has a better chance at a quicker recovery.
  1. Volleyball. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  2. Volleyball Thumb Injuries | Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  3. Thumb Sprain. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2015.