O'fit News and Blog

Knee pain in adolescent athletes

Our children are participating in sports year-round and this may be a cause for increased injuries among adolescent athletes. Unfortunately, along with increased participation comes decreased attention to injury prevention and proper stretching. The hamstrings are a large muscle group on the back of the thigh that are susceptible to tightness due to over activity. Tight hamstrings may cause hip, back and knee pain if ignored. Always seek proper medical attention to determine diagnosis and therapy plan.

Recently, my 9 year old daughter was complaining of bilateral knee pain. I noticed she was limping during her soccer games, but like a good dad I shrugged it off. She began wrapping ice bags on her knees before bed and like a good dad I thought she was over reacting a little. This went on for about a week, and my wife finally asked if we should have her see a doctor friend. Since I have 22 years of treating athletic injuries, I thought maybe it was a good idea to assess her knees.

She really could not pinpoint her pain, but described the pain as “all around the knee”. During the assessment I noticed her hamstrings were extremely tight for a 9 year old girl. I immediately implemented a stretching program and she had relief within a couple of days. We continue to stretch before and after activities, and we taught her to stretch on her own. She continues to participate with no pain and no limp as long as she stretches.

Self stretch vs partner stretch

Part of my job is to show people the appropriate stretches to do on their own. However, in children this becomes difficult, because they simply will not do it. For better results,I recommend helping your child stretch in addition to them stretching on their own. See the video below for ways to help your child stretch.

Advance core & hip strength

Advanced core & hip strength is somewhat redundant because the hip muscles are part of the core. The most functional way to perform stability exercises for any muscle group is in the standing position. However, the side plank position offers multiple stabilizing components which makes it  a great exercise to integrate into any strength program. The side plank adductor exercise helps improve stability in the hip adductors, shoulder, lats and obliques. The side plank adductor exercise can be used by any and all athletes to help prevent injury and improve stability.

Lower Back Soft Tissue Mobilization

Applying soft tissue mobilization to the lower back can be labor intensive and hard on the hands. Additionally, it is difficult to find the correct tools to help isolate and target the muscles in the lower back. Therawheel has a 4.5″ wheel that allows the therapist to mobilize deeper layers of the lower back. In addition, the single wheel design let’s the therapist mobilize the soft tissue at various angles for maximum mobility. Finally, it has a round tip for trigger point therapy on larger muscles like the quadratus lumborum.

Advanced Hip Stretch

The hip, in particular your dominant hip can become tight and create altered biomechanics leading to injury. This advanced stretch can be done before and after activity to improve hip mobility and prevent hip, knee and back pain.

Best knee, hip and back stretch

The hip flexors are one of the most powerful muscle groups in the body. Unfortunately, the become shortened in many because of all the sitting we do. This muscle attaches to the hip and lower back and can create pain in the low back, hip, knee and even foot and ankle. Therefore, this is one of the most important exercise for any athlete to perform daily.

Inner Hip Strength

The inner thigh often gets ignored in performance and rehab programs for the knee and hip. Here is a simple way to help strengthen the adductor group to help improve recovery and performance.

Advanced Core Performance Exercise

This advanced exercise is a great way to improve your core stability and upper body power.

Golf Rotator Cuff Exercise

Weak rotator cuff muscles can contribute to several shoulder injuries including rotator cuff tears, impingement syndrome, bursitis and tendonitis. By strengthening these muscles you can prevent a lot of injuries, especially in overhead sports like golf and tennis.

ACL exercise- lateral hip strength

This exercise can be used to prevent acl injuries as well as to do after injury. Often, our lateral hip is very weak which leads to acl injuries. This simple exercise with a loop will help you strengthen the hips and prevent injuries.

Tips to help you get through the holidays without tipping the scale:

*Always eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner before you go to a holiday party (that is not specifically a dinner party, of course!). Going to a party hungry is a disaster waiting to happen…you are much more likely to make poor food choices and overeat while starving.

*Don’t go to a party wearing loose fitting clothes. Wear something slim-fitting, or pull your belt one notch tighter than it should be — you will be much less likely to overeat because it will be easier to clue in to your stomach cues when you are satisfied or just slightly full.

*Eat mindfully- often people eat out of boredom, or to fill an emotional need (anxiety, stress, etc). Eating mindfully means that when you do eat, you are present, in the moment, focusing on what you are eating–its taste and texture, for example and eating slowly to fully taste the food.

*Another tip for mindful eating— whatever it is that you decide to eat, take a few deep breaths before eating to ask yourself if you are even hungry. If you’re not, put the food down and change your setting.

*At appetizer tables, choose the foods you really want to eat, put them on a napkin or a small plate (try to avoid large plates, which you will likely fill up), and then walk away and eat the food mindfully!

*Eat what you love but stop when you are full – not stuffed! There is no such thing as one “bad” holiday food that you should not consume. Any decadent food or beverage when consumed mindfully and in reasonable portions is totally fine, however, mindlessly sampling large portions of all that is offered will surely pack on the pounds.

*Choose alcoholic drinks wisely if you are going to drink. Opt for either a glass of wine, a light beer, a glass of champagne or a spirit with a non-caloric mixer…all of which are relatively low in calories.

*If you are drinking alcohol, alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic, calorie-free ones, like seltzer. Also, asking for wine spritzers, which are half wine and half seltzer, is a great way to decrease the calorie content of the drink.

*Enjoy what the holidays are really all about – spending time with family and friends.

Happy Holidays!

Los Angeles nutritionist Alyse Levine MS, RD, is founder of NutritionBite and Nutrition Advisor for LIVESTRONG.COM

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/blog/blog/alyse-levine-on-how-avoid-holiday-weight-gain/?utm_source=decembernewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=101214#ixzz18IHUXwiv