Philly.com Sports Doc
POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC, Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute, Athletic Trainer - US Soccer Federation
Every athlete wants an edge. What’s the newest thing out there that will help me run faster, recover quicker, and play longer? How do I know which claims are fact and which are fiction? Let’s take a look and see what the research says.
2XU, Skins, CEP, CW-X, 110%....They’re everywhere. Running stores, basketball players’ elbows, and even on athletes during plane flights. They feel good. To some they look cool. But are they really doing anything? The claims: reduced muscle fatigue, reduced exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD), accelerated recovery processes, faster lactic acid removal, increased strength and power, improved endurance, etc. Let’s look at the two main reasons for wearing them: sports performance and sports recovery.
A 2013 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology stated that “none of the blood or physical markers of recovery indicates any benefit of wearing compression garments post-exercise. However, muscle soreness and perceived recovery indicators suggest a psychological benefit may exist.” The majority of research articles support this saying any benefit from a physiological standpoint is trivial but the perceived benefit may be significant. Anyone who has worked with professional athletes knows that it’s as much mental as it is physical. If they think something is helping then they’ll play better and in the end that’s really what matters. So the rest of us have to decide if a $100 pair of recovery tights is worth the placebo effect.
A January 2013 article in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance showed that “results indicated small effect sizes for the application of compression clothing during exercise for short-duration sprints (10-60 m), vertical-jump height, extending time to exhaustion (such as running at VO2max or during incremental tests), and time-trial performance (3-60 min)." Another article in the May 2013 edition of the same journal showed that “Wearing compression garments during cycling may result in trivial performance improvements of ~1% and may enhance oxygen delivery to the exercising muscles.” As these two studies show, there is conflicting results to date whether compression garments show performance enhancement benefits. But once again, if you think it works and you don’t mind paying for it then go for it.
Magnet therapy is a $500 million annual business in the US. Some of the touted benefits include improved blood flow and decreased pain. Much of the theory is based on the magnetic principles of iron. However, iron in blood is diamagnetic which means it is actually repelled by magnetics.
An article in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy in 2002 showed no difference in blood flow of the forearm with magnets compared to placebo. Another claim is that magnets help with swelling by attracting water molecules in the body. This can be disproven by the simple fact that even during an MRI scan there is no change in water dynamics in the body. Some companies claim that magnets can help with nerve conduction but once again even the strong magnets used in MRIs are not powerful enough to effect nerve conduction.
Regarding pain, research does show mixed results. A study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed significant pain reduction in post-polio patients using magnet therapy where another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed no benefit in the treatment of low back pain. Many of the studies showing positive benefit had small sample sizes, lacked true control groups, and used magnets that were more powerful than the magnet necklaces worn by most individuals. So to sum it all up, there seems to be no real benefit from magnets other than possible pain relief, which may be just a placebo effect. But if it helps with your pain and you think they look stylish, then give it a try.
Next time: Kinesiotape, vibration plates and more.
Philly.com Sports Doc
POSTED: Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 6:00 AM
Justin Shaginaw MPT, ATC
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis speaks during an NFL Super Bowl XLVII football news conference on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in New Orleans. Lewis denied a report linking him to a company that purports to make performance-enhancers. The Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
We all marvel in the extraordinary recovery of athletes following injury.
Ray Lewis returned to play less than 3 months following tricep repair surgery. Adrian Peterson nearly broke the single season NFL rushing record less than a year after ACL reconstruction. Kyle Lowry played point guard for Villanova less than 4 months following his own ACL reconstruction.
How is this possible? Do these gifted athletes just work harder during rehab? Do their bodies heal faster than the rest of us?
Or could it be the fear of most sports fans in the 21st century? Could these be using performance enhancing agents to speed up their recovery? Let’s discuss the factors and controversies that contribute to a speedy recovery in more detail.
Ray Lewis and his tricep. Ray injured his tricep on October 14th, 2012. He had surgery three days later and played in his first game on January 6th, 2013. That’s less than 3 months after injury—an unheard of turnaround time. There are many factors contributing to his extraordinary recovery.
First and foremost, Ray took a great risk at returning that soon. His chance of re-tear was very high as the surgical repair takes at least 3-4 months to be even close to being strong enough to withstand the forces involved in football. I’m sure that his rehab was rigorous in regaining the strength needed to block and tackle in the NFL. One would think his age would be a detriment to a speedy recovery, but it doesn’t seem to have been a factor.
The big question: did the deer antler spray help? There is little scientific evidence that IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) has any performance enhancing or injury recovery benefit. And IGF-1 is not affected when delivered through a spray. In Ray Lewis’ case, he probably beat the odds of re-injury by playing as early as he did vs. having an amazing recovery aided by performance enhancing supplements.
Adrian Peterson. He is still the talk of the town when it comes to returning from ACL surgery. In his first season back, he nearly sets the NFL rushing record.
Adrian’s first game back was 9 months after his ACL surgery. Although his level of play was astonishing— many players never quite get back to their pre-injury level—the time frame that he returned to play in is within the normal range of 9-12 months. Was there anything more than hard work and determination that contributed to his recovery? A good surgeon and rehab staff helps. But probably more than anything is what makes him such an amazing athlete is the same thing that gave him such a remarkable recovery… great DNA. There are no rumors or whispers about deer spray or any other performance enhancing substances with Peterson, just old fashioned hard work.
When we look for an unbelievably quick recovery from ACL rehabilitation, we don’t need to look any further than the Main Line and former Villanova basketball star Kyle Lowry. Kyle tore his ACL the summer before his freshman year at Villanova. He had surgery on September 17th and played in his first collegiate game on December 31st. That’s just 3 ½ months after ACL reconstruction! Not only did he return to play so quickly, but he had a great season and was named to the Big East All-Rookie team as well as being tabbed Philadelphia Big Five Rookie of the Year. Kyle has gone on to have a successful NBA career without any inkling of a previous ACL injury.
In Lowry’s case, his recovery can be based almost exclusively on his genetics as even performance enhancing substances couldn’t have produced such as a rapid return to basketball.
Genetics, hard work, or performance enhancement? How do these athletes return so quickly? Even though in Ray Lewis’ case there are questions regarding hormone usage, all the deer antler spray in the world won’t get players back on the court and field as quickly as these players returned. These players get back to sports on the accelerated track due to their genetic makeup, excellent surgeons and rehab staff, hard work, and willingness to play in a time frame that puts them at higher risk for re-injury.