Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
It’s that time of year. Fall sports are in full swing. Hopefully you had a productive pre-season that prepared you for the fall. Here are some tips to keep players safe and injury free this fall.
Fitness: If you weren’t in shape going into pre-season, hopefully you survived it without any injuries. If you did sustain an injury in pre-season, make sure you address it now as it will only linger and will likely get worse during the season. Next summer, make sure you get in shape prior to pre-season in order to avoid the same problems.
Overuse Injuries: Stress fractures, shin splints, tendonitis, etc These all occur because of ramping up intensity too quickly. Two and three a day practices on hard fields or indoor courts after a summer off is a recipe for disaster for overuse injuries. If you sustained an injury during pre-season, you need to be evaluated by your athletic trainer as playing through it never works and almost always makes the injury worse and prolongs recovery.
Heat Illness: This is hot topic. The myth of hydrating is finally being dispelled. You should drink when you are thirsty and not be forced to drink excessive fluids. But, you also need to be allowed to drink freely and coaches cannot restrict fluid intake either. And sports drinks, they’re not really needed. Water is the best along with meals that include some salty food to replace the electrolytes lost during training. For players with cramping, sweat testing can be done to assess the cause and how to replace fluids and electrolytes appropriately. The Heat Institute at West Chester University is a local facility that can perform sweat testing with the appropriate replenishment recommendations.
Concussions: I don’t think we need to talk too much about concussions as we all know the significance of these injuries. Any concussion should be taken seriously and needs to be evaluated by your team’s athletic trainer and a physician who specializes in concussion evaluation and management. The current medical guidelines from the most recent consensus statement say “no return to play on the day of concussive injury should occur.” And the “athlete would take approximately 1 week to proceed through the full rehabilitation protocol once they are asymptomatic at rest and with provocative exercise.” Please take concussions seriously as athletes can suffer lifelong post-concussive symptoms if not managed appropriately.
Best of luck to all of the athletes and their teams this fall. Hopefully we only see you in the newspaper and not in the athletic training room or physician’s office.
Philly.com Sports Doc
Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014
A 2007 study by Dick et al in the Journal of Athletic Training looked at injury rates for the women’s lacrosse using the NCAA injury surveillance system from 1988-2004.
The results show the game injury rate was twice the rate for practice (7.15 versus 3.30 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures [A-Es]). Preseason practice injury rates were almost twice as high as regular-season practice rates. More than 60% of all game and practice injuries were to the lower extremity.
Approximately 22 percent of all game injuries and 12 percent of all practice injuries involved the head and neck. In games, ankle ligament sprains (22.6%), knee internal derangement (14.0%), concussions (9.8%), and upper leg muscle strains (7.2%) accounted for the majority of injuries.
In practices, ankle ligament sprains accounted for the largest proportion of all injuries (15.5%), followed by upper leg muscle strains (11.7%) and knee internal derangements (6.1%).
Participants had almost 5 times the risk of sustaining a concussion or a knee internal derangement during a game compared with practice and 3 times the risk of sustaining an ankle ligament sprain during a game. The greatest proportion of game injuries (44.3%) resulted from no direct contact. A total of 35.9 percent of game injuries were associated with other contact (primarily stick or ball) and 18.6 percent with player contact. The majority of practice injuries (62.0%) involved a non-contact mechanism. A total of 22 percent of game and 24 percent of practice injuries were severe enough to restrict participation for at least 10 days. In games, knee internal derangements accounted for almost half of all severe injuries, followed by ankle ligament sprains. Head injuries represented 7 percent of the severe game injuries. In practices, lower leg stress fractures, knee internal derangements, and ankle ligament sprains were the primary severe injuries.
Lower extremity injuries account for over 60 percent of all collegiate women’s lacrosse injuries. The majority of these injuries can be divided into the following diagnoses: ankle sprains, knee internal derangements, upper leg strains, and lower leg stress injuries.
Ankle sprains account for 22.6 percent of game and 15.5 percent of practice injuries. These are primarily lateral ankle sprains which are caused by the ankle rolling inward during cutting and pivoting. Most ankle sprains are minor and players can return quickly to practice and competition. These injuries should initially be evaluated by your team’s athletic trainer. Depending on the severity, players with minor injuries may return immediately with taping or bracing. More severe injuries may require time away from the sport and more substantial treatment including evaluation by a sports medicine physician and subsequent rehab. There may be a period of immobilization and limited weight bearing depending on the extent of the injury. Rehab involves regaining range of motion and flexibility, strength, and balance with a gradual progression to full sports activities.
Knee internal derangements account for 14 percent of game and 6.1 percent of practice injuries. The two most common diagnoses are ACL tears and meniscal tears. In women’s lacrosse, ACL injuries account for a great number of knee internal derangement due to the significantly higher rate of ACL injury in female athletes compared to males. Both meniscus tears and ACL tears are serious injuries and should be evaluated by a sports medicine physician. Although most of these injuries require surgery, there are some players who can finish the season. If an athlete is to finish the season with one of these injuries, she needs to undergo a structured rehabilitation program and meet specific objective goals before being cleared to return to sports.
Upper leg strains account for 7.2 percent of games; 11.7 percent of practice injuries. These injuries are primarily hamstring strains. Hamstring injuries can be difficult to treat and there is still debate on the best course of treatment. In my experience, the initial phase of treatment focuses on reducing pain and inflammation while regaining flexibility. The second phase involves regaining strength in the injured and initiating lower level sport specific activities. The final phase involves higher level sport specific activities and a structured return to sport progression.
6.5 percent of practice injuries involve lower extremity stress injuries. These can include stress reaction or exertional compartment syndrome, which combined are commonly called shin splints, as well as stress fractures. Lower extremity stress injuries are almost always due to repetitive overload stress. This can be caused by increased training loads in under conditioned athletes, overtraining, lower extremity biomechanical issues, or a combination of all three. The first treatment is to reduce the volume and/or intensity of training. At times, athletes need to be shut down depending on the severity of symptoms.
These injuries should be evaluated by both the athlete’s athletic trainer and a sports medicine physician to rule out more serious diagnoses such as a stress fracture. The athlete should also have a biomechanical analysis performed to help correct any underlying dysfunction that may be contributing to the problem such as over pronation or weak gluteus medius.
Concussions are the 3rd most common game injury and 6th most common practice injury in collegiate women’s lacrosse. In this study, concussions resulted in 7 percent of all injuries requiring greater than 10 days of missed time. This correlates with concussion research showing that that most concussions resolve within that time frame. As we have learned from contact sports such as football and hockey, concussions are serious injuries and should be treated as such. An evaluation by a sports medicine clinician trained in concussion assessment should be performed in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan. This may include time away from the classroom as well as from the playing field.
Upper Extremity Injuries
Upper extremity injuries in women’s lacrosse account for less than 1 percent of all injuries and therefore were not tabulated in this study. This is likely due to the rules that prohibit checking in women’s lacrosse.
As you can see, ankle sprains and knee internal derangements (ACL tears and meniscus tears) are the two most common injuries followed by upper leg muscle-tendon strains (hamstrings) and concussions. Upper extremity injuries are uncommon in women’s lacrosse. Any injury should be evaluated by your athletic trainer to assess the severity of the injury and determine the appropriate plan of care.
Philly.com Sports Doc
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC, Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute, Athletic Trainer - US Soccer Federation
Robert Senior, Sports Doc blog Editor
Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014, 6:00 AM
The winter sports season is in full swing. In gyms everywhere the squeak of basketball shoes on the court can be heard. Along with the layups and 3 pointers, there are common injuries that occur. Let’s talk about some of these common basketball injuries and the appropriate treatment.
This is the most common injury in basketball, accounting for 24.6 percent of women’s game injuries and 26.2 percent for men. It occurs when the foot rolls inward spraining the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Swelling and bruising often occur with the severity of the injury dictating the athlete’s ability to return to play.
Mild ankle sprains can return fairly quickly, sometimes even in the same game with taping or a brace. More serve injuries can take weeks to months to recover. Immediate treatment involves immobilization and ice followed by range of motion, strengthening, and balance/proprioceptive exercises. For athletes that cannot bear weight on their foot, they should be put on crutches and see a physician to rule out a fracture as well as assess the extent of the injury. For prevention, taping and bracing has been shown to reduce the rate of ankle injuries in sports.
Stress injuries (shin splints, stress fracture, etc) are another common basketball injury, usually seen during preseason as athletes transition from softer outdoor fields in fall sports to the hard indoor courts. Initially, symptoms are only with activity. As the problem worsens, pain can occur with walking and even at rest. If not addressed early, it can lead to a stress fracture requiring the patient to stop sports for a prolonged period of time.
The common locations of these injuries are the tibia, medial malleolus, fifth metatarsal, and navicular. Initial treatment involves decreasing impact activities until symptoms resolve and assessing the athlete’s feet for appropriate shoes and possibly supportive inserts. It’s also a good idea to progress practice intensity gradually to allow players to acclimate to the new playing surface. Players that do not respond to conservative measures should be seen by a sports medicine physician for further evaluation.
Knee injuries are the second most common injury in basketball, with ACL injuries being more common in female players. Both meniscal tears and ACL injuries are caused by deceleration and pivoting on a planted foot. The common signs of an internal knee injury include swelling and a feeling of a “pop” or “catching and locking.” Immediate treatment should include ice and crutches if the athlete cannot walk normally followed by a referral to a sports medicine doctor to diagnose the injury.
Research has shown that ACL prevention programs have been effective in reducing the incidence of injury. Some well-known programs are the PEP program (http://smsmf.org/smsf-programs/pep-program), Sportsmetrics (http://sportsmetrics.org/), and the FIFA 11+ program (http://f-marc.com/11plus/home/) . Although some of these are sports specific, they can be easily modified for basketball.
Commonly known as patellar tendonitis or jumper’s knee, this injury presents as pain and tenderness of the patellar tendon. The mechanism of injury is believed to be due to repetitive strain to the tendon from jumping, cutting, and deceleration activities involved in basketball. Treatment includes limiting activity until symptoms improve, as well as ice, quad stretching, eccentric quadriceps exercises, and soft tissue treatments. Patellar tendon straps can also be beneficial. In more chronic cases, medications, injection therapies, and surgery are other options.
In younger patients whose growth plates are not closed, usually under 15, Osgood-Schlatter syndrome is more common. This is an injury to the attachment of the patellar tendon to the tibia. The tendon actually pulls away from the bone causing a boney protuberance that can become painful and tender. The treatment for Osgood-Schlatter syndrome is rest and ice as it is almost always self-limiting.
Finger injuries are fairly common in basketball and occur when players “jam” their fingers on the ball. The injuries are usually simple sprains that can be treated symptomatically with ice and buddy taping. Occasionally these injuries can be more serious such a fracture and tendon rupture. If the player’s finger looks deformed or if they are unable to move it, they should be evaluated by a sports medicine physician to accurately diagnose the injury.
Shoulder injuries are relatively rare in basketball with the most common being dislocations and labral tears. These injuries usually occur when a player is blocked during a shot forcing the arm backwards. For a dislocation, urgent treatment should be sought from the team’s athletic trainer and a physician if necessary. Labral tears should be considered for players with chronic shoulder pain with overhead activities such as shooting, and an appointment with a sports medicine physician should be schedule to accurately diagnose the injury.
The other upper extremity injury seen in basketball is a fracture. These usually occur from falling on an outstretched arm. As with dislocations, the player should be evaluated by the team’s athletic trainer and referred to a physician for urgent care.
As you can see, lower extremity injuries account for the majority of basketball injuries. Many of these are minor and can be managed conservatively with a quick return to sports. With more serious injuries such as ligament/tendon ruptures and fractures, urgent care by a sports medicine physician is advised. The above treatment recommendations are just a guideline and any injury should be evaluated by your team’s athletic trainer or a sports medicine physician to accurately diagnose the injury and provide appropriate care.