The Benefits of Sleep

Benefits of Sleep for Injury Prevention The Benefits of Sleep

Sleeping, snoozing, getting some shut-eye; there are lots of names for what we do when we go to bed and close our eyes. It’s widely known that the average person should get about eight hours a sleep a night. However beyond just feeling rested, sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle.

Your brain never sleeps, even when you do. This is one of the reasons sleep is so important. While you’re asleep, your brain works to strengthen memories and go over skills you learned while you were awake. This is called consolidation.

While your brain is making sure all the information your absorbed over the course of your day is properly filed, your body is at rest. This can lead to a reduction in inflammation, which is linked to conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging. Studies have shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night have increased levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood than people who get more than six hours of sleep.

Getting enough sleep can also prevent injuries, particularly in teens. According to a study of 112 high school athletes by Matthew D. Milewski, MD, young athletes who get less than eight hours of sleep a night (on average) were 1.7 times more likely to incur injuries than their peers who got eight or more hours of sleep a night.

This is all well and good but for many people, sleep does not come easily. Whether it’s stress, insomnia, noise, etc. many people have a difficult time getting enough sleep. For those who just can’t seem to get enough shuteye, here are some tips:

Don’t eat 2-3 hours before bed and skip that afternoon coffee

Spicy and/or big meals before bed can cause digestive issues that keep you up. Having coffee can affect your sleep even if you drink it six hours before your go to bed. If you’re really dragging after lunch and need a bit of caffeine, consider half the amount of your morning coffee.

Get into sleep mode by relaxing

Start to wind down an hour or so before hitting the hay. Read a book, watch a movie, take a hot shower, whatever helps you low down and unwind.

Move distractions like laptops and/or TVs out of the bedroom

Working from bed might seem like the most efficient way to get work done until bedtime, but it can affect your sleep. For some people, the light from the screen of their laptop / tablet / phone can activate their brain, making it hard to fall asleep. If you can’t sleep in silence, try purchasing a white noise machine instead of falling asleep with the TV on. Try to keep your bed primarily for sleeping; it will help your brain associate going to bed with going to sleep.

Sleep is important to function but remember, even though around eight hours is the standard, some people need a little more or can deal with a little less. In order to get the benefits of sleep, figure out the amount of sleep that’s right for you to feel rested and alert.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/9-reasons-to-sleep-more

http://www.healio.com/orthopedics/pediatrics/news/online/%7B84d0db29-ea4c-4ee7-9503-83d8ceb943e9%7D/more-sleep-may-help-prevent-athletic-injuries-in-adolescents

http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips/page/0%2C1/

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/myths-facts

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20459221,00.html

The Best Ways to Prevent Football Injuries

football gear The Best Ways to Prevent Football InjuriesSummer is coming to an end and that means it’s almost football season! Football is America’s favorite pastime, but for the athletes themselves, the sport can be brutal on the body. Whether you’re a professional football player or enjoy throwing the ball around with friends, properly taking care of injuries is important. However, the best way to deal with football injuries is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Most Common Injuries

Football is a heavy contact sport, and injuries are more of the norm than not. Around half of the injuries that occur happen in the lower extremities. A knee injury is one of the biggest complaints that players report. Cartilage tears and ruptures of the ACL are extremely common, as are tears of the PCL and MCL. Other injuries include sprains of the ankle and hamstring, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and turf toe.

In the upper extremities, shoulder injuries may include separation, fracture of the clavicle, dislocation, and a torn rotator cuff. Broken fingers, and tendonitis and sprains of the wrist are also common.

Head injuries, especially concussions, are quite common, as are fractures, contusions, and dislocations.

Because of the long-term damage sustained from football injuries, particularly with concussions, there has been increased attention on preventing injuries from professional football leagues.

Causes of Football Injuries

Every move in football can cause injury. Injuries can be acute from a sudden blow, or cumulative from overuse. The different moves that are involved with playing football include running, passing, catching, and tackling. All of these pose a threat to the players’ body parts and can easily lead to injury.

In football, there are many sudden changes in direction and bursts of speed, which leads to many of the sprains and pulled muscles. When it comes to preventing football injuries, a lack of training, weak muscles, and structural abnormalities all lead to injuries as well, and are highly preventable.

How to Prevent Football Injuries

 Preventing football injuries is imperative to keep injuries at a minimum.

  • Before each season, the athlete should get a physical, to ensure that there aren’t any conditions that could limit participation.
  • Warm ups should occur before, and after, every practice and game. This ensures that the muscles stay loose and ready to handle the physical demands of the game.
  • Check the field before play to make sure that there are no potential hazards, such as debris or holes.
  • Proper equipment is a must. Pads, helmets, and mouth guards need to fit properly and be worn correctly. Along with the basic equipment, certain players should also wear additional supports and braces for the different extremities. These help players with instability issues, injury recovery, pain, and prevention.
  • Practice healthy living. This includes eating a nutritious diet, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.
  • Many future injuries also result from returning too soon after a previous injury. Make sure that you are completely recovered before you go back on to the field.

Cheerleading: The Most Dangerous Sport

shutterstock 61626283 Cheerleading: The Most Dangerous Sport

When you think of sports injuries, full contact sports like football probably come to mind. However, one of the most dangerous sports in terms of serious injury is not football, soccer, or basketball…it’s cheerleading.

Cheerleading has become so much more than shouting encouraging phrases from the sidelines. Modern day cheerleading features amazing feats of gymnastics and flexibility along with dance and of course, stunts. A basket toss can send a cheerleader flying 20 feet in the air, only to land in the arms of her teammates, if everything goes right. It’s not hard to see how cheerleading can be dangerous.

Even with human pyramids, choreographed gymnastic passes and more, some might not even consider cheerleading a true sport; in fact the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) does not even include it in their list of sponsored sports. But it doesn’t change the fact that from 1980 to 2013, cheerleading injury rates went up 440%. While compared to other sports, the overall number of injuries is actually low. However, cheerleading injuries are often much more severe, making up 50-66% of catastrophic injuries in female athletes. A catastrophic injury is defined as a severe injury to the spine (including the spinal cord) or brain and may also include skull or spinal fractures.

Most Common Injuries

Cheerleading injuries affect all areas of the body. The wrists, shoulders, ankles, head, and neck are most commonly injured.  Sprains account for more than half of all cheerleading injuries. While ankle sprains are most common, sprains can also occur in the knees, wrists, neck and back.

Back injuries are also common in cheerleading, largely from tumbling and stunts. Back injuries can be caused by twisting and rotating in stunts or tumbling passes and from lifting, catching, or falling during stunts.

Concussions are also becoming increasingly more common in cheerleading. With more evidence of the damage head injuries like concussions can cause, there has now been a heightened awareness of cheerleading related injuries overall.

Prevention

Some of the causes for cheerleading injuries are lack of training (especially with stunts) lack of conditioning and that there is no protective gear for the sport. The best way to avoid injury is to prevent them from happening.

Stunt restrictions

It’s no surprise that stunting causes the most serious injuries in cheerleading. Stunting accounts for 42-60% of all cheerleading injuries. In addition, 96 percent of concussions and head injuries in cheerleading are caused by stunts. Without the proper training on how to toss and catch the flyer, along with practice, these injuries will continue to occur.

Other stunting restrictions include height restrictions in human pyramids to keep them level and increasing the number of spotters during aerial stunts. Mats should always be used during practice, as cheerleading is one of the only sports where more injuries occur during practice than in competition.

Trained coaches

The lack of recognition of cheerleading as a sport has lead to a lack of qualified coaches. Often, coaching is done by a member of the school’s faculty who may not have any experience with cheerleading, or at least not some of the more physically demanding aspects of it. At a minimum, a cheerleading coach should know proper stunt technique, should always supervise practice and should be able to identify the symptoms of serious injury like concussion.

Conditioning

Like any other sport, proper training and conditioning can help prevent injury. First and foremost, stretching before practice and competition can loosen the muscles and help prevent strains, sprains and pulls. Yoga or Pilates can also help cheerleaders improve flexibility.

Strength training can also help prepare muscles for lifting either your body weight or a teammate during stunts. Special attention should be paid to strengthening the back and shoulders are well as the core muscles to help reduce the risk of injury.

Sources:

How To Use Cold Therapy to Heal Swimming Injuries

swimming How To Use Cold Therapy to Heal Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a fun summer pastime as well as an extremely competitive sport. Luckily, swimming has a very low injury rate. The water softens impact and pools are often used for water therapy and rehabilitation. However, if you are a competitive swimmer, there are some potential injury risks. If you do sustain an injury, unlike other sports like basketball or soccer, braces and supports aren’t really an option in the pool. However, cold therapy can help you recover.

Common Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a full body sport that requires a combination of endurance and strength. Because swimming is a total body workout, most swimming-related injuries are overuse injuries. Like with most sports, proper training and conditioning can help reduce your risk of injury. If you find yourself with an injury from swimming, it will most likely be your shoulders, lower back or knees, as these are the most common places for swimming injuries.

Muscle Strain

Even with reduced impact from the water, muscles can still strain or tear while swimming. Most of these injuries occur during high speed swims. In addition to the shoulders, back and knees, muscle strains can also affect hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles and biceps.

Swimmer’s Shoulder

The term “swimmer’s shoulder” refers to shoulder pain in swimmers that usually caused by a combination of overuse and an impingement syndrome or tendonitis. Swimmer’s shoulder causes inflammation in the rotator cuff muscles which lie adjacent to the shoulder. Because the act of swimming involves overhead arm movements, shoulders can also suffer micro-traumas as a result of increased stress on the muscles and joints. This can lead to tendonitis in the rotator cuff, biceps or subacromial. Micro-traumas can be caused by a sudden increase in activity, existing shoulder issues or lack of proper technique.

Swimmer’s Knee

When you swim, your legs help to propel you through the water both by pushing off the wall and by kicking to increase speed. Improper kicking technique can lead to a condition called swimmer’s knee. Swimmer’s knee refers to knee injury caused by stress on the medial collateral ligament, which runs alongside the knee. This injury is most common in swimmers competing in the breaststroke because the ‘whip-kick’ technique used during this style affects the rotation of the medial collateral ligament. Swimmer’s knee, like other swimming injuries, can also be caused by overuse.

Cold Therapy Treatment

If you experience any of these injuries while swimming or after, cold therapy treatment can help ease the pain and get you back in the pool. Cold therapy uses the principles of the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). In the case of cold therapy, it’s ice and compression.

Using cold compression helps to reduce pain and swelling from injuries. The cold slows down the bloodflow to the injury, reducing inflammation. Cold therapy is good for minor injuries like sprains, muscle strains or muscle soreness. While cold therapy helps ease pain and swelling, more severe injuries should be examined by a doctor.

The best way to apply cold therapy is through an ice or gel pack 24 to 48 hours after the injury occurs. Apply cold packs to your injury for 20 minutes at a time, taking at least 10 minutes in between applications.

If your injury persists or worsens, consult your doctor; you may have a more serious injury that requires physical therapy and/or surgery.

 

Sources:

http://www.physioworks.com.au

http://www.enjoy-swimming.com/swimming-injuries.html

http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/swimming-injury-prevention.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_compression_therapy

http://urcm.rochester.edu

http://www.physiotherapyprofessionals.com

http://www.Medic8.com

 

The Brief History of Knee Braces

At Better Braces, knee braces are a large part of what we do. While knee braces are a common sight in sports, that hasn’t always been the case. It might be interesting to know that the modern knee brace — used to prevent injury — has only been around since 1967.

The late 60s were important for the evolution of knee braces. In 1967, a professor of physiology, Dr. Robert F. McDavid, invented the first lateral knee brace designed to prevent injury or reinjury. His brace provided lateral protection of the knee. Then during the 1967 season and Super Bowl III, Hall of Fame New York Jets’ Quarterback Joe Namath played with a now-famous knee brace. Jack Castiglia of the Lenox Hill Brace Shop with along with noted sports physician Dr. James Nicholas designed the brace. This allowed Namath to keep playing despite being plagued by knee problems. Namath’s knee brace was so iconic that it is now on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

During the 1970s, more prophylactic knee braces began being tested and tried by more NFL players in an effort to reduce career ending knee injuries. It was an NFL player who gave us our start.

In 1978, Philadelphia Eagles football player Mark Nordquist teamed up with two of his friends to explore the possibilities of neoprene. There in his garage in Carlsbad, CA, DJO Incorporated was formed.

The first DJO products were simple sleeves made of sewn-together neoprene that were pulled over the knee as well as the ankle and elbow joints for support. Fast forward to today where knee braces come in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed for all manner of knee injuries and prevention. Whether you suffer from knee osteoarthritis or you’re looking to keep your ACL protected during a football game, there’s a knee brace that’s right for you.

knee brace history The Brief History of Knee Braces

 

Sources:

http://www.tribstar.com/features/x681779334/ISU-prof-invented-first-lateral-knee-brace-designed-to-prevent-injury

http://origin-www.profootballhof.com/history/release.aspx?release_id=2927

http://orthopedics.about.com/od/kneeligamentinjuries/a/kneebraces.htm

http://www.theknee.com/knee-brace/knee-braces-support/