Thursday, January 29, 2009

Volleyball wrist snap and other myths...

Below is a link to Vern Gambetta's blog. Today he talks about the imprtance of coaching as well as some VB myths. Interstingly enough the VB coach at SUNY Potsdam was telling about the same myths.

Check it out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Endowed by our creator...

I heard this phrase today and it brought up some questions

1. If a person doesn't believe in a creator do they still believe in inalienable rights?

2. If they do, who gives these rights to us or where did they come from?

If no creator exists, do governments give us these rights? If so which government is the authority? and who determines which government is the authority?

Just something to think about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stretching...The topic resurfaces once again!!

Stretching The Truth

Written by Allan Besselink, PT, Dip. MDT
Monday, 27 October 2008
It's finally cooling off in Austin. With cooler weather comes the start of all the marathon training programs in preparation for the Austin Marathon in February. And with cool fall weather and marathon training comes ... yes, the questions about stretching.

Stretching has become a panacea. So let's attempt to put a few things to rest with some good sports sciences evidence - though I suspect much of it may come as a surprise to many.

Let's start with a couple of interesting facts. Research on 5K runners has indicated that the fastest runners are the most inflexible. The increased passive muscle tension effectively gives the runner "free speed" because it's not requiring energy to produce it. Add to that the lack of research supporting the relationship between stretching and ---insert injury here --- [options include plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, IT band syndrome, etc]. So we have to assess stretching by starting with the questions "why am I stretching in the first place?".

"Doesn't stretching makes my muscles longer?" First of all, the literature is very clear on one thing - stretching (as it is performed by most athletes, coaches, and health care practitioners) does not actually make the muscle longer. What it does do - is simply increase your tolerance to stretching - plain and simple.

It is important to discuss what stimulus needs to occur at the cellular level to evoke changes in the muscle, tendon, or surrounding collagen structures. There are two primary potential effects of stretching - a lengthening of tissue, and a neurological relaxation of muscle and the central nervous system.These are two different intents requiring two different strategies.

Would the right degree of stimulus (tension) cause these tissues to lengthen? Yes. How many times must you take the tissue to it's fully lengthened position per day? The literature would indicate 40 to 50 repetitions a DAY - minimum. How much stretching does the average athlete do? Nowhere near that much! It would require many many repetitions to the end of your range of motion for you to make true changes to the tissue (as opposed to the improved "tolerance" you might experience) and these would then have to be utilized functionally (i.e in your sport activity) to maintain them. Unfortunately, the task to get the muscle and surrounding tissues to lengthen is a rather significant one that is certainly not occuring with one or two repetitions by the athlete (or provider).

A sustained gradual stretch would be an appropriate stimulus to help to get the muscle to relax neurologically. This would be beneficial as it would simply decrease the tone of the muscle and to initiate recovery. But having said that, the timing of the stretching would be AFTER exercise, not beforehand.

"I thought that stretching needs to be done before and after my runs." As part of the warm-up, the answer would be - no. You are about to go on a run. You are about to get your central nervous system firing. If you have elevated your core temperature (breaking a sweat), then the only other thing you would want to do would be activities that help to get your central nervous system "fired-up". Gradual stretching before an activity does exactly the opposite - it gets everything to relax. This is counter-intuitive and may actually put you at risk. And yes, the increased risk factor has been documented in the sports sciences literature. After the run - a time in which you want to get the central nervous system calmed down - would be a good time for slow gradual stretching, maintaining a lengthened position for a minimum of 60 to 90 seconds per position, perhaps even longer.

"But Allan, everything I have been told by my --- insert here --- [options include coach, physical therapist, chiropractor, ART practitioner, massage therapist, orthopedist, etc] is that stretching will help me to prevent injury and is the primary way to resolve an injury should it occur."

At this point I would give a resounding "incorrect". The scientific literature has yet to confirm a relationship between these factors. As a matter of fact, the only relationship that has been established is that there is a higher risk of injury when stretching before the training activity! There has not been any supportive literature relating muscular tightness or "imbalance" to the onset of any specific injuries. So if you see a tight muscle, it's not necessarily a safe assumption that it caused your injury. Of course, this is against the beliefs of many but, once again, it is an issue of beliefs and not science.

"Allan, I know that stretching has made me ---insert here--- [more flexible, more resistant to injury, more wealthy, better able to feed the starving of the world]. How do you explain THAT?".

This is something I hear every day. You can hear the emotion creeping into the discussion. The difficulty lies in what we THINK makes a difference, and what truly effects the change physiologically. There are so many confounding variables, it is simply impossible to make the statement. We can look to the sports sciences to provide a foundation upon which to optimize our training, injury prevention, and injury recovery. Much of these issues with stretching are simply counter-intuitive physiologically or unproven in the scientific literature.

But if we removed stretching from the discussion, what would all of the ---insert here--- [practitioners, coaches, running magazines] talk about?

Now THAT could REALLY prove interesting.

The problem lies in that all stretching is put into the same lump and only 1 demographic is usually used. I completely agree with the article by the way. i work with industrial athletes as it were and they benefit from stretching because 1) they never do it and 2) anything different from their 12 hour workday will help them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Athleticism Versus Athlete

At work I posed the question about the definition of athleticism. My point was to show that we inadvertently see primarily athletes as athletic but we have to consider that all people have a certain degree of athleticism just to live life. this idea I heard of first from Gary Gray a physical therapist from Adrian Michigan. He poses the idea that even the "little old lady" walking down the street is an athlete. She too must demonstrate a certain level of skill just to get groceries or to walk. However in my attempt to discuss the via email with my co workers the default is back to athletes only. You con't have to be in a competitive arena to display athleticism.
What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Watch where your going!!

Bone spurs in the shoulder are a byproduct of what many will call impingement. However impingement is a symptom and not a cause in my eyes. These bone spurs in my opinion are caused by the humerus hitting the acromion OR the acromion hitting the humerus. In either case it is the scapula's dysfucntion that makes this situation occur. If the scap is moving too slow it can't get out of the way, if it's surrounding musculature isn't strong enough to slow it down when the humerus is returning to the axial position, then the acromion will bang on the humerus. After many years spurs develop.

So what do you do? Educate the scap to do what it's suppose to do which is work in conjunction with the other muscles of the body not in isolation.

what slow down the scapula? Everything below it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Chicken or the Egg...

KP on another blog Joe's Training Room" asked the chicken or egg question pertaining to hip - ankle/foot dysfunctions.

And the answer is yes. They both react to the ground force reactions on a daily basis. As the foot/ankle complex works in conjunction with the hip to absorb forces, they essentially function as one unit. The real question becomes can the hip take up the slack for what the foot/ankle is not doing and vice versa? If the foot/ankle complex is predisposed to internal rotation via pes planus, then the hip must be adequate enough to pull the knee out of extreme internal rotation.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Almost but not quite.

So I left my house this morning at about 10 to 5am with snow everywhere. Travel was awful but I managed to make it in to work but not without a near miss. As one of the lights in front of me turned yellow I immediately hit the brakes. I started slowing down but really never stopped until i went through the intersection (the light was red by this time) right in front of a truck with a plow on it. Lucky for me he was able to stop to avoid hitting me by about 15 feet. So it is my mission today to order new tires. I was trying to make it until summer with the ones I have but it looks like it ain't gonna happen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First and Foremost

As this is my first entry I shall avoid any attempts to be profound in any way shape or form. As an ATC (Athletic Trainer) my entries may be about physical rehabilitation or functional training or just situations that I come in contact with on any given day. Although my thoughts are not merely limited to just Athletic Training I may also share anything from personal struggles to duck hunting stories or just random thoughts.

Thanks for playing along.