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Sports Medicine

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What is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine is a sub specialty of the medical field that is somewhat
confusing to some people. Because of the fact that sports is not medicine, it
is a bit of a misleading term however the term is intended to represent the
doctors and other medical staff who are in the practice of treating and
diagnosing athletes and sports related injuries.

The professionals who are actively involved in the sports medicine field ranges
from standard doctors, physical therapists, surgeons, and even athletic trainers
and other similar careers. Sports tend to be a highly competitive field, and as
such most emphasis is placed upon speedy as well as complete recoveries from
any injuries. This could mean that an injury that would take normally 3 months
to heal can be reduced to only 2 months using the appropriate sports medicine
techniques under a qualified doctor's care.

Most doctors who practice sports medicine treat athletes both professional,
amateur and often children for the various injuries that occur while playing
any sport imaginable. The human body is designed to quickly heal following most
injuries if an appropriate treatment is followed, and sports medicine is
intended to speed the recovery process as much as possible. Many sports
medicine doctors are also actively involved in giving athletes preventive care
as well which is designed to reduce the occurrence of many common injuries.

Doctors who are interested in sports medicine come from a wide range of fields
including cardiology, orthopedic surgery, biomechanics and even pulmonology
just to name a few. The exact specialty of the doctor is often quite focused
while the majority of patients are all involved in sports in one capacity or
another. The roll of the doctor is often to work with the athlete to adjust
training procedures to reduce the risk of injury while increasing the skill
level of the athlete as much as safely possible.

There are some sports medicine doctors who are specializing in treating female
athletes while others will treat both female as well as male athletes. Deciding
upon the best sports medicine doctor for your needs can involve meeting several
doctors before finding someone whom you are comfortable with. Many athletes
develop a close relationship with their doctor so that the best possible
athletic results are achievable.

By working together with training coaches and other athletic professional's
doctors in the sports medicine field are able to help athletes achieve the best
possible results performance wise, while still maintaining healthy standards in
terms of overall health. Achieving spectacular sports results is often
meaningless if the athlete is always injured in the process, or if the overall
health is neglected and the athlete is unable to continue in their chosen sport.

As you can imagine, the number of athletes who only work with a single sports
medicine doctor are very slim. Most athletes work with a team of doctors that
comprise of various sub-specialties such as surgical, dietary, cardiogologist
and anything else that may be needed. Each doctor is responsible for helping
the athlete, and this helps to ensure that each doctor is well trained in their
specialty. Using a single doctor as opposed to the entire team can greatly limit
the options that you have for treatment.

However, while an entire team is generally used to treat patients in sports
medicine, there is usually a general care doctor who is given the task of
heading the team and sending each patient to the specific additional doctors
that they need to see based upon their individual needs. This helps to avoid
confusion, chaos and other problems from occurring. Over all sports medicine is
a fascinating and very necessary field that most can agree is quite helpful for
athletes.

Reasons for Sports Medicine

There are numerous sports that are played all around the world by a wide range
of people. Ensuring that everyone is in the best health possible and sports
related injuries are treated properly has created a huge need for sports
medicine. While it may seem almost trivial to devote an entire practice of
doctors to sports medicine there are numerous reasons why it is a wise decision
to make.

Rather than simply working with doctors who are not widely trained in the
specific injuries that can occur from sports related injuries it is possible to
work with a sports medicine doctor. These doctors are specially trained in
working with athletes to improve strength, as well as help injuries heal
quickly and with as few long-term effects as possible.

Many athletes are injured each year, and often by specializing in sports
medicine, the highly trained doctors can gather information and ideas about how
to help prevent the injuries from occurring as well as how to help the injuries
heal as quickly as possible. Working with a typical doctor will almost always
result in a healed injury but it can take much longer, and depending upon the
type of injury can result in your athletic career being over. The job of a
sports medicine doctor is to ensure that through appropriate treatment,
strength building, and diagnostics that you are not left sitting on the
sidelines.

Advances in modern medicine have made it possible to narrow down how potential
injuries can occur. It is a well-known fact that some sports are tougher on the
body than others are, however this inability to all doctors to distinguish what
the most serious injuries are often leads them to treating the minor injuries
first. A sports medicine doctor is trained to focus on the most pressing
injuries first and then worry about those that are not as important. This means
if you have an injury to your knee that can affect all of your movement as well
as walking on a permanent level they are going to focus more time on your knee
rather than the sprained ankle you may have as well.

While the idea of sports medicine seems to be solely related to sports and
athletes many dancers find relief from sports medicine doctors as well. Because
dancing particularly ballet, jazz and modern are not considered sports some are
confused about what benefits a sports medicine doctor can offer. However, if
you consider that dancing is a very high stress activity that places great
amounts of pressure and strain on your body it makes perfect sense to see a
sports medicine doctor. Whenever a dancer sustains an injury while doing Pointe
work or practicing for a performance, they are almost always referred by the
dance master to a sports medicine doctor to help speed the recovery process.

Aside from just being a pricy specialty there are so many benefits to using
sports medicine doctors that many athletes simply will not use a standard
doctor unless they are forced to. The added knowledge and experience that
sports medicine training provides to doctors is almost unmatched in terms of
treating injuries both with and without surgical means. Looking beyond the
initial injury and treating the overall cause as well as the injury is one of
the biggest goals and helping all athletes return to full strength is a much
needed benefit.

Sports Injuries Explained

There are several specific types of injuries that are particularly associated
with sports and it is especially vital to understand the various injuries so
that the appropriate treatment can be sought as soon as possible. Quick
treatment for most injuries can really reduce the amount of time it takes to
heal as well as the expense associated with treatment, which makes it
especially important to determine an injury quickly and begin the recovery
process.

Acute -- This type of injury is usually associated with suddenly occurring, and
often being associated with bruises, fractures, broken bones, blood, ligament
strain or breakage and even spinal cord injuries. The exact type of injury is
not as important as the classification. Acute injuries require immediate
medical treatment to help reduce the pain, as well as begin the treatment
process.

Some acute injuries such as those associated with sprains and strains need to
be bandaged and splinted to prevent further
damage to the body and aid in healing. In addition, eye injuries must be
carefully treated once the eyes are carefully cleaned to avoid any further
damage. Typically, acute injuries are the result of being hit with a ball, hit
by another player, or even falling while playing. Additional ways acute
injuries occur are possible, and not all injuries are the result of another
player on the field.

Overuse Injuries -- These injuries typically occur due to extended repetition
while engaged in an activity. This can occur in adults or children and while it
is possible to minimize this injury through exercise and conditioning, it
generally cannot be entirely avoided. Athletes who play sports a lot do tend to
experience some form of overuse injury at some point.

Some examples of overuse injuries include swimmers shoulder, little league
elbow, shin splits and spondylolysis. Each type of injury is typically
associated with continuous repetition but most especially in younger children.
Plenty of exercises and strength training will usually help to tone and
condition the muscles to avoid the problems and injuries associated with the
repetition of sports.

To help really avoid overuse injuries it is advisable to always warm up
carefully before playing, always ensure you are using appropriate equipment
that fits properly and also try to limit the number of sports you play at once.
For example, try to avoid being involved in more than one activity per season as
this can help strain the muscles and joints much faster.

Reinjury -- This is the final type of injury that is common amongst athletes.
This most often occurs when an athlete pushes recovery to return to playing
sports again before they are fully healed. Most athletes who have reinjury
problems tend to return to sports before getting the approval of their doctor;
however, it is possible on rare occasions that the doctor will make a mistake.
Returning to the sport before the injury has fully healed can cause the same
injury to progress, and can also cause additional injuries depending on the
circumstances surrounding the reinjury.

The best way to avoid a reinjury is to carefully allow your body to fully heal
upon becoming injured. By following the instructions that the doctor
recommends, as well as carefully and slowly re-entering the sports field after
recovering from an injury you can greatly reduce the risk of a reinjury rather
than making yourself susceptible to another injury so quickly.

Tips for Avoiding Sports Injuries

While it is not possible to completely avoid all types of injuries, by taking
some precautions, it is possible to greatly reduce your risk of injury.
However, simply reducing the risk of injury is not a task that is always easy
to handle. By carefully following some precautions there are ways that you can
avoid injuring yourself.

Tip 1. It is best to always ensure you are in the best physical shape possible
before you begin playing a sport. Whether you are looking into tennis,
football, baseball, or even basketball amongst the numerous sports available,
it is best to be in shape. While playing sports will help get you into better
shape physically, it is best to be in shape before beginning.

Tip 2. Ensure you know all of the rules and guidelines for the sport you are
playing. Following the rules can help ensure that you can avoid injury
resulting from playing inappropriately. In addition, make sure you play with
others who follow the rules as well. If someone else breaks the rules while
playing, it increases your risk of injury.

Tip 3. Always wear the appropriate safety equipment whenever playing sports.
This should be applied regardless of playing a practice, scrimmage, tournament,
or even just playing around with friends. The safety equipment exists for a
reason and it is very important to help protect you from accidents and
injuries. Without wearing the equipment, you are increasing your risk of being
injured.

Tip 4. Do a through warm up before starting to play. If you are playing on a
team, you should play on teams that ensure warm ups are done before the games
start. This helps to stretch and slowly warm up your muscles and really reduces
the risk of injuries. Skipping a warm up may seem like a great way to make up
for running late for a game, but this is a huge risk to your safety.

Tip 5. If you are tired, sick or hurting do not play. If you play on a team
ensure you tell the coach about any problems that you are experiencing and let
them know you will not be playing. You should never agree to play when you are
tired because it increases the risk of being injured since you are not fully
alert. When you are sick, your body is always in a weakened condition and able
to become injured much easier and finally when you are already in pain, you
likely already have an injury of some form that needs some time to heal.

Tip 6. Ensure that you are getting enough rest. While the idea of playing your
favorite sport 24/7 may seem like the greatest idea, it is vital that you get
at least 8 hours of sleep a day as well as take frequent breaks to ensure you
do not wear yourself out. While training is a vital aspect of sports, getting
the necessary rest to allow your body time to heal and recover is just as
important. By resting when necessary, you are ensuring that you will have a
long and happy sports career whether you are simply playing for fun, playing
for a team, or playing professionally.

Avoiding injuries is a very important consideration for athletes and by
following the tips and suggestions mentioned above it should help to greatly
improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury all at the same time.

Proper Treatment for Sports Injuries

While most people will go see a doctor after any type of sports injury is
incurred, there are some that do not require a doctor to treat, and still
others need to be treated in the meantime until you can get to a doctor to help
the recovery process get started. Quick treatment often means the difference
between a 3-month recovery and a 2-month recovery so it is very important to
start treating the injury right away.

The most common injuries that are suffered are acute injuries. The best way to
treat these is to use R.I.C.E. initially then determine if seeing a doctor is
necessary. R.I.C.E. is an acronym that is short for Rest, Ice, Compression, and
Elevation. The purpose of each step is different with rest being essential to
allow the healing to begin while helping to prevent further injury to the area
from occurring. Ice is vital because it can help stop swelling in the injured
area, which can help when it comes to diagnosing the injury. Compression is
important because it helps to reduce swelling even further as well as provides
support for the injury. Elevation is necessary because it reduces the flow of
blood to the injured area and allows the force of gravity to pull blood away,
thus reducing bruising, swelling and pain.

Proper treatment using R.I.C.E. is to first take a piece of cloth such as a
town and wrap it around the injury this helps to protect the skin from
irritation. Next, you want to apply an ice pack or cold compress directly over
the injured area.
Using an elastic bandage or even a support bandage to hold the ice in place
carefully wrap the injured area snuggly, be careful not to wrap too tightly you
are not trying to cut off the blood supply, just hold the ice in place. You
should apply ice for approximately 15 minutes every three hours during the day
to continue treating.

In the event that you cannot decide if seeing a doctor is necessary, use these
rules of thumb to assist you.

If you see any bone, muscle, cartilage or ligaments then an emergency trip to
the doctor is absolutely necessary. If the pain from the injured area seems to
be spreading to other areas of the body. If you have a very large amount of
swelling in the injured area that following R.I.C.E. is not helping. If you
cannot move the injured area at all. If you cannot feel the injured area, or if
it tingles or feels very weak and fragile. If your injury has not improved after
three weeks of rest. If your injured area has developed a rash, fever, pus, or
if it feels hot to the touch. Finally, if you have any doubts about being able
to treat the injury yourself then seeing a doctor is as essential as if one of
the previous conditions mentioned was visible. You should always seek help from
a doctor in the even that you are unsure how to treat the injury. You are not
bugging your doctor; rather you are ensuring that you are treated safely and
quickly.

If ever in doubt, seeing your doctor is advisable to receive the best possible
care. If your doctor is unavailable, and the injury is serious, go to the
emergency room and see medical help there. Never leave a serious injury without
seeking medical help as the condition can worsen causing the need for serious
treatment even potentially surgery to become necessary.

Questions to Ask When Selecting Your Sports Medicine Doctor

Just as cars are not created equally, and neither are sports shoes there are
some rather large differences between sports medicine doctors. The good news is
this creates huge amounts of diversity; the bad news is that this can create
numerous problems with finding someone who is well qualified to treat sports
related injuries and help prevent injuries from occurring. To help you find the
best sports doctor to help you meet your needs, use these questions as a
guideline when you are interviewing doctors.

You should first ask your doctor how long they have been treating athletes.
This should be at least several years if you are looking for experience, do not
expect someone with less than 3 years of experience to be very helpful. If you
decide to use a doctor new to the field, be aware that they should be cheaper
and willing to work closely with you.

It is also wise to ask your doctor if they are currently the official team
physician for any teams in your area. If they say yes, ask what teams so that
you can contact the coach for a reference. Remember, if the coach does not give
a positive reference that is still an excellent opportunity of information. Find
out exactly why they do not recommend the doctor you are considering so that you
can gather as many facts as possible.

Ask your potential doctor if they are a member of any special organizations
such as the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine. Memberships into
these groups typically require credentials to be verified in order for
acceptance, this helps to keep only the better doctors amongst membership ranks.

You should also ask if your doctor has attended any specialized training
courses. Some examples are the American College of Sports Medicine team
physician training course as well as the course that is offered by the US
Olympic Committee. If they have not attended any special programs this is not
necessarily a bad thing, but it is worth noting for your own piece of mind.

A very important question that you should ask is what percentage of the
practice is pertaining to sports medicine. Unless the doctor is a sports
medicine specialist, you should not expect to hear 100% and even if they are a
specialist, they are unlikely to really have a 100% level. Most practices are
as low as only 30%

Ask if the doctor has any particular specialties. For example, there are
doctors who specialize in orthopedic surgery, as well as various other medical
fields. If you are just looking for a basic sports medicine doctor then often
choosing a family practice or even an internal medicine doctor is the best
decision. From the primary doctor that you choose you can receive referrals to
other doctors as they become necessary.

Your final consideration should be looking for a doctor that is willing to meet
with you before you filling out any paperwork. This means that they should be
willing to do an interview, preferably free where you can talk to them for a
few minutes to learn about them, their experience, and their practice. Many
doctors do this, especially those who are pediatricians. This means that your
sports medicine doctor should be willing to have an initial interview as well.
Using this to your benefit means you can ask your questions and see how
comfortable you are before you actually need their services.

Using Strength Training for Children

What many sports medicine professionals realize that parents do not is that
strength training can do so much more for your child than simply giving them
muscle mass. Important in helping to ward off injuries as well as building
overall strength a proper strength training program can benefit your child both
in long term and short term goals.

From the very first athletic attempt your child has, to the very last having
the strength necessary to execute the sport effectively is one of their single
most important needs. Ensuring the proper strength levels can be beneficial in
both normal life, as well as the athletic field and provides a great way to
children to help avoid injury as well as create healthy strength habits for
life. While the exact type of strength training varies from child to child, the
far reaching benefits are attainable to everyone.

Regardless of whether your child is playing soccer, basketball, football, or
even running track or swimming having the proper muscle strength necessary can
often help avoid overuse injuries that are so prevalent amongst young children.
Forcing the muscles to strengthen up allows the muscles to work harder before an
injury occurs. Experts have all agreed the children as young as six can safely
work on strength training when closely monitored by an adult.

The ability to start strength training at such a young age helps to ensure that
while children are busy learning about sports, they are also able to embrace the
benefits of proper safety precautions rather than merely learning how to treat
injuries. While not all children become huge fans of strength training it is
still a wise idea to teach it.

Overall, it is very important for the adults involved in strength training to
closely monitor the child. The sports medicine doctor working together with a
fitness coach can usually advise about the correct amount of time as well as
repetitions for each exercise to ensure that the maximum benefits are achieved,
without potentially causing the child injury.

It is vital to also ensure that your child understands exactly what is expected
of them. While the idea of allowing a young child to life weights may not seem
appealing to many, it is something that does appeal to others. However, setting
limits to the amount lifted, as well as how long is very important to ensure
that the child is not injured in any way.

Parents can also work with children and a fitness coach to work out the best
strength routine for them based upon age, sports, and body type. It is
important to only allow a child to engage in strength training with proper
supervision both by a doctor and by a knowledgeable trainer. Your child's
doctor should be aware that strength training is going to be occurring before
your child starts so that a through check up can be conducted to ensure that
your child is well enough to handle the rigors of strength training.

Other considerations that are very important is the equipment that your child
uses. Most sports medicine professionals can agree that while a child is
encouraged to engage in strength training they should almost always avoid using
the same equipment as adults. Instead, it is vital that children engage in
exercises and training that is designed for their smaller bodies. Most children
are not big enough to safely use the adult sized equipment. It is essential that
you find a gym that can accommodate your child has needs, or consider purchasing
small sets of weights for your home.

With proper precautions, and careful supervision strength training for children
can reduce the number of injuries, increase strength, improve endurance and
provide excellent health benefits overall. By focusing on age appropriate
exercises and ensuring that your child is properly supervised you can be
assured that you are helping your child develop into the strongest possible,
while fighting off injuries and other problems.

Stretching -- Ways to Avoid Injury and Keep in Shape

Most sports medicine professionals can all readily agree that those athletes
who take the time to really care for their bodies experience far fewer injuries
than those who act reckless with regard to their health. It is really important
to remember exactly what a benefit stretching provides when you are trying to
decide if spending time stretching is worth it. The exact benefits are almost
limitless, however there are some specific benefits that virtually all athletes
should experience.

Amongst the benefits of stretching there are the improvements to your
circulations, range of motions, posture, overall performance and even your
ability to relax after working out. However this is not all that stretching
provides, it also helps you decrease the tension in muscles and can even assist
in reducing overall joint stiffness that can occur after a work out. The overall
benefit of stretching is possible to achieve in as little as 10 minutes before
starting an actual workout, which makes it very easy to work into any routine
that you are exploring.

By properly ensuring that you are stretching, you are not only providing the
benefits to your body, but you are also able to reduce the number of times you
are forced to go to the doctor over an injury. Most athletes would rather be
playing their favorite sport rather than sitting in a doctor's office being
treated. However, while most athletes would prefer not to spend time being
treated, it is still important to seek treatment for all injuries that occur
rather than leaving them unattended.

With proper attention paid to stretching in addition to an appropriate exercise
routine it is possible to greatly reduce the number of injuries that occur.
While not all injuries can be avoided by stretching, it can help to reduce the
severity of many injuries as well as reducing the overall number of injuries.
It is highly important to work with a coach or other sports medicine
professional to develop a routing for stretching that is most effective for
your individual lifestyle as well as body type.

Especially important for athletes is discussing their workout habits and any
previous injuries when selecting a stretching routine. By carefully choosing
the proper exercises and stretches it is possible to help protect against
further injury, and really tailor the workout to your exact individual needs.
However, just merely stretching to stretch can sometimes void the benefits if
the stretches are not the proper type. For example, if you are a runner and
focus more emphasis on stretching your arms you are going to see fewer benefits
than someone who stretches their back as well as legs before actually running.

Deciding with your sports medicine team the appropriate exercises, number of
repetitions and all other pertinent details of your stretching program also
helps to ensure that your entire team knows exactly what you are doing, and can
make modifications and adjustments based upon what you need as an individual, as
well as what you need to improve your overall athletic ability. It is very
important to carefully select exercises that are appropriate for your needs at
the time of the warm up as well. This means specifically, if you have an injury
to your hamstring muscle, you should give it some rest for a couple of days at a
minimum.

This brings to light the importance of talking to your doctor and learning to
listen to your body. If you feel as if the stretches you are doing cause you
more harm than they help, it is time to rework your routine and change how you
are treating your body. Remember, changing the types of stretches that you do
is perfectly acceptable especially when you are healing from an injury. Working
to keep your body in the best overall condition possible is your ultimate goal
and working towards that goal often means having to make adjustments to a
routine, often at the last minute.

Carbohydrates the Essential Energy Source

Most athletes know and realize just how important it is to get the proper
nutrients however many athletes are being drawn into the idea of using low
carbohydrate diets as a way to help control weight. Needless to say, the sports
medicine field is quite alarmed at this recent trend. The number of athletes
that are starting to use low carbohydrate diets is alarming in recent years.
Even scarier is the fact that these diets can cause harsh long-term
complications such as making weight loss even harder.

Carbohydrates are the essential energy source that all athletes need in order
to maintain the stamina to work out. Without this vital energy, it is much
easier for injuries to occur from exhaustion as well as body strain. This is
never an advisable outcome, but sadly, it occurs much more often in recent
years. A proper diet for an athlete involves consuming quite a few
carbohydrates.

Typically, the amount of carbohydrates that are required to be consumed by
athletes is much higher than the amount required for people who are sedative.
The proper amount of carbohydrates that each athlete needs varies greatly with
some requiring much more than others. To determine the exact amount of
carbohydrate consumption that you should personally aim for it is important to
talk to your sports medicine doctor.

There are times when athletes are especially encouraged to increase their
carbohydrate intake, this is especially common during tournaments, competitions
and if you are engaging in more than one sport at the time. This is to ensure
that your body has enough energy to handle the rigors that you are placing upon
it during especially strenuous activities. In addition, there are other times
when your doctor may recommend cutting back carbohydrate consumption, however
all serious adjustments to your diet should be carefully monitored by your
sports medicine team to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients.

As the number of fad diets appearing on the markets increases, it is especially
important to listen to what your doctor says about your diet. Athletes are
recommended to store as much as 15 grams per kilogram of body weight in the
form of carbohydrates. This translates into as much as 15 grams for every 2.2
pounds. For an average 180-pound athlete this translates into as much as 1227
grams of carbohydrates.

In terms of how carbohydrates are related to calories, it is easiest to use the
following conversion. One gram of carbohydrates translates into four calories of
energy. This means that for our example of the 180-pound athlete, the 1227 grams
of carbohydrates they should consume would equal as much as 4909 calories. This
is an enormous number for most people; however, there are some athletes that
would require higher calorie intake while other would be able to handle much
lower intake levels. Ultimately, it is up to you working with your doctor to
determine the best level for your individual needs.

Remember, cutting back on carbohydrate levels can be quite damaging to the
body. If your body is not consuming enough carbohydrates, then the body starts
using protein as energy. This can be dangerous because protein is designed to
help fuel your muscles and provide the muscle mass for the body, rather than
simply providing energy for the body. The end result for many who are not
consuming enough carbohydrates is an overall weakened condition and less energy
to actively engage in the sport of their choice.

An important consideration is who is giving you the advice on your dietary
needs. Many coaches do not always know the most up to date nutrition
information. This makes it highly risky to simply take a coaches word about how
much you should be consuming each day in calories and carbohydrates. In order to
achieve the best results possible you can consult with your coach as well as
your doctor to work out the best possible solution that has both your fitness
goals, athletic goals and your health goals in mind.

Keeping your own personal health as the top priority is vital to ensuring you
are as healthy as possible. Remember, it is sometimes necessary to adjust your
carbohydrate consumption however; it should always be done with a doctor's
supervision to ensure that you are not potentially damaging your body or your
overall health. Your physical safety is a much greater consideration that
reducing your carbohydrate intake.

Choice -- Sports Medicine or Pediatrician

Many parents are concerned in their little league athletes seeing a sports
medicine doctor rather than an actual pediatrician. However, many of the
reasons given for the hesitation are quite unnecessary and can make things more
difficult on parents. While the ultimate decision on which type of doctor to use
rests firmly in the hands of the parent it is important to ensure you know the
benefits as well as drawbacks of both before making a final decision.

Most pediatricians have an absolute love of children; however, this is not to
say that you cannot find a pediatric sports medicine doctor who also shares
this love. In fact, with sports becoming such a vital part of life for so many
children the number of pediatric sports medicine providers is increasing
steadily across the world.

While some parents do not feel comfortable using a sports medicine doctor as a
complete replacement for a standard pediatrician others do. The options that
are available range from using only a pediatrician, to using a pediatric sports
medicine doctor, to using both. The benefits of using both can mean you child
lacks nothing in medical care. However, as a drawback you are looking at more
frequent doctor's visits as well as the necessity to coordinate records amongst
both offices to ensure that both doctors know what is going on.

With many sports medicine doctors also specializing in various areas of the
medical field, finding a great pediatric sports medicine doctor is possible.
Finding a doctor that your child is comfortable with is also possible and can
be accomplished with some work and effort placed into interviewing the right
doctor. If you are looking into using a pediatric sports medicine doctor,
ensure that they are comfortable and do offer all pediatric services in
addition to the sports medicine services. There is no point in using a doctor
that is to handle all of your needs if you are still forced to see a different
doctor to handle basics such as shots, and dispensing any medications that may
be necessary.

Choosing a single pediatric sports medicine doctor should mean that you are
only seeing a single doctor unless a specialist is necessary. However, while
seeing a single doctor may be easier because of fewer doctors involved to see
it can also be better to see separate pediatric and sports medicine doctors.
This is especially common if a sports medicine doctor is in your area that is
highly regarded whom only treats sports related issues. In addition, if you
already have a great pediatrician that you and your child are both comfortable
with, there is no need to switch completely.

The choice over which type of doctor to use is quite personal. People have been
known to drive several hours so they can keep the same doctor even after moving
to a new area. If you have this type of relationship with your pediatrician,
then switching to a pediatric sports medicine doctor may not be the best option
for you. Never feel as if you must choose between the two. You are free to see
whichever doctor you prefer with your child.

When working with more than one doctor it is important to ensure that they both
know about each other. This is vital so that records can be coordinated
especially during treatment to ensure that your child receives the best care
possible. Never feel as if you are betraying your child's pediatrician by
finding sports medicine doctor as well. Instead, your doctor will be happy that
you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that your child is well protected.

Regardless of which doctor you prefer for your child to see, the end result
should be the same. A doctor whom is concerned about the genuine health and
welfare of your child is best regardless of what their specialty is. Never
second guess your instincts, if you have a clear preference in what you want
for your child's doctor then ensure that you keep looking for the perfect
doctor until you find exactly what you want.

Appropriate Eating Habits Before Competitions

As athletes work to prepare for competitions and tournaments, it is very
important that nutritional needs be met. This includes both in eating habits,
what is consumed, and when it is eaten. The old saying that you should not eat
before swimming is a very real concern for athletes regardless of which sport
they are involved in.

In order to allow the body to fully convert the good foods that you are eating
into energy it needs time. The amount of time it needs varies depending on the
exact foods that you are eating but the process is certainly not instant. In
order to achieve the best results it is ideal if you break up your eating
habits before competitions and try to limit the amount of food that you are
eating right before engaging in sports. For example, if you are going to be
running track at 10a.m. you should not eat anything after 9:30a.m. unless it is
an emergency. This allows your stomach time to start converting the food you
consumed into energy.

While it is necessary to drink liquids during a work out it is also essential
to know what foods are safe before a work out. In order to ensure that your
athletic experience goes as smoothly as possible you should always consult your
sports medicine doctor for specifics based upon your body type, athletic
activity and any other variables that are specific to you. In the meantime,
there are some general guidelines that are acceptable to use and can assist in
helping you ensure that you are ready to go.

Before you exercise, you should look at eating about 4 hours before your
exercise. This means a real meal with components from all of the food groups.
This does not mean simply snacking on an energy bar, or even an apple. Instead,
it should be a complete meal, this may require you to adjust your workout
schedule to better coordinate with your eating habits, or if your schedule
handles it better adjust our eating habits around your workout schedule. Either
way, it is important to eat a full meal 4 hours before your work out.

Once you are finished eating it is a good idea to eat a snack or even an energy
drink that is loaded with carbohydrates. This gives your body an extra burst. It
is best to look into this high carbohydrate snack about 2 hours before your
workout. Remember, worrying about the calories you are consuming is not as
important as ensuring that you are giving your body the fuel that it needs to
function. In addition, about one hour before your workout looking into a sports
drink is a really good idea. Following this schedule should have your body well
stocked with plenty of energy to handle the rigors of your workout.

In the time immediately before a workout or even a competition of any type it
is best to stick to small foods that are healthy and offer high amounts of
carbohydrates. Examples include fruits, fruit juice, vegetable juices, and even
sports drinks are all healthy choices that keep your energy levels full. They
are also light enough that they will not cause any problems with your stomach
while you are engaged in your athletic activity.

In addition to eating the healthy foods, sports medicine doctors also recommend
consuming something sugary approximately 45 minutes before any highly strenuous
activities. This includes candy bars, energy bars, and even some soft drinks.
Keeping your energy levels up is not always a simple task but if you focus more
on your energy levels and less on the calorie intake that you are consuming your
body will appreciate it once you are moving and using the stores of energy.

Remember, limiting the amount of sugar that you consume is best since it only
gives you energy for the initial start to the activity. The carbohydrates that
you consumed before will provide you with the long-term energy that you need
to be successful. With some careful planning it is possible to work with your
sports medicine doctor and coach and decide exactly what your best eating
routine is to keep you in top notch shape.

Importance of Protein for Athletes

Doctors, trainers and various other sports medicine professionals are all sure
to tell you that eating healthy is part of being a successful athlete. What is
not always mentioned is the need and requirement that you actually put forth
the time and effort to create a very balanced diet. This includes the use of
fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, three components that are typically
considered bad nutrients.

The thinking that is required of athletes not only in training but in
nutritional situations is to consider food as a form of energy. Eating the
right food can provide benefits to the body in extended energy and better
muscle mass, while omitting the vital components can result in muscle fatigue,
weakened muscles, deteriorating muscles, and even exhaustion to just mention a
few problems. This leaves athletes with the responsibility of working closely
with their doctors and coaches to develop an appropriate diet based upon their
individual athletic abilities.

In order to be successful, especially when doing endurance or strength
intensive sports it is important to have the necessary muscle strength to
actually perform the activity. If you are not consuming the correct nutrients,
you are harming your body. However, there is more to proper nutrition than
simply eating a small amount of the nutrients.

For example, protein is a nutrient that many people have tried omitting in
recent fad diets. The bad news for athletes is that protein is a requirement in
order to help build and maintain muscle mass. This results in athletes who cut
protein from their diet losing muscle strength as well as mass, which can
ultimately alter their performance, strength, and even health in the long term.
Because of the benefits of consuming protein for athletes, it is vital that
enough protein be consumed to keep the muscles in proper shape.

A rough guideline that is standard to use is you need to consume .08 grams of
protein for each 2.2 pounds of body weight each and every day. For athletes who
are involved in endurance sports the number increases to 1.2 to 1.4 grams per
day, and for those athletes who are involved in strength training activities
the number jumps to as much as 1.4 to 1.8 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight
per day.

In addition to the general guidelines that are set forth there are also times
when it may be beneficial to increase protein consumption to assist in a muscle
injury healing. When this is a consideration, you should talk to your doctor and
get their exact recommendation on the amount of protein you should be consuming
in accordance with still keeping an overall healthy outlook and physical
routine.

It is essential that you always careful discuss your exact protein requirements
with your doctor as well as your coach anytime you start a new athletic
activity, and especially if you are enduring some especially rigorous training
for any reason. It is one of the most important things you can do to ensure
that your body continues to develop and maintain the muscle mass that is needed
to sustain the athletic activity of your choice.

If you are even considering trying a diet that is low in protein, it is vital
that you first discuss the risks with your doctor and consult to see if any
other dietary changes could help you achieve the results you wish to achieve by
omitting protein. Remember, protein is a necessary component to help you ensure
that you are creating and maintaining muscle mass, which is a requirement for
all athletic activities. Which muscles you use, and how strong they must be can
vary, however having the muscle mass required is essential.

Never omit protein from your diet without first discussing it with your doctor.
If your doctor agrees that it is wise to reduce or omit your protein intake,
ensure that you are following your doctor's instructions quite carefully.
Failing to properly follow your doctor's recommendations in regards to your
nutritional health can harm your overall health as well.

Deciding Which Doctor to See

If you have more than one doctor, which many people do especially athletes then
it is often confusing exactly which doctor you should see. However, if you
follow some simple guidelines you should find the decision much easier.
Remember, seeing a doctor is a good idea in the event of an injury, however
emergencies are usually best treated in an emergency room with follow up
through your normal doctor.

You should first consider why you want to go to the doctor. If you have a need
rather than just simply a check up then consider exactly what is needed. If you
need a simple work up or even a flu shot then seeing a standard family
practitioner is usually much easier and faster. However, if you have a sports
related injury then it is best to see a sports medicine doctor.

As part of your sports medicine team, you are likely to have numerous doctors
all working together with a physical therapist, primary doctor and various
other professionals including often a surgeon. Your first stop whenever seeing
a sports medicine doctor should always be to your primary physician. After
visiting with them, they can determine based off your needs exactly whom you
should be referred to see next. This also often has the benefit of allowing
some treatment options to get started in the meantime, rather than being forced
to wait until the specialist can see you.

However, it is important to note that if you only see a sports medicine doctor
and do not have a standard internal medicine or family physician that you
should always see your sports medicine doctor unless they recommend you see
someone else. With sports medicine doctors covering a large gamut of
specialties it is possible to only use sports medicine doctors if preferred.

If you are running a fever, or else have a rash that has appeared, the best
doctor to often see is your primary care physician. If however, you have been
experiencing leg pain then it is best to see the sports medicine doctor.
Anytime you have a problem or injury that has resulted because of sports, or
can impact sports it is best to see a sports medicine doctor.

In the event that you have a pressing issue that needs immediate treatment,
often the decision over which doctor to see becomes blurred. This is because
many times doctors have very long waits before being able to secure an
appointment. If you discover that this is your problem, you best bet is to
check with both doctors and see who can fit you in sooner. If neither doctor is
able to see you fast enough, you may be best to see the emergency room in your
area and schedule a follow up visit. While not everyone is pleased with seeing
an emergency room rather than their normal doctor it is a necessary action at
times where there are serious complications or in the event of an emergency.

While emergencies may mandate the usage of the emergency room, appointments
that are not emergencies should be scheduled with the appropriate doctor to
ensure that you receive the best care possible. For example, if you are using a
sports medicine doctor and also an internal medicine doctor you should schedule
your normal yearly check ups with your internal medicine doctor, as well as
your yearly flu shot. However, if you are looking into creating a new exercise
program or even starting a new sport then a visit to your sports medicine
doctor is most appropriate.

As the number of sports medicine doctors offering varying specialties continues
to increase the decision over which doctor to choose for visits is likely to
become even more confusing, however you are not alone and by carefully
considering the purpose of the visit, you should be able to easily determine
which doctor is the best choice for your individual needs.




Children at Greatest Risk for Sports Injuries

The statistics all around the world are startling; children are much more
likely to be injured while playing sports than an adult, even if they are only
playing the occasional game. As parents and adults, how can we protect children
from the majority of the injuries? There are some things you can do, both as
treatment and as preventative to ensure that they are as protected as possible.

Your first concern should always be getting a physical check up of your child
done before allowing them to actually play sports. This is absolutely
imperative to let you know if there are any potential problems that you need to
know about. While most children are healthy, there are some children that are
not or that are highly prone to injuries. A good doctor should be able to let
you know if your child can handle the physical activity of playing a sport.

Ensure your child has the appropriate safety equipment. Never allow them to
play or practice without it. This can result in serious injuries as well as
minor injuries, but it is always best to protect your child by ensuring that
safety equipment is always worn. In addition, it is important to ensure that
the safety equipment your child uses fits properly. This means that while it
may be cheaper to pass down equipment from child to child, making sure it fits
appropriately is even more important.

Other concerns should be ensuring that the coach your child plays with has been
trained in how to interact with children, as well as teach them the rules of the
game. Ensuring that all kids playing follow the rules is one of the best moves
that coaches can make to help avoid injuries both during practice and during
games. Teaching how to cheat will not only rob your child of sportsmanship but
also increase the risk of injury immensely.

Make sure your child is playing with other children who are around the same
size, as well as skill level. Common sense should tell you that a 5 year old
should not be playing on the same team as a 15 year old. However, many parents
do not realize just how important skill level can be. Having a child who is a
beginner playing on an intermediate to advanced level team is a recipe for
disaster and should be avoided. Always ask about the skill level of the team
before signing up, if the team is too advanced for your child, find a team that
is better suited.

Before your child starts any sport, regardless of age you should find a sports
medicine doctor whom you are comfortable with as well as whom your child can
talk to. This is important because many parents must deal with restrictions due
to insurance and geographical location. Finding a doctor who is suitable before
an injury occurs means you will spend less time waiting to start appropriate
treatment in the event that an injury does occur. This also helps to ensure
that you start your child on the appropriate foot in terms of preparing to be
the safest and healthiest possible while playing sports.

As you can imagine, there are always numerous things to look out for in
childhood. Injuries in sports just constitutes yet another potential danger,
but with careful consideration and close supervision it is possible for most
children to enjoy playing sports with very few, or minor injuries.

Purpose of the American College of Sports Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine is more than just a nifty name; they
are the main organization that is working towards improving the entire field of
sports medicine with the overall health of athletes in mind. By taking the ideas
and advances in sports medicine and combining them together with the best
training and developmental research, the American College of Sports Medicine
aims to help as many people as possible regardless of location.

Developed in 1954, the ACSM has more than 20,000 members currently amongst its
ranks with members coming from all around the world. The American College of
Sports Medicine is working in several ways to help improve the overall
treatment options that are available to athletes around the world, including
the use of their certification programs that range from the type of specialty.
It is always recommended to select a sports medicine professional who is
certified in the area in which they practice to ensure they have received the
best training possible.

In addition to the certification programs that are offered the ACSM offers
several conferences through out the year in various locations that are geared
towards specific specialties. Professionals who are associated with the ACSM
are highly encouraged to attend these conferences to help them stay up to date
on the latest developments in the field of sports medicine.

In addition to working with professionals who are already practicing a
specialty in the sports medicine field, the ACSM also encourages students who
are still in school and those involved in their residency to start getting
involved to ensure they are expanding their education as much as possible.
While some may think that the ACSM is useless, many also agree that there are
numerous benefits of having a specific group responsible for giving the
certifications.

Most patients prefer working with doctors who are well qualified, and the
American College of Sports Medicine offers numerous benefits because of the
continued research in the field as well as extensive developmental
opportunities that it offers. In addition, the ACSM is dedicated to helping
professionals develop as much as possible simply by making it convenient, with
a mixture of campus and online programs offered there is almost no reason why
every sports medicine professional cannot be involved in continuing their
educational goals.

Athletes themselves find the ACSM to be a great resource to them. It provides
them a way of measuring various sports medicine professionals to help them
determine which is the best provider for their individual needs. By ensuring
that a certification method is in place, it allows most athletes and coaches
alike to separate the dedicated sports medicine providers from those who are
not as experienced and knowledgeable in the field.

As each individual provider grows and expands their knowledge of the field,
they are usually welcomed to join the ACSM and ensure that they continue to
stay at the top of their field. Various methods are always in place for most
fields to keep professionals well trained and the ACSM provides this for the
sports medicine field. Despite continuous improvements in treatment options
available, the American College of Sports Medicine encourages professionals to
continue to be the best in their field.

However, important to note is that aside from the ACSM encouraging doctors and
other sports medicine professionals to continuously further their education it
also encourages advances in the field to help new treatment methods develop
faster, as well as helping ensure that all treatment methods have the best
interests of the athletes in mind whom they are designed to help.

Further helping the ACSM is the fact that there are so many resources that are
used to help ensure that certified professionals in the sports medicine field
stay up to date on all pressing technology changes and new developments. Rather
than allowing, all of the professionals to allow their education to take a
backseat to their practice professionals are highly encouraged to continue
learning as much as possible.

Post Exercise Considerations

For those in the athletic field it is vital to ensure that while you are fully
prepared for an athletic event you also take careful consideration to recover
from an athletic event as well. This means you should take care of your body
after the activity just as you would before the activity. In many situations it
is even more important because you are tired, drained and are lacking some vital
nutrients that your body really needs.

One of the biggest concerns that sports medicine professionals have is helping
athletes restore fluids to the body. This is because most athletes disperse
large amounts of fluid through sweating and creates a huge void that must be
filled. It is very important that you weight yourself before engaging in any
athletic activity and then again immediately afterwards. While you may be
excited initially about the weight loss, it is important to realize that you
have only lost fluids, and those fluids must be replaced quickly.

To rehydrate your body thoroughly it is recommended that you drink as much as
24 ounces of water for each pound of weight that you lost. This will help you
to quickly recover the fluids that your body is missing, while still keeping
your stomach light enough to handle a brief rest before eating. It is important
to notice as well that water is the best liquid to consume; it is not advisable
to use sports drinks when you are consuming such a large amount of liquid.

After your exercise is over, it is also important to consume some form of
carbohydrate within 20 minutes. The best carbohydrates to look into are some
form of fruit, or even a natural juice whether it is fruit juice or vegetable
juice is entirely up to your and your medical team. Additionally, sports
medicine professionals recommend combining carbohydrates with proteins to
really speed the energy stores back into the body.

The best guideline to use is giving the body 4 carbohydrates for each protein
that is consumed. It has been determined that this is the formula that allows
the body to recover in the shortest amount of time, while still keeping the
intake light enough to not cause any stomach problems. Whether you look towards
a solid food or even a special drink that combined proteins and carbohydrates
together is entirely up to your and your medical team as well.

Remember, consuming additional calories immediately after a workout may seem
conflicting however, it is very important that the energy stores of the body be
replaced to ensure that you are not causing more harm than good to your body.
Lack of energy even following an exercise program can be very harmful to the
body if not quickly treated and can also increase the risks of injury, which
make it even more harmful.

Talking to your medical team can help you determine the exact amount you should
be eating both before and after working out to ensure maximum energy supplies
and the shortest recharging time possible. If you are concerned that you are
still weak or tired after a workout it may be time to consult with your doctor
and increase the amount of carbohydrates that you are consuming. The same may
hold true if you are experiencing muscle weakness or fatigue following a
workout for your protein levels.

Never assume that the exact amount of carbohydrate and protein intake levels
that work for one person are going to work for you. It is best to instead
discuss with your doctor and coach the exact needs that you specifically have
so that you can ensure you are creating the best overall health situation
possible. Avoiding conversations with your doctor about your health and
nutrition needs can be destructive. You need to know exactly what your body
requires based upon your individual needs and workout patterns. Taking care of
your own individual needs is part of why you have a team of sports medicine
professionals all working together. Use them to your benefit for your post
workout nutrition.

Tips for a Successful Career in Sports Medicine

People are always looking for ways in which they can have a highly successful
career and there are things that you can do to really increase the chances of
being successful. However, if you simply overlook some tips you can still have
a fulfilling career while other tips are quite necessary in order to succeed.
Working towards a successful career often begins long before you actually start
the career, and sports medicine is certainly no exception.

One of the first considerations that you should look into is ensuring if you
are still in school that you are studying enough science to satisfy the needs
of sports medicine. If you are someone, who hates biology class, and tries to
figure out ways to avoid other science classes then sports medicine may not be
the best idea for you. While sports medicine is not always about treating
patients, it is still considered a medical field and someone who dislikes
science is not likely to find happiness in the field. However, if you really do
want to find a career in sports medicine you need to look into taking as many
biology, anatomy and physics classes as your school possibly offers.

If you are not in school currently, look for a school that will offer excellent
programs in the science fields that are required. If you have already completed
your schooling, look and see if your classes that you studied will fulfill the
science needs for getting started. If it does not, then it is best to start
looking for a school that can satisfy your needs.

Another thing that you should closely look into is selecting the medical school
you want to attend. Not all schools are created equally. Students who attend the
best schools tend to get a higher quality education and are able to translate
that higher education into better careers ultimately. You may have to compare
prices of schools to find one you can actually afford, but attending the best
school you can possibly afford will certainly pay off in the long run.

While you are looking for the perfect school to attend, consider which area of
sports medicine you are interested in specializing in. Most doctors simply
cannot attend to all of the medical needs of athletes; there are far too many
specialties to even try so it is best that you look for a school that is
excellent in your desired specialty. For example, a school that is highly
regarded for their training of traditional medical doctors may not be as useful
to you if you are looking into a career in orthopedics or even surgery. Ensure
you are training for the correct field that you are really interested in.

Look for a residency program that is based in the exact specialty of sports
medicine that you are interested in as soon as possible. While all doctors must
do basic residency programs, many move on immediately from the residency program
into sports medicine. This is not recommended at all, due to the complex nature
of the body and the strains as well as considerations when sports are involved
it is best to participate in a sports medicine residency program as well before
fully starting in the field. This will allow you to maximize your hands on
training and get the absolute most possible from all of your education. A
career in medicine is certainly not cheap, so do your best to ensure you are
putting that education to maximum usage.

Additionally, networking can be your best friend, especially for those who are
beginning. Whether you offer your services to a semi professional team, or only
to the little league team down the road it gives you the opportunity to help
people learn who you are, and what you are capable of doing. You simply cannot
purchase advertising that is as good for your practice. So volunteer some of
your time monitoring games and helping ensure that athletes are taken care of;
people will recognize your efforts and are much more likely to use you when
they need a sports medicine doctor.

Steroid Use Causing Problems in Sports Medicine

There are always athletes who feel the need to use steroids while playing
sports. While many organizations prohibit the usage, the doctors in the sports
medicine field tend to be the real people who are fighting the effects of
steroids on a daily basis.

Some of the most prevalent symptoms that sports medicine doctors are forced to
deal with include mood swings, violent behavior, depression, and psychoses. The
good news is that all of these symptoms are reversible with treatment once the
use of the steroids stops; however some other conditions are not as easily
reversed.

The use of steroids can alter numerous systems in the body, and how they react
in terms of permanent or temporary is very important in terms of working to
treat the effects. As the number of athletes guilty of using steroids is
steadily decreasing there are fewer problems that doctors are trying to
counter, however the use of steroids is still happening which causes the
problems to still persist even if at a slower level.

While sports medicine doctors do not typically treat reproductive issues, they
are finding themselves engaged in more aspects as the use of steroids can
hinder several components. For example, in men it can alter the libido, as well
as cause male pattern baldness and even cause impaired spermatogenesis amongst
the other problems that include testicular atrophy and gynecomastia. However,
of all of the problems, only male pattern baldness is entirely non-reversible
with treatment. However, there are times when even gynecomastia is unable to be
successfully treated once steroid use has been discontinued.

Women tend to have greater reproductive problems with the use of steroids with
the risks causing problems with menstrual cycles, an altered libido, deepened
voice, pattern baldness, and even clitoral enlargement. The good news is that
the libido as well as menstrual cycle can be restored, while the other results
of steroid use at this point are not a reversible complication. This means that
each year, women who stop taking steroids are still left with the results to
deal with, much more so than men are.

Steroids also have the unfortunate problem of negatively affecting the
cardiovascular system, which in athletes much be as healthy as possible in
order to achieve the best results. With increased LDL cholesterol levels,
reduced HDL cholesterol levels, as well as complications with hypertension,
elevated triglycerides and even the potential of arteriosclerotic heart disease
the use of steroids has several devastating effects on the athletes overall
health.

While there are rare and few doctors who will encourage the use of steroids, a
well trained doctor will be able to identify signs that an athlete is using
steroids and will do their best to help discourage their usage. While obviously
the final choice on using steroids lies with the athlete, a good sports medicine
doctor should be able to identify based on signs, which athletes are using.

Because of the risks associated with the cardiovascular system as well as
musculoskeletal system, using steroids can actually cause more harm to the body
than it can provide in benefits. In addition to the complications associated
with the cardiovascular system that were already discussed, it can create
complications with tendon degeneration, which is potentially not reversible.
This creates a huge problem with weakened tendons that are much more
susceptible to injury even after steroid use has stopped. Overall, steroid use
represents a huge problem to sports medicine doctors all around the world.

Sports Medicine Ventures into Magnetic Therapy

As research all around the medical field continues to expand, the number of
doctors who are looking closely at magnetic therapy continues to grow as well.
With side ranges of benefits that can help those in pain without the use of
medications, heat or ice this is starting to look like one of the best
treatment options available to athletes regardless of the injury. While not
everyone is suited to use magnetic therapy, those who have tried it so far have
been highly successful and enjoyed the quick results.

Physicians in all medical fields have been studying the effects of magnets on
pain, and now the sports medicine field is paying especially close attention.
When studying how something can change the healing process sports medicine
professionals are always looking at the athlete's health first. Using magnets
instead of medications has several benefits including the fact that there are
no drugs used when treating injuries with magnets. This reduces the risk of
detrimental side effects and also helps to ensure that the athlete is fully
alert, rather than groggy from taking pain medications.

It is important however to note that the magnets that medical development is
using, is not the standard magnet that you find on your refrigerator. Instead,
medical technology is developing biomagnets that are much more effective, and
offer the maximum benefits. In addition to treating simple sore areas from
injuries, magnets are being used in research to determine their ability to help
ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as well. The potential benefits to
pain treatment are incredible.

Through the continued research into magnets as well as sports medicine fields
it seems that the use of magnets is highly anticipated. Doctors have suggested
that using the appropriate magnet can reduce healing time for many injuries by
as much as half. These types of results are simply phenomenal in a field where
quick recovery can mean the difference between a sports career, and sitting on
the sidelines watching.

At this time, the number of doctors actively involved in the research of
biomagnets if relatively small, however with growing numbers appearing it is a
trend that is expected to grow even more in the coming months and years. Many
are hoping that the use of the biomagnets will replace all standard heat and
ice treatments that athletes are forced to use currently to help speed healing
to injuries. While the use of magnets at this point is highly limited, there
are many who are carefully watching developments for encouraging signs.

Regardless of sport, magnetic therapy has proven to be a highly effective and
versatile treatment option that doctors have to use. With magnets used in
various methods, including bracelets and wraps there is almost no limit to the
type of injury that is expected to be treatable using magnetic therapy. Sports
medicine doctors particularly are looking at the research as highly encouraging
because of the vast amount of injuries that they see yearly.

In the meantime, while research continues unfortunately most athletes are
forced to continue using the methods of heat and ice to help promote faster
healing for their injuries. Once the research is developed further, we can
expect that it will be widely available to all athletes, as well as
non-athletes alike. From start to finish, magnetic therapy has offered a peek
at a much easier and smoother treatment option and while research continues to
suggest it is right around the corner there are many who are anxiously awaiting.

For those who are able to see benefits of magnetic therapy now, the results are
amazing and provide immediately lower pain levels regardless of whether the pain
is from the knee, neck, arm, back, shoulder, or anywhere else. Using the small
magnets is a wave from the future and the sports medicine field is anxiously
awaiting to see what other great developments are unraveled as the research
continues into this important pain relief treatment.

Discovering Hyponatremia and Preventing It!

How many people really know without reaching for a dictionary what hyponatremia
is? The bad news is that most people are unaware of what it is, yet it is a very
dangerous condition that occurs quite often. Much more often than it really
should in fact. To blame for the heightened occurrences is the fact that most
people do not understand the proper fluid levels that should be maintained
during exercise. This is particularly important during those exercises that are
quite intensive such as marathons and endurance activities.

Hyponatremia is so important because it involves the blood sodium levels in the
body. It is important that these levels be maintained in a proper proportion in
order for the body to remain healthy. If the levels are adjusted through
extreme sweating or even an over abundance of water consumption then
Hyponatremia can occur which creates several problems. If you are seeing a
sports medicine doctor and discussing participating in an endurance activity be
sure to thoroughly ask about hyponatremia so that you can avoid it as much as
possible.

Hyponatremia is important because it occurs when sodium levels are greatly
decreased. This occurs in the normal process of sweating. However, creating the
actual problem is when athletes consume large amounts of water continuously,
which further reduces the ratio of the blood sodium levels. This lowered ratio
is what creates the problems of hyponatremia. However, the solution is
sometimes quite easy, but unless you have discussed the problem with your
doctor, you are unlikely to know.

Symptoms of hyponatremia are as subtle as a nauseated feeling, some small
muscle cramps, possibly being disoriented and even a bit confused mentally.
This is quite often mistaken for just simply being dehydrated which will prompt
many people to reach for more water to drink, which ultimately makes the problem
much worse. Extreme cases of hyponatremia include symptoms such as comas,
seizures and in the most extreme cases, death is possible.

In order to really prevent and treat hyponatremia it is vital that you drink a
sports drink that contains sodium, or else eat a food with sodium especially
higher levels of sodium to quickly restore the proper levels to the body. In
addition, cutting back on the plain water consumption until sodium levels are
higher is also advised. If you are having severe symptoms, it is best to see a
doctor immediately, preferably a sports medicine doctor who is knowledgeable
about treatment options.

In order to prevent hyponatremia there are a few things that you can easily do.
The first is ensuring that you are keeping a sports energy drink on hand to
continuously drink. While drinking water is important as well, the sports
energy drink will help replenish sodium levels while the water will flush more
sodium from the body. If you do not have hypertension discuss with your doctor
increasing your sodium intake levels for a few days before the endurance event.
Only increase your sodium levels under the watchful eye of your doctor or you
could create problems with hypertension where none previously existed.

Additionally, it is best to always drink plenty of fluids. The best guideline
to use is a cup of fluids, which is 8 ounces for each 20 minutes of activity.
If you are engaging in an hour-long endurance activity that would translate
into 3 cups of fluids.

Additionally, it is best to only replace fluids that you lose. This means that
you should avoid adding additional fluids to your body that are not needed. For
example if you lose 2 pounds from fluid loss, you should replace the fluids that
were lost. This would not mean drinking more than 4 cups of fluids at a maximum
to replace the missing fluids.

With proper precautions, you can avoid having a problem with hyponatremia and
instead enjoy participating safely in the endurance activity of your choice.
With careful medical treatment and proper prevention, it is not a problem that
will force you to stop engaging in sports; rather it can make you more aware of
your bodies' nutritional requirements.

Using Caffeine to Your Benefit

Athletes are always looking for ways to improve upon their performance and
doctors are always looking for ways to help athletes. In this world the amount
of time and research that is put into helping achieve ultimate athletic goals
is huge and those who are continuously working on research and development are
always looking for ways to help athletes squeeze the last remaining drops of
energy into an activity.

One such way to gather a small boost is to consume some small levels of
caffeine. While it is not advisable to set off running a marathon with only
caffeine as your energy source, using it to help jump start your body is a wise
idea. Only a small amount of caffeine can get you started while your body allows
time to properly process carbohydrates that take longer to convert into energy.
The ultimate result is the ability to go farther, longer and faster.

Caffeine overall offers several benefits to athletes as long as it is used
merely as a supplement rather as a sole energy source. These benefits include
helping delay fatigue, increase body fat losses, improve overall athletic
performance and even helping give a short burst of energy. Other benefits
include helping increase fat burning due to the increased metabolism that is a
result of caffeine.

The bad news about caffeine is that many athletes try to rely on it as the sole
source of energy for athletic events and activities. This is almost always a
sure recipe for disaster and will almost always result in the athlete being
injured or running out of energy and being unable to complete the activity
prematurely. In order to truly gain benefits from caffeine usage it is
important to still consume appropriate levels of carbohydrates as well as
protein.

One thing that you can do to help ensure that you are giving your body the most
energy possible is to combine the use of protein, carbohydrates, and caffeine
together. By ensuring that you keep the levels appropriate, you can keep the
caffeine supplying your body with energy until the carbohydrates have been
broken down, while the protein keeps your muscle mass firmly in place. This is
a winning combination that has helped numerous athletes achieve the results
that they desire.

However, it is best to keep your caffeine levels as low as possible so that you
do not become dependent on the caffeine to provide you with all of your energy
needs. This can be a very dangerous and risky problem if you are consuming too
much caffeine and not enough carbohydrates. Rather than carbohydrates providing
you with the necessary long term energy you may be using only short term
caffeine energy which is ultimately unacceptable for long term usage.

Many doctors recommend avoiding the use of caffeine entirely to keep athletes
from relying heavily upon it. Talking to your doctor can help you determine the
exact amount that is suitable for your situation and based upon your overall
athletic goals. You may discover that you are consuming enough carbohydrates at
appropriate intervals that make caffeine an unnecessary need for you.
Additionally, you may discover that you are not consuming enough caffeine to
achieve the maximum potential that you have.

Talking to your doctor will help you determine exactly how much caffeine you
need, and when the optimal time to consume it is. This is the best solution
that athletes have to use caffeine to their benefit while keeping their overall
energy levels in top condition. If you are unable to see your doctor immediately
your coach may be able to offer some guidance in the meantime to help you move
towards the most successful results possible. Remember, each person is
different and the optimal caffeine intake is going to vary depending upon body
type, energy levels and activity engaged in. Seek out your perfect caffeine
level to achieve the results you want.

Combating Muscle Fatigue

Athletes from amateur to professional level all experience muscle fatigue at
some point. The people who tend to suffer the most however are surprisingly
those who are less active. Many regard professional athletes as much more
likely to have complications with muscle fatigue, however in terms of how the
muscles use energy those who are less active than professionals are at a
distinct disadvantage.

It is very important to understand that when you are working out, you are
slowly wearing down the muscles and burning all of the energy that is provided
to the muscles as well. Because of the energy that the muscles burn not being
able to be replaced into the muscle quite as quickly as it is burned this
causes muscle fatigue to become a problem. Sports medicine professionals are
all well knowledgeable in exactly how to help professional athletes reduce the
problems they experience from muscle fatigue.

In order to really combat the problems of muscle fatigue and keep it from
happening, it is important to train the body to supply energy faster. Muscles
receive energy in two different forms. The first is from oxygen, which creates
aerobic metabolism; this is simply the process of creating adenosine
triphosphate from oxygen. The other method is anaerobic metabolism, which is
generated from stores of energy that are stored in the muscles themselves.

The problem that occurs most often in muscle fatigue is that anaerobic
metabolism does not store huge amounts of energy and aerobic metabolism is a
slower method to deliver energy to the muscles. This creates a problem for many
people and results in them suddenly experiencing muscle fatigue. Professional
athletes and those who are highly active are trained to help their bodies
deliver energy from oxygen, which is the aerobic metabolism.

By training the body to efficiently and effectively deliver larger amounts of
oxygen to the body it is possible to increase quickly the amount of energy that
the muscles have available to use. This reduces the risk of muscle fatigue and
allows a workout to continue for much longer. However, it takes several weeks
or even months to train the body to effectively speed the flow of oxygen enough
to keep from experiencing muscle fatigue based solely from a supply of aerobic
metabolism.

In addition to learning ways to improve the flow of energy, it is also
important for athletes to learn ways to reduce the use of muscles as much as
possible to conserve energy. It is vital that energy management be controlled
for athletes because without the control management many athletes would find
themselves unable to workout or even complete their workout. This is never an
advisable situation for any athlete; however, it can occur quite often.

In order to combat the symptoms and maximize the benefits of muscle energy it
is important to work with your sports medicine physician as well as your
trainer to ensure you are training your body to be as effective as possible. If
you are careful and work closely with your trainer, coach and sports medicine
doctor you can gather the best ways to encourage your body to conserve energy,
while still increasing the flow of aerobic metabolism to your muscles.

Working towards an appropriate training method will help ensure that your
muscles are as strong as possible and greatly reduce the risk of having a
problem with muscle fatigue. There is plenty of professional help who can
assist you in creating the best training plan possible to strengthen the
muscles. Providing the maximum amount of energy to your muscles possible is the
best thing you can do in order to ensure you stay as healthy as possible, with
as little risk of injury as possible.

It is very important that you always discuss any concerns that you have with
your doctor or coach. They can assist you in assuring that you take the proper
precautions to ensure your body is carefully trained. If you have any doubts
about your overall health, it is essential to talk to your doctor immediately.

Exposing Shin Splints

One of the harshest and most painful injuries that people suffer from are shin
splints. While a relatively minor injury that does not involve surgery to
correct, it does require plenty of rest and careful training to help prevent
the injury from becoming worse. Taking a few minutes to acquaint yourself with
shin splints and how they are caused can help you to avoid these painful little
injuries and ensure that you are not suffering downtime because of them.

A shin splint in its simplest form is when the muscles and tendons of the lower
leg pull away from the tibia. It is possible to have a shin splint that results
in muscle and tendon damage to the fibula as well; however, this is much less
likely since shin splints usually are associated with pain in the front of the
lower leg, rather than the side.

Shin splints are typically caused by overstraining the muscles along the front
of the leg. Running, dancing and various other activities can cause the muscles
stress and fatigue, however it is weight that is sometimes blamed for shin
splints. It is important to notice that rather than weight being the factor
that determines shin splints, it is instead the impact of the weight onto the
legs and muscles that cause shin splints. Because of this, it is possible for
someone who weights 80 pounds to experience shin splints, just as someone who
weights 300 pounds can experience shin splints.

Some of the methods that can really agitate the muscles are running or
exercising on extremely stiff and hard surfaces such as concrete for prolonged
periods of time, exercising or running on ground that is uneven causing
additional strain on the muscles at times and even wearing shoes that do not
fit properly can cause additional strain. Other factors that can increase the
risks of shin splints include running or exercising uphill or downhill
frequently and even starting an exercise program after a previously sedative
lifestyle.

Avoiding shin splints may seem like an impossible task, however with some
careful consideration paid to how your body functions and how you take care of
yourself, it is possible to reduce the number of shin splints that you get.
Remember, prevention should always be your priority, so that you reduce the
time you spend healing after an injury.

Your first consideration should be your shoes. Having the wrong shoes can be a
huge mistake. Whether they fit wrong, are they are just of poor quality having
the wrong shoes is like pulling the muscles from your leg yourself. Ensuring
you always wear shoes that fit appropriately and provide the support and
cushioning that you need can ensure that you are reducing your risk.
Additionally, you should never wear tennis shoes to play basketball if you play
frequently for example. Sports that you play quite frequently you should invest
in the appropriate shoes that are designed to support your feet properly during
play.

History of Sports Medicine

Sports medicine was initially coordinated in the ancient areas of Greece and
Rome where many of the young athletes were not being properly trained. Striving
to improve this training and provide better overall supervision of the young
athlete's physical education was designed. This coordination of physical
education was used to help increase the strength and abilities of the athletes
in a carefully controlled way, which would allow their progress to be carefully
monitored.

In events as far back as the 5th century, it is possible to notice distinct
training to help discourage injuries starting with such people as Herodicus,
whom is credited with using therapeutic exercise to help heal injuries, and
also Galen who was a doctor that was assigned to monitor the gladiators of the
2nd Century. Previous attempts at using a doctor for preventative training was
largely ignored with physicians and doctors only being used in the event that
an injury did occur.

However, despite these efforts it was not until many years later that Sports
Medicine itself was actually conceived. During the 1928 Olympics, which were
held in St. Moritz a small committee was formed with the task of organizing the
International Congress of Sports Medicine. Upon this concept, the idea of using
actual doctors to help prevent the occurrence of injuries was brought to light.
Starting in 1968 during the Summer Olympics, which were held in Mexico City, Dr.
J.C. Kennedy organized a team of doctors that was to travel with the Canadian
athletes to ensure they were well cared for.

In addition, Dr. Kennedy became the founder of the Canadian Academy of Sport
Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Kennedy earned the honor of being appointed to be
the Chief Medical Officer for the first medical team to be officially
associated with the Olympics in the 1972 Summer Olympics that were held in
Munich, Germany. This was a task that proved even the Olympics were starting to
place value in the idea of sports medicine.

As time has progressed the involvement of physicians and doctors in more than
just treatment of injuries has increased. Many athletes see doctors regularly
for check ups and testing to ensure that they are in the best physical shape
possible, while still achieving the athletic goals that they desire. While the
use of a sports medicine team by many is still considered a luxury, for others
it is an essential aspect of being a responsible athlete.

As the amount of care provided to athletes before injuries occur has increased,
the number of injuries that are being treated has decreased which leads to a
better quality of life for many athletes. Deciding to be proactive in the
treatment options of athletes is part of what sets sports medicine apart from
many other fields. Rather than waiting until an injury occurs, sports medicine
aims to continuously minimize the risk to athletes to achieve the best results.

Sports medicine has come a very long way in recent years, and continued
research and growth in the field is abundantly clear. Most athletic teams
travel with a team of doctors, and most athletes particularly professionals are
all eagerly willing to work with a well qualified sports medicine team to
improve their health. From reduced injuries to improving performance results,
the field of sports medicine has made incredible progress since the beginnings
in Ancient Rome and Greece.

What the Future of Sports Medicine Holds

As sports medicine has developed over the years, the ideas of how to study and
analyze both the athletes and their injuries has increased as well. As time
progresses even further, this study is increased as new advances in medicine,
training methods and even treatment options are further explored. What seems
like science fiction now can very well become a real treatment in the future.

The idea of sports medicine is very unlikely to waiver. The primary reason
being sports are such an integral part of life that most people simply cannot
imagine their lives without them. This creates the need to continuously improve
upon treatment options for injuries, and also leads to even further research and
development required to help reduce the number of injuries that are experienced.
While many forms of medicine are simply studying the treatment options heavily,
and relying less on preventing problems sports medicine is focused on the long
term commitment to athletes by reducing the risks of injury overall through
proper training and fitness.

Continuously working to improve fitness and training techniques has ensured
that regardless of the treatment options offered, sports medicine has secured
itself a very safe home in the medical field. With thousands of new athletes
each year starting sports there are always new injuries, as well as new
considerations to take into account. These differences can often be a huge
aspect when compared to the age of the athlete. Children tend to have more
injuries at times, which is due to underdeveloped bones and muscles, while
adults tend to have more serious injuries and take much longer to fully heal.

Combining all of the current research with the developments in surgery,
fitness, and dietary fields allows sports medicine to continue to grow and
encompass the majority of the athlete's life. The desire to play sports for
many is not simply a hobby, so selecting a doctor that views it as merely a
hobby is unwise. Doctors in the sports medicine field are usually highly
dedicated to their work. Putting forth diligent effort to reduce the amount of
time to treat injuries, and helping improve the body following an injury are
all continuous processes that undergo essential development.

Some of the biggest breakthroughs of recent sports medicine will eventually be
classified as obsolete and new, exciting techniques and principals will replace
them. Deciding how to carefully advance the research is in the hands of the
well-trained doctors who have made it their life's work to help each and every
athlete improve their overall health and fitness levels.

From studying exercises to make small adjustments for a positive impact on the
entire body, to making slight changes in the way surgery is performed to allow
faster recovery times, to even increasing the effort put forth to ensure all
athletes are following a healthy diet there is plenty of room for improvements
and advances.

In addition to studying the body of the athlete themselves, sports medicine is
starting to encompass the rules and structure of games themselves. For example,
after a recent study of softball it was determined that breakaway bases should
be used to help protect the players. This one small change was estimated to
help reduce athlete injuries by as much as 90%. As you can see, sports medicine
is encompassing so much more than simply traditional medical aspects as it moves
towards the future.

Next, you should always carefully warm up before ever starting to play. This
will allow your muscles even those along the tibia to slowly stretch and become
more fluid before moving into faster and more stressful movements. This is an
essential step that cannot be missed.

Additionally, carefully checking where you are exercising is another way to
prevent shin splints. Avoid exercising on concrete and other extremely hard
surfaces. Choose gyms that offer suspended floors under equipment and choose
grassy areas that are flat, rather than riddles with holes and slopes.

Your last step should be to engage in a strength and conditioning class.
Generally, this short class lasts about 20-30 minutes and helps to slowly and
carefully strengthen all of the muscles in your body. Remember, prevention
should be your best friend.





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