Congratulations Miriam – WMC World Champ!

In her first fight in over a year, Miriam Nakamoto captured the WMC World Title over Sandra Bastian this past weekend at the Legends Muay Thai Championship in San Francisco. She’s a testament to the dedication her sports requires with her work ethic and her drive. 

Congratulations Miriam! Great job!!

You can find out more about Miriam’s goals in 2012 by checking out her video interview at Front Row Fights here.

Pediatric Overuse Injuries- Too Much Of A Good Thing?

I remember in high school when we voted someone most athletic, they usually were good at more than one sport. It may have been a guy that played football, then basketball, then baseball. Or a girl that played soccer, then ran track. That, however, is becoming less common today and specialization is becoming the norm.

Kids are becoming dedicated to a particular sport at a younger age. They focus themselves year-round on trying to be the best. They go from their high school team to the club team. They hope for a possible college scholarship and perhaps a professional career.

Along with year-round preparation and practice though, there are consequences- an alarming increase in overuse injuries. In the 2005-2006 school year, more than 1.4 million injuries were sustained by high school athletes. Most of these, could have been prevented with proper education and timely treatment.

The important thing to realize is that children are not little adults. Coaches need to be educated in the effects of overtraining on an immature musculoskeletal system. What worked for them and what is tradition, is not always in the best interest of the young athlete. With the evolution of science and medicine, training methods also need to evolve.

If you bend a piece of metal repetitively, it will eventually break at its weakest link. And that is what happens with an immature musculoskeletal system. Where adults can get tendinitis, strains, or ruptures at their weakest links, children can get traction apophysitis injuries. These are irritations to the growth plates because children have bones that are not completely fused. Injuries at these vulnerable sites produce inflammation, pain, and can stimulate bone growth.

Common sites for these types of injuries are: heels, shins, knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders. If your athletic child is experiencing pain in any of these areas, the best thing to do is set up an appointment with your physician to have them evaluated, so the proper course of treatment can be recommended. (I’ll talk a little more about treatments in my next blog). And remember, just because a physical therapist says they treat sports injuries, doesn’t mean they have direct experience in a sports setting. At ESPT, our director is the only Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist in the area. (Check us out at Elite Sports Physical Therapy).

The bottom line is that kids aren’t immune to injuries and they are in fact becoming more common. Increased awareness by the athletes, parents, and coaches can aid with earlier detection and prevention. And this in turn will allow kids to continue playing the sports they love and to continue just being kids.

What’s With The Tape?

Most people watching the olympics in Beijing were probably attracted to the colorful tape seen on numerous athletes throughout the event. It was present on track athletes, water polo players, basketball players, and for us in the US, especially on Beach Volleyball athlete Kerri Walsh.

I’m sure people were probably asking themselves some of the following questions: “What is the function of that stuff?” or “Does it really have any medical benefits?” or “Can I get some of that?” Well I’m here to inform you on what the “stuff” is and to tell you where you can get it.

What Is It?

The tape seen on all these athletes is called Kinesiotape and it was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase over 25 years ago in Japan. The Kinesiotaping method uses patented tape to help treat musculoskeletal disorders and assist with lymphedema reduction.

Since it’s introduction into the United States medical arena, Kinesiotape has been used by all practitioners including: physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and muscle therapists. The tape can be worn for several days with comfort and ease, thus allowing the individual using it to receive the therapeutic benefits 24 hours per day. It is currently used in hospitals, clinics, high schools, and professional sports teams.

How Does It Work?

The tape can applied two ways: UNSTRETCHED or STRETCHED. Both provide different desirable effects for the body, resulting in decreased pain and thus, increased performance.

UNSTRETCHED: With this application method, the SKIN over the affected area is stretched before the kinesiotape is applied. After application, the taped skin will form convolutions when the skin and muscles contract back to their normal position. The convolutions lifts the skin, and the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid beneath the skin improve.

STRETCHED: If joints or ligaments are injured, the TAPE should be stretched before application on the skin. This will allow the tape to hold some tension and to take the place of the damaged joints or ligaments.

ORIGIN-TO-INSERTION: Starting from where the muscle begins (origin), tape is laid along it and ends where the muscle ends (insertion). This is typically used for support by pulling and stimulating the skin/muscle back towards the point of origin, thus assisting with muscle contraction.

INSERTION-TO-ORIGIN: This is used for preventing cramping or overcontraction (overuse) of muscles. The tape is laid from the end of the muscle back towards the starting point. This is good also for strain/sprains and tendon injuries where it is desirable to decr. tension/stress on tendons, muscles, or ligaments.

What’s So Special About The Tape?

To ensure that the muscles can still move freely, Kinesiotaping is most effective with elastic tapes that have an elasticity of 130-140% of its original length. This will allow the muscle and joint to maintain its free range of motion, which will then allow the body’s muscular system to heal itself bio-mechanically.

The elasticity of the tape also creates the convolutions on the skin, which help facilitate lymphatic drainage and improve circulation. This results in pressure and irritation being moved off of neural and sensory receptors, thereby alleviating pain.

How Can I Get It?

You can check out Kinesio Taping at their website at: http://www.kinesiotaping.com/. Or be on the lookout at ESPT, as we will be providing this service in the very near future.