Friday, 04 November 2016 12:36

Over Training Causes Injuries, Or Not?

Interest in Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) injuries of the elbow (and the treatment) has increased tremendously over the past decade. The media has helped shed light on this injury and has aided with the diagnosis in younger athletes, particularly with interest in youth baseball continuing to rise. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John underwent the first ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (performed by Dr. Frank Jobe) 40 years ago. The procedure has since been named after him. Since then, hundreds of these procedures have been performed throughout the country, and several studies have been published documenting its efficacy. Recently, there has been a significant rise in the number of Tommy John surgeries. What’s become an even greater concern for orthopedic surgeons is an increasing trend of UCL injuries in younger athletes. Why are more runners developing stress fractures? Symptoms of a stress fracture usually cause dull pain around the site of the fracture. This pain usually worsens while exercising, walking, or standing. Another symptom is swelling in the area. To diagnose a stress fracture, your doctor will give you a thorough physical exam. Although sometimes helpful, X-rays are often unable to detect stress fractures. As a result your doctor may use MRIs, nuclear bone scans, or other sophisticated imaging techniques to give you a diagnosis. Tennis is a great sport. However, the sport has a high risk for injury to many parts of the body due to the high speed caused by racquet impact, repetition and use of your spine, legs and your dominant arm. This can make the tennis player susceptible to a variety of shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, ankle, hip and spine injuries. The best-known tennis injury is tennis elbow - but despite its name is relatively uncommon in tennis players! Football by nature is a rough sport. Despite the helmets, pads, braces, and supports, injuries are a common part of the game. Sprains and strains, fractures, Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprain, ACL tear, torn cartilage, and concussions are all part of the menu of football-related injuries. As it has been noted in a previous column of mine, there has been a increase in the number of concussions. A severe blow to the head causes concussions. This injury causes some level of impairment of brain functions and can lead to disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a progressive degenerative condition of the brain resulting from numerous hits to the head. Symptoms of a concussion may include confusion, short-term memory problems, and loss of consciousness. Here’s what you need to know. Overtraining is a very rare and misunderstood phenomenon. Overtraining does not mean training too much. There’s a sports science definition of overtraining. It’s a physiological state caused by an excess accumulation of physical, psychological, emotional, environmental, and chemical stress. If you do a workout that stresses the nervous system too much, you’ll suffer from the various results that can lead to injury. You’ll have a lack of focus and energy, apathy, no motivation, and even a headache and that can lead to burnout. Sleep, nutrition and certain supplements can keep you from being overtaxed and prevent burnout. I feel that some of the problematic injuries come from overdoing certain aspects of sports. For example, the Tommy John surgery is an injury that young athletes experience through over-pitching. What makes the possibility of overtraining greater is playing one particular sport year round. What I think will prevent the aspect of overtraining is that youngsters need to experience multiple sports throughout the year. Through my experiences as a coach I have found that kids who play multiple sports have fewer injuries. Do I think that overtraining has created many injuries? I can only say, yes and no, or possibly maybe. Do I see a way of preventing many of these athletic induced injuries? Well, yes. It’s all about proper preparation. Younger athletes need coaches who have knowledge and techniques of the sport. I know of some dads and coaches, who want to drill, drill, drill their child to achieve perfection in a sport. As a coach for over 40 years my advice is: back off! You’re going to eventually hurt your kid both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know of many stories of Little Leaguers who developed elbow problems due to overuse. I shook my head then and I shake my head now! There is no reason to overwork any athlete. The philosophy in today’s world of sport is simple; a hard day of training should be paralleled with an easier day. I believe that this is the proper way to help a young athlete develop. With the proper techniques and keeping the desire candle lit, the young athlete will crave the game. Some coaches and parents think that training must always be harder than the game; however, they also need to incorporate fun into the sport to keep the athlete engaged. Coaches and parents must find that balance between intense training and recovery days. But most of all, it’s got to be fun!
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