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Don’t Let Knee Patellofemoral Pain Slow You Down

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of several potential causes of knee pain that may affect up to 25% of athletes. Typically it occurs in the front of the knee due to compressive forces on the knee causing the underside of the knee cap to grind against the femur. This is most commonly seen in adolescent female athletes and long distance runners. During periods of rapid growth there is often neuromuscular imbalance that tends to occur more in females than males. Pain is often reproduced when sitting with the knees bent for a long period of time, climbing stairs, running, weight lifting, or kneeling.

Some potential causes of this problem are biomechanical due to excessive pronation of the foot and abnormal movement of the knee during landing. There is a groove on the lower end of the femur in which the knee cap travels. When there are muscle imbalances in the leg there can be abnormal tracking of the knee cap causing it to grind against one side of the groove causing pain. Continue reading

Meniscus Tears What You Need to Know to Stay in the Game

Knee injuries are the most common reason athletes have to sit out for an entire season, with meniscus tears being among the most prevalent. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was recently sidelined due to a meniscus tear. The meniscus are natural “spacers” or shock absorbers in the knee, and sit between the femur and tibia.

Symptoms. Patients experience a wide range of symptoms which include:
(1) Pain-Often sharp, may be felt along the edge of the knee joint closest to where the torn meniscus is located.
(2) Swelling- Causes it to feel stiff and tight. This is usually because fluid accumulates inside the knee joint.
(3) Locking- Refers to the inability to completely straighten out the knee. This can happen when a fragment of the meniscus tears free and gets caught in the hinge mechanism of the knee. This is similar to a pencil becoming stuck in between the hinge of a door.  Continue reading

Olympian’s Testimony of Heart and Dedication

This inspiring post has been adapted from the original article, “Heart disease survivor Dana Vollmer eyes Olympic gold,”published June 20, 2012. 

With the games underway, many of us are talking about the astonishing accomplishments that these athletes have made. Not only have the accomplishments been noted, but also the amount of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into their training sessions.

Well Olympian, Dana Vollmer sure has a lot to be recognized for, not only in the pool. The 24 year old Olympic gold medalist broke the 17-year-old world record at the 2004 Olympic Games for the 800m free relay. Her success has continued this year as well, bringing home the gold in her first race of the London Games. Along with the 100m free, Vollmer brought home the gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

In addition to the challenge of training for the Olympics, Vollmer was undergoing her own personal health challenges. When she was 15 years old, Dana was diagnosed with a heart defect. Both Dana and her mother, Cathy Vollmer have since become passionate volunteers for the American Heart Association. He told the audience in one presentation that “she carried an automated external defibrillator (AED) to every swim meet, ready to race to her daughter’s side to administer an electric shock if Dana’s heart should suddenly stop.” Continue reading