Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gymnast Jonathan Horton Ready For Olympics After Foot Injury

Jonathan Horton needed a break. He just didn't want to tell anyone. And then that break came, in the form of a foot injury requiring surgery.
Last fall, the two-time Olympic medalist in gymnastics was less than enthusiastic about his sport. Then the 26 year old ripped up his foot landing on a vault during the Worlds last October, and after surgery, Horton had a fourth month break. Fans phoned in condolences but Horton wasn't upset. "I was like, 'Actually I'm pretty happy right now, I get to take some time off,'" said Horton.
Break was over several weeks ago when Horton competed in the U.S. championships in all six events. "I'm ready. My foot feels great. My body feels great. Mentally I feel that passion for the sport again. It was a blessing for me to get hurt, as bad as that sounds."
Less than a month after surgery, Horton went against doctor's order and was training on the high bar. His friend and U.S. teammate Chris Brooks told Horton that it probably wasn't a good idea to go messing around with his one good foot nine feet off the ground. Horton responded by performing a release that requires him to somersault over the bar and catch it on the way back. Brooks still called Horton an idiot.
Horton has been the backbone of the U.S. men's gymnastic team for many years and took a different approach to his training after the surgery. He worked on his weakest event- the pommel horse- while letting his foot heal. He had a rough outing at the Winter Cup in Las Vegas in February when he fell off the horse twice, but had to remind himself that it was just a start to his Olympic comeback.
Horton won the national championship in 2010 and finished second behind Danell Leyva in 2011. The Olympic team will be picked tomorrow, July 1st, and he hopes he will be on the team. "What really matters right now is the Olympic Games. If I get fourth or if I get last, if they put me on the team because they need me, I'm going to be happy because that's my goal. I think we could be a gold medal team."

If you are an athlete who has a sports injury, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow my tweets on Twitter.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Giant's Hakeem Nicks Fractures Foot

New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks fractured his right foot during team training last month. Nicks fractured his foot during individual runs. Surgery was done on his fifth metatarsal, which consists of placing a screw in the broken bone and allowing the fracture time to heal. It is expected he will be out another two months.
Fractures are common in the fifth metatarsal- the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe. Two types of fractures that often occur in the fifth metatarsal are:
  • Avulsion fracture. In an avulsion fracture, a small piece of bone is pulled off the main portion of the bone by a tendon or ligament. This type of fracture is the result of an injury in which the ankle rolls. Avulsion fractures are often overlooked when they occur with an ankle sprain.
  • Jones fracture. Jones fractures occur in a small area of the fifth metatarsal that receives less blood and is therefore more prone to difficulties in healing. A Jones fracture can be either a stress fracture (a tiny hairline break that occurs over time) or an acute (sudden) break. Jones fractures are caused by overuse, repetitive stress, or trauma. They are less common and more difficult to treat than avulsion fractures. 
Other types of fractures can occur in the fifth metatarsal. Examples include mid-shaft fractures, which usually result from trauma or twisting, and fractures of the metatarsal head and neck.
Avulsion and Jones fractures have the same symptoms. These include:
  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness on the outside of the foot.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Bruising may occur.
Anyone who has symptoms of a fifth metatarsal fracture should see a podiatrist as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. To arrive at a diagnosis, the podiatrist will ask how the injury occurred or when the pain started. The foot will be examined, with the doctor gently pressing on the different areas of the foot to determine where there is pain.
The podiatrist will also order X-rays. Because a Jones fracture often does not show up on a X-ray, additional imaging tests may be ordered.
Until you are able to see a podiatrist, the R.I.C.E. method of care should be performed. The podiatrist may use one of these non-surgical options for treatment of a fifth metatarsal fracture:
  • Immobilization. Depending on the severity of the injury, the foot is kept immobile with a cast, cast boot, or stiff-soled shoe. Crutches may also be need to avoid placing weight on the injured foot.
  • Bone stimulation. A pain-free external device is used to speed the healing of some fractures. Bone stimulation, most commonly used for Jones fractures, may be used as part of the treatment or following an inadequate response to immobilization. 
If the injury involves a displaced bone, multiple breaks, or has failed to adequately heal, surgery may be required. The podiatrist will determine which procedure is best suited to the individual patient.
If you are an athlete who has a sports injury, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow my tweets on Twitter
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, June 25, 2012

Erica McLain's Olympics Rest on Ankle

Today at 7PM, in Eugene, OR, is the day Erica McLain has been waiting for for almost 15 months. After months of rehabilitation, hard work, and tears, it may not be enough for her Olympic dreams in the triple jump to come true.
"I've told my parents to be ready, that on June 25 at 7PM, that I'm either going to be overjoyed and crying, or a complete mess," McLain said.
McLain severely damaged her ankle on March 7, 2011 when she was practicing at her alma mater, Stanford, making the run towards the triple jump pit and her foot hit the edge of the sand pit and her ankle rolled 180 degrees. When her coach Edrick Floreal reached her in the pit, the sole of her foot was facing upward.
"There are moments when I ask why this happened to me. A lot. But I brush them off really quickly. I just have to accept that it happened and I have to commit to it all the way. 'Woe is me' just slows you down. It's not helpful," McLain said.
It was a horrifying injury. The bones of her tibia and fibula were protruding through her skin, sand from the pit in the open wounds. It took emergency personnel 40 minutes to get her out of the sand pit, and they had to phone Stanford Hospital to ask permission to give her morphine. McLain would spend 5 days in the hospital and have two surgeries to clean and repair the wound. One doctor told her she would never compete again, saying she'd be "lucky to be a good couch potato." Another doctor left the door open for competition.
McLain has set her sights on the Olympics.
Since March 2011, McLain has focused exclusively on healing, rehabbing, training, all while suffering through constant pain. She continues to rehab 3 to 5 times a week, taking painkillers so she can train. A recent ultrasound found that there is still sand around the area that was injured.
"It's irritating the muscle tissue and there's nothing I can do about that," McLain said. Add to that a hamstring injury in the past few weeks. "I'm not as far along as I thought I would be. I tried to compete two weeks ago and I was in a lot of pain. I couldn't sleep the night after because every time I moved my foot, pain would shoot through the ankle. The ankle has a mind of its own. Sometime's it's just cranky. I tell people that it throws temper tantrums."
McLain's father, Kevin, said he would never tell his daughter not to try for a comeback and says phone conversations are telling about how she's struggling.
"She'll be talking about what's going on, all the things she's doing, and she'll say that it hurts to walk, let alone jump, and it's very matter of fact. It's a glimpse for me how hard this is, how hard she's working. You don't want to see your children in pain or stress. You want to take it away and make it better. She's bearing this a lot better than I think I could," Kevin McLain said.
Her practices and meet performances have been a roller coaster. Some are good, even great, some are just awful. McLain was the best triple jumper in the country before her injury, jumping 47 feet, 1/4 inch. She has not made it yet for an automatic qualification for the Olympics or a provisional qualification. What works in her benefit is that her competitors have not come up to the standards she's set.
Part of McLain's recovery has been to forget the memory of what happened and extend herself physically and mentally. "I have to stay strong and understand that it will probably come down to the day at the trials," McLain said.
If she doesn't make the Olympic team, she will train for the 2013 world championship in Moscow. After that she'll head to business school. "I'm trying to be real. If I don't make the team, there are going to be reasons. But it's not going to be because I didn't give my all," McLain commented.
If you are an athlete who has a sports injury, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow my tweets on Twitter
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ryan Howard's Problems Continue: Cortisone Shots

It was a tiny pinch, and then relief for Ryan Howard, who had been suffering with a throbbing left heel for several weeks. The cortisone shot flooded into the inflamed bursa sac near the Phillies' Achilles tendon. It was a shot in the dark for both Howard and the Phillies- they hoped the cortisone shot would ease the pain and after a brief rest before the postseason he would return pain free without having compromised his Achilles tendon.
Cortisone shots were developed 63 years ago and are a sports medicine staple because of its anti-inflammatory qualities that provide relief for those suffering with pain. Injections are common in shoulders and elbows, but far less so and more problematic when administered in the Achilles tendon. Medical evidence shows that cortisone shots can damage the surrounding tissue, fray the Achilles tendon, and even trigger a rupture.
So here is the $125 million dollar question: Did a cortisone shot contribute to or hasten Howard's tear? Would it have been wiser to forgo the shot, but have Howard miss the postseason? Did he make the decision or did the Phillies endorse the treatment?
"There wouldn't be any way that you would back me into the corner on anybody (with an Achilles problem) to go ahead and inject them," said Dr. Michael Schafer,an orthopedic consultant to the Chicago Cubs and chairman of the orthopedic surgery department at Northwestern University Hospital. "I've been in practice since 1974 and been involved with sports all my life. When it comes to the risk of an Achilles tendon tear, I'm concerned about cortisone."
Because the drug masks pain instead of addressing the root cause, some fear it encourages patients to overuse the weight-bearing tendon, risking further damage. On October 7, less than three weeks after receiving the shot, Howard completely tore his Achilles tendon. With Howard still out, the Phillies are struggling this season.
Phillies representatives and Howard have not commented on the injury. Howard, a 6-foot 4-inch, 230 pound first baseman had been having problems with his Achilles tendon since August 2010 when he badly sprained his left ankle. It is difficult to tell if Howard was heading down the ruptured tendon path with or without the shot.
Howard and the Phillies apparently knew the risks back in September. When Howard arrived at the Phillies' spring-training site in February, four months after the tendon had been surgically repaired, he indicated to reporters he felt the drug had played a factor in his injury. "I don't know if cortisone leaked in there or not or whatever," Howard said.
The May Clinic lists the following negative side effects: skin of soft tissue thinning around the injection site, and tendon weakening or rupture. The website of Jefferson University Hospital's Rothman Institute, where the Phillies' Ciccotti is listed as director of sports medicine, says that "studies have shown an increased incidence of Achilles tendon rupture after cortisone shots."
Injecting cortisone into the Achilles tendon has become medically taboo, as many doctors believe the heel's compact anatomy and cortisone's degenerative possibilities make it risky.
Howard might be a big man, but the retrocalcaneal bursa, where he was injected, is tiny, the surface no larger than a nickel. However, not every doctor has a problem injecting in the Achilles tendon.
Dr. Rob Raines, an orthopedic specialist with the Cincinnati Reds says "It really depends on your comfort level. It can certainly be done safely. I'm comfortable with the procedure and commonly do inject the Achilles bursa. That's likely because I'm a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon and feel very comfortable with the anatomy around the Achilles tendon."
Howard is not the first baseball player to ever get a cortisone shot in his Achilles tendon. In 1996, Tony Gwynn had at least one shot near the tendon, even though the San Diego Padres' medical staff did not endorse it. A year later Cincinnati's Barry Larkin had two injections. Both players ended their seasons with partially torn Achilles tendons.
Ultimately, those who are responsible are the team medical staff and the player. We will see how long it takes for Howard to fully recuperate.
If you have problems with your Achilles tendon and do not see a podiatrist, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers

Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT

Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow our tweets on Twitter
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lleyton Hewitt Has Toe Surgery

Australian tennis star Lleyton Hewitt had surgery on his toe the end of last month. Hewitt had a procedure called a toe fusion, where bone spurs are removed and two screws and a metal plate permanently fuse the toe in place.
This is a problem Hewitt has been struggling with for some time. The toe had arthritis and was deformed after years of playing tennis. The surgery will allow Hewitt to play pain-free and return him to his former tennis glory.
The particular fusion he had was on his big toe joint, also known as the metatarsalphalangeal joint. This is the joint that when it becomes severely deformed, the change is called Hallux Rigidus.
Big toe fusion is a long established and very effective treatment for advanced arthritis in the big toe. However, a big toe fusion should only be considered after more conservative treatments have been tried or the condition is considered too advanced for other options.
Fusion does result in stiffness within the big toe joint and limits shoe choice to some extent. Therefore it is only considered if arthritis is advanced and has caused extensive damage to the joint. Big toe fusion is also undertaken for some bunions and if the big toe is floppy, weak or painful, usually as a result of previous surgery.
The stiffness in the big toe joint can change the way you walk, but most people find that this does not cause any  problems and are able to resume their daily activities. You will not be able to wear a heel or more than one inch  after big toe fusion surgery. Some people require orthotic devices or shoes with a special rocker bottom to help push the foot forward.
For most, accommodating these changes is worthwhile as the main goal is to eradicate pain. However it is important to consider these factors when considering toe fusion surgery.
An incision is made along the side of the toe and the worn surfaces of the joint are cut away. The two bones which make up the joint are fixed together using screws. During the next four to six weeks the joint will knit or fuse into a single, painless structure.
You will normally spend one night in the hospital, but many patients return home the same day. Your joint will feel quite sore and swollen immediately afterwards, although painkillers can relieve the discomfort and this will settle down.
You cannot bear any weight during the first two weeks following surgery and the bones are fusing together. Your foot will be placed in a bandage and you will wear special shoes which prevent you from placing any weight on the front of your foot. You will continue to wear the shoes as you start to walk, two weeks after surgery. After six weeks you will be able to wear everyday footwear again.
If you are a tennis player who has a foot injury injury, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
Visit our website, like our page on Facebook, and follow my tweets on Twitter
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, June 9, 2012

40 Love: Tennis and Your Feet

For centuries, people have enjoyed tennis in one form or another. As far back as the 1300s, European royalty batted balls across nets on elaborately constructed indoor courts. One court built in 1529 by Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace outside London is still in use today.
Modern tennis can also be traced to the United Kingdom, where British army officer Walter C. Wingfield introduced a new, smaller court and simpler set of rules at an 1873 garden party on his Welsh estate. The new game was played outside on a grass court, which eventually made the sport accessible to everyone.
Tennis provides a total aerobic body workout, and regular play is a relatively safe and enjoyable way to stay fit.  Children need only to be old enough to swing a racquet to play, and seniors need only to be mobile enough to get from one side of the court to the other.
It doesn't take a superior athlete to have fun playing tennis, but care must always be taken to avoid injuries to the muscles not exercised vigorously off the tennis court.
This is especially true of the foot and ankle, which are put under considerable stress by the continuous side-to-side motion and quick stopping and starting the sport requires. Different court surfaces also stress the foot and ankle in different ways.
Similar racquet sports, such as racquetball, squash, badminton, and paddle tennis, also leave the foot and ankle susceptible to injury. Injuries common to tennis and other racquetball sports include ankle sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and tennis toe, among others. If they're minor, some of these injuries are self-treatable. But if pain persists, a doctor of podiatric medicine, especially a sports medicine specialist, is well equipped to help you get back on the court as quickly as possible.
In modern times, maintenance-intensive grass courts have given way to harder, more durable courts. Clay courts, and new crushed stone "fast-dry" courts, which duplicate the softness of clay but require less upkeep, are becoming more popular because players can slide on the soft surface. Clay and fast-drying are undoubtedly safest to the foot and ankle.
Outdoor courts are often surfaced with concrete or asphalt, and indoor courts with carpet, none of which allow for sliding. It's becoming more popular to coat the harder outdoor courts with cushioning surface containing rubber granules. While this coating softens the court and slows down the game, it's no more forgiving to the feet than the concrete or asphalt beneath it.
Popularity of the different court surfaces varies geographically, based on rainfall, humidity, and the age of most of the players (older players tend to prefer the slower, gentler clay or fast-dry court). Regardless of court surface, proper shoes are crucial to injury prevention.
Shoes should be specifically designed for tennis. Unlike running shoes, proper tennis shoes "give" enough to allow for side-to-side sliding. Running shoes have too much traction and may cause injury to the foot and ankle. In addition, running shoes do not have padded toe boxes, which lead to toe injuries for tennis players.
Heels should be snug-fitting to prevent slipping from side-to-side, and both heel and toe areas should have adequate cushioning. The arch should provide both soft support, and the toe box should have adequate depth to prevent toenail injuries. Your podiatrist can recommend a shoe that is best for your foot.
Shop for tennis shoes in the afternoon, when feet swell slightly. Try on several pairs with tennis socks. Put on and lace both shoes and walk around for a minute or two. Make sure your ankles don't roll in the shoes.
If you have bunions or other special considerations, do not buy special shoes without consulting a podiatric physician. If you already wear prescription orthotic inserts, make sure that any potential new shoe feels comfortable with it in place.
It's a good idea to have your feet and ankles evaluated by a professional foot care specialist before taking to the court. Your podiatrist can check for excessive pronation or supination (turning inward or outward of the ankles), and if necessary prescribe a custom orthotic device for insertion in the shoe to correct the imbalance.
Because of the stress on calf and hamstring muscles, thorough stretching before a match can prevent common injuries to the leg. Stretching out after a match alleviates stiff muscles.
Basic stretches such as the hurdler's stretch, the wall push-up, and standing hamstring stretch will loosen up the muscles enough to prevent pulls and other injuries. Your podiatric physician will explain how to do these exercises.
Your podiatric physician may advise you as to proper nail care and warning signs of nail problems. Feet should always be kept clean and dry. Socks should always be worn- tennis socks made of either acrylic or a blend of acrylic and natural fibers are preferable.
Injuries on the tennis court range from simple to serious. Some are self-treatable, while others will require professional consultation with a physician. The most common injuries in racquet sports include:
Ankle Sprains: Ankle sprains are the most common of all tennis injuries. They usually occur when the foot turns inward, causing swelling and pain on the outside of the ankle. To self-treat a mild ankle sprain, get weight off the ankle, apply ice to reduce swelling, wrap the ankle in a compression bandage and elevate the ankle. If the sprain does not improve within 3-5 days, consult a podiatric physician.
Corns, Calluses, and Blisters: Such friction injuries are readily self-treatable, yet care should be taken to ensure that self-treatment does not aggravate the problem. While treating corns and calluses, do not try to trim with sharp objects. Instead, buff problem with a pumice stone after bathing. For blisters, pierce the side with a sterilized needle and drain, then apply an antibiotic cream. Do not remove the roof of the blister. Application of a frictionless pad provides relief from blisters.
Plantar Fasciitis: Stress on the bottom of the foot sometimes causes arch pain. The plantar fascia, a supportive, fibrous band of tissue running the length of the foot, becomes inflamed and painful. If arch pain persists, consider investing in better shoes, an over-the-counter support, or see a doctor of podiatric medicine for custom-made orthotic device to insert into the shoe.
Stress Fracture and Shin Splints: Sometimes the long metatarsal bones behind the toe fracture and swell under the stress, causing severe pain when walking. Shin splints, which are microtears of the anterior calf muscles, and achilles tendon pulls of the posterior calf muscles, are all treatable with rest, ice, and elevation. These injuries tend to occur on harder court surfaces and should be healed fully before resuming play. Persistent pain signals the need to visit to a podiatric physician for consultation.
Tennis Toe: A subungual hematoma, or tennis toe, occurs when blood accumulates under the nail. Tennis toe can usually be traced to improper shoes and should be drained by a podiatrist for quicker recovery. For slight build-up, cool compresses and ice will provide relief.
All racquet sports require quick acceleration, twisting, and pivoting, putting the whole body under stress. If you are more than 40 years old, see a general physician before beginning to play tennis or other racquet sports.
Even if you consider yourself healthy, ease into a regular schedule of playing time. Whenever you change courts, be sure to get a "feel" for the new surface before serving up a match. Even professional tennis players arrive at tournaments up to a week early to acclimate themselves to the court surface.
Above all, listen to your body. Persistent minor aches and pains are not normal and will become aggravated if ignored or neglected. Proper care of the entire body, especially the foot and ankle, will make tennis and other racquet sports a healthy part of life for people of all ages.
Tennis tips:

  • Start easy and build up your playing time carefully.
  • Don't forget to stretch regularly. 
  • Use tennis shoes to play tennis.
  • Fit your shoes with the socks that you plan to wear. 
If you play tennis and are having pain, please call our Newington, Kensington, and Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow our tweets on Twitter
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, June 8, 2012

Clayton Kershaw's Heel Pain

Clayton Kershaw, left-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, ran with considerable pain to first base during Monday's game. The former Cy Young winner has plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Plantar fasciitis is not something to be taken lightly in the baseball world. In the past, it ended outfielder Scott Podsednik's season with the Dodgers in 2010, and brought tears to the eyes of Angels outfielder Tim Salmon in 1998.
What makes it worse for Kershaw is that as a left-handed pitcher, he is pivoting and pushing off his left foot when delivering a pitch. If it was his landing foot, he would feel pain after the release, but he instead feels it at the beginning of his delivery.
Continuing to play with extremely painful plantar fasciitis is not recommended. Playing with it threatens to rupture or tear your plantar fascia, as happened with Salmon. Unfortunately for Kershaw, the most effective treatment for plantar fasciitis is rest, which may prove difficult since the season is not even half over yet.
The Dodgers should be careful with how they treat Kershaw and not rush into getting him back on the mound too soon.

If you are an athlete who has heel pain, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow my tweets on Twitter
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Avoid Injuries at the Gym

The strength and conditioning program of a distance runner is an essential part of any training plan when it comes to running injury free and maximizing running performance. But it isn't as easy as just going to the gym and banging out reps on the leg curl machine or the treadmill. A balanced program should focus on correcting muscle imbalances and fixing incorrect movement patterns, while improving overall strength and explosive power. Distance runners will also benefit from performing explosive exercises in the same manner as sprinters.
Unfortunately, not all exercises are runner friendly. Remember, warm-up, core, and strength exercises are all supplemental to your running program- they should not harm or hurt you in any way. Here is a list of common exercises runners perform on a regular basis that may actually harm you in the long run. Add the "better option" to your strength and conditioning program to maximize your running potential while minimizing the harm you might do in the gym.
Option: Iron Cross
Focus: Warm-up Exercise
Better option: Knee Hug Crossover Lunges
The Iron Cross is a common warm-up exercise seen at track and field meets which attempts to warm-up the hip flexors while dynamically stretching the hamstrings. Here, the runner lies face up with his or her arms out and brings one foot to the opposite hand with a straight leg. This warm-up exercise forces lumbar rotation and flexion upon a fixed torso, which is the recipe for disc disaster. The lumbar spine isn't designed to rotate that much and placing this kind of stress on it can cause injury. Instead, perform the Knee Hug Crossover lunge. Stand tall and hug one knee- feel a stretch under your thigh and into your glute. Release the hug and with control, step the same leg backwards, diagonally behind your stance leg. Some refer to this as a "curtsy" lunge. Keep your shoulders and hip square- you should feel a good stretch in your hip. Stay tall and drive your front foot down to stand back up. Repeat on the other side and perform 10 per side and before your work-out.
Option: Scorpion
Focus: Warm-up Exercise
Better option: Cossack Squat
The Scorpion is another common warm-up exercise seen at the track that attempts to fire the glutes while opening up the hips. Here, the runner lies on their belly with their arms stretched out to the side. The runner then lifts and reaches their leg to the opposite hand. If you look at the low back, you'll see lumbar extension and rotation- a recipe for spinal facet joint disaster. Instead, perform the Cossack Squat. Runners don't spend enough time strengthening and stretching their legs in the frontal plane (left/right direction). Stand wide with your feet pointing straight ahead. Squat to one side while you're keeping the opposite leg straight. Slowly rotate your straight leg up so that you're resting on your heel. You should feel a stretch on the inside of your groin and along your hamstrings. Hold out your arms for balance. Perform 10 repetitions per side before your workout.
Option: Leg Extension
Focus: Strength Exercise
Better option: Unilateral High Box Step Up
The old fashioned leg extension is an isolation exercise that targets the quadriceps- it also places unwanted shear stress on the knee joint and has minimal athletic transference to running. Instead, perform the high box step up. Place one foot on an exercise bench or box that places your hip and knees at 90 degrees. Stay tall and drive your lower foot up and forward to step up. Resist the urge to jump. Return your trail leg back to the floor and repeat the step up. Work up to a heavy set of 5 repetitions per leg- hold one dumbbell on the same side as the stance leg.
Option: Superman
Focus: Core Stability Exercise
Better option: Conventional Deadlift
The Superman is a common core exercise that places unwanted stress on the lumbar spine. It doesn't teach the runner to maintain a neutral low-back posture because the low back goes into hyperextension as the limbs rise off the floor. Instead, perform the Conventional Deadlift. Every runner can benefit from adding deadlifts to their program because this exercise strengthens the posterior chain- the hamstrings, gluteals and low back, which tend to be weak in runners. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that deadlifts elicited high-trunk muscle activation compared to an unstable Superman exercise. So train the trunk and posterior chain at the same time with the conventional deadlift. Stand with your feet 20 cms apart behind a barbell that is set-up at mid-shin height. Bend through your knees and hip to get your grip on the bar; you will bend more through your hips compared to your knees. Stick out your butt and chest and keep a flat back. Hold the bar with your arms to the outside of your legs. Keep your elbows locked and stand up with the bar by simultaneously straightening out your knees and hips. Stand tall and squeeze your glutes. Keep the bar close to you at all times. Place the bar back on the ground. Reset your position and work up to a strong set of 5 repetitions. Don't round your back at any point during the lift.
Option: Crunches
Focus: Core Strengthening Exercise
Better option: Ab Wheel Roll Outs
This old-school method of abdominal training might give you a good burn, but it does little to improve your running economy. Instead, teach your core muscles to stabilize your lumbar spine while resisting movement. One of my favorite exercises uses the $6 ab wheel from 20 years ago. Kneel on a mat with your hands on an ab wheel just in front of you. Tighten your lower abs by pulling your belly button to your spine. Transfer weight forward as you slowly roll the ab wheel away from your knees. Keep your chest out and shoulders down. Reach a point where you still have full control. Feel a stretch in your abdominals with no pain in your low back- if you have pain there, this exercise might be too difficult for you. Roll back and repeat 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per set.
If you are a runner, have foot pain and do not currently see a podiatrist, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT

Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow our tweets on Twitter
Enhanced by Zemanta