Category Archives: Athlete Advice

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The Three Most Common Basketball Injuries

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Basketball season is in full swing. March Madness is nearly upon us. Players all over the country are practicing daily and putting everything they have into each of their games. Inevitably, as the season heats up, the number of injured athletes seen by NJ Sports Medicine specialists increases. Overuse injuries, ankle sprains, and knee injuries are by far the most common seen in basketball players. As always, the risk of suffering any of these injuries can be mitigated by consistent warm-ups and proper technique. Below we review these common injuries. If you believe you’re suffering from any of these injuries, call an NJ Sports Medicine specialist today to request an appointment. Immediate and thorough treatment can drastically reduce your bench time.

 

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  1. Overuse Injuries: As the name suggests, these injuries are a direct result of repetitive and consistent stress on the muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints in the knee. Overuse comes from the constant running, jumping, and dribbling associated with the game of basketball. “Jumper’s Knee” is the most common of these injuries and is characterized by pain in the tendon just below the kneecap.
  2. Ankle Sprains: Between the running and jumping – and occasional traumatic run-ins with other players – ankle sprains rank in the top three most common injuries seen in basketball players. During an ankle sprain, the ankle rolls too far and the ligaments that connect the bones are stretched (and sometimes torn) during the impact.
  3. Knee Injuries: Cartilage tears in knees are the single most common injury in all athletes, basketball players included. These injuries can be the most serious of the three and can include tears in cartilage, tendons and knee sprains. In the most severe cases, the ACL can be torn and will most often require minimally invasive surgery from a trained sports medicine surgeon.

 

Consulting A Sports Medicine Specialist Today

The key to minimizing bench time and long-term effects of knee injuries is immediate and comprehensive treatment of injuries. If you’re experiencing acute or chronic pain in your knees, call an NJ Sports Medicine specialist today to schedule a consultation and get back in the game as soon as possible.


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Common Hip Conditions In Athletes

As evidenced by Yankee superstar, Alex Rodriguez, hip injuries are an occupational hazard for athletes. Whether you’re a professional athlete, the quarterback for your high school’s football team or just love to play a game in your backyard, chances are hip pain will bring you to a sports medicine specialist at some point in your career. Due to increased pressures on athletes, longer and more intense practices, and a lack of understanding of preventative medicine, sport medicine doctors are reporting significant increases in hip injuries among athletes of all ages and levels. Below, we look at the most common hip injuries in athletes.

 

35689752_lCommon Hip Conditions In Athletes:

  1. Bursitis: Bursitis results from an inflammation of the cushion between the muscle and the hipbone. Most common in athletes participating in contact sports such as football and hockey, bursitis is characterized by pain at the point of the hipbone.
  2. Tendonitis: More common in athletes participating in endurance sports such as long-distance running; this condition results from inflammation of the tendons surrounding the hipbone.
  3. Hip Labral Tears: The labrum functions as a buffer surrounding the hip’s socket. Injury to this buffer resulting in a tear is a common injury for athletes and is characterized by groin pain and a “catching” sensation in the hip.
  4. Stress Fractures: Most commonly seen in long-distance runners, stress fractures result from repeated injury to the hipbone.
  5. Hip Impingement: Seen in young- to middle-aged athletes, this is the result of abnormally shaped bones that do not fit correctly together and, therefore, rub against one another during activity. Over time, this creates pain and causes injury.

 

Diagnosing and treating hip injuries should be left to a sports medicine specialist. The experienced team at NJ Sports Medicine can assess your injury, diagnose the condition, and offer you the least invasive treatment option. Our goal is the same for every injury — get you healthy and back in the game! Visit our site to request an appointment today!

 


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Football Fan’s Guide To A Healthier Game Watching Season

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From fall to spring, sports enthusiasts revel in the thrill of watching their favorite football teams compete several nights each week. It’s more than a pastime; it’s a way of life for many Americans. Unfortunately, that lifestyle often includes unhealthy habits such as extensive sedentary time on the couch, eating more junk food, and excess alcohol consumption. New Jersey Sports Medicine offers these tips to keep football season from derailing your health goals.

 

  1. Rethink the Menu. The typical football night cuisine cues up images of deep dish pizza, nachos piled high with beef and cheese, chips with high-fat dips, and lots and lots of beer (we’ll get 35329370_lto that later). The good news is that there are lots of creative and satisfying ways to modify your football snack favorites into healthier, lower-calorie versions. Check out this delicious nacho pizza from Everyday Health, along with a dozen other recipes that clean up your football season cuisine.
  2. Run a Victory Lap. The adrenaline jolts you experience when your team scores is the perfect fuel to squeeze in a quick burst of exercise–and so is the anger you experience when the other team scores or the ref makes an unfair call. Take out your energy in health-promoting ways. When your team scores, do twenty jumping jacks. When the opponent scores, hit the floor for ten pushups.
  3. Hold the Booze…Mostly. Completely avoiding alcohol during football season is probably not a desirable goal, although any reduction in alcohol intake will benefit your health. Instead of abstaining, choose one football night per week to indulge. Maybe it’s Thursday night out with friends at the bar, or maybe it’s Sunday afternoon with your buddies. Whichever day you choose, placing this limitation will substantially cut calories and detrimental health effects from alcohol during football season.

 

Football season is a fun and memorable time to come together with friends and family. You don’t need to take away from your time together by constantly worrying about making healthy choices. Make healthy plans ahead of time so that when the game comes on, you are ready to enjoy it.

 

To learn more about how to improve your eating and physical activity habits, request an appointment with New Jersey Sports Medicine today!


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Four Winter Sports to Try

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We know, we know–in New Jersey, sunny days and balmy weather make snow seem awfully far away. But given that it’s an El Nino year, we–and residents in other states affected by the phenomena–might possibly see a sudden snowfall in the next couple of months. And when that happens, you’ll want to be prepared to maximize your winter-wonderland fun. These four new, unusual, or just less common activities are a great way to do just that–plus some are much easier on the joints than skiing or snowboarding.

Fat Biking 

Fat bikes are bikes with wide, “fat” tires sturdy enough for off-roading or trails–even in the snow! Watch this video of a fat bike ride through a snowy forest. You can also check out the social media feed from fat bike enthusiast community Ride Fat Bikes for lots more vines, videos, and images of people out enjoying their fat bikes–though please note that some of the stunts, scenarios etc. you may find on there are not necessarily safe. Oh, and if you want to fat bike sooner, consider trying the beach–Monmouth County is offering reduced prices on beach passes right now!

 

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“A battle of strategy, skills, and snowballs!” is how the official site describes this sport, which is, put simply, a competitive snowball fight. Yukigassen originated in Japan, and while the sport has started to spread globally there aren’t many official leagues or tournaments in the US (except, fittingly, in Alaska), but that doesn’t mean you can’t stage your own, impromptu version. You can find rules, court set-up guidelines, and more online.

 

 

Snowshoeing

Snowshoes aren’t new by any means--historians estimate that people have been using them for 6,000 years. They are, however, enjoying a resurgence in popularity as a safer way to enjoy the great outdoors come winter. It’s beginner and budget friendly, too!

 

 

Skibobbing

Skibobs or skibike are bike-like bodies attached to skis–check out this to get a visual. When practiced safely, skibobbing can be a great alternative to skiing or snowboarding for those with knee problems.

 

 

Want to make sure you’re in prime condition to have some fun once the snow finally falls? Request an appointment with our professionals today!


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Trend Alert: Fitness Vacations

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If you love being active, chances are a vacation spent binging on holiday sweets–or dozing on an in-law’s couch–aren’t really going to make you feel so great. Try this trend, instead: fitness vacations.

Fitness vacations are getaways centered around, well, fitness. Many involve training for a central challenge, like a marathon, and an exotic destination. Fitness vacations are becoming an increasing popular travel offering for athletes and other active types who love to have a good time while getting a good workout. Here are a few to consider if you have some vacation time coming!

 

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Go Luxe, Not Lazy

The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu

The “luxury bootcamp” offered at The Ranch is proof positive that luxe living doesn’t necessarily mean leisurely lounging. Advertised as “a short stay, long on benefits” this minimum week-long immersion course includes “no-option, daily group fitness routine led by our skilled and professional staff” consisting of “four to five hours of group hiking, core and ab work, weights, daily group yoga sessions.” Don’t worry–guests are also treated to presumably well-deserved private massages and daily naps.

 

Women Only

Costa Rica Surf Camp and Yoga Retreat

There are a lot of women-only fitness retreats out there–check out this great roundup in Shape for a few–but we suspect surf camp will sound particularly attractive to the athletically-inclined among us looking to escape the East Coast winter. Surfing offers a great core workout, and can be a fun way to work on balance/cross train for your other hobbies.

 

 

The Old Hand of Fitness Vacays

Cycling House Cycling and Triathlon Training Camps

Cycling House, in Tuscon, Arizona, has been fine-tuning it’s training camp for competitive bikers and triathletes for over a decade. Options now include training programs appropriate for athletes at a variety of skill levels, and to suit diverse training goals.

 

 

Hardcore, Cross-Fit

Destino Retreats

“If you think work is hard, you should try vacation,” reads Destino’s slogan. Destino’s excursions–to Hawaii, Mexico, Mammoth, and Arizona, aren’t for the faint of heart. Competitive challenges, paleo meals, skills training, and more make these ideal for the seasoned crossfitter. But don’t worry–there’s also a Margarita night!

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to get an evaluation and approval from a medical professional before selecting one of these vacations! Your fitness vacation should be challenging, not damaging. A professional can advise you on which activities will be most beneficial for your physiology and fitness goals, and help reduce your risk of injury. Request an appointment with our sports medicine professionals to get professional advice on getting more from your fitness vacation.


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Winter Sports Safety

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There may not be snow yet, but if you love to hit the slopes, chances are you’re already getting revved up for this skiing or snowboarding season. What you do now can help keep you safer once your out on the slopes.

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The Facts

Researchers from Johns Hopkins estimates there are approximately 600,000 skiing and snowboarding accidents annually. A four-year study comparing the two sports found there are more injuries sustained by snowboarders. Skiers tend to damage their knees, while wrist and ankle injuries are more common among snowboarders. Interestingly, experience seems to matter less with skiers– only 18% of injured skier were a beginner, versus 49% of snowboarders.

 

Preventing Injuries

There are plenty of ways to minimize your risk of injury pre-season. Here’s where to start:

  • Stay (Or Get) Fit: If snow sports are your main active hobby, you’ll need some extra work to get into prime shape. Appropriate strengthening exercises will help you maintain balance and control. You should consult a physician before embarking on a new exercise program, especially if you’ve suffered previous injuries, to make sure your plan is a good fit given your physiology.
  • Assess Your Gear: Start going through your gear now to make sure you have what you need–and don’t buy something cheap or uncomfortable in a rush. Bonus? Checking now means you can add items you need to your holiday wish list!
  • Bindings: Bindings are very important for skiers and snowboarders. It’s important to be very vigilant about the fit of your bindings, especially if you get new boots. See a professional to make sure your bindings are adjusted correctly, especially if you’re a new skier or again, have new boots.
    • Ski bindings that fail to release are a major cause of knee injuries among skiers. It’s vital to make sure your bindings are appropriately adjusted. Do a self test to make sure your bindings will release–here’s how.
    • Snowboarders also need to be aware of their bindings, though for different reasons. Snowboard binding isn’t designed to release your feet in a crash (as your legs are bound close together, it’s less likely your legs will be injured). But properly fitted bindings are important to insuring you’ll have good control of your board.

 

A sports medicine professional can help make sure you are ready for a safer season in many ways. They can test you to identify issues with gait or posture that might impact your performance, and find exercise programs that capitalize on your strengths. They can also make sure you are not exacerbating old injuries or other conditions. Our team regularly works with winter sports enthusiasts to help them improve their performance. You can request an appointment, or contact us via the website chat for more info.

 

 

 


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Muscle Fatigue

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Muscle fatigue is a condition where your muscles lose ability to generate force. It can be a sign that your body needs a break, or a symptom of serious illness. It’s important to be able to recognize muscle fatigue, and to be able to differentiate it from the regular “burn” associated with working out. Doing so will allow you to spot early warning signs of underlying medical issues, understand how to challenge yourself physically without going too far, and avoid injury.

Signs and Symptoms

Muscle Weakness

Sudden and or severe sensations of muscle weakness are a key indicator of muscle fatigue. Your legs may feel like “jelly”–wobbly and unable to support your weight.

Muscle Twitching

Involuntary muscle twitches in the legs is another common sign of muscle fatigue. This is particularly common in people diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The medical term for these twitches is myoclonic jerks.

Weak Grip

If you are experiencing muscle fatigue, your grip may be weak. For example, you may find you are unable to hold your water bottle or sports equipment.

Causes

Overexertion

Vigorous, sustained exercise is often responsible for muscle fatigue. You may have been doing an activity too long, or doing too much without proper training. Either way, if you know or suspect you are experiencing muscle fatigue remember to take a break. Otherwise, you are at far greater risk for injury–in part because your nerves are already frazzled from sending you signals to quit, and you may not be as able to detect when you are moving in a way that’s especially harmful.

Nervous fatigue and metabolic fatigue may be involved in overexertion related muscle fatigue. Nervous fatigue occurs because the nerve that generates the signal for a given muscle to contract has been holding that signal too long, and at too high a frequency. In other words, though your muscles could potentially do more with training, the nerve isn’t yet able to keep signaling them on.

Metabolic fatigue means your muscles either don’t have enough “fuel” or have too much of the byproducts of that fuel building up and messing with the ability of the muscle to function properly. Eating well, regularly, and enough to support your weight and activity level will help lower your risk of metabolic fatigue.

Neuromuscular Disease

Sometimes, muscular fatigue may be a symptom of neuromuscular disease. Neuromuscular diseases impact the ability of your muscles to function, and may be pathologies of the muscle or may be pathologies of the nerves and/or tissues surrounding the muscle.

If you’re struggling with muscle fatigue regularly, you should consult a sports medicine professional to identify to cause. They can help diagnose the issue, and use testing to identify an optimal workout for your body type so that your can get stronger the smart way.


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Sports Injuries of the Knee

Sports injuries are a serious concern for today’s athletes. While careful engagement in athletic activity can prevent injuries, accidents still happen. No one wants to lose the opportunity to play a favorite sport or contribute to their team, so many athletes take extensive steps to educate and physically prepare themselves. The right information can make all the difference: in a stressful situation, an athlete prepared with the appropriate knowledge of sports medicine can act quickly to avoid or mitigate the consequences of an injury. That knowledge begins with understanding the most common conditions sustained by athletes and treated by sports medicine experts.

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The knee is one of the most common areas of the body that is injured as you use your knees in almost every sport and with everyday activities. From soccer, where you are only allowed to use your lower part of your body, to volleyball where you make short, quick stops and turns, your knees take a lot of abuse and can restrict your athletic capability in both the short and the long term when injured. To understand a bit more about knee injuries, let us first take a look at the structure of the knee.

The knee consists of four bones and three main joints: the patellofemoral, which is the contact of the kneecap to the end of the femur; the tibiofemoral joint between the end of the femur and the top of the tibia; and the joint connecting the tibia to the top of the fibula.

Though our knees degenerate as we age leading to pain, knee pain is also caused by overuse from running and endurance sports as well as being caused by trauma where direct impact or excessive force causes damage to the ligaments, cartilage and bone.

Common sports injuries of the knee include:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL): The ACL is an internal ligament in your knee that attaches the tibia to the femur, and when this is torn the knee becomes unstable or loose
  • Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligaments (MCL/LCL): The MCL and LCL are internal ligaments that attach the femur to the tibia and are often injured in contact sports
  • Meniscus Tear: The meniscus is a structure in your knee made of cartilage that wraps around the knee joint and supports it. When the meniscus is torn, there’s often pain and sensation of locking, catching or giving way. There are two menisci in the knee, the medial and lateral menisci
  • Tendinitis and Bursitis: Caused by inflammation of the structures about the knee. Examples include:
    • Pes Anserine Bursitis: causes pain on the inside of your knee
    • Patellar Tendinitis or Prepatellar Bursitis: causes pain and sometimes swelling of the front of your knee
  • Fractures: Fractures of the knee are not very common but are often debilitating. The kneecap is commonly fractured from a direct impact and the surface of the tibia is prone to injury from forces usually in the lateral direction.

So how do you know if you injured your knee?

If you are feeling pain in your knee or have any of the following symptoms with regards to you knee, you should have yourself evaluated by AOSMI’s Sports Medicine Specialists. Knee injury symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Warmth or redness
  • Instability or limping or unable to walk/put weight on the knee
  • Inability to fully straighten the knee
  • “Locking” or “popping” of the knee

Many conservative treatments are now available for sports knee injuries and most knee problems respond well to conservative treatment. At AOSMI, our Sports Medicine Specialists offer many different conservative treatment options including:

  • Medication: anti-inflammatories or supplements
  • Physical Therapy: used for rehabilitation of knee problems and to return you to normal activities. Strengthening programs are also available to prevent future injury and increase sports performance
  • Bracing: often helps with pain and instability during healing
  • Massage Therapy
  • Injections that are placed about the knee, typically for tendinitis, bursitis and arthritis
    • Steroid Injections: for pain and inflammation
    • PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) and Stem Cell Injections: used to assist the healing process for injuries to the cartilage and ligaments of the knee
    • Hyaluronic Acid: to supplement and nourish the cartilage to potentially restore it

With most sports knee injuries surgery is not required but in extreme cases, orthopedic knee surgery is performed to treat diseases and conditions that are not responding to more conservative treatments. Surgeries include minimally invasive/Arthroscopic surgery, ligament reconstruction, meniscal repair, joint replacement, open reduction and internal fixation (surgeries used to repair fractures), and cartilage repair, regrowth and regeneration. AOSMI Board-Certified, Sports Medicine Fellowship Trained Surgeons are specialized in the most advanced arthroscopic minimally invasive surgical techniques and will determine what will provide the most optimal outcome if surgery is necessary.

Your knee is very important as an athlete and simply for your overall mobility. If you feel that you may have injured your knee or have knee pain, get evaluated by physicians who understand what it means to be an athlete. At AOSMI, our Sports Medicine Specialists will work with you to get your injury healed as quickly as possible and back into the game. Call today to schedule your appointment – 732-720-2555!


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Fall Sports Leagues for Adults: New Jersey Edition

Summer sports leagues may be a great way to get out and have a good time, but fall leagues are a great way to keep that momentum going–and continue getting that regular dose of activity when you need it most. Participating in sports is a great way to meet new people, combat work-related stress, and force yourself to have some fun during a season that can feel overfull with professional and personal obligations. Here, some great resources for finding a league that’s right for you!

Zog Sports

Zog connects young professionals to teams and events in their area. The group’s focus is on community and fun as opposed to more “hard core” athletics. Zog Sports NJ organizes and hosts regular happy hours in addition to games and practices.  Zog gives 10% of net profits–and 100% of happy hour profits–to the local charities of each league’s choice.

BAM Social

BAM Social Sports operates in northern and central New Jersey. It offers events for teams and free agent players. Many BAM tournaments are hosted with charitable partners to raise funds and awareness for groups like Middle Earth, an NJ based youth-services provider.

American Ballplayers League (ABL)

ABL targets more serious competitive athletes with a focus on well organized leagues for serious sports players. ABL offers a strong online system for supporting teams. Although primarily based in Central NJ, new teams can be created in other areas of the state.

Want to get involved, but concerned about an injury that just won’t seem to heal? Request an appointment with our specialists today.


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Get Over Gym Shyness With These 5 Tips

Gyms are scary. Even as they continue to evolve into brighter, cheerier, more welcoming spaces, for many, they remain as anxiety-inducing as the body-builder garages of old. Maybe it’s because you feel self-conscious about your body or abilities; maybe you’re worried you mess up some piece of unspoken gym etiquette.  Whatever the reason, it’s holding you back from what can be a super-fun place, somewhere for reinvention, endorphin rushes, and discovery. Help yourself get over your gym shyness with these tips.

Choose Wisely

A gym membership shouldn’t be an impulse by. Don’t use selectivity as an excuse to procrastinate, but definitely take time to read gym reviews, stop by, and ask around on social media. Some gyms are geared more toward people who are overweight or obese, some are for women or men only, some are for more serious athletes–you get the picture. Find a place that gives you good vibes.

Get The Inside Scoop On Etiquette

When you come in, take a moment to ask the front desk attendant about etiquette. They aren’t going to judge you for your lack of gym experience, and if they do, than they really aren’t a person whose opinion should care about at all. Ask about things like wiping down the machines, controlling any shared TVs, etc.

Find A Low Traffic Time

Ask the attendant about what times the gym tends to be most empty. This piece suggests between 1-3 in the afternoon or after 7PM, though this may vary based on your gym’s hours and location.  Ideally, you want to work up to feeling comfortable going to the gym even when it’s crowded, but starting out with less people around can help you build confidence and associate more positive memories with your gym time.

Everyone Sweats

Everyone sweats. Everyone breathes funny. Everyone makes weird faces when they’re in the zone. If they don’t, then they aren’t actually working out. Our tip? Bring some tunes, or check out any of the many workout music stations on Pandora and slip in some wireless, noise blocking headphones. Alternately, bring a tablet with a show you want to watch. These will help you zone out whatever you’re feeling self-conscious about and feel more confident–a great way to keep you moving longer!

Who Doesn’t Love An Underdog?

You probably aren’t as out of shape as you imagine. Even if you are, don’t forget: everyone loves an underdog. Even the most intense, most intimidating guy or gal in the building started somewhere. Most people are too busy paying attention to their own workouts to notice just how slow you are jogging, but even if they do, they aren’t going to think it’s embarrassing. If fitness is really their passion, then it most likely makes them happy to see someone else discovering the joys of the gym.

Need a little extra help with your training, or want to feel more confident that your workout is effective for your body and goals? Request an appointment with our sports medicine specialists today!


Athletic injuries, discomfort, or that nagging sense you aren’t achieving your full potential? Game on. Here at New Jersey Sports Medicine, our experts are here to heal the injured and help players at every level unlock their best selves. If you’re ready to hit a home run for your health, contact us today and request an appointment.