Posts tagged Sports Injuries
Hamstring Training for Sprinters
hamstring-injury-strain-pain-sprinting

Sprinting either in track or sport requires rapid, high force muscle contractions across the lower body.  If the forces utilized during the acceleration phase of running are greater than the capacity of the muscle to absorb these forces injuries can occur.  Hamstring strains in this population of runners are common due to the rapid shortening and lengthening of the contracting muscles.  We have previously written on our Physical Therapy blog on the diagnosis and treatment of these injuries, but off season and in season strengthening remains the standard of care.  Specifically, nordic hamstring curls are often prescribed for sprinting athletes but a recent research article highlights other exercises which be used for hamstring strengthening among sprinters.

photo credit: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy

photo credit: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy

In the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy authors studied healthy male participants as they sprinted and performed a variety of hamstring strengthening exercises (van den Tillaar et al. 2017).  The authors measured hamstring muscle recruitment and lower body biomechanics during each of these tasks to determine which Physical Therapy exercises best represent the muscular and biomechanical demands of sprinting.  The authors report the nordic hamstring curl, as well as, the laying kick activate the hamstring muscles at a high enough level and similar joint angle to benefit sprinters' strength training programs. 

To learn more on which exercises are best for your activity contact your local Physical Therapist. 

Why Rolling Your IT Band Is A Waste Of Time
Photo Credit: cyclingweekly.com

Photo Credit: cyclingweekly.com

In a prior post we discussed the prevention, treatment, and prognosis for iliotibial band syndrome.  The iliotibial band is commonly injured due to poor running biomechanics (cross over running gait) and muscle imbalances.  Specifically, weakness in the gluteus medius and maximus and an overutilization of the tensor fascia lata muscle which connects into the IT band.  In the presence of this muscle imbalance the IT band is compressed against the knee bone creating friction and pain. 

Often patients in our Boulder Physical Therapy practice ask if they should add foam rolling to their IT band, as in the picture above, to help "release" or "stretch" the IT band.  This extremely painful foam rolling does little for your IT band flexibility due to the strength of this structure.  The IT band is an extremely tough tissue and will not stretch with foam rolling, massage, or any other intervention.  Chaudhry et al found it would take a load of over 9000 newtons (925 kg) to change the IT band by only 1% (2008).  To put the amount of force in perspective, a lion's jaw produces 4,450 N of force.  Thus, the juice is not worth the painful squeeze of the foam roller.  Patients are advised to work with a Physical Therapist to determine the underlying cause of the IT band pain.  To improve flexibility patients should work the soft tissue at the hip vs. the IT band tissue at the thigh.