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Guest Post by:
Kathleen Choate, ATC, CSCS, CEAS
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Sports Medicine

When Kerri Walsh competed and won gold in the 2008 Olympics, spectators took notice of an unfamiliar style of taping on her shoulder. While this product had been around well beforehand, kinesiology taping hs been quickly gaining in popularity among athletes since those Olympic Games. Aside from the popularity, it has also raised eyebrows, leaving some questioning whether it works. Below are some of the questions and concerns I hear most often. 

What does it do?

Kinesiology tape reduces pain and is “thought to decompress underlying structures and allow for enhanced circulation.” (Montalvo, MS, ATC, CSCS, Cara, DC, PhD, ATC, CSCS, & Myer, PhD, FACSM, CSCS*D, 2014).  It can be applied to a multitude of injuries, including strains, spasms, swelling and bruising.  It could also be applied for headaches, scars, anxiety, and indigestion.  There are even taping applications to use on horses!  While this tape comes in many colors and patterns, there are no physiological differences between them.

How do I put it on?Kinesiology taping

There is a wealth of information on the internet about how to apply it. You can even buy pre-cut tapings designed for specific body parts that come with step-by-step instructions. This does not guarantee it has been applied correctly, however.  You need to ask yourself several questions.

Do you know what your specific injury is? There are many taping applications for a knee, but they all may not apply to your specific injury.

Are you sure it was applied correctly?  Yes, you feel like you followed YouTube’s instructions to a T, but has anyone guided you through the application in person? Most clinicians who use this treatment method have either been taught to apply it in college or continuing education courses. Their education goes far beyond “taping” and into the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment techniques that work in tandem for your specific condition.

Where are you getting your information/instructions? Much of the information you gather on your Google or YouTube searches may be misleading, marketing, or both. (Beutel, MD & Cardone, DO, 214). Again, this leads back to speaking with a clinician who has personally been trained on its application and your specific injury.

Who shouldn’t use it?

Kinesiology tape isn’t meant for everyone. Most manufacturers of kinesiology tape advise against its use if you are pregnant, have skin allergies, infection, cancer, open wounds, congestive heart failure or DVT risk (blood clots in the calf). If these apply to you, it may be best to avoid it.

How effective is it?

There is currently a lawsuit against a manufacturer of these tapes, arguing that there is a lack of scientific evidence and unsupported claims were made. This has only added to the skepticism many people feel. There are some studies that suggest that there is a placebo effect (Montalvo, MS, ATC, CSCS, Cara, DC, PhD, ATC, CSCS, & Myer, PhD, FACSM, CSCS*D, 2014); however, there are also many patients and clinicians who will swear to its effectiveness. Regardless, more research is needed.

Treatment for your injury should be multifaceted. While taping can be used to help you recover from an injury, it generally should not be relied upon solely. See your athletic trainer, physical therapist, or physician to find the best treatment plan for you.

Works Cited

Beutel, MD, B. G., & Cardone, DO, D. A. (214). Kinesiology Taping and the World Wide Web: A Quality and Content Analysis of Internet-Based Information. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 665-673.

Montalvo, MS, ATC, CSCS, A. M., Cara, DC, PhD, ATC, CSCS, E. L., & Myer, PhD, FACSM, CSCS*D, D. G. (2014). Effect of Kinesiology Taping on Pain in Individuals With Musculoskeletal Injuries: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 48-57.

Four things NOT to say to someone with an eating disorder.

  1.      You look great or you look so much better (about weight loss).
  2.      Why don’t you just eat more?
  3.      You’re just doing this for attention.
  4.      I wish I had that problem.

This is what Dr. Renee Rienecke wants everyone to know. She’s the director of MUSC Health’s Friedman Center for Eating Disorders. One of the center’s main missions - other than helping patients with eating disorders - is educating the public about the best ways to help.

Any comment about appearance or weight loss is a bad idea, she says.

The clinic, for patients age 8 to 24 and their families, will offer a range of programs, including partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient options. Rienecke is the first certified Family Based Treatment (FBT) therapist in the state. She brings her expertise from the University of Michigan, where she served as director of Clinical Services and Research of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Eating Disorders Program.Donna Friedman and Dr. Renee Rienecke   

Rienecke said the Friedman Center will be a one-stop shop and safe haven for families who have a loved one with an eating disorder. Her team relies on evidence-based approaches. She prefers FBT therapy because of its track record. It has a 90 percent improvement rate for patients recovering from eating disorders that is maintained four to five years afterward.  

This is no small feat.

Eating disorders are prevalent and have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. In the United States, an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men have a clinically significant eating disorder. The mortality rate with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate for someone without the disorder.  

Unfortunately, many teens and parents fail to realize how serious the problem is, Rienecke said. An estimated 20 percent of people suffering from anorexia nervosa will prematurely die from complications related to their disorder, including suicide and heart problems, according to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

Donna Friedman, center advocate and donor, agrees. “These kids don’t want this. It’s not a choice. We need to give them the tools to fight.”  

For more information about the center, call 843-876-1491.

Guest Post by:

Brittney Lang, MS ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

Over the years, we as health care professionals are seeing more young athletes move from multiple sport participation to focusing on one particular sport, with possible multiple team involvement. With this move, we are seeing more orthopaedic injuries in younger athletes than ever before. Studies are showing that half of all injuries can be attributed to overuse and lack of rest due to constant training. This push for young athletes to participate solely in one sport is often by parents and coaches wanting the athlete to succeed. We as health care professionals need to be better advocates for these young athletes and help teach parents, coaches, and athletes signs and symptoms of overuse injuries and steps to help prevent or minimize the injuries.

Young boy pitching baseball

An overuse injury is damage to a bone, muscle, tendon, or ligament that has been subjected to repetitive stress without giving it sufficient time for rest and the natural reparative process. They can be broken down into 4 stages:

  1. Pain in the affected area after physical activity.
  2. Pain during physical activity but does not restrict physical performance.
  3. Pain during physical activity that does restrict physical performance.
  4. Chronic pain and constant pain even during rest.

Overuse injuries are more serious in the young athlete because children’s bones are not yet strong enough to handle the high amounts of stress put on them by the repetitive training. They also have not built up the muscles to perform the proper mechanics that are needed to perform the athletic activity for long periods of time. For example, a young baseball pitcher not using the full body to throw the ball and instead using just the arm possibly leading to injuries in the elbow and/or shoulder. One also must take into consideration that young athletes also may not be able to connect minor symptoms like fatigue to a possible bigger injury and therefore continue to participate. This is where proper education and guidelines for parents, coaches and athletes need to be set into place for prevention, injury reduction, and signs of injury.

 Another factor that needs to be addressed is over-training for the young athlete. With the major switch of young athletes to one sport, training and playing can be seen all year round. We are also seeing athletes playing on multiple teams, many of which at the same time, putting more stress on the athlete’s body with little rest. With sports teams being available at younger ages the push from parents and coaches to hone skills and succeed can be hard on the young athlete. And if the athlete wants to play a sport at a higher level one day it is stressed from a young age that one needs to play on travel teams, and go to training camps as well as play on recreational or school teams. Many sports have tournament schedules where athletes are playing for 2 to 3 days or more and there can be a couple games a day with no real rest during the week. Due to the high increase in playing time and lack of “free time” or rest, we are seeing a higher rate of burn-out at a young age for athletes. This can in turn also lead to injuries over time.

Well-rounded young athletes who participate in multiple sports tend to see fewer injuries and continue to play longer into their life. However, although multiple sport athletes tend to have fewer injuries there is still the risk of overuse injuries. This can be due to playing and training for multiple sports year round without rest and down time, as well as playing multiple sports with emphasis on the same body part, i.e., baseball and swimming. Young athletes should still have a break between seasons as well as from daily activity for adequate recovery.

We as health care professionals need to help stress proper training for these young athletes by providing necessary education and guidelines for all involved. This should help promote a healthy physical lifestyle throughout the athlete’s life. The education and guidelines for the parents, coaches and young athletes should promote fun, skill development and success in the activity. Young athletes should be monitored to reduce the rate of over participation and training in sports. Goals should be made for all involved on what the athlete wants to achieve in the sport. It is up to us, the health care professional, to be advocates for these young athletes when possible to help achieve healthy injury free lifestyles in sports.

Cited: Brenner, J. S. (2007, June). Overuse Injuries, Overtraining, and Burnout in Child and Adolescent Athletes. Pediatrics, 119(6).

Guest Post by:
Katie Bracken, ATC, PES
Medical University of South Carolina
Sports Medicine Department

Summer isn’t a time to relax and sit in front of the TV!!...It’s the perfect time to condition, increase your fitness level and make your muscles bigger! Some relaxation can occur…of course at the beach, but make the most of your summer schedule and free time! Whether you play fall, winter or spring sports, it’s important to try to maintain your level of fitness for many reasons.Man in squat position

  1. It is easier to transition from off-season to in-season. It makes more sense for people to condition/train through the whole year/pre-season, right? BUT most athletes don’t…unfortunately most get lazy and comfy on the couch. Once the season starts, athletes who train pre-season will transition WAY more easily, be in better shape and be more prepared for the demands of the sport versus those who do not train. Athletes who train continuously will also be able to progress quicker into the sport specific workouts, conditioning and sport skills.
  2. Another huge reason to train during pre-season is injury prevention. If athletes jump right into conditioning, weight training and/or sport specific skills (like most) they put themselves at a higher risk for injuries to occur. Once an injury occurs and depending on the severity, the athlete could be out days, weeks or months. The more training an athlete can do to better prepare his/her joints/muscles and overall fitness, the chances of them being injured in-season are less likely. Another key injury prevention tip is: train for your sport. You don’t want track athletes completing volleyball exercises. Make sure to train for your specific use of upper extremity/lower extremity movements. For example: soccer: lower extremity and conditioning, volleyball: lower/upper extremity (focus is on the shoulder), football: upper/lower extremity and power movements, softball: upper extremity, power/sprint conditioning. It is also important to implement a proper warm-up and cool down. Again, it is better for the athlete to prepare ahead of time than to sit out a duration of time or the whole season.
  3. Just because you may not have access to a gym or gym equipment doesn’t mean you can’t get moving! Motivation and determination is all that is needed for a great workout! Like mentioned above, depending on the sport (or multiple) will determine the area/body part to focus on. Also note that many sports overlap in certain types of training, i.e., conditioning is great for all sports! A simple upper body circuit will activate the proper muscles used in upper extremity sports: push-ups, shoulder taps and dips (many variations) at 3 sets for 10 repetitions/movement. You may also add in certain rest periods: 3 sets for 10 with a 20 second rest in between movements to keep the heart rate elevated. For lower extremity sports, a circuit that involves squats, lunges, and squat jumps will activate the glutes, hamstrings and quads to prevent injury and build strength. A tabata workout is a type of H.I.I.T.  (high intensity interval training) workout designed to increase your heart rate throughout the circuit while completing specific movements. Another form of equipment free conditioning: RUNNING! Again, depending on your specific sport will determine which type of conditioning you should be training for, aerobic versus anaerobic. (A common topic that is typically overlooked is flexibility. It is important to incorporate flexibility training into workouts and conditioning especially when the muscles will be activated and stressed more during in-season competition.)
  4. The dreaded word…CONDITIONING or as most people see it…RUNNING! Conditioning has many benefits but it is also used in almost every sport…no reason not to run! Along with strength training, conditioning can be sport specific and will determine which type you should train for: aerobic or anaerobic, i.e., power/speed or endurance. Athletes may also feel the need to go from power sprints to endurance running. Besides training for a specific sport, running has many added health benefits: deceased blood pressure, decreased resting heart rate and increased weight only name a few.  

For the reasons stated above and many more, out-of-season and pre-season training is more beneficial versus no training. Your body and mind will be more prepared for the upcoming season and be able to meet the demands needed. Do your body a favor and don’t be lazy, you will never regret a workout!

Guest Post by:
T. Ryan Littlejohn, ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

Have you heard the buzzword concussion in todays sports world? Most people would agree they have heard all the hype about concussions and it is a big deal. There is good reason for this attention to head injuries, they can be serious and need to be managed appropriately. A concussion is an injury to the brain and currently there is no way to completely prevent them from occurring. According to the centers for disease control, there are 3.8 million concussions per year, in the U.S. alone. A concussion occurs when the brain is bruised from hitting the inside of the skull and it can occur from a whip lash or a direct blow to the head. This can lead to concussion symptoms, headache, dizziness, and nausea, which tend to be the most common. If you or someone you know is experiencing problems from a head injury, it is essential that a medical provider trained in concussion management is consulted, before returning to any type of physical activity.

Some research suggests that certain strengthening exercises may help reduce the prevalence or severity of a concussion by reducing or better absorbing the applied force. Specifically, neck strength is something that can be addressed and might help lessen the chance of receiving a concussion. The rationale behind this is simply a stronger neck could help stabilize both the head and neck movement. So take action, implement these simple and easy exercises into your sports program today.

Shoulder Shrugs:

Standing with weight in both of your hands and arms by your side slowly shrug your shoulders upward. Control the weight in both directions - lifting and lowering the weight. Perform for 3x10.

Upright Rows:

Standing with arms in front of you holding a dumbbell or bar, have the palms facing outward. Raise the weight to chest level then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.  Perform 3x10.

Four Way Isometrics:

Place two hands on back of your head and then push into your hands for isometric resistance. Perform in all four directions - front, back, left and right side of your head. Make sure you feel the resistance in your neck, but keep your head straight.  Perform 1x10 each direction holding for 5 to 10 seconds.

Towel Resistance:

Place a towel behind your head and hold the ends of the towel. Perform resistance against the towel keeping your head straight and pushing backwards. Then change the position and push against the towel going forward. Perform 1x10 reps holding for 5 to 10 seconds.

Resources and Additional Information:

Google search results for concussion

PubMed Abstract on neck strength as a factor in concussion

Mom's Team:  Stronger Necks May Reduce Concussion Risk



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