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MUSC Health Blog

Keyword: injury

Guest Post by:
Jennifer Hunnicutt, MS, ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

Following sports injuries, we know the basic healthcare regime: rest, ice, elevate. We know what to put on our bodies, but do we know what’s best to put in our bodies? Nutrition is a very important, yet often neglected, part of recovery from injury.

First let’s address what happens after an injury. Inflammation immediately occurs to stimulate the healing process. Your cells are producing chemicals to clean up the area and prevent further injury. Inflammation can last several days to weeks, however, excess or long-lasting inflammation is not a good thing. Small injuries can become chronic if we do not take care of our bodies. Unfortunately, many foods we eat cause inflammation within our bodies that slow the healing process.

While you are recovering from your injury, eat foods that are wholesome and natural. Find high-quality meats, fruits, and vegetables that will support your body while it repairs the injury. Avoid processed foods. Watch out for excess dairy, a food group known to cause inflammation. Limit alcohol consumption, as it has been shown to slow healing following muscle injury. Supplement your diet with lean protein to maintain muscle mass, especially when your injury requires surgery and/or immobilization.

So how do you know if you are eating the right foods? Consider keeping a food diary. Take notes of what foods make your feel better (or worse). Do you notice that a particular food increases the pain in your injury? If so, avoid it. Bring your food diary to your appointments to discuss your diet with a healthcare professional.

If your injury causes you to go from very active to less active, then you are going to be expending less energy each day. Thus, you may want to consider lowering your caloric intake to prevent weight gain. If possible, find another type of physical activity to maintain your cardiorespiratory fitness, even if it’s just walking. Lastly, ensure you are getting plenty sleep in order to give your body the energy it needs to recover.

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association follows a “food first” philosophy: look for ways to supplement your diet through wholesome foods, such as high-quality proteins and vegetables, rather than pills and ergogenic aids.

Always talk to your doctor before adding supplements to your diet. Be careful of products that promise faster healing. Just as there is no quick fix to enhance performance, there is no quick fix to recovery from injury. Recovery takes time, so let’s provide our bodies the best possible environment through a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle. MUSC’s comprehensive sports medicine team of doctors, athletic trainers, and physical therapists can provide the guidance you need following your injury. Ask how you can improve your diet and lifestyle to promote recovery following your sports injury.


Buell JL, Franks R, Ransone J, Powers ME, Laquale KM, Carlson-Phillips A. National Athletic Trainers’ Association position statement: Evaluation of dietary supplements for performance nutrition. Journal of Athletic Training. 2013;48(1):124–136.

Turocy PS, DePalma BF, Horswill CA, et al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association position statement: Safe weight loss and maintainance practices in sport and exercise. Journal of Athletic Training. 2011:46(3):322-336.

Guest Post by:

Richard Mahieu, ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine


Physical activity is something we hear is an important aspect of a healthy life, and the research strongly supports this point. Unfortunately, one of the risks of an active lifestyle is injury. Whether it is an injury that happens quickly because of an accident or one that occurs over time because of of age or overuse, injury often forces us to put physical activity on the back burner. The good news is that with some internet browsing and a little ingenuity, most injuries will not stop you from maintaining your active lifestyle.

Recently I took a trip to Georgia for work and one of the first things I came across was a 4 mile long clay running path. Initially, I was very excited because the track was close to where I was staying. Unfortunately, after utilizing the track for nearly two weeks, I began to develop shin splints. After taking a week off from running, I was fed up with the lack of cardio in my life, so I began to bike or swim in place of the running. This routine continued for about six weeks until I was comfortable enough to attempt the impact of running again. I slowly progressed into greater distances and intensity until I was back to where I wanted to be.

I use this personal story as an example of getting around an injury to maintain physical activity. Similar activities can be used for injuries like minor ankle sprains, runner’s knee or stress fractures. The same thought process can be used for injuries to other body parts. I had a soldier a few years ago who suffered a sprained wrist after a fall. The soldier was adamant about continuing a workout routine that included many forms of pushups. Unfortunately, with the wrist sprain, pushups were extremely painful. We put our heads together and found that if using pushup bars or performing pushups on fists did not result in pain or discomfort. The soldier was ecstatic to be able to resume a regimen and to heal at the same time.

I have had athletes doing core calisthenics while wearing a boot or an elbow immobilizer. If they cannot use their foot, I have them use their arms and core. If they cannot use their arm, then they will be activating their legs and core. If they have abdominal injuries, then we can work on their extremities. There are many fun and effective exercises to do while protecting and recovering from injuries. Just make sure you review these activities with your physician before trying something too demanding!


Guest Post by:
Stephanie Davey, ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer
MUSC Sports Medicine

It’s that time of year again.  The transition between fall and winter sports is upon us.  Thousands of high school athletes will be trading in their cleats for court or mat shoes.  While, single sport specialization has reduced the number of multi sport athletes, there are still plenty of kids that need to balance the demands of multiple sports in a year.  While, high school athletes playing multiple sports is ultimately a good thing, special care needs to be taken to make the transition smooth.  Coaches and parents need to be aware of these demands and find a way to help their athletes cope.

First and foremost, the health and safety of the athlete is priority.  Any injuries that occurred during the fall sport should be 100% healed.  It doesn’t matter if the injury was a grade one ankle sprain or a concussion, the injury needs to be healed.  If this does not happen, the injury will either get worse or will lead to another injury else where in the chain.  Secondly, if the fall sport was a contact sport, the athlete should have enough time to get over any soreness or stiffness.  The timeline for that is dependent on each athlete and the position and minutes that they played during the fall season.  If an athlete isn’t allowed to be fully recovered after the fall season, there is a higher chance that they will be injured at some point during the fall season.  If they are having trouble getting over their fall injuries, contact your high school’s athletic trainer.

Mental health is just as important to the success of an athlete.  Playing sports while getting a high school education is a time consuming process for American teenagers.  They also apparently enjoy having a social life!  While all this teaches our high school student athletes to manage their time, it can be very stressful.   The athlete should be completely caught up in all their school work.  This will not only make the teachers happy, it will lower stress levels by having everything under control.  Also, it can help to prevent burnout  if an athlete can have a few days to themselves after school.

It’s hard to determine how much time off each student athlete will need between each sport.  Parents, coaches, athletic trainers and the student athlete all need to be on the same page when determining time off.  The health of each student athlete is always priority number one!

Dr. Harris Slone

Guest Post by:

Harris S. Slone, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Orthopaedics - Sports Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina

Each year up to 6 million children and adolescents participate in organized youth baseball, and up to 14 million may play some form of recreational or unorganized baseball.1 During this time of year, many of our youngsters here in Charleston will dust off the cleats, pull the glove out of the closet, and hit the baseball diamond.  Youth baseball is a great sport, which helps teach our rising superstars teamwork, discipline, and helps keep them fit and active.  

In general, youth baseball is a very safe sport.   It is estimated that between 2-8% of youth baseball players sustain some sort of injury each year.1  Serious injuries are uncommon however, and generally are acute injuries from direct player-to-player contact, bat-to-player contact, and ball-to-player contact injuries.  Efforts to minimize serious injuries have been employed, including the use of specialized protective equipment, softer and lighter baseballs, rule modifications, elimination of “on-deck” areas, and dugout screening.

In contrast to acute and serious injuries, which are relatively uncommon, overuse injuries of the shoulder and elbow are very common in little leaguers.  Pitchers are most susceptible to overuse injuries of the shoulder an elbow, given the repetitive stress of repeated pitches.  Younger (skeletally immature) patients are at a higher risk of repetitive use injuries, compared to older players.

Experts in orthopaedic surgery have extensively researched youth baseball shoulder and elbow injuries to identify risk factors, and prevent future injuries, and guidelines have been published to minimize risks of injury. Studies have shown that pitch type, pitch count, number of innings pitched, and other positions played may influence a players injury risk. 

Current recommendations include avoiding pitching for two teams during the same season or overlapping seasons, or playing pitcher and catcher in the same game.  Players should avoid overhead throwing for at least 2 months per year, and avoid pitching for at least 4 months per year.  No player should pitch more than 100 innings per year.2 Pitching biomechanics must be established at a young age.  Once players demonstrate good pitching biomechanics, fastballs and change-ups can be introduced.  Curveballs and sliders have been shown to increase the risk of injury in young pitchers.  Most experts agree that curveballs should not be thrown before the age of 14, and sliders should not be thrown before 16. More information and guidelines for pitch counts, and recommended number of rest days between pitching can be found here.  If you or your little leaguer notice any pain in the throwing arm or shoulder, fatigue, or declining pitch velocity, seek professional medical attention from a sports medicine specialist to ensure a long an healthy baseball career.


1.     Matta PA, Myers JB, Sawicki GS. Factors Influencing Ball-Player Impact Probability in Youth Baseball. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 2015;7(2):154–160.

2.     Fleisig GS, Andrews JR. Prevention of elbow injuries in youth baseball pitchers. Sports Health. 2012;4(5):419–424.




Dr. Harris S. Slone is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports-related injuries, such as injuries to the ACL, ankle, knee, and shoulder. He also treats ankle instability, rotator cuff disorders, and shoulder instability. He completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy at Emory University following his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina. During his fellowship, Dr. Slone was a team physician for the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. He is accepting new patients 10 years of age and older at MUSC Health locations in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, and North Charleston.


Guest Post by:
Shane K. Woolf, MD
Associate Professor of Orthopaedics
Chief of Sports Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina

With New Year’s here, avid skiers and snowboarders are eager to enjoy time on powder in the coming months. The snow base is growing at many resorts around the country, which means alpine athletes will be flocking to their favorite slopes to enjoy the thrill and freedom of gliding down a mountain. For many, just taking a vacation week every year or two is the extent of their time on skis or snowboard. Others are fortunate enough to get time on the mountain regularly. In either event, avoiding injury is the best way to maximize your powder days and to make the best of your cherished opportunities to enjoy the mountain each year.


Off-season conditioning

One of the most important things to consider prior to a planned ski/snowboard trip is being prepared medically and physically. Chronic health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and cardiopulmonary issues should be assessed and optimized by your primary care provider to assure safe participation. Conditioning begins with a dry land training routine. This should include cardiovascular work like running, cycling, or elliptical and should be performed at least three times per week for 30-60 minutes. Weight training for power and muscle stamina/control is also necessary. Hip, core, quadriceps and hamstring strengthening are each important and should include some negative (eccentric) strengthening work. Additional power work including isometrics and box jumps will be beneficial for those long days on the mountain in different terrain. While preseason exercise does not prevent injury or lower risk significantly1, it is essential to make your trip pleasurable, to ensure that you don’t wear out as quickly, and to reduce soreness and fatigue in subsequent days.


Slope Side Preparation

Sunscreen and eye protection are often neglected during trip preparation, but are imperative to reduce the risk of UV light injury to the corneas and skin. Most people forget that the impact of UV light can be heightened at altitude, by reflection off of the snow, and also by concurrent wind and cold damage to exposed tissues. Applying sunscreen to exposed skin through the day and wearing UV protective sunglasses or goggles can help avoid painful burns. Helmet use may reduce the risk of traumatic head injury2,3,4,5, which can have grave consequences. Brain injury can occur whenever the skier/snowboarder’s head impacts the ground, another person, trees/rocks, lift towers, or other exposed objects. Neck injury is not necessarily reduced with use of helmets and is more common with more aggressive activity, such as off-piste and glades.5 Other important equipment related factors include proper fitting for your skis or snowboard and making sure bindings on your skis are properly adjusted (DIN) to suit your size, skiing style and skill level.


For those visiting the mountains of the western US or Canada, altitude can also affect breathing, hydration, and recovery from exertion. Be cautious with alcohol consumption, maintain adequate water intake, and, if you experience issues with breathing at altitude, consider going down to the base lodge or even further down the mountain until your breathing recovers. High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) can occur at the higher altitude resorts, particularly when visiting from a sea-level hometown. This condition can fatally impair breathing and oxygen exchange, but is remedied in its early stages by simply getting oneself to a lower altitude.


Skiing vs Snowboarding Injury

Chest and abdominal blunt trauma, including splenic injury, are more common in snowboarders but usually these are nonoperative problems. Wrist and upper extremity injuries are substantially more common in this group. Skiers, conversely, are at greater risk for lower extremity injury, often involving the lower leg and knee. Head and spine injuries tend to be evenly distributed among the skiers and boarders.6


While injuries can certainly occur during a skiing or snowboarding outing, simple preparations and precautions can make your trip safer and more comfortable.  If you do experience an injury, or have an existing problem you would like to have assessed before a trip, contact a sports medicine specialist like those in the MUSC Health Sports Medicine program today.




1 Johnson et al, Sports Health (2009)

2 Sulheim et al, JAMA (2006)

3 Levy et al, Journal of Trauma (2002)

4 Hagel et al, British Medical Journal (2005)

5 Mueller et al, Epidemiology (2008)

5 Haider et al, Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery (2012)

6 Sacco et al, Journal of Trauma (1998)


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