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Guest Post by:
Brittany Darling
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

Each year I receive similar comments from my student-athletes; “I just had my physical last year” and “It’s not like anything has changed.” I understand the frustration of being forced to go to the doctor when you are not feeling ill. It seems like an annoying requirement by the school to make you fill out all of the same paperwork every single year just to be allowed to play soccer. I am here to tell you that, believe it or not, obtaining an annual physical is extremely important to your health.

Let’s start with the basics: height and weight. The adolescent athlete should notice a steady increase in both height and weight every year. If there is a period of time where there is no steady increase present, or perhaps and extreme increase, this could be indicative of a growth problem. It could also indicate nutritional deficiencies that would be difficult to diagnose on your own, or growth plate issues in a growing child.

The next common evaluation is the vision test. This test is valuable at any age, considering vision alterations occur at different times in life for everyone. Sometimes, especially for a child, it may not be so obvious that they are beginning to struggle with their vision. It may present itself in the form of headaches or even disinterest in the classroom. Performing an evaluative vision exam annually can detect even minor changes before they worsen from being untreated.

The next, and probably most important set of tests includes blood pressure and heart rate. Your heart rate is how many times the heartbeats within one minute. Normal values range from 60 to100 beats per minute. An athlete in very good shape may exhibit a lower heart rate of about 40 beats per minute. A heart rate skewed way above or way below these values would be considered reason for concern and possibly an underlying heart condition. Your blood pressure is taken with a blood pressure cuff that gets really tight momentarily, and then relaxes. The purpose of this is to measure the pressure within the blood vessels. You want a certain amount of pressure because this is what is moving the blood throughout your body. Normal blood pressure is typically 120/80. Any value much higher or lower for either value should be monitored, and if it remains abnormal could warrant further evaluation. Most commonly it will be a high blood pressure, which is referred to as hypertension. Hypertension puts an individual at risk for many cardiovascular diseases.

Aside from these specific tests, the physician performing the physical will most likely listen to your heart and lungs for abnormalities, which could include a murmur in the heart or crackles in the lungs. This is a way to detect major illnesses before they worsen or have a negative effect on the athlete. Overall, there is a reason to every individual test you are asked to perform at your physical, with the main goal being prevention and early detection of an illness or medical condition. Although this article focuses on the adolescent athlete, it should be noted that even adults can benefit from an annual physical, however more extensive tests may be a part of your exam as you grow older. MUSC Health offers an annual free physical to the schools that it is in contract with to help facilitate the completion of these physicals. Make sure to schedule your annual physical before the next school year!

Guest Post by:
Amanda Peterson, RD LD & Molly Jones, RD LD

March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme encourages us to “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”

Throughout National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides online resources o help people make small “shifts” toward healthier eating patterns.Nutrition Month logo

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we want to provide you with one of our favorite local resources. We often hear people say, “I know what I should eat, I just don’t always eat it.” We recognize there are many barriers that can make healthy eating challenging: lack of time, easy access to high-calorie foods, and the overall cost of nutrient-rich foods.

To overcome these barriers, we often recommend planning ahead for meals and snacks, shopping from a grocery list, and devoting time to meal prep. Despite the best laid plans and intentions, sometimes we need to outsource some of that work to make healthy eating MORE CONVENIENT.
Enter, Clean Eatz!

Clean Eatz offers a café with quick-serve meal options for healthy eating on-the-go, in addition to more structured meal plans. The meal plans can help you to make healthy choices during the week, and take the guesswork AND TIME out of meal planning. 

As dietitians, we LOVE the fact that all of the meals are low in calories and fat, have no added sugar or sodium, and are actually AFFORDABLE!

On Tuesday, March  21st from 5:30 to7 pm we sampled some Clean Eatz meal plans and learned how they fit into your healthy lifestyle before or after weight loss surgery.

Guest post by:
Lindsey Clarke
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

April in Charleston. This statement could mean any number of things…ridiculous pollen counts, insanely unpredictable weather, or getting yourself ready for the Cooper River Bridge Run. For the past 40 years, tens of thousands of runners, novice to seasoned, have descended upon the Holy City to run across one of the most iconic bridges in the U.S. Running a 10K is no joke. Sure, there are always a few who wing it and decide at the last minute to run, but regardless if you’ve run this race 40 times or if this year is your first time, establishing and following some simple pre-race guidelines can help make this race a fantastic experience.


Nutrition practices leading up to race day are very important; food fuels you at a cellular level, allowing bodily systems and organs to function at optimal levels, which is critical to your performance. Your body works like a machine, so putting quality nutrition in produces a quality race result. Over the course of your training, you should be fine-tuning the nutrition plan that work best for you. It is not wise to experiment with foods the week before and on race day. Two to three days out, focus on consuming complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. The complex carbs help establish a good glycogen store in your muscles for race day. Try to stick to whole, natural foods, as these are more bio-available to your body. Avoid high fat foods, as these will slow down your digestion and make you sluggish. The day before, switch to more simple, easily digestible carbs. Try to eat your last major meal 12-15 hours before your race. A common misconception is that it's a good idea to load up load up on carbs the night before. Consuming a sensible, easily digestible meal is ideal; too much food will sit in your gut and increase the chances of experiencing gastrointestinal distress during the race. Allow yourself time in the morning to eat a light breakfast such as a peanut butter bagel, or yogurt with granola to stave off hunger and avoid “bottoming out”.


Another extremely important and often forgotten component of pre-race preparation is proper hydration practices. For longer races, drinking a glass of water with breakfast just isn’t going to cut it. Many runners underestimate how much fluid they actually lose during their runs and don't drink enough while they're running or after they finish. The result? Dehydration. This is detrimental to performance and dangerous for your health. Optimal hydration is achieved by planning ahead. In the days leading up to your race, you’ll know you’re properly hydrated if you void a fairly large volume of pale urine at least six times a day. On the day of, drink 8 to 16 ounces of water one to two hours before the race, and then another 4 to 8 ounces just before. If you’re a fan, you can also use a sports beverage to supplement your water intake. Consumption will vary depending upon the length of your race. While it is important to drink plenty of fluids, be careful not to over-hydrate as this can lead to serious electrolyte imbalances and muscular dysfunction. Finally, save those beers or champagne as a congratulatory treat after you cross that finish line…alcohol can increase your chances of becoming dehydrated, and no one wants to run six miles feeling like a left over party favor.


For longer runs, a common practice in training is to incorporate a taper, or a decrease in mileage leading up to race day. For many runners, the decreased running during the taper can be very unnerving. You want to avoid replacing your runs with lots of cross-training. The taper is designed to allow your body to recuperate, rebuild, and be primed for race day. Last ditch efforts of adding extra cross-training can actually cause your fitness level (that you’ve worked really hard to achieve, btw) to dip and actually lessen your race-day potential. Enjoy the taper. If you feel the need to “do more” try incorporating yoga; the stretching aspect will be beneficial and it will allow you to focus on getting mentally prepared for the race as well. Getting quality sleep in the days leading up to your race is also very important. Pre-race anxieties can cause some restlessness, but try to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t burn the midnight oil, but also don’t go to bed too early; try to time your bedtime so you can wake two hours prior to the race.


It is a good rule of thumb to have your running gear planned out and slightly broken in before your race. Knowing which shirt, shorts, socks, etc. work best for you ahead of time will prevent any surprise discomforts such as blisters, chafing, and other wardrobe malfunctions from popping up during the race. Keep an eye on the weather as well. If there is anything consistent about Charleston weather in the spring it is that it is wildly inconsistent! Cold and rainy one day, balmy and beautiful the next; wear layers appropriate for the weather. It’s always a good idea to have everything you need for race day laid out and ready to go. The morning of, you should be calm and confident, not anxiety stricken wondering where your other shoe is or if you've forgotten your race number or timing chip.

You made the commitment. You’ve put in the work. Don’t blow it in the days leading up by slacking in your routine. The attention to detail leading up to your race will definitely take a bit of planning, but in the end, all of your discipline and hard work will most certainly pay off!

The MUSC Health shoulder and elbow team is constantly working to provide the best orthopaedic care for our community by staying up to date on the current research and leading the field with their own studies right here in Charleston,  SC. This week the team is traveling to San Diego, California for the Annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to both learn and teach about the future of orthopaedic care. One area of research we are actively studying is shoulder replacement surgery as treatment for individuals with debilitating shoulder arthritis pain.

AAOS logoShoulder surgeon Dr. Richard Friedman presented a study of 238 patients to help determine the optimal design for a total shoulder replacement. In a total shoulder replacement, the socket of the “ball and socket” shoulder joint is replaced with an artificial new surface. Friedman et al. analyzed patient outcomes to conclude that a hybrid cage glenoid component results in fewer radiolucent lines and less intra-operative blood loss than the traditional cemented glenoids. Fewer radiolucent lines and less blood loss means better bone fixation and improved longevity of the shoulder replacement.

Your shoulder and elbow team prides itself on being at the forefront of orthopaedic research, as this study is just one of the many presented at the AAOS. Our number one priority is providing the best care for the greater Charleston community, so if you or a loved one has a shoulder or elbow concern be sure to make an appointment with a member of the team.

In honor of Kidney Health Month, MUSC Health and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) are working together to increase kidney health awareness throughout South Carolina. With the increase in diabetes and high blood pressure – two major kidney disease risk factors – kidney disease is on the rise. South Carolina ranks among the highest for those being treated for kidney failure and awaiting lifesaving transplants.

Quick Kidney Facts:

  • One in three American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.
  • 26 million Americans have kidney disease –– and most don't know it.
  • High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney disease.
  • Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.

Kidney Health Awareness Event Calendar:

World Kidney Day – Thursday, March 9, 2017

  • Wear orange to show your support of Kidney Health Awareness!
  • The NKF will be hosting an information table and kidney screenings at the S.C. Statehouse

Kidney Walks

More than 100 Kidney Walks take place across the U.S. each year, at­tracting over 125,000 walkers, 6,000 teams and raising over eight million dollars to sup­port NKF's early detection, awareness, and education programs. MUSC is supporting all South Carolina walks and encourages participation from our patients, staff and surrounding communities. More than 80 cents of every dollar donated directly supports NKF programs and services.

Charleston Kidney Walk
Sunday, March 12, 2017
More information about the Charleston Kidney Walk

Columbia Kidney Walk
Sunday, March 26, 2017
More information about the Columbia Kidney Walk

Greenville Kidney Walk
Sunday, April 22, 2017
More information about the Greenville Kidney Walk


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