September, 2009

Overhead Athletes and Shoulders

September 29, 2009

By Dr. Johanna Lelke, DC, ART, Graston Swimmer_Numbers_2 Are you a baseball, football, tennis, volleyball player or swimmer? If so, you all have something in common: you’re more prone to shoulder injuries. A few key elements in your shoulder biomechanics----apart from your technique----can make you more susceptible to conditions like shoulder impingement, SLAP lesions, and rotator cuff tears. On the other hand, the more you know about your shoulder movement, the better able you are to prevent these injuries. Your shoulder is the most complex joint in the body, and the most inherently unstable. For that reason, more than a dozen muscles wrap and stabilize the shoulder girdle. When you serve a tennis ball, for example, a major force on your ball-and-socket joint is pulling apart or distraction. The rotator cuff muscles work the hardest in resisting distraction, thereby keeping your arm bone connected to your scapula. Repetitive throws or serves can put a demand on these small cuff muscles that is disproportionate to their size. Early signs of rotator cuff fatigue and muscle imbalances can be evaluated before symptoms appear. Shoulder impingement and rotator cuff tears are probably the most common shoulder injuries in throwing athletes. USA Baseball has responded to the prevalence of shoulder injuries in youth pitchers by instilling caps on pitches per game and days of rest between games. It’s particularly important for talented kid athletes not to over-train in throwing or serving because they can also get bony changes that affect their shoulder joint throughout life.

Why We Lose Muscle Mass as We Age

September 28, 2009

Senior RunnerI figured that would get your attention. Who wants to lose muscle mass and strength? And let's face it, everything seems to get that much harder as we age. A new article from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2009, researched WHY we lose muscle size and strength as we age. They found that it has to do with how our muscles respond to insulin. Insulin drives amino acids which are the building blocks of protein into our muscles. They studied the muscle's response to insulin in 25 year olds and 60 year olds. Muscles responded to insulin much more effectively in the 25 year olds than the 60 year olds, thus concluding that age prevents muscles from responding to insulin and therefore, prevents the muscles from taking in more amino acids to build muscle. They had another finding: Three exercise sessions a week for over 20 weeks increased blood flow to the legs in the older subjects, reversing muscle wasting. We all know that eating a high carbohydrate rich meal will raise our insulin levels in our blood. However, our muscles are much more sensitive to insulin during a workout and within a half hour after exercise. An article in the Journal of Applied Physiology in May, 2009 found that eating a high carbohydrate, high protein meal within half an hour after exercise raises insulin levels in the blood and increases amino acid absorption into muscle. We can apply these findings to all ages. We should exercise at least three times a week and eat a high protein high carbohydrate meal within a half hour of exercise to maintain muscle mass and strength.

Research Finds Hip Exercises May Help the Feet!

September 22, 2009

Runner's feet Here at Innersport, we have known for years that the feet affect the pelvis and the pelvis affect the feet and the knee just gets caught in between. Many of you have probably wondered why we give you hip exercises when you have foot, ankle, or achilles pain. Earlier this year researchers published an article in Clinical Biomechanics studying the effect of hip exercises on lower extremity biomechanics during running. They analyzed 15 female runner's lower extremity (hip, knee, and foot) biomechanics before, at mid-point, and after 6 weeks of hip strengthening exercises using 3D high speed motion capture. They found an increase in hip strength and changes in hip ranges of motion, as expected. Interestingly, they found rearfoot inversion (which is the heel rolling outwards- think of a typical ankle sprain) to be decreased by 57% and knee abduction (which is the knee moving outwards or laterally) by 10%. We can deduce that the hip may be able to CONTROL excessive movement of the knee and foot, movements that can often lead to ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, and back injuries. Another interesting finding is that they used CLOSED-KINETIC CHAIN exercises to strengthen the hip. This means the foot was in contact with the ground while they moved the joints above (ie. lunges with a trunk twist.) An open-chain kinetic exercise would be the foot moving off the ground with a fixed pelvis (ie. clam opener, lateral leg raises.) A further study would be to look at open-chain hip exercise's effect on the lower extremity biomechanics, which are commonly prescribed in rehabilitation settings. I've often quoted one of my chiropractic instructors in various newsletter articles and blogs and I'll quote Dr. Walton again here: "If you step on a cat's tail, does the tail scream?" As a sports medicine provider, we are detectives of pain and the causes of injuries. In repetitive motion injuries, we often have to look beyond the site of pain to find the biomechanical dysfunction responsible for the injury. Innersport and Press Play Analysis use various dynamic and biomechanical tests as well as video analysis of sport to determine the causes of dysfunction and injuries. However, finding the dysfunction and culprit of injury is one thing, correcting it is another. Therefore, we use closed-chain kinetic exercises to functionally improve biomechanics of the lower extremity for runners, golfers, tennis, and all other closed-chain kinetic activities. Feel free to email Dr. Jess at for any questions you may have regarding this research article or pain you experience in the lower extremity, pelvis, or back. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2009 Jan;24(1):26-34. Epub 2008 Nov 14.

Innersport’s Cycling Club Raises Over $11,000 for MS.

September 10, 2009

BBG team pic Yes, you heard right, Innersport and Press Play's Cycling Club, The Berkeley Billy Goats, raised over $11,000 for Multiple Sclerosis.  The Billy Goats will be riding 150 miles from San Francisco to Healdsburg in Sonoma County (Waves to Wine) this weekend.  The Bay Area event has raised over $1,000,000 to date, and we are proud to be a major contributor.  We've spent all summer training, prepping, fundraising, and recovering to prepare for this beautiful ride benefiting MS. We had some fun along the way.  Imagery Winery generously hosted us for some grilled pizzas, wine tasting, and outdoor entertainment after a beautiful ride in Sonoma's Wine Country.  Other rides included treks up to the top of Mt. Diablo, beautiful Lucas Valley, Tomales Bay and of course, our very own east bay hills.  Clif Bar donated our training ride nourishment, Luna Bars. Berkeley Billy Goats will sport their very own jerseys this weekend on the ride, compliments of Innersport and Press Play.  If you would like to purchase a jersey, please contact for details.  Shorts are available, too, but in limited quantities. Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness.  It is thought that MS is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body thinks of it's own self as foreign and incorrectly attacks it's own tissues.  There are approximately 400,000 people with MS in the United States today, with over 2 million people affected worldwide.  Innersport and Press Play are honored to have an opportunity to contribute to research to learn more on how to stop MS.  To learn more about MS and how you can help, click here.

Ironman World Championship Kona

September 3, 2009


ART founder Mike Leahy, DC, ART

As many of you know, I volunteer my services at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI. I am finalizing my arrangements for this October, gearing up for a week of ART (Active Release Techniques) and rehab treatments to fine tune these "triathlete machines" for the race of their lives. And, I mean machines! When we perform ART on the athletes, it's similar to making a tiny adjustment in a race car, a little bit can go a long way. Occasionally, we get injuries that occur the week before the race in Hawaii, whether it be a cyclist biking into a suddenly opening car door, a cyclist getting hit by a car, a runner spraining an ankle, or an athlete sitting too long on a plane. ART is there to patch them up and get them back out on the course. We work every morning for the entire week leading up to the event.

Race Day is a long day for the athletes, as well as for ART practitioners. We start off the day at 5AM treating last minute injuries. Then we work the Transition 2 tent, between the bike and the run, performing ART on the athletes when needed as well as helping the athletes prepare for the run portion of the race. Finally, we head to the finish line and "catch" the athletes and then triage those who need immediate medical care. Nothing is more rewarding than having an athlete you treated all week having a PR finish and then giving you the most sweaty hug at the finish line. Makes you want to do an Ironman yourself (until you see the med tent.)

I found this video on You Tube of Julie Moss' heartbreaking, yet inspiring finish of Ironman Kona 1982. Julie Moss' incredible act of perseverance may have been THE event that sparked the popularity of triathlons. Take a look:

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