Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ligament Tears of the Knee

Volleyball players tend to have a lot of jumping and cutting implemented into their sport. Whether it is going up for a block, jumping up for a volley serve, or squatting down low for a dig, knees can be stressed to their limit. As mentioned in my previous blogs the past few weeks, meniscus tears and patellar tendinitis are just a few of the injuries that the knee can sustain; ligament damage can be just as detrimental.
The knee is supported by four ligaments: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL).2 Each ligament has a specific job in how it supports a particular movement of the knee so when one ligament is damaged, one motion of the knee becomes unstable. Out of all four ligaments the most common one to tear is the ACL.2
Tearing the ACL can happen from either twisting your knee while your foot is planted, hyperextending your knee with another force targeting the outside of the knee, or possibly even stopping too quickly to cut in another direction.2 If the ACL tears there is usually a loud “pop” that is heard or felt, followed by severe pain and swelling.2 A visit to the doctor is necessary to decipher the extent of the tear which will reveal whether surgery is necessary or if general physical therapy can help.2
According to one article, ACL tears make up 14% of volleyball injuries during competition and that athletes are twice as likely to tear their ACL in a game rather than practice.1 The article also stated that 70% of the ACL injuries are from non-contact mechanisms; instead of contact with another player, the ACL is damaged by none other than landing, mechanics, and overall stability of the knee.1
In summary, ACL tears are one of the toughest injuries to return from based on the recovery time (months) and volleyball players are no exception to obtaining this injury. Proper ACL preventative programs allow teams and individuals to help strengthen the muscles around the knee to decrease the likelihood of such a shattering injury.

1. Digging in to prevent ACL injuries in volleyball. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2015.
2. Knee Ligament Injuries: ACL, PCL, and More. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2015.

Meniscus Injuries in Volleyball Players

Due to repetitive jumping in the sport of volleyball it is easy to completely wear down the knee over time. Considering that the knee has multiple bones, ligaments, bursae, muscles and meniscus it is hard to argue the amount of stability that is provided for the knee. Dependent on the body type of the athlete and possible genetic abnormalities, every knee is more or less susceptible for injury.
The menisci of the knee are considered to be “shock absorbers” or cushions between the distal end of the femur and the proximal end of the tibia.1 Menisci are made of cartilage material and they sit between the two bones to provide a smooth, fluid movement as the knee goes through its full range of motion on a daily basis. In each knee there are two menisci, one on the medial side and one on the lateral side.1 Due to improper landing mechanics when jumping or cutting the wrong way while running or stopping, the menisci are vulnerable to damage or tearing.1
The most common way of tearing the meniscus is by twisting or turning the upper leg while the lower leg and foot are still firmly planted on the ground; this allows the femur to get caught on the meniscus to create a partial or full tear while the knee is momentarily “out of alignment.”1 The most common signs and symptoms pertaining to meniscus tears are swelling, clicking, popping, locking of the knee, and severe pain through the range of motion where the femur catches onto the tear.1
In volleyball players this is likely to be seen if a player comes down from a missed block, feet planted on the ground but twists her knee to go chase after the ball. In one study it showed that meniscal tears make up about 15% of indoor volleyball injuries.2 The offensive players in volleyball are more likely to sustain a meniscus injury by the excessive jumping while spiking, blocking, serving, and overall agility that is needed to get back and forth right by the net.
In summary, meniscus injuries are not that easy to deal with but they are manageable. Whether it requires surgery or not, you have to be prepared to deal with the pain that can come at the turn of a dime.
  1. Injury Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2015.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hydrating a Runner's Body… Are You Doing It Right?
Runners and hydration is a pivotal key to becoming a strong and healthy runner. For endurance athletes dehydrations can cause an increase in body temperature, heart rate, perceived exertion, and decrease performance as much as 25%.1 When you first start hydrating your body, your body does not actually retain the water until about 48 hours of drinking water. Hydration isn’t a quick fix it is a constant effort and cannot be ignored.

Keys to hydration: be sure and take in the proper amount of electrolytes versus water do not overload on water this can be very dangerous to your health and can also cause a decrease in performance. It’s important to test new hydration strategies to find exactly what works for you specifically. What I have learned through personal experiences is drinking half my body weight in water and then having roughly 32 ounces of both orange juice and a sports drink of some sort. The orange juice has vitamin C and iron and that can help boost your iron levels and prevent anemia which is common for distance runners. Sports drinks are also important seeing that runners will be losing excessive amount of fluids during exercise it is a good idea to replenish electrolytes and sugars. Advocare rehydrate is my go to drink as it does so well rehydrating and refueling your body and it has substantial all natural sugars.  

Other valuable things to drink to aid hydration and recovery. Chocolate milk is excellent to drink for post workouts with the protein and sugars loaded in each individual glass.3 Beet juice is also great for after tough speed workouts where your body is experiencing more than normal inflammation, beet juice reduces inflammation and speeds of recovery. Hydration is very important as a distance runner it can be compared to keeping oil in your car, without water you will never reach your maximum potential as a runner.


  1. Result Filters. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2015,from
  2. The Very Best Beverages for Runners. (2014, July 8). Retrieved October 5, 2015, from
  3. 6 Hydration Secrets for Top Performance. (2013, July 15). Retrieved October 5, 2015, from  

A Holistic View on ADHD

      Focusing on how to live a proper lifestyle can help manage ADHD. Starting with nutrition, the average diet is particularly harmful for someone with ADHD. It weakens the focus and decision making that the person is trying to strengthen, is low in nutrients, high in fat.  A better alternative is a healthy diet based on whole foods and plenty of protein. Also the ADHD brain is short on stimulants. Certain stimulants known as brain neurotransmitters activate the executive functioning in the brain. Proteins, referred to by researchers as "amino acids," pave the way for those key transmitters to do their work in the body. Catecholamine is catalysts that help the body form the stimulants dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Also important is the level of sugar in the blood stream. High glycemic responses contribute to an unstable blood glucose, which does not allow for a steady, stable supply of energy for the brain and nervous system.
Helpful Diet strategies:
* Include protein in every meal, especially breakfast.
* Eat lots of Vitamin C. (It also helps modulate the action of dopamine,).
* Be sure to include Vitamin B-12 and folic acid, which improve cognition and help to prevent cell death in the brain.
    * Avoid junk foods and processed foods.
These foods quickly increase sugar in the blood.
Additional guidelines for keeping the mind alert and active are as follows:
* Increase fiber, which improves digestion and helps avoid the effects of too much sugar.
* Eat whole foods, not processed foods (which often have white flour, trans fats, and chemicals that the person with ADHD is looking to minimize).
* Purchase food from the periphery of the grocery store, avoiding inside aisles where most of the processed food is displayed.
      Food that enters the bloodstream slowly--true of both fiber and whole foods--helps keep balance in the system and reduces the distractions related to feeling hungry. Favor good fats, such as those in nuts. For example, almonds increase metabolism, which also helps people lose weight. Eat breakfast, which evens out food intake and improves attention, particularly in the classroom.
               Sleep Habits:
Sleep habits are also part of a healthy lifestyle when addressing symptoms of ADHD. Plain and simple, most people in general just do not get enough sleep.
* Stimulant induced insomnia, because self-medicating with soda or coffee makes it difficult to sleep at night.
   * RLS (restless leg syndrome), discomfort in the legs that keeps a person awake.
   Instruction from a psychologist can help alleviate sleep problems and can bring in the mind-clearing, energy-improving benefits of good sleep. Certain natural substances can help as well as herbal teas, which include spearmint, chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, passionflower, and hops. Strategies for good sleep hygiene include:
  * Avoiding daytime napping.
* Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
* Not going to bed too hungry or too full.
   * Having a good sleep environment (temperature, light, noise, bed).
* Learning relaxation techniques like breathing techniques or body scanning strategies are a useful approach to falling asleep.
              Exercise and Activity:
Another natural approach that strengthens focus and improves overall health is exercise, which has the added benefit of acting as an antidepressant. Exercise builds mental endurance and reduces mental fatigue. Also, exercise is a great treatment for an ADHD emergency. A quick burst of exercise is like pushing the reset button on your brain. An important point when considering the benefits of exercise for someone with ADHD is that children with ADHD should not miss recess or be denied sports activities.
The body is a wonderful resource and given the right guidance and healthy lifestyle, it can work wonders on its own to alleviate those conditions in the brain that cause difficulties for those with ADHD.


Archer, T., & Kostrzewa, R. M. (2012). Physical exercise alleviates ADHD symptoms: regional deficits and development trajectory. Neurotoxicity Research21(2), 195-209. doi:10.1007/s12640-011-9260-0

Martí, L. F. (2010). Effectiveness of nutritional interventions on the functioning of children with ADHD and/or ASD. An updated review of research evidence. Boletín De La Asociación Médica De Puerto Rico102(4), 31-42.
Waldon, J., Vriend, J., Davidson, F., & Corkum, P. (2015). Sleep and Attention in Children With ADHD and Typically Developing Peers. Journal Of Attention Disorders,

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Music In The Workplace

Listening to music is a big part of many peoples’ lives. Regardless of the genre, music is listened to throughout the day all over the world and is one of the most popular forms of entertainment today. Music is listened to on the way to work, at work, to workout to, or to help one fall asleep. However, one problem in business is choosing the right music to play.

There are many different ways to broadcast music in a facility. A popular option taken by many organizations is to have their own personal station that is run by companies such as Neptune (music provider for the Tarleton Recreation Center). Another radio option businesses use is satellite radio or other music players on the internet such as Pandora. Some business even stay old school and use traditional FM radio and/or CDs.

However, no matter what time of day it is, there is always going to be someone in the workplace who does not agree with the music selection. To cope with this, a great option could be to have certain types of music played throughout different times in the day. For example at a gym; if the majority of your 6am-12pm crowd is older patrons, classical 70s and 80s rock might be the best option and switch it to today's hip hop and r&b hits from 12pm-close.

Another often unnoticed problem that business could be held liable for is broadcasting copyrighted music without authors’ consent. When the business benefits from the music, it is only fair that the artists should be compensated for contribution to performance1.

In the recreation setting, patrons deal with unpreferable music by simply placing headphones in their ears. However, the facility staff still has to suffer through music they might not particularly enjoy. Although music is preferred by many in the place of business, it might be less of a hassle and liability to leave the music off? With the potential problems such as too many “F bombs”, copyright issues, and displeased clientele ears’, music should be managed properly or left off to ensure the best environment for the customers entering the business.

1"Is Your Gym Guilty of Music Piracy?" Is Your Gym Guilty of Music Piracy? Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.

Disadvantages of Resistance Bands

Previously spoken were the advantages of resistance bands. You may want to consider the disadvantages of these tools before making a  purchase or beginning a new workout regimen.

Insufficient Resistance
One of the disadvantages of exercise bands is that they do not provide as much resistance as heavy free weights and weight machines. If you are a serious bodybuilder, resistance bands may not be a good choice for achieving your strength-training goals.1

Potential for Injury

Depending on the quality of resistance band you use, it can snap, causing an eye injury, a skin scar or sudden movement during an exercise that strains your body. If the band is attached to a pole or other piece of equipment, the connection may break, causing injury.1
Wear and tear
Consistent using could cause the to lose elasticity.  Different qualities of bands determine how long they will hold up for you.  Unlike dumbbells, resistance bands vary on their level of difficulty.  Usually they are different colors that match a specific resistance level.  Color-coding is not standard for all bands so if you buy a red band in the store it may be a different resistance than the red one you used at the gym yesterday.2

Overall, resistance bands can be very useful tools to incorporate in your fitness routine.  It is recommended that you vary your workouts so that your muscles do not become used to one particular program.2  This will help avoid the plateaus that we often experience in our routines.   Having a variety of methods to do this helps us stay motivated and allows us to keep seeing those results we are looking for.  Consistency is the key to all programs with whatever form of strength training you decide to use.  Review and change your exercises about every 4-6 weeks.2

1. Ashe-Edmunds, Same. (2014, Feb, 6.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Resistance Bands. Retrieved on September 27, 2015 from:
2. Elite Training and Fitness Inc. Resistance Bands or Dumbbells. Retrieved on September 27, 2015 from:

The Widowmaker

The term “widowmaker” refers to a blockage in one of the main arteries in the heart that can cause a nearly fatal heart attack.1 This syndrome is often under-recognized and has fatal consequences if left untreated.2  The Widowmaker heart attack is considered more fatal than other heart attacks because the blockage causes diminished blood flow in a large part of the hear. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of the widowmaker to increase the chances of survival.
 Coronary Angioplasty With Hybrid Valves. (n.d.). Retrieved October 4, 2015.  
There are three main arteries that supply the heart with blood; the right coronary artery, the left circumflex artery and the left anterior descending artery (LAD).1  The left circumflex artery branches off the LAD artery. When a blockage occurs at the beginning of the LAD it diminishes blood flow to both the LAD and the left circumflex artery.1  The LAD supplies blood to the front and main wall of the heart and the left circumflex artery supplies blood to the side wall.1 When the LAD is totally blocked by cholesterol and a blood clot at the beginning of the vessel, it is known as the widowmaker.1 This means that essentially the whole front wall of the heart could become damaged or die, causing a heart attack, which is why this needs medical attention immediately.
This type of heart attack is what celebrity talk show host Rosie O’Donnell suffered from.3 She had a large blockage removed from her coronary artery before inserting a stent to keep the artery open.3 Here are some atypical symptoms she experienced:
·      Pain/numbness radiating down both arms3
·      Back, jaw, chest or upper belly pain or discomfort3
·      Nausea/Vomitting3
·      Fatigue3
·      Dizziness3
·      Lightheadedness3
In any situation where a heart attack is present, it is very important to keep a low level of cholesterol. Cholesterol plays a big factor in all heart disease. Bad cholesterol builds up plaque in your arteries and hinders blood flow. Bad cholesterol doesn’t have any signs or symptoms until the plaque begins to block the arteries. It is important to get cholesterol checks often to slow down plaque build up.  Some ways to manage your cholesterol are:
·      Medication4
·      Exercise4
·      Avoid saturated fats4
·      Eat more fiber4
·      Eat more nuts4
·      Don’t smoke4
Although all heart attack symptoms are similar, it is imperative to get to a hospital when experiencing any of the above symptoms. Many factors play a role in heart disease so eat healthy, exercise and make yearly check ups to your doctor.
1Ahmed, M. (2015, January 28). Widowmaker Heart Attack Explained by Cardiologist • MyHeart. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
2Yusuf Muharam M, Ahmad R, Harmy M. The “ widow maker”: Electrocardiogram features that should not be missed. Malaysian Family Physician : the Official Journal of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia. 2013;8(1):45-47.
3Doheny, K. (n.d.). Rosie O'Donnell's Heart Attack: Know Your Symptoms. Retrieved September 28, 2015.

4Feature, D. (n.d.). How to Lower Your Cholesterol Fast - 11 Tips - WebMD. Retrieved September 28, 2015.

Coronary Artery Disease

1Angina Pectoris. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2015.
As I have stated in an earlier blog, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.1 It is also the most preventable disease as well.1 What you eat, how you handle stress and how much you exercise are a few different ways to maintain health and prevent heart disease.1 Coronary artery disease occurs when major arteries become damaged or diseased caused by plaque.2
When plaque builds up in the arteries, it becomes difficult for blood and oxygen to flow through the arteries smoothly. This often causes angina. Angina is defined as “recurring chest pain or discomfort when the heart doesn’t receive enough blood or oxygen.”1  Angina is a common symptom of CAD when the arteries become narrowed or blocked due to atherosclerosis or a blood clot.1  Symptoms include:
·      A pressing, squeezing or crushing chest pain.1
·      Pain radiating from arms, shoulders, neck, jaw and/or back.1
·      Shortness of breath.1
·      Weakness or fatigue.1
Angina chest pain is quickly relieved within of a few minutes of rest or by taking prescribed medication such as nitroglycerin.1 Angina is often brought on by different triggers such as:
·      Physical Exertion.1
·      Emotional Stress.1
·      Extreme Cold or Heat.1
·      Heavy meals.1
·      Cigarette Smoke.1
·      Excessive Alcohol Consumption.1
Angina doesn’t always mean a heart attack. It does however mean that coronary artery disease is present and that you are more susceptible to having a heart attack.1 Heart attacks occur when a major artery becomes blocked due to plaque build up.2 When the artery becomes 100% blocked, the muscle cells in the heart begin to suffer damage and die.1 After approximately 30 minutes, irreversible damage begins to occur resulting in dysfunction of the heart in the affected area.1 Risk factors of CAD include:
·      Age.2
·      Sex – Men are generally at a greater risk for CAD.2
·      Family History – A family history of CAD is associated with a higher risk of CAD especially if a
    close member developed heart disease at an early age. 2
·      Smoking.2
·      High Blood Pressure2
·      High Cholesterol Levels.2
·      Obesity. 2
As I stated before, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States but it is also the most preventable as well. Know the signs and symptoms of CAD so you can help prevent and manage this disease.
1Angina Pectoris. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2015.
2Coronary artery disease. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2015.