Vary your workouts to avoid compartment syndrome

The intense feeling of aching pain in a limb during exertion is a common complaint.  When the pain is easily replicated with progressively less exertion, a compartment syndrome should be considered.

A syndrome is a group of symptoms.  In chronic exertional compartment syndrome the pain may be burning or cramping in nature along with tightness, weakness or numbness in the affected limb.  These symptoms typically clear within 30 minutes of rest.

Although most common in the lower extremities and associated with running, it can also affect the upper extremities.

Muscles provide the engine behind motion.  They are fueled by a steady supply of blood and stimulated into action by nerves.  When injured, a muscle will swell and unless the connective tissue that provides an envelope around a muscle expands, pressure will build up within the muscle. The increased pressure can cause nerve damage and muscle breakdown.

Compartment syndrome is most commonly seen in athletes under the age of 30 who participate in sports that involve repetitive impact.  Athletes who use supplements like anabolic steroids or creatine are especially vulnerable.

Adequate warm up, hydration and resting if pain becomes intense are all ways of avoiding this condition.  Varying workouts and the mechanics involved in a particular sport will decrease the repetitive trauma and allow for muscular recovery.

“Symptoms of chronic exertional compartment syndrome may be relieved by decreasing the intensity and impact of training,” said Dr. Giselle Aerni, a sports medicine physician at the University of Connecticut and team physician for the Connecticut Sun.  “If symptoms persist, surgery may be helpful to release the fascia surrounding the muscles to allow more room for swelling,” said Aerni.

If surgery is necessary, it should be carried out by a physician who treats athletes and can help guide the athlete back to safe participation in a particular sport.

Children with ADHD can excel when the right choices are made

Among the most inspiring stories in sports involve those where an athlete is forced to overcome a physical disability.  Special Olympics, Paralympics and other events celebrate these physical challenges.  Unfortunately, athletes who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) face less obvious obstacles in life and in sports.

ADHD is a chronic condition that includes difficulty maintaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. It is believed to affect as many as ten percent of children in the United States.  Although children with ADHD are a major concern, these symptoms may persist into adulthood.

There are varying levels of severity of ADHD.  Some patients require medication while others respond to behavioral therapy alone or a combination of both.

The most effective medications for the treatment of ADHD are psychostimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall.  These medications serve to balance the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Sports can play an important role in development.  Physical fitness, team interaction, discipline and strategic planning are all valuable lessons.  Choosing an appropriate sport for a child with ADHD may avoid frustration and anxiety.

High velocity collision sports and combat sports like football and boxing should be avoided.  Recent studies have shown that athletes with ADHD have more severe symptoms and longer recovery periods from concussions.

Sports that rely on individual effort for success are best suited for children with inattention and impulsivity like those who suffer from ADHD.

Swimming, running, gymnastics and tennis demand individualized attention by an athlete.  This allows coaches to modify workouts that will suit each child and create an environment for maximum enjoyment and success.

Judo, karate and other martial arts are among the best activities for children with ADHD.  These sports emphasize coordination, balance and strength.

Organized sports and fitness provide an essential component to child development.  Children with ADHD can excel when the right choices are made.