Many athletes who experience pain right below the kneecap after a spike in volume of explosive physical activities (ie. running/jumping) are diagnosed with patellar tendonitis, commonly referred to as runner’s or jumper’s knee. The suffix “itis” is Greek for inflammation and a common remedy is rest to reduce the inflammation. In some cases, an initial rest period combined with physical therapy to strengthen surrounding muscles such as the hip flexors and gluteus medius is enough to alleviate the knee pain for good, in other cases the rest is of no benefit or even worsens the patellar tendon’s condition and starts a chronic cycle of resting and then returning to activity in more pain than before. In these cases a more accurate diagnosis of patellar tendinopathy is correct. Patellar tendinopathy implies chronically recurring pain on the anterior of the knee that is difficult to treat. In such cases, an MRI often reveals small lesions throughout the patellar tendon indicating that the tendon is structurally damaged and not just inflamed. A better understanding of the patellar tendon’s biological composition, and biomechanical function may help to resolve future cases of patellar tendinopathy.Continue reading “The Science Behind Load Management: How Isometrically Overloading Tired Knees Can Promote Growth and Healing”
Which Body Mechanics Help You Jump Higher?
Vertical jumping is an essential aspect of many sports. In volleyball and basketball, for example, jumping higher than your opponent gives you a significant competitive advantage. Volleyball players need to be able to block and spike, while basketball players need to be able to rebound well and finish tough shots over opponents. Most athletes know the basics of jumping, but few know what specific body mechanisms contribute to jump height. This article will discuss four key elements to vertical jump height:
- Squat depth
- Non-extension movements
- Arm swing
- Toe flexor strength
Understanding the mechanics behind each of these elements can help guide athletes in training regimens to better increase jump height.Continue reading “Which Body Mechanics Help You Jump Higher?”
Jumping into Better Bone Health: Impact Exercise and Your Bones
When exercising for overall health, the general public tends to disregard the importance of bone health. Often the focus is on consuming milk or calcium rich foods, but are there certain exercises that can increase bone health? Studies show that the presence of impact in exercise plays a major factor.
As we age, everyone loses bone mineral density, which is a determining factor in bone strength and stiffness. Decreasing bone mineral density can lead to bones that easily break and fracture, and will, in extreme cases, result in the disease osteoporosis. Women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis because they lose more bone mineral density as they age due to the process of menopause. Increasing bone mineral density at younger ages can ensure that even with the inevitable bone loss, peoples’ bones are still strong.Continue reading “Jumping into Better Bone Health: Impact Exercise and Your Bones”
Big Air: The mechanics of SKIERS and snowboarders landing after jumps
Have you ever watched the X-Games or Olympics or any other skiing or snowboarding competition and marveled at the sheer heights that the athletes achieve? Depending on the type of jump the skier goes off, they can reach heights of up to 50 feet off the ground. How exactly do the skiers land what are essentially free falls from such heights? Supposedly “survivable injuries” occur from falling heights above the “critical threshold” of 20-25 feet, so how do these athletes land from heights of up to double this?Continue reading “Big Air: The mechanics of SKIERS and snowboarders landing after jumps”
Patellar Tendinitis: The Kryptonite of Jumping Athletes
Volleyball is a sport of quick movements. For hitters, one of the most common movements in the game is the jump, whether that be to block or to hit. Although a higher vertical leads to improvement in game performance, it can increase the risk of developing a serious injury that affects many volleyball players: patellar tendinitis. This condition is associated with pain and tenderness directly below the knee cap that is especially apparent during explosive, jumping movements. But what exactly causes this condition? And what can be done to remedy it?Continue reading “Patellar Tendinitis: The Kryptonite of Jumping Athletes”
Fish in Flight: The Science Behind Great White Breach Attacks on Cape Fur Seals
If you’ve ever turned on Discovery channel during Shark Week, then you’ve probably seen the iconic footage of a 2.5-ton great white shark leaping out of the water to catch its next meal. If you’re weird like me and you’ve ever tried to mimic one of these epic breaches in a backyard pool, then you realize just how difficult it is to generate enough momentum to jump even partway out of the water and therefore have a real appreciation for what it takes to pull off this incredible feat.Continue reading “Fish in Flight: The Science Behind Great White Breach Attacks on Cape Fur Seals”
Artificial Turf: Game Changer or Game Ender?
Artificial turf fields were first introduced in the late 1960s and have grown tremendously in popularity since. Today, artificial turf fields can be found at all levels of sport, from youth league to professional, and across many different sporting disciplines. A major reason they are so popular is because they offer a consistent, low-maintenance, year-round green playing field in all weather conditions and climates. However, despite the benefits they provide, artificial turf fields are not without controversy. Even though artificial turf mimics grass in appearance, its properties are much different.Continue reading “Artificial Turf: Game Changer or Game Ender?”
Secret Behind Kangaroos’ Tail
Red kangaroos can reach speed of more than 35 miles an hour, they can also cover an area 25 feet long and get up to 6 feet high in one jump using their tail like a spring to give them more power. When kangaroos want to move slowly, they do kind of lean on their tail, to support their body. When kangaroos are grazing they move their hind pairs of feet together which makes their movement awkward but the power behind them in their tail is keeping them balanced. There was always a question of why Kangaroos are placing their tail on the ground when they are walking slowly.Continue reading “Secret Behind Kangaroos’ Tail”