Meniscal Tears

meniscus

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Meniscus tear

meniscus tear

Meniscal tear is one of the most common knee injuries in athletes. This is caused after a contact injury or a traumatic twist. The meniscus is a wedge-shaped cartilage that provides a cushion in the medial and lateral portion of the knee joint and acts as a « shock absorber ». It’s located in the area of joints contact to prevent the bones rub between them because of the bodyweight. It’s hard and rubbery to help cushion the joints and keep the knees stable.

It’s important to also know that the meniscus helps to nourish the knee by facilitating the diffusion of joint fluid. With this injury, athletes can experience acute pain with a swelling and often a catching or locking sensation.

Diagnose

A meniscus injury can be diagnosed on the basis of the story that the patient provides and a physical examination of the knee.

An orthopedic surgeon my also use other techniques to further diagnose such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which gives a 3-dimensional image of the inside of the knee joint. In some cases, a surgeon can perform an arthroscopic inspection of the articulation, this is a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Treatment

knee brace

A small meniscus tear can be treated with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. When a meniscus tear causes a significant loss of movement or catching, the appropriate treatment is often a surgical operation. Depending on the location and type of tear, the treatment may be a simple arthroscopy to remove the torn fragment. Depending on how quickly the inflammation disappears, athletes can return to a full activity after a week or months.

For athletes with a repairable tear, sutures are used to sew the meniscus. In this situation, the knee is braced for 6 weeks. These athletes take at least 3-6 months to back to their activities but maintain the full cushion in their knees.

Prevention

There is not really any way to prevent a meniscus tear apart from a conditioning program to try to prevent an acromioclavicular ligament (ACL) tear and knee instability.

Stats

Women have meniscus tears more often than men and at an earlier age. These tears are often associated with an acromioclavicular ligament injury (ACL)

There are some variables of meniscus tears can be repaired and despite repair, they aren’t always heal. But arthritis can be avoided in the majority of cases when repair is successful. One study shows that 60% of patients who undergo meniscectomy (partial elimination) had some degree of progressive arthritis.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here .

Heat Illness

heat illness

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Every summer, hundreds of people experience sun-related illnesses and heat. Being prepared and hydrated avoids theses situations.

Why

When an athlete exercises, his/her body temperature increase and the body sweats to cool the body. During this process, body fluids and electrolytes are lost. If the boy is not recharged with fluids and electrolytes, it’s dehydration and it increase the risk of heat illness as a heat stroke.

Symptoms

Symptoms are :

  • Chills

  • Dark colored urine

  • Dry mouth

  • Headaches

  • Thirst

  • Weakness

If the heat illness progress, there are more serious symptoms like :

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Body temperature increasing to dangerous levels

  • Muscle cramps

  • Nausea

  • Tingling of the limbs

  • Death

How to prevent

The most effective treatments for heat illness are :

  • Proper training for the heat

  • Fluid replacement before, during, and after exertion

  • Appropriate clothing (light colored, loose fitting and limited to one layer)

  • Early recognition via direct monitoring of athlete by other players, coaches and medical staff

  • Monitoring the intensity of physical activity appropriate for fitness and how an athlete has acclimated to conditions.

  • If possible, having an athletic trainer on site during events and practices to properly prevent and treat heat illnesses.

In situations where the training program is intense or during a trip in a hot climate, an athlete should limit the intensity and duration of the training session. Thereafter, the athlete will increase the training’s intensity for a period of 7-14 days to allow to the body, the time to adjust to the climate and environmental conditions. For athletes with respiratory, gastrointestinal or other diseases, they should especially evaluate these new conditions.

When an athlete should hydrate

hydrate

It’s necessary to hydrate before, during and after a training session. Drinking 47cl (16 ounces) of water is recommended 1 hour before exercises. Hydration should continue with 11-23cl (4-8 ounces) of water every 15-20 minutes throughout the effort

There is a trick to track the hydration’s level is to weigh before and after a physical activity. If the athlete is lighter after a physical activity, this means that there a deficit of fluids (indicated by weight loss) and it’s necessary to recharge them. For the next physical activity, it will be essential to drink more to evaluate the losses (perspiration). An athlete who loses more than 2-3% of his/her bodyweight during exercise may decrease the performance and the body’s physiological function.

If the athlete is heavier after a physical activity, it means that there is a surplus of fluids (indicated by gain weight). For the next physical activity, it will be essential to drink less to evaluate the surplus.

How to treat it

When you see signs of heat illness or heat stroke, it may be an imminent danger of death. It’s necessary that a person immediately call for medical assistance while you’re cooling the person at risk.

Treatment included :

  • Getting the athlete to a shaded area

  • If it heat stroke, cool the athlete rapidly using cold water immersion. If immersion is not available you may use spray from a hose, cold water sponging, or placing cold towels over the entire body

  • Monitoring body temperature

  • Providing cool beverage if possible (i.e., if the athlete doesn’t have altered consciousness).

  • Getting medical assistance as soon as possible.

Heat exhaustion is a type of heat illness that can happen after several days of exposure to high temperature and improper or unbalanced fluid recharging.

Statistics

  • Heat stroke is a type of serious illness related to heat. It can cause death to athletes and this is probably the leading cause of athlete death during the months of July and August.

  • The body produces 1.8 liters (a half of gallon) of perspiration to cool the body every hour. If there are not enough fluids or the heat is overwhelming the body, the person may develop heat-related illness.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here.

Articular Cartilage Injuries

articular cartilage injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interessted in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Definition

Articular cartilage is difficult to understand because there are 3 types of cartilages in the body : articular of hyaline cartilage (covers joint surfaces), fibrocartilage (knee meniscus, vertebral disk) and elastic cartilage (outer ear). These cartilage’s types differ in their structure, elasticity and strength.

Articular cartilage is a complex element, it’s a living tissue that is on the joint’s surface. The function is to provide a low friction surface to allow the joint to withstand weight loads through the range of motion needed to perform activity of daily living. To put it simply, articular cartilage is a very thin shock absorber. It’s built in 5 distinct layers and each layer has a structural and biochemical difference.

Injury

articular cartilage injury

Articular cartilage injury may be due to trauma or progressive degeneration (wear and tear). This can be mechanical destruction, a direct blow or other trauma. The healing of articular cartilage cells depends on the severity of the damage and the location of the lesion. Articular cartilage has no direct blood supply so it has very little ability to repair itself. It the lesion penetrates the bone under the cartilage, the bone provides blood in the area which improves the chances of healing.

Mechanical degeneration (wear and tear) of articular cartilage occurs with progressive loss of normal cartilage structure and function. This loss begins with the softening of the cartilage, then progresses to fragmentation. As the loss of articular cartilage lining continue, the underlying bone no longer has any protections against normal wear and tear of daily life and begins to get damaged leading to osteoarthritis.

In many cases, a patient experiences knee swelling and vague pain. At this stage, continuous physical activity isn’t possible. If a loose body is present, words such as « locking » or « catching » might be used to explain the problem. With wear and tear , the patient often experiences stiffness, decreased range of motion, joint pain and/or swelling.

Diagnostic

The physician examines the knee to look for a decrease in range of motion, pain along the joint line, swelling, fluid on the knee, abnormal alignment of the joint’s bones, and ligament or meniscal injury.

Cartilage lesions are difficult to diagnose and it’s possible that the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or arthroscopy may be necessary. Plain X- rays don’t usually diagnose articular cartilage problems but they used to rule out other abnormalities.

Treatment

articular cartilage injury treatment

 

Articular cartilage injury that doesn’t penetrate the bone doesn’t repair itself. A lesion that penetrates the bone can heal but the type of cartilage created is structurally unorganized and doesn’t work as well as the original cartilage.

Lesion less than 2 cm have the best prognosis and the best treatment options. These options are arthroscopic surgery using techniques to remove damaged cartilage and increase blood flow from the underlying bone (drilling, pick procedure or microfracture ).

For smaller lesion of articular cartilage surgery is not required.

For larger lesion, it’s necessary to transplant the articular cartilage from another area of the body. Talk to your doctor or specialist to have more information about the decision to have a surgical operation.

For patients with osteoarthritis, non-surgical treatment consists of physical therapy, lifestyle modification (for example reducing activity), bracing, supportive devices, oral and injection drugs (like non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, cartilage protective drugs) and medical management.

Surgical options depend on the severity of osteoarthritis and may provide a reduction in symptoms that are usually short-lived. Total osteoarthritis may relieve the symptom of advanced osteoarthritis but this usually requires a change in the lifestyle and/or level of activity of the patient.

Statistics

Based on published studies, the overall prevalence of articular cartilage injury in the knee is 36% among all athlete and 59% among asymptomatic basketball players and runners.

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-Steph

Spinal Disc Herniation

disc herniation

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

First we can say : « disc herniation » or « herniated disc » but I prefer use « disc herniation » in my article.

Disc herniation is a common pathology in bodybuilding. This often occurs because of poor back placement during exercises such as squat, deadlift and rows (barbell bent row, seated row, etc).

During the execution of theses exercises, the main defect observed is the rounding of the back or a flexion of the spine. Because of that discs are pinched forward and loosened backward.

disc herniation

If an intervertebral disc cracked or aged, the gelatinous fluid of the nucleus pulposus moves backwards and can compress the spinal cord or roots of the spinal nerves. The symptoms of a disc herniation depends on the nature of the lesion, the amount of nucleus displaced and the surface that nucleus compresses.

The disc may have a bump or even worse, the nucleus may explode through the surrounding annulus fibrosus. It’s also possible that the posterior ligament that joins the vertebrae to each other is broken. The compressions caused by the rupture of the annulus fibrosus are always painful and incapacitating.

In bodybuilding, disc herniation are mainly at the lumbar level. Often between the 3rd and 4th lumbar vertebrae or between the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae. The pain is dull and deep and sometimes with numbness and tingling. Often the pain is in the middle of the back or on one side. The pain extends onto the glutes, pelvis and pubis. Sometimes pain can be felt throughout the leg following the path of the sciatic nerve because the sciatic nerve is compressed at the root (hence the name of sciatic to define this type of pain).

disc herniation sciatic nerve

Usually disc herniation resolve spontaneously and the pain gradually disappears. But in some cases the bump on a vertebral disc doesn’t disappear and can continue to painfully pres on the nerves or it’s a loose piece of intervertebral cartilage that compresses the nervous elements.

In these 2 cases, the doctor will think of doing a surgical operation to remove the part that compresses the nerves.

To avoid having a disc herniation, it’s essential to do squat, deadlift, « good morning » and rows (rows, barbell bent row, seated row) with excellent positioning technique.

Attention

For all exercises done with very heavy weight, it’s necessary to perform a « blocking » :

  1. Take a deep breath and block the breathing to fill the lungs like a balloon. This stiffens the ribcage and prevents the top of the torso form tilting forward.

  2. Squeeze abs stiffens the belly, This increases the intra-abdominal pressure and prevents the torso from sagging forward.

  3. By slightly arching the lower back with lumbar squeeze, this allows to have the spine’s bottom in extension.

These 3 simultaneous actions is what we call « blocking ». This « blocking » has the function of avoiding the rounding or bending of the spine because with very heavy weights, it can create disc herniations .

Note

After a training session with very heavy weights, it’s advisable to do stretching for the spine. There is an excellent exercise to relax the back muscles and rebalance the pressure inside the intervertebral discs. Click here .

Bad position

disc herniation bad positon squat deadlift

For exercises such as deadlift or squat, it’s important not to round your back to avoid lower back injuries.

Disc herniation

disc herniation

Flexion of the spine with heavy weights can create disc herniations at the level of the lumbar vertebrae.

These disc herniations are common at squat and deadlift. This is caused by a bad back position during exercise. That’s why it’s important to work the technique for these exercises.

Disc herniation according to the age

disc herniation intervertebral

From the age of 30 years old, intervertebral discs degenerate and don’t worry, it’s normal, The annulus can crack and the nucleus pulposus dries progressively.

Vertebral discs of people over 30 years old are more rigid, less elastic and the mobility of the spine is more limited. But as the viscous gel of the nucleus pulposus deacreases due to drying, the risk of the vertebral discs moving and compressing the nerves diminished.

Vertebral discs of people under 30 years old are more flexible, more elastic and there is more mobility with the spine. There is a greater amount of viscous gel in the nucleus pulposus which increases the risk that vertebral discs will move and compress the nerves. Disc herniation is very common among young athletes.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you

-Steph

Techniques To Learn Quickly And Efficiently Based On Science (Part 1)

learn to learn

I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned good stuff.

I discovered that there were techniques to learn quickly and effectively based on science. These are things I didn’t learn at school and I think it’s the same for you.

The concept of the school system is to teach you how to memorize and use your new knowledge « at best » in new situations. It means that the school prepares you « at best » for your life. In fact, you prepared to have the minimum in your life.

You can spend 20 years or more in school and the school never teach you to learn. In fact, you only memorize for your exams.

it’s true that school can’t do everything so if the school doesn’t teach us to learn, we’ll learn that elsewhere. Here are some simple tips and tricks to learn effectively. These are things that help you improve your ability to learn to have more success in your life.

There are several universal skills you need to train to have an excellent learning ability :

Long-term memory

Learning how to properly memorize things you need or want to learn allows you to memorize more easily and for longer. Having an elephant memory is really handy.

Working memory

Working memory is where you download the element of your long-term memory to process them.

Ability to focus

Improving your ability to focus allows you to focus on something without being distracted. This improves your productivity and allows you to truly experience the present moment.

Will

Improve your will allows you to have the strength to reach your goals without self-sabotage. For example, you make a diet and your will allows you not to eat chocolate cake or you have a workout program and your will allows you not to play video games every days.

Motivation

Learning what motivates you and keeping this flame of motivation allows you to be more motivated than 80 % of people. Motivation means having more energy, more enthusiasm and more creativity in all that you do.

Know that there is good news. You can improve all these skills with tools and method in mode 20/80 (Pareto’s law).

Case study

case study

In 2008, researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland and the University of Michigan in the United States found something revolutionary. What they discovered is that it’s possible to significantly increase our fluid intelligence. Let’s make a comeback in the past. In 1970, psychologists Raymond Cattel and John L. Horn found a concept that accepted by the majority of psychologists. This concept is that our intelligence divided into 2 main categories : fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.

Fluid intelligence is our raw intellect. This means that it’s our ability to think logically and solve problems in new situations.

Crystallized intelligence is our intelligence regarding our skills our knowledge and our experience.

Before 2008, researchers thought it was impossible to improve our fluid intelligence. These researchers believed that fluid intelligence was innate and that the crystallized intelligence was tied to what we learn.

In 2008, Dr Jaeggi and a researchers team created a software designed to train working memory and tested it on 70 people divided into 4 groups.

Here the scientific study .

The groups used this software 20 minutes a day for 8 to 19 days. They passed an IQ test before training with the software and after training with the software. The results compared to 4 other groups that hadn’t used this software.

The results were extremely surprising. All the people who have used this software have had a better IQ test. Here is the detail of the test result :

  • Fluid intelligence increased on average by 40 %.

  • The increase of fluid intelligence is directly related to the time going on to train with this software. People who trained for 19 days had increased their fluid intelligence 4 times more than those who trained for 8 days.

This show us that we can train our working memory as we can train our physical strength and endurance by doing sport.

This is what this software does, it trains our working memory. We use our working memory to count, read, play chess, think and so on. We can train our working memory as a muscle.

This is the end of Part 1. In Part 2, we’ll see how to concretely improve our intelligence.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Studying Success

study success

I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned good stuff.

Here a quote from Jim Rohn : « Success leaves clues».

In all areas, you can study how others have succeeded.

To understand the concepts of studying success in a good way, I’ll take the magician’s exemple. A magicien make a show in front of thousands of people and what happens is that thousands of people see things that doesn’t exist and doesn’t see things that exists. Thinking about that, we’re always impressed by the magicien show because they do things we have never seen.

How learn

be interested in

Studying success is the opposite. You need to see the things that exist but are hidden and not let you blinded by illusions.

To be able to study success successfully, there are a few tricks :

  • Read biographies or autobiographies of successful people in your field. It‘s even more interesting to read the biography after the person is dead because the hidden elements are revealed.

  • You can meet successful people if they’re still alive to ask questions or participate in a seminar.

Collecting the knowledge of successful people will help you speed up your success.

Techniques subtleties

study success

It’s like when I learned a Pencak Silat’s technique (Indonesian martial art). My teacher showed me a technique and I said to myself : « Oh, it’s easy ! ». After 3 attempts, I realized that it was difficult. I couldn’t perform this technique and I didn’t understand how to do it.

After a few minutes, I asked my teacher how he did that. You have to know ask for help to unlock a situation and not take it as a weakness.

My teacher explained to me that brute force wasn’t the most important element in this technique. You have to know how to use gravity and angle. Click, I had the technique and even I was surprised by the result. But my technique is much less fluid and « aesthetic » than my teacher (it’s nice to see when my teacher does this). I still have a lot of work to do.

Focus on things that exist and stop being disturbed by illusions (newspapers, magazines, gossips, etc). Look for the source by being in direct contact with people who are successful in your field.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph