Sports injury alert: sneezing

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As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

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Spring is here, and with it comes allergy season — and, apparently, a little-known rise in the risk of athletic injuries. The Canadian Press has a hilarious article [07/2010: LINK DEAD] on sneezing injuries, following Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero’s recent sternutatory abdominal strain. This is serious stuff (or, as the writer inevitably put it, “nothing to sneeze at”):

“When you sneeze, it’s that thrust of a movement that can throw a rib off and you usually feel it in your back as opposed to your abdomen,” says Cindy Hughes, a certified athletic therapist and manager of the Sport Injury Clinic at York University in Toronto…

“You just have that explosive movement and all of a sudden: bam, it’s going to hit you.”

The take-home message, from University of Toronto sports medicine doctor Doug Richards: learn to ward off sneezes by pressing your finger against your upper lip. But don’t stifle the sneeze once it begins, since that causes even higher pressure.

So… has anyone out there experienced this? [cue sound of crickets chirping]

Follow-up on “non-surgical” Achilles treatment

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

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I now have details from the ARRS Annual Meeting presentation on the “non-surgical” Achilles treatment discussed yesterday. Continue reading “Follow-up on “non-surgical” Achilles treatment”

New “non-surgical” treatment for Achilles problems?

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

***

[UPDATED INFO HERE.] There’s a press release from the American Roentgen Ray Society (a.k.a. radiologists — “Roentgen ray” was the original name for X-rays) that has been making the rounds over the past few days, thanks to a fairly optimistic opening line:

Researchers have found an alternative, “non-surgical” method to treat chronic tendinosis (tendinitis) of the Achilles tendon that fails conservative treatment, according to a study performed at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.

This, of course, would be great news, especially for the 10 to 15 percent of runners who may be affected by Achilles problems that don’t respond to the usual treatments. The new approach seems to be “ultrasound-guided Achilles debridement.” This is a little confusing, because debridement (removing the damaged tissue, and possibly making some incisions to stimulate the body’s natural repair processes) is (a) a well-established treatment for Achilles problems, and (b) generally considered a surgical procedure.

So what’s new here? Perhaps it’s a minimally invasive procedure, made possible by the ultrasonic guidance — though that still sounds like surgery to me. I’ve requested a copy of the full study, so that should answer these questions. In the meantime, the press release reports that about 60 percent of the 17 patients who underwent the procedure reported either marked improvement or complete disappearance of their symptons, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.