dr. chimes: SPORTS MEDICINE FOR ATHLETIC MEN
Why focus on the adult male athlete?
The adult male athlete is a surprisingly under-served population. It's often assumed that "sports medicine" targets men, but this isn't entirely true. We have different niches for kids and for women but men, especially men between 30 and 60, have very specific needs that aren't being met.
One of the things I observed early in my of my career is that most men at 30 are fairly healthy and most men at 60 aren't. Often an athletic injury is the vehicle that gets men into the doctors office to start looking at a more comprehensive approach to their health.
As men get older, we have more time commitments (work, family, etc.) and we really just have less time available to us. In addition, we need more time for recovery as we get older, so one of the things we really need to think about is being more time efficient and making sure that the quality of training is really good so that you're not wasting time in ineffective workouts. It becomes important to add-in variability, like strength and endurance exercises, and also flexibility and postural corrections.
Additionally, as you get older, you may have injuries so you may have to make specific changes the way you exercise to account for the injuries you have.
As men get older, they need to start thinking about their changing nutritional needs.
When men are young, say under 25, on many levels they can just eat what they want; the consequences of bad nutritional decisions are not as big as they are when they get older, especially as they get into their 30s, 40s and 50s.
Some of those needs are going to be about what you do need, like making sure you have sufficient protein intake, sufficient substrates for your bones (including calcium and vitamin D), but a lot of it is going to be making sure what you don't have. There are some things that probably everyone shouldn't have like simple sugars or foods that convert to sugar easily, alcohol, and unhealthy fats. But the consequences of those become a bigger deal as you get older
so I think it's really important we were taking care of adult male athletes is making sure that you're making the appropriate changes nutrition as they get older so they can keep up their performance.
One of the things we should be thinking about as we practice sports medicine or any medicine is that we shouldn't necessarily be practicing medicine the same way we did yesterday. One of the things that is great is that most of my patients, especiall a lot of my professional male patients who are involved in athletic endeavors are carrying a lot technology with them. they may be using Fitness bands that may be carrying a smartphone as a GPS and maybe doing some Fitness monitoring that has a video camera built into it and we should be taken advantage of the circumstances.
Things that we can be doing and that I really like to make a big part of my practice for example would be taking pictures or making videos of the patients in the office to get some greater clarity. A lot of times patient, for example, don't know what their posture looks like or have no idea what the back of your body looks like and I can use the camera as a tool to help them have a greater understanding. When I'm communicating with other partners like are chiropractors or physical therapist I can again take photos or videos that we can utilize.
We have access to lots of information like how many steps you take per day, what your running cadence is, how many hours of sleep you get and what percentage of that sleep is deep sleep. These are things that can be really important and just can be upping your game in terms of providing much better care than we were able to a week ago let alone 5 years ago.
So testosterone is in many ways what defines an adult male athletes, and in many ways is what defines a man. If you think about the difference between an 11 year old boy and a 28 year old man, almost all those differences can be attribute to testosterone and its derivatives. And it really effects the healing rate.
I often think of it as the Wolverine hormone. If you think of the comic book character Wolverine, his great super power is his healing rate and that's essentially what testosterone is, it is the hormone that allows you heal.
And if you look at the changes that happen between men when they go from 30-60, a lot of it is as they’re starting to have that drop off in testosterone levels.
Even in the men that we’re not treating with testosterone, asking questions about testosterone function often gives really important insights that allow us to be more precise in the types of questions we’re asking the types of things we’re doing in their treatment.
A biomechanical assessment
When looking at adult male athletes or just adult men. What we are is a collection of patterns we’ve developed over time. A lot of times, the patterns we’ve collected work in our teens and 20s and don't work as an adult.
Just think of the way you approach finances: if you approached the way you make financial decisions the same way you did when you were 14, it would be really hard to function as an adult man.
Same thing is true with sports activities. A lot of times we've just been doing things for a long time like biking or running or swimming or playing racquetball and never really thought about what we were doing and then the injuries accumulate. And you really need to reevaluate the entire approach to what you are doing to make sure you don't have many patterns are contributing to repetitive injuries.
Regenerative injection therapy in the adult male athlete.
For adult male athlete, a lot of the injuries we're dealing with are tendon, ligament, fascia, and osteoarthritis and those are all conditions where the tissues are not healing in the way that you like them to.
so it's great to have resources that you can use that don't only just work on the pain level but actually improve the tissue quality.
That's where techniques that are going to be working on regenerating healthy tissue really important about Lake Washington Sports and Spine is that we were variety resources we can use to optimize the environment for having healing tissue and then after the simulate growth.