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Volume 1, Issue 4                                                                                                  November, 2010

 Sport Injuries                                                        Health
 Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome                                          Sleep
 Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is really a group of              In the past decade, recovery has become one of the hottest
 conditions that cause pain around the kneecap and it can be           buzzwords in athletic performance. With so much time and
 related to many conditions such as bursitis, tendinitis,              money spent on recovery aids, it’s ironic that so many
 chondromalacia and osteoarthritis. Symptoms of PFPS typically         student-athletes overlook the most easily accessible,
 include gradual onset of general aching in front of the knee that     affordable and time tested recovery booster of all: SLEEP.
 worsens with stair climbing or prolonged sitting. There may or        But the value of sleep isn’t limited to recovery. Its’
 may not be swelling and the knee may feel weak, to the point          important role in athletic performance and overall health is
 where it feels like the knee is “giving way”. Many student-athletes   well documented.
 are prone to PFPS and there is no one specific sport that is
                                                                       The latest research on how sleep affects mental and
 primarily affected.
                                                                       physical ability suggests that time student-athletes spend
 PFPS is usually diagnosed through a physical exam. X-rays are         sleeping can be just as important as the time they spend in
 also helpful in determining bony abnormalities such as                the weight room. Both the physical and mental side of
 malalignment or loose bodies. Occasionally, MRI, CT or bone           sleep are important. Physically, sleep deprivation studies
 scans may be needed.                                                  have shown that subjects who have gotten less sleep
 Most of the time PFPS is treated with physical therapy. The main      consistently tire more quickly that those who have gotten
 concerns are relieving the pain and then restoring function. Since    more. The mental effects of sleep debt are much more
 most PFPS symptoms are caused by overuse, you have to first rest      pronounced. Research has shown that reaction time, stress
 and begin therapy. Anti-inflammatory medication and ice are very      level, alertness and overall energy level are negatively
 helpful in reducing the pain. As the pain diminishes you can begin    affected by sleep deprivation.
 strengthening and stretching exercises. As the condition improves     Perhaps most interesting of all, several studies have shown
 you can start sport-specific exercises and a maintenance program.     that subjects who suffer cognitive and motor impairments
 The prognosis for PFPS is good overall for the majority of            due to sleep debt are often unaware of their decreased
 student-athletes. However, there are some student-athletes that       ability. This might help to explain why student-athletes
 will continue to experience pain after this type of treatment and     don’t take sleep habits seriously. They don’t realize how
 may ultimately need surgical intervention.                            much it may hamper their alertness, reaction time and other
                                                                       skills essential to athletic success.

                                                                       The goal for teens should be 9 hours per night. That may
                                                                       seem unrealistic to many, but the closer they can come to
                                                                       that number, the better off they will feel. Consistency in
                                                                       sleep time is valuable as well. Going to bed and waking up
                                                                       at the same time every day takes maximum advantage of the
                                                                       body’s natural circadian rhythm. Once a routine is
                                                                       established, student-athletes are able to fall asleep more
                                                                       quickly and sleep more soundly through the night.

                                                                       Well-rested student-athletes may soon find they’re
                                                                       recovering faster after workouts, performing sport skills
                                                                       with greater proficiency and feeling better all day long.

                                                                                                                    Wolverine Sports Medic 1
                                                                   continued from page 1

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