How an athlete moves is affected by many different variables. Unfortunately, most of these variables we have little or no control over. Age, physical developmental changes such as sudden growth spurts in both height and muscular development affect how the young athlete moves. Other factors such as injuries and lifestyle activities affect movement. Examples of lifestyle activities that alert movement include prolonged postures like sitting and looking down at a cell phone. All of these variables tend to have a significantly negative impact on movement. Poor movement patterns not only have been shown to adversely affect athletic performance measures of agility, jumping and landing ability and overall work capacity but also have been shown to increase injury rates. As coaches and athletic trainers we need to be movement specialists in that we need to be able to recognize when a problem exists and how does this athlete need to train to remediate their movement problems. So, what can we do to combat these obstacles to performance?
The first step, recognition, needs to be an objective measure of the bodies essential movement functions. Our sports medicine team at Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic uses the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) as one of our tools to measure overall movement qualities (degree and control of movement) of athletes of all ages to help us recognize when a problem does or does not exist and how can we prevent a future injury or performance problem. Once a movement problem is recognized, we have many choices of corrective exercises that are employed to improved that particular issue. Ideally, corrective exercises become part of the athletes short term training program and that their sport training also helps address their particular movement needs. Also, because our bodies are always being challenged by those training and lifestyle factors we recommend monitoring movement with a biannual movement screen in addition to a screen after any injuries. Corrective exercises, medical referral and training modifications can be applied, if needed, and the athlete can be monitored to assure resolution of their movement issue.
For more information about our performance and injury-prevention program. Please contact our Sports Medicine team at Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic @ 417-256-5669.