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Brian Schiff’s Blog

Injury Prevention, Sports Rehab & Performance Training Expert

Unfortunately, too many athletes who recover from ACL tears go on to suffer another injury within a short period of time. Click here to read a prior post on secondary injuries. There are differing opinions on when or if there is an exactly “right time” to clear an athlete for return to play.

We already know that athletes have persistent weakness and asymmetry at 1 year post-op and even beyond. I recently had one of my collegiate soccer players re-tear while helping out with a youth soccer camp. She had not yet done hop testing with me or been cleared for full soccer, but as she was 1 year out she did not think it would be an issue playing with 12 year-old girls. It only took 20 minutes before she suffered a non-contact re-injury and lateral meniscus tear.

Consider the following paper that reveals low rates of patients meeting return to sport (RTS) criteria at 9 months post-op:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29574548

Another paper recent published in the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation revealed marked deficits in balance and hop testing at 6 and 9 months post-op:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29466066

A recent paper in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29659299) lists positive predictors of a return to knee-strenuous sport 1 year after ACL reconstruction were male sex, younger age, a high preinjury level of physical activity, and the absence of concomitant injuries to the medial collateral ligament and meniscus.

In 2016, research in the American Journal of Sports Medicine revealed delaying return to sport at least 9 months markedly reduced re-injury risk in those who passed RTS testing. Click below for more on that study:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27162233

So, where are we now? I employ multiple functional tests including the Y-Balance Test, FMS, single leg squatting, hand held dynamometry, hop testing, qualitative movement assessment and jump landing assessments. But, is that enough?


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I find that many patients and clients lack dynamic shoulder and pillar stability. Assessing this with tall plank arm taps or tall plank Y reaches can tell you a lot about one’s ability to stabilize and resist gravity in single arm support. In light of the insufficiencies I see, I prefer to use exercises that encourage integrated shoulder, torso and hip stability.

Improving shoulder and torso stability is important for overhead athletes, wrestlers, MMA competitors as well as those with any shoulder instability. This exercise is a great way to build dynamic stability and postural stability.

Click here to read my entire online column for PFP Magazine on this exercise including progressions and regressions. I think you will find this movement both challenging and rewarding for you or your clients.

Today through the end of Memorial Day I am offering 50% off my entire product line of e-books and DVDs on my website. So if you or your friends and colleagues are looking for information on rotator cuff pain, frozen shoulder treatment, ACL prevention, or programs to eliminate knee pain in runners or those with osteoarthritis, now is the time to grab one of my guides.

Visit http://www.brianschiff.com/Products.asp to see my catalog of products and simply enter the code BFIT50 in the coupon box at checkout. The sale will end Monday at midnight.

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is now a common term in orthopedics. When I first started practicing physical therapy the term did not exist. As a matter of fact, I was told my hip had a bone spur in the early 2000’s, and I am sure it would now be classified as FAI. If you are unfamiliar with it, click here to read a prior post on the basics of it.

Today, as clinicians we face the tough task of helping patients overcome hip pain related to overuse injuries, acute strains, osteoarthritis, myofascial pain, etc. One of the biggest challenges is definitively identifying the etiology of hip pain. Hip pain can be extra-articular (outside the joint) or intra-articular in nature (in the joint). Consider this retrospective study published in AJSM in 2015 by Naal et al. on sonographic presence of groin hernias and adductor tendinopathy with FAI.

Differential diagnoses when ruling in/out FAI include:

  • Adductor (groin) strain
  • Rectus femoris strain or avulsion
  • Iliopsoas tendinitis
  • Athletic pubalgia
  • Trochanter pain/bursitis
  • Femoral neck stress fracture
  • Osteitis pubis
  • Cancer
  • Genitourinary issues
  • Low back pain

The list above is certainly not all inclusive. The key to obtaining a more accurate diagnosis involves taking a thorough history, performing a comprehensive exam, and getting appropriate imaging. Click here to learn about a paper on the diagnostic validity of tests to predict intra-articular hip pathology. Soft tissue pain related to muscle strains should improve with rest and treatment, whereas joint pain related to FAI is usually consistently painful or worse with increased repetitive activities such as running, dancing, twisting, jumping, cutting, etc.

Patients with FAI will often cup their hip and make what is referred to as the “C sign” when describing where they feel the pain.


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This exercise is intended for advanced users who want or need to increase shoulder, core and hip stability, while also seeking to improve hip disassociation. The core must function in an anti-extension and anti-rotation fashion throughout which is a safe and effective way to target those muscles while also providing a demanding strengthening exercise for the upper body and hips.

With that said, sufficient upper body strength is a must for this exercise.  Clients with wrist pain/weakness or elbow and shoulder pathology should only perform this exercise provided they have are symptom free and have moved through the following progressions. In many cases, it is best to start with tall planking and leg lift progressions on the floor before trying this exercise.

The video below will review the exercise in one of my latest columns for PFP Magazine.