Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from The Queen's Health Systems share the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.

Running and swimming: More than just arms and legs

Proper running or swimming mechanics require more than just moving one's arms and legs in opposition. Ross Oshiro, Certified Athletic Trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist at The Queen's Center for Sports Medicine, shares the importance of core stability.

Question 1:  What is the core?

Ross Oshiro, MS, ATC, LMT: The core is more than just the six-pack abs as seen on television. It's a group of muscles from the diaphragm to the pelvis that work synergistically to stabilize the trunk during walking, running, swimming or even throwing.


Question 2: Why is core stability important for athletes?

Oshiro: In order to maximize training efforts, an athlete's core muscles must fire and stabilize in a coordinated fashion to propel the body. If one group of muscles are weak due to muscular inhibition or tightness, this timing is altered, which can lead to inefficiency or injury.  


Question 3: How does a weak core affect an athlete's upper extremity mechanics?

Oshiro: For example, a swimmer with thoracic (trunk) rotation limitations may compensate in other areas, such as the lumbar region or shoulder areas, to obtain the desired range of motion lacking in the trunk. This could lead to poor mechanics or injury.  

For walking and running, Queen's physical therapist Ryan Moore explained: There are two groups of muscles that form an "X" across the body that work together to create a more efficient stride.

The anterior (front) group:

•    Made up of obliques and opposite-sided groin muscles.
•    Provides stability when the foot is in contact with the ground.
•    Helps to pull the leg when the leg is floating off the ground.

The posterior (back) group:

•    Includes the latissimus dorsi and opposite side glutes.
•    Creates tension fight rotation in the hips.
•    Stores energy to help create a more efficient stride.

The Queen's Center for Sports Medicine provides comprehensive care for the treatment and prevention of sports injuries and conditions. If you are experiencing tightness in your lower extremities (hip, knee, lower leg, ankle or foot), or if you want to learn how to strengthen your core stability, call 808-691-4449 or request an appointment.

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