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What To Do About Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

Knee-pain-running

My left knee hurts. When I put weight on it with my leg bent, like when I get out of the car, I feel a dull pain in my knee. My doctor and physical therapist have given me a diagnosis of patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee” or patellar knee-tracking syndrome. Simply put, my kneecap doesn’t run smoothly up and down its track—a groove called the trochlea.

Anyone can get patellofemoral pain syndrome, but for some reason it is more common in women than men—especially in mid-life women who’ve been running for many years. The problem, say researchers who just published a study in the journal Gait and Posture, is that lots of “mature” women develop alignment problems with their knees. The researchers compared younger female runners to older female runners and found misalignment of the knee to be much more common in the older women. Some knees sagged inward, others bowed outward or were rotated.

When the alignment is off, the kneecap can’t smoothly follow its vertical track as the knee bends and extends. This causes wear and tear on the joint. That leads to overuse injuries like runner’s knee and, down the line, osteoarthritis, which can really put a cramp in a runner’s career.

My physical therapist recommended that I Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

Physicians Who Exercise Are More Likely To Encourage Patients To Follow Suit

Active, healthy medical students are more likely to prescribe physical activity to patients, according to research presented at a meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

A research team assessed objective markers of cardiometabolic health, including cardiorespiratory fitness and attitudes on physical activity counseling, in 577 freshman medical students in Colombia from 2005 to 2010. Students’ health and fitness were measured by waist circumference, body mass index, fasting glucose levels and lipid profiles, in addition to the 20-meter shuttle run test.

Attitudes toward physical activity counseling were gauged through students’ answers to “How relevant do you think it will be in your future medical practice to counsel your patients on physical activity?” and “I will have the ability to counsel my patients more credibly and effectively if I am physically active.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Accepting Different Body Types, But Not Embracing Obesity

I just learned (yes, I’m a little late to the party) about the Body Shop anti-barbie controversy from a post on Facebook. The ad to the left has been banned from most countries, because it was believed to be in bad taste. For me, it raises some very interesting questions.

First of all, it’s been my experience that the media has been relentless in its portrayal of feminine beauty as being a dress size zero. This is an unattainable goal for most of us, and a very narrow view of what is truly attractive and physically healthy. I can’t imagine how many young girls feel deeply flawed when they compare themselves to Barbie et al. If unchecked, that self-doubt and insecurity can become a lifelong self-esteem issue or worse. Eating disorders are becoming more and more common, and carry with them the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

That being said, I’ve often had mixed feelings about the few “love your body as it is” campaigns* that have tried to push back against the rail-thin ideal. While we all have different body types, it’s still not healthy to be obese. Just as our favorite pets are born with different natural shapes (Chihuahuas, Whippets, Golden Retrievers, and Great Danes), we humans are different sizes too. But that doesn’t mean it’s “ok” to be excessively fat. Read more »

Stop Watches May Be Better Than CT Scans At Predicting Heart Disease

It is hardly news to say that we need better means to predict who will die of heart disease. No matter how much you may hear about medical errors, hospital acquired infections, or even distracted driving, it’s still heart disease that kills the most of us.

The inflammation that begins narrowing our arteries starts when we are young. It percolates quietly, stealth-like for years. The young usually skate by unscathed. But all the cookies, beers, chips, inactivity and work stress adds up. The tension of life squeezes our arteries, daring them to crack or fissure. This cataclysm is one of the ways that middle age may introduce herself.

A friend, or colleague, or sibling dies suddenly of heart problems. Those of us that our “masters-aged” have likely felt these sensations of sadness, and then the reality that they may be next.

“I should probably come in and get a check-up,” is something I hear frequently in the doctor’s lounge after such a tragedy.

I agree. When you are old enough to use reading glasses it is time to think about what lurks inside your heart’s blood vessels.

But herein lies the catch. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

A New Way To “Blow Up” Twitter: Tweet Fit App Tweets For You While You Exercise

Tweet_Fit is an amazing idea that is similar in nature to Kickbee. Here are the details:

Developed by a UK design student, the connected gym accessory attaches to the end of a standard dumbbell and sends updates to your Twitter account when you start and stop your workout. Take it offline and it guides you through the perfect curl. Tweet_Fit’s designer points out that it offers a novel way for trainers to keep track of their clients, and can be used to spur healthy competition between friends.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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