Dr. Jordan D. Metzl, MD

Dr. Jordan D. Metzl, MD

Welcome to the fall edition of healthy sports, the newsletter from our office. This newsletter is designed to keep you up to date on the latest issues in sports medicine, fitness, and healthy living. The fall is a great time for sports. Events such as marathons, football and soccer games, and gymnastics competitions all rev into high gear. We see many kinds of issues and injuries in the office during the fall season, and this newsletter will hopefully teach you a bit more about how to avoid these pitfalls.

Athlete of the Month

We get many entries each month for the athlete of the month. We love all of the pictures and stories. In fact, all of the photos that you send us end up in the digital frame in our office. Please keep em’ coming!  We’d love for you to send one or two of your favorite photos to Adeena in our office at SantiagoA@Hss.edu.  Just send us your pictures and we’ll put em’ up! Race photos, sports photos, whatever you want is fine with me.

As for the athletes of the month, we’re still looking for your stories. I don’t care if you are first place or last place, as long as you are trying! Send us your story with a photo and you too can be the athlete of the month. Please send your photo and entry to Adeena in my office: SantiagoA@Hss.edu.

Maria Crowley:  Our Athlete of the Month

How does someone balance a family, qualifying for the Ironman in Kona, and starting a charity program designed to help underprivileged high school students make it to college on track scholarships? If you’re wondering, we all are too. But Maria Crowley, an amazing woman, seems to have the answers. This is her story in her own words:

Last October, I fulfilled a lifetime dream qualifying for and finishing the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  During the race I reflected on how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to reach my goals.  But, mostly, my mind jumped back and forth between my daughter’s competitive cheer squad, competing that same day, and my son’s cross country team who had sent me off with posters, cards, and lots of questions.  “Wait… “How far do you swim? No way, I’d drown! You do, what? Ride 112 miles… and THEN run? Are you crazy, Mrs. Crowley, 26 miles?”  They kept me smiling all the way to the finish line.

This year, I joined forces with the Cross Country Coach, Maurice Bell, a former collegiate All East Coast Conference Track Star, to form Tru Velocity Athletic Club in Holmdel, New Jersey.  Together we share the vision to facilitate community supported athletic opportunities to advantaged and disadvantaged children of all abilities.  The primary purpose of our club is provide professional coaching, mentoring and financial support when possible, for the kids to train for and compete in sanctioned USATF, AAU, and USAT triathlon events. Many community and school programs have been cut in New Jersey, and children have diminished opportunities to race competitively.  We’re hoping to make a difference for kids who are motivated to work hard, surpass their goals, and make their dreams come true.

U go Maria, keep up the good work!

Good Morning America Health: The Science of Sport. What is the Science Behind Healthy Running?

I’m hosting a new segment on Good Morning America Health called The Science of Sport. This new series will come on once a month and will look into the interface between science and sport. In this first episode, we looked at the science of running. What goes into healthy running? What makes someone less likely to be injured? Have a watch and find out!


Can Exercise Really Make Kids Smarter?

This interesting article looks at the age old question, are athletes smarter? And if so, do kids who exercise have higher IQ’s? Have a read of this interesting article and think about it. I bet you’ll get your kids on the treadmill ASAP.


Concussion Update: What Should be Done to Safeguard Athletes? (Interview from GMA Health)

We’re seeing many more questions this fall about concussions in athletes. These are particularly of concern in adolescent athletes. This interview discusses topics such as concussion frequency, neuropsychological testing, and why adolescent concussions are different than adult ones.


When Is It Time To Pull Out of A Race?

With fall marathon season here, many of our patients are running. Way to go! I wrote this article as I was battling with my own injury and wanted to share it. The topic is when to consider pulling out of a race. Hopefully you won’t need to read this, but if you do, I hope it helps!


Recipe of the Month

So I’ve decided to pull a recipe of the month that can help all of you think about healthy, fun, and easy ways to feed your athletic bodies. This one is a winner, Stir-Fried Rice Stick Noodles with Bok Choy and Cherry Tomatoes. If anyone wants to bring this over, we’ll eat it!


What I Need To Know About My Hamstring Injury

Justin, a thirty year old triathlete, comes into the office complaining of his hamstring. “Doc”, he says emphatically, “this stupid hamstring is driving me nuts! I can’t seem to push off, I can’t do any speed work. Every time I push I feel this ache in the back of my leg.”

What Justin describes, an achy, injured hamstring, has been the demise of many a runner and triathlete. The symptoms of a hamstring strain, medical terminology for an injury to a muscle, include pain in the hamstring when pressure is applied and discomfort when the muscle group is actively loaded.

Why are these injuries so common? Why are they so annoying? And what can an athlete such as Justin do to make these injuries heal?

The hamstring is a combination of both a medial and lateral muscle groups that originate at the ischial tuberosity, part of the pelvis, and run along the back of the leg until they insert just below the knee. Since the muscle group spans both the hip and knee, there are two sets of force that the hamstring is subjected to, both from the hip and the knee motion.

The construction of the hamstring muscles isn’t ideal for sport, both the proximal hamstring muscles near the ischial tuberosity (sit bones) and the insertion near the knee have a poor blood supply. This translates into slow healing rates for muscle strains that occur proximally, the notorious “pain in the butt” hamstring strain, as well as the distal hamstring strain near the knee. The middle, meaty portion of the hamstring, the belly of muscle group, has an excellent blood supply and heals quickly.

Why does blood supply make a difference? Because blood carries nutrients, including oxygen, that aid in the repair of injured tissue and are carried in blood. For that reason, the better the blood supply, the quicker the healing rate. Tissue such as oral mucosa heals quickly, the blood supply is great. Long muscle groups such as the hamstring often have areas of poor vascularity, so certain areas heal exceptionally slowly.

When the hamstring is injured, the key is first to recognize the injury. The hamstring strain is typically the result of too much speed or hill work, and most importantly, not paying enough attention to the cues of pain. Often in the heat of the moment, during the run portion of a race, when muscles become dehydrated and susceptible to injury, pushing too hard on a hill or trying to pass the athlete just ahead results in a hamstring strain.

When a hamstring strain happens, especially if it’s up near the butt, back off! Slow down, don’t make things worse by continuing to press ahead full force. Muscle strains are like tearing a paper bag, once you tear it a bit, by pushing harder, you’ll tear more and more.

If the finish line isn’t too far, it’s fine to slow up and finish the race, but proximal hamstring injuries particularly are a good reason to consider DNF status. No matter what the race, it’s generally not worth the months of aggravation that follow a bad proximal hamstring strain by pushing ahead through this injury.

In terms of immediate treatment, ice is key, gentle stretching after a few days, and hopeful waiting are all good initial steps. If the pain persists, seeing your doc, getting either an MRI or ultrasound to look at the injury, are reasonable next steps. Gradual return to activity, particularly speed and hills, is key going forward.

For prevention, the point can’t be made enough: a strong gluteal and hamstring muscle group is key to preventing this injury. Tons and tons of squats, lunges, and planks will help strengthen the muscles in and around the hamstring. Isolated hamstring curls can work to strengthen the hamstring alone, but do little for the gluteal muscles and others that are equally important, so multi muscle strength exercises such as lunges and plyometric squats are better ways to prevent this injury from happening.

Newer treatments such as PRP (platelet rich plasma) might offer some hope for those suffering from a lingering hamstring injury. Many docs are involved in clinical trials to assess the efficacy of this new method of treatment. At this point, PRP is probably a treatment for a muscle or tendon injury that fails the normal healing response of about five months.

Justin was eventually diagnosed with a proximal hamstring strain. Through strength and hard work, he is now pain free and running well. Please remember, beware of the hamstring or it will be an injury that you won’t forget.

Upcoming Events

1)   Running Clinic at Chelsea Piers

I’m helping out with a free running clinic this Wednesday evening at Chlesea Piers. If you’re interested in learning more, please follow the link below to register.


2)   13th Annual Sports Medicine for the Young Athlete Conference

Our 13th annual Sports Medicine for the Young Athlete conference will be held here at HSS on Saturday, February 26th, 2011. This one day seminar for health professionals looks at t various aspects of health for young athletes. The full flyer will be sent in November. For more information, please contact the education division at HSS, 212-606-1057.

3)   3rd Annual Amazing Evening of Triathlon Education

Our annual amazing evening of triathlon education is in the works for late February or early March. Details and registration to come next month, stay tuned!

That’s all for this newsletter. I hope you enjoyed it

Best wishes for you all and have a safe and active spring sports season!

If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter and want to sign up yourself, just register for our website, www.drjordanmetzl.com and you’ll get the next one.

Keep moving and have fun!

Not to be out done by his brother, Check out this great story about the sexy and vivacious Jamie Metzle

Jamie Metzl

The Sexy & Vivacious Jamie Metzl

This post was written by: DGG

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  1. saw your spot on Today show 15 MAR 12 what is the name of the exercise program you were teaching -is it in a book ? I exercise and I work with people with rheumatoid arthritis trying to keep them mobile