Carrot cake sliced and on chopping board

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot cake sliced and on chopping board

Just because Easter is over doesn't mean you can't enjoy a slice of carrot cake! But, are you worried about the calories? Well, there is no need because our resident Dietitian, Ricki-Lee Driver has a healthy carrot cake recipe that tastes like any classic carrot cake should...Amazing!

Cooking Time: 60min

Preparation Time: 10min

Ingredients

For Cake: 

  • 500g grated carrots
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 350g almond meal
  • 80 ml avocado oil or olive oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

For Icing:

  • 180g fresh ricotta
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • rind from 1/2 small lemon

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C fan forced.
  2. Combine carrot, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond meal, oil, honey, soaked raisins and baking powder.
  3. Mix well until combined.
  4. Pour mixture into a prepared 20cm baking tin.
  5. Bake cake for 60 minutes or until cooked through and cool.
  6. For the frosting - combine ricotta, lemon rind, maple syrup and vanilla and smooth over cake once cooled.
  7. Enjoy 🧡

 

Written by Dietitian, Ricki-Lee Driver

Ricki-lee is passionate about supporting and empowering clients to achieve their health-related goals. Ricki-lee graduated with an Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Private hospitals, aged care facilities, private practice, and specialist teams are just some of the areas Rick-lee has gained experience from. A patient-centered approach is applied by Ricki-Lee to enable clients to overcome health barriers and facilitate diet and lifestyle independence. Ricki-lee has special interests in adult and childhood obesity, bariatrics and disability.

Outside of work, Ricki-lee enjoys rock climbing, spending time with family and friends and experimenting in the kitchen.

Ricki-Lee is available for Dietitian appointments at our BuderimNambourMaroochydore and Coolum locations.


“Clumsy” or Tripping Child? Our Expert Podiatrist Explains

Children playing with train tracks and toys

It is normal for children to appear clumsy when they initially reach their walking milestone. At the 12-month mark children will begin to learn to master a brand new, and very important skill!

Over time walking becomes a developed skill with coordination and balance finding stabilisation in their gait by 3 years old.

For some children, a delay in refining gross motor skills for walking can become challenging, which is frustrating for children and often upsetting for parents.

A delay in development reduces independence and increases occurrences of injury.

Symptoms:

  • Regular tripping, falling, unable to walk in the same direction, uneven steps, unable to maintain balance
  • Difficulty with motor skills; decreased coordination – struggling with brushing teeth, doing buttons on clothing, struggling with climbing etc

As podiatrists we assess the contributing factors to why your child may be walking with a ‘clumsy’ gait pattern.

We check for:

  • Developmental milestones – checking to see that these have been met to ensure there’s no other clinical history that is relevant.
  • Limb length differences, which can make it harder for ground clearance when walking, making your child’s walking pattern appear clumsy, and increases their chances of tripping
  • Neurological assessment; checking reflexes, contractures and assessing for signs of foot drop
  • Muscle strength, symmetry, developmental coordination and gross motor skill assessment

Based on the outcome of your child’s assessment this will determine the best treatment pathway for your child. Through understanding the causes, we make clinical decisions on your child’s treatment, to achieve the best outcome for your child.

In some instances, monitoring behaviours and gait patterns with a few exercises can be enough to help your child reach developmental milestones into their childhood without delay.

In some cases, treatment may involve:

  • Exercise’s therapy – to improve specific muscle adaptation
  • Footwear recommendations and changes to improve gait
  • Orthoses – custom foot orthoses to stabilise and improve gait efficiency
  • Braces +/- splinting: with a drop foot your child may benefit from an Ankle Foot Orthoses
  • Gait retraining – improve motor patterning

Depending on the outcome of your child’s assessment referral onwards to physiotherapy may be beneficial, the great thing about Sports and Spinal is that we have multiple allied health professions under the same roof to ensure your child feels comfortable in their surroundings and continuity of care is key.

 

If you think podiatry is a suitable treatment for your child call your nearest clinic to book your next appointment or feel free to simply ask some questions to learn more.

 

Written By Podiatrist, Gabi Bogatko

Gabi is experienced in all facets of Podiatry including musculoskeletal conditions of the feet and legs, video gait analysis, biomechanical assessment, paediatric foot/leg assessment, lower limb acupuncture/ dry needling and orthotic therapy. In addition to Bachelors of Podiatry Gabi also holds a Diploma in Football Medicine through the FIFA Medical Network which has created an excellent platform to connect with world-leading experts internationally

Gabi has a good knack for building relationships with paediatric patients having great outcomes treating rheumatological, musculoskeletal, inflammatory disorders and juvenile arthritis.
With extensive knowledge working with the top running shoe brands and passionate about shoe technology and advances in footwear, Gabi is well across finding the fit for your foot.

With a great passion for improving mobility and patient goals whether it be in the sporting field or day to day mobility she is proficient and passionate about all aspects of her profession and looks forward to greeting you with a smile in the clinic.

Gabi is available at our Caloundra and Sippy Downs clinic.


Photo of young man and podiatrist looking at foot figure

What Is Sever's Disease?

Photo of young man and podiatrist looking at foot figure

School is well and truly back! The last thing you want is your child to be in pain as they start the new year. Has your child complained about pain in their heels especially after a big day of sport or after a Phys Ed class?

They could be suffering from a common condition called Sever’s Disease.

What is Sever's?

One of the most common causes of heel pain in children is calcaneal apophysitis more commonly known as Sever’s. Typically, this condition affects children aged between 8 and 15 tending towards the more athletic/ active children with a recorded incidence rate of 3.7/1000 patients.

Sever’s generally presents with pain and inflammation at the back of one or both heels with pain aggravated during activity usually involving running or jumping.

Pain sometimes persisting for some time following activity. If not treated the pain levels can be quite high and uncomfortable sometimes preventing the participation in sport or activities of daily living.

Anatomy of the heel in Sever's

Figure 1: Anatomy of Severs
Figure 1: Anatomy of Severs

The bones in Children's feet are not completely fused together when they are born, many in 2 or 3 sections.

Over the years as the child grows these sections fuse together to form one bone.

At the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon inserts into the bone, there is one of these areas known as an apophysis.

This is an open growth plate not closing completely until around the age of 14.

Irritation and stress especially with a tight Achilles tendon pulling on this on this growth plate is the main cause of the inflammation and pain experienced.

Causes of Sever's

The main theory behind the cause of Sever’s is due to mechanical overuse while the growth plate is still open. This can be due to increased or high levels of activity causing repetitive stress and the development of inflammation.

Obesity can also play a role as this puts more stress through the legs and feet. Patients often have no specific injury history when presenting with pain however tend to have poor dorsiflexion through their ankles leading to a tighter pull on the growth plate of the calcaneus.

Treatment

In most cases the general treatment for Sever’s is conservative.

Man performing an Achilles stretch
Figure 2: Man performing an Achilles stretch

These treatment options include;

  • Ice therapy,
  • Modifying current activity levels,
  • Exercises and stretching to reduce tension on the Achilles tendon,
  • Anti-inflammatory medications,
  • Taping the heel and arch,
  • Shoe inserts including gel heel cups for extra cushioning and shock absorption.

There is also the option to use an immobilization boot in severe cases or where the patients may not be too compliant with other treatment options.

This boot would be used in conjunction with other therapies. Recovery time for Sever’s will vary among children. The younger the child is when diagnosed the longer the recovery period may be.

Treatment compliance and the amount of activity reduction will also play a role in the recovery time. Generally full recovery will occur at the age of skeletal maturity where the calcaneus bone is fully fused.

 

Written by Podiatrist, Thomas Abraham

Areas Treated: Foot, Ankle, Knee, Toenail Care

Tom graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Podiatry. Since leaving university he has gained an interest in sports injuries, biomechanics and wound care and is always looking to learn more allowing him to provide the best treatment he can. Tom has also spent some time working with running footwear specifically ASICS.

During school and university, Tom was actively involved in playing soccer, tennis and completed in athletics up to a state-level on a few occasions. Tom is a keen traveler spending a year in Europe in and some time in Nepal volunteering and completing the Everest base camp trek. In Tom's spare time he enjoys snowboarding when he can.

Tom is available for Podiatry appointments at our ChermsideNorth Lakes and Redcliffe locations.


Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Image of Minestrone Soup

For all of this week, Australia recognises it's amazing Dietitians for Dietitian Week! Has an Extraordinary Dietitian transformed your health, or the health of a loved one? Is there an APD in your family, friendship group, or team at work? Well, Dietitians Week is the perfect time to thank them!

To help celebrate Dietitians Week we have shared APD, Joel Feren's warming minestrone soup recipe. Made with the goodness of extra virgin olive oil and packed full of vegetables Joel recommends that serving it with crusty sourdough is a must!

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 35min

Preparation Time: 15min

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups spiral pasta
  • 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, leek, carrot, celery and zucchini and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Stir in stock and canned tomatoes and bring to boil.
  4. Add pasta and parsley and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
  5. Add kidney beans, stir and warm through.
  6. Divide the soup between four serving bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with crusty sourdough bread.

To serve:

Parmesan cheese
Sour cream
Salt and pepper
Sourdough bread

 

For more recipes from Joel Feren (A.K.A The Nutrition Guy) click here or for more recipes from the Sports & Spinal Dietitian team click here. Our team of experts can help you to better manage your health, happiness and lifestyle through nutrition. Contact your nearest Sports & Spinal clinic to see how one of our dietitians can help you today!


Pumpkin and Spinach Frittata Recipe

Pumpkin and Spinach Frittata

Sports & Spinal Dietitian, Ricki-Lee Driver knows a thing or two about whipping up healthy and nutritious meals that are full of flavour!

This week Ricki-Lee has shared her Pumpkin and Spinach Frittata. It's a perfect meal for both lunch and dinner and can be served with a variety of sides including a toss salad, steamed vegetables, and more. This recipe will also feature in Sports and Spinal's Diet, Behaviour, and Beyond Program that launches later this month. The program looks to educate you on your own habits, lifestyle choices and mindset to help you live a happier and healthier life. To learn more, contact your nearest Sports and Spinal clinic.

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 30min

Preparation Time: 15min

Ingredients

  • 600g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 1 cup (125g) grated reduced fat tasty cheese
  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley (or other herbs of choice)
  • Cracked black pepper, to season

Method

  1. Place pumpkin in a shallow microwave-safe dish no more than two layers deep. Cover and microwave on High for 4-5 minutes or until almost tender. Alternatively place in steamer and steam for 10-15min until mostly tender.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil oven proof, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the pumpkin to the hot pan, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pumpkin begins to brown. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the pan.
  4. Top the spinach and sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until well combined. Add parsley and season with pepper.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over pumpkin and spinach.
  8. Gently shake pan to allow the egg to run between the pieces. Cook for 8-10 minutes until edges are firm but the top still a little soft. Remove from the heat.
  9. Preheat a grill on medium. Place the frittata (still in the frying pan) under the grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until top is firm and light golden.
  10. Cut into wedges and serve with salad of choice.

Notes

  • Pumpkin can be substituted for sweet potato
  • Best served fresh from the oven but can be stored in the fridge for maximum 5 days
  • Freeze slices for future lunches or dinners

Written By Dietitian, Ricki-lee Driver

Ricki-lee is passionate about supporting and empowering clients to achieve their health-related goals. Ricki-lee graduated with an Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Private hospitals, aged care facilities, private practice, and specialist teams are just some of the areas Rick-lee has gained experience from. A patient-centered approach is applied by Ricki-Lee to enable clients to overcome health barriers and facilitate diet and lifestyle independence. Ricki-lee has special interests in adult and childhood obesity, bariatrics and disability.

Outside of work, Ricki-lee enjoys rock climbing, spending time with family and friends and experimenting in the kitchen.

Ricki-Lee is available for Dietitian appointments at our BuderimNambourMaroochydore and Coolum locations.


The In's and Out's of Stretching

Have you always been told that stretching is good for performance, longevity and reducing your risk of injury?

Stretching is something that has always been said to be good for us. But, the question is that with all of the current research surrounding stretching...

Is it actually beneficial to stretch?

Before we go down the rabbit hole of explaining all of the different stretching methods, busting myths, highlighting benefits, and negative impacts, we must first define what we are referring to and secondly what kind of stretching we are going to discuss.

Particularly, we will discuss static and dynamic stretching and the effects both have on performance and general well-being. So, whether you compete at a high level or like you like to run  a few km's throughout the week, this blog will be of some benefit to you!

Static Stretching (SS)

This is the type of stretch is where you elongate a muscle and hold it there for a period. Most people have done a calf stretch against a wall.

Dynamic Stretching (DS)

This stretch uses movement and momentum of the limb or trunk to move the muscle from one end of its range to the other end of range, its best performed slowly and controlled.

An example of this stretch is reaching for your toes in a slow and controlled manner. This would be a DS of the hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

Dynamic VS. Static Stretching

So again – should we static stretch?

Studies have concluded that the use of static stretching as a sole activity during a warm-up may harm performance, power, and strength. However, the key word is ‘sole’ meaning if you are only doing 10 minutes of static stretching before activity such as running it may increase your injury risk.

However, this is the fun part. That same paper also stated that short static stretching is recommended for activities that involve slower eccentric contractions, or sports that require greater ranges of movement such as gymnastics or karate.

So, what does this mean for static stretching?

If you are going to go for a run – spend the time you usually would doing static stretching doing a dynamic activity (which we will get to shortly) but if you are going to doing something that requires your body to go into greater ranges of motion, short static stretching is going to be beneficial.

How about dynamic stretching?

Dynamic stretching is more appropriate in most cases. A recent study within PubMed stated that...

 

"A warm-up to minimize impairments and enhance performance should be composed of a submaximal intensity aerobic activity followed by large amplitude dynamic stretching and then completed with sport-specific dynamic activities."

 

That sounds like something that would take a long time but if we break it down for a soccer player for example, it may look something like this:

  • 90-minute game of high intensity – spend between 25%-50% of game time warming up.
  • Say you play 60 minutes of the time usually, that means between 15-30mins of warming up.
  • If we break that down further into 30 minutes.
  • Dynamic stretching (5-10mins).
  • Short, and controlled static stretching (5-10mins).
  • Drills/running where you are at 70-80% of your maximal intensity (5-10mins).
  • Then drills involving cutting and change of direction.

What if you do not like stretching all together?

If this is the case, what could your time be better invested in?

Firstly, strength training is a great place to start and Pilates is a good example of this. Pilates can be targeted to your strength and fitness goals and will decrease your  risk of injury. In comparison to stretching, Pilates is low risk of gaining an jury and it also offers other significant benefits.

Secondly, addressing “Training error” avoidance. This means decreasing load stress and increasing tissue resistance through your training. This requires carrying out movements and exercises that will not cause injury. For example, when you're lifting weights use weights that are suited to your ability and lift in a safe and effective manner.

 

Written By Podiatrist, Blake Withers 

Blake graduated with a Bachelor of Podiatry from the University of Newcastle. He has always held a deep interest in health, fitness and the human body leading him towards his chosen profession of podiatry.

Blake continually expands his knowledge and skills to keep up to date with the latest science behind lower limb conditions and injuries. Blake enjoys all aspects of podiatric care but holds a special interest in sports and biomechanical podiatry (including paediatric patients). The most important thing for Blake is helping his patients achieve their goals.

In his spare time, Blake enjoys the outdoors and many sports including Rugby League, surfing, running and CrossFit.

Blake is available for Podiatry appointments at our Sippy DownsMaroochydore and Nambour locations.


Myths about foot orthoses

Sports and Spinal Podiatrist, Blake Withers helps bust the myths on Foot orthoses

Foot orthoses, otherwise referred to as foot orthotics are specially designed shoe inserts that help support the feet and improve foot posture. Resident podiatrist and foot enthusiast Blake Withers has provided some insight on what foot orthoses really are and has helped to bust common foot orthoses myths.

Myths about foot orthoses:

MYTH 1: Pronation is bad, and you need foot orthoses to fix it.

‘Pronation is bad and is the reason for your pain’.

Majority of the population pronate and need to for normal walking and running. Pronation is one of pivotal movements of the foot.

Old research has been disproven linking pronation with injury and now shows that its more related to load tolerance and the old saying ‘doing too much to quick’. There are cases where someone can be sensitive to this movement and it would be beneficial to limit that movement for a period of time. However, this movement is still required for your foot to function.

At Sports and Spinal, your Podiatrist will assess a range of different areas including movement patterns, strength, balance and tissue capacity to assist in rehabilitation and performance.

MYTH 2: They are a lifetime sentence.

Foot orthoses are most commonly not a lifetime sentence. There may be some cases where they help and offer support long term. A good analogy to use is that they are like a shoulder sling.

For example, if you were to hurt your shoulder, you may be prescribed a shoulder sling for the next 12 weeks to reduce the load going through the shoulder. Once you have built some strength and desensitised the area, you will be free to come out and continue as you were.

Foot orthoses are much the same, once that area has desensitised and you can tolerate load of the body again, they may not be required. Your Podiatrist will assess you along the way and is best equipped to monitor your response time frames with foot orthoses.

Remember – They are a part of a rehab strategy.

MYTH 3: They brace the feet and make feet weaker.

Your foot muscles still work to stabilise and control the foot when on the device. Currently, within the world of research, there are 5 studies looking directly at foot muscle strength with foot orthosis. 4/5 of the studies show no decrease in strength capacity or stability.

One study showed an increase in strength. We are not supporting the muscle, we are modifying the load and spreading the pressure out underneath the foot. The muscles and structures still and do work just as hard.

MYTH 4: They can only go in a neutral running shoe.

We understand that, yes, the shoe does play a role in the effect of the orthoses (another reason why your Podiatrist will recommend a strong and supportive shoe) and as we know, we must have a shoe for the foot orthoses effect to be reached.

Can foot orthoses go into any shoe?

They can go into any shoe if they achieve the required effect. They can go into minimalist, maximalists, neutral or motion control shoes.

Foot orthoses are like a drug and so are shoes, both have an effect (dosage). What we are trying to do is find the right dosage for you so we can get the desired effect. If we can combine both the shoe and orthoses, we get a net dosage of both. So long as we achieve the right dosage, we achieve the effect.

Remember to always ask questions about your footwear, what the best shoe for your orthotics would be to go into? Timeframes? and any other questions you may have.

 

Written By Podiatrist, Blake Withers

Blake graduated with a Bachelor of Podiatry from the University of Newcastle. He has always held a deep interest in health, fitness and the human body leading him towards his chosen profession of podiatry. He continually expands his knowledge and skills to keep up to date with the latest science behind lower limb conditions and injuries.

Blake enjoys all aspects of podiatric care but holds a special interest in sports and biomechanical podiatry (including paediatric patients). The most important thing for Blake is helping his patients achieve their goals.

In his spare time, Blake enjoys the outdoors and many sports including Rugby League, surfing, running and CrossFit.

Blake is available for Podiatry appointments at our Sippy DownsMaroochydore and Nambour locations.


Plantar Fasciitis Explained

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis (PF) is one of the most common causes of heel pain in adults around the world with women aged between 40 and 60 most likely to contract the condition.

PF has an Incidence rate of between 10% and 20% of all athletes sustaining injury, with recreational and elite runners being the most common athlete type 4.5-10%. PF is the 3rd most common injury sustained behind Medial tibial stress syndrome and Achilles tendinopathy.

In the majority of cases PF has been found to resolve spontaneously helping lead the theory of some studies that it is a self-limiting condition, however there is still 5-10% of people that will end up getting surgery at some stage.

PF typically presents with pain at the fascial enthesis on the medial calcaneal tubercle (or your heel) with pain coursing distally along the PF into the Medial Longitudinal Arch (MLA).

Whilst imaging can help rule out other differential diagnoses, the diagnosis of PF is generally clinical. Pain is often felt first thing in the morning or after a long period of rest, with the intensity of pain subsiding throughout periods of weight bearing being either unilateral or bilateral.

 

Anatomy of the Plantar Fascia

Anatomy of the Plantar Fascia

The plantar fascia is a strong band of connective tissue originating at the medial calcaneal tuberosity coursing distally though the plantar foot and attaching to the plantar plates at the heads of the 5 metatarsals bones.

It consists of 3 separate bands, medial central and lateral.

These 3 bands support the MLA and during the toe off phase of gait with dorsiflexion of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint, create the windlass mechanism.

This tightens the plantar fascia allowing the foot to become a rigid lever for effective toe off and propulsion to occur at the end of the gait cycle.

Studies have shown a relationship between the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon with continuation of the fibers from the PF uniting with the Achilles at its insertion on the posterior calcaneus.

Aetiology of Plantar Fasciitis

There are a number of contributing factors that can lead to PF and can be both intrinsic and extrinsic in nature.

Some of these include:

Initially PF was thought to be an inflammatory condition, however, studies show that the condition is not inflammatory in nature rather a mechanical overload/ degenerative condition in which the term Plantar Fasciosis would be more correct.

This degeneration is evident at the site of the PF attachment on the calcaneus and resembles something more similar to a chronic tendinopathy.

Although any of the risk factors in table 1 can contribute to PF, Pes Planus foot type with increased Subtalar joint pronation have been shown to be the most significant contributing factor to the development of PF.

When taking into account the biomechanics of running it is easily understood that due to the 2-3 times body weight that is put through the plantar fascia during a run, any degenerative changes to the plantar fascia will be subject to this repetitive increase in ground reaction force each step.

Treatment

Approximately 80% of patients suffering from PF get full resolution of pain after 12 months of non-operative treatment. These conservative treatment options can include.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Activity modification
  • Stretching and strengthening exercise
  • In shoe padding and strapping, gel insert.
  • Foot orthoses custom or prefabricated
  • Dry needling/ soft tissue massage
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Footwear recommendations based on patient needs
  • Referral to other health professionals for help with any core issues.

There are some patients that don’t respond to this conservative treatment. Surgical treatment may be required if PF symptoms persist for 6-12 months.

Full resolution can in some cases take up to 18-24 months with a plantar fascia tear/rupture a possible outcome if activity load is not managed over this time.

 

Written By Podiatrist, Thomas Abraham

Areas Treated: Foot, Ankle, Knee, Toenail Care

Tom graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Podiatry. Since leaving university he has gained an interest in sports injuries, biomechanics and wound care and is always looking to learn more allowing him to provide the best treatment he can. Tom has also spent some time working with running footwear specifically ASICS.
During school and university, Tom was actively involved in playing soccer, tennis and completed in athletics up to a state-level on a few occasions. Tom is a keen traveler spending a year in Europe in and some time in Nepal volunteering and completing the Everest base camp trek. Tom also enjoys snowboarding when he can.

Tom is available for Podiatry appointments at our ChermsideNorth Lakes and Redcliffe locations.


Dietary Supplements and The High-Performance Athlete

Training and nutrition underpin athletic performance, however dietary supplements may play a smaller, but important role. Sports and Spinal Dietician, Tarni Sanewski has taken us on a deep-dive into dietary supplements. Tarni has explained how they can both positively and negatively impact an athlete's performance.

The Supplement Situation

Supplements are very popular in the sporting world; from sports foods that provide additional macronutrients, to powders that may improve alertness. There are so many supplements available on the market at the moment. It can be difficult to know which ones may be beneficial or harmful to an athlete’s health and performance.

A new study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism summarized the evidence surrounding popular sports supplements. The study provides guidance for professionals and athletes regarding efficacy, dosage, and side effects.

Micronutrients That Often Require Supplementation

In athletes, common vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in factors that contribute to sports performance. For example, regulating energy production and creating new cells and proteins. An athlete who is deficient in fundamental nutrients may be more prone to illness and injury or unable to train as effectively. Calcium, Vitamin D and iron are three nutrients often lacking in the general population and athlete’s diets.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for bone health and important in maintaining immunity and muscle strength. Dairy products are the best source of calcium. While, Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin from direct contact with sunlight but it can also be obtained from some foods.

Athletes may be at risk of insufficient Vitamin D during colder seasons where there is less exposure to the sun. Whereas, athletes who avoid dairy products are at higher risk of insufficient Calcium intake. It makes sense for athletes to prioritize Calcium and Vitamin D given the absolute necessity for muscular and bone health in competitive sports.

Iron Suboptimal

Iron levels in an athlete are equally as important as Calcium and Vitamin D. Iron levels can vary depending on the athlete's iron intake, whether it be choosing foods low in bioavailable iron, or increased iron.

Iron is necessary to enable athletes to undertake high-altitude training, as well as enable rapid growth. Iron levels can also lessen as a result of lose through excess sweat, urine, or faeces.

Female athletes are also more prone to having a low iron status compared to males due to blood loss during menstruation. An athlete who does not obtain adequate iron may notice fatigue, shortness of breath and changes in overall strength, which are essential components for optimal performance.

'Calcium, vitamin D and iron are three nutrients often lacking in the general population and athlete’s diets.'

Sports Foods and Functional Foods

Athletes often have higher macronutrient and electrolyte requirements than the average person. It can be more challenging to meet an athlete's needs in certain situations such as during an event or between races. Sports foods can be a convenient source of nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fat or electrolytes. Such foods help athletes to sustain or recover from physical activity by replenishing stores before, during or after an event.

Foods proved to improve athletic performance when used correctly include;

  • Sports and energy drinks
  • Sports gels and sports confectionary
  • Electrolyte replacement supplements
  • Protein supplements
  • Liquid meal supplements
  • Sports bars and protein enhanced foods

Keep in mind these supplements are often expensive, and everyday foods may be an appropriate option depending on your activity and overall goal. See the images below for more nutrients and vitamins that are commonly found in an athlete's diet 👇

Supplements That Directly Improve Sports Performance

When someone says ‘sports supplements’, caffeine or creatine are probably the first that come to mind, and for good reasons too. Nitrate, beta-alanine, and sodium bicarbonate may also improve performance to some degree depending on the dosage and situation.

Supplements That Indirectly Improve Performance

There are also supplements that can indirectly effect sports performance by influencing factors that contribute to this such as enhancing immunity, assisting with training capacity, and contributing to beneficial physique changes like an increase in muscle mass.

Summing Up Supplements

There is a lot to consider when adding a sports supplement into an athlete’s routine. It is important to ensure athletes follow a balanced meal plan tailored to their needs prior to supplementation. This is so they can maintain good health through high impact sports and intense training programs.

Supplements should also be trialed well before event day to ensure dosage aligns with expected results, and side effects can be controlled. It is also crucial to perform a risk analysis weighing the benefits of the supplement with the risk of potential doping due to contamination.

 

Written By Dietician, Tarni Sanewski 

Tarni is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian who is passionate about improving health, promoting recovery and preventing disease by inspiring healthy diet and lifestyle choices using a patient-centered approach. Graduating from the University of the Sunshine Coast with a Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics, Tarni has since had clinical experience working with acute cardiac and respiratory patients in the hospital. Special interest areas include rehabilitation, weight management, cardiovascular disease, and gut health.

Tarni is available for Dietetic appointments at our BuderimKawanaSippy Downs, Chermside and North Lakes


Physiotherapists VS. Exercise Physiologists

Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists (EP) can often be categorized as the same discipline or compared to as "one being better than the other."

But, though the two share similar qualities they are both two very different disciplines. Sports and Spinal Exercise Physiologist, Georgia White has helped to clear up the confusion and has outlined some of the key differences between physio's and EP's.

What Are We?

Firstly, let's define what a Physio and an EP are. Physio's are university qualified allied health professionals that assess, diagnose, plan and manage the care of patients across a broad range of areas and conditions.

Whereas, EPs are university qualified allied health professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with acute, subacute or chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities.

Who Do We Treat?

Both Physio's and EPs treat a wide variety of patients with differing conditions and treatment needs.

Physio's treat conditions including:

  • Cardio-respiratory & Neurological
  • Musculoskeletal & Oncology
  • Pulmonary & Chronic pain
  • Women's & men's health
  • Disabilities & Sporting injuries

EPs treat conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular & Metabolic
  • Neurological & Musculoskeletal
  • Oncology & Kidney
  • Respiratory & Pulmonary
  • Chronic pain & Women's & men's health
  • Bone health & balance mental health
  • Disabilities, and many more

What Stage of Rehab Do We Treat?

Physiotherapists treat using a combination of hands on and prescribed exercises for the more "acute" stage of rehab. Physio's also provide treatment for all stages of rehab, acute and long term, depending on the individual patient.

EPs tend to use a more A "hands off" approach with more of a focus of long term rehabilitation/later stage of rehab. Prescribe safe, tailored, effective & clinically justified exercise interventions.

Sometimes the scope of EPs and Physiotherapists do overlap! The main difference is physios are able to DIAGNOSE, ASSESS & TREAT.

Whereas EPs DESIGN, DELIVER & EVALUATE safe and effective exercise interventions.

Here at Sports & Spinal, EPs and Physiotherapists work together to provide the best care for our patients - this what we call multi-disciplinary care. To learn more on how an exercise physiologists, physiotherapist, or both could help you and your health goals use this link.

 

Written By, Georgia White

Georgia graduated with a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology (Distinction) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Although Georgia is passionate in all fields of exercise physiology, she has a special interest in women’s health, oncology, neurological and pediatric rehabilitation.

Georgia finds it immensely rewarding and takes pride in providing treatment to her patients. She also enjoys watching them progress with treatment, achieving goals and unlocking certain aspects of their rehabilitation they never thought they could. Georgia believes “Exercise is Medicine” and sees the importance of this with her patients as they feel empowered from the benefits of exercise interventions.

Georgia is available for Exercise Physiology appointments at our Springfield and Woolloongabba locations.