Teresa Schuemann, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS, SCS is an expert in treating female athletes. She works at her own private practice, serves as a member of the sports medicine team for the United States Olympic Committee and teaches with EIM as the program director for both the Sports Physical Therapy Certification and the Sports Physical Therapy Residency.
Teresa joins our hosts Kory Zimney and Paul Mintken to discuss treating female athletes and the nuances of treating this specific patient population. She offers her advice and how to get started, what screens to use and when to refer out.
Here are some of the highlights:
When you are getting started treating female athletes, familiarize yourself with the position statements, look back at the historical research to see how the view on female athletes has changes, then learn about the revisions that have been made to the research over the years.
The Female Triad in 2021 and how nutrition and rest plays into each area:
- Energy availability
- Bone Density
- Menstrual cycle/reproductive organs
Prescribed sleep and recovery is important for every athlete along with active rest that will build up supporting musculature and bone density.
Some common bone building exercises for female athletes:
- Power training (squats, Russian dead lift, powerclean)
As a general orthopaedic physical therapist, you can use the Athletes’ Coalition screen that has the norms and abnormalities lined out. Using this screen can help you dig deeper into eating behavior, bone density and menstrual cycles to see if the person needs to be referred out to a primary care provider, sports psychologist or Ob-gyn.
Use BMI with caution, avoiding talking about weight and focusing on fueling for optimal performance.
Pregnant athletes should not be viewed as fragile but should be given activities that will keep them strong and ready to come back postpartum.
Teresa Schuemann’s clinical pearl on female athletes: Know the evidence and make it digestible for the patient. And self-reflect session by session to see what mistakes you made and how you can do better next time.
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