Category: ‘Fitness’

Avoid Injury by Lifting Weights Safely

Posted in Fitness, Press Releases, Sports Injury | July 11, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine offers tips on weight training safely to avoid injury.

New York, NY and Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) July 11, 2017

You want to be stronger – and heard about weight training’s many benefits. But if you’re also worried that lifting weights will lead to injury, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid getting hurt while taking advantage of this timeless fitness trend, according to sports medicine specialist Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

“It’s now conventional wisdom that weight training isn’t only for those seeking eye-popping arm muscles or rip-roaring abs. Indeed, lifting weights has become a popular part of fitness regimens for adults of all ages, helping to burn calories and improve heart health and balance on top of toning muscles and strengthening bones,” says Dr. Plancher, who lectures globally on issues related to orthopaedic procedures and sports injury management.

There’s no question that lifting weights can be risky, causing more than 49,000 injuries each year among Americans, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects data on injuries requiring hospital emergency room visits.

“Unfortunately, many people try weight training without understanding how to avoid hurting themselves,” Dr. Plancher explains. “These risks go way down when we educate ourselves about these factors and preventive techniques. There are many benefits of weight lifting, the downsides are few, and it just takes a little forethought to make the most of this fitness option.”

Potential weight-lifting risks

Sometimes a weight-lifting injury announces itself loudly, with a popping sound, sensation, or a rush of pain. Other weight training injuries seem to come on slowly. Dr. Plancher says there are two main types of common strength-training injuries:

Traumatic: “These injuries happen suddenly and you know it immediately,” he says. “The popping or pain sensation is searing, unmistakable, and you can’t ignore it.” Traumatic injuries from weight lifting may require a trip to the emergency room and other acute measures to treat.

Overuse: Also attributable to aging, overuse injuries related to weight lifting occur slowly, with cartilage, muscles, tendons and ligaments wearing down and becoming less flexible. Overtraining and other mistakes, such as not staying hydrated, can also contribute to these weight-training injuries, Dr. Plancher says.

Certain body areas – including the back, knees, shoulders, elbows and wrists – are particularly vulnerable in the weight room, he notes.

“These areas are repetitively stressed by motions used in weight lifting, so when combined with mistakes such as poor technique or lifting too much, they typically suffer the worst harm,” adds Dr. Plancher, also a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Injury prevention tips

If you want to stay in the weight room but stay out of the doctor’s office, Dr. Plancher offers these tried-and-true methods for preventing weight lifting-related injuries:

Use proper form: You may not even know you’re lifting wrong, but this can make all the difference in how your body responds. “There are several ways to make sure you’re practicing proper form. You can ask an orthopedic sports medicine physician to teach you correct lifting techniques,” he says. “Or with a professional guiding you, use the mirrors on the gym walls to check your form, paying close attention to the placement of your knees, ankles and hands during reps such as squats or bench presses.”

Warm up right: Ideally, your fitness routine will incorporate light cardio, stretching and low resistance exercises before you even pick up a dumbbell. “Your core temperature and muscle flexibility will increase just enough to help your weight lifting be safer – and more effective,” he says.

Get a spotter: When lifting free weights, it’s always safest to have a spotter to avoid injury.

Skip the danger: Avoid “tough-guy” moves that you and your high school friends may have done in the weight room when you were much younger, such as Olympic bench presses or deadlifts. These don’t make sense for most amateur athletes and pose the most risks, Dr. Plancher says.

“A weight-lifting injury is much more likely to occur when you have poor form, execute dangerous moves or don’t take the time to warm up properly,” he says. “Use your common sense and ask for help when in doubt. This will help keep your strength-training regimen robust.”

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a comprehensive orthopaedics and sports medicine practice with offices in New York City and Greenwich, CT.

Workouts to Keep Your Belly Flat

Posted in Fitness, Press Releases, Strength Training | May 4, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Highlights Common Reasons for Belly Fat and Offers Tips on Exercises to get it Flat.

New York, NY & Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) May 04, 2017

May 2017 – With summer rapidly approaching, a bathing suit-ready body – with a flat belly, is top of mind for many men and women. But many people don’t know how they are sabotaging their chances of flatter abs or which exercises up their chances of attaining them, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

“Extra belly fat isn’t just hard on the eyes – it’s hard, more importantly, on our health. Extensive medical research has shown that too much abdominal fat increases the odds of developing metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Known as “visceral fat,” this excess padding also surrounds abdominal organs such as the liver, impeding their function,” Dr. Plancher notes. There’s no question, however, that keeping abdominal fat at bay is a major challenge for men and women of every weight.

Common reasons for belly fat
“If your tummy bulges a little too much, it may – or may not – actually be your fault,” says Dr. Plancher. Many factors can make people gain excess belly fat, and not all of them are things they can change. Still, it helps to be aware of what factors lead to weight gain in the abdomen so people can modify our lifestyles as much as possible.

According to Dr. Plancher, these include:
Sugary foods and drinks: Even so-called “healthier” choices such as frozen yogurt and low-fat muffins still pack a lot of sugar, and high sucrose and fructose intake has been linked in research to excess belly fat. Soda, flavored coffee drinks, and sweet tea are also among the big offenders.

Alcohol: Surely you’ve heard the term “beer belly.” It comes from alcohol’s suppression of fat-burning, along with the calories from alcohol that are partly stored as belly fat. Consumed moderately, especially in red wine, alcohol can, however, lower the risk of heart attack or stroke but some do contain a high content of sugar.

Menopause: The growth of a “meno-pot” is legendary among menopausal women, but there’s strong science behind that unhappy belly fat gain. When estrogen levels drop dramatically – typically around age 50 – fat is more likely to be stored in the abdomen instead of the hips and thighs.

Fruit juice: Juicing may be a huge health trend right now, but it’s not so good in certain ways. Even unsweetened, 100% fruit juice contains a huge amount of sugar, which drives insulin resistance and belly fat gain.

Genetics: Unfortunately, if your parents tended to store excess fat in their bellies, you probably will too. Genes appear to play a prominent role in where we store fat and our waist-to-hip ratios.

Stress: Going through a rough patch? You may be producing more of the “stress hormone” cortisol, which not only fuels hunger and overeating but promotes fat storage in the tummy.

Inactivity: OK, this won’t shock most of us, but too much couch time and lounging around simply doesn’t promote a flatter belly. We need to burn more calories to keep belly fat at bay.

Exercises to flatten the belly
All hope is not lost. There’s much we can do to flatten the tummy. According to Dr. Plancher, perhaps the most impactful move is to, well, get moving! “You’ll see faster, more effective results when you eat properly and combine that with daily activity, especially cardio exercises such as brisk walking, hiking, jogging or stair climbing,” he says.

Dr. Plancher, who lectures globally on issues related to orthopaedic procedures and sports injury management, also recommends spot-toning exercises to enhance cardio exercise in your belly-flattening efforts. These exercises include:
Sit-ups: Lying on the floor, hold your hands by your ears and bend your knees with feet flat on the floor. Lift your shoulders and upper back away from the floor, with face pointing toward the ceiling. Exhale as you come up, hold for a second, and inhale as you return to the floor. Repeat 15-25 times.

Crunch-and-twist: Start the same way you do for sit-ups, but as you raise yourself up, slowly twist your body from the waist. Touch left knee with right elbow, then untwist and go back to starting position. Repeat, now touching the right knee with the left elbow. Repeat on each side 10-15 times.

Hip lifts: Lie on the floor with arms at sides, palms down and legs over hips at a 90-degree angle. Flex your feet. Now lift hips off the floor using your core muscles as your legs are reaching toward ceiling. Return to starting position. Repeat 15 times.

Side plank: Lie on right side while legs are extended and feet and hips rest on floor atop each other. Prop head up on right elbow. Squeeze your core muscles and lift hips and knees off the floor. Hold as long as you can, then return to starting position. Repeat on other side. Do as many repetitions as possible.

Cycling: Consideration to joining an exercise bicycle program for those with early arthritis of the knee can also be quite helpful to reduce overall body fat and tone your abdomen.

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a comprehensive orthopaedics and sports medicine practice with offices in New York City and Greenwich, CT.

Protect Your Knees While Running on the Treadmill

Posted in Blog, Fitness, Injury Prevention, Press Releases | March 1, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Offers Tips That Can Lead to Fewer Knee Injuries – “A Small Incline.”

New York, NY & Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) March 01, 2017


March 2017 – All year round the treadmill represents freedom for many runners, especially in the winter months when people don’t want to stop training to brave the cold weather, snow or ice. Treadmill running poses special challenges to the knees – and setting the treadmill to a small incline can help protect these vulnerable joints, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. (more…)

New Options for Cycling at Home Offer Key Benefits

Posted in Fitness, In the News, Patient Education, Press Releases | January 26, 2017

Dr. Kevin Plancher with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Provides Tips for Getting the Most Out of Indoor Cycling.

Greenwich, CT & New York, NY (PRWEB) January 26, 2017

The benefits of regular physical exercise are well known: improved health, improved energy and mood, better sleep, and weight control. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every adult should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise. For decades, one of the most popular ways of exercising was on a stationary bike, either at home or at the gym. “A stationary bike offers many benefits,” says Dr. Kevin Plancher of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “It gets the heart pumping without putting undue stress on the joints. And an indoor bike can be used in any weather, by novice and experienced exercisers and at varying levels of time and intensity.”

But for all their benefits, many exercise bikes bought for home use wind up as expensive clothes racks or dust collectors in the basement or attic. Why does motivation seem to flag after just a few months? “One reason is boredom,” says Dr. Plancher. “Even watching TV or listening to music or a podcast while on the bike doesn’t seem to be enough to keep a lot of people at it.” One attempt to address this problem is with spin classes offered at gyms. These programs use bikes that evolved from the stationary bike to more closely resemble a road bike and offer the camaraderie and competition of working out with a group. But, as Dr. Plancher points out, what is sacrificed is the freedom and convenience of working out at home on your own schedule.

New options now make it possible to combine the comfort and convenience of working out at home with quality hardware, expert instruction, metrics, and more classes and instructors than any gym could offer. One of the companies in this new market, Peloton Interactive, Inc., manufactures a “smart bike,” which has a high-definition monitor attached to the handlebars. It uses home wi-fi to stream live classes from Peloton’s studio and to provide an archive of thousands of past classes of every type, letting you choose from a wide variety of rides, instructors, and soundtracks. The system tracks your performance and compares your current ride to your personal best so you can push yourself to set new personal records. You can also compete against others who have done the rides you choose and review user ratings of instructors and rides. If you participate in a live ride, the instructor sees your metrics and can address you as if you were in the room. “This system incorporates all the performance and motivation factors of indoor cycling in the gym with the convenience of working out at home,” says Dr. Plancher. “This is an important new trend that represents the next generation of exercise technology, one that can potentially transform the landscape for home fitness.”

Tips for getting the most from your cycling workout
However you ride – on an upright stationary bike, a recumbent bike, or a new smart bike – Dr. Plancher offers tips to help you get the most from your cycling workout:

Before you buy a bike, do your homework: Consider what kind of bike you want and factors like how much room you have and how much you want to spend.

Have an expert ensure that you’re buying a bike that fits you properly – seat height, distance from pedals and handlebars, etc.

Make sure you understand how to safely adjust intensity and other options. Start slowly and increase the intensity of your ride gradually.

The bike seat shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Try padded shorts or a gel seat to improve comfort. Sit lightly on the seat.

If you’re not using one of the newer smart bikes that provide streaming and archived classes, look into buying or renting cycling videos that have a variety of rides and changes of scenery.

Consider cross training with another activity once or twice a week to build up endurance in different muscles and prevent overuse injuries.

“The most important factor in a successful fitness program is finding the one that is right for you,” says Dr. Plancher. “Indoor cycling has worked for millions of people and new advances make it even more appealing. But the program that works for you will be the one that suits your personality, fitness level, and lifestyle and that you will enjoy and stick with.”

Dr. Harvey was published in A Woman’s Health

Posted in Blog, Fitness, In the News, Sports Injuries | December 14, 2016


Dr. Marty Harvey was published in A Woman’s Health on the topic of tips for avoiding injury at the gym. Click here to read the full article:

Be Mindful of Potential for Injury at the Gym

Be Mindful of Potential for Injury at the Gym

Posted in Fitness, Injury Prevention, Press Releases | December 8, 2016

Dr. Margaret Harvey with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine with 8 tips for working out without getting hurt.

Greenwich, CT and New York, NY (PRWEB) December 08, 2016

Dr. Margaret Harvey with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and a four-time marathoner, advises that the gym is a great place to build strength and endurance. But at the same time she advises that it is important to be mindful of the potential for gym-related injury. Dr. Harvey offers the following 8 tips for staying fit and injury free at the gym.

Start with a Warm Up: Don’t challenge cold muscles. Run in place for a few minutes before stretching, gently and slowly practice the motions of the exercise to follow. Warming up increases the body temperature, heart and blood flow rates, and loosens up the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints to decrease the risk of injury.

Don’t Skip the Stretch: Start stretching slowly and carefully until reaching a point of tension. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, and then slowly and carefully release it. Never stretch to the point of pain, and avoid bouncing on a muscle that is fully stretched. It’s terrific to do stretching exercises at home each day to maintain flexibility.

Keep a Light Touch on the Handrails: “With cardio machines like treadmills and the elliptical trainer, keep your hands resting lightly on the handrails, not with a death-grip on the rails. A clinging, hunched position will cause an improper spine alignment which can be jarring to your shoulders and elbows. If you need to hang on for your life, the setting is probably too high,” says Dr. Harvey.

Cross Train: Mixing it up by regularly switching from one activity to another has many benefits over doing the same routine. It prevents mental burnout and since different activities target slightly different muscle groups, the result is a more comprehensive conditioning.

Focus on Muscle Groups, Not Individual Muscles: “People get hurt when they put too much emphasis on one muscle, e.g. getting huge biceps or lats. A better approach is to target more of your arms or shoulders with moves like the chest press or back row. The best exercises are those that work several muscles at the same time because they build functional strength. Wait at least 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.

Pay Attention to Your Shoes: “If you play a sport more than three times a week, get the right shoes for that activity,” Dr. Harvey says. “For example, running shoes are designed to put your foot and leg into the best position to propel you forward. If they are worn for activities with a lot of side-to-side movement, it can cause the ankle to roll to the side, with the potential for a sprained or even broken ankle. Cross-training shoes are a better choice for sports like tennis or step classes. Regular exercisers should replace their shoes every twelve months, or at the first signs or wear (running shoes should be replaced every 480 to 800 kilometers).”

Accept Your Limitations: Dr. Harvey notes that “as we age, our bones lose density and strength, our ligaments and tendons stiffen, we lose circulation and in general we become more vulnerable to injury.” Keep on going to the gym, but use more caution as you get older to protect your body.

Consider Hiring a Professional: Using a machine incorrectly or putting on too much resistance is cause for concern and potential injury. “Use the mirrors, if available, to monitor your form and technique,” says Dr. Harvey. She also advises to consider signing up with a personal trainer, even for just a couple of sessions, for some sensible tips for injury free routines.

Margaret Harvey, DO, is a sports medicine fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is a general orthopaedics and sports medicine practice with offices in New York City and Greenwich, CT.

Staying Sane and Maintaining Fitness While Recovering From Injury

Posted in Fitness | January 15, 2015

Getting injured means more than simply dealing with limited mobility and persistent discomfort. It can also be emotionally draining, particularly if your favorite sport or exercise routine is your regular source of feel-good endorphins. Additionally, in the bfitnessack of your head, you worry that you won’t be able to ever get back to your pre-injury fitness level.

 Here’s a quick guide to staying physically and mentally in shape while recovering from injury:

  • Be a glass-half-full kind of person. Think of it as a forced break or an opportunity to work other muscle groups, rather than as a negative.
  • Try exercising an entirely different muscle group from that of your injury. If you’ve got a knee injury, consider working out your upper body and vice versa. Ask your physical therapist about cross-training activities that are suitable for the type and extent of your injury.
  • Cry it out if you need to. If it hurts to rehab your injury, there’s no shame in letting some tears flow. There’s no medal for toughness.
  • Watch what you eat. If your injury requires a break from exercise, that doesn’t mean a break from your healthy diet. No exercise, combined with a return to an unhealthy diet is a double whammy.
  • Seek support from those in the sports community, as there will likely be others who have suffered the same injury you have. There’s strength, and advice, in numbers.
  • Take your time, get some rest, and don’t overdo your rehab exercises.

Ultimately, keep in mind that your injury is only temporary. Call us at 212.876.5200 or fill out this form and let’s talk about getting you back to the sport or exercise routine that you love.