Written by Lauren Lerner Tuesday, August 07 2012
Snapshot: Dr. Jordan D. Metzl, Sports Physician at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery
Known as the athlete's doctor, Jordan D. Metzl is a nationally recognized sports- medicine doctor at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery, voted the No.1 hospital in orthopedics by U.S. News and World Report.
One of only 10 sports-medicine physicians named by his peers to New York magazines Top Doctors List, Dr. Metzl is known locally and nationally for excellence in patient care, research and teaching. In addition to his practice, he is an award-winning author, a national television and radio show host, a 29-time marathon runner and a 9-time Ironman triathlete. His patients include the Radio City Rockettes; professional, young and collegiate athletes; triathletes; runners; and everyday people who wish to remain healthy and active.
A lifelong sportsman and sporting enthusiast, Dr. Metzl recently wrote "The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies" and also offers advice as a contributor to Good Morning America.
Womenetics: I know your patients range from professional athletes to children to CEOs, but how many working women would you say you see weekly?
Dr. Jordan D. Metzl: The majority of my patients are working women. I’d guess I see about 125 working women per week.
Womenetics: What is their number one complaint? And what advice do you give them?
Metzl: Women are better patients than men. They take better care of their health; they are just better patients in general. Their number one complaint is probably achy knees, a condition know as runner’s knee (or patellofemoral knee pain).
The key to recognizing patellofemoral pain, as I describe in my book, is to realize that the achy feeling you’re getting in front of your knee is an inflammation of the cartilage under surface of the patella. Symptoms include pain around the kneecap, particularly going up and down the stairs.
Treatment includes ice for pain control and a series of strengthening exercises that I outline. These focus on strong muscles from the waist down, squats and lunges help a lot. With stronger muscles, the pain under the kneecap goes away.
Womenetics: Do you believe a strong body equals a strong mind that can benefit performance on the job?
Metzl: I can’t emphasize enough how important this is – mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind inside a healthy body. I think this axiom translates into all aspects of life from work, to family, to relationships. If you’ve got it together, it shows.
Womenetics: A few of the most common ailments that women complain of include neck and upper back, often due to anxiety and rounding the shoulders; wrist pain from typing on a keyboard, phone, etc; lower back from sitting all day; knees from wearing high heels frequently. Could you suggest the best solution for each of these?
Metzl: Overall, the most helpful solution for most musculoskeletal problems is strengthening. I feel that people over-emphasize stretching, which has very little proven benefit for most conditions – and under emphasize strength training, which is tremendously helpful for many of the muscular problems you describe.
Aching upper neck and back muscles can usually be fixed with a massage once a week in combination with a series of isometric strength exercises. Isometric means that muscle is held in a static position and held in place. The best example for an upper back and neck pain isometric excercise is the plank. Three minutes of plank per back, a minute on each side and a minute straight ahead can help.
Wrist pain from typing on the keyboard is more often than not related to office ergonomics. Checking your keyboard setup will help, as well as some easy forearm stretching. Straighten your arm and pull the wrist down and hold for 15 seconds and then do the same with the wrist back. Repeat three times.
Finally knees, as described above, generally experience patellofemoral pain. The keys for these are strong quads, glutes and hamstrings.
Womenetics: For the traveling woman, are there any exercises or equipment you would recommend so she can still exercise if stuck in a hotel room?
Metzl: Much of my functional strength workout can be done anytime, anywhere.
My ideal 30-minute workout, which you can access video of at RunnersWorld.com, is 3 minutes of dynamic warm-up (jumping jacks, jogging in place). Then 5 sets of 15 plyometric jump squats with 30 seconds rest between each set. Then 5 sets of 15 mountain climbers followed by 15 situps. Then 5 sets of 15 push-ups and 15 legs down. Then 3 minutes of plank, one left, one right and one down the middle.
In my book there are other variants of this workout.
Womenetics: What would you say to the woman that is “too stressed” or just “doesn’t have time” to exercise?
Metzl: Exercise helps with stress, even a little bit goes a long way!
Womenetics: What are the top three exercises a woman can perform at her desk if she has limited time and cannot make it to a gym?
Metzl: Single legs squats from the chair , otherwise known as pistols, are great. Core tightening just while sitting in an isometric fashion can help too. Finally, just opening the chest, pushing the shoulder blades back and holding the position in an isometric fashion is helpful as well.
Womenetics: What is your best advice for women to be healthy and pain free as they age?
Metzl: Keep moving, set goals and have fun.
The key to effective goal setting is to pick a goal that is just a bit outside your comfort zone and go for it. It seems to work best if this is done with a group of others so the social aspect isn’t lost. Ideally, this goal is an activity that you like to do.
More tips on staying healthy:
Technology is making everything easier, including being healthy. Here are 6 apps to help create a healthier, happier you.
Insomnia affects approximately one in five people and can significantly impact your mood and health. Two experts weigh in on strategies to fall – and stay – asleep.
Your inner toddler can be your worst enemy when it comes to exercising. Dina Zeckhausen shares how she pacified hers to become a triathlete.
After working in industries of sales, fashion and journalism, Lauren Lerner still finds a passion in writing. She holds both a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University and an associate's degree in fashion design from American Intercontinental University. An internship with Atlanta Woman magazine during college led to an assistant to the editor position. She later joined the staff of PINK magazine as marketing coordinator and contributing writer.