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Female Athlete

To all my young athletes…

Use these simple stretches to improve access to your pelvic floor during your sport!

If you are a young athlete, and have not had any babies yet, this post is for you! As a pelvic floor specialist we see more and more research confirming that female athletes have pelvic floor issues like leaking urine with their sport, or pain. Studies have shown up to 50%!

When you have pelvic dysfunction this can mean many things. You can have weak muscles, you can have muscles that are too tight, and you can have a combination of this, which is often the case. There can be spine, hip, pelvis or knee issues that can be contributing. You may have general musculoskeletal imbalances that are causing your symptoms. If you have symtpoms like leaking urine with your sport or workout, pain with tampons, doctor(OB/GYNE) exams or sex, hip/pelvic or back pain or constipation you should see a pelvic floor specialist to help you resolve those symptoms.

This post is just here to share 3 simple stretches you can do as an athlete to help provide good lengthening to your pelvic floor, so that you have better access to these muscles when you need them! Running, jumping, kicking all require the pelvic floor muscles to shorten as well as lengthen to help provide your core stability for your tasks. These stretches will help you maximize their ability to do this! Add these to your training routine, either before or after or both!

1. Happy Baby – Get comfy here and take deep breaths, filling your belly as you inhale and allowing it to fall as you exhale. 5- 10 breaths
2. Deep Squat – support your pelvis on a block, or just allow it to suspend here, same deep breaths as before: Inhale belly rises, exhale allow it to fall. 5-10 breaths.
3. Child’s Pose – knees can be wide or narrow here, do what feels good! Arms outstretched, or by your side. Same deep breaths with inhale belly rises and exhale it falls. 5-10 breaths

Sarah is the proud co-owner of Foundational Concepts, Specialty Physical Therapy which opened in March 2013. Sarah lectures at the University of Missouri Department of PT, University of Kansas Departments of PT and Nurse Midwifery, and at Rockhurst University Department of PT. She is board certified in Women’s Health PT and holds certifications in medical therapeutic yoga, lymphedema therapy and dry needling.

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