Amanda Arnold, PhD, DPT, OCS, SCS is currently in her 3rd year as an assistant professor at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans. Prior to working at LSU, she received her PhD in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina in 2017, her Doctor of Physical Therapy and her Bachelor of Science degrees from Texas Woman’s University in 2010 and 2006, respectively. She is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports and in Orthopaedics and a graduate of the Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program in 2012. She has nearly 10 years of clinical experience, in a variety of sport and orthopaedic settings, with a passion for promoting post-professional education through residency and fellowship training. Her primary research interests include understanding athletic performance and injury risk in overhead athletes with an emphasis in youth and adolescent populations.
Note: You should consult with your doctor or physical therapist for recommendations on treatment. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Dr. Arnold and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of OnlinePhysicalTherapyPrograms.com
How did you become interested in upper extremity injury risk?
I was a collegiate softball player prior to becoming a physical therapist. Following PT school, I worked with injured overhead athletes during my sports residency and my interest grew from there.
What are some of the most important things we have learned about upper extremity injury risk in recent years?
Upper extremity injury risk is likely population-specific and sport-specific. For example, a female high school volleyball player with dominant shoulder pain has a different injury risk profile when compared to a male professional baseball pitcher with dominant shoulder pain.
Side to side differences in the bony morphology, flexibility and strength of an athlete’s upper extremities are present at much earlier ages that was previously thought. This suggests that the activities/sports a child participates in during early childhood may have lasting effects on their musculoskeletal system.
What are some factors that athletes do not realize make them prone to these sorts of injuries
Height, weight, amount of skeletal maturity, sport specialization, changes in competition level, history of previous injuries (especially to other parts of the body)
What are some of the challenges to getting those with upper extremity injuries the care they need?
Access to appropriate care early on in the injury recovery process, desire to continue to participate in their sport/activity without limitations or desire to return to sport/activity sooner than the body is capable of recovering
How has your clinical experience, including your experience at Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine shaped your research?
My clinical practice drives my research. I find that good research questions often stem from experiences and conversations that occur in the clinic. The athletes and patients that I work with and treat are the same individuals that participate in my research. We share a vested interest in the outcomes of each study as the findings have the potential to directly impact injury risk and performance for these individuals.
As a sports physical therapy resident at Texas Health Ben Hogan, my mentors provided me with the necessary structure, feedback and experiences to progress and improve as a sports medicine clinician. During my time in Fort Worth, I was able to participate in multiple clinical research studies which really drove my interest in upper extremity injury risk to the forefront of my career. Following completion of my sports residency, I decided to pursue a PhD at the University of South Carolina based on these experiences.