Female Triad

| Dr. Anne Lamb

Exercise and Nutrition – A Healthy Foundation for Every Individual

Treatment involves:

1. Prevention of compulsive dieting by working with a sports nutritionist.
2. Increasing the strength of muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints.
3. Be in a progressive exercise program designed by a physical therapist.

The physical therapist is a critical member of the healthcare team and works closely with a coach and athletic trainer. The physical therapist may use a combination of the following treatments:

  • Ultrasound to heal connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).
  • Ultrasound to heal connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).
  • Manipulative therapy that includes stretching and massage.
  • Resistance training to increase muscle strength specific to your needs.
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation to restore strength in the muscles.
  • The use of tape to support muscles and assistive devices as needed to support joints.

Amazing Benefits of Physical Therapy to Female Athlete Triad

The Female Athlete Triad is a group of interrelated conditions that affect female athletes, particularly teenage athletes. It is widely believed that an energy imbalance is athecause, combined with competitive forces. This disrupts eating patterns and body image for female athletes. Even though this is common in athletes, several aspects of the triad are seen in non-athletes as well.

The three medical conditions associated with the triad are:

  1. Disordered eating: anorexia, purging, induced vomiting
  2. Amenorrhea: adverse impact on menstrual cycles
  3. Osteoporosis: low bone mass/density


There are times when the athlete exercises excessively while the body is experiencing an energy deficit. A reduced caloric intake combined with malnutrition leads to a pattern of disordered eating.
The pressure to ‘be thin’ is compounded by a society that idolizes celebrities and pop stars. This can result in compulsive dieting and exercise. For a growing teenage athlete, bone density can be compromised if there are deficiencies in protein, vitamins and calcium. For female athletes participating in figure skating, ballet and gymnastics in particular, awareness is critical.


Coaches, parents, and guardians should be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Rapid weight loss or marked leanness
  • Obsession with weight, body image, and food.
  • Shin splints that don’t heal
  • Reduced participation or loss of interest in sports

Why Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy can keep young athletes healthy, strong and safe, but success begins with the right attitude towards the inner and outer self. Every physical active female should take three simple precautions to protect against the triad:

  1. Eat healthy meals at regular intervals. Use nutritional supplementation if necessary.
  2. Discuss menstrual irregularities (or sudden fluctuations in body weight) with your physician.
  3. Track exercise and calorie expenditure.

An environment that makes the female athlete feel safe and comfortable encourages honest conversations that help identify underlying problems. If you suspect that someone in your family has some of the symptoms associated with the triad, seek medical attention immediately. Physical therapy is an important part of long-term treatment of this condition. In fact, physical therapy can help most individuals to live a healthy, improved quality of life. Call us today to schedule an appointment. Your success is our success.

Dr. Anne Lamb has more than 40 years of experience as a physical therapist and 20+ years as a business owner of In Touch Physical Therapy. She worked in the Metro area for ten years during which time she designed and opened two new clinics, and expanded Fridley’s Noran Neurological Clinic. Dr. Lamb moved to Owatonna in 1993, and worked at HealthReach in Albert Lea, before beginning In Touch Physical Therapy in November, 1996. She has been very involved in federal and local advocacy. Since 2003, Dr. Lamb has traveled to Washington, D.C. every year to meet with legislators to work on Medicare legislation. She continues to work on repealing the Medicare cap, so clients have the right to physical therapy in a private practice facility. Anne enjoys spending time with her four adult children and two grandchildren. Travel and various athletic activities, including yearly triathlons.

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