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Dr. Burns' Common Recommendations

Please find below some of my most commonly recommended products. Everything from common over-the-counter treatments for sports medicine conditions to sports nutrition to books I find interesting and clinically relevant. Before starting any nutritional supplements discuss with your physician. Additionally, athletes should check with their governing bodies (NCAA banned substance list)  prior to starting any nutritional supplements.

Eat Fat, Get Thin - Mark Hyman, MD

This is an excellent book that dives into the oft misunderstood world of dietary fats. This is wide ranging, addressing everything from cardiovascular health to physical health. Enough scientific analysis is addressed to satisfy the discerning reader, however, the book is approachable to anyone interested in eating and living healthier. I highly recommend this read.

Strength Training Anatomy - Frederic Delavier

This book is inexpensive but packed with very useful information for all athletes, from high school students to the master athlete, and anyone who is just getting in better shape. The illustrations are easy to follow and can be used as the cornerstone to a comprehensive, effective, workout routine. Perfect for the beginner and a great review for those more advanced.

As a rule, I only recommend supplements that I have personally tried. Again, check with your physician and, if necessary, sports governing body (NCAA) prior to starting any supplements. 
Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can impair bone health. In addition, vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in everything from dermatologic conditions to depression to muscle weakness. Vitamin D is produced when the inactive form of the vitamin is converted to the active form via cutaneous sun exposure. When sun exposure is inadequate, supplementation may be necessary. Recommended daily doses from 600 IU to 2000 IU have been suggested.

Omega-3 fatty acids have strong evidence supporting their use in the treatment of heart disease and hyperlipidemia. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important in brain health. Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids are "anti-inflammatory". Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in wild caught oily fish (salmon) and certain nuts (walnuts) among other foods. When looking for a supplement it is important to make sure it has a low Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. If the ratio is high, the anti-inflammatory nature of the Omega-3 fatty acids may be negated. Eating grass fed meat will help reduce the amount of Omega-6 fatty acids in your diet.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Creatine is perhaps one of the best studied supplements for sports performance. Improvement has been linked to increased muscle mass and strength in exercises lasting less than 30 seconds, which includes most strength training. These benefits do not translate to aerobic type exercises.

Do not add this to a supplement that already contains creatine.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day while taking creatine.

BCAA are three amino acids, isoleucine, leucine and valine. These are essential amino acids, meaning, they must come from your diet because they are not produced by the body. BCAA's play a role in muscle synthesis and are thought to aid in muscle recovery and prevention of muscle fatigue.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
Beta Alanine

Beta alanine is another amino acid used to improve performance. Beta alanine has been suggested to increase muscle power output, strength and  high-intensity exercise performance.

NOTE: This may produce a skin "tingling" sensation which should subside after taking the supplement for a week or two. If not, try halfing the dose.

Combining Creatine, BCAA's and Beta Alanine can make your own"homemade" pre-workout supplement.

Pre-Workout Supplement

I am often asked which pre-workout supplement I recommend. There are a plethora of options which can be confusing. I prefer to use well-known, national companies, with the idea that what is on the label is more likely to be what is actually in the supplement. I look for a supplement that has amino acids, a vasodilator (arginine or citrulline are my preferred ones), creatine and usually a stimulant (caffeine), though stimulant-free options are good options as well - especially if you have high blood pressure. This is one of my favorite pre-workout supplements. 


A TENS unit works twofold. First, it decreases the brain perception of pain through the gate-control theory of pain management. Additionally, it works to relax tight / spasmed muscles, which also decrease back pain. TENS units are SAFE and EFFECTIVE.

DO NOT put on other creams or topical medications. Skin should be dry. Can wear as often as you need and since this is topical, you do not need to worry about systemic side effects.

Upper Back, Posture Brace

I often see patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches related to poor posture. Although the core treatment of this is physical therapy and home exercises (see Shoulder Posture Video), a posture brace may help relieve pain in the short term while the appropriate muscles are being strengthened.

I like this brace for several reasons. It is essentially a "figure 8" brace, which have been used for years to correct posture. The design should allow this to be worn underneath most clothes. And, importantly, it is relatively inexpensive to try.

Plantar Fasciitis

This is one of the most common conditions in many Sports Medicine Clinics. This is cause by inflammation of the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot where it originates on the inside of the heel. Common symptoms include heel pain that is often "worse with the first steps in the morning" but tends to improve as one moves around. In addition to a stretching program and possibly physical therapy, I often recommend orthotics. I personally use the following pair and have been very happy with them. They are low cost with no systemic side effects which makes them an excellent starting point for treatment.

This is also a very common disorder seen in the sports medicine clinic. This is typically characterized by pain on the outside of the elbow. Treatment courses include everything from physical therapy to injections to tendon fenestration procedures.

Recently, eccentric exercises have been shown to decrease pain and increase strength in this condition. This type of exercise is performed with the TheraBand Flexbar. If conservative treatment fails to improve this condition, other treatments may be considered.

Video demonstrating this exercise is HERE.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral epicondylitis)
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