Friday, December 27, 2013

ACL Recovery Stories Provide Hope to Athletes

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a non-elastic fibrous band located within a person’s knee that connects the thighbone to the leg bone. The ligament provides stability to the entire knee and restricts the knee joint from bending backwards.

Due to the ACL’s non-elastic nature, it is susceptible to tearing. A torn ACL is actually a common injury. According to surveys, 250,000 Americans suffer from torn ACLs every year, while according to medical experts, most of these torn ACL cases were sustained through sports or sports-related activities.

It was not too long ago that ACL tears were considered the ultimate career-killing injury in sports. Today, however, ACL tears are no longer considered the career-killing injury they used to be thanks to advances in sports medicine. In fact, athletes who have torn their ACL like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles have been able to return to the field and continue playing at a high level.

Although professional athletes have proven that ACL injuries can be overcome, younger athletes should realize that ACL injury recovery is not easy. Different people recover at different speeds, as evidenced by Rajon Rondo and Danilo Gallinari’s recovery. With dedication to physical therapy and the help of an experienced orthopedic surgeon, young athletes can now recover from ACL tears and continue to chase their dreams of one day becoming professional athletes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Controlling Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease of the immune system that inflames the joints of the body. If you have been diagnosed with RA recently, it’s important to gain the upper hand over the disease as soon as you can. If left untreated, RA can affect your ability to work, impact your quality of life, and increase your risk for heart disease

RA is a chronic disease, meaning it can’t be cured. It is the most common autoimmune disease affecting the joints— anyone can get it, but it’s more prominent in middle-age patients. In the U.S. the risk of developing RA is 3.6 percent in women and 1.7 percent in men.

Although there is no cure for RA, its impact can be significantly reduced through early diagnosis and effective treatments. Many drug therapies are now available to treat the disease, so the challenge is finding the one that’s right for you. To begin a drug therapy treatment, you should first talk to a rheumatologist who can design a treatment plan based on his physical evaluation and your body’s response to medication.

Surgery is another way to relieve RA symptoms. Surgery for RA is mainly performed to improve function of severely deformed joints that don’t respond to drug or physical therapy. Surgeries for people who have severe RA include arthroscopy, synovectomy, arthroplasty, cervical spine fusion, and resection of metatarsal heads.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sports Medicine Helps Relieve Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition that occurs when the plantar fascia becomes irritated or inflamed. It is a common injury in the United States. A study has shown that more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed and treated for plantar fasciitis every year. The common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include a sharp pain in the sole of the feet, especially when standing immediately after waking up.

Most cases can be resolved by applying the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) on the affected foot and allowing it to rest. However, some cases of plantar fasciitis become severe and people may need to go to a sports medicine clinic to receive anti-inflammatory shots to reduce the pain. For particularly troublesome cases, people have resorted to orthopedic surgery to cure their ailment.

Seeing as the majority of cases are caused by ill-fitting shoes and strenuous walking, running, or jumping exercises, plantar fasciitis can easily be prevented by avoiding the causes mentioned earlier. People may also consult sports medicine specialists to learn stretches and exercises that build the strength and reduce the stress of the plantar fascia. Sports medicine can also diagnose and treat plantar fasciitis caused by poor gait (the way a person moves on foot).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Orthopedic Treatment for a Torn Meniscus

It happened so fast. You were running down the court and all you did was stop. Suddenly, you’re on the floor with a sharp pain in your knee. Unfortunately, you may have torn your meniscus.

The meniscus is a small C-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee that keeps the entire knee stable and prevents your knee bones from grinding against each other. Although quite sturdy, the meniscus can be torn by sudden stops, deep squats, and quick pivots.

A meniscus tear can be classified into three categories: partial, moderate, and severe. Depending on the severity of the tear, an orthopedic surgeon can determine if there is a need for surgery or if the injury can heal by itself.

Common symptoms people begin to feel after tearing their meniscus include pain and swelling. For severe meniscus tears, people report feeling knee instability, manifesting as a popping or locking of the knee, or its suddenly “wobbling” and giving way.

Meniscus tears are often mistaken for ACL tears, another type of knee injury, as both injuries tend to happen at the same time. In some cases, both the meniscus and ACL can be torn by the same action. Thus, people who have suffered a suspected knee injury should be brought to an experienced orthopedic surgeon for accurate diagnosis and immediate treatment.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tennis Elbow—When to Seek Medical Help

Tennis elbow may have derived its name from the popular lawn sport, but it's actually a misnomer because most people who suffer from it don't play tennis. By definition, tennis elbow is pain or soreness of the lateral side (the outer side) of an elbow that may extend down to the forearm and the back of the hand. Its symptoms include weakening of the grip, swelling and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and/or bony structures on the outside of the elbow, and pain in the elbow/arm area.

Tennis elbow is often the result of repetitive activities such as continuously extending the wrist or twisting the forearm to a “palm up” position. Plumbers, painters, cooks, butchers, and construction workers are just some of the people who often suffer from this condition. In sports, athletes who suffer from it are usually involved in a sport that requires them to grip something for long periods, such as a racket or a stick.

If it's your first time to experience tennis elbow, wait no longer than a month to have it seen by a medical professional. If you've had it before, seek medical help if conservative home treatments don't offer any improvement within four to eight weeks. Conservative home treatments for tennis elbow include ice or heat compression, and massage.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What to Do about a Wrist Sprain or Strain

Wrist strains and sprains are common injuries that people often get mixed up. This is understandable since both involve the overstretching or tearing of a certain body tissue. The main difference is that sprains involve ligaments that connect one bone to another while strains involve the muscles and tendons that are attached to bones.

If you have strained or sprained your wrist, you may experience swelling, a feeling of popping or tearing, pain at the affected area, and bruising. Typically, such injuries can be treated with the RICE treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). However, if pain and swelling continue beyond 48 hours, you'll need to have your injury checked by a doctor.

If after examination, the doctor says that the injury is moderate, this means there's a partial tearing of the ligaments. You'll likely be fitted with a cast or splint to allow the joint to heal and prevent continued irritation. On the other hand, if the doctor says the injury is severe, that means a ligament or muscle has been completely torn. If such is the case, medical or surgical care will be required.

After your treatment, your doctor may require you to start graded strengthening exercises for your wrist, so don't be surprised if he refers you to a physical therapist. This is simply meant to help you regain full use of your wrist and prevent further injury.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sports Medicine: Medical Care with a Twist

Sports doctors are known as medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating the injuries of athletes. They focus on joint, bone and muscle health, and they also give general medical care to the people they work with. The field of sports medicine prepares these doctors for a flexible work environment, as they may have to work in non-traditional medical facilities such as a sporting venue clinic or in professional or college-level sporting events. In fact, their field continues to evolve as some of them venture into fitness centers, while others choose to focus on specific groups like geriatric populations or school-age children.

Those who aspire to be sports doctors must first complete a bachelor's degree, complete with a pre-med concentration so they have sufficient background in biology, chemistry, and physics. They will also be required to pass the Medical College Admission Test so they can be accepted into medical school. Those who pursue sports medicine are usually sports lovers themselves, and are generally involved in some kind of team or individual sports activity. The majority complete a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.

Every state mandates that these doctors have to be licensed. Being certified by a recognized organization also adds to their credentials. The certification shows that the sports doctor has met the professional requirements of the organization. The American Board of Medical Specialists and the American Osteopathic Association are the organizations that provide this certification.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Most Common Orthopedic Problems in Children

Pediatric orthopedics is a branch of orthopedics that deals with children's orthopedic issues. Orthopedic treatment in children is very different from that of adults, and there are some orthopedic conditions that usually occur in children.

Pigeon Toes
Pigeon toes is a condition wherein the child's toes are inward when he is walking. This is often connected to the child's position while in the womb of his mother. The condition is usually corrected by doctors through stretching exercises, special footwear, or physical therapy. In cases where there is a rigid deformity, it is treated with a cast.

Children who are born with clubfeet have short tendons on the inside and back of their feet. This results in the toes being pulled down and inwards. Orthopedic surgery is done to babies with clubfeet right after the baby is born. To correct the problem, the surgeon will manipulate the feet into its right position and will cast it weekly.

Toe Walking
Toe Walking is very common among children who are still learning to walk. However, when the children is already beyond 2 years old and is still toe walking, then it should be corrected by a pediatric orthopedic doctor. Continued toe walking is sometimes connected with cerebral palsy and other nervous system problems. It is sometimes treated by casting the calf and ankle for up to six weeks.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fast Facts about Sports Injury and Medicine

Sports injury refers to a rather broad scope of conditions, with the common denominator that they are often sustained by people who were engaging in sporting activities. While many are caused by accidents, some are quite predictable, such as the dangers of sustaining muscle cramps on the field because you didn’t warm up before playing.

These common sporting injuries are the focus of many medical professionals in the relatively new branch of medicine called sports medicine. Medical practitioners like orthopedic doctors, therapists, and even dentists in this field work to ensure that athletes like you know exactly how to avoid injuries, as well as help you get better when you do get one.

Common sports injuries range from relatively minor conditions like sprains, muscle spasms, and joint pains, to more severe cases like torn ligaments, broken knees, and dislocations. There are also two classes of these injuries: acute, or those occurring suddenly in the middle of a game, and chronic, which happens over time, when you play constantly.

When the injury you're suffering goes to the point of severe swelling or extreme pain, or if you notice that something feels unstable (possibly a dislocated bone), get medical help immediately. However, anything much less than this could probably be cured by resting at home, nevertheless it's always a good idea to at least inform your doctor about it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Orthopedic Surgery and Cerebral Palsy

Orthopedic surgery is done to treat tight muscles and spasticity that are connected to cerebral palsy. In this procedure, a cut is made on the skin where the affected muscle is located, and parts of this muscle are slit so that the tightness is released.

This procedure is intended to remedy the problems related to cerebral palsy. The goals of this surgery are: to loosen muscles that make the hips turn to increase hip movement, loosen the muscles at the back of the thigh so that the muscles will be able to control the tension on the thigh and knee, and to loosen the tendon at the back of the ankle to provide the child with a flatter foot, allowing him to walk properly.

When planning surgery for your child, doctors may postpone it until the child is older than 2. By this time, the doctor is able to release more tight muscles during the surgery than releasing only one. This will lessen the chances of the procedure having to be performed again.

However, these corrections may sometimes be temporary, since while the person is growing, the muscles may become tighter and can cause contractures. Risks of bleeding, infection, and need for further surgery may also be high when it is done. So it is always best that you are 100 percent sure of your decision before putting your child through any surgery.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Common Sport Injuries

During sports or physical activities, the most injured parts are usually the shoulders, hips, and knees. Among these injuries are the following:

Rotator Cuff Tears
A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that connects the arm and the shoulder. This injury can be caused by repetitive movements, a sudden or violent body motion shift, or the natural progression of aging. Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear includes pain on the affected shoulder, weakness during arm movement, and a crackling sensation in the area.

Labral Tears
The labrum is found in the shoulders and the hips. It forms a ring around the edge of the joints' bony socket. Symptoms of labral tears on the hips include pain and a catching feeling on the hip joint. Shoulder injury symptoms include pain accompanying even the simplest movements, loss of strength, and a locking feeling. Treatment for this kind of injury may include pain relievers and physical therapy.

Knee Injuries
The most common type of knee injury is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear and the meniscal tear. When the ACL is injured, a popping sound is heard and the knee may feel like it's giving out. Treatment for ACL involves reconstructing the injured ligament with a tissue graft. Meniscal tears, on the other hand, may start with pain and stiffness or swelling on the knee. Some people are still able to move despite a tear in their meniscus. However, the knee becomes stiff and swollen after 2 to 3 days.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What You Need to Know about Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is one of the first procedures you'll need from your orthopedic surgeon. Essentially, it is a minimally invasive surgical procedure necessary to diagnose problems in the musculoskeletal system. This is accomplished by using a tube-like viewing instrument referred to as the arthroscope.

In this procedure, small incisions are made in the affected area from which pencil-sized instruments are inserted to view the ligaments inside the joint. Light is transmitted through fiber optics in the tube to magnify the view, while the other end of the athroscope is attached to a video monitor where the image data is transmitted for the doctor's analysis.

Almost any orthopedic patient can be a candidate for arthroscopy procedure, particularly those with varying symptoms in the muscle or joints. The procedure can detect tears in one's rotator cuffs in the shoulder joint or meniscal tears in the knee, as well as reveal signs of carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder impingement.

You can recover from an arthroscopy procedure in a matter of days and return to your normal activities in no time at all. Ask your orthopedic professional on how to change the dressing on your incision so that you can maintain it and facilitate proper healing at home.

Monday, July 8, 2013

About Sports Medicine

Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment and prevention of certain injuries from the performance of sports or exercise. Athletes often need special treatment because of the high demands of their sports. Sports medicine is not just physical therapy, it also involves a personal and professional relationship with the athletes as a way for them to keep tab of their athletes' choices and their lifestyle that might compromise their health.

Sports medicine centers offer different treatments for sports-related injuries for athletes at every level to help them regain their optimum level of performance. Most of these treatment centers offer the most advanced treatments, the latest technology, and the most compassionate care that a patient could ever receive.

According to the American Academy of Sports Medicine, 3 million children aged 14 and under get hurt annually by playing sports. The growth of youth sports also contribute to the increasing number of sports-related injuries. Preventing injuries is always a precaution during play, as important as encouraging kids to play and enjoy sports.

Sports medicine specialists may include primary care physicians who can treat minor, yet excruciating musculosketal conditions, as well as orthopedic surgeons trained in advanced surgical techniques. These doctors are trained to warn athletes against using their bodies when there is clearly not enough flexibility for the activity, or against poor technique or inordinate training or intensity when recovery or rest hasn't been completed.   

Thursday, July 4, 2013

How Bones Heal Themselves From Fractures

Although bones may seem like simple hard structures that frame the body, they are actually very complex parts of the human anatomy that continue to change as man grows older. Bones are made of different tissues and mineral deposits. Inside the bones are marrows where fat is stored and red blood cells are produced.

Broken bones are usually tended, specifically by an orthopedic doctor, but bones are able to repair themselves most of the time. Unless cases are severe, small fractures could be fixed by the body through four phases.

When bone is broken, the blood vessels inside are broken, too. Blood that escapes from the bone then starts to clot to keep the bones together as they are mended, and tiny blood vessels start to develop to continue the needed supply of fresh blood which fuel the healing process.

The second phase begins when a tougher tissue is developed on the fracture to form a soft callus. Collagen, a protein that helps in bone tissue development, is produced in order to further strengthen the soft callus which would hold the fractured bones together.

The production of bone cells marks the third stage. These cells develop and transform the callus into a bone callus to act as a shell during the final stage of healing.

Bones, however, have limited healing capabilities. Where fractures are severe, orthopedic doctors need to be consulted to commence the treatment process in replacing or healing the bones to keep the part whole once again.