As we thaw from this winter’s frost, our bodies will need to acclimate to warmer weather once again. The warmth of spring is upon us, and once again it’s time to start gearing up for a refreshing change to the winter routines that have kept us cooped up with muscles creaking. Even if you managed to remain active through trips to the gym; the prospect of getting outside and in the sun offers a range of new exercises that require preparation and training. You may ask, “if I have maintained my exercises, why would I need any extra preparation?” The answer is that it’s specifically at the start of these new exercises that your body is most prone to injury.
As runners, think about the varied terrain and urban obstacles of jogging outdoors versus the treadmill’s regularity; now apply that same comparison to every gym exercise and the variables of its outdoor equivalent, from biking in the park to soccer on the grass.
The following are three important steps you should take to ensure that getting back into shape leaves you free from injury while offering the most beneficial takeaway of getting back into shape for spring.
1) Take a moment to set a goal. Setting a goal helps propel yourself towards a specific aim, a simple enough idea which cannot be understated in its power to focus yourself on a reasonable achievement.
2) Renew one of your new year’s resolutions or challenge yourself to meet or beat a pace that you haven’t quite kept up with over the past few years.
3) More importantly, set up a log book to keep track of your times and achievements. Having a physical record of where you started with a means to your ends is paramount to meeting your goal.
Speaking of physical reminders, the change in season is the perfect opportunity to change your sneakers! Most dedicated running stores offer in-depth analyses of your feet and gait to make sure that you get the proper equipment. Think about marking your shoes with the date of purchase so you can keep tabs on when you got them so that you don’t keep using them after their time is up.
Dr. Mark Reed states, “With so many different running styles gaining popularity; selecting the shoe that fits your style is important. A properly fitted shoe will help protect against injury and may also enhance performance. “
You should also set up an appointment with your OSS physician to go over all the requisites, making sure to get the OK for the goals you’ve set for yourself before the start of new routines.
The simple act of updating your equipment and evaluating your physiology are powerful motivators for getting back in shape and keeping you injury free.
If you believe you are suffering from a running-related injury and need specialized orthopedic care, Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle provide excellent treatment options available for you. Please feel free to contact OSS at (206) 633-8100 to schedule an appointment.
March Madness – Preventing Basketball Injuries
The 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament starts on March 18, 2014 and OSS congratulates all the teams who have made it to the tournament. March Madness is a frenetic tournament of college teams on their quest to be the best. Getting to this tournament has been long and sometimes with injury, but we hope that they have performed all the necessary conditioning so that they can compete with the best.
Basketball is a fast, moving sport and sometimes, injuries can occur. Common basketball injuries include:
Treatment for an ankle sprain involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). The need for X-rays and evaluation by an OSS physician is determined on a case-by- case basis and depends on the severity and location of pain. Pain and swelling over the bone itself may need further evaluation. An injury to the ankle could represent a simple sprain or could be the result of an injury to the growth plates located around the ankle and should be evaluated by a physician.
Jammed fingers occur when the ball contacts the end of the finger and causes significant swelling of a single joint. Application of ice and buddy taping the finger to the adjacent finger may provide some relief and allow the athlete to return to play. If pain and swelling persist, evaluation by a physician or athletic trainer is recommended and an x-ray of the finger may be needed.
According to Dr. Scott Ruhlman, “It is often difficult to distinguish a devastating finger injury versus a simple sprain based on swelling alone. An x-ray is key to guide ideal treatment.”
Basketball requires extensive stop and go and cutting maneuvers which can put the ligaments and menisci of the knee at risk. Injury to the medial collateral ligament is most common following a blow to the outside of the knee and can often be treated with ice, bracing and a gradual return to activity.
Deep thigh bruising
Treatment includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Commercially available girdles with thigh pads are now available for protection.
Stress fractures can occur from a rapid increase in activity level or training or from overtraining. Stress fractures in basketball most commonly occur in the foot and lower leg (tibia). Once diagnosed, a period of immobilization and non-weight bearing is recommended. Return to play is permitted once the fracture has completely healed and the athlete is pain free.
Prevention of Basketball Injuries
- Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations for basketball injury prevention
- Hydrate adequately – waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly
- Pay attention to environmental recommendations, especially in relation to excessively hot and humid weather, to help avoid heat illness
- Maintain proper fitness – injury rates are higher in athletes who have not adequately prepared physically
- After a period of inactivity, progress gradually back to full-contact basketball through activities such as aerobic conditioning, strength training, and agility training.
- Avoid overuse injuries - more is not always better. Many sports medicine specialists believe that it is beneficial to take at least one season off each year. Try to avoid the pressure that is now exerted on many young athletes to over-train. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid “burn-out.”
- Talk with your coach, an OSS physician and/or athletic trainer about an ACL injury prevention program and incorporating the training principles into team warm-ups.
- The athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional.
Dr. Jonathan Franklin reminds everyone that “Conditioning and flexibility are key as they reduce the risk of injury during the season. Preparing your body for a game ahead of time will pay off with more success during the season.”
If you believe you are suffering from a basketball-related injury and need specialized orthopedic care, Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle provide excellent treatment options available for you. Please feel free to contact OSS at (206) 633-8100 to schedule an appointment.
Preventing Injuries in the Gym while Maintaining Your New Year’s Resolution
It’s been a month or so now and you continue to be inspired by your New Year’s resolution of being more active and healthy. Hitting the gym was the biggest change to your new found resolve of an active lifestyle, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, where rain and even snow have kept us from enjoying the great outdoors. The gym is the best place to work on losing a few more pounds as well as conditioning your body for an active Spring and Summer season. OSS hopes that you are on your way to your healthier lifestyle and offers a few reminders of how to stay safe in the gym and avoid one of five common gym-related injuries and build a safe and stable foundation for your success. These common injuries include foot and ankle, knee, lower back, shoulder and neck injuries.
Foot and Ankle Injuries: Cause, Prevention, and Treatment
The most common foot and ankle injury to new gym goers are stress fractures. Stress fractures occur when a former couch potato hits the gym doing too much without building a foundation. By not allowing your feet and ankles to adapt to the stress of loading and unloading the bones, and not allowing enough recovery time between workouts, stress continues building on weak bone structure. Just as a pull tab on a soda can will break off as it is bent and unbent enough times, repeated stress on the small bones of the feet and ankles that have not been properly conditioned can snap and suffer a stress fracture.
Stress fractures can be prevented by:
• Starting slowly with any new weight bearing activities such as running on a treadmill
• Follow a sensible program of gradually increasing your workout by no more than ten percent week by week. (If that is a struggle, do less or stay at the same level for an extra week before increasing your workouts further)
• Be sure to wear proper shoes. Select in running or sports shoes that can assist in finding the right shoe for your activity and foot.
Treatments for stress fractures:
• Modifying workout to avoid weight bearing until pain lessens and the use of a stiff soled shoe for several weeks – Severe cases require the use of a cast or crutches. Healing can be a long slow process. Surgery may be necessary if the fracture fails to heal properly.
Knee Injuries: Cause, Prevention, and Treatment
Knee injuries are very common to gym goers and weekend warriors. More often than not, the cause involves weak muscles in the feet, ankles, hips and even the back. As you attempt to use muscles weaken from years of inactivity, it is easy to pull or twist the knee in an attempt to adapt to sharp or sudden changes in direction. Knee injuries may range from minor pulls and strains to major problems in dislocations, or torn cartilage.
Knee injury Prevention:
• Gradually working to strengthen core, hip, and foot and ankle muscles as all these work together to assist the knee in tracking in proper alignment.
Treatments for knee injuries:
• Standard R.I.C.E procedure (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) – If there is extreme pain, swelling or the knee seems misshapen, consult an OSS doctor as damage may require realignment of the kneecap or surgical repair to torn ligaments or cartilage.
Lower Back Injuries: Cause, Prevention, and Treatment
The risk of gym related lower back injuries is highest when first beginning an exercise routine. Moving too quickly and expecting weak muscles in your back, hips, and core to support your back and maintain proper spinal alignment is a sure formula for injury.
Lower back injury prevention:
• Warm-up before beginning a workout – Attempting to lift too much weight before you have built up a base, poor posture and lack of regular exercise leads to lower back injuries in and outside the gym.
• Proper recovery time – Acute lower back sprains occur when time is not taken to work up to higher weights used in many gym workouts. Overuse of muscles in the back causes tiny tears in muscle tissue, without proper recovery time between workouts, those microscopic tears do not have time to heal and strengthen the muscle. Chronic overuse can lead to sprains that are more serious or even disk injuries in the spine itself.
Treatment for lower back injury:
• Taking gradual steps to strengthen the muscles supporting the back, using good posture, avoiding sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time, and scheduling weight training with days off for recovery will greatly reduce the chance of missing long-term workouts.
• Rest, over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, medical treatments and gradually increasing exercise to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and core – In most cases, these steps will relieve lower back pain. If pain continues, is excruciating to the point it hinds daily activity, contact an OSS doctor. Traction or surgery is used as a last resort to treat severe lower back injuries.
Shoulder Injuries: Cause, Prevention, and Treatment
The large range of movement the shoulder has makes it at risk for injuries due to the repetitive movements during exercise. Rotator cuff injury, inflammation including tendonitis and bursitis, and compression of the bursa and tendons that leads to a condition call Impingement syndrome. The cause for most shoulder injuries is over training or improper form or techniques.
Simple guidelines for preventing shoulder injuries:
• Learning and using proper technique and form, warming up before exercising the shoulder by stretching the muscles by performing shoulder shrugs, stretches, and shoulder rolls, and begin a routine to gradually strengthen the shoulder muscles. – If injury does occur, do not try to ‘push through the pain. Doing so could lead to a serious rotator cuff injury requiring surgery. Treating shoulder pain and injury early is vital.
• Early treatment options include modifying exercise, ice or heat therapy, and the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications for pain control. Treating shoulder injuries may require consulting an OSS doctor to prevent long-term damage or loss of range of movement.
Neck Injuries: Cause, Prevention, and Treatment
Most neck injuries are muscle strain or over use. Tension from maintaining your neck in one position to long can cause pain in the neck and shoulders. Minor neck sprains may also result from twisting, attempting to lift too heavy a weight, or using improper form. Major life-altering damage, such as whiplash or fractures, can also occur to the neck when safety precautions and proper form is not consistently used.
Preventing neck injuries:
• Awareness – Remain aware of safety issues; do not leave free weights or other equipment where it will cause a falling or tripping hazard.
• Pay attention to proper form – Avoid sudden twisting or jerking movements. Know your own limits.
• Do not attempt heavy weights without a friend to spot for you or standby to help if needed.
• Always start slowly with a pre-workout warm up.
Treating neck injuries:
• Vary depending on the type and severity of the injury.
• Minor neck pain and strains from over use respond to treatment with rest and over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, within a few days.
• Ice therapy may also help during the first 24-48 hours of a minor injury – Serious injuries to the neck such as whiplash or fractures usually require immediate medical treatment. These injuries may require a neck brace, surgery, or traction. Consult with an OSS doctor as well as physical therapy is also part of the treatment for serious neck injuries. Treat all neck injuries seriously and do not attempt to ignore pain during a workout.
Dr. Joel Shapiro has this to say when you are in the gym, “Give up the push up. Pushups are hard on shoulders and there are better ways to strengthen triceps, biceps, pecs and deltoids. Work with a trainer on using the best form while working out. If you do sustain injury come in and see me for an evaluation.”
If you believe you are suffering from a gym-related injury and need specialized orthopedic care, Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle provide excellent treatment options available for you. Please feel free to contact OSS at (206) 633-8100 to schedule an appointment.
This is Swedish Ballard’s third post in a four-part series to encourage and inspire Ballard residents and the surrounding communities to be healthy while leading active lifestyles in 2014. Below, posted in its entirety, is the article from Swedish Ballard’s web site: http://www.swedish.org/about/blog/january-2014/treating-and-preventing-common-sports-injuries; posted 1/29/14.
By Scott Ruhlman, MD
Looking to be more active in 2014? Have you been waiting all year to enjoy winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding?
There are a few common injuries that often get my patients down when they are on the go. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you prevent these common injuries and determine the best treatment options should you need it.
The most common injuries in the wrist and ankle are sprains and fractures. Throwing, twisting, weight-bearing, and impact can put you at risk for a wrist injury. Ankle sprains and fractures are typically caused by making a fast, shifting movement with your foot planted on the ground.
In most cases, I recommend the RICE approach: rest for around 48 hours; ice the injured area to reduce swelling (use a pack wrapped in a towel); compress with an elastic ACE wrap; and elevate the injury above heart level.
However, if you experience these symptoms, contact your provider for further evaluation.
- Pain at the time of injury
- Bruising or discoloration
- Difficulty moving the wrist or ankle
- A “popping” or tearing sensation during the trauma
- Warmth and tenderness of the skin
More serious injuries will likely be treated with a splint, boot or cast. The healing process can take up to six weeks. Surgery may also be required.
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major ligaments in your knee that helps with stabilization when turning or planting. ACL injuries take place during cutting or pivoting movements. The hallmark of a torn ACL is a distinct popping noise and your knee may give out. The affected knee will begin to swell and become stiff between 2-12 hours after the injury. People often experience pain or tenderness, and discomfort while standing or walking.
Treatment for ACL injuries depend on the severity of the tear, as well as your age and activity level. Non-surgical treatment such as physical therapy or using a brace may be sufficient. Other individuals will need reconstructive surgery. In all cases, it is important to consult with your provider as soon as possible if you suspect a problem.
Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles and tendons in the shoulder that provide stability to the shoulder and mobility to the arm. A torn rotator cuff can happen in two ways. An acute tear happens suddenly, such as when you fall on an outstretched hand or lift a heavy object. Tears can also happen slowly over time. As we age, the tendons of the rotator cuff become weaker and gradually fray.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include pain with movement of the shoulder and tenderness to touch. Inability to lift even household objects out to the side or overhead is also typical. Another indicator is a prior history of shoulder tendonitis or bursitis as this would point to excessive stress on the rotator cuff over time.
Treatment can be conservative for some tears, including physical therapy to improve shoulder mobility and progressively strengthen the cuff muscles. However, the majority of tears will likely require surgery to restore shoulder function.
The meniscus helps to absorb shock, as well as stabilize the knee joint. A lot of your body weight is distributed through the meniscus when you move, especially when performing athletic activity. Meniscus tears are caused by twisting and compression that can occur with such activities as running or jumping.
If you have a meniscus tear, you may hear a popping sound or feel a tear or rip in the knee. Swelling generally occurs within a few minutes to a couple of hours and your knee might feel like it is out of place. In less acute injuries, swelling may not occur. Your knee might feel like it’s catching during movement, or like it’s “out of place”. If you suspect you may have a meniscus tear, make an appointment with your provider right away.
Initial treatment of a meniscal tear is typically nonsurgical, and may include RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). If the tear doesn’t heal, you may need surgery.
While the majority of these sports injuries are due to circumstance and pre-existing injuries, there are precautions that you can take to help prevent them from happening to you:
- Maintaining a lifestyle involving consistent exercise
- Warming up and stretching prior to rigorous activities
- Cooling down and slowly relaxing after exercise.
Dr. Scott Ruhlman practices orthopedic surgery at Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle, and has extensive experience with sports medicine. If you have any questions regarding your shoulder pain or function, please feel free to contact Dr. Ruhlman’s office at (206) 784-8833.The Importance of Snowboarding Safety
Snowboarding involves moving at very high speeds down steep hills past other skiers and boarders, as well as natural and man-made obstacles. Falls are going to happen regardless of how good a boarder you may be, and collisions are relatively common. Also, since snowboarding takes place at high altitudes in the winter, the weather can range from sunny and bright to bitterly cold, with conditions changing rapidly from one slope to the next and from one hour to the next; here in the Pacific Northwest, it is very much the case.
Before you venture out to the slopes, it’s important to have the right gear and know how to use it. In addition to a snowboard and boots, you will also need warm clothing, protective eyewear and helmets intended specifically for snowboarding.
Here’s a list of what you should bring each time you head up the mountain:
- Snowboard — In general, an all-mountain snowboard is the best bet for beginners, rather than a specialty board, which is harder to turn and balance on. Note that the longer a board is, the more difficult it will be to control. Choose a board that is the right length for your size and snowboarding ability.
- Boots — The connecting point to the snowboard are boots, a vital piece of equipment. Make sure to get yourself real snowboard boots (not moonboots or hiking boots) that fit correctly to keep your feet comfortable and warm. For most beginner snowboarders, soft snowboard boots are easier to control than hard boots. Make sure you keep your boots laced up tight to give your feet and ankles the support they need.
- Bindings — Most snowboard bindings are of the strap-on variety, which are compatible with the greatest number of boots. You should always keep your straps securely fastened to give them the most control over your snowboard. Some bindings, though, are step-in types. Make sure to get the right bindings for your boots, and have a trained professional at a snowboard shop adjust the angle of the bindings to put your feet in the right positions.
- Helmet — A helmet is the most important piece of equipment when it comes to preventing life-threatening injuries. You should wear one any time you go boarding. Get a helmet that fits properly, and make sure you know to keep the chin strap fastened to keep it securely in place. Also, make sure to get a real snowboard helmet (not a football or bike helmet) that allows space for your goggles and ventilation on warm days.
- Goggles and sunglasses — The sun’s rays are considerably stronger at high altitudes than they are at sea level, and when they bounce off the gleaming white snow, they can be a serious threat to the eyes. Sunglasses are the best way to protect eyes from the sun’s rays, but you should always bring a pair of goggles that are the right size in case it gets cold or begins to snow. Goggles are also better at protecting eyes from tree branches and other hazards.
- Gloves or mittens — Many snowboard gloves include pockets for hand warmers to keep fingers nice and toasty. If you’re still worried about your hands getting cold, however, it’s a good idea to get mittens, which are generally warmer than gloves.
- Wrist guards — When you first learn how to snowboard, you’ll spend a lot of time falling forward and breaking your falls with your hands. This can lead to broken wrists and forearms, which are very common snowboarding injuries. Be sure you wear rigid wrist guards designed for snowboarding or in-line skating to protect yourself when you fall.
Dress for Excess
Anyone who has snowboarded on a cold day can tell you, it’s no fun if you don’t have enough warm clothing. Likewise, on hot days having too many clothes can make you sweat, which will lead to you getting cold when the sun dips behind a cloud or the mountains. The best way to tackle this situation is to have dress in layers so that you can shed or put on depending on the temperature.
Here’s a rundown on what sort of clothes they should wear when you snowboard to avoid hypothermia and frostbite:
- Thermal underwear
- Thermal socks
- Intermediate layers
- Snowboard pants
- Neck gaiter
While you should always have the gear and clothing mentioned above, here are a number of other items you might want to consider bringing with you when you are snowboarding:
- Boot warmers
- Lip balm
- Water and a snack
Check out our January Newsletter here! We hope you enjoy!Top 10 Safety Tips To Avoid a Slip or Fall in Ice and Snow
In the Pacific Northwest, occasionally we get snow, but other times, we get a lot more ice and rain. In the Fall it is definitely more rainy, but in the Winter, we get cold, sometimes freezing temperatures that turn into ice and an occasional dusting of snow.
Did you know that winter slips and falls may cause serious injuries? Think about this:
Even when surfaces do not look especially icy or slippery, it is very possible that a thin sheet of transparent ice or “Black Ice” is covering your pathway putting you at risk. When you approach a footpath or roadway that appears to be covered with ice or snow, always use extreme caution. The most typical injuries are fractures and dislocations of the wrist, shoulder and ankle.
Many slips and falls happen in places people regard as safe and secure, typically outside their front door, on the door step, on the path or while getting out of the car.
If you are out walking in snow or icy conditions wear appropriate footwear, don’t walk with your hands in your pockets, walk with your hands out and wear gloves so you can break your fall if you do slip. It’s better to have a broken wrist than a cracked skull!
The Road Safety Authority has the following “Top 10 Safety Tips for Pedestrians” to help avoid the possibility of a broken bone that could easily lead to an operation and a long recovery:
1. If a journey cannot be avoided, walk on a footpath, not in the street. If there are no footpaths walk on the right hand side of the road (towards oncoming traffic). Be extremely careful as frost, ice and snow will make walking on footpaths very dangerous.
2. Remember that footpaths may not be treated so walk with extreme care; make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear and in extreme conditions consider an appropriate walking stick or walking pole.
3. Avoid walking in the streets at all costs if possible. Remember, cars and trucks slip and slide, too! If it’s an emergency, and you can’t avoid the street, wear bright or reflective clothing.
4. Visibility is reduced in snowy condition so wear high visibility clothing or carry a flashlight, or some type of reflective light gear similar to the lights that cyclists use at night.
5. Wear clothing that does not restrict your vision. Stay warm, but DO NOT impair your vision with hoodies, ski masks, scarves, hats, etc. This type of clothing could prevent you from spotting icy conditions that may lead to a fall or not enable you to see a car that is spinning out of control.
6. Snow and ice cause havoc quickly, so use extra caution when crossing roadways, and always cross at pedestrian crossings.
7. Ice can easily hide under a light dusting of snow. Just because you don’t see the ice doesn’t mean it’s not there waiting for your unsuspecting footfalls.
8. If you can’t avoid the ice and snow, bend your knees slightly and take slower, shorter steps to help reduce the chance of a slip and fall and an injury.
9. If forced to use the steps at someone’s home, apartment, or other public building, walk slow and take shorter steps when descending. The same is true of driveways and other hilly terrain; these areas can be very dangerous when they become slippery with ice or snow. Steps especially can be hard to clear and build up ice easily.
10. Be aware of overhead hazards! Falling icicles and chunks of snow pose a serious risk. In extreme cold weather icicles can build up in size very quickly and are lethal. Their size and dagger-like formation are extremely dangerous for pedestrians. Be aware of what’s happening above you, and stay clear from the edges of buildings.Common Winter Fractures and Ice Safety
Fractures (or broken bones) of the ankle and wrist are common injuries during the winter months. We thought it might be useful to review some of the common injuries that often require urgent treatment.
Wrist (Distal Radius)Fracture
A “Colles” (distal radius) fracture is a particular type of wrist fracture involving the distal radius. This very common fracture occurs with a fall on an outstretched hand, often breaking a fall. Diatal radial fractures also occur during skiing, snowboarding or other falls . This particular fracture type is relatively common and can often be treated in a cast. In our clinic, we can usually treat these with waterproof Goretex casting that allows the cast to get wet during the treatment process However, some cases of Colles’ fractures require surgical intervention when proper alignment is necessary.
Bennett’s Fracture of the Thumb, Skier’s Thumb
A Bennett fracture is an injury that occurs at the bottom of the thumb. This type of fracture involves the joint between the thumb and the wrist bones. A Bennett’s fracture occurs as the result of a fall, and people who participate in activities like ice-skating, skiing, and snowboarding are at high risk. Another common injury is skier’s thumb, where a skier excessively stretches out their thumb causing a fracture or a torn ligament. Patients who sustain a Bennett’s fracture or skier’s thumb. usually require surgery to realign the bones and to stabilize the joint area. If the joint surface is out of position, surgery is typically recommended.
Hand fractures are common injuries that can occur during the winter months. These occur in any of the hand or finger bones. Most fractures in the hand can be treated with application of a simple waterproof cast, however for some cases hand fractures may require surgery. Surgery is recommended if there is damage to the joints, the bones are not aligned properly, adverse function will occur. It is important to have all hand, wrist and finger fractures evaluated by an orthopedic specialist. Our hand specialists are happy to prioritize your fracture to speed your recovery.
Scaphoid (Navicular) Fracture
A Scaphoid (navicular) fracture is caused by a fall on an outstretched wrist, causing persistent wrist pain at the base of the thumb. This can occur when walking on ice or doing activities outdoors during the wintertime. These fractures are unfortunately often misdiagnosed as sprains causing problematic complications as this bone has a complex blood supply, which unfortunately can lead to healing problems. This bone is one of the eight important wrist bones. If the scaphoid bone is broken (fractured), often surgery can allow for early recovery.
A broken finger is a common injury that is seen during the wintertime. Finger fractures can have serious consequences if not treated properly. These injuries require appropriate treatment to ensure that function of the hands and fingers is not limited after the healing process. In order to determine the best treatment, these fractures require evaluation by an expert orthopedic specialist. Sometimes, finger fractures require surgery if the phalange bones (the finger bones) are not aligned properly.
What are the common fractures of the ankle and foot that are associated with winter weather?
An ankle fracture is the most common fracture that occurs with twisting injuries during winter months. Broken ankles are among the most prevalent of the fracture types and include injuries to the distal fibula (lateral malleolus) and medial malleolus. These injuries occur when the bones of the ankle sustain injury from a fall or twisting type injury. Surgery is often necessary for ankle fractures to achieve proper alignment during the healing process. Our orthopedic specialists will align the structures of the ankle during the operation and cast the region afterwards to achieve and maintain the alignment.
A talus fracture occurs when the talus bone of the foot is broken. The talus bone is one of the important connecting bones between the leg and the foot. The talus bone has cartilage that connects to the hind-foot region and the ankle. Talus fractures usually require surgery and unfortunately, many patients have long-term ankle arthritis after this type of fracture.
A Jones fracture is a fracture of the fifth metatarsal of the foot. The metatarsals are the long bones that lead to the toes. Patients who sustain a Jones type fracture typically will have pain over this middle and outside areas of their foot. Snowboarders, skiers, and ice skaters all are at risk for this type of fracture. Swelling and difficulty walking are also common. The treatment of a Jones fracture involves immobilization with a waterproof cast. Surgery might be recommended by our surgeons with competitive athletes or in poor healing fractures to accelerate the healing process. Surgery usually involves screw placement, and occasionally bone grafting when the fracture in not healing properly.
The calcaneus is the large bone of the heel. This bone helps support the foot and is vital for proper walking motion. Calcaneus fractures often occur in the wintertime as the result of high-energy injuries. These fractures are the result from a fall from height or sporting activity related injuries. These types of breaks can lead to chronic pain of the foot, and treatment could involve surgery, depending on the severity of the fracture. Most procedures involve making an incision over the outside of the foot and placement of a metal plate and screws directly into the broken heel bone. Our orthopedic specialists make every attempt to realign the bone and return the cartilage surface to normal position.
This type of fracture/sprain occurs when there is an injury to the joint in the mid-foot region. Dislocation is usually involved with a Lisfranc fracture, and this injury is the result of a dislocation between the mid-foot joint and the forefoot region. These types of fractures occur when the person steps improperly and the foot is twisted with much force. Many sustain a Lisfranc injury during sporting activities outdoors and from falls on ice. Most Lisfranc fractures and dislocations require surgery, and afterwards, casting is common. The more common treatment the orthopedic surgeon employs involves placement of internal screws or external pins for fixation.
Metatarsal Stress Fracture
Metatarsal stress fractures occur in people who have a sudden increase in activity. In the winter months, this could include snow shoveling, working on icy walkways, skiing, and snowboarding. Metatarsal stress fractures cause a considerable amount of foot pain, especially with activity. When these injuries are not allowed adequate healing time, surgery is often necessary. Most of the time, however, these can be treated with rest and possibly a cast. You should check with our orthopedic specialists if you think you have a metatarsal stress fracture as timely treatment can lead to early recovery.
Ice Safety Tips
-Wear boots with grip soles such as those made of rubber and neoprene. Slick leather or plastic soles on shoes will definitely increase your risk of falling.
-When getting out of your vehicle, look down and analyze the surface. If it’s coated with ice you should attempt to park in a different place.
-Use special care when entering or exiting your car. Be sure to use the vehicle for support when walking, too. Before standing brace yourself, using the car door and seat back, this will give you some stability so you won’t fall.
-Step – don’t jump – from vehicles and outdoor equipment.
-Don’t walk with your hands tucked in your pockets, as this reduces your ability to use your arms for balance should you slip.
-Take short shuffling steps in icy and slick areas.
-Don’t carry or swing heavy loads. This includes large boxes, cases, or purses that may cause you to lose your balance when you are moving along a slick surface.
-When walking, curl your toes under and walk as flat-footed as possible.
-Avoid curbs and other uneven surfaces that have ice on them.
-Place your full attention on walking and avoid searching in your purse or backpack while walking on ice or slick areas.
-Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them or sliding your foot along them.
-Keep walkways clear of debris, water, ice, and slippery materials by using rock salt.
If you believe you are suffering from a fracture or injury and need specialized orthopedic care, Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle has excellent treatment options available for you. Please feel free to contact Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle at (206) 633-8100 to schedule an appointment.Your Handbag could be the Cause of Shoulder Pain, a Stiff Neck and Back Pain
The holiday rush to get all your shopping done means being pretty efficient of how you want them packed and carried out of a store. Enter your handbag, big, bulky and up to the task. Unfortunately, that bag, if filled to capacity, will probably give you a sore shoulder, stiff neck and quite possibly back pain.The frenzy of the holiday season and your busy lifestyle warrants that you talk on your cell phone in one hand and carry that big, bulky purse on the other hand is actually intensifying a big problem; you are unevenly distributing weight on one side of your body.
What Can Be Done to Minimize the Damage?
Instead of carrying your bag on the same side, switch back and forth, or carry the bag in front of you. Understandably, it doesn’t look glamorous, but at the end of heavy shopping day, you can prevent your shoulders from aching. The prolonged effect of constantly carrying a heavy bag is like a strenuous workout; you overtax the muscles and induce joint pain if your bag is too heavy. By maintaining the correct form of carrying your bag and keeping the bulk of your purse toward the center of your body, it will help alleviate shoulder and neck pain.
Just remember these helpful tips:
1) A bigger bag doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Keep things to a minimum – a weight of no more than 5-8lbs is recommended.
2) Swap shoulders – this takes some getting used to but it is possible.
3) The wider the shoulder strap, the better the dispersal of weight.
4) Think about the material of the jacket you are wearing; slippery fabric will cause you to hunch your shoulder even more.
5) Watch your posture: are you leaning to one side to help balance the weight?
6) Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.
According to Dr. Shapiro, “To protect your shoulders from an overuse injury like bursitis, don’t carry a heavy load of bags on one arm. It is best to switch shoulders or carry an even load of bags to distribute the weight safely.” If you are experiencing neck, hand, shoulder or back pain, call Orthopedic Specialists and make an appointment with one of our expert, orthopedic doctors at (206) 633-8100.Left Hip Injury knocks Olympic Gold Medalist, Evan Lysacek out of Sochi Olympics
USA Today reported that Evan Lysacek, U.S.’ Olympic gold medal winner in men’s figure skating pulled out of the Sochi Games in 2014 due to a torn labrum in his left hip.
The report states, “After a series of serious injuries, including a torn labrum in his left hip, 2010 Olympic champion Evan Lysacek ended his dream of competing in his third Games on Tuesday. Lysacek said the pain in recent months was excruciating. If he continued training, he would risk serious and permanent damage, his doctors told him. “With a warning like that, I felt I had no choice,” Lysacek said.
Figure skating is a very physical sport, with hips and knees greatly affected.Other notable Olympians like Kimmie Meissner, Tara Lapinski and even Michelle Kwan have suffered through orthopedic injuries and sometimes ending their careers. Another Olympian, Brian Boitano was also quoted in the article stating,“Skaters are leaving the sport and getting hip and knee replacements. There are a lot more serious injuries compared to when I competed. It’s sad. We’re losing a lot of young skaters.”
A hip labral tear involves the ring of soft elastic tissue, called the labrum that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. The labrum acts like a socket to hold the ball at the top of your thighbone (femur) in place. Athletes who participate in such sports as ice hockey, soccer, football, golf and ballet are at higher risk of developing a hip labral tear. Structural abnormalities of the hip also can lead to a hip labral tear.
Symptoms include hip pain or a “catching” sensation in your hip joint. Initial treatment may include pain relievers and physical therapy. Using arthroscopic techniques, surgeons can remove loose fragments from within the joint and trim or repair the hip labral tear.Dr. Downer said the following of Evan’s injury, “I hope that this is not more than an isolated incident. Additional injury will have a negative impact on a successful recovery.”
If you would like more information on hip or knee replacements, call Orthopedic Specialists and make an appointment with one of our expert, orthopedic doctors at (206) 633-8100.