At-home Exercises For Retired People

At-home exercises for retired people can be an efficient way to bridge the gap between health and comfort. After spending years laboring hard in the work-force, spending time commuting and sitting behind desks or working long hours on the floor it can be a blessing to be able to enjoy the comfort of one’s home. Comfort can at times get in the way of the regular exercise our bodies need in order to stay physically as well as mentally fit.

Dr. David Irvine has extensive experience treating patients who suffer from joint and tendon disease which can sometimes occur due to lack of sufficient resistance exercises. Let’s spend some time and talk about how an active retired person can remain healthy by following a few exercises at home, whether in the comfort of the living room or braving the outdoors.

How does inactivity lead to weaker joints and tendons?

Looking at the human body one might think that the parts make up the whole. However, unlike a car, the body doesn’t have components which can be treated as stand-alone parts. The knee, for example, requires adequate muscle mass in the hamstrings, gluteus muscles as well as the calves in order to protect it during exercise or even when going for a walk.

Strength is not the only factor, tendons are part of the equation as well, requiring adequate elasticity in order to allow proper movement of the knee-joint. Weak tendons can allow for unstable motions of the knee and if in turn these structures are too tight they may cause excess wear and tear of the sensitive joint surfaces.

In medicine we have learned that a sedentary lifestyle inevitably will lead to decreased muscle mass and tighter tendon structures. The main reason for this is nerve stimulation, the lack of which decreases the blood supply to these structures causing them to become less important to the body which in turn causes degeneration – or simply put, if you don’t use it, you might lose it.

Combining daily indoor activities with exercise

You likely have common daily routines at home which may offer some relaxation such as listening to podcasts, reading a magazine or watching entertainment/news on TV. Combining exercise with such activities is the most efficient way to get mental as well as physical stimulation.

  • Stand at the kitchen counter with you feet close together, flex your calves and raise your heels off the floor and lower your weight down to a count of 5 seconds.
  • When seated on that comfy couch raise one leg at a time up to the level of your pelvis and lower it down and repeat with the other leg.
  • When listening to your favorite podcast or news source stand with your feet at arm’s-length away from the wall and gently lower your weight into the wall, performing a standing push-up.
  • Don’t forget that cleaning your home manually is an exercise by itself. A good rubdown of the counters and that circular polishing motion of the interior mirrors will definitely get your heart pumping and provide a wonderful upper body resistance exercise.
  • A couple of inexpensive 10-lb dumbbells should be used to perform biceps curls by standing erect with arms at your sides while flexing the biceps and bringing the weights to your shoulder.
  • A variation of the above exercise is to then go from the flexed biceps position directly into an overhead press by pushing the dumbbells over your head and straightening the arms as if reaching for the stars.

Exercising the body in your outdoor space

  • Gardening is one of the most meditative and laborious activities you can do in your outdoor space. Aerating the lawn, plucking weeds, planting flours and vegetables serve as wonderful exercises.
  • If you have room for potted plants consider adding them to your garden, besides requiring watering such plants need to be regularly re-potted – this is less of a chore and more of an exercise – said the optimistic doctor.
  • Consider waking up early and performing a Tai chi routine before you start your day either out on your patio, in front of some beautiful plants or under the shade of your tree.
  • Don’t let those stairs stop you, if you have stairs leading up to the house then turn on some music and go up and down them daily to provide stronger quads and calves.

Limitations to exercise

At our practice we often encounter patients who have given up exercising either because they are unable to get to a nearby gym or are limited by aches and pains.

The former is easily remedied by performing some simple home exercises as outlined above. Get creative and use common household items to perform resistance exercises.

The latter is a common concern. Patients often associate pain with causing damage. This isn’t always the case but it certainly is worth investigating. If you are trying to be more active but constantly experience pain in a specific part of your body please don’t ignore it. Dr. Irvine’s experience with muscles, ligaments and joint pains allows him to differentiate between benign pains which can be overcome with changes to your exercise routine while identifying more serious disease processes which may require proper intervention such as advanced arthritis, frayed tendons, inflamed joint surfaces etc.

We hope that you gained some useful tips from this article regarding home exercises. If you are experiencing aches or pains while doing them please contact us so that we can guide your exercise better.

Hip Arthroscopy Recovery Tips

How to Boost Your Recovery after Hip Arthroscopy

Having hip arthroscopy is scary when you do not know what to expect afterwards. Science has found that psychological stress is detrimental to the body’s healing process and can prolong your recuperation. Learning how to prepare for the typical recovery period before your scheduled surgery will help ease your mind and give you time to make arrangements for the necessary post-procedural support. These are all great questions to explore with Dr. Irvine before you have hip arthroscopy:

  • How long will you experience pain during your recovery? Recovery from joint surgery is different for each person. It is not unusual to experience pain and soreness for 3-6 months after the procedure. Talk with Dr. Irvine about pain control methods that will work best for you. Keeping on top of your pain levels reduces your psychological stress and aids in your healing process.
  • Will you need to use a walker, crutches, or a cane? Crutches are used for the first 2 weeks (possibly up to 6 weeks) after the procedure so that you are not placing weight on the affected side.
  • Will you need to stay at an inpatient rehabilitation facility afterwards? Typically this is not the case, however, inpatient rehabilitation may be required in rare instances and Dr. Irvine can address this with you.
  • When should you expect to start physical therapy? A post-operative appointment is scheduled about a week after the surgery to remove any stitches and check on your progress. During this visit Dr. Irvine will assess if you are ready to begin physical therapy, which often begins the following week.
  • How long does physical therapy usually last? The usual course of physical therapy is 2-6 weeks, though this varies from patient to patient.
  • Who will help you at home and transport you to your appointments? Enlist a friend or family member to stay with you for at least the first few days after the procedure. You will need assistance with activities of daily living, such as preparing food, toileting, and bathing. If you anticipate needing additional help, you may wish to arrange for visits from a home healthcare service.
  • When will you be able to start driving again? You may be able to drive as soon as a week after the surgery if Dr. Irvine clears you to drive at your initial post-operative appointment. Talk with Dr. Irvine to find out what criteria is used to determine when you will be ready to drive again.

At Missouri Orthopedics, we strive to help you achieve your mobility goals so you can get back to the activities you enjoy. Please contact us to find out how we can serve your physical rehabilitation and orthopedic needs in the Greater St. Louis area.

Advancements in Knee Arthoscopy

Crystal Ball Technology

Advancements in Knee Arthoscopy, Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine

Most of us are familiar with arthroscopic surgery. This procedure uses tiny cameras and tools to explore and/or repair joints. The word root “arthro-“ actually means joint. Therefore, virtually any joint in the body, such as hip, elbow and knee, can be helped with the use of arthroscopy. The knee is probably the one most people think of when they hear “arthroscopy”, and an estimated one million people in the U.S. are expected to have the procedure performed this year alone.

Synovial fluid is located in each of our joints. This fluid has been used in the past to determine causes or severity of conditions involving those joints. A small sample is taken of the fluid and sent to a lab for analysis. It can be used to test for several disorders, but for our purposes, let’s concentrate on inflammation and degenerative diseases. Typical testing checks the physical appearance of the fluid, including color and clarity. The chemical composition is analyzed. Synovial fluid is comprised of glucose, protein and uric acid. Fluctuations in any of one of these components will signify certain issues are present. For example, lower than expected glucose levels would indicate problems with inflammation or infection.

Researchers have now discovered that these same synovial fluid biomarkers can be an indicator for predicting postoperative outcomes. There are several factors, such as age and duration of symptoms, which were included, along with the biomarker data, to help determine potential results. In other words, physicians would be able to tell how a person will respond after surgery and how successful the procedure will be for each patient.

Much of the terminology and chemical names are meaningless to a non-scientist, but one of the items looked at was T-cell response. T-cells may sound familiar to most as they are mentioned frequently in regards to cancer. They are part of the immune response system, and in cases of infection and inflammation, they are stimulated to respond in an effort to slow down or stop certain processes.

In the near future, surgeons may be able to provide patients with a fairly accurate prognosis regarding their recovery time and expectations after surgery using this technology, much like a prognostic crystal ball.

If you or someone you know is experiencing knee pain or discomfort, please contact us to set up a consultation.

Secrets To Maximizing Your Recovery And Rehabilitation Following Knee Surgery

Following arthroscopic knee surgery, you’ll be faced with the recovery and rehabilitation process. This time of healing can sometimes feel overwhelming. Fortunately we’ve got some ideas on how you can maximize your healing. Eight ways, to be precise.

  • Be patient: Arthroscopic knee surgery is the least invasive way to repair knee injury or disease, and Dr. Irvine is very good at it. But the recovery process – when your body is rebuilding tissues and strengthening connections – takes time. Be patient.
  • Be ready to start rehab immediately: With very few exceptions, you’ll be starting physical therapy within 24 hours of your surgery. In order to get your full range of motion back, you’ve got to move!
  • Communicate: Your doctor and others involved in your rehab need to know how your knee is feeling, what hurts and what doesn’t, and how well you’re following the rehab plan.
  • Expect a little pain: You’ve heard of “no pain, no gain” right? Recovery following knee surgery is no different. We think you’ll be surprised at how little pain you have, and will provide you with pain medication to help.
  • Don’t suffer: Having a little pain while you’re following the exercise plan outlined for you is normal. But if your pain feels unmanageable, speak up! Although pain can be a normal part of the healing process, when pain is extreme it can signal complications or infection.
  • Don’t push ahead of your rehab plan: Depending on your pre-surgery activity level and the condition or injury that made surgery necessary, you may think that pushing harder will make your healing progress faster. This is rarely accurate. Your rehab plan is carefully designed to maximize your healing without creating any additional injury.
  • Expect peaks and valleys: Your rehabilitation progress won’t be a straight line. Expect peaks and valleys as your body heals. This will help you manage a tough day or when you feel like you’re not seeing the progress you’d like.
  • Pay attention to your mental health: Moments of frustration and even depression are perfectly normal. Denny Hamlin, NASCAR racer, talked about this recently following a repeat knee surgery. “That’s the biggest hurdle mentally that we fight through all this is not being able to do some of these activities [golfing and running] that we use to…” during the rehab process.

Knowing what to expect, following your rehab plan, and communicating through the process will go a long way to maximizing your recovery and rehabilitation following knee surgery. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have, and we’ll stay with you until you’re fully recovered.

Avoiding Girls Youth Injuries With St. Louis Area Summer Sports Camps

Did you know that Title IX, the legislation that dramatically increased girls participation in sports and academics, turns forty-four this year? It’s hard to imagine forty-four years ago only 1 in 27 girls played a sport; but, that percentage soared to 1 in 2.5 by 2012, according to the St. Louis American. Most people know that the regional website Saintlouis.kidsoutandabout.com lists opportunities for kids to have fun and get fit at summer sports camps, but some are unaware how physical sports even helps to improve girls’ health and to avoid girls’ youth injuries.

Mental Health

Physical exercise in sports camps helps girls do better in school, aiding learning, memory, and concentration. Studies widely associate regular physical exercise with improved classroom performance from kindergarten to fourth grade. Active girls have an edge in school beginning at a young age and continuing beyond high school.

Just as important as academic success are the psychological and sociological benefits. Those released endorphin’s go a long way to reducing stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression, liberating girls to explore the world.

Of course, everyone knows the social benefits, where girls enjoy making and being with friends, and where sports promotes girls’ self-esteem, but sports also develop leadership skills and the ability to set goals. Sporting camps help strengthen character.

Physical Health

It might surprise you to know that exercise is the least expensive way to help a girl remain healthy. Participation strengthens bones, increases flexibility, strengthens muscles, aids joints, and helps to reduce body fat. It also helps to ward off disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, in the future. Sporting camps in the St. Louis area keep kids active for appropriate stretches of time, to maximize physical benefits.

In an era when casual and creative play has diminished and when girls still do not fully participate in sports equally, Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine offers a wide range of orthopedic care for all kids. Remember, girls, like boys, feel proud of their accomplishments, so help them get out and enjoy summer sports!