Three Key Factors of Top-Notch Comprehensive Orthopedic Care

Three Key Factors of Top-Notch Comprehensive Orthopedic Care

Joints: We all have them, and as long as they are doing their job of keeping us mobile, most people don’t think too much about them. What happens, though, when you suffer an injury, or when a joint develops problems over time, limiting your mobility? Obtaining an evaluation and treatment from a qualified specialist is imperative to getting your body moving again so you can continue doing the activities you love. Searching for an orthopedic care provider can feel overwhelming, however, and when you are experiencing joint pain, the process can seem even more frustrating.

How do you know what to look for in a provider? What type of services are offered and how long will you need to be followed by the specialist? There are numerous factors to consider when choosing an orthopedic clinic, including what qualifications the provider has, what services are available, and which local hospital the doctor collaborates with should an emergency arise.

Here are three key factors to consider when choosing top-notch comprehensive orthopedic care for yourself or your loved one:

  • Board certified surgeon:Your health is your most valuable asset so you want to know that the provider you are entrusting to help your body heal is one of the best. When researching the orthopedic doctors in your area, inquire if they are board certified, indicating they have had extensive training in their specialty area of medicine and have passed a standardized national exam. Dr. Irvine is board certified in both Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.
  • Targeted services and procedures offered: Whether it’s bursitis preventing you from taking your daily walks, carpal tunnel syndrome impeding your efficiency at work, or a knee injury from last week’s football game, you want to receive comprehensive orthopedic care. Missouri Orthopedics provides care for both acute and chronic conditions, including those that originate in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, feet, and ankles.
  • Hospital privileges and collaboration with other medical centers: If hospitalization or a rehabilitation facility is required as part of your treatment, you want to ensure that your orthopedic specialist is able to provide care in these facilities, either directly or through collaboration with their staff physicians. Dr. Irvine has a working relationship with five medical facilities in the St. Louis area, including the nationally-ranked Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

If you are currently searching for orthopedic care, look no further than Dr. Irvine and staff at Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine. We strive to help you achieve your mobility goals so you can get back to the activities you enjoy. Please contact us to discover how we can serve your physical rehabilitation and orthopedic needs.

Staying Healthy While Recovering from and Injury

Staying Healthy While Recovering from and Injury

Part of a healthy lifestyle is getting fit, but if you are new to physical activity or it has been awhile, it can come with several challenges. One of the biggest setbacks that can happen in your fitness journey is an injury. Whether it is something serious requiring a lot of downtime or surgery, or something minor like a pulled muscle or minor sprain, sometimes the most frustrating part is being on the mend. Here are five steps to help you stay healthy while you recover from and injury:

1. Be patient with yourself. Any injury, whether it is a broken bone or a pulled muscle, is going to take time to heal. Some injuries might require more time to heal than others, which can lead to massive amounts of stress and frustration. While missing out on your usual activities may get you down, take this time now to focus on other aspects of your health. Just remember not to push yourself too hard in any new activities. You can actually make a minor injury worse or potentially cause a new injury.

2. Manage pain. Pain is an initial reaction to an injury, but quicker recovery happens when the pain is reduced. Proper use of anti-inflammatory painkillers and analgesics can help you work through an injury. However, caution should be taken not to overdo things, or you could be re-injuring yourself and not even know you have, so work with your doctor for a possible plan while using pain management medications. Keep in mind, improper or prolonged use of opioids could lead to a chemical dependency, so consult with your doctor about options.

2. Switch it up! If you are missing out on time running the trails, try some light lifting or even swimming to keep your cardio on point. The human body is extremely varied and oftentimes, focusing on a weakness might be just the thing you need to improve your overall health, so be flexible! According to WebMD, higher impact workouts can wreak havoc on the body, but the body’s need to maintain joint health and stay limber is consistent. If you evaluate how you got hurt, there is a good chance that neglecting proper stretching technique contributed to your injury. Work in some time to stretch and improve your stretching regimen. Injuries such as plantar fasciitis are primarily overcome by lighter activity and increased stretching. Give a workout like yoga a try to help increase your flexibility. As always, consult with your doctor before trying a new workout, particularly when attempting with an injury.

4. Ice and heat. Reducing inflammation and improving circulation are key in a quick recovery. Both of these improve the body’s ability to heal quickly, and you can help it along. Alternating ice and heat can facilitate this process, since ice tends to reduce inflammation as well as cause blood flow to retract from the extremities, and heat can help relax muscle tissue and improve comfort as well. Alternating hot and cold, in addition to chemical patches and creams to further stimulate these reactions, will trigger your body’s healing factor and can accelerate tissue repair.

5. Watch your caloric intake. Since you will be reducing your activity due to an injury, it is important to reduce your calories accordingly. You won’t need 5,000 calories a day if you aren’t maxing out on bench and dead-lifts. If you have downtime due to an ACL, you won’t be training for that marathon until the doctor clears you. So don’t comfort yourself with a pail of Rocky Road as you binge watch shows on TV. It will become easier to gain weight during the recovery period, and a heavier body will mean more strain in the short term and reduced performance on your cardio later on. Not to mention, you’ll have a more difficult time trying to bounce back into your desired activities once you receive the all-clear from the doctor.

If you are injured and need orthopedic care, or to learn more about safe activities during your recovery, contact us today.

Ask the Doctor | Good Exercise Options for People with “Bad Knees”

Ask the Doctor | Good Exercise Options for People with “Bad Knees”

Having “bad knees” is a common complaint for patients of all ages. But there are many reasons for knee pain no matter how old you are, and seeing a doctor is certainly recommended to diagnose the cause. While proper treatment is crucial to motility, remaining in an active lifestyle is equally an important pursuit to help ensure longevity of your overall health. In fact, exercise can help stabilize the knee and alleviate some pain issues born of stiffness or due to lack of activity, but exercise can also aid in warding off major health problems such as cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

Of course, the best exercises for knees certainly depend on the source of individual pain, but in general, there are some low impact options that are kinder to compromised knees that can keep you active while you continue to manage or treat your knee pain.

  • Walking for low impact. If arthritis is causing you knee pain, walking might be the solution for you. In fact, a regular walking routine can reduce stiffness and inflammation and won’t generally contribute to worsening chronic conditions. According to the CDC, walking keeps your heart and bones strong and joints working as you age. Just try to build strength and endurance slowly, listen to your body as you limit exercise time and make walking on softer surfaces with flat, flexible athletic shoes a priority.
  • Swimming for cardio. Swimming is an enjoyable activity that’s good for almost everyone–and a great calorie-burning exercise. It alleviates weight placed on the knees and joints, while allowing movement with less pain. Swimming also has the ability to work all your muscles, toning the back, strengthening the stomach and working out arms and legs. For some extra training, many gyms with pools offer water aerobics classes that provide the benefit of a weights or resistance workout without the added pressure on your joints you’d have in a traditional gym session.
  • Try the elliptical.  If you belong to a gym, or are in the market for some home equipment, the elliptical machine is a great option as well. It enables the same motions of running without the impact on the knees. The great thing about the elliptical machine is that it works out arms, too, giving full body benefit while allowing you to decide how long or how hard to train. Additionally, if you’re recovering from a knee injury, it can even improve your knee health by providing an opportunity to build leg strength through the use of resistance settings.
  • Biking. While this workout will require you to consult your doctor about the safety of biking with your particular knee problem, it can be a good option for bad knees. Cycling is even often recommended by doctors as a good recovery option from knee injuries. If the particular motions cause you pain, try adjusting the settings on your bike at the gym or the length of time you exercise to work up stamina and strength slowly. Done outdoors as well as in, investing in a real bike (as opposed to a stationary one) may be one of the most beneficial things you’ll ever do if getting fresh air is something you love.
  • Try Yoga! Yoga is an extremely popular exercise that offers a myriad of benefits for health and fitness, including reduction of chronic pain, the promotion of relaxation and the ability to build strength and stamina. Because it’s often low impact, yoga can be enjoyed by almost anyone and can range in intensity depending on preference and skill level. Yoga helps building core muscles, improving muscle tone and flexibility, and poses can always be modified to provide less stress on knees.

While the above are great ways to stay in shape even if you experience knee pain, Dr. Irvine can advise you on the specifics of your situation for recovery from injury or management of chronic conditions and will ensure optimal safety—and enjoyment–in your exercise routine. Contact us for a consultation today!

The Remarkable Hand

What makes humans so “human”? While there are certainly many factors – spiritual, emotional, physical – that make us human, the human hand is a unique appendage that opened up amazing possibilities in our becoming human.

From our opposable thumbs to the amazing sensory receptiveness of our fingertips, the human hand is ideally sculpted for exploration and manipulation of this incredibly complex world. A study at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013 determined that the human finger can find an irregularity as small as 13 nanometers, which is less than 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair. With sensory tools like that at our disposal, it’s not surprising we humans have done as well as we have!

Let’s spend a minute and look at the basic set-up of the hand.

The eight bones of the wrist are called the carpal bones. The carpal tunnel is the narrow passage through which passes all of the blood and nerve supply for the hand. You’ve probably heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when, for a variety of reasons, that passageway no longer allows for friction-free passage of the tendons, nerves and blood supply to the hand, causing pain and dysfunction.

The five long bones that stretch from your wrist to the base of your fingers are called metacarpals, and the individual bones of your fingers are called the phalanges (phalanx is singular). The muscles and tendons that move your hands and fingers are incredibly sensitive, allowing us to pick up tiny objects, while they are strong enough to lift frying pans and carry babies!

It’s amazing all that we can do with our hands! However, when we begin having pain or discomfort in our hands, it can be difficult to function in the day-to-day. If you are experiencing pain in your hands or wrists, please contact us to set up an evaluation.

Scoliosis

General Orthopedic Care

Human Spine

At our center we treat patients on a regular basis as a general orthopedic care center but many of our patients are unaware of a chronic spine condition that often needs ongoing support from spine surgery and aids such as back braces. This condition is called scoliosis and it relates to a curvature of the spine that needs to be corrected.

Written below we have detailed the interesting facts, myths and pieces of art related to the condition. If you have scoliosis you may have heard these already. On the other hand if you are learning about scoliosis for the first time these five unique facts might take you by surprise.

A novel about scoliosis

Many teenagers over the past four decades have learned about scoliosis by reading Judy Blume’s novel “Deenie.” In the book, a teenager deals with the transitional period of being diagnosed and treated for scoliosis. Along the way she struggles with the corrective brace that cuts through her new clothes. She also deals with the social aspects of being different than other kids. However in the past 40 years the braces for treating scoliosis have changed significantly. For example, today’s braces do not de-emphasize the chest area, and are considerably less bulky than the type the character Deenie described.

Scoliosis empowerment support group

Did you know that there was a specific support group in place to empower young girls with scoliosis? According to Curvy Girls founder Leah Stoltz when girls are diagnosed with scoliosis, they often grow silent. For this reason Stoltz has actively maintained a website-based support group specifically for scoliosis-diagnosed girls. Stoltz also talks with social workers and guidance counselors about the special needs of girls with scoliosis.

High scoliosis statistics

In America the statistics related to scoliosis are as high as one-in-40. Regardless most are considered mild cases and the causes for scoliosis are generally unknown. Once diagnosed a child will be monitored with X-rays. If the condition becomes severe surgery or braces may be used to correct the curvature of the spine.

Do not forget about kyphosis

In the field of medicine, there are two conditions that affect the way the spine grows. While scoliosis is an S or C-shaped curvature of the spine from one side of the back to the other, there is a similar condition that bends the spine into the front of the abdomen from the back. Called kyphosis, it can occur when there is a failure for the spine to form or a failure of segmentation of the spine.

Silliest scoliosis myth

On a number of scoliosis websites there are doctors writing about a common myth. Evidently many people believe that heavy backpacks cause children to get scoliosis. This is refuted by medical science and is not a proven cause for scoliosis. Nevertheless keep in mind that there are many areas of the back that can suffer duress due to carrying bags or luggage that exceed the weight your back can withstand. For all of these reasons when you need professional orthopedic care know that we are the educated ear you have been looking for. Thank you for choosing Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine and we look forward to hearing from you.