Spring Training is Injury Prevention Time for Young Pitchers

Spring Training is Injury Prevention Time for Young Pitchers

With the Cardinals back at spring training in Florida, youth baseball players in the St. Louis area are also returning to the cages to begin their preseason training regimens. For many young pitchers, that means restarting a throwing program after at least a few months off. Having grown and developed in the off season, they’re finding their balance and release points again, and maybe trying out a new pitch or two.

Though it’s fun to focus on those mechanics, players and parents should also remember that preseason is an exceptionally important time to do the work necessary to keep young arms healthy through the long season to come. Arm care isn’t just about counting pitches. The strength and flexibility training young pitchers do in the preseason can mean the difference between ending the season as an all-star and having season-ending surgery.

Benefits of a Preseason Throwing Injury Prevention Program

In 2016, research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (“AOSSM”) Specialty Day reported that a preseason injury prevention program was shown to significantly diminish the risk of a throwing injury in youth pitchers. In the study, young pitchers participated in a program consisting of resistance training with dumbbells and elastic bands, focusing on flexibility exercises four times per week for at least fifteen minutes per session. The results found that they were four times less likely to suffer a throwing injury than a comparable group of pitchers who only followed a normal preseason throwing regimen. Quoted in the AOSSM press release reporting the findings, one of the study’s corresponding authors emphasized that encouraging “parents, coaches, and youth baseball organizations across the country to adopt similar programs [may give] athletes… a better chance for reducing time off the field because of injury.”

Resources for Developing Your Preseason Throwing Injury Prevention Program

You can find guidance from the National Strength and Conditioning Association on preseason training for youth baseball players here.

Parents, players, and coaches with questions about developing a preseason throwing injury prevention program should consult a certified athletic trainer, or contact our team at Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine today.

When is a Meniscus Tear Repairable?

When is a Meniscus Tear Repairable?

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, one of the most common knee injuries is a tear in the meniscus. These rubbery pieces of cartilage act as shock absorbers in the knee to cushion and stabilize the knee joint. There are two menisci in each of your knees: one on the inside of the knee and one on the outer side.

Treatment of a meniscus tear depends on a number of factors, including the type of tear, its size and where the tear is located on the meniscus. Most meniscus tears result either from trauma or are degenerative. Traumatic tears come about from a twisting of the knee, often while engaged in sports and physical activity. Degenerative tears can occur as the body ages and tissue gradually breaks down over time.

The outer one-third of the meniscus has a rich supply of blood flow, which is important for any part of the body to heal. The inner two-thirds, however, have little to no blood flow. Nutrients from blood are necessary for the body to heal naturally, so when there are tears in the inner part of the meniscus, surgical trimming and removal of the torn piece is generally the best option.

Tears in the meniscus that are located near the outer edge of the knee are typically the result of trauma and are longitudinal – basically following parallel to the long side of the meniscus. This makes these injuries the best candidates for surgical repair.

Arthroscopic surgery for such tears can be very successful at repairing the damage. This is a minimally invasive treatment, as only a few small incisions in the knee are needed. A miniature camera is inserted in one incision, and surgical instruments are inserted in the others, allowing the surgery to all take place within the knee. The tear is closed by stitching the torn pieces together.

Recovery time from a meniscus repair is longer than for surgery where part of the meniscus is removed because the tissue must heal together, requiring 3-4 months away from sports. However, you can expect to fully return to your previous level of activity once healing is complete.

If you have sustained a knee injury or are experiencing knee pain, contact us at Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine. Dr. Irvine has extensive experience in treating knee pain and injuries, and is trained in the most advanced techniques in arthroscopic surgery.

Elbow Arthroscopy Recovery: How to Help Yourself Recover Stronger

A large majority of people who need to undergo surgery are curious about the recovery times, the level of pain they may experience, and what they will need to do to recover afterwards. The good news is, there are many things patients can do to recover stronger after a surgery such as Elbow Arthroscopy.

Elbow Arthroscopy can be performed to diagnose and fix many problems, such as releasing scar tissue or resurfacing the bone. It is often a very successful surgery, providing patients with less ongoing pain and a better range of motion. Immediately after the surgery, patients will notice the improved range of motion available in their elbow as there are very few limitations placed upon movement at this point. A sling is often given for comfort only.

As this is a surgical procedure, some pain and discomfort is to be expected, but the method of using only a small incision means this will generally only last the first week of recovery. If the surgery was more extensive, it will likely be several more weeks before the pain subsides. In either case, patients may be prescribed pain medication to help with any discomfort. Icing and raising the elbow for the first 48 hours after surgery as directed by the doctor will also help with the pain and recovery.

The doctor may ask the patient to leave on the post-surgery dressing for several days and to keep the area dry. After its removal, bathing can continue as normal, but always ensure that the wounds are covered with antibiotic ointment and bandages after bathing as directed by the doctor. Sutures are removed after one week.

Once the initial recovery time is complete, physical therapy will begin and lasts for approximately 4-6 weeks or until maximum range of motion is accomplished, allowing the patient to return to normal activities such as playing sports and moving regularly again!

To learn more about this simple recovery process or to schedule your Elbow Arthroscopy procedure, contact us.

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.

Total Joint Replacement

Having Total Joint Replacement

Total joint replacement is not a step that is ever taken lightly, but should you need this advanced surgical option, Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine is committed to making this a winning experience from evaluation to recovery: Missouri Sports Medicine. Before deciding your joint’s condition warrants replacement, several less drastic forms of care may be tried. These can include physical therapy, injections, and arthroscopic surgery. If these ameliorative treatments don’t restore the joint’s normal function, an x-ray, and possibly an MRI, may be ordered to determine any joint and tissue damage.

The Decision for Surgery

Assuming that you are healthy enough for surgery, joint instability, pain that won’t allow you to sleep at night, the inability to perform the normal daily functions of life, and being prevented from doing the things you enjoy are all factors that may lead you to decide that total joint replacement is the best option. After you and your doctor decide that you will go ahead with the surgery, you will be thoroughly briefed on what to expect, and you will also be informed about the preparation that should take place in the home, so your recovery phase will run smoothly. In most cases you will be administered general anesthesia before the procedure begins. Using knee-joint replacement as an example, damaged parts of the joint will be removed in preparation for your new knee, and after the surfaces of the joint have been prepared, the new components of the knee will be anchored in place.

Post-Total Joint Surgery

After coming out of surgery, a great number of post-surgical tasks will be taking place. You will, of course, be having pain medication administered, but steps will also be undertaken to monitor the surgery site for infection. You may also receive blood thinners to prevent blood clots from forming, and as soon as possible, steps will be taken to maximize the joint’s flexibility. Your hospital stay may last from 3-5 days, and, in addition to post-operative care, light physical therapy will begin.

Recovery From Total Joint Surgery

By far, the greatest part of your recovery will take place during the 4 to 6 weeks following surgery. The physical therapy and follow-up doctor visits you keep will have you well on the way to a much-improved quality of life. If you need a consultation about possibly needing this procedure, please contact us.