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.

St. Louis Cardinals’ Alex Reyes Returns To DL with a Lat Strain

St. Louis Cardinals’ Alex Reyes Returns To DL with a Lat Strain

St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitcher Alex Reyes is unfortunately back on the disabled list (DL) with a lat strain. He pitched only four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 30, 2018.

Although Reyes initially told reporters after the game that he was not worried about the injury at the time, Cardinals’ general manager Michael Girsch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the strain is “significant.” Girsch said the pitcher will miss at least a few games.

This is only the latest injury to plague Reyes. The May 30th game was Reyes’ return to baseball after being on the DL since September 2016 for a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which required Tommy John Surgery.

What Is A Lat Strain?

A lat strain occurs when the latissimus dorsi is overstretched or torn. The latissimus dorsi is the broadest muscle of the back, and runs all the way from the top of the hip to the front of the upper arm near the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint.

Some activities can increase the risk of a lat strain, including:

  • sports that require throwing motions, like baseball and softball
  • rowing
  • swimming
  • swinging a baseball bat or tennis racket
  • chopping wood
  • chin-ups and push-ups
  • activities that require constant, repeated lifting of the shoulders

Symptoms of a lat strain include:

  • pain below the shoulder blade
  • pain at the front of the shoulder
  • pain in the mid-back and down the side
  • numbness, tingling, and/or aching that extends down the arm to the third and fourth fingers
  • steady, constant pain (even when muscle is at rest)
  • Pain when reaching forward or lifting arms over your head

Lat strains are graded by severity. The three grades of strains are:

  • Grade 1: mild strain in which the muscle is overstretched but not torn.
  • Grade 2: moderate strain in which the muscle is partially torn.
  • Grade 3: severe strain in which the muscle is completely torn, or ruptured

Treatment and Recovery

Initial treatment for a lat strain involves a combination of treatments known as the RICE method. The acronym RICE stands for:

  • Rest: rest the injured muscle
  • Ice: apply ice for 20 minutes every hour when awake
  • Compression: wrap affected area with an Ace bandage to reduce inflammation
  • Elevation: elevate your back by sitting in a recliner, sofa, or upright chair to enhance the healing process

Treatment primarily consists of rest to allow time for proper healing. Ultrasound, light therapy, and electric stimulation can also be used to promote the healing of tissue. Physical therapy and exercise can restore the muscle’s strength and flexibility.

In cases where the muscle is completely torn, surgery may be required. Surgery can, in some cases, involve repairing the torn muscle with sutures. More severe cases may warrant a full latissimus dorsi reconstruction, in which case the torn muscle is removed and a donor tendon (either from the patient’s own body or a cadaver) is used to replace it.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and over-the-counter pain medications can help manage the pain. If the pain is too uncomfortable, your doctor may prescribe pain medication or muscle relaxants to provide you with some relief.

Recovery time for lat strains can range from a month to a year, depending on the severity of the injury and whether surgery is required.

Hope for Reyes

Girsch told the Post-Dispatch that they are still gathering information about the injury and don’t have an estimate yet for Reyes’ return.

There is still hope for Reyes’ pitching career, however. Other baseball pitchers have recovered from lat strains and returned from the DL to enjoy successful pitching careers. Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox suffered a lat strain in 2010 and required surgery. Peavy was on the DL for over a year, but was able to return to the sport and became an All-Star in 2012.

We Can Help

Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine is dedicated to providing exceptional care to people of all ages. Our goal is to relieve pain and restore mobility and function so that you can return to your normal activities as quickly as possible. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment today.

General Orthopedic Care – Caring for Broken Bones

General Orthopedic Care – Caring for Broken Bones

There are many ways a bone can be injured or broken. Car accidents, contact sports, falls, and workplace accidents are some of the most common ways bones sustain injuries. Regardless of the cause, broken bones should be treated as soon as possible to avoid complications. The best way to treat an injury to a bone is to ensure proper alignment and stabilization.

Leaving a bone break or injury untreated can result in complications including bone deformity and permanent nerve damage. An untreated break may also cause damage to surrounding muscle and ligaments. These complications occur because bone is living tissue that attempts to heal itself in stages:

  • The trauma of the break damages blood vessels within the bone resulting in bleeding inside the tissue. Within hours this blood forms a clot. The blood clot associated with a broken bone contains specialized cells known as fibroblasts.
  • In a few days, these cells begin to manufacture granulation tissue. This tissue begins to form a web of cartilage and fibrocartilage and is known as the soft callus stage. This stage may last from about four days to as long as three weeks in most cases.
  • At this point cells known as osteoblasts begin to make new bone tissue. Usually, this process begins at about two to three weeks and ends at about six to eight weeks. This is known as the hard callus stage and depending on the location and severity of the break, may continue for months.
  • The final process is remodeling. Specialized cells called osteoclasts begin to break down excess bone in the fractured area, reducing the size of the callus and replacing it with hard, compact bone tissue. As this happens, the bone returns to its original size and shape. During this time, the bone functions as well as before the break; however, the process of complete remodeling can take years to complete.

Because bone begins to heal itself almost immediately after an injury, it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible in order to assure correct healing and avoid complications.

When you visit our office for a broken bone, an X-ray of the affected area would be done to determine the type and severity of the break. For the majority of simple fractures, the bone is able to be gently manipulated back into place. If a more complex or severe break is found, the bone may require stabilization with pins, screws, or plates. Once the bone is back to the correct alignment, immobilization with a cast, splint, or in some cases, traction is essential in order to minimize pain and allow the bone to continue to repair itself in the correct position.

Once the bone is stabilized, recovery and rehabilitation can begin. Dr. Irvine and his team will devise a plan to suit your specific needs. A proper rehabilitation program promotes blood flow to assist in healing and maintaining muscle tone, while also reducing stiffness and helping prevent blood clots.

No matter what the cause, Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine is here to help. Our clinic can diagnose and treat all types of breaks to get you back to your day-to-day activities. Contact us if you suspect you may have a broken bone or other orthopedic injury. We provide prompt, professional care to minimize further damage and get you back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

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.