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.

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.

Retired? Stay Healthy at Home by Exercising

  • With Americans living longer on average than any time in history, people have questions about how to remain healthy during their retirement. Remaining healthy certainly includes physical activity; in fact, physical activity is essential. According to the Center on Disease Control, if you are 65 or older and are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, you should get two hours and thirty minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity each week–or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, and you should also train muscles twice per week.

Tufts Medical suggests several at-home exercises for retired people to develop stamina and strength. These can be done inside or outside the house!

Mature man working out at home

First two weeks

Walks: walk for five minutes to get warmed up and the blood flowing, outside if the weather suits or around the house. Treadmills are fine, too. The point is to get the heart pumping.

Squats: stand directly in front of a sturdy chair, with your arms stretched forward and parallel to the ground. With feet slightly wider than shoulder width, slowly lower your buttocks to the chair. Then stand again. Make sure you control the squat movement as you repeat 10 times.

Wall Push-ups: standing in front of a clear wall, place your palms on the wall–feet should be shoulder width. Then, bend the elbows as you lean toward the wall. Push back. Without ever locking your elbows, repeat ten times. Rest a minute. Do ten more.

Toe Stands: against something sturdy, such as a chair, counter, or wall, raise your self until you are standing only on the balls of your feet as you count to 4. Hold it at the top for 2-4 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Rest a minute. Repeat another 10 times.

Finger Marching: sitting or standing, imagine a wall in front of you while you walk your fingers up the wall, wiggling them at the top for ten seconds. Walk them back down. Repeat 10 times. Rest a minute. Repeat another 10 times. After, with arms and fingers stretched to the sky, try to touch your back with your hands. Continue the stretch if you can by reaching for the opposite elbow.

Increasing Strength During Weeks Three to Seven

For these additional exercises, you will need dumbbells and ankle weights, which are best purchased to add weight as you progress, beginning with 2 lbs for women and 3 lbs for men:

Bicep curl: sitting or standing, hold the dumbbells with arms down and palms facing thighs. Rotate forearms as you slowly lift the weights until palms are facing shoulders. Pause. Lower the weights to original position. Repeat 10 times. Rest a minute. Repeat another 10 times.

Step-ups: stand facing the base of some stairs with a handrail. Raise your left leg and place it on the stair. Then, place your weight on the left leg as you raise your right. Tap the right foot on the stair and then return. Repeat 10 times. Rest a minute. Repeat another 10 times for each leg.

Overhead Press: standing or sitting with feet should width, raise your hands with your palms and forearms facing forward, until the dumbbells are level with your shoulders and parallel to the floor. Slowly push the dumbbells up, fully extending, without locking the elbows. Pause. Slowly lower, as you count to four. Repeat 10 times. Rest a minute. Repeat another 10 times.

Side hip rise: standing behind a chair, with feet shoulder width, place your hands on the chair back. Slowly lift your left leg to the side, counting to 2 and keeping the leg straight. Remember, do not lock the knee. Then, slowly counting four, lower the leg. Repeat 10 times. Rest a minute. Repeat another 10 times for each leg.

After seven weeks, you should be in great shape, when you can add more strenuous exercises. Contact Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine for any orthopedic concerns as you develop your fitness. Remember, keep motivated by setting goals, and they will help you maintain a consistent workout.

Celebrate Family Health & Fitness Day, USA!

Are you aware of all the opportunities to get fit as a family in the St. Louis area? Well, you can learn about many possibilities during the 20th annual Family Health & Fitness Day, USA on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine, Family Health & Fitness Day, Orthopedic Care in St. Louis, Saint Louis Orthopedic Doctors

Background of Family Health and Fitness Day

In a 1994 landmark study, the US Surgeon General reported striking findings about American family health habits and practices. The Surgeon General’s study discovered that “the majority of Americans, and especially children from 12 to 21, are not exercising nearly enough.” In fact, the report exposed that over half of Americans are not regularly active–over 60%, a quarter of Americans are not active at all, and activity decreases during Americans’ teen years.

Most importantly, the report trumpeted the benefits of physical activity. All American family members can “improve the quality of their lives through a lifelong practice of moderate physical activity.” That’s great news! Just 30-45 minutes a day of brisk activity, such as walking, bicycling, and even working around the yard can significantly protect against “risks of developing coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes.” More, exercise improves one’s mental health, putting smiles on family faces.

What is Family Health & Fitness Day, USA?

Family Health & Fitness Day, USA is a national event that responds to this report. All across the country, local organizations will sponsor events designed to promote family physical activity. According to Pat Henze, Director, “This year’s programs will include exercise demonstrations, health fairs, family walks and more. Most programs involve family activities as well as education and information about health and fitness topics.” These programs will vary by region, leveraging local resources.

What You Can Do Together as a Family in the Greater St. Louis Area

  • Visit one of the 11 St. Louis area YMCAs
  • Bike ride together on one of the many St. Louis County Park Paved Trails
  • Walk each night after dinner together (start a new family tradition!)
  • Participate in Forest Park’s amazing array of activities, such as wild flower walks and birding tours
  • Start a small garden together
  • Play outside games together that your children love
  • Visit Laumeier Sculpture Park
  • Visit one of St. Louis County Parks’ Outdoor Play Areas

Check your local listings for specific, planned events for Family Health & Fitness Day, USA on Saturday, September 24, 2016. Remember, too, Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine can help you remain active on a regular basis.

Supporting Youth After Sports Injuries

An injury for any athlete is difficult. He or she deals with physical pain, as well as a variety of powerful emotions. Sports injuries in youth can be even more difficult to handle. Kids are not simply “little adults” and therefore are not as physically, emotionally or intellectually developed. An injury to them can feel much more traumatic and “life-ending”. This is why it is important to know how to support them during and after treatment.

The initial emotions after an injury include anger, fear, frustration and discouragement. A skilled doctor can help the athlete feel secure and confident in the prescribed treatment, and support and encouragement at home will solidify that. If the injury is severe and surgery is required, it often will be the youth’s first time experiencing hospitals, anesthesiologists and all that goes along with it. Explaining what will happen and staying positive about the final outcome will help lessen any anxiety.

After surgery it is very important to follow the doctor’s orders. Do not push the child too hard, or allow the child to push himself too far either. Strictly adhering to the recommended recovery and rehabilitation plan will yield the best results, regardless of the pressures to return to the game. Studies have shown that optimism during the rehabilitation process helps the athlete’s emotions shift from the initial negative outlook on the injury to excitement and confidence in returning. Along the same lines, approaching rehab with negativity causes the child to doubt and fear that she can ever play again. Remove any pressure to be healed and perfect right off the bat.

Overall, a parent needs to remember that when helping a child cope and recover from a big injury a balance must be maintained between helping and not helping. Support them, but don’t coddle them. Don’t do things for them that they can do for themselves, even when on crutches or in a wheelchair. Allow them small achievements so they can work up to the bigger ones.

Injuries can be heartbreaking, but they aren’t the end of the road. Recovery is possible and you can help your child athlete navigate the journey back to health and success.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help with the process of healing.