Youth Injuries & Sport Care: ACL

Youth Injuries & Sport Care: ACL

There’s an old saying that says, “Youth is wasted on the young.” As you watch your kids hard at work on the playing field, most of the time you might marvel at what kind of punishment they can put themselves through in the prime of their youth. Unfortunately, that all may change the moment they encounter a sports injury. Most of the time, they are giving everything they have to the sport, and with coaching, the pressures to succeed and to dominate on the field, kids are a lot less willing to hold back. Because of this, a sports injury can wreak havoc on future performance in more ways that just one. With an injury comes the setback of building and maintaining a level of physical ability, but the mental trauma associated with such an injury can cause them to hold back in future events, hindering their once all-in athletic performance.

One of the most common injuries affects the anterior cruciate ligament, or as it is most commonly referred to, the ACL. The ACL is one of the most important ligaments in the range of motion as well as the strength of your knees. Most sports are heavily reliant upon the function of an athlete’s knees, not only in terms of strength, but also flexibility. This is why proper treatment of an injured ACL is of utmost importance. Thankfully, an ACL injury is no longer a career-ender, much less a permanently debilitating injury, due to advances in modern medicine.

Through the use of minimally-invasive, arthroscopic surgery, as well as combined treatment plans in pain management and physical therapy, recovery is shorter than it has ever been and the likelihood of repeated injury is also significantly reduced from even a few years ago. Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine has the technical experience as well as bedside manner you can rely on to get your young athlete back on the playing field, court, track, or floor doing what they love.

Contact us to get back on the road to recovery today!  Let us help your young athlete to achieve their goals and follow their dreams.

 

Common Job-Related Knee and Shoulder Injuries

Common Job-Related Knee and Shoulder Injuries

Accidents at work are inevitable. Even in an extremely safe environment, there is always the risk of an employee getting injured. Dr. Irvine sees multiple injured workers every month to help them recover from various conditions, some of which require orthopedic intervention and are more common than others. Among the most frequent injuries in any workplace are those to the knees and shoulders.

Knee Injuries

The most common job-related knee injuries are usually caused by repetitive pressure, trauma, heavy lifting and falls. Some accidents may simply result in bruises, but others could potentially lead to a serious disability without prompt and proper treatment. Common job-related knee injuries include:

  • Dislocated knee cap – This often occurs due to a sudden blow or twist of the knee.
  • Sprains and strains – They are similar yet not the same; sprains are caused by overextension of a ligament whereas strains occur when a muscle is abruptly pulled, in certain cases it may even tear.
  • Meniscus tear – This type of tear is commonly caused by a sudden turn, heavy lifting, or deep squatting; athletes are also very prone to this injury.
  • Bursitis – In other words, inflammation of the bursae. This may happen due to a number of reasons, such as repetitive motions, minor impact or trauma.
  • Patellar tendinitis – It’s an injury of the tissue that connects the kneecap to the shinbone; among the most common causes is repetitive stress on the knee.

Shoulder Injuries

Another type of common work-related injuries is to the shoulder. Many jobs require the employee to use their arms and shoulders on a regular basis. Conducting repeated overhead activities, pushing heavy objects, awkward positioning for an extended period of time or the use of heavy machinery may all contribute to the following common shoulder injuries:

  • Rotator cuff tear – There are two main causes of this type of tear: injury (e.g. due to falling on an outstretched hand) and degeneration which occurs naturally with aging.
  • Shoulder dislocation – This injury is usually caused by severe rotation of the shoulder joint which leads to the upper arm bone popping out of the socket located in the shoulder blade.
  • Impingement – Also called the swimmer’s shoulder – it happens when the rotator cuff’s tendons rub against the shoulder blade. Repetitive motions are a frequent cause of this injury.
  • Frozen shoulder – It’s characterized by stiffness of the shoulder joint and pain during movement and occurs when the shoulder joint’s capsule thickens and tightens, leaving less room for the movement and causing discomfort.

Not only physical workers are at risk of getting the above-mentioned injuries. Accidents happen to people across all employment sectors. The good news is that all of them are treatable. However, depending on the severity of the injury, some of them may require longer recovery periods than others. It’s important to visit a professional orthopedist who will provide comprehensive treatment throughout the entire period of the patient’s recovery and help them get back to work quickly, yet only when deemed as safe for the employee.

For more information about the orthopedic services that we provide for work-related injuries and more, 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!

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.

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.