Sprains: A Common Injury in Young Athletes

Sprains: A Common Injury in Young Athletes

Out of all youth injuries that are related to playing sports, sprains and strains are by far the most common. The two injuries are similar in type – they are both either warped stretches or tears. The difference between them is that a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, while a sprain is the damage of a ligament.

Sprains are most often caused by trauma, such as an acute overstretch from a sudden twist or turn. These injuries are commonly seen in ankles, but any ligament can be affected. There is no way to prevent sprains with 100 percent certainty, however there are steps that can be taken to reduce the odds of one occurring.

Get into the habit of stretching properly after each workout session. Do not do so beforehand as the stretching of cold muscles can do more harm than good and can inhibit strength gains. Stretching not only improves the flexibility of the muscles, it also improves the flexibility of the connective tissue, including ligaments. You should also incorporate exercises into your routine that improve balance. Since impact or stretch trauma are the two primary causes of sprains, improving your balance will reduce your risk of falling or having to overcompensate in order to avoid doing so.

If a sprain is not treated correctly, or is left untreated, it can potentially lead to lasting problems. For example, an untreated wrist sprain can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, which may require surgery to correct to prevent the condition from resulting in significant, lasting nerve damage. If your child has been affected by a sprain, it is imperative that you seek proper treatment. Determining the severity of the sprain is vital, as this will affect the treatment regimen.

Should you have any further questions on sprains, or if you suspect your child has a sprain, please give us a call.

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!

Arthroscopy – Not Just to Get a Better Look!

Arthroscopy – Not Just to Get a Better Look!

Most have probably heard the term arthroscopy, even if we aren’t exactly sure what it means. Arthroscopy, like much of medical terminology, comes from the Greek language; Arthro- means joint and -scopy is the act of viewing with a camera or lens.

During arthroscopy, one or more small incisions are made around the joint and a camera is inserted, as well as a variety of tiny surgical instruments. This allows Dr. Irvine to not only diagnose problems by looking around inside the joint with a camera, but he can also treat problems, using burrs, drills, rasps and other surgical instruments to remove and reshape bone, release caught tendons and clean out broken pieces of cartilage.

Why arthroscopy instead of open surgical procedures? Since arthroscopic procedures utilize much smaller surgical incisions, there is much less soft tissue to heal, meaning less pain and a quicker recovery time.

What joints can be treated arthroscopically? While most joints can be viewed arthroscopically, some of the most common candidates for arthroscopic examination and treatment include the knees, hips, shoulders and wrists. Many spinal procedures are now performed arthroscopically, as well as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) conditions.

What conditions can be treated arthroscopically? Here at Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine, we are using state-of-the-art arthroscopic treatment for many conditions. Evaluation and some treatments can be done arthroscopically for shoulder disease, hip conditions, knee pain and injuries and more.

Procedures like total knee replacements and other more involved surgeries requiring large hardware or prostheses cannot be performed arthroscopically.

To find out more about arthroscopy and all of the orthopedic services we have to offer, please contact us. There’s no need to put up with the pain and limitations any longer!

Understanding Elbow Arthroscopy

The elbow joint consists of three bones: the humerus bone of the upper arm, and the ulna and radius bones of the forearm. The ulna and the humerus meet at the elbow and form a hinge, allowing the arm to straighten and bend. Life without this ability would be difficult, indeed.

Thanks to elbow arthroscopy, conditions inhibiting the normal use of the elbow can be treated, relieving pain and enabling one to freely use their elbow again.

What is elbow arthroscopy?

Missouri Orthopedic Care St. Louis, Advanced Sports Medicine

Arthroscopy is a procedure that allows surgeons to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems such as releasing scar tissue to improve range of motion, removing loose cartilage and bone fragments, repair lesions, among others.

Common procedures include:

  • Removing loose fragments in the joint
  • Repairing fractures
  • Treatment of tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Treatment of osteoarthritis (arthritis that causes wear and tear)
  • Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory arthritis)
  • Treatment of elbow stiffness often caused by fractures and other injuries

How is elbow arthroscopy performed?

Under general or regional anesthesia, a fiber-optic camera is inserted through a cut the width of a pencil in the elbow, magnifying and projecting the structures of the elbow on a television screen. This allows the surgeon to diagnose the condition. Several other small cuts allow insertion of additional instruments into the joint for treatment.

Recovery and rehabilitation.

Arthroscopy is usually an outpatient procedure; expect to return home with a bandage over your incisions, your arm possibly placed in a splint to keep it still and instructions to put ice on it and elevate it regularly for the next couple of days. You more than likely will be given instructions for certain exercises to perform to build strength and increase movement and may even need physical therapy to complete the rehabilitation process. While recovery from elbow arthroscopy is often faster than that of open surgery, expect it to take several weeks for your joint to completely recover.

For more information on elbow arthroscopy and how we can help, contact Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine.

Hip Arthroscopy: A Minimally Invasive Option

HipArthoscopy

The hip-joint is one of the most amazing and important joints of the body. A ball and socket joint, it is one of the most flexible, providing a level of mobility that allows the femur to rotate freely through a 360-degree circle and is capable of supporting half of the body’s weight along with any other forces acting upon the body.

Estimable as it may be, like any other part of the body, the hip-joint is capable of suffering several painful conditions due to falls or repetitive use that is common in athletes. The normal wear and tear that comes with age plays its part as well and can lead to arthritis or tears of tendons and ligaments.

Non-surgical treatments that include rest, physical therapy and injections to reduce inflammation can help but some injuries and even diseases demand a more aggressive approach. Bone spurs around the socket; dysplasia and snapping hip syndrome are a few of the conditions that may fall into this category.

In cases like these, your doctor may recommend hip arthroscopy, a procedure where your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your hip-joint. The camera then displays pictures on a screen, allowing the doctor to use these images to guide miniature surgical instruments to the affected area.

Hip arthroscopy is generally performed under general anesthesia and on an outpatient basis.

Recovery will likely include crutches for a specified amount of time, as well as physical therapy to help restore strength and mobility.

For more information on how we can help, contact us