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.

The 4 Most Common Wrist Fractures

The 4 Most Common Wrist Fractures

The human wrist is one of the most complex body structures, consisting of a collection of ligaments, tendons, joints and bones. Unfortunately, its intricacy makes the wrist very prone to injuries, and it doesn’t require performing extreme sports to be at risk of a break. Even something as minor as a tiny wet spot on the floor, when unnoticed, may cause a slip and fall, breaking one of the wrist bones.

While there are many injuries that can occur with the wrist, certain wrist fractures are more common than others. The following are a few of those that are experienced most frequently:

1. Colles’ Fracture

Colles’ fracture is also known as a distal radius fracture. It occurs when the radius, which is the longer forearm bone on the thumb side, breaks at the end toward the wrist. The radius is one of the most common broken bones in the United States. The fracture commonly occurs due to falling on an outstretched hand or a direct trauma to the wrist, but there are several other causes of this fracture, including: age, osteoporosis, lack of calcium or vitamin D.

2. Smith’s Fracture

Smith’s fracture is sometimes termed a reversed Colles’ fracture. It also involves the distal radius, but there are some crucial differences between these two. The Colles’ fracture results from falling onto an extended hand, causing the broken bone fragment to be displaced dorsally, or toward the back. The Smith’s fracture, however, involves falling onto a flexed hand, contributing to displacing the broken fragment of the bone ventrally, or toward the front.

3. Barton’s Fracture

Barton’s fracture also involves the radius. We distinguish two types of it: dorsal and volar. It occurs when the base of the thumb breaks and either the dorsal or volar fragment of the carpal gets dislocated. This condition is often called a fracture-dislocation of the radiocarpal joint.

4. Scaphoid Fracture

Apart from radius and ulna, the shorter bone of the forearm, there are also eight carpal bones that form the wrist, arranged in two rows. One of them is the scaphoid bone which sits at the base of the thumb right above the radius. This small, bean-shaped bone is prone to fractures, yet it’s often hard to detect them; they are sometimes mistaken with wrist sprains. Untreated scaphoid fracture may lead to non-unions, avascular necrosis, and early arthritis.

Throughout our lives, slipping, tripping, and falling at some point are inevitable. All of them may result in a couple of bruises, but some may require immediate medical attention to ensure proper treatment and healing. To make an appointment or learn more about wrist fractures, contact us.

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!