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.

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.

Comprehensive Orthopedic Care: Fracture of the Calcaneal

Comprehensive Orthopedic Care: Fracture of the Calcaneal

A broken foot is serious, but perhaps the most serious is a fracture of the calcaneal: the large bone that forms the foundation of the rear part of the foot, more commonly known as the heel bone. This bone has a thin, hard, outer shell covering softer spongy bone on the inside.  A break here causes the bone to collapse and become fragmented, lending to the seriousness of this kind of injury.

How do they occur?

A calcaneal fracture is usually the result of a traumatic event such as:

  • Falls: Common in falls with sudden impact, like from a ladder or a slip on some black ice.
  • Auto-accidents: Typically in a head on collision, especially if the person braces their foot on the floorboard before impact.
  • Sports injury: Heel fractures are more common in long-distance runners and can become worse with the stress of the foot hitting the ground over time.
  • Osteoporosis: Individuals with osteoporosis are more easily prone to breaks as their bones are fragile.

Calcaneal fractures can also occur in conjunction with other types of injuries, such as an ankle sprain.

How are they Diagnosed?

Signs and symptoms of heel fracture include:

  • Severe pain
  • Bruising
  • Unable to bear weight
  • Swelling
  • Heel deformity

Diagnosis of a calcaneus fracture involves a thorough examination which usually requires an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the fracture. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan may be required.

Receiving proper treatment requires a correct diagnosis on the type of fracture. There are several different types of calcaneal fractures that may occur, including:

  • Intra-articular fractures involve damage to the cartilage between the joints. These are considered the most serious type of heel fracture.
  • Avulsion fractures are when a sliver of bone is split off from the calcaneus due to pulling from the Achilles tendon or another ligament.
  • Multiple fracture fragments, also known as a crushed heel injury.
  • Stress fractures, resulting from overuse.

How are they Treated?

Some fractures can be treated without surgery by simply utilizing the following:

  • RICE: Rest, ice, compression and elevation.
  • Immobilization: placing the foot in a cast to keep the bone from moving.

Traumatic fractures often involve surgery which may include:

  • Percutaneous screw fixation: This surgery involves reducing, realigning, and attaching fractured pieces of bone with metal plates and screws.
  • Open reduction and internal fixation: Metal screws are used to attach larger fractured bones.

Recovery time can be lengthy, involving physical therapy to help regain strength and restore function.

If you have recently suffered a foot or heel injury or calcaneal fracture, contact us today. We will diagnose and properly treat your injury to get you onto the road to recovery.

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!

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.