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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dr. Onan's Patient Sets Four (4!) World Records

Not many 61-year-old grandfathers can say they have four world records under their belts. But Georgetown resident Don Wade does. And did we mention, the records were all set this year?

Here are his records:
  • Most overhead leg raises in one minute - Set 1/19/16
  • Most abdominal wheel crunches in one minute - Set 2/11/16
  • Most abdominal crunches performed in an hour - Set 2/13/16
  • Furthest distance reached on a versa climber fitness machine in one minute - Set 2/29/16
Wade has an obvious discipline for fitness, but why does he push himself to set records?

"I love competition, but I also realize that today our world has such an 'immediate mentality'. We forgot how long some things can take and that perseverance pays off. I hope my daily discipline and diligence provides a good example to younger generations including my own grandchildren," explained Wade.

He's been an exercise enthusiast his entire life. After a 2006 knee replacement surgery, Wade focused on weight training, rowing and intense abs workouts. A decade later, he put his practice to the test, achieving four fitness-related world records. When he started experiencing sharp back pain, he saw fellowship-training spine surgeon, Dr. Atilla Onan, who performed complex spine surgery.

Today he says he no longer has any back pain and is back to his rowing, stretching and doing ab crunches again.

He's also back to competing. With the Olympics starting in a few weeks, he's got his sights set on a new challenge - the 'Rowlympics,' where he'll represent the U.S. by earning virtual medals for the number of hours rowed.

Good luck Mr. Wade!

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Everything You Never Knew About Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps can really cramp your style. Whether you are in the middle of a regular workout or something more intense, like a 10K, a cramp can all but stop you in your tracks. The tightness and searing pain that accompany a muscle cramp have long been attributed to dehydration or tiny tears in the tissue's cell membranes. But revolutionary new research suggests it may be neither.

Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel Prize-winning scientists, pursued the subject after a fateful kayaking trip in the waters off of Cape Code. He experienced severe hand cramping that neither hydration or replacing electrolytes, common remedies, could alleviate.

Once back on land, he began perusing theories about the origin of muscle cramps. His research led him on a path away from the muscles themselves but rather to the central nervous system instead, leading him to declare that "the primary origin of the cramp is the nerve, not the muscle."

Over the next decade, he examined the surprising relationship between nerves and cramps. He discovered that if you could shock the nervous system itself with a painful, or in this case piquant/spicy experience, before the onset of physical activity, you would then produce a subtle numbing effect throughout the body, thereby eliminating the cramps. Strong, acidic, and pungrent things like pickle juice, sour cherry juice, and ginger or cayenne-infused liquids consumed before exercise greatly decreased muscle cramps reported by the participants in MacKinnon's study.

This ground-breaking research was presented at last year's meeting of the American Academy of Neurology and the American College of Sports Medicine.
So next time you are off pounding the pavement or hitting the gym, think about taking a shot of hot sauce, or a swig of wasabi, beforehand to keep the cramps at bay.

(Adapted from The Wall Street Journal)

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Monday, July 18, 2016

The Future of Wearable (Fitness) Technology

We are all familiar with the basic wearable fitness trackers of today. They count steps, track calories consumed and burned, register heart rate, and even follow our sleep patterns.

Fast forward to the fitness and "health" trackers of the future. They promise to offer a window into our body's most inner workings. The data processed by this new wave of wearable technology will provide individuals, along with trainers, coaches, and even medical doctors, with valuable, real time information regarding the wearer's health.

Features currently in development for the newest devices include:
  • Ability to track abnormal heart rates
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Body temperature gauging
  • Measurement of speed and split times for laps/distances run
  • GPS monitoring
This newest technology is even being incorporated into actual clothing/garments. Miniscule devices discreetly sewn into fabric can track someone's whereabouts, speed at which they are running/walking, and change in heart rate.

Tracking this information can help an individual decide if they need to ramp up their workout, or slow it down. As training too hard can put you at risk for an overuse injury.

Major League Baseball has recently approved the use of a special sleeve to wear during play that is equipped with accelerometers and force sensors. The sleeve will track arm speed and estimates elbow and shoulder strain, in hopes of avoiding injury and preventing subsequent "Tommy John" surgeries (to replace damaged elbow ligaments) that are all too common among ball players.

(Adapted from STOP Sports Injuries)

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X Games and Traumatic Orthopedic Injuries

They soar high into the sky. They catch air. Unfortunately, they sometimes make crash landings too. Such is the life of an extreme athlete.

Chad Kagy, a BMX Big Air competitor, was a participant at X Games Austin 2015 when he suffered several traumatic injuries from a fall during a miscalculated trick. He was in the air on his bike when he crashed 30 feet down to the ground, eventually landing directly on his feet. The powerful force of the impact caused breaks in both heals, a torn right ACL, and a fractured L-2 (of the spine).

Lucky for Kagy, Texas Orthopedics' Dr. David Laverty was the on-site orthopedic surgeon that day and the first responder to reach him after the fall and assess his injuries.

Once Kagy was rushed to the hospital and stabilized, Dr. Laverty expertly devised a surgical plan that would not only best treat his current injuries, but would also allow for his body to heal accordingly so that he could continue to compete again in the future. Having the foresight to accurately predict how a patient's body will function following an injury is a challenge, but when treating a professional athlete, it is a necessity.

"I have had 20 orthopedic operations due to sports injuries throughout my professional career and have had quite a few different surgeons work on me," said Kagy. "I am confident in Dr. Laverty's skill set and ability to fix the body parts I damage. That being said, I have never encountered a surgeon with the ability to put the patient first above all else while thinking about their future after the injury."

Chad Kagy is a four-time X Games gold medalist and tied for third on the X Games BMX all-time medal count (ESPN). Kagy is also an active member of Bikes Over Baghdad, a team of professional action athletes who travel to the Middle East to support and entertain our U.S. troops.

Dr. Laverty is one of our four highly skilled and trained physicians specializing in orthopedic trauma surgery and reconstruction. He has covered the X Games since it first came to Austin in 2014.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Standing at Work and Productivity

Chances are you know someone with a standing desk. Maybe it's the coworker right next to you. Or maybe it's the guy down the hall whose head and shoulders bob up and down above all the other cubicles.

Standing desks are said to help burn calories, reduce low back and neck pain, and now it is reported they may even boost work up to 46%.

A recent study published in the journal IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors examined employees at a call center for a pharmaceutical company over a six-month period. Some participants were issued new standing desks, and others remained sitting at traditional desks.

Results of the study include:
  • employees with standing desks were 23% more productive than those at seated desks during the first month
  • over the next five months, productivity rose 53% among those at standing desks
  • the average productivity increase of those working at standing desks during the six months was 46%
Regular daily tasks completed successfully at the standing desks were talking on the phone, watching videos, and reading on the computer. Tasks that were markedly more difficult to perform while standing were typing on a keyboard and maneuvering the mouse.

White the boost in productivity that comes from standing at a desk is attractive to many employers, experts suggest that a combination of standing and sitting while working may be the most beneficial.

Figure out which tasks you perform better while standing and then sitting, and alternate your position throughout the day. This gives you both the energetic boost of being on your feet while also providing needed rest and physical support as your complete seated tasks.

Ideally, whether you sit or stand at your desk, you should work frequent "microbreaks" into your daily schedule. At least every hour, take a moment to stretch your limbs and look away from your computer screen. A short walk, quick head and neck rolls, or even arm and ankle circles can greatly improve blood flow and circulation...also leading to increased productivity.

(Adapted from CNN-Health)

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Hamstring Happenings

Hamstring injuries are common for amateur athletes, professional athletes, and everyone in between. They are especially common among college athletes, according to a recent study by the
NCAA. Hamstring injuries are, in fact, the most common of all injuries suffered among collegiate student athletes.

The hamstrings are the muscle group located in your thigh that help control the hips and knees. Hamstrings are engaged in just about every sport there is, but they are particularly put under pressure when running, jumping, squatting, and kicking. So sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and track and field present some of the highest risk for injury.

Injuries occur when the hamstring is strained, or fully torn in sever cases. Signs of an injury may include a sharp pain, or stiffness and tightness in the thigh, as well as an actual 'popping' sound if the muscle has torn.

Inadequate stretching or warming up before physical activity, lack of flexibility, a weak core, nd lower extremity muscle weakness and fatigue can all contribute to a hamstring injury.

If you experience a sudden thigh pain while playing sports, seek medical attention immediately. Frequently an ultrasound or MRI may need to be performed to determine the severity.

Ample rest time for the muscle to heal, followed by physical therapy later on, are typically prescribed for recovery. Surgery is necessary only in rare instances.

One important measure that can be taken to help avoid hamstring injuries is to follow a prevention program. Specific exercises are designed to improve the muscle's strength and endurance a good deal prior to the start of an athletic season or participation in a monumental sporting event.

(Adapted from STOP Spots Injuries)

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Water Before a Workout

There are so many different thoughts on how much water to drink throughout a day. Eight cups? Two liters? How much is too much? Or too little?

A recent U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) revealed that water only accounts for 30 percent of all fluids Americans drink each day. It should be more. Especially when you are working out or training.

In fact, studies now show that drinking water right before you exercise can give you an added boost of energy. Dehydration conversely can zap your strength by (2%), power (by 3%), and high-intensity endurance (by 10%) during a workout (NHANES).

Fitness experts recommend drinking 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before you hit the gym. Then following-up with 16 ounces within 30 minutes of finishing.

If you are actively training for a marathon or other high-intensity type event, you should drink even more water, as well as supplement with other sports and nutritional drinks to replace lost electrolytes.

Foods with a high water content, mainly fruits and vegetables (like watermelon, cucumbers, and celery), can also contribute to your daily water intake.

During these hot summer months, it is important to stay vigilant about hydration before and after your work out, especially if exercising outdoors.

(Adapted from Men's Health)

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