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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, June 19, 2017

Running for Your Back

Running and a healthy back may seem like an unlikely pair. The high impact intensity of pounding the hard pavement feels like it could really do a number on your spine, causing disc and vertebrae misalignment, and generally making your back feel out of whack.
But new research shows the opposite may be true. Running could actually be good for back health.
A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports evaluated the link between disc health and exercise/movement. They found that people who run or walk (at a brisk pace) regularly have healthier discs in their backs than those who do not exercise at all. 
Discs in between the vertebrae of the spine are filled with fluid that absorbs pressure during movement. The more movement your body experiences, the more that fluid builds up and creates a comfortable cushion between vertebrae preventing back pain and tightness. Less movement means less fluid and flatter, deflated discs.
The study examined 79 men and women and assigned them to the following groups: long-distance runners, moderate runners, and those who rarely ran or exercised at all. Participants’ spines were scanned with a specialized MRI system that measured the size and liquidity of each disc.
Here’s what they found:
  • Runners’ discs were larger and full of more fluid than those who did not run or exercise.
  • There was no difference in disc size between the long-distance and moderate runners.
  • Walking at a brisk pace also contributed to more fluid-filled discs.
The results are encouraging for those who regularly run or walk as they may be at less risk for constant back pain as they grow older. The study cautions though that people should not take up running just in an attempt to treat an already existing back condition.
If you experience any frequent back pain, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists.
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More Ways to Get Your Vitamin D

There’s no better time to load up on Vitamin D than right now. Summer sunshine is a great source of this important vitamin essential for good bone health.
Many Americans, especially those over age 60, aren’t getting enough Vitamin D. This can lead to a serious deficiency which may contribute to the weakening of bones and damaging conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis, both of which we treat frequently here at Texas Orthopedics.
The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 IUs daily if you are 60 years or younger, and 800 IUs per day if you are over 70 years old.
In addition to spending time in the sun (though it’s best to limit it during peak hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), here are some other ways you can get an extra dose of Vitamin D:
1. Feast on fish.
Most fresh fatty fishes, as well as canned varieties, are a great source of Vitamin D. Good options include salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
2. Add in some mushrooms.
Mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D and the prefect choice for those looking for a plant-based source of this important nutrient. Toss them into salads, pastas, and egg scrambles, or slice and layer them into sandwiches.
3. Say yes to the yolk.
The yolk is often overlooked in favor of the more popular egg white. But the yolk is full of Vitamin D and a host of other good-for-you stuff. As it is also high in cholesterol, limit your yolks to one a day, or just a few per week.
4. Pass the OJ please.
Orange juice is naturally high in Vitamin C, but many brands now are fortifying this sunshine in a glass with Vitamin D too. Check the label to make sure your favorite has this added bone-boosting benefit.
5. Crunch on some cereal.
Cereals are also big on fortifying with extra vitamins and nutrients, like fiber, iron, and yes, Vitamin D. Look for ones that are multi-grain and low in sugar. Snack on a bowl of fortified cereal with a splash of fortified milk, and you’ll be good to go.
If you are at risk for arthritis or osteoporosis, or feel like you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D in your diet, please contact us for an appointment to discuss supplements and other options. Vitamin D supplements should be monitored closely by your physician as there is such thing as taking too much of it in pill form.
(Courtesy of
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Keeping Kids Active During Summer

Now that school is out, the risk of kids sitting in front of the TV all summer or zoning out with tablets, phones and gaming devices are likely at an all-time high. and it can be harmful to their growing bodies. The CDC recommends that kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

At Texas Orthopedics, we strongly encourage people of all ages to adopt a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and physical activity all year long.

Here are six tips to help keep your kiddo active this summer:
  1. Register them for a recreational sports league. It could be continuing with a sport they played earlier in the year or trying something totally new.
  2. Have your child hit the gym with you, and check out what children's classes or activities they offer. 
  3. Start your own marathon club, similar to what schools do during the year. Run or walk together all summer to reach 26 miles, and reward them once they've crossed the finish line. 
  4.  Give them regular chores around the house or yard that will have them breaking a sweat... like sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, or mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.
  5. Hop in the pool. Swimming is a great whole-body workout. Encourage them to do a few laps in between games of Marco Polo.
  6. Combine physical activity with screen time. Search up popular kids' fitness or dance videos online to get them moving. Many of them have points or rewards systems if you log in for a certain number of continuous minutes at a time. 
Playing sports in the hot sun can be hard on your body, so make sure your child wears sunscreen, a hat, and light protective clothing, and also drinks plenty of water.

(Courtesy of Active.com

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High Fiber Diet Decreases Arthritis Risks

A high fiber diet has been linked to improved colon and rectal health, reduced cardiovascular disease, and a lower risk for diabetes. Now your morning bran muffin may help fend off certain types of arthritis as well, mainly arthritis of the knee.

Knee osteoarthritis is on the rise among the senior population, especially for those who are overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle. It can unfortunately be very painful and rob you of independence and mobility.

Two new studies published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases evaluated fiber intake and its connection to the disease. Among the more than 5,000 study participants, those who increased fiber in their diets, saw a marked decrease in arthritis risk - anywhere from 30 to 60 percent!

Why the decrease? Experts say fiber may reduce inflammation throughout the body - a primary cause of arthritis - and also control weight. Fiber helps to naturally eliminate waste and toxins which could potentially lead to the damaging inflammation.

The study found that most seniors - ages 65 years and older - do not get enough fiber, averaging only about 15 grams per day. The U.S. FDA recommends approximately 25 to 28 grams daily for adults.

Healthful fiber is found in many foods including fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and most varieties of beans and legumes.

If you feel that you are not getting enough fiber via your diet, talk with your physician about supplements.

For any knee pain that is persistent or severe, of if you have questions about your arthritis risk, please contact us for an appointment.

Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

Monday, June 5, 2017

Tips for Summer Running

Even the most dedicated and conditioned runners struggle under the sweltering summer sun in Central Texas. As temperatures rise to the highest all year, it's important to take a refresher on how to stay well - fresh- cool, and injury-free when going for a summer run.

1. Run when it's coolest. (Or run indoors!)
Head out in the early morning or later in the evening - as daylight hours are extending in summer- to avoid running in the direct sunlight. Or take advantage of your gym's indoor track and log your laps in the cool comfort of the A/C!

2. Hydrate ... before, during, and after.
Up your fluid intake for a few hours before a long run outside in the sun. A good guide is about eight ounces of water or a sports drink each hour before you run. The more hydrated you are before running, the more efficient your perspiration will be at cooling you down. Run with a handheld water bottle or small pouch to sip along your way, and definitely replenish afterwords with plenty of fluids.

3. Rethink your route.
If you are running during peak sunny hours - say during your lunch break, try to weave in and out of some shady areas and grassy terrain. Grass, or dirt, are cooler to run on than concrete or asphalt which retain heat and radiate it up through your body.

4. Wear your summer whites.
Dress in light colored layers to protect skin from the sun and reflect its rays (dark colors absorb the heat). Also opt for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics. Don't forget a hat and sunscreen - especially on often overlooked areas like ears and the back of your neck.

5. Don't overdo it.
If you ever feel in pain or distress, or have difficulty breathing while running, take a break immediately. Find a shaded bench or curbside to sit down and collect yourself. Walk slowly back to your starting point if you can, and call for help if needed.

Running in the heat can also make the body more vulnerable to injuries like sprains and strains, severe cramps, and tendonitis.

If you are experiencing any pain as a result of a running injury, please contacts us for an appointment.

(Adapted from Runner's World)

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Texas Orthopedics Welcomes Dr. Benjamin McArthur

Texas Orthopedics' recently-opened Kyle office has a new physician on staff. We are pleased to announce the addition of board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Benjamin McArthur. He joins Dr. J.P. Rodriguez, Dr. Ryan Tibbetts, Dr. David Laverty, and Dr. Joseph Martinez in our new Kyle location serving the needs of southern Austin's Hays County. Hays Count is currently the fastest growing county in Texas (U.S. Census Bureau).

Dr. McArthur comes to us from Washington, D.C. He is fellowship trained in adult joint reconstruction, and specializes in complex hip and knee replacements, revisions of prior replacement surgeries, and hip preservation in young patients.

Dr. McArthur is a frequent contributor to peer reviewed articles and medical journals, and presents regularly at national and international conferences.

He holds degrees from both Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. McArthur completed his orthopedic residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and also fulfilled a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in adult lower extremity reconstruction.

Texas Orthopedics' Kyle office now offers the following services: general orthopedics, fracture care, sports medicine, joint replacement, rheumatology, infusion therapy, physical therapy and onsite X-rays.

To schedule an appointment with our new joint specialist, Dr. McArthur, please contact us here.

Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Why you need to take a rest day

The time hardcore fitness buffs or gym goers spend in the gym may be cut down with summer around the corner.

If this strikes a chord with you and you think your body will suffer from a less intense training schedule, new research points to just the opposite. Your body actually needs rest and frequent, definitive breaks in training to benefit from the hard work you are putting in.

A recent study from Brock University in Canada looked at blood samples from 15 female Olympic rowers during their most intense workout weeks (averaging 18 hours a week of dedicated training) followed by samples taken on recovery days without rowing.

Here’s what they found:

Rowers showed lower levels of osteoprotegerin (OPG)—a protein that protects against bone loss—during heavy workout days.

They exhibited higher levels of sclerostin (SOST)—a protein that hinders new bone formation—during high-intensity training weeks.  

Rigorous training leads to inflammation throughout the body, which likely contributes to higher levels of SOST.

These results suggest that prolonged high-intensity training may cause bone damage over time. This could ultimately lead to decreased bone density and osteoporosis, broken bones and fractures, or other overuse injuries.

In addition, muscles are said to grow bigger and stronger if you factor rest days into your weight-bearing (such as weight-lifting) routine. As pressure mounts within a muscle during a workout, tiny tears occur in the tissues…and time is the best remedy for allowing these tears to heal and mend properly so that the muscle can recover and then function even stronger than before.

If weight-lifting is in your regular rotation, alternate the amount of reps you do each week between high, medium, and low volume, as well as varying the amounts of the weights themselves.  

Also, plan a few days to “deload” every four to eight weeks where you do nothing weight-bearing or of high-intensity for several days in a row. Instead opt for walking, light swimming, or a leisurely jog to stay active.

If you have chronic bone, muscle, or joint pain due to your heavy workouts, please contact us for an appointment.

 (Adapted from Men’s Health)

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