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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Overuse Injuries in Children- Part One

Post provided by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

In recent years, doctors have begun to see a significant increase in overuse injuries in children. In most cases, these injuries are associated with sports-related activity.

Overuse injuries occur gradually over time, when an athletic activity is repeated so often, areas of the body do not have enough time to heal between playing. For example, overhand pitching in baseball can be associated with injuries to the elbow, and swimming is often associated with injuries to the shoulder.

Because young athletes are still growing, they are at a greater risk for injury than adults. The consequences of overdoing a sport can include injuries that impair growth, and may lead to long-term health problems.

When a young athlete repeatedly complains of pain, a period of rest from the sport is necessary. If pain persists, it is important to seek proper medical treatment. To ensure the best possible recovery, athletes, coaches, and parents must follow safe guidelines for returning to the game.

What is an overuse injury?

Overuse injuries occur in a wide range of sports. The most common overuse injuries involve the knee and foot.

Overuse injuries can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and growth plates. In children, these structures are still growing, and the growth is generally uneven. Bones grow first, which pulls at tight muscles and tendons. This uneven growth pattern makes younger athletes more susceptible to muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries.

Growth plates are the areas of developing cartilage where bone growth occurs in children. The growth plates are weaker than the nearby ligaments and tendons. Repetitive stress can lead to injury of the growth plate and disrupt the normal growth of the bone.

What causes an overuse injury?

As organized youth athletics has grown in popularity, the pressure to compete has led to children specializing in one sport only. In generations past, children changed sports with the seasons throughout the year, but today it is common for a child to play just one sport year-round. Many children play on more than one team at the same time, as well.

When a child participates in just one sport throughout the year, he or she continually uses the same muscle groups and applies unchanging stress to specific areas of the body. This can lead to muscle imbalances that, when combined with overtraining and inadequate periods of rest, put children at serious risk for overuse injuries.

What are the symptoms of an overuse injury?

Coaches and parents should be aware of the more common signs of overuse injury. These include:

  • Pain. This pain cannot be tied to an acute injury, such as from a fall. The pain often increases with activity
  • Swelling
  • Changes in form or technique
  • Decreased interest in practice

How to prevent an overuse injury?

Many overuse injuries in children can be prevented. Key to prevention is to avoid overdoing any single sport, and to give growing bodies adequate rest between practices or games.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has partnered with STOP Sports Injuries to help educate parents, coaches, and athletes about how to prevent overuse injuries. Specific tips to prevent overuse injuries include:

  • Limit the number of teams in which your child is playing in one season. Kids who play on more than one team are especially at risk for overuse injuries.
  • Do not allow your child to play one sport year round. Taking regular breaks and playing other sports is essential to skill development and injury prevention.
Look for part two of this post, Common Overuse Injuries, on Monday!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Doctor of the Week!

Dr. Peter Garcia is our Doctor of the Week! He has more than 25 years experience practicing general orthopedics and is fluent in Spanish. Dr. Garcia is married and the father of four daughters. He enjoys running, playing tennis, getaway weekends, watching movies, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

Learn more about Dr. Garcia!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

5 Steps to Loving Exercise... Or at Least Not Hating It!

Post provided by the American Heart Association

80 percent of Americans don't make exercise a regular habit. Here are some tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life - and maybe even learn to like it.

  • Find an exercise that suits you and best fits your personality.
  • Make it a habit. It takes about three weeks for someting to become a habit, so give yourself the time to create a regular routine.
  • Build exercise into your lifestyle. The key is building activity into your lifestyle so it is not disruptive.
  • Do bouts of exercise. It's ok to break up your physical activity into smaller segments. The American Heart Association recomments 30 minutes of exercise a day. Try three 10 minute workout sessions.
  • Keep going. If you miss a day or a workout, don't worry about it. Just make sure you get back at it the next day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Doctor of the Week!

Our founding physician, Dr. Barbara Bergin, leads off our Doctor of the Week series. Each week we will post information about one of our physicians so you, the patient, can get to know them a little better! In addition to being an experienced equestrienne and award winning author, Dr. Bergin has a blog of her own. Visit her blog today!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This Years Resolution: Keep Yourself in the Game

Post provided by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

With millions of Americans embarking on New Year's fitness regiments, how do you get and stay in shape without risking an ACL or other injury of the knee?
The knee has four main ligaments, including the ACL, which connect the femur (upper leg bone) to the tibia (lower leg bone). While the ACL can rupture or tear due to a direct blow to the knee, more than 70 percent of these injuries do not involve contact at all, and can occur from a simple misstep. Often these injuries happen when the athlete lands in a flat-footed position, sometimes when decelerating too quickly, while the knee is straight. Women, who have unique knee characteristics, are three times more likely to suffer an ACL injury.
Several specific training programs are recommended for reducing ACL and ligament injury risk. They include:
  • Plyometric training, which focuses on rapid, powerful movements that lengthen, and then shorten, certain muscles.
  • Balance training, which typically involves the use of wobble or balance boards, or throwing and catching a ball while standing on one leg.
  • Strength and stability training focuses on the appropriate way to land from a jump, and how the body should react to a sudden change in speed or direction. These exercises, which may include jumping and landing on one leg with the knee flexed and then momentarily holding that position, are designed to strengthen the muscles that affect the ACL, such as the core, gluteal, quadriceps and hamstring muscles.
ACL injury prevention tips include:
  • Practice landing and changing direction safely. Always keep your knees directly over your feet when jumping, landing, stopping or moving quickly. Practice jumping and landing safely and softly with your knees bent, your chest pushed forward and your buttocks pushed back.
  • Strengthening muscles. Strengthening your hip and thigh muscle can improve knee support and prevent ligament injuries. Exercises to build hip and thigh muscles include squats and lunges or the use of rubber band-type equipment.
  • Warming up and stretching before exercising. Warm up to prepare to exercise, even before stretching. Run in place for a few minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, or gently rehearse the motions of the exercise to follow. Warming up increases your heart and blood flow rates and loosens up other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Begin stretches slowly and carefully until reaching a point of muscle tension. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly and carefully release it. Do each stretch only once. Never stretch to the point of pain, always maintain control, and never bounce on a muscle that is fully stretched.
  • Using proper equipment. Replace your athletic shoes as they wear out.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Austin Monthly Top Doctors

Congratulations to our doctors included in the 2013 Austin Monthly Top Doctors list!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Physical therapy, Not a Knee Brace, Aids in ACL Recovery

Post provided by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery
In a new literature review recently published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, a team of orthopaedic surgeons reviewed 29 studies regarding treatment following reconstructive ACL surgery. They found that physical therapy, begun shorting after surgery, can bring about very good outcomes for patients. Bracing, though, did not seem to improve results.
"The most important thing for ACL surgery patients is to start physical therapy early and rigorously," says Rick W. Wright, MD, professor and co-chief of the sports medicine department at the Washington University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. "It can be difficult at first, but it's worth it in terms of returning to sports and other activities."

Therapy usually focuses on improving patients strength, range of motion, and function.