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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How a Foam Roller can Relieve Pain after Exercise

Did you happen to run the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon® over Valentine’s Day weekend? If you did, chances are some of you may be a little sore from the extra you put on your muscles. And even if you aren’t a marathon runner, any type of strenuous exercise can leave your body feeling tense. One of the best ways to stretch out your muscles after a workout is to use a foam roller. A foam roller is an inexpensive solution for improving your range of motion and flexibility while relieving pain and soreness.
Where to Use a Foam Roller
Using a foam roller is basically like giving yourself a deep tissue massage. You simply roll it across a muscle and apply pressure to target any knots or trigger points. Because your body weight is what creates the pressure, you can raise or lower yourself using your hands and feet to control the amount.
Texas Orthopedics’ physical therapist, Avery Rademacher was the guest speaker at Silicon Labs for a foam roller demonstration. She showed employees 8 different ways a foam roller can be used.
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Monday, February 24, 2014

4 Tips to Prevent On-The-Job Back Injuries

We see this over and over, patients coming in with excruciating back pain. Many times the culprit for these injuries is work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1 million workers suffer back injuries each year, and back injuries account for 1 of every 5 workplace injuries or illnesses.

They can occur in all types of workplace environments and can be aggravated by  things like sitting at your desk all day or standing for extended lengths of time.

4 tips to prevent back injuries.

1. Practice Proper Lifting Techniques

“Hey, can you help me move this box?” No doubt you’ve been asked this question at work. What you may not realize is that a simple task like this, when done improperly, can cause an injury. The number one rule for proper lifting—use your legs. If the box is on the ground, stand in a squat and lower yourself up and down. DO NOT bend over.

2. Invest in an Ergonomic Chair

You know those weird chairs that look like they belong on an alien spacecraft? Well, they actually have a purpose – to provide proper back support. Referred to as ergonomic chairs, these chairs are specifically designed to reduce fatigue and discomfort – both of which can lead to back injuries.

3. Take a Break and Get Some Exercise

Repetitive motion tasks (doing the same thing over and over) are common ways to injure your back. To prevent back injury or strain, break the routine and take a break with some exercise. This can be as simple as walking around the building or some light stretching in your office.

4. Get Help at the First Sign of Pain!

It’s not uncommon for people to brush off pain or delay going to the doctor. Ignoring the injury might aggravate the injury causing a more sever injury and likely worse pain or more invasive treatment. Taking care of your health often means being proactive. Not sure about your injury? Contact one of our Physical Medicine & Rehab (PMR) specialists.

Hopefully, these tips will help you stay safe and prevent an on the job back injury.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Treating Your Shin Splints

Austin Fit magazine recently interview Dr. John McDonald to learn more about shin splints (Managing Your Shin Splints). An excerpt of the article is below.

Runners (and other athletes participating in sports that involve running) often suffer from pain along the shinbone anywhere between the ankle and knee, a condition commonly known as shin splints.

While rest, icing, and anti-inflammatories are some of the treatments often recommended, many opt for self-massage of the area to help with the pain they’re feeling.

That’s where a body roller such as the Original Worm comes in—this roller works to provide trigger point release by simultaneously massaging the anterior, medial, and lateral shin while comfortably hugging the tibia.

Click here to read more about how to use a roller to relieve and treat shin splints.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Run, Austin, Run

Austin loves running and that’s why we show up in droves every year to the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon.

In fact, nearly 5,000 marathon runners and just over 11,000 half marathoners registered to cross the finish line at 10th and Congress Avenue this past Sunday.

We couldn't be prouder of Avery Rademacher, PT and the rest of our Texas Orthopedics fitness phenoms for a race well done. Congrats!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Most Commonly Injured Body Part By NFL Players Is…

With all of the news around concussions, you might have thought that the head was the most commonly injured body part for NFL football players. While it is injured a lot, last year football players suffered far more knee injuries than any other body part accounting for 22% of all 1,300 reported injuries.
In all, lower-body injuries (ankle, knee, upper leg, foot, etc.) made up 63% of total injuries, while head injuries accounted for just 7%.
The Wall Street Journal illustrated this in a cool infographic.
We’re not surprised. The legs are part of all movements on the football field—running, blocking, jumping, bending, tackling, getting ready for a pass—so they are at risk every second a player is on the field. Not to mention, breaks, twists, tears and jams can easily happen when two bodies are colliding.
While most of us are not headed to the NFL, we (or our children) may be playing during the year. Don’t get sidelined…check out the AAOS football injury prevention tips before gearing up.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Respect the Stairs

Written by Barbara Bergin, MD

I noticed today was National Umbrella Day. No offense to the celebrated umbrella. I mean it does serve an important function: less so now, in the day of the garage, garage door opener and the covered parking garage. It was raining today. I didn't get a drop on me, and I didn't have an umbrella! But it reminded me of something which is just begging for a day of celebration: the lowly but dangerous staircase. 

Now I'm not asking for a National Staircase Day. But if the umbrella can be celebrated, we could certainly celebrate the staircase, for how else could we have gotten from the first to any other floor if not for those ancient architectural marvels? Would we be schlepping up ramps or swinging from pulleys had not stairs been invented? So let's do take a moment to give thanks for their creation.

But then let's remind ourselves of all the damage they cause us, because we sustain countless numbers of deaths and injuries on them. Every six minutes a child falls down the stairs, resulting in an amazing 100,000 stair related injuries every year in children! Stairs are responsible for about a million injuries a year for all comers. I'm asking for a National Respect the Staircase Day.

That's right. Let's have a national day of attention to the dangers of the staircase. And let's use it to remind us about prevention because every one of those injuries is totally preventable! And these aren't just sprains and strains. I see hip fractures, wrist fractures, spine fractures and associated head injuries! I don't see all the people who die. But they do! About 1,000 per year. 

So here's the simple scoop. When you get to the top of the stairs, stop, look ... and grab. If it's dark, then turn on a light! If you have stuff in your hands, transfer them to one hand so you can hold on to the banister. Most injuries on the stairs are related to not holding on to the banister. It's just that simple! If you have too much to hold in one hand, then take two trips or leave some for the next trip down. 

Interestingly, I rarely see anyone who falls all the way down the stairs. I think that's because at the top of the stairs your subconscious goes, "OOOooo, scary. Be careful." But about halfway down it becomes complacent. And it's somewhere between the last half dozen stairs and the last one (which often is not there) where you take the plunge. Pay attention to EVERY SINGLE STEP until you reach the bottom. 

STOP...LOOK...and GRAB! Let's start now. And let's make February 11 National Respect the Stair Day from now on. I like the 11th because in a marketing campaign the two ones could be made to look like a couple of stairs and a banister. To whom can I write about this? 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Running in Chilly Temps? 5 Tips for Cold Weather Marathon Training

Two snow days in Austin, Texas in less than a week and newfound knowledge of the meaning of ‘Polar Vortex’, it’s no secret that winter is in the air. And it’s a cold one! It also happens to be marathon season. With the Austin Marathon fast-approaching, active Austinites are in the throes of their training regimes preparing for the largest organized run in Central Texas.

While dealing with heat certainly presents difficulties for runners, winter training comes with its own set of challenges Here are some tips on how to successfully train for your run during these frigid (and unpredictable!) winter months. 

Functional gear: Lightweight and breathable running jacket, a long-sleeved shirt, tights, a hat and gloves. Lightweight gloves and a skullcap can be pulled off and stuffed into the pockets of your outer layer. The outer layer should be windproof and have zippers in the armpits for ventilation.

Don’t overdress. The biggest mistake Texans make in cold weather is wearing too much. If you feel comfortable when you step outside and in the first few minutes of a cold weather run, chances are you’re overdressed. You will heat up so much during a run (especially a long one) that if you have worn too much, you will roast.

Take Extra Time To Warm Up: Your body will warm up more slowly in cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Take at least five minutes to walk briskly before you start to run. It may take 10 to 15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo. Take a hot shower to pre-warm your muscles or put your clothes in the dryer on hot for a few minutes then head out for your run.

Hydrate: It is just as important to drink fluids in your winter runs as it is in the summer. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your runs to avoid dehydration. Use warm fluids in your water bottle or tuck it under your jacket.

Post run. Your clothes will likely be wet at the end of your run due to the elements and/or sweat, so you should have dry, warm clothes to change into immediately after finishing. You can certainly wear too much on a long, cold run, but you can’t wear too much after.

Happy trails!



Friday, February 7, 2014

TX Ortho in Men’s Health: Health Effects of Extreme Cold

While the recent snow, sleet and ice in Central Texas might bring back memories of horrible traffic and dangerous roads there are other health effects of extreme cold.

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Scott Smith, spoke to Men’s Health magazine about how to stay safe in freezing temps. Here’s an excerpt:

YOU’RE MORE INJURY-PRONE. Frostbite isn’t the only danger of cold-weather workouts. Constricted blood vessels do a poor job of shuttling blood to your muscles and tendons, meaning they stay cold and inflexible for far longer. As a result, your risk for sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries rises as the mercury drops, says Scott Smith, M.D., orthopedic surgeon for Texas Orthopedics in Austin.

DO THIS: If you just can’t bear the treadmill, lengthen the amount of time you warm up before pushing yourself hard, Dr. Smith advises. Do dynamic moves, like side-shuffles and slow jogging, until you’ve broken a light sweat.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Expert Response on Recent Placebo Study

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a Finnish study that found arthroscopic surgery for degenerative meniscal cartilage tears in the knee produced a similar result as a sham (fake) surgery.

With nearly 700,000 of these surgeries conducted each year in the U.S., what does this mean for patients?

Dr. Randall Schultz, orthopedic surgeon at Texas Orthopedics, says that while the study is extremely enlightening, it doesn’t entirely surprise him. And more studies need to be done before arriving to any conclusions. “Additional research still needs to be done to change recommendations across the board,” said Schultz. For instance, he says the study didn’t specify the types of degenerative tears present—important information for treatment recommendations.

“We’ve known for a long time that surgery isn’t needed for all degenerative tears,” Schultz remarked. He explained that many patients benefit from more conservative (non-surgical approaches) before going under the knife, something he practices with his patients.  “Generally we attempt weeks if not months of conservative management prescribing physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, activity modification and steroid injections before considering surgery.”

However, Schultz also says that there are instances when surgery is probably needed sooner – particularly if there is a mechanical abnormality interfering with the motion of the knee.

Another reason Schultz believes patients ask for surgery is because of a general misunderstanding of how meniscal tears are caused. “Many people think that it happens because of something they did and that a surgery will make it better. This is true in the younger population (under 30), but these particular tears are more of a cumulative wear and tear issue…something that occurs over time,” described Schultz. “What this study highlights is the natural progression of these tears may be to get better in similar fashion as surgery. ”

 ‘The power of placebo’ is interesting and future studies investigating their effect shouldn’t be ignored. “We are in an era where you have to practice evidence based medicine. It’s what’s best for the patient,” said Schultz.

A meniscus is a C-shaped pad of cartilage that cushions the knee joint. For a meniscal repair surgery, orthopedic surgeons use a camera and tiny instruments inserted through small incisions around the knee to shave away damaged tissue. The process is called arthroscopy which is a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

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