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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, October 26, 2015

Arthritis and Strength Training

Arthritis patients may not seem the most obvious candidates for adopting a strength-training or weightlifting regimen. But evidence shows that strength-training is highly beneficial to those suffering from osteoporosis and other forms of the disease.

Here's 4 reasons arthritis sufferers can benefit:
  1. Alleviate pain. A recent study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found that men with rheumatoid arthritis who strength-trained three times a week over eight weeks reported a 23 percent reduction in pain (in the knees).
  2. Improve range of motion. Patients who practiced resistance training three days a week for five weeks, with equipment such as a band or by using their own body weight, exhibited similar flexibility to those not affected by arthritis who performed regular stretching routines (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research).
  3. Build muscle. Strength-training builds up muscle, which burns calories. Burning calories helps to shed fat and maintain a healthy weight. Arthritis patients who are overweight often experience more painful and severe symptoms than others due to the excess pressure put on their already stressed joints.
  4. Increase bone density. Women are robbed of nearly 50% of their bone tissue at or around the time they reached menopause. Men follow closely behind losing bone mass at a rapid once they hit 65 or 70 (National Institutes of Health). Decreased bone mass, or density, is a leading cause of arthritis. Lifting weights on a regular basis slow down this bone density loss.
The stronger and leaner the body is, the better armed it is to fight against arthritis.
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(Courtesy Arthritis Foundation)

Rise in Jumping Parks Leads to More Trampoline Injuries

Over one million people visited urgent care centers or emergency rooms with trampoline-related injuries from 2002 to 2011 (Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics). The majority of these injuries occurred in small children.

With more and more commercial trampoline "parks" popping up, this number could continue to skyrocket.

Neck and spinal cord injuries are the most serious, and often suffered from a bad landing when attempting somersaults or flips. Other injuries include sprains and fractures to the lower extremities, with more than 60% affecting the ankle. Bumps, bruises, and minor cuts and scrapes are also common.

Many injuries result from too many people jumping close together, as they often end up bumping into each other. This can be especially hard to avoid if visiting a trampoline park during a busy weekend or special event packed with lots of kiddos.

Whether heading to one of these parks, or jumping on a home trampoline, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) urges extreme caution, especially for young children.

Here are a few safety tips:
  1. Make sure all visible equipment is in good working condition - no tears on the trampoline surface, and no exposed springs.
  2. Check that there are no toys or foreign objects anywhere on the trampoline.
  3. Supervise children at all times. Do no rely on the park's staff to monitor your child's safety.
  4. Do not allow kids to do somersaults or flips.
  5. Verify that the facility follows proper AAP and industry guidelines regarding trampoline use and maintenance.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dr. Bergin & Respect the Bra

The purpose of the "respect" series of blog is to remind my followers and patients of the many destructive forces out there which can result in the slow or acute decline of our musculoskeletal system. Of course, there are commonly seen, major forces, like doing squats and gaining a lot of weight. But, there are also many minor forces, injury-producing activities, which I see over and over in my practice. I don't see them as often as others, but I see them enough that I write them down on little pieces of note paper, along with the word "BLOG," in order to remind myself to write about them later.

Many of them are things in which, if you knew about them, or even considered them briefly, you might be able to make some simple changes before the damage is done. For example, check out my previous blog, Respect the Stairs.

So I'm starting with a really simple one: RESPECT THE BRA

It goes without saying that we need to wear bras. The first bra was a corset, and it was put on by someone else... from behind! So when bras evolved, they did so with the opening in the back. Why didn't someone early on consider an opening in the front? I wonder how many rotator cuffs that would have spared?

I often treat women complaining of the onset of shoulder pain whilst trying to fasten the hooks from behind. It's tricky. You have to have your wrists, elbows and shoulders all in good health to do it. And it is so ingrained into our physical memory that it sometimes takes a doctor saying, "Have you considered wearing a front opening bra or putting it on backwards and turning it around,?" before my patients realize that it's a viable, if not preferable, option.

So, why don't we start converting to front-opening bras? While we're slowly exchanging out our inventory, why don't we also start doing them in the front and turning them around? I promise it will save some of your shoulders.

And, about those sport bras... I have had many women ding their rotator cuffs or just strain their shoulders from trying to wrestle out of sweaty, tight fitting sport bras. Why do we do this to ourselves? There are many attractive and functional front clasping sport bras. Unless you're a dry, skinny person, you almost have to dislocate your shoulders to get out of them. I address this because I actually see women injure themselves getting out of sport bras. I'm not recommending this just to e mean...

Calling all bra companies! Heed my request to make more stylish, front-opening bras, and change our back-clasping bra culture!

To read more of Dr. Bergin's "respect" series, check out her blog.

Why Arthritis Sufferers Benefit From Flu Shots

Flu season is upon us, and while it's a good idea for everyone to get a flu shot, the Infections Diseases Society of America suggests that those with arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases, can particularly benefit from it.

Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lups, psoriatic arthritis, and other forms of arthritis, can weaken the immune system. The medications typically prescribed to treat these illnesses also suppress the immune system. This makes the sufferers vulnerable to the flu and pneumonia.

For these individuals, the CDC recommends both the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine. The ideal time to get vaccinated is in October when the first signs of the virus usually appear. The flu season typically starts in October and continue through to May of the following year.

Other precautions to avoid the flu include frequent hand washing, and steering clear of those already infected with it. Check with your physician about scheduling your flu shot today.

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

You CAN Work Out Your Ankles! 3 Injury-Preventing Exercises

Football players' injuries are regularly splashed across the sports pages at this time of year. Concussions, pulled hamstrings and torn ACL's are all pretty common. Recently, ankle injuries, such as fractures and sprains, have also made front page news.

Eddie Lacy, of the NFL's Green Bay Packers, and Malik Zaire, start quarterback of the University of Notre Dame, suffered serious season-ending ankle injuries. While there is no controlling what happens on the field, for a professional or recreational athlete, you can condition your ankles so that they are at their strongest to prevent an injury.

Strengthening ankle joints and surrounding tissues help to decrease the severity of an injury and also help prevent painful conditions such as shin splints and Achilles tendonitis.

Check out these exercises for stronger ankles:
  1. Use a resistance band by placing it around the top of the foot, then curl toes at the end of the movement. Complete three sets of 20 in each direction. 
  2. Perform simple calf raises, in both sitting and standing positions. Aim for three sets of 20. 
  3. Try plyometric drills with swift, jumping type movements and rapid recoveries, such as "scissor hops" and standing/jumping squats. Do each exercise 10 to 15 times. 
Learning how to balance well on your ankles keeps them strong and allows you to control your feet and body more effectively. Practice standing on one foot for several second, working up to one full minute, then switch, and repeat.

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

Thank You, Physician Assistants

Physician assistants work tirelessly on behalf of the physicians they assist as well as the patients whom they treat. Their role in our office is invaluable.

For this reason, Texas Orthopedics salutes our amazing physician assistants and all PA professionals during National PA Week October 6-12.

There are currently more than 100,000 certified PAs across the country, and it is considered one of the fastest-growing professions today (American Academy of Physician Assistants). Physician assistants are highly trained individuals able to prescribe medications and perform many of the same tasks as a regular doctor. They are instrumental in providing more patients high-quality, cost-effective medical care once only available from a doctor.

National Physician Assistants Week has grown from just a single day celebrated historically on October 6 since 1987 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first graduating class of PAs from the Duke University PA program. October 6 is also the birthday of the PA field's pioneer and founder, Dr. Eugene A. Stead, Jr.

We are fortunate to have such a great group of PAs supporting our patients.

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Texas Orthopedics Sponsors Run for the Water

Texas Orthopedics is excited to sponsor Run for the Water, one of Austin's largest and most popular charity-produced races. And many of our employees are going to put on their running shoes to participate in the 10 mile and 5K run. We are so pleased that we're able to contribute to such an important cause and fun local event!

Now in its ninth year, Run for the Water is produced and benefits the Gazelle Foundation, an Austin-based non-profit improving the lives of citizens of Burundi, Africa, through the building of water systems.

Learn more about Run for the Water and find out how you can participate.

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

Bike Injuries Jump Among Adults

In Austin, it's not uncommon to see cyclists whizzing past you on any given road at any given time of day. While biking is a great form of exercise, there are some risks associated with this popular pastime, especially for adults.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that injuries among adult cyclists have risen steadily since 1998, with the largest increase among adults over 45 years old.

Data was collected from 1998 to 2013 from approximately 100 emergency rooms nationwide via the National Electronic Injury Surveillance Systems. Highlights include: 
  • Bike injuries increased by 28% while hospitalizations from bike injuries increased 120%
  • The rate of hospitalizations among people over 45 grew from 39% to 65%
  • Cyclists' arms and legs were injured most often, with head injuries increasing from 10% to 16%
This rise in injuries is due to a few reasons: More cyclists on the road and more are traveling in urban areas, which tend to have traffic congestion and other road dangers.

Here are a few reminders to keep you safe, no matter what your age:
  • Ride with a partner or cycling group - there are safety in numbers.
  • Obey all traffic signals and weather warnings, and plan your travel route before hitting the road. 
  • Wear a properly fitting helmet and shoes, as well as reflective gear in the early morning or evening hours.   

    (Adapted from CNN.com

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