Call Today: (877) 966-7846 | (512) 439-1000
Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, February 29, 2016

Crazy Youth Sports

From the over-trained and burnt out little kids, to the disillusioned college students thinking they'll go pro, and all the uber-competitive parents and coaches in between, something has gone awry in youth sports these days.

Results were recently released from the NCAA 's 2015 GOALS (Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Learning of Students in College) Study of the Student-Athlete Experience. This was the first time the survey included questions about youth sports. Here are some highlights:
  • College athletes reported specializing in their specific sports before they reached their teen years, and many said they regretted doing so this early.
  • The athletes revealed they thought they played in too many games at too young an age.
  • Approximately half, or more than half, of Division I male athletes in soccer, tennis, hockey, and basketball specialized in that sport by age 12.
  • Similarly, more than half of female Division I athletes polled already specialized in gymnastics, tennis, soccer, basketball, swimming, hockey, and softball at the same age.
When kids focus on one single sport too early, they are likely to suffer from overuse injuries, or other injuries such as broken bones, fractures, sprains and strains. Young bodies that are still growing and developing must be given time to adjust to new physical activities and heal properly.

Playing a single sport also limits a child's ability to pick up ancillary skills from other sports that may contribute to them being better competitors and more well-rounded athletes.

A great deal of pressure put on kids to perform at a high level at a very early age comes from parents. Parents' desires to send their child off to university that excels in a certain sport, and even have college paid for via an athletic scholarship, are enormous.

Many students even admitted that their parents had grander expectations of expecting them to eventually go pro. In reality, only a very small percentage of gifted and talented athletes in any sport ever make it to the elite professional level.

(Adapted from The Washington Post)

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

Winter Sports Safety Tips

With Spring Break not too far off, many Central Texans are finalizing their plans for ski trips to places out west or up north.

As exhilarating as skiing is swooshing down the mountain with the icy wind at your back, it is also one of the most dangerous winter sports there is.

In 2014, the U.S. Consumer Produce Safety Commision reported that nearly 115,000 injuries treated in hospitals, doctor's offices, and emergency rooms were skiing-related. Another 125,000 injuries were attributed to other winter sports such as sledding and ice skating.

The AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) offers the following safety tips if you're hitting the slopes this season:
  • Always ski with a partner, and inform someone else off the slopes of your whereabouts and expected time of return. Also make sure to have a cell phone with you in the event of an emergency.
  • Check weather conditions frequently, and take warnings seriously with regard to blizzard-like or icy conditions, low visibility, and severely cold temperatures.
  • Dress warmly but comfortably in several layers of light, loos, and water-and wind-resistant clothing. Also ensure that your equipment fits properly and is in good working order...helmets, goggles, boots, and bindings. And don't forget to slather on the sunscreen.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water while out on the trails. The high altitudes and intense physical exertion can lead to dehydration pretty quickly if you are not careful.
  • Remember to stretch a bit and warm up, just as you would with any other sport, before your first ski run of the day.
Collisions with fellow skiers are one of the biggest causes of ski injuries, so make sure to watch out for others in your path and be prepared to stop at any time. This holds true for sledding and ice skating as well.

(Courtesy of AAOS)

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Common Bike Injuries

Cycling is a pretty popular pastime in Austin. Whether you ride the city's streets, rolling hills, or many nature trails, safety should be your number one priority. Still, no matter how cautious you are, bike injuries and accidents happen.

Here is a rundown of some common cycling injuries, and how to avoid them:

1. Achilles or patellar tendonitis are overuse injuries caused by inflammation to tendons in the lower leg and knee areas.
  • Rest for a few days at the initial onset of pain to avoid further damage.
  • Later, vary your pedal cadence, and adjust your seat height.

2. The clavicle (collarbone) and scaphoid (bone on the thumb side of the hand) are the most commonly broken/fractured bones following a crash. 
  • Hold onto your handlebars as you start to fall, allowing the bike frame and your body as a whole to absorb the force of the impact.

3. Saddle sores are skin sores brought on by long hours in your bike seat.
  • Use a chamois cloth on the seat, or a lubricating cream on your skin, to help ease the discomfort of rubbing against the saddle.

4. Lower back pain is often due to a poor bike fit or too many hours spent cycling. 
  • Make sure your bike properly fits your body's size and alignment.
  • Build in rest days between long rides to let your body heal.
  • Add core-strengthening exercises during training to help support/balance pressure put on the lower back. 

5. Neck pain comes from holding the weight of the head in an extended position for long periods of time. 
  • Shortening the bike's stem and moving the seat forward to hold your in a more upright position can help lighten your head's load on the neck. 
If your bike injuries are not easily treated with rest, ice/heat therapy, or over-the-counter pain medication, make an appointment with your orthopedist. 

(Adapted from

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

February is Heart Health Month

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but the heart-shaped balloons and candy still linger... as does American Heart Month all throughout February dedicated to raising awareness about heart health issues.

One in four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease each year. And heat disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, surpassing even cancer, according to the American Heart Association.

With the exception of genetically predisposed heart conditions, heart disease is largely preventable simply by making healthy life choices, especially in terms of diet and exercise. The more you do to maintain healthy levels related to blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, stress, and diabetes, the less susceptible you are to heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Quitting smoking also goes a long way in preserving heart health. For every day that you quit smoking for good, you could be adding years to your life.

Knowing the warning signs of imminent heart attack or stroke is important also. In the event you or someone you know is suffering from either, swift medical attention can boost survival rates exponentially. Here's what signs to look for:

Heart Attack:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other parts of the body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea or lightheadedness

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
Cardiac Arrest: 

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness
  • Irregular breathing

If you or someone you are with is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

(Courtesy of the American Heart Association)

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dr. Mukai on Underage Back Problems

A recent study revealed that one in three adolescents experience back pain. That is pretty startling, considering back pain is one of those troublesome ailments thought to exclusively affect middle-aged or seniors. The findings, published in the Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, suggest that too much training in a single sports, or playing multiple sports in the same season, may be to blame.

Texas Orthopedics' Dr. Ai Mukai recently discussed this in an interview with FOX-7's Good Day Austin.

Many kids focus intensely on one sport at a young age, and that can lead to overuse or overtraining issues, especially as their muscles and bones are still developing. Additionally, kids who jump from one sport to the next, without a break, are also at risk for back pain, and other injuries, as they are not allowing their body sufficient rest and recovery.

Additionally, the study also found that adolescents who are not active enough, and perhaps too engaged in screen time, are reporting back pain as well. Poor posture often adopted when hunched over smart phone, tablet, or gaming device is equally damaging to the spine and lower back muscles.

Things that may help alleviate back pain in your adolescent include:
  • anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
  • proper rest following a strenuous sporting, or other physical activity
  • adequate stretching or warm-up exercises before sports
  • adjusting posture, and engaging core muscles, as much as possible 
If your child's back pain is sever and persistent, sends shooting pains down a leg, or causes any numbness, they should get checked out by a doctor immediately.

Your physician or orthopedist may recommend an MRI or X-Ray to pinpoint the source of the pain and help best determine treatment.

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

Monday, February 15, 2016

Common Yoga Injuries

A yoga injury? Really? Doesn't seem possible. The very practice of gently stretching and holding poses is meant to relax the body and calm the mind. It is a great treatment for a number of medical conditions, including arthritis and osteoporosis. But just as with any sport or physical activity, if you have improper form or your intensity is, well, too intense, you may be at risk for injury.

Here are a few common yoga injuries to watch out for as you hit the mat (and how to avoid them):

  1. Pulled hamstrings: the hamstring muscle located at the back of the thighbone (or femur) can stretch or tear if you force yourself too far forward, and too quickly, in a pose with straight or locked legs.

    Prevention tip: don't use your hands to pull or walk yourself deeper into a fold or pose, and relax your legs/release the tension every few seconds while in a straight-legged pose

  2. Wrist pain: wrists are usually overworked in general from daily tasks like typing, writing, and driving... so using them to support your whole body weight in a yoga pose causes additional strain.

    Prevention tip: with downward dog, plank pose, or arm balances, concentrate on alignment, and line your wrists up with the front edge of your mat, get a good spread of your fingers, and center your body weight evenly over your wrists

  3. Low back pain: pressure put on your back from rounding the spine too deeply into forward folds can cause irritation

    Prevention tip: lengthen your spine as much as possible in forward folds and if seated folds are too difficult, sit on a block or blanket for extra support
Finally, with yoga, remember that no two bodies will look the same even with the exact same pose. Try not to compare yourself to your neighbor on the mat next door in terms of how far you go into a pose or how long you hold it. Do what feels comfortable for your body, and know your limits.

If you experience any pain that is severe or persistent as a result of yoga, make an appointment with your doctor.

(Adapted from Shape)

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Last-Minute Marathon Training Tips

We have several Texas Orthopedics patients, past and present, who compete in the Austin Marathon each year. This year's race is just a few days away (February 14th), and whether it's your first, or twentieth, training for and completing a marathon is a huge accomplishment.

Although the intensity our training has likely tapered down by now, here are five final tips to help get you across the finish line:
  1. No new gear.

    Race day is not the time to try out new shoes, socks, or fashionable leggings. Wear the shoes and clothes that are most comfortable and that you have already been training in so there is no unexpected tightness or chafing.

  2.  Stick to your regular food.

    There should also be nothing new introduced into your diet in those days leading up to the marathon. Make sure you are consuming enough calories and a balanced combination of carbs, fats, and proteins in your pre-race meals. Stick with foods you know that your body tolerates well. And plan your race snacks ahead of time to either carry with you or plant with your supporters along the way.

  3. Arrive early.

    Give yourself plenty of time to prepare before you take your mark. You'll want to arrive early enough at the start location to be able to stow your belongings, use the restroom, tighten your laces, and either Zen out, or rock out, for a few minutes to your favorite tunes before you are on your way.

  4. Make a mantra.

    Create a positive sentiment to replay in your head throughout the race. Run strong. Or, you can do it... whatever motivates you. Reciting this a few days before you run, and sharing it with your supporters who can reinforce it along the route, will give you a mental edge.

  5. Plan your post-race activities.

    Don't leave it until the moment you cross the finish line to discuss with your friends and family where you want to eat. You will be exhausted and likely have a difficult time making decisions at this point. Pick out a favorite restaurant, or meal, for your celebration and make plans ahead of time. If you know you just want to get back home to relax or have a massage later that day, plan for that too.
 You might also make sure you have someone to drive you home following the marathon, as your legs will be weak. And if you feel that you have suffered any injuries while running, make sure to get medical attention right away.

Good luck from Texas Orthopedics!

(Adapted from

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

Monday, February 8, 2016

Common Football Injuries

After all the excitement of yesterday's Super Bowl, we thought it was important to shed light on some of the most common injuries football players experience. Unfortunately, no matter how much preparation these world-class athletes put in off the field, injuries do happen on the field.

The high speed rushing combined with full body contact makes for a perfect storm in which an injury can occur.

Concussions continue to be the most traumatic injury a football player can suffer. The NFL recently reported that players sustained 271 concussions in 2015, up 32 percent from previous year.

Other common injuries include:

Keep in mind these injuries are not just exclusive to the pros. If you, or your child, are playing a form of "Winter or Spring ball," or even flag football, make sure to train safely and smartly, rest as needed, and see a doctor immediately if you've been hurt.

(Adapted from STOP Sports Injuries)

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Texas Orthopedics Celebrates National Women Physician Day

In honor of today's National Women Physician Day, we'd like to give a big shout out to our co-founder, Dr. Barbara Bergin, and board-certified physiatrist, Dr. Ai Mukai. They are both extraordinary women who have boldly entered, and proven highly successful in, the predominately male practice of orthopedics.

Dr. Bergin treats all types of bone and joint conditions. She is board certified with the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and a fellow at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. She is passionate about educating her patients every step of the way whether it be for a surgery or rehabilitation program following an orthopedic injury.

Dr. Mukai's specialty is the non-surgical evaluation and management of neck and back pain, and pinched nerves. She is board certified with the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and is a fellow in Pain Medicine, at the University of California Los Angeles.

National Women Physician Day is celebrated on February 3 to honor the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the United States to earn a medical degree (in 1849).

Join us today in saluting all women physicians by using hashtags #NWPD and #IAmBlackwell.

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

5 Ways to Prevent Falls

Help! I've fallen, and I can't get up! Those are words you never want to hear from a loved one. Whwile falls can happen to people of all ages, it is especially hard to recover from a fall as you get older.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in adults, ages 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Common injuries from falls include head injuries, dislocated shoulders, sprained ankles, and fractures to the arm, spine, pelvis, and hip.

Unfortunately, studies show that the majority of falls resulting in injury could actually have been prevented. Here are five tips to minimize falling:

1. Check your health.

Commit to an annual physical and eye exam, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Alcohol abuse and smoking can lead to high blood pressure and heart conditions which may cause bouts of dizziness or fainting.

2. Understand your medications.

Discuss with your doctor possible side effects of any over-the-counter or prescription medications you take. Make sure to always use caution if something mentions fatigue or dizziness. And remember to take medications on schedule and with a full glass of water or food, as directed.

3. Exercise regularly.

Walking, hiking, bike riding, dancing, weight training, and even yoga, are all great forms of exerciise that build bone strength and stave off osteoporosis - a condition causing bones to weaken and become brittle. Brittle bones are more susceptible to breaks and fractures should you take a tumble.

4. Go shoe shopping.

Wearing properly-fitting shoes can go a long way to prevent falls. Have your shoes professionally size/fitted, and make sure you are capable of tying and/or putting them on yourself. Consider Velcro fasteners if that is an easier option, and look for shoes with non-skid soles.

5. Tidy up your house.

Keep doorways, hallways, stairs, and routes between bedrooms and bathrooms well-lit and free of clutter. Make sure electrical cords are clear of pathways, and area rugs are secured to the floor with double-sided tape or slip-resistant padding. Also be sure to clean up spills or puddles immediately in the kitchen and bathrooms. Finally, organize commonly used items in lower cabinets/shelves so that they are within easy reach.

Courtesy of AAOS, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

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