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Monday, September 25, 2017

Turf Toe

“Turf toe” is not a term you might be familiar with, but if you (or your kiddo) spend time on the gridiron this fall, you may become closely acquainted with the symptoms.
We treat a fair amount of turf toe here at Texas Orthopedics this time of year.
Turf toe is a sprain of the main joint (metatarsophalangeal joint or MTP joint) of the big toe. It’s typically the result of the forefoot grinding against the ground (or turf) while the heel is raised, forcing the toe into a hyperextension (or an unnaturally bent position).
This injury mostly occurs in football where artificial turf is used because it’s a much harder surface than natural grass. But it can also happen from playing other field sports such as soccer, lacrosse- and even basketball.  
Common symptoms include:
  • Pain and tenderness of the big toe or on the ball of foot
  • Swelling or bruising of the toe
  • Inability to bear weight on or push off with the toe
  • Limited movement and range of motion of the toe
In most cases, the injury is effectively treated with the RICE protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help alleviate pain.
Sufficient rest and not rushing back to play are key to healing turf toe. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged joint and surrounding ligaments.
If you are suffering symptoms of turf toe and would like to make an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists, please contact us here.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

Common Core

The secret to sleek, sculpted arms and taught, toned thighs could very well lie in your…core.
Fitness and medical experts agree that a strong core provides you the foundation to effectively spot train all other parts of your body while also protecting you from many common aches/pains (like lower back and hip pain) and injuries. Surprising, a weak core could result in broken bones or fractures because of poor balance. It could also result in sprains and strains from extremities having to work too hard.
But to properly strengthen the core, you must first understand where it lies.
Most people commonly associate the core with just the basic abdominal muscles to the front of your torso. In reality, it’s so much more. Your core is shaped like a box or cube extending from the front abs and diaphragm to the lower back muscles then down to your glutes, pelvic floor, and hip muscles.
Many athletic trainers and physical therapists start with core exercises when designing workouts. Once the core is warmed up, proper movement and form can then naturally flow through your other limbs and out to the extremities.  
A good core workout will also engage not only your abs, but your back muscles and hips as well.
Great exercises for a strong core include:
  • Yoga plank position: holding yourself up face down and balancing steady on your forearms and raised toes
  • Reverse crunches: lying on your back, bend your knees and pull up towards your chest and then extend them high up into the air while lifting hips and buttocks off the floor
  • McGill curl up: lie flat on your back with one knee bent up and one leg flat, then slowly raise just your head and shoulders above the ground, hold for a few seconds, then release
  • Bridge: lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then slowly raise hips upwards, hold, and gradually lower down
  • “Bird dog” exercise: start on the ground on all fours and then slowly extend the right arm out straight along with the left leg behind you, steady, and hold your balance for several seconds, then lower back to all fours and repeat with the alternating side
If you have concerns about a weak core, or persistent back or hip pain as a result, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists or physical therapists.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

(Adapted from Healthline)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tai Chi to Prevent Falls

Every 11 seconds an older adult (over the age of 65) is treated in the ER for a fall. Sadly, every 19 minutes someone in that same demographic dies according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The country’s tenth annual Fall Prevention Awareness Day is this week on September 22, organized by the National Council on Aging.

While many falls are truly unavoidable, many more can actually be prevented.

By having strong bones, and healthy, flexible joints, your body will be better equipped to deal with the consequences of a serious fall. Typical injuries resulting from a fall include broken bones and fractures, sprains/strains, and concussions.

One way to help strengthen the body and improve balance (to help you from toppling over in the first place!) is tai chi.

Tai chi is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts that uses graceful movements to center both the mind and the body’s core.

A recent study in The Journal of the American Geriatric Society showed that tai chi reduced the rate of falls in participants who practiced it for less than a year by up to 43 percent.

Tai chi, and any exercise that involves gentle stretching and light movement, can also improve cardiovascular health and combat joint inflammation.

Personalized physical therapy can also to help you feel more sure and confident on your feet, while giving you the skills to bounce back quicker when faced with an injury. To make an appointment with one of our physical therapy specialists, please contact us here.

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

Healthy Bones Now, Healthy Bones Later

Milk sure does a body good. Especially a growing body. It packs calcium, Vitamin D, and tons of other nutrients essential for healthy bones.

But is milk during the early years enough to ensure strong bones through adolescence and into adulthood?
Skeletal development isn’t truly complete until your 20s, so it’s important to nourish bones well beyond the young childhood years.
Scientific research continues to show that the healthier you are early in life, the better off you’ll be later on. Building strong bones when you’re young can help prevent serious issues as you age, like osteoporosis—a severe weakening of the bones – which can lead to painful breaks and fractures.
While milk and other dairy products are the obvious choice for building bones, many children today have food sensitivities, like dairy intolerance.
So, it’s important to find other ways to incorporate calcium and Vitamin D into diets during the growing childhood and teenage years. Other excellent sources include:
  • Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fortified whole grains like cereal
  • Homemade bone broth
  • Oily/fatty fishes such as salmon and sardines
The NIH (National Institutes of Health) recommends daily calcium intakes for children as follows:
  • One to three years: 700 mg
  • Four to eight years: 1,000 mg
  • Nine to eighteen years: 1,300 mg
Calcium supplements are generally not advised for kids due to their typically high sugar content. If you have questions about calcium intake for your child or teen, or have concerns about their bone health, please contact us for an appointment.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

(Adapted from The Washington Post)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Stockpiling Exercise for Later in Life

Much like “carb-loading” before a big race to fuel you up later on, a new study shows that frequent exercise early in life can be “stockpiled” to benefit you down the road.
A recent report published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise compiled fitness data from a group of Olympic track and field athletes over nearly fifty years.
Twenty-six men were tested extensively before the 1968 Olympic trials on their aerobic capacity, or VO2 max. At the time, they were all in their early twenties and performed excellent on the tests—at or above the 98th percentile for average men their age.
The same tests on 22 of these men were conducted both at 25 and then 20 years later, and here’s what they found:
  • All of the men had remained physically active through the years, except during cases of injury and illness, mostly via walking, jogging, or cycling.
  • While their VO2 max scores had declined significantly since originally being tested in 1968, they were still ranked in the top ten percent of American men over the age of 60 and exhibited signs of good cardiovascular health.
  • Here’s the take home message: the data suggests that a firm commitment to exercise when you are young, along with continued light to moderate exercise as you get older, can help your body age better.
Texas Orthopedics believes that staying active is essential in everyone’s life, no matter what your age. The better you are at establishing a good fitness routine in your younger years, the easier it will be to stick with it as you get older.
Physical activity later in life also helps to keep muscles and joints healthy, strong, and flexible while fending off debilitating conditions like arthritis/osteoarthritis and preventing traumatic injuries like broken bones and fractures.   
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

Pain Awareness Month

September is Pain Awareness Month, and orthopedic surgeons everywhere—including Texas Orthopedics—are trying to do their part to bring awareness to and solutions for the prescription opioid epidemic currently facing the U.S.
Orthopedic surgeons have decreased their opioid prescriptions by 13.4% from 2014-2017; this is the second largest reduction among all medical specialties, according to the AAOS-American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that more than 15,000 people in the U.S.  died from prescription opioid overdose in 2015. Sadly that number has quadrupled since 1999.
Many people start opioid use (such as oxycodone and hydrocodone) to alleviate pain associated with chronic back, neck, knee, hip, and shoulder issues, or to dull pain from a past injury. Even more turn to it in the days following a major surgery to address the pain that ensues.
If you are scheduled for a surgery in the near future, it’s important to have a frank discussion with your physician about the pain you can expect afterwards and what you’ll do to treat it.  
It’s also important to remember that pain is a crucial part of the healing process following surgery. It indicates that your body is working hard to repair the damaged tissue, muscles, and bones. The absence of pain or loss of any feeling at the surgery site could point to nerve damage or dead tissues that are beyond repair.
Here are a few helpful guidelines for your pain management after a surgical procedure:
  • Try to take as little opioid medication as possible, and limit it to the first 48 hours following your surgery, preferably to be taken before sleep.
  • Add acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) into your schedule after you have finished the opioid prescription. These can be alternated every few hours at the discretion of your physician.
  • If you have not used all of your prescription, speak with your doctor or pharmacist about disposing of it safely.
  • Keep surgical areas elevated and cooled with ice to avoid swelling.
  • Avoid all physical activity as directed.
Pain Awareness Month is planned each September by the American Chronic Pain Association and supported by 80 other organizations, including the AAOS.

If you have concerns about your own pain management after surgery, please contact us for an appointment.

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

(Adapted from AAOS)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Link Between Sports Injuries and Arthritis

Is there a link between a traumatic sports injury and arthritis? There are definite possibilities according to recent research in the Journal of Athletic Training.
Arthritis, and osteoarthritis, affects nearly 27 million Americans with its painful deterioration and inflammation of the joints. Typically, it is caused by genetics or autoimmune deficiencies, advanced age, obesity, and now potentially by a serious sports injury.
The study stated that acute joint damage occurring at the time of an injury leads to a series of events which can trigger surface damage to the joint.  X-ray evidence showed that adolescents and young adults, especially who suffered a knee injury, were the most prone to arthritis flaring up within a decade.
One of the greatest reasons referenced for injury-induced arthritis was improper or incomplete rehabilitation in order to return to the sport.
Other highlights from the study include:
  • Arthritis would eventually develop in more than 40 percent of athletes who seriously injured the ligaments, the meniscus, or the articular surface of the knee joint.
  • More than half of all adults with symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are younger than 65 years of age.
  • One person out of three who injures or tears their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) will likely show X-ray evidence of arthritis within ten years.
  • The following sports are associated with higher risk of knee injuries leading to potential arthritis later on: soccer, long-distance running, competitive weight-lifting, and wrestling.
In order to best protect yourself following a sports injury, make sure to:
  • Resist rushing back to playing sports while allowing your body ample time to recover.
  • Seek assistance from a certified athletic trainer or physical therapist to evaluate muscle strength, endurance, balance and movement in order to help customize a rehabilitation plan for you.
  • Follow through with the plan and complete it in its entirety, whether it’s mapped out for a few months or even up to a whole year.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
If you have concerns about the lasting effects of a sports injury, or questions about arthritis as a result of it, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

Pitfalls of Standing on the Job

We’ve heard sitting for too long isn’t good for your health. Now experts say standing for long periods of time can be harmful to your body as well.
A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology determined that the physical demands of standing on the job could lead to serious issues like back pain, knee pain, leg pain, foot and ankle pain, cramps, varicose veins, and even clogged arteries and heart disease.
In fact, the study which profiled 7,230 people over the course of 12 years, suggests that those with standing jobs are about twice as likely to develop heart disease over others who sit down on the job. 
The increase in heart disease could be the result of blood pooling low in the legs while standing, with the body then working doubly hard to circulate it and pump the blood back up to the heart.
Jobs mentioned in the study that require mostly time on your feet included waiters or cooks, machine operators, teachers and professors, security or hospitality/tourism professionals, and retail sales asscoiates.
If your job requires long hours on your feet, here are a few tips to help your body make it through the day:
  • Take breaks as often as you can, and make sure to sit for a portion of them.
  • Walk around for a few minutes, at least every hour, to stretch legs.
  • Wear comfortable, cushioned, and supportive shoes.
  • Ask to have a chair or stool in close proximity to your work area.
  • Perform squats frequently, along with deep bends at the waist, to keep the back from tightening up.
Ideally, your job should have a good mix of sitting and standing throughout the day. If you experience any severe cramping in your legs or back, or any other constant or shooting pains from being on your feet all day, please contact us for an appointment.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).
(Adapted from Runner’s World)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Your Knees and Arthritis

With modern technologies and so many advancements in arthritis care, you'd think that the instances of the disease would be decreasing. Not so, according to a recent story published in Science magazine.

A new study depicts how arthritis of the knees in particular, has doubled in Americans dating back to the start of World War II, from six percent to 16 percent since 1940. Researchers gathered data from more than 2,500 skeletons, some as old as 6,000 years, to make this observation.

Knee arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability and immobility, with nearly 20 percent of Americans over the age of 45 suffering from it. So it’s important to understand the nature and progression of the condition.

When knee arthritis, or osteoarthritis, sets in, the cushiony cartilage between joints breaks down leaving a painful sensation with the bone grinding on bone. 

The scientists in the study examined whether or not there were smooth patches between knee joints signifying a loss of cartilage, and thereby pointing to a potential diagnosis of arthritis during that person’s lifetime.

Initial thoughts from the study indicate that as people are living longer, their bodies have a greater chance of deteriorating and being affected by some sort of debilitating illness or injury.

Another theory is that Americans are more sedentary than ever before, leading to an increase in obesity, which puts great pressure on cartilage and joints causing them to wear down.

Centuries ago when people relied more heavily on physical labor to survive (hunting, farming, etc.), joints may have been healthier due to the active lifestyle.

To help prevent the onset of arthritis, Texas Orthopedics encourages people of all ages to engage in some form of exercise or physical activity each day to keep joints lubricated and flexible allowing for the growth of fresh and abundant cartilage.

If you have signs of knee arthritis, such as joint pain or stiffness, please contact us for an appointment.

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

(Adapted from Men’s Health)

Hip-Pain Deconstructed

When you hear about hip pain and injuries, you picture seniors, right? Wrong. Trends now show that younger people are experiencing the aches and pains of their older counterparts.

Some factors that may contribute to hip pain in younger folks include spending too many hours seated sedentary at a work desk, or conversely, going at it too hard at the gym and overworking the hip joints and muscles.
With so many intense fitness trends like Cross-Fit and HIIT training, that feature quick, cutting and repetitive movements, your hips may never get the break they need.
In addition, the hips are constantly working to make sure that the upper and lower bodies are coordinated and in sync for just about every motion you perform daily from walking to sitting.
Common injuries and conditions that we see at Texas Orthopedics plaguing the hips include:
To make sure your hips stay healthy, always stretch and warm-up before exercising, and vary your routines frequently. To avoid putting too much pressure on these joints, alternate intense activities such as squats and lunges.
Take a break from running and try swimming every once in a while, to alleviate pressure and provide your hips a more cushioned environment. Or change it up by doing an upper body work out one day, followed by lower body the next, so your hips aren’t doing double duty.
Additionally, like any part of the body that is being worked-out heavily, your hips need rest.
If you experience any hip pains that are sharp or severe, or nagging over a long period of time, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

(Adapted from Men's Health)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Preparing Your Child for Fall Sports

The start of school is around the corner and so are fall sports.

Preparing your kiddos for the upcoming season is key if you want to avoid common injuries like sprains and strains, fractures and broken bones, concussions, and even heat exhaustion due to the still triple-digit temps.

Whether they are heading out to the field for soccer or football, or hitting the trails for cross-country, here’s how to ensure your child is ready for their fall sport:
  • Make sure they’ve had recent physicals and are cleared to play by their physician, especially if they’ve had a serious injury or illness in the not-too-distant past.
  • Start training now, if they haven’t already. Check with your child’s coach if there is a preseason routine they’d like them to follow. Or have them do their own light workout such as jogging or swimming laps, along with proper stretching, a few weeks before tryouts or practices start.
  • Invest in proper equipment. Helmets, knee and elbow pads, mouth guards, cleats, and other sports shoes should all meet standard safety regulations and fit properly.
  • Get to know your child’s coaches before the season starts. It’s important to be familiar with who will be working with your child regularly on their team. Alert them to any pre-existing medical conditions or past injuries.
  • Know the warning signs for concussions and watch out for them. Concussions are all-too-common now in youth sports. If your child experiences any nausea/vomiting, dizziness/blurred vision, or sensitivities to light and noise following a collision or fall, have them checked out immediately.
  • Fuel them up with nutritious food and encourage hydration. Lots of lean proteins, fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and tons of water will help your child’s body to be primed for the season ahead.
If your child suffers a sports injury this season, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists. Or if it’s after-hours, as many sports injuries tend to be, visit our Urgent Injury Clinic where no appointment is necessary.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).
(Adapted from

Visiting Urgent Care vs. the ER

If you’re sick or suffered a serious injury, where’s the best place to go for quick treatment? It used to be the ER at your closest hospital. But with an urgent care center on just about every corner, how do you know the best place to get treatment? And will they be any faster or less expensive? Those are the burning questions so many people have today.

Here’s a helpful guide to determine when you might need the complete care of an ER, or if a visit to an urgent care or injury clinic will be enough:

Broken Bones or Fractures

Urgent care: possible peripheral bone break such as a foot, ankle, wrist or finger. If you think you’ve suffered a broken bone, or other sports injury, Texas Orthopedics’ Urgent Injury Clinic is a great option for a walk-in with no appointment necessary, and X-ray, casting, and bracing services are available onsite.

ER: possible major bone break such as a leg, arm, hip, neck, or spine; or for a break where the bone is protruding through the skin

Stomach Pain

Urgent care: if you have a regular intestinal problem that is acting up more than usual, such as IBS, acid reflux, or an ulcer

ER: if you have quick, onset severe shooting pains, or cramping in the abdominal area

Fever and Vomiting

Urgent care: a temperature of 102.5-F or more if it persists for over 24 hours

ER: a temperature of 102.5-F or more if it also accompanied by sharp abdominal pain or cramping, or a severe headache; or if it’s a small child experiencing a very high temperature


Urgent care: a shallow cut where you cannot detect muscle tissue or bone

ER: a deep cut, or puncture wound, where bone is visible and it has not stopped bleeding after 15 minutes of direct pressure; also for an animal bite, you would want to visit the ER to determine if there was any exposure to a serious issue like rabies

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

(Adapted from Women’s Health)

Monday, August 14, 2017

What's the latest on cryotherapy?

Everyone from pro athletes to seniors with arthritis are singing the praises of cryotherapy, or ‘freezing’ therapy to eliminate aches and pains and help the body heal after injury. 
WBC (or whole-body cryotherapy) involves subjecting the body to extremely cold/negative temperatures in order to treat medical conditions like arthritis or multiple sclerosis, decrease pain, reduce inflammation, and facilitate muscle recovery after intense exercise.
Here’s how it works:
The shock of the searing cold sends distress signals to the brain which then releases a special protein (norepinephrine) that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This also blocks pain receptors to dull whatever pain you are feeling, while causing blood to re-oxygenate and replenish nutrients that are circulated through the body in hopes of repairing damaged muscles and tissue.
Although devotees of cryotherapy claim that it helps with pain in the immediate aftermath, the jury is still out scientifically speaking regarding its long-term effects on an injury or serious condition.
Studies show that the cold temps can reduce inflammation in the body, but there have been no proven results to date showing the benefits to muscle recovery.
People interested in trying cryotherapy should speak to their physician first about it, especially if you have a known heart condition. The extreme drop in temperature could be dangerous.
At Texas Orthopedics, we suggest healthy diet, exercise, and personalized physical therapy as a first line of defense to treat arthritis, and other sports injuries. If you have questions about cryotherapy, or would like to discuss options to treat any pain you are experiencing, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).

(Adapted from Stop Sports Injuries)