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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

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)