By: Dr. Nogalski
Spring is a great time for youth soccer. All ages and experience levels of young soccer players will make their way onto the pitch in the next few weeks. As parents we want to cheer on our favorite soccer players while making sure they’re safe. There are a few common injuries that your child may face during this soccer season:
Knee injuries - ACL sprains (tears in the anterior cruciate ligament) are some of the most common soccer injuries. Some knee injuries can prevented by wearing the proper size of cleats and being mindful of the situation.
Achilles tendonitis - Inflamed or damaged Achilles tendons can occur when a player does not properly stretch or condition prior to the game. The most effective way to prevent Achilles tendonitis for soccer players is for the coaching staff to lead their players in stretching exercises throughout the week, before the game, and following the game. You as a parent can look at proper stretching exercises and complete the stretches with your child as well. This is a win/win for you as a parent since you will notice a difference in your everyday life with more stretching.
Concussions - Soccer has a history of being one of the leading sports for youth concussions. ‘Heading’ the ball is one of the more dangerous practices that can lead to brain injury, namely a concussion. Two independent studies suggest that prolonged use of ‘heading’ may lead to long-term cognitive degeneration. (Moms Team)
Preventing these common soccer injuries starts with good protection and conditioning. Make sure your child is wearing the appropriate type and size of equipment. We all know how quickly children grow, so don’t be surprised if your child needs a different size of cleats midway through the year as when the season started. Your local sporting goods store can measure your child for the right size of shin guards as well.
When it comes to concussions, the good news is many soccer coaches are becoming more aware of the dangers of ‘heading’. We recommend expressing your concerns about concussions with your child’s coach. Ask them how they plan on preventing concussions for your child and other players under their watch. If they’re interested, ask them to review the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Recognize to Recover Concussion Awareness Program.
Good conditioning means your child needs the proper level of hydration and fuel to stay focused and up to speed on the soccer pitch. We cannot emphasize the importance of drinking plenty of water every day throughout the season.
We hope you have a wonderful season ahead. If your child does experience any type of soccer-related injury, Orthopedic Associates is here to serve you. Our staff of board-certified physicians specializes in sports medicine. We’ve helped some of the greatest professional athletes in St. Louis and beyond get the treatment they need to be at their best. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and help your child make a full recovery. Click here to schedule an appointment with Orthopedic Associates.
By: Dr. Burke
Football is back!
Autumn is here. The boys of fall are strapping up their cleats, tying on shoulder pads, and making the walk to kickoff under the Friday night lights. Football has started to make dramatic improvements when it comes to player safety, especially when it comes to concussion protocol and helmet-related incidents.
One of the realities of football is that injuries do happen; it’s a collision-based sport, so we should expect some injuries at time. However, there are ways to help protect against some injuries that aren’t collision-related. Here are some of the top football injuries and how your favorite football player can best try to avoid them.
How many times have you seen a football player’s body go one way and his knee goes the other direction? It’s painful to even watch, right? Many knee injuries occur in football when a vital ligament, like the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or the MCL (medial collateral ligament), tears or even over-stretches. If a player has surgery to repair the torn ligament, it can take up to a year to fully recover.
Of course, one of the best ways to prevent a knee injury is to avoid contact, which is virtually impossible in a collision sport like football. Here are seven exercises to help prevent non-collision ACL injuries:
There are 3.8 million reported concussions each year, twice as many as ten years ago. (Source) Research shows that 47% of all reported sports concussions occur in high school football. Concussions are a serious threat to player safety and your player’s ability to execute everyday activities beyond their playing career.
Ask your child’s football coach if he is a trained member of Heads Up Football through USA Football. Heads Up is a fantastic initiative to teach youth and high school football players safe tackling techniques that will avoid personal foul penalties on the field (“leading with your helmet” or “targeting the quarterback”) and most importantly, avoid concussion-causing collisions.
Dislocated or separated shoulder
It’s important to make a distinction between a dislocated shoulder and a separated shoulder:
● Dislocated: the arm bone comes detached from the shoulder joint.
● Separated: one of the ligaments attaching the collarbone to the shoulder bone tears and the collarbone moves out of position.
Dislocated and separated shoulders often happen when a player collides with another player while blocking or tackling. Sometimes a player will dislocate or separate their shoulder when hitting the ground with their shoulder. A separated shoulder may heal within six weeks of injury, but a dislocated shoulder can take anywhere between three and twelve weeks to fully recover.
The best way to avoid separated or dislocated shoulders is to beware of points of impact.
A rolled ankle can happen in any sport, including individual sports like tennis or golf. Ankle sprains are some of the most common injuries for a football player. Your ankle’s flexibility dictates how well you can pivot, shift, and even stop when playing football.
Many football players experience what’s called a high ankle sprain, which is different than a common ankle sprain. In a common ankle sprain, the anterior talofibular ligament, or ATFL, is strained on the outside of the ankle. A common ankle sprain can be braced with ankle braces and usually involves a short recovery period.
A high ankle sprain occurs when a set of ligaments called the syndesmosis (SIN-des-MOE-sis) is injured. The syndesmosis ligaments are positioned between the tibia and fibula bones above the ankle joint. High ankle sprains occur through a twisting or wrenching motion, like a twisted ankle during a tackle. The tibia and fibula are twisted away from the syndesmosis ligaments, causing a tremendously painful sensation that radiates up the leg bones.
There are no known prevention measures to protect against high ankle sprains. What is helpful is being aware when your leg is twisting and trying to rotate your body against the unnatural twisting or wrenching. This may help limit the risk of a high ankle sprain, but there is no guarantee.
If your child recently experienced a football injury, your first call should be to our Orthopedic Associates team. We have board-certified physicians specifically qualified to treat sports-related injuries. Our mission is to help preserve your child’s physical and even mental capabilities well beyond their football career.
By: Dr. Richard Hulsey
Playing sports with your classmates from school can be a fantastic experience for many children. We all know that kids will be kids when it comes to being rough and tumble on the playground and in sports. Accidents, bumps, and cuts sometimes happen though when you’re having a great time playing sports. It may be a sprained ankle playing football, a jammed finger under the basketball hoop, or any number of other possible injuries.
Having a first aid kit at the ready is essential for any teacher, coach, or supervisor during a school sports game. Knowing how to use the first aid kit is the first step in relieving pain and preventing further injury. Many injuries that require immediate attention are called “acute injuries,” such as a broken bone or dislocated knee. Many schools require their teaching staff and administration to be First Aid-certified. If your school does not require the same standards, I highly recommend that you stay current in your First Aid training.
When it comes to using First Aid to treat school sport injuries, think of the word PRICE:
Protect the injured area. Important: if you suspect that the student suffered a head or spinal injury, do not move them unless it is absolutely necessary. Call for assistance from a trained professional medic and stay by the student’s side. Less extreme injuries can still be vulnerable to greater injury. As quickly and safely as possible, relocate the injured student to a protected space to start treating their injury.
Rest the injured area. If they injured their arm, the first step is protecting the injured arm from further injury. Find a position for the student that is most comfortable, either sitting, lying down, or standing as their injury dictates.
Ice the injured area. Applying a quick-freeze packet from your First Aid kit to an acute injury can help reduce swelling and pain. Apply ice to the injured area every two hours for up to 20 minutes per application. Be careful not to overuse ice because it can cause skin damage. Allow the skin to return to normal temperature before reapplying the ice treatment.
Compress the injured area through immobilization. Use an elastic bandage from your First Aid kit to wrap the injured area. If you have leftover ice, you can apply ice to the injured area over the wrap. The cold still does the trick and the wrap helps protect the skin from freezer burn to a certain extent.
Elevate the injured area if this position is not uncomfortable. This reduces blood flow to the injured area, which in turn reduces swelling from any inflicted trauma.
If you have concerns about a recent injury, your next step is to schedule an appointment at Orthopedic Associates. Our board-certified physicians can help you find the treatment you need and start your recovery process.
Softball is a fantastic sport for all ages, ranging from competitive fast-pitch to beer league soft toss. Softball matches one of America’s greatest past times with a slower pace of play, providing a great chance to enjoy being outside and get some good exercise. Don’t be fooled though- softball can be a rough sport, especially when it comes to injuries.
Here are some of the most common injuries experienced by softball players and how you can prevent them.
How many times have you seen a batter hustle down the first-base line only to pull up after thirty feet, grabbing his thigh? The pulled “hammy,” or hamstring, is one of the most common softball injuries, especially among older players. Take the time to carefully stretch out your legs and then do some light jogging before entering full game speed.
A variety of shoulder injuries happen from playing softball, especially for young pitchers in fast-pitch leagues. The torque required to underhand a fast softball pitch puts significant pressure on important parts of the shoulder. Adhesive capsulitis, or “frozen shoulder” as it’s often called, is an overall limiting of range of motion in a shoulder. This can be prevented by gently stretching out the shoulder before beginning any throwing.
Any type of inflammation of the shoulder or rotator cuff is by definition a form of tendinitis and needs to be reduced through rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. Many softball leagues have adopted the precedent of the Little League Pitch Count by age group. This is an excellent guideline to follow to help protect young pitching arms from overuse and injury.
Knee ligament strains and tears
Both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) are vital for starting, stopping, and pivoting during any type of running activity. Without proper stretching ahead of time, these ligaments can tighten and then “pop” when extended beyond their capacity. Part of preventing knee injuries is to know your athletic limitations and being honest with your current physical condition. If you think you might get injured, it’s okay to play a little slower as you get back into shape over the season.
At Orthopedic Associates we love seeing people enjoy a great chance for exercise like you can enjoy with a game of softball. Injuries are part of the game though, which is why our team is here to serve you. Whether it’s a strained knee or a pulled rotator cuff, we can get you the treatment you need to make the best recovery possible. If you recently suffered a softball injury, you need to speak with a member of our team.
Schedule your appointment with Orthopedic Associates today.
General orthopedics covers essentially anything having to do with the health of the musculoskeletal system. But in addition to this general field, many orthopedic surgeons also have narrower specialties, such as occupational medicine. Occupational medicine is the branch of preventive care and treatment that deals with workplace health and safety. These safety concerns don’t just apply to workers in industrial settings, either, as many employers and employees assume. There are plenty of ways to get hurt even in your average office setting. Here are three of the most common workplace injuries you should be aware of, as well as some tips on how to prevent them:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand and wrist conditions affecting office workers. Caused by pressure to the median nerve in the wrist, its symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often set off by repetitive motion, especially motion in which the wrist is bent so that the hands are positioned lower than the wrists -- typing or writing both being prime culprits. If left untreated, orthopedic surgery is sometimes necessary to remove pressure on the wrist. How can you prevent carpal tunnel? First of all, set up your workstation so that your forearms are parallel to the floor and your wrists won’t need to bend for you to type. Try to take frequent breaks, putting your arms to your sides and relaxing your shoulders. Also reduce inflammation by taking care of your general health -- maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, etc
About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time, and half of all working Americans say they have back pain symptoms each year. While it’s possible to hurt your back by overexerting yourself, it’s equally common for back pain to be caused by the sedentary lifestyle often encouraged by a desk job. To prevent low back pain, maintain good posture even while sitting, get up and take a walk around the office at least every hour, and learn some simple exercises and stretches you can do discreetly while sitting at your desk.
It’s all too easy to strain, sprain or fracture an ankle (those terms referring to injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and bones of the ankle, respectively); approximately 60% of all foot and ankle injuries reported by the adult U.S. population are sprains and strains. You can lower your and your coworkers’ risk of falling and causing one of these injuries by not wearing high heels to work, not leaving drawers or cabinet doors open where they could trip someone, and not stretching cords across walkways. If you notice any unevenness in the floor or stairs that should be more clearly marked, tell your employer about them right away.
Did you know that orthopedics is an integral part of occupational medicine? Join the discussion in the comments.
A USA Today report states that soccer is the third-most dangerous youth sport, following football and basketball. (USA Today) Of the 1.35 million U.S. youth who suffer a serious sports injury every year, an estimated 172,000+ are injured during youth soccer. Sprains, strains, torn ligaments, and even concussions are contributing factors to parents considering the dangers and evaluating proper safety measures to reduce youth soccer injuries.
Don’t worry- we love soccer and how the future of St. Louis looks bright with professional soccer potentially coming to our great city. We love cheering on our favorite soccer players just as much as you do, especially the ones in our own homes, and we’d much rather see them on the field instead of on the sideline or in our exam rooms. Here are some tips to help keep your soccer standout safe this season:
Protect your head! One of the most dangerous injuries on the soccer field is a concussion. “Heading” the ball may seem like a good strategy, but two recent studies suggest that years of “heading” may lead to long-term degeneration in cognitive function. (Moms Team) A header every once in awhile may be okay, but try to avoid leading with your head when diving for the ball, especially in more crowded situations, like near the goalline.
Wear the right size of cleats: ACL injuries, sprained ankles, and turf toe can all be caused by wearing the wrong style or size of cleats.
Use pads to cover hard goal posts: Soccer goalies can easily suffer a concussion by colliding with an exposed or even under-padded goal post. Don’t run the risk of a serious, maybe even life-threatening, head-on collision with a metal post.
Know your limits: Sprains and strains most often occur due to insufficient conditioning and overexertion. Girls can be two to ten times more susceptible to ACL injuries than boys, a unique and disheartening phenomenon to keep in mind.
We wish you the best and healthiest soccer season ahead. If your child suffers a soccer-related injury, we have a wide range of sports medicine specialists to help you diagnose the nature and extent of their injury as well as the best possible treatment. If your child is in need of orthopedic care, we would love to serve you. Click here to schedule your next appointment or contact any of our St. Louis area locations.
Thousands of St. Louisans love lacing the low tops and pounding the pavement for a good exercise. Whether you’re an Asics aficionado or a Nike newbie, there’s a lot to learn about running, including what injuries you might expect. Hopefully you can avoid any injuries this summer, but if not, it’s helpful to know what to do. That's why Orthopedic Associates recently hosted an event, with the help of running shoe specialist David Spetnagel (Fleet Feet), on the best ways to keep yourself in top-running condition during the Summer months. Participants were able to come out and ask questions about their foot and running health directly to the experts! For those who couldn't make it, we typed up a little summary of the night's events for your reading pleasure!
(image of Dr. Aaranson speaking on runner's health at our recent event)
Most common injuries for runners
One of the best ways to avoid injuries involves preparation and prevention. This includes appropriate stretching before and after running, and also watching where your feet fall along the path. Some injuries can’t be avoided so easily, so keep this info in mind in case you take a tumble.
A sprained ankle means at least one or more of the ligaments on the outside of your ankle gets stretched or even torn. (AOFAS) A sprained ankle is either rolled inside (inversion sprain) or outside (eversion sprain). In both situations, the ankle needs to be immobilized and examined via X-ray to determine whether a fracture occurred.
Repeated pounding of your heel bone on hard surfaces, like running on concrete or pavement, can create significant pain in your heel region. Plantar fasciitis is also a leading cause of heel pain. Apply ice to the heel for 10-15 minutes in the morning and evening to relieve pain and swelling. You may want to consider what shoes you wear since poor fitting shoes can also contribute to heel pain.
Shin splints are often experienced on either the front outside part of the lower leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside part of the lower leg below the knee (medial shin splints). The most common cause for shin splints is trying to run too far too soon. You need to pace yourself and build your mileage gradually, or you may run the risk of developing shin splints. The best treatment is to immediately reduce your mileage and pacing and apply ice twice a day.
Blisters form from friction: an uneven part of your foot rubbing up against your sock or shoe. Both heat and moisture increase friction by causing your foot to swell, which is why long-distance running on hotter days causes more foot blisters. You can prevent most blisters by wearing two pairs of socks, moisturizing your feet with lotion, and wearing shoes and socks that fit your feet.
“Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.” (Mayo Clinic) If the pain is significant, you need to see a foot and ankle specialist as soon as possible.
The best treatment for many running injuries is the age-old prescription of “RICE”: rest, ice, compress, and elevate. It can be frustrating to deal with a running injury, but it’s worth taking the time to properly heal and prevent further injury.
If you’re uncertain what may be bothering your feet or ankles, you may want to meet with a podiatrist, like Dr. Aaranson at Orthopedic Associates. Dr. Aaranson and his staff consider a wide variety of treatment options, many of which are non-surgical, to determine the best solution for you. We'll be hosting another event, similar to this one, in October of 2015, if you'd like to meet Dr. Aaranson in person and ask questions more specific to your unique needs!
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