Orthopedic Associates' Blog

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Orthopedic Associates' Blog


Rotator Cuff Injuries & How to Prevent Them
Rotator Cuff Injuries & How to Prevent Them
By: Ryan Pitts A complex system of muscles and tendons combine to make up the shoulder, the most mobile joint in the body. This flexibility makes some great athletic feats possible for major league baseball pitchers, beach volleyball players, and tennis players, and it also allows people to easily perform daily activities such as reaching items on high shelves, pulling a t-shirt over the head, or putting on a seat belt. Because of its broad range of motion and near constant use, the shoulder is more susceptible to injury than many other joints. The shoulder brings three major bones together: the scapula (shoulder blade), clavicle (collar bone), and the humerus (arm bone). The humerus joins with your shoulder socket. While the shoulder is not a true ball-in-socket joint like the hip, it is similar in structure, and this accounts for its large range of motion.  Rotator Cuff Injuries The most common shoulder injuries are rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is made of muscles and tendons that work together to keep the humerus in place, surrounding the shoulder joint. There are four types ...

All About Shoulder Arthroscopy
All About Shoulder Arthroscopy
Dr. Ryan Pitts Long recovery times, risk of infection and the pain associated with large incisions have been mitigated by improvements to modern surgical methods. One such advancement is arthroscopy (pronounced “ahr-THROS-kuh-pee”), which allows for a safer, less invasive option for repairing damaged joints and tissues. The word originates from the Greek “arthro” (join) and “skopein” (to look). As it pertains to the shoulder, arthroscopy allows doctors to understand the extent and severity of an injury or condition without undergoing the risk of invasive surgery.  Popular since the 1970s as an alternative to more invasive surgery, the procedure continues to evolve as new instruments and techniques are developed.  According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoulder arthroscopy is a “procedure that orthopedic surgeons use to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems inside a joint.” (AAOS) The surgeon inserts a small fiber-optic video camera called an arthroscope through a small cut in the shoulder region and takes pictures and/or video. Your doctor will be able to view the inside of your joint in real time on a high-definition video monitor. Other pencil-thin surgical ...

Rotator Cuff Injuries: Causes and Treatments
Rotator Cuff Injuries: Causes and Treatments
By Dr. Hulsey Almost any movement of the shoulders involve the rotator cuff especially motion above the shoulder level. This group of muscles and tendons that surround and support the shoulder joint keep the top of your upper arm bone firmly inside the shallow socket of your shoulder. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder, you should consult a physician. If your physician has already determined that you need rotator cuff surgery, here are some things you can expect. Who is at risk for a rotator cuff injury? Rotator cuffs are prone to injury and can often be damaged while performing work or athletic activity involving overhead motions like painting, hammering and playing tennis or baseball. As you age, your rotator cuff can show signs of wear and will be more easily injured. If there is a family history of joint issues, especially rotator cuff injuries, you may be at increased risk because of your genetics. What is rotator cuff disease? This damage to the rotator cuff is known as “rotator cuff disease” and can occur from any cause, including a single injury ...

Exercises to Help You Recover from Shoulder Surgery
Exercises to Help You Recover from Shoulder Surgery
By: Dr. Pitts   Because your shoulder can move in multiple directions, it is a complicated joint that helps you perform almost all daily activities. Think about the multiple times per day you reach for something, eat or brush your teeth, get dressed or give a friend a high five. All these activities and more involve your shoulder joint, so when it’s not working right it can be debilitating. If you have shoulder surgery, you can expect your recovery time to be anywhere from six months to a year. Recovery from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, in which the doctor operates through a small incision, the recovery process is usually less. However, your recovery time can vary greatly depending on the type of injury, type of surgery and how healthy you were before surgery.  After a period of post-operative care and immobilization to allow for recovery, you should begin to work with a physical therapist to perform gentle, assisted exercises. This activity will help you regain movement and range of motion in your shoulder while it is still actively healing.  Passive Range of Motion Exercise To begin, ...

What to know before getting a Cortisone Shot
What to know before getting a Cortisone Shot
By: Dr. Michael Nogalski Picture yourself in your doctor’s office with the same shoulder pain that’s cramped your work for the past three years. There’s swelling around the rotator cuff and you feel your shoulder locking up at different points throughout the day. Your doctor recommends you get a Cortisone injection… but what does that even mean? What is a cortisone shot? What are the side effects of a cortisone injection? And, will it even work for you? A cortisone shot usually involves two elements: a local anesthetic, and a corticosteroid medication to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Many cortisone injections can be administered in your doctor’s office, but there is a limit to how many cortisone shots you can receive in a period of time because of possible side effects. Injections should be limited to at least four to six weeks between administrations and no more than four injections in the same location in a calendar year. (Arthritis-Health.com) Cortisone injections come with a variety of possible side effects and risks, such as the following and more: ...

Is your shoulder pain a torn rotator cuff?
Is your shoulder pain a torn rotator cuff?
You’re in the garage grabbing boxes from the top shelf when a box starts falling. You reach out to grab the box… filled with books. You immediately feel a sharp pain in your right shoulder. Ow! You reset the box on the shelf, rub your shoulder, and continue working. The next day you notice your shoulder is still really sore and a little stiff. How do you know your shoulder isn’t a torn rotator cuff? What might seem like a minor ache may be your body saying your shoulder needs orthopedic care. Rotator cuff injuries are most common in people age 40 and older. (Mayo Clinic) Here are some of the more common warning signs of a torn rotator cuff: Extend your arm straight out away from your body and try to lower it slowly. If your arm drops suddenly, it’s safe to say you may have a torn rotator cuff. Deep, dull pain in your shoulder joint - If you have ...

How to tell if your shoulder pain may be a serious condition
How to tell if your shoulder pain may be a serious condition
Shoulder joints can absorb a tremendous amount of impact. If you injure your shoulder, you may not realize the extent of the injury. Of course, obvious signs of serious damage are easier to recognize, like a compound fracture or a dislocated shoulder. Other cases may not seem as significant but may be equally serious in nature. Here are a few signs your shoulder pain may require prompt medical attention. Inability to move (or at least very difficult to move) Do you experience significant resistance, almost as if your shoulder is “frozen” in place, when you try to move? A torn rotator cuff can immobilize your shoulder and make it extremely painful to move. This may be one of the more obvious signs of a serious shoulder injury. Noticeable deformity A large deformity at the top of your shoulder region may be a sign of a acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) injury. If you landed hard on your shoulder, you may have also fractured your clavicle. A slight bump along your collarbone is usually an indication of a clavicle fracture. Inability to move (or at least ...

Most Common Softball Injuries and How To Prevent Them
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. Pulled hamstring 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. Shoulder 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 ...

Four office chair stretches to relieve back pain
We’ve all been there before: you’re midway through your workday hunched over a computer screen when you straighten up in your office chair. Ouch! A sharp twinge or a dull ache lets you know your back is suffering from poor positioning. You need to stretch out your back muscles and loosen the negative pressure before that small ache turns into a big-time problem. Eight out of 10 adults will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. (NIH) As common as back pain may be, you don’t have to be a victim. Here are five stretches you can perform in the comfort of your office chair to relieve tension, soothe back pain, and help protect your spine during a long work day. Self-Hug Just as the name suggests, it’s time to give yourself a big hug. Wrap both of your arms around your shoulders like you’re giving someone a hug and grab the back of your shoulders with your hands. Take a few deep breaths allowing the shoulder blades to expand and contract. This relieves tension between your shoulders and ...

How bad posture affects your spine (and exercises to correct it!)
How bad posture affects your spine (and exercises to correct it!) Did you know that lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability around the world? A recent study shows that over 31 million Americans currently suffer from lower back pain. (ACA) Although sitting at a desk all day may be a known cause of back pain, having poor posture causes more musculoskeletal disorders than we might realize. Warning signs of poor posture As our bodies age, it’s easy to let our spine contract with pain points, such as rounding the upper back and arching the lower back to accentuate the spine’s natural S-curve. There are several known signs of poor posture, including: Rounded shoulders Back pain Uneven wear patterns on the soles of your shoes (ex: your left shoe’s sole is significantly more worn-out than your right shoe’s sole) Head leans to either side or forward Bent knees when standing or walking Potbelly  Slouching, sleeping on your stomach, leaning too far to ...