August 9th, 2011
Spring and summer sports do not always have to involve strenuous activity. One of the more popular warm weather sports can be played by barely breaking a sweat. Golf is a sport filled with precision and dexterity, and is an extremely popular outdoor activity today. Don’t let this fool you, however – just because a sport is more relaxed does not mean that it is injury free. There are plenty of safety precautions that can be used to avoid problems and injury on the greens.
Most golfing injuries involve the lower back, the elbow and the shoulder. These injuries can be the result of overuse related to excessive practicing; poor swing mechanics and lack of conditioning.
A “perfect stroke” is the goal of every golfer and in this pursuit; swing-related injuries are much more common in the inexperienced golfer. Rotator cuff injuries can affect the swing by altering your mechanics. The pain can be severe enough to prevent you from even swinging the club at all. After a through evaluation, treatment may consist of strengthening, flexibility, medication and rarely arthroscopy. Proper conditioning is also needed, and with the sport of golf in mind the emphasis should be on the back and shoulder. A conditioning commonly known as “golfer’s Back” is when the lumbar spine is injured causing muscle spasms and back pain. Prevention includes a trunk flexibility and muscle strengthening program, use of proper body mechanics and an appropriate warm-up before going out on the course.
Another hazard that applies to the sport exclusively is the golf cart. Although a quick and efficient way to travel around the large golf course, golf carts can be dangerous if used inappropriately or recklessly. One common way to hurt yourself in a golf cart is by leaving the free foot to drag across the grass instead of keeping it in the cart – it is easier than you think to catch your toes in an object lying on the round, causing fractures and other injuries. Not only can the foot get caught on an object, but spikes can get stuck in the grass, causing the foot to bend backwards while the cart is in full motion. A simple careless error can result in serious injury, perhaps even permanent disability. When driving a golf cart, always be extra cautious on slopes or in wet conditions. Make sure you alow your partner time to get completely seated before beginning to drive. Also, the consumption of alcohol and driving a golf cart is equivalent to drinking and driving a car, and the consequences can be just as dangerous
Although golf requires less physical activity than many other sports, there are health risks at hand. If the temperature is warm, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and keep a moist towel nearby – heat stroke can be a very real possibility if you don’t. All in all, there is more risk for injury in playing a game of football than golf, but these safety precautions will make your time on the course that much more enjoyable.
February 8th, 2011
The knee is a hinge joint made up the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone) and the patella (knee cap). There are four major ligaments that give support and stability to the knee. These ligaments are the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) collateral ligaments, which stabilize the sides of the knee. The anterior cruciate ligament supports the knee by limiting rotation and forward motion of the tibia. The posterior cruciate ligament limits backward motion of the tibia and hyperextension. Additionally there are two fibrocartilaginous, C – shaped menisci that provide cushioning, stability and lubrication to the joint.
An injury to the meniscus is a common orthopaedic problem. A meniscus tear can occur as a result of trauma or from degeneration usually associated with arthritis. Tears typically occur from twisting type injuries to the knee. These tears can be large or small and can be stable or unstable. The torn segment can displace into the joint causing pain and a locking sensation. A majority of tears occur to the medial meniscus.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include swelling, stiffness, pain, as well as a popping, clicking, catching or locking. Squatting or twisting may reproduce pain.
On examination, tenderness is usually present at the level of the joint line corresponding to the torn meniscus. Swelling may also be present. There are special testing techniques that may be used during an examination that will help diagnose a tear.
X-rays taken during an initial evaluation can identify injuries to the bones. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is the most accurate test to evaluate the menisci. Increased signal within a meniscus may represent a tear. The MRI may also detect injuries to the articular surfaces and ligaments and may reveal occult fractures not seen by routine x-ray.
Management of meniscus tears falls into three categories 1. Observation, 2. Excision, 3. Repair.
Small tears, which are not painful, may not require surgical intervention and may simply be amendable to observation.
When symptoms are present surgical intervention is warranted to either remove a portion of the meniscus or repair it. Surgical excision of a tear (meniscectomy) is the most common technique utilized. Tears in the inner 2/3’s of the meniscus are usually excised since the healing potential is poor in this area.
Arthroscopy is the surgical technique where small incisions are made around the knee so that a special camera can be inserted into the joint for viewing and surgical instrumentation can be inserted. Under direct visualization or a monitor the surgeon sees a magnified view of the torn meniscus and can determine the type of tear. During a partial meniscectomy, surgical instruments and shavers are used to excise the tear and contour the remaining tissue. The surgeon attempts to leave as much normal tissue intact as possible. Salvaging more than 50% of the injured meniscus limits the risk of “post–meniscectomy” arthritis over the next 10 to 20 years.
Since arthritis is a potential long – term problem with large partial meniscectomy or total meniscectomy, every effort is made to preserve as much meniscus as possible. When a tear is in the vascular “red zone” (the outer 1/3 of the meniscus) careful consideration is given to the meniscus repair. Location, age of the patient, age and type of tear are all taken into consideration when deciding whether to repair a meniscus. Success rates are on an average of 70%-80% following a meniscus repair, but these rates increase when combined with a reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament to 90%. Post-operative recuperation is often a matter of weeks following partial meniscectomy. A meniscus repair using sutures or absorbable “arrows” requires 6 months before return to full activities
Meniscus tears are a common knee injuries that are routinely managed with out–patient surgery. MRI scan, arthroscopy and advanced surgical techniques have allowed excellent results. Additional research and newer surgical management promises to provide even better results in the future.
(If you care to view animated illustrations of arthroscopic knee surgery please return to our home page and click on the picture of the silver person icon.)
February 8th, 2011
Now that winter is here in full force, we’re sure you’ve had thoughts of the warmth of spring and being outside again. Well if you’re a baseball, softball, or any spring sport athlete your mind is in the right place. Now is the time to start initiating spring training schedules.
Just as a new glove must be conditioned for the beginning of a fresh new season so must an athlete’s body. For a baseball or softball player to optimize his or her athletic fitness a conditioning program must be initiated. The goal of the pre-season program is to have the athlete in top condition to avoid problems. A program is geared to preventing or reducing injuries with special emphasis on avoiding overuse injuries and injuries due to weakness. The pre-season program should start from a general to a sport specific regimen.
In the beginning general athletic fitness should be improved upon. The body should be gradually prepared for more intense training. This includes aerobic and anaerobic activities. Endurance running and sprinting should begin early. Low weight training can also be initiated for an overall body work-out. Include flexibility and stretching routines to loosen the shoulder and minimize “pulled” muscles in the thighs.
The second phase of the off-season conditioning should be sport-specific athletic fitness. An example is sprinting the distances of bases or quick short sprints to work on getting under a ball for an anticipated catch. Throwing should be initiated at least six weeks prior to competitive play. Also continue weight training, the athlete should be getting stronger at this phase.
The third phase is begun closer to the start of the season. A program which refines the athlete’s skills and technique should be initiated in this phase. Batting practice, catching and sliding should be started during this time.
A well – designed conditioning program started in the winter aiming towards spring baseball or softball will help to optimize performance on the field and minimize the injury risk. Remember, also start a fitness program with goals and leave yourself adequate time to accomplish these goals. Too many athletes just begin a season cold and wind up with unnecessary injuries. Paying attention to pre–season conditioning can be the key to enjoying a fun, pain–free and injury–free season.
April 8th, 2010
Ankle sprains are by far the most common injury in sports. An ankle sprain can occur by a twisting type injury causing the ankle to turn inward or outward. This motion stretches the ligaments around the ankle joint. (Ligaments are bands of tissue that attach bone to bone.) The ligaments along with muscles and tendons around the ankle give stability to the joint.
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