What is External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis?

 

cyclist arterial diseaseImagine a young athlete at the top of his game– perhaps a cyclist. He works out daily, eats right, and gets plenty of rest. He is visibly healthy in every way with no familial history of cardiovascular disease. Yet this young man could be at risk for arterial disease… but why?

External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis (EIAE)– nicknamed “cyclist arterial disease”– results from repeated pressure on the external iliac, the part of the artery found in the hip area before it splits in two to run down the legs. Athletes put pressure on the iliac artery when they spend time bending forward while exercising. Over time, the artery becomes kinked and irritated. The body attempts to reduce the irritation by hardening the artery, which in turn restricts blood flow to the legs.

Symptoms of External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis

Symptoms of EIAE can seem fairly innocuous. Generally, the person begins to feel cramping in one of their legs when heavily exercising. For athletes, cramping is not unusual; they often feel some degree of muscle pain and fatigue when exercising. However, the cramps don’t go away; in fact, they get worse with time.

Eventually, a person with EIAE will find that the harder they go, the more difficult it is. The pain will graduate from mere cramping to more extreme bouts of pain. The person may feel like their leg is unstable and on the verge of seizing. Many patients describe the accelerated pain as burning or bursting. Eventually, they are not able to perform as they once did.

External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis vs Typical Arteriosclerosis

Typically arteriosclerosis is the product of old age, bad diet, smoking, and other poor health choices. As plaque builds up along the artery walls, it restricts blood flow. Cardiologists consider this as chemical irritation, unlike External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis which is a physical irritation.

While arteriosclerosis and arterial disease are very common in the United States, EIAE is rather rare. EIAE is difficult to diagnose as symptoms only appear during strenuous exercise and are often confused with general muscle fatigue. Arteriosclerosis symptoms are noticeable once a blockage occurs and require immediate medical attention.

Treating External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis

The best treatment for EIAE is to cease training altogether and allow the body to heal. However, since doctors discover most cases of EIAE in professional athletes, quitting is not an option for some. A surgical procedure where the kinked part of your artery is removed and replaced with a bit of vein tissue in its place. Vein tissue is much more flexible and can withstand pressure a bit better. The procedure is risky. In 2007, professional cyclist Ryan Cox died while recuperating from a vascular lesion operation.

 

If you’re an athlete and you are experiencing debilitating pain in your leg while training, call Dr Stacie Grossfeld at 502-212-2663 today or visit Orthopaedic Specialists in Louisville, KY to seek medical care.

From Corporate Executive to Entrepreneur, Competitive Athlete Donna French Offers an Inspiring Family Story of Grit, Courage, Determination and Perseverance

Unexpected Career Pivot Leads to Joy Helping Others Get Fit

kickboxing classes louisville

Louisville entrepreneurs Donna and Glen French have enjoyed bringing kickboxing classes to the Louisville market.

When their son Hunter went away to college, Donna and Glen French found themselves in unfamiliar territory as neither of them had a job at the time. Having climbed the ranks of Brown & Williamson, Humana and Anthem, Donna was at a career crossroads armed with over 20 years of corporate marketing experience. Her husband Glen, who had spent several years building up a successful career as an accountant, had also recently finished up a job. So between the two of them, they had a powerful combination of skills and talent. Their options were seemingly limitless.

“At first we considered going out of state to a place like Florida to start a business,” explains Donna. “But then we decided to work with a franchise consultant who presented us with a few different options to consider. And when he suggested kickboxing, we both thought ‘Wow, does that ever sound like us!’”

Over the years, the French family enjoyed doing a lot of different activities together including martial arts. In fact, all three of them are second-degree black belts. So getting involved in an I Love Kickboxing franchise sounded worth exploring. (more…)

Back in the Game: How Dr. Stacie Grossfeld Helps Wrestling Champion Recover from Injury

Hunter French, Kentucky wrestling champion, came back from multiple injuries stronger than ever.

Hunter French became the 2013 State Wrestling Champion while he was a student at St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

Donna French and Dr. Stacie Grossfeld first met on the tennis court. Both women love the game and both have many years of experience competing at a very high level through the USTA. But when Donna’s son Hunter experienced a serious sports injury, she turned to Dr. Grossfield for another area of expertise

“During Hunter’s 8th grade year, he was 4 weeks away from regionals for wrestling and he got injured,” explains Donna. “We took him to Dr. Grossfeld and she was able to show him strengthening exercises and stretches so that he was still able to compete. Most doctors would have told him to stop competing. But she was able to treat the injury without making him stop the sport that he loved. She really understands competitive athletes and their need to be able to do the sport that they love.”

Anyone serious about their particular sport understands how important it is to get back in the game. Finding a physician capable of treating a particular injury or condition while understand an athlete’s drive and commitment makes all the difference in the world.

Shoulder Dislocation Only a Temporary Roadblock for Wrestling Superstar

As Hunter entered his junior year as a student athlete at St. Xavier High School, he faced another setback. This time he dislocated his shoulder, a serious injury that kept him off the wrestling mat. Once again, Hunter headed back to Dr. Grossfeld for treatment, but the solution was more than strengthening and stretches. This time, Hunter needed surgery followed by months of rehab. (more…)

Facts of Re-Injury Rates in Younger Patients Undergoing ACL Reconstruction

acl reconstructionA torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament, more commonly known as an ACL, can be a difficult injury for a high school or college athlete to sustain. Unfortunately, they are also the most common injuries sustained by athletes. Football, soccer, hockey, and basketball players are highly likely to sustain an ACL injury over their athletic career and ACL injuries are becoming more common thanks to a variety of factors including:

  • Increased competition among athletes
  • Single-sport specialization at a young age
  • Failure to take precaution against injury

Once an ACL injury occurs, there is only one solution for recovery and that is to undergo an ACL reconstruction. In an article published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in March of 2017, Dr. Toanen and his team of researchers found that regardless of age, ACL reconstruction is the best approach to repairing a torn ACL. Patients who opted for reconstructive surgery were able to return to the same activity level they were at prior to injury.  Additionally, patients were able to twist, turn, jump, and run as well as they were previously.

While ACL injury rates among athletes  are high, re-injury rates in patients who have undergone ACL reconstruction are high, as well. Furthermore, re-injury rates are consistent among multiple studies and a wide variety of situations can cause an ACL re-injury to occur. There are five major risk factors associated with re-tearing an ACL that has already been reconstructed. Those risk factors include:

  1. Being a younger age (under 20 years old)
  2. A family history of ACL injuries
  3. Returning to sports that strain the ACL
  4. Getting back into sports play too early
  5. Using allografts in active, young people

Multiple studies on ACL Reconstruction have been conducted. While the data varies study-to-study, the findings are similar.

Dr. Shelbourne et. al. in 2009

In 2009, the American Journal of Sports Medicine published a report by Dr. Shelbourne et. al. that found a 17% risk of an ACL injury recurring among patients under the age of 18. This statistic applied to both the surgical side and the contralateral side of the ACL. Dr. Shelbourne also found that as the patient aged, the risk of another ACL injury decreased substantially. Between the age of 19 and 25, chances of re-injury dropped to 7%. After the age of 25, patients were at a 4% risk of re-injuring the previously torn ACL.

Dr. Kamath et. al. in 2014

Dr. Kamath et. al. found an even higher rate of re-injury in a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2014. He concluded that 32% of athletes that had torn their ACLs in high school and were playing Division 1 sports in college were at risk of re-injuring the weakened knee or injuring the adverse knee.

Dr. Webster in 2014

A study done by a Dr. Webster that was published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine the same year also reported on the topic of re-injury rates in younger patients undergoing ACL reconstruction. Dr. Webster found a subsequent ACL injury rate of 29% in athletes who were less than 20 at the time of their surgery.

Additional Studies

Another study from the Swedish ACL Registry showed that adolescent patients ages 13 – 19 had a 3 times greater risk of contralateral ACL injury after undergoing ACL reconstruction. Additionally, The Kaiser Permanente ACL Registry has shown a 32% revision rate in patients undergoing ACL surgery that were under the age of 21. Furthermore, the revision rate decreased 4% each year the patient grew in age.

And finally, Dr. Kate Webster, who is of no relation to the Dr. Webster previously mentioned, conducted an extensive study on ACL re-injury fates and made some interesting findings. Dr. Kate Webster found that the highest re-rupture rate after undergoing ACL reconstruction was males who were under the age of 18. Said re-rupture rate was recorded at 28.3% which means that over a quarter of males who have injured their ACLs prior to turning 18 will re-injure the same knee. Webster also found that 74% of recurrent ACL injuries which have occurred after undergoing reconstruction occur within 2 years of surgery and that 18% of patients reported contralateral ACL injuries within 4 years of their initial reconstructions.

Multiple medical doctors have conducted studies surrounding ACL re-injury rates in a wide variety of situations. Overall, the trend proves that once an athlete under the age of 18 suffers a tear to an ACL, their chances of re-injuring that same ligament or injuring the contralateral ligament are extremely high. This is especially true in athletes who continue to pursue their sports careers into college after the initial injury.

If you are an athlete in middle school, high school, or college who has suffered a tear to an ACL, undergone reconstruction, and are still playing sports, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld today.

Dr. Grossfeld is a double-board certified orthopedic surgeon with a focus in sports medicine and has extensive experience with torn ACL injuries. Dr. Grossfeld can help determine a safe approach to strengthening the reconstructed ACL and help establish a preventative exercise routine. Contact Dr. Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists today by clicking here or calling 502-212-2663.

I Broke My Collarbone… What’s Next?

broken collarboneA clavicle fracture, more commonly known as a broken collarbone, is a common injury and one that is most often the result of a hard blow or fall. Athletes who participate in contact sports are highly likely to suffer from broken collarbones; however, clavicle fractures are also common in car accident victims. This is especially true of people who incorrectly wear their seatbelts. There have even been incidents in which newborns have sustained broken collarbones from passing through the birth canal.

While broken collarbones occur in a wide variety of people and stem from many situations, the symptoms of a fractured clavicle are the same. A broken collarbone is an obvious injury and a crack is usually heard when the bone breaks. Afterwards, if your collarbone is broken you will have some of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling and pain in the area
  • Difficulty moving your arm and shoulder
  • Grinding when raising your arm
  • Shoulder sagging
  • A swollen bump around the area of the injury

If you have any of these symptoms after suffering a hard blow or fall, visit a doctor’s office for a full physical exam and X-rays. These procedures will help a doctor diagnose you and confirm that your collarbone is, in fact, broken. What are the next steps to take once you are diagnosed with a broken collarbone? There aren’t many things you can do to speed up the healing process, but there are steps to take to ensure that the healing process goes as smoothly as possible.

Steps to Take After Suffering a Broken Collarbone

After you’ve visited a doctor and they’ve diagnosed you with a broken collarbone, it is a waiting game as you heal. Most of the time a broken collarbone heals on its own and all you can do is wait; however there are some ways to help speed up the healing process.

Splint or Brace Your Shoulder

Applying a splint or brace to the shoulder that is on the same side as the broken collarbone can help with the healing process. The bone will need to fuse back together in order to mend itself and limited mobility is the best way for that process to happen. When you apply a splint or a brace to the shoulder in question, you’re preventing unnecessary movement from disrupting the break.

Sling Your Arm

Getting your arm into a sling is another way to help speed up the healing process for a broken collarbone. With your arm in a sling, there will be little to no pressure to support the weight of your arm. This will allow your shoulder to relax and the broken collarbone will quickly start to fuse together. It is important to note that you won’t want to use the sling for more than just a few days.

Treat Pain with OTC Painkillers

Anti-inflammatory painkillers aren’t going to help speed up the healing process, but they will help with pain management as your collarbone heals. Over the counter (OTC) painkillers such as Ibuprofen and other aspirins will help ease pain and swelling in the injury area. Be careful on dosages though as painkillers have side effects that include increased risk of ulcers and bleeding. Check with your doctor prior to starting a pain management regimen.

Participate in Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a strenuous part of recovery from any injury, but it is also so important to practice strengthening exercises and improve your range-of-motion slowly. Physical therapy exercises will help to strengthen the weakened collarbone and also increase your chances of avoiding a re-injury.

Whether you practice some of these tips on speeding up the healing process or not, it will take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks for your broken collarbone to fully heal. In some cases, you may need to consider surgery to completely fix a broken collarbone. This is especially true if ligaments were also damaged when the break occurred. Regardless of surgery and healing time, it is important to take it easy when returning to physical activity. Collarbones are extremely susceptible to suffering from re-breaks. This means it is especially important to exercise caution when participating in sporting events and exercise routines.

If you have suffered from a broken collarbone and are still experiencing pain, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld today. Dr. Grossfeld is a double board-certified orthopedic surgeon by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery with a specialty in sports medicine. She has a special interest in knee and shoulder reconstructions, shoulder injuries, and is currently accepting new patients. Contact Dr. Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists today by calling 502-212-2663 or visiting one of her two office locations in Louisville, Kentucky.

Surgical Risk Factors of Obesity

surgical risk factorsSurgery, whether major or minor, comes with risks. Surgical risks factors can be either unprecedented and unpreventable, but others can. One of the most pressing and preventable surgical risk factors is obesity. The prevalence of obesity continues to rise and an estimated 35 percent of adults in the United States have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Obesity is leading cause of preventable death worldwide with an increasing incidence and prevalence in adults and children. Being dangerously overweight is a worldwide epidemic. Medical providers know that obese patients have more complications with surgical procedures and also with their health in general.

“The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery” published two excellent articles in February of 2017. Both articles discussed obesity, its prevalence among the American population, and the surgical risk factors that accompanied obese patients undergoing surgery.  The first article written by Dr. Eric Wagner came out of the Mayo Clinic in Westchester, Minnesota. The second article written by Dr. Kimona Issa, was in conjunction with the Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Seton Hall University of Health And Medical Sciences, Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, out of New York, and the University of Louisville.

Both groups of researchers noted that as the average BMI of patients who were hoping to undergo surgery increased, the healthcare burden associated with obesity has become an important consideration in elective orthopedic procedures. It was noted that high BMIs are an independent risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis involving the hip. It is estimated that one-third of patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty have a BMI greater than 30 mg/meter square. Many are younger individuals. Both research papers looked specifically at postoperative and intraoperative complications in patients with a BMI of greater than 30.

Surgical Risk Factors of Obesity

Reoperation

The study out of the Mayo clinic with lead author, Dr. Eric Wagner, found that with increasing BMI numbers, the post-surgical and intraoperative complications increased as did surgical risk factors. They looked at several different categories. The first category was reoperation. The authors found a strong association between an increased risk of reoperation with increasing BMI. They also found a significant association between increasing BMI and the risk of implant revision or removal.

Hip Dislocation

Patients with an increased BMI had an increased risk of hip dislocation within six months of the surgery. The risk of early dislocation increased in a nearly linear manner beginning at a BMI of 35 kg/meter square with a 5 percent increase for each BMI unit.

They also discussed the high risk of hip dislocation within the first six months after total hip arthroplasty in patients with a higher BMI. This risk is associated with the extraarticular fatty tissue that acts as a fulcrum for dislocation. There is also greater risk of suboptimal implant position because of technical difficulties associated with the procedure in patients with a high BMI.

Infection

The heightened risk of infection is one of the most worrisome surgical risk factors these studies found. They found a striking association between BMI and complication risk same for wound infection (superficial or deep). There is an 8 percent increase in risk per unit of BMI greater than 25 kg/meter square. Patients with a BMI of greater than 40 kg/meter square had a fourfold increase in risk of infection relative to patients who had a healthy weight and BMI.

They also found a strong association between the development of the deep periprosthetic infection. This means that the infection not only involved the wound, but around the total hip replacement components. They found an increased risk of about 9 percent for each unit of BMI greater than 25 kg/meter square.

For patients with osteoarthritis, there was an increased risk of about 10 percent for each unit of BMI greater than 25 kg/meter square. The authors felt that the infection risk was probably higher because of the large adipose tissue layer present in obese patients which is associated with comorbidities, such as diabetes and a potential longer operating time required for patients with a high BMI.

These studies prove that a high BMI can certainly affect one’s surgical outcomes. There are several risk factors for obese patients that may be going under the knife. It is beneficial for one’s health to lower their BMI before undergoing major surgeries. This could also improve one’s pain and open the possibility of avoiding surgery altogether.

Dr. Grossfeld shares this information in order to inform her patients on the seriousness of orthopedic surgery and obesity. Call 502-212-2663 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Grossfeld. She can help you with your weight loss goals and discuss treatment options for your pain.

Lyme Disease and the Potential for Lyme Arthritis

Catching Lyme disease alone is already an unwanted and complicated concern. To make matters worse, if left untreated for too long Lyme disease can lead to the development of lyme arthritis.It is especially important for doctors to be vigilant when it comes to examining patients who show symptoms of joint pain after being affected by Lyme disease.

According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, approximately 60% of improperly treated Lyme disease patients will develop some manner of joint pain. Most commonly the knee is the main affected area. Both small and large joints having the potential for swelling. Typically the frequency and severity of swelling and pain will decrease over time. However, approximately 10% of ill-treated patients will develop chronic arthritis.

Cause of Lyme Arthritis

Lyme Arthritis

A tick bite can potentially lead to Lyme disease through transmission of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Being bitten by a tick does not guarantee Lyme disease, but if the tick is infected by the bacterium then the chances increase. If the bitten individual develops Lyme disease, they should immediately seek medical attention.

After the development of Lyme disease, there is potential for the bacterium to invade the joints. This leads to inflammation in the surrounding tissue and can eventually wear down the cartilage of the joints. It is not always obvious to the affected individual that they have Lyme disease, let alone Lyme arthritis. This makes it especially important for medical practitioners to be attentive to patients with joint problems in areas where ticks are common.

Prevention and Treatment

Lyme arthritis

The symptoms of Lyme arthritis often do not appear until the later stages of Lyme disease. Within the first few weeks of being bitten, patients feel flu-like symptoms, stiff neck, headaches, among other symptoms. But those who develop Lyme arthritis don’t usually notice joint pain for months or even a year after being bitten.To help avoid the potential for letting Lyme disease progress into Lyme arthritis look for the following symptoms if you’ve been bitten by a tick:

  • Rash near the insect bite
  • Aching, redness or swelling in one or more joints especially the knee
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Headache

While these symptoms are helpful indicators, sometimes they never develop or go unnoticed by the affected individuals. One of the best ways to prevent Lyme arthritis is to be aware of the potential symptoms. Once you are familiar with the possible effects, then you will better be able to inform your doctor. Lyme arthritis most commonly develops because it goes untreated for too long. If you and your doctor catch the symptoms early on, then the chances decrease.

If you have been bitten by a tick recently, or think you might be developing Lyme disease it is essential that you contact your medical professional right away.Those who live in the Kentucky area, and want to know more about the treatment available for Lyme arthritis, should give Louisville Orthopaedic Specialists a call today at (502) 212-2663. To learn more about Lyme disease and its symptoms in women, read our previous blog post here.

What Clicking Knees Could Mean

Clicking Knees are Very CommonA common occurrence for a lot of people is the sound of their knee joints “clicking” when they sit down, stand up, or put a lot of weight on their knee. For the most part the issue of clicking knees is not any indication of injury or cause for concern. Most doctors advise that unless the clicking sound is accompanied by pain in the knee, then you shouldn’t worry. There are many harmless reasons for the clicking sound. However, if you are experiencing clicking in your knees that is accompanied by pain, or difficulty moving, then you should look into some potential causes with your primary care physician.

Below are a few of the common explanations for clicking knees:

Meniscus Tears

The meniscus is often referred to as the “shock absorber.” It is made up of two disks that keep the kneecap in place. If one of the disks is damaged, it can disrupt the balance of the knee. A Mensical tear can cause a clicking sound in the knee because the disk is rubbing against parts of the area it usually doesn’t come in contact with.

Cartilage Injury

Occasionally the cartilage covering the kneecap can become worn down. This may cause a piece of cartilage to dislocate and catch inside the joint. When this happen, people describe the feeling as a grinding sensation within their knee.

Extra Tissue

Sometimes you can build up additional unnecessary tissue around the knee joint. The build up will cause the tissue to be trapped between parts of the joint. This will cause a clicking whenever the knee joint is moving.  

Runner’s Knee

This condition is often caused by an injury or overuse of the tibia. Runner’s knee happens when the kneecap isn’t aligned with the femur. This displacement will often make the knee pop, or click whenever utilized.

Arthritis

The inflammation that occurs with arthritis will cause the knee to align differently than usual. Along with clicking knees, arthritis can also cause stiffness in the joint.

An ACL Tear or MCL Tear

Injuries unto themselves, an ACL or MCL tear will cause pain and stiffness in the knee joint. The injury will also affect the location of the kneecap within the leg, which may cause clicking knees.

If you are experiencing clicking knees that are accompanied by pain, or inhibiting you from movement, there are treatment options available. Call Orthopaedic Specialists at 502-212-2663 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Grossfeld today!

 

15 Habits of Healthy People

15 Habits of Healthy PeopleWhile eating nutritious foods and working out are great ways to improve your health, there is so much more to consider. Health and wellness requires a holistic approach that not only focuses on nutrition and fitness, but other areas as well. In order to achieve optimal health, it may be worth your while to take a look at the 15 habits of healthy people.

  1. Eat Well: Eating fruits and veggies is important, but don’t forget to add in other food groups. Healthy people are those that add in new food groups and make good choices in the kitchen and at restaurants.
  2. Exercise Often: Healthy people are constantly on the move and getting in their workout whenever possible. These people make time for exercise instead of simply fitting it in whenever convenient.
  3. Drink Lots of Water: Healthy people are constantly gulping down water throughout the day. Instead of drinking soda and coffee throughout the day, try getting your  recommended 8 glasses of water daily.
  4. Sleep: This may sound easy, but for some this is easier said than done. Healthy people are always well rested and stick to a solid sleep schedule. This will help you succeed throughout the day and stay focused.
  5. Smile: Healthy people tend to be happy people. Try smiling more and letting others see your radiant affection.
  6. Practice Good Hygiene: To be clean is another way to be happy. Always practice good hygiene and don’t forget to floss!
  7. Try New Things: Healthy people aren’t afraid to try new things from making a new recipe, to trying snowboarding for the first time. Be spontaneous and adventurous in your healthy lifestyle.
  8. Friends: Surround yourself with happy, positive people that care about you. These friends will help you stay focused on your healthy mission in life.
  9. Practice Portion Control: Healthy people allow themselves to have a treat now and then. The reason they are able to enjoy themselves is because they practice portion control and healthy serving sizes.
  10. Avoid Addictive Habits: Smoking and binge drinking keep individuals from living a healthy lifestyle. Those that lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle refrain from addictive behaviors like smoking and other harmful activities.
  11. Set Goals: Healthy people are constantly striving for improvement. This new year don’t forget to set goals and reward yourself for these accomplishments
  12. Schedule Routine Appointments: To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should schedule regular appointments with your physician to monitor different areas of your health. You should also obtain preventative health screenings during your visits.  
  13. Balance: In order to be healthy, you have to address every aspect of your body and mind. Juggling, prioritizing and scheduling can get stressful at times. Limit your stress by learning how to balance your life.
  14. Quiet Time: Give yourself some time everyday to reflect, think and schedule all of your priorities and tasks. Take time for yourself each and everyday in order to reduce stress and maintain your balance.
  15. Be Flexible: It is important to realize that everyone is healthy in their own way. Don’t let the stress and structure of trying to maintain the perfect body or mind keep you from doing the things you love. Try and be flexible and understanding toward conflict and trials.

Healthy, happy people are those who are able to bring a positive, disciplined attitude into the many areas of daily living. A healthy lifestyle involves a good attitude, conscious effort, determination and work hard. Try adding some healthy habits to your routine and read more of our health and nutrition blogs here. Your body and mind will thank you!

Local Marathoner Shares Orthopaedic Specialists Experience

When many of us are still at home sound asleep, Andy Gunkler has already completed his first workout of the day.

Most days Gunkler wakes up at 4:45 a.m. and heads to the YMCA Norton Commons a short while later for spin classes, weight lifting and swimming. When not at the YMCA, you might see him around town taking long walks with his dogs, or riding his bicycle with the Louisville Bike Club.

Describing himself as a “lifelong athlete,” Gunkler aims to take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, and over the years he’s participated in nearly every sport you can imagine including: football, basketball, skiing, tennis, golf, racquetball, swimming, kayaking and cycling. And he’s run at least 10 marathons.

Sustaining an Injury

Andy Gunkler

Andy Gunkler and Alyce Weixler after completing the 2017 New York City Triathlon

After enjoying many injury-free years as an athlete, Gunkler experienced two major injuries in less than a year. The first, a painful lower back injury, was likely the result of long term wear and tear. Gunkler explains that he was in very serious pain, and after going to his regular doctor, he decided to consult with another regular from his early morning spin classes — Louisville orthopedic and sports medicine physician Dr. Stacie Grossfeld. Recognizing Gunkler’s symptoms, Dr. Grossfeld advised Gunkler on next steps and before long he was on the operating table undergoing surgery.

Fortunately, this determined 65-year-old bounced back with lightning speed, walking 5 miles just 48 hours after surgery. And then about 6 months later Gunkler took a serious fall while alpine skiing, crashing into a tree, and breaking some bones in his shoulder. “I don’t even remember falling,” he laughs, “and now I don’t have any pain, but it did impact the mobility in one of my arms.” Gunkler stretches both arms up to demonstrate and there is about a foot difference in his ability to extend the arm on his injured side.

Recovery at Lightning Speed

Despite the setbacks, Gunkler doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Most recently he and his wife
(and favorite training partner) Alyce Weixler completed the New York Olympic Triathlon which
included a 1500 meter swim, a 25 mile bike ride and a 10k run. Describing the experience,
Gunkler lights up talking about swimming in the Hudson. “In most races, the older people start
last, but in this one, they started first!” Gunkler explains enthusiastically, “The current really
helped improve my normal swim time in the Hudson,” he goes on to explain, “and the running
portion of the race was around Central Park which was wonderful!”

Gunkler moved to Louisville about 5 years ago from New Orleans where he completed two half-Ironmans and he has his own business working in franchise consulting. Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Gunkler has many happy memories of the time he spent playing basketball with his dad. In high school he participated in football, basketball, track and field, and tennis, and as a student at Wobash College in Crawfordsville Indiana, he played both football and hockey. “I came from an active family,” Gunkler explains, “My dad was one of the star basketball players for his high school team, and
my mom had a stint as a New York City model. She ate a healthy diet and walked up to 25 miles
a day, with 10 miles completed by 7 a.m.”

Staying Motivated

When asked about what keeps him motivated, Gunkler explains that he doesn’t need any
special books, training pros, music, or apps. He says that it’s just a mental thing … “You just kick
yourself in the butt and get going,” he states matter-of-factly… “A lot of us know what to do,
you just have to be disciplined enough to do it … And it helps if you have a little bit of attitude,”
Gunkler says smiling.

Reflecting on it more, Gunkler does emphasize the importance of having friends that are also
physically active. He talks fondly of his bicycle group that often shares a meal and good
conversations after their Tuesday night rides. He also enjoys getting involved in organizations
focused on making Louisville a better place to live. This includes serving on the Board of
Directors at the Norton Commons YMCA.

And he also likes supporting organizations that focus on helping out kids including the Brendon
P. Bachelor Foundation. This new organization recently launched Brendon’s Duffels of Hope, a
program designed to offer comfort to children who are in the foster system due in large part to
the drug epidemic in Kentucky.

People like Gunkler are a huge inspiration and an asset to our community. We’re very excited to
be able to consider him a part of the Orthopaedic Specialists family and we look forward to
seeing what challenges and goals he successfully accomplishes next.