The Not So Funny Feeling You Get When You Hit Your Funny Bone

prp injectionsUsing PRP Injections to Treat Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

We’ve all been there. Somehow, and often out of nowhere, you hit your elbow in just the right spot to cause severe pain to shoot up and down your arm. This pain occurs whether you barely hit your elbow or when you really smack it against something. Why? The pain you feel when you hit your funny bone is one unlike any other. What causes that not so funny feeling you get when you hit your funny bone? And what do you do if the pain that you feel when you hit your funny bone is intolerable?

When you hit your funny bone, you’re not actually hitting a bone at all. Instead, you’re hitting a nerve. The specific nerve that causes the odd pain associated with hitting your funny bone is your ulnar nerve. It is one of the three central nerves in your arm. The ulnar nerve starts running down your body at the back of your neck and ends in your hand. Like most of the nerves in your body, the ulnar nerve is protected for most of its length. However, there are some vulnerable spots where the ulnar nerve can be bumped and bruised. One of these vulnerable areas where the ulnar nerve is susceptible to compression is in the elbow.

When the ulnar nerve is compressed, it sends shooting, tingling pain and numbness through the arm.

You often feel this pain travel down the forearm before it spreads into the hand and specifically your ring and pinky fingers. This is where the ulnar nerve does most of its work, so the pain follows that path. Often the pain dissipates as quickly as it arises, but what if it didn’t?

The pain of hitting your funny bone is jarring. On the same level as stubbing your toe, when it happens, it seems to be the worst thing in the world. However, for some, that pain never goes away but instead becomes a constant chronic pain. This problem is called cubital tunnel syndrome and arises when the ulnar nerve is continuously compressed.

Signs of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Continuous compression of the ulnar nerve can result in cubital tunnel syndrome, but what are the signs? The signs of cubital tunnel syndrome match the symptoms of hitting your funny bone, but last much longer.

The most common signs include:

  • Numbness in the forearm, hand, and fingers that quickly appears and lingers
  • Sudden pain that occurs when the elbow is bent and continues to radiate
  • A tingling sensation that arises and lasts abnormally longer

These symptoms can often lead to even more irritation that results in the numbness being consistent and settling in to the hand and forearm. In severe situations, the numbness can result in muscle weakness that settles in the forearm and hand. This can further lead to some patients developing the “ulnar claw” where the pinky and ring finger curl up in response to extensive numbness.

How to Relieve Pressure on the Ulnar Nerve

There are a few medical approaches to relieving pressure on the ulnar nerve and healing cubital tunnel syndrome. More often than not, splinting the elbow keeps the affected arm straight and relieves pressure on the nerve. Splinting the elbow not only keeps the arm straight, but also prevents patients from making repetitive movements that could further irritate the ulnar nerve.

If splinting and pressure relief does not alleviate the ulnar nerve pressure, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. Surgery is another option for those suffering from chronic pain as a result of cubital tunnel syndrome. However, there are other medical approaches that are not as common but may offer pain relief. One of these, which Dr. Stacie Grossfeld offers in Louisville, KY, are PRP injections.

PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, injections are used to help a wide variety of conditions such as tennis elbow, achilles tendonitis, and osteoarthritis. While PRP injections are most often used to relieve joint pain they can also help with cubital tunnel syndrome, as well.

PRP injections are injections of plasma – the liquid part of your blood – with more platelets injected into it. The platelets in our blood promote healing. PRP injections have a higher concentration of platelets which help fight inflammation and pain. PRP injections are known to treat chronic pain, chronic injuries, and can even help with pain management post surgery.

Chronic pain of any form should not be tolerated. Chronic pain, such as cubital tunnel syndrome, that affects the functionality of your hands and the comfort of your day-to-day life should be treated immediately. If splinting isn’t working and pain medication isn’t helping, consider speaking to your medical provider about PRP injections. They can help to alleviate the pain and allow you to return to your normal day-to-day life.

Dr. Stacie Grossfeld has over 25 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in sports medicine. She is one of the only doctors in the Louisville, KY area to offer PRP injections at an affordable price regardless of insurance and medical coverage. If you are suffering from chronic pain due to a compressed ulnar nerve or other injury, call Orthopaedic Specialists at 502-212-2663 today to schedule an appointment.

A Personal Surgical Journey: An Interview with Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Stacie Grossfeld

elbow injuryDr Grossfeld is a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon who is an avid tennis player. She unfortunately tore a tendon in her elbow that is commonly injured in tennis players and needed to under go surgery for the condition. What makes this story unique is she actually performs the elbow injury surgery she underwent on a regular basis. She also treats a wide variety of athletes from elite juniors, pro-athletes, and weekend warriors. Does Dr. Grossfeld practice what she preaches? How was it for her to be on the other side of the table as a patient instead of as the surgeon? Did she learn any lessons through this experience?

Tell me a little bit about your passion for tennis and your injuries.

Dr. Grossfeld: I started playing tennis late in life at age 34. Prior to that I had been a competitive cyclist and cross country ski racer. So, tennis was a totally new sport for me that used an entirely different skill set. I jumped into it with both feet and started out by joining a local USTA team and competing at a 3.5 USTA level. The third year I played my team made it to the semifinals of the National USTA 3.5 tournament held in San Diego, California. The next year I got bumped up to a 4.0 level and then to a 4.5 level. At this level most of the women have played tennis in college, but I had only been playing for 5 years.

I wanted to get better, so I increased the amount of days I was playing to 4-5 times a week and started playing 5.0 gals.

As a general rule – if you are a 5.0 player you have played Division I tennis in college. The 5.0 girls can hit the ball so hard and with such speed and power, it’s amazing. At this time I had been playing competitive tennis for over 15 years, but then my elbow injury occurred.

The 5.0 girls just hit the ball so hard that it was too hard for my elbow and my common extensor tendon tore. Having treated this elbow injury for over 25 years i knew exactly when I tore it during a match. I knew that it was a big and bad deal. So, I did the exact opposite of what I knew was right… I put on a really tight elbow brace and tried to finish out the season. I got to the point where when I hit the ball a little off center I thought I would cry or get sick to my stomach.

Not only could I not play tennis because of the intense pain. I was also having pain performing surgery. I decided I needed to cross the aisle, so to speak, and become a patient. It was hard. I had never been seriously injured before.

The MRI of my right elbow revealed what I suspected and a surgery was scheduled. This was not as easy as it sounds because I have a busy surgical schedule and patients were scheduled for me to do their surgery. Details were worked out and I was put on the OR schedule.

My goals was to be back on the tennis court in 3 months.

elbow injuryAfter 2 weeks, my incision had healed and I started performing surgeries again while trying to avoid any forceful use of my arm. Well that situation did not turn out so well. In the middle of a rotator cuff repair I felt my tendon re-tear. The follow-up MRI revealed that the second tendon tear was much worse than the first.

A revision surgery was scheduled and this time I planned on being out of the operating room for 2 months. The next two months I followed my personal professional post operative instructions to the T. Going to PT twice a week as well as wearing my elbow and wrist brace.

What was kind of humorous was I had just performed this exact same surgery on one of my patients a week before my surgery. When I saw her in the office, we chatted about the elbow injury recovery process together. Not sure how many times that happens to a surgeon!

After 2 months I started back in the operating room and was super careful about everything knowing this was the last chance I had to get my common extensor tendon to heal.

I was in the gym/YMCA on a spin bike six days a week while recovering. Riding was easy on the elbow, and a great way to maintain my cardio fitness. It also helped to improve blood flow to the elbow and promote healing in my elbow injury. I also started back to a low weight and high rep lifting program. The lifting program was focused around strengthening all the muscles in the shoulder and core to protect the elbow. This is something I have been telling my patients for years on a daily basis.

For me, goal number one was to get back to doing surgery pain free. Goal number two was to be able to perform my normal activities of daily living pain free. Tennis was not a priority

Everything was going well and about 6 months later I returned to my first tennis clinic with a group of players that were a couple levels lower than my previously held level. The thought was that they would hit the ball with less force and it would allow me to ease back into the sport . Almost immediately I started having a new weird pain in my wrist.

I did a self examination of my painful wrist, a series of X-rays and a wrist MRI. Good grief I headed back on the operating room schedule to fix a torn wrist ligament (TFCC) and have my ulna bone shortened. During surgery a stainless steel plate and 8 screws were placed in my forearm .

That surgery went fine and recovery was great. I followed the same advice that I give my patients after surgery and I did fine.

After a year later and lots of weight lifting, tons of cardio, and zero pain I picked up my tennis racket while cleaning out a closet. Dang that racket felt good in my hand! It was like I was shaking hands with a long lost friend. And then a thought crept into my mind …

elbow injuryMaybe if I just started playing on softer surfaces, such as clay, in a non-competitive situation and strictly doubles then I may be able to play tennis again for fun. I thought this would work and it did! I started to play one day a week, with easy practice, no lessons, no pressure, for fun and waited to see how my elbow injury would do. It did fine.

I then slowly bumped playing up to twice a week, every other week, and didn’t play during the winter months with the same results!

After two years post surgery for my elbow injury I decided to play competitively as a doubles player in an outdoor summer league that wasn’t as competitive as the USTA league. That went well for two seasons. I was in the “super chill” tennis program. Doubles on clay, playing only 6 months of the year and only playing twice a week max with lots of time in the gym for cardio/ strength. This routine was helping me to avoid further tennis injuries to my elbow or wrist.

Then an interesting thing happened at the end of this summer’s doubles league.

I ended up playing a doubles match against a gal and her mom. The daughter had played D-1 college and then played on the satellite circuit with pro players. This gal was amazing to say the least . During the match I was able to trade ground strokes with her, we would get into some rally’s with hard hitting ground strokes and my elbow wouldn’t hurt. I was hitting forehands and backhands with this really good player with no pain and hitting like I had done before my injury.

It was at this time that the thought crept back into my mind that I might be able to play singles again at the same level I had played prior to being injured.

I started working out with my prior 4.5 USTA team. But with a total different mind set. No solo lessons, only hit once a week and keep cross training. Last week I stepped onto the court and played my first 4.5 singles USTA match in almost 3 years. I had a blast and winning was just icing on the cake.

What advice can you give your patients from your elbow injury experience?

Dr. Grossfeld: Its important to listen to your doctor and ask lots of questions. My arm wasn’t going to be the same, but I had to figure out a way to return to tennis. I decided to get there by working around my elbow. Your surgeon understands your injury better than anyone especially if there is surgery involved. They understand the quality of the tissue being repaired which is really important and plays a role in how fast a recovery can occur if a full recovery can occur.

Does being a patient make you a better doctor?

Dr. Grossfeld: I think most doctors are compassionate which is the reason we became doctors and empathy is so important as a physician. Being in the shoes as a patient reinforces what I do as a doctor. The experience also confirmed how important the whole healing process is from start to finish.

Why is rehab so important?

Dr. Grossfeld: It is critical to make sure the range of motion and strength is restored to the area that has been injured. Some people can do this without the guidance of a physical therapist and some people /surgeries require a PT to help with recovery. I also talk to my patients about the team approach; the surgeon, the patient and PT . We are all a team to get them better and we get have our special role that is critical.

What was the most important part of your return to play after an elbow injury?

Dr. Grossfeld: Understanding what my limitations are and being realistic about them.

Dr. Grossfeld has over 10 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon and experience as a patient, as well. If you have injured your elbow, wrist, or shoulder while playing sports or in some other way, contact her today. Call 502-212-2663 to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who has been voted as  one of the Top Ten Orthopedic Doctors in Louisville, KY and has received a Patient’s Choice Award as a top rated doctor from http://www.vitals.com/

Shoulder Pain? 10 Signs of a Shoulder Overuse Injury

shoulder overuse injuryAs far as joints go, the shoulder is very closely fitted into its socket. Because of its close fit, the archway between bones and ligaments in the shoulder are prone to inflammation, especially if the shoulder is overused. In extreme cases, as a response to the inflammation the body may develop scar tissue or calcific deposits that require removal. In less extreme instances, the person may develop shoulder bursitis (when the bursa becomes inflamed and painful) or tendinitis (when the tendons or surrounding tissue become inflamed, swollen, and tender).

Shoulder bursitis and tendinitis are overuse injuries that often affect athletes that use their arms in repeated overhead motions. For instance, baseball players, football quarterbacks, tennis players, and swimmers often suffer from shoulder overuse injury. The pain typically occurs at the tip of the shoulder and can run down the deltoid muscle into the upper arm. Other causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Bone spur – Extra bone tissue in the shoulder rubs against a tendon, nerve, or other bone, causing loss of movement and pain.
  • Impingement syndrome – A shoulder muscle, tendon, and busar sac rub against the shoulder blade. Impingement syndrome often develops in conjunction with tendinitis. It can also result from poor posture.
  • Tear (both partial and full-thickness) – Gradual weakening of the shoulder tendons lead to micro tears that eventually develop into full-thickness tears.

Below are 10 signs that your shoulder pain is the result of a shoulder overuse injury like bursitis or tendinitis.

  1. The shoulder pain is persistent and occurs even when the arm is not in use.
  2. The pain feels more like a lasting, dull ache rather than a sharp pain.
  3. The pain occurs as a gradual onset.
  4. You don’t have history of a direct injury to the shoulder area.
  5. You experience stiffness or aching after or during competition or training.
  6. There is tenderness at one point in the shoulder.
  7. You are missing training sessions due to the severity of the pain in your shoulder.
  8. There is visible swelling in the shoulder area.
  9. The amount of time for the pain to dissipate increases.
  10. Loss of motion in the shoulder.

Your shoulders and shoulder joints are important parts of your body and should be monitored with care. If you feel that you may be at risk of overusing your shoulders and developing a shoulder overuse injury, reevaluate your day-to-day activity. A shoulder overuse injury can often be prevented with rest, rehabilitation, and a new approach to activity.

Dr. Stacie Grossfeld has over 10 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon including various types of shoulder surgery. If you would like more information on shoulder overuse injury and recovery, contact Orthopaedic Specialists today at 502-212-2663.

Signs You May Have a Pinched Nerve

pinched nerveNerves: What Are They?

You have two kinds of nerves in your body: motor nerves and sensory nerves. Motor nerves send signals from the brain to the rest of your body. Say, for instance, your brain wants to to change the channel with the remote. Your motor nerves are the telephone line that tells your arm to rise.

Sensory nerves, on the other hand, send information the other way from the body to the brain. They connect to our senses: seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and touching. Any time you see a rainbow while smelling freshly picked flowers and hearing your favorite song with the taste of your favorite food in your mouth and a warm breeze running across your skin, your sensory nerves are sending that information back to your brain.

What Is A “Pinched Nerve?”

When a minor injury or trauma compresses a nerve, rendering it unable to carry its signals, it is “pinched.” Even simple actions like lifting a heavy bag or twisting your back at a weird angle can result in a nerve compression. Typically, a persona with a pinched nerve only feels symptoms for a couple days maximum.

If the nerve compression doesn’t heal, the protective barrier that protects it can break down which allows fluid to build up. That build up can lead to swelling, pressure, and scarring that can permanently interfere with the nerve’s function.

Pinched Nerve Symptoms

Symptoms of a pinched nerve include localized pain near the compression. However, a person can also feel pain far removed from the point of pressure of a pinched nerve. Say you have a pinched nerve in the neck. You may feel pain in the neck, but the discomfort can also travel down the nerve’s path– for instance, down your arm, through your wrist, and even into your hand and fingers.

Because your nerves travel to all extremities of the body, you may feel symptoms of a pinched nerve.

Other signs you may have a pinched nerve include:

  • Radiating pain from the spine.
  • “Pins and needles” sensation in extremities.
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty performing normal movements (i.e. turning one’s head)

If your pinched nerve symptoms persist, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld.  With over 10 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Grossfeld has extensive knowledge surrounding musculature. If you are suffering from prolonged pinched nerve symptoms, contact Orthopaedic Specialists today at 502-212-2663.

5 Facts About the Elbow from an Elbow Specialist

elbow specialistUnless you are an elbow specialist or orthopedic surgeon, you probably rarely think about your elbows unless you’ve recently hit your “funny” bone. While our elbows may exist without much thought, they are complex joint systems that makes a multitude of daily activities possible. The elbow is a hinge joint system made up of three bones: the ulna, radius, and humerus. Thanks to these bones and a system of nerves, muscles, and tendons, we are able to bend and straighten our arms. This complex system that makes our elbows also allows us to twist our wrists and make a variety of other movements. 

Elbow injuries are common occurrences in an orthopedic surgeon’s office. More often than not, elbow injuries arise from overuse. Common elbow injuries that are of orthopedic concern include: Golfer’s elbow, Tennis elbow, and tears to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL). These injuries can all be prevented. However, a lot of people aren’t aware of prevention methods and other facts about the elbow that could help keep them out of an orthopedic surgeon’s office. To help others, we’ve outlined a collection of five facts about the elbow from Dr. Stacie Grossfeld, an orthopedic surgeon and elbow specialist, in Louisville, Kentucky.

5 Interesting Facts about the Elbow and Elbow Injuries from an Elbow Specialist

    1. Most athletes are familiar with the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) and its vulnerability.

      However, not all athletes are aware of the other vulnerable parts of the elbow including: the epicondyles which flare from the humerus and have muscles attached to them, as well as the olecranon which forms the pointed part of your elbow and the coronoid process. Athletes commonly tear their UCL, but fractures to the other projections in the elbow are more common among children. Osteoarthritis often affects these areas, as well, and can often result in a complete elbow replacement if the condition becomes detrimental enough.

    2. As previously stated, athletes and children are the most common parties to obtain elbow injuries.

      One of the leading causes of elbow injuries in children is an unsuspecting backyard toy – the trampoline. In fact, trampolines are the cause of so many broken elbows and wrists among children that the American Board of Pediatrics issued a warning against recreational trampoline use.

    3. The main muscles that control your elbow are your biceps and triceps.

      Your biceps are located on the front of your upper arm and bend your elbow while your triceps, on the back of your arm, straighten your elbow out. These muscles work together to give us the power to lift objects and perform other functions. However, there are 21 other muscles called flexor and extensor muscles that help control the elbow and provide it with stability as well as flexibility.

    4. Tennis elbow is one of the most common elbow injuries that orthopedic surgeons see.

      Despite the name, you don’t need to play tennis to get tennis elbow. The medical term for tennis elbow is “lateral epicondylitis. While tennis players are more prone to this injury, it can happen to anyone. Lateral epicondylitis is the degeneration of the tendons that are on the outer side of the elbow. Repetitive movements often cause lateral epicondylitis and an elbow specialist will  recommend seeking medical attention as soon as the pain starts.

    5. Orthopedic surgeons and elbow specialists have noticed a recent rise in cases of ulnar neuritis in the past 10 years.

      Ulnar neuritis occurs when the ulnar nerve becomes inflamed and results in numbness or tingling sensations in the hand. Cases of ulnar neuritis have skyrocketed since the rise in smartphone usage. Orthopedic surgeons recommend that if you are experiencing ulnar neuritis that you put down your phone and monitor your ergonomics.

The elbow is a fascinating part of the body that often gets overlooked until it’s injured.

Prevention is key to avoiding an elbow injury. By learning more about the elbow, its anatomy, and functionality, you can easily prevent injuries. However, not all injuries are preventable. If you do suffer an elbow injury, it is most likely going to be from overuse or blunt trauma. Early treatment when overuse injuries start to arise can help prevent permanent elbow damage. If you start to feel pain in your elbow, contact an orthopedic specialist or elbow specialist as soon as possible. Additionally, blunt trauma injuries should be examined immediately and a treatment plan should be established to avoid permanent damage.

If you are suffering from elbow pain or have recently injured one of your elbows, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld immediately. Dr. Grossfeld is a double board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a focus in sports medicine who routinely treats and repairs elbow injuries. Dr. Grossfeld can be reached at either of her two office locations in Louisville, Kentucky by calling 502-212-2663.

Common Types of Joint Pain During Pregnancy – An Overview

joint pain during pregnancyWhen you’re pregnant, you get to know your body in a way unlike any other. This happens as you experience a plethora of new sensations including some that are not all that pleasant. For instance: you may begin to feel soreness, stiffness, or even downright pain in your elbows, fingers, knees, hips, and other joints. Joint pain during pregnancy is actually fairly common among women. This is especially true for women experiencing first-time pregnancies. This stiffness and pain can make it difficult for a woman to get around comfortably in her day-to-day life.

Pregnancy Weight Gain and Joint Pain

You may think it’s your body simply reacting to weight gain and you are partially right. If this is your first time being pregnant, the extra pounds your baby adds can cause soreness especially in the knees and heels. But while weight gain may be a contributor to your pregnancy joint pain, it may not be the only reason for joint pain.

Hip & Pelvic Joint Pain During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant your body begins to release additional pregnancy-specific hormones. These hormones soften your hip and pelvic joints in order to prepare your body for delivery. These hormones also soften the ligaments in these areas, which makes it easier for them to overstretch which causes pain in the hips, groin, pubis, inner thighs, and lower back. This pain typically comes on around the second trimester. By the third trimester, the weight of the baby puts more of the pressure on the joints in the legs (see above).

Other Kinds of Expected Joint Pain During Pregnancy

  • Sacroiliac joint pain occurs in your lower back, around the spinal area. This pain limits movement and can affect ligaments and muscles in the back.
  • Pregnant women often develop carpal tunnel syndrome that causes joint pain in the fingers, hands, and lower forearm. The woman’s grip is weakened and the compression of nerves in the hand may cause tingling sensations.
  • Fluid collection in or around joints can cause joint pain during pregnancy.

Minor joint pain during pregnancy is normal and can be expected. However, if you are unable to walk, move, or stand for normal periods of time, you may be experiencing something more serious. If you are experiencing joint pain during pregnancy, or any other severe pain, contact your doctor.

If you or someone you know is pregnant and experiencing joint pain, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists in Louisville, KY. Dr. Grossfeld has over 15 years of medical experience and can help treat and relieve joint pain due to the changes your body goes through when pregnant. Contact the office today at 502-212-2663 to discuss your pain and schedule an appointment.

Determination, Devotion and Joy Define Louisville Elite Master Athlete and Triathlete Champion Della Irby

ironman Though Della enjoyed a successful career in banking, her true passion has long been as a competitive athlete. She started her athletic career as an avid runner. After successfully completing more than 25 marathons, she decided she was ready for a new kind of challenge so she decided to try a triathlon. A triathlon can be short, medium or long distance. A short distance is called a “sprint,” a medium distance is either a half Ironman or 70.3 mile distance and the long distance triathlon is an Ironman which is 140.6 mile distance.

Della completed her first sprint distance triathlon at Tom Sawyer Park in the late 90s. Following that experience, Della recalls watching the Ironman World Championship on television one day and saying to herself, “I want to do THAT!” … And this was the beginning of a journey that continues today.

This new challenge was significant on many levels. Della did not have any previous experience doing Ironman distance triathlons and she was not a particularly skilled swimmer.  There were a lot of obstacles she had to work through in order to land herself a place on the starting line of the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii, which is likely the precise reason why Della found it so compelling. While most of us would see this sort of task at hand as too enormous to contemplate, Della has a completely different perspective. Instead of talking herself out of major obstacles and challenges, she gravitates towards them. For Della, it’s the bigger the challenge the better.

ironmanDella Keeps Her Eyes on the Prize: The Road to Kona

Della completed her first Ironman Triathlon at Ironman Florida in 2002. Reflecting back on it she explains… “Even though it was the slowest swim of my life, I came in 12th, and that was encouraging.” Soon she was looking for other triathlons to compete and working hard to fine-tune her swimming technique.

For years Della kept her focus, doing a variety of triathlons around the country, tirelessly practicing her swim technique, and improving along the way. And in 2007 in the Ironman Louisville she accomplished a major life goal – she qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii. Six weeks later, there she was, 45 years old and achieving a dream. And after that initial year, she’s qualified every year for Hawaii until 2015 when she was sidelined by a sports injury.

Pushing through Sports Injuries as Part of Life

When you push your body as much as Della you’re going to suffer a few injuries along the way. Talking about her various sports injuries, Della chuckles: “You name it, I’ve had it! I’ve put a lot of miles on this body.”

Here are just a few of the physical hurdles Della has dealt with and overcome. She’s undergone hamstring reattachment surgery, various knee injuries, back problems and a broken foot, just to name a few.

Talking about her approach to injury, Della explains: “In order to be 55 years old and still competing as much and as hard as I am, you’ve got to have a good orthopedic doctor in your back pocket. Someone you can really trust. And I do. For me, that person is Dr. Stacie Grossfeld.”

Dr. Grossfeld is one of Della’s favorite doctors, in large part because of the care she puts into treating elite athletes. Della explains: “Stacie goes the extra mile for athletes. She really ‘gets’ me. She understands my passion and she works with me. For example, this year the Tuesday before the Louisville Ironman, I needed an injection in my knee. I had an appointment with Dr. Grossfeld and that made all the difference.”

ironmanTriathlon Training at an Elite Level: The Physical

Della maintains a rigorous fitness schedule that involves a combination of biking, running and swimming throughout the week. When Della talks about her training routine, her face lights up with joy.

Though Della obviously loves a good race, she explains that she enjoys training even more than competing.  That might be in part because it is something that she frequently shares with her husband. Not only does he attend all of her competitions, but they also ride bikes together and he often accompanies her on her longer training bike rides on the weekends.

Della works closely with Coach Kevin Purcell to create a schedule designed to keep her in great shape while also helping to avoid injury. She explains, “My coach helps me listen to my body more closely. He helps me avoid overtraining. He really understands master female athletes.”

Similarly, Della also spends time working as a coach for aspiring triathletes. Not only does she offer more than 25 years of endurance racing experience, but she’s also an IRONMAN Certified Coach, USA Triathlon certified coach and US Cycling certified coach. She’s coached people at every skill level from beginners to seasoned pros.

The Mental Edge: Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Being ready for a triathlon involves a lot of things. It involves plenty of time training in each event (swimming, running and biking) and it involves good nutrition and hydration. It also requires mental toughness, which, according to Della, is something you can’t really teach. Della explains, “At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. You really have to get used to that.”

Della explains though that this discomfort is not the same thing as injury. There is a difference between being injured and hurting because you are pushing yourself outside your normal comfort zone. This is where the mental toughness really comes in, and Della is a true master of it.

Della explains: “When I line up on the starting line, I know that sometimes I am competing with athletes that are better than me on paper (not fitter but faster) but in a long event like an Ironman, I can often beat them. This is because I have the mental psychology to do it.”

Della explains that sometimes successfully completing an Ironman triathlon is not about who is going to slow down because everyone is. It is about who is going to slow down the least. In an event as long and as grueling as the Ironman distance triathlon (140.6 miles)… a lot of people start to give up and some even quit.

And this is where Della is different.

She has an unusual tenacity and grit that spurs her to carry on, no matter what.She explains, “Every time I compete I know I’m going to really push my body, and I know it is going to hurt. But I’m not going to die from that.” Weeks before a race, Della explains that she does a lot of personal affirmations or “self-talk” where she admits to herself outwardly that she knows she will hurt in the upcoming race, that she knows it is going to be painful and difficult, but that she’ll be OK. She’ll pull through and finish the race.

In all the competitions that Della has entered, she has only dropped out of one. That is because she actually passed out. It was in 2003 in Wisconsin in 97 degree weather. Della was so disappointed not to have finished the race that the next day she signed up to do it the following year. Laughing, she says, “I was going to conquer that race. It wasn’t going to conquer me.”

ironmanLooking Ahead to What’s Next – “I can; I will!”

Goal setting is a major part of Della’s strategy. For example, this year as she turned 55 she set two big goals: qualify for the Boston Marathon and qualify for the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii. She achieved both goals, competing in many other races in between including the Gulf Cost and the Louisville Ironman.

As she looks ahead, she anticipates spending a little less time competing in the Ironman distance, but she’ll still race in the half Ironman distance and local races. She also looks forward to more time focused on her two adorable grandchildren. Talking about her preschool age grandson, Della’s face breaks out into a huge smile: “He brings out the very best in me” she explains.

Della also plans to continue doing more with her work coaching triathletes and working with local organizations like the YMCA (she has previously served on the Board of Directors for the organization).

Regardless of what she decides to do next, one thing’s for sure. If Della puts her mind to it, we know she’ll accomplish it.

Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC Wins Louisville Business of the Year 2017 from Business First

Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC receives Business of the Year Award

Over 300 attendees filled the Seelbach ballroom in downtown Louisville to recognize the achievements of 19 Louisville-area businesses and organizations. Businesses and organizations of varying sizes and across industries were recognized in six different categories: Very Large, Large, Medium, Small, Emerging, Non-Profit. Louisville orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine doctor, and business owner Dr. Stacie Grossfeld was in attendance to accept the Louisville 2017 Business of the Year Award for the “Small Business” category on behalf of Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC.
This Business First program has been recognizing Louisville-area businesses since 2005, identifying top companies that demonstrate growth, innovation and excellent leadership. 
Business of the Year 2017 Award to Orthopaedic Specialists PLLCIn receiving the award, Dr. Grossfeld recognized all of the contributions various members of the Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC team contribute each and every day which made an award like this possible.

This year’s event sponsors included: Stites & Harbison PLLC; Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co.; WHAS-TV, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller and Nanz & Kraft Florists.

Along with business awards, the Excellence in Leadership award was given to Gill Holland for the work he is currently doing to redevelop Louisville’s Portland neighborhood.

Louisville Business First is part of American City Business Journals (www.acbj.com) and is led by Market President and Publisher Gary Tyler.

 

 

 

Safety Risks that Often Result in Pediatric Amputations

1 out of every 200 people in the United Statespediatric amputations has an amputation. Most of them are caused by complications of the vascular system, especially in patients who suffer from diabetes. However, traumatic amputations are another factor and are much more common in children. Between 1990 and 2002, most of the traumatic limb pediatric amputations “occurred around 1 year of age with a steady decline seen up to 7 years of age.” A 1996 retrospective study observed 74 patients under 18 admitted into emergency rooms with a traumatic amputation injury and found there were three major safety risks that lead to these cases.

3 Main Causes of Pediatric Amputations Among Children

1. Power Lawn Mowers

Accidents involving power lawn mowers are the most common cause of pediatric amputation. In 2007 over 16,000 children were admitted into the ER because of a lawnmower accident. A 2006 study found that 5% of pediatric mower injuries resulted in amputations.

Help protect your children by following these safety procedures when using a power mower:

  • Only allow children 12 and older operate any lawn mower, 16 and older if it’s a riding mower.
  • Never carry a child as a passenger on your riding mower.
  • Invest in a mower that stops moving if the operator releases the handle.
  • Never let a child adjust the blade settings.
  • Always wait for the blades to completely stop before performing maintenance on the machine.

2. Motor Vehicle Crashes

Auto accidents aren’t always preventable, but there are certain safety measures all parents should take to protect their children.

  • Kids under 13 should not sit in the front seat.
  • Use appropriate seats and restraints for your child’s size.
  • Follow all directions when installing restraints.
  • Pick a car with high safety ratings.
  • Never leave your child or children in a car unattended.

3. Gunshot Wounds

Gunshot wounds result in the longest mean length hospital stays for pediatric amputations. If you are one out of three American households with a gun, talk to your kids about safety measures. Teach them to never touch a gun and if they see one, to leave the area right away and get an adult. Keep your guns unloaded, out of reach, and locked where your children cannot access them.

Children are at a higher risk for injury in general because of their inexperience and energy; however, there are plenty of ways to prevent your child from severely hurting themselves. The precautions mentioned above are a great place to start in injury prevention. If your child is severely injured and may be in need of an amputation, contact your local orthopedic surgeon immediately.

Dr. Stacie Grossfeld has over 10 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon including pediatric orthopedics. If you would like more information on pediatric amputations and recovery, contact Orthopaedic Specialists today at 502-212-2663.

The ABCs of Orthopedics: Part 2

orthopedicsLast week, Orthopaedic Specialists published an article entitled “The ABCs of Orthopedics: Part 1” that listed common terms related to orthopedics. We covered letter A – M and are back this week to complete the list in Part 2.

We hope that by defining 26 common terms used in the study of orthopedics, we will help patients become familiar with verbiage and more relaxed. Dr. Stacie Grossfeld strives to have a relaxed and comfortable office environment at both of her Louisville, KY locations. Familiarity with terms used by office staff can often remove the edge of nerves induced by an office visit. So, without further ado, we present the second installment of the ABCs of Orthopedics as defined by Dr. Stacie Grossfeld.

The ABCs of Orthopedics: Part 2 (N-Z)

N is for Neuropathic Arthritis

More commonly known as “Charcot foot”, neuropathic arthritis is the degeneration of a weight bearing joint. Neuropathic arthritis often results in a bony obstruction and deformity. There are many reasons that one can develop neuropathic arthritis including: diabetes, leprosy, syphilis, a spinal cord injury, or peroneal muscular atrophy. Despite all the causes, diabetes is the leading cause in America and the foot is the most commonly affected part of the body.

O is for Osteoporosis

Bone health is extremely important for orthopedic surgeons and their patients, but unless you’ve recently suffered a bone injury then it’s safe to say you don’t really think about your bones. However, osteoporosis – the degradation of bones – affects over 50 million Americans with one in two being women and one in four being men.

P is for Pediatric Orthopedic Injuries

Unfortunately, pediatric orthopedic injuries are common and most often include: wrist sprains, femur fractures, trampoline injuries, winter sports injuries, and broken clavicles. While pediatric orthopedic injuries are scary for parents and children alike, they are easily treatable and often heal without any issues arising.

Q is for Quadricep Tendon Ruptures

Quadricep tendon ruptures are classified as a sport injury and most often occur in football players. Interesting studies done by the AJSM looked specifically at injuries in the NFL and specifically reviewed quadricep tendon ruptures. Both studies found that men who used steroids were much more likely to rupture their quadricep tendons. Diabetes, renal failure, RA, and infections could also predispose players to ruptures.

R is for Rotator Cuff Repair

The rotator cuff is a part of your shoulder that allows you to move your arm in a full circular motion without pain. However, often due to injury or overuse, it is crucial that the rotator cuff undergo repair. Rotator cuff repair is a common surgery performed by orthopedic specialists like Dr. Stacie Grossfeld and she specializes in rotator cuff repair performed arthroscopically.

S is for SLAP Tear

A SLAP tear is a term for a common shoulder injury that refers to a tear or rip in the labrum. The labrum is the tissue that surrounds and protects your shoulder socket and when it is torn, it is referred to as a SLAP tear which stands for Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior. SLAP tears are common injuries among people who often lift heavy things or exercise a lot of repetitive overhead movements. However, SLAP tears can also occur when a person falls on their shoulder or when someone braces themselves during a car crash.

T is for Tendinitis

Tendinitis occurs when the tissue that connects bone to muscle inflames and affects the area in which it has swelled. There are different types of tendinitis that focus on different areas of the body. Most often they are named after the sport that is most commonly the cause of the inflammation. Examples include “tennis elbow” and “golfer’s elbow”; however, tendinitis can affect other areas of the body including the knees, shoulders, calves, and wrists.

U is for Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury

An ulnar collateral ligament injury is similar to an ACL injury. However, UCLs affect elbows and are an injury that commonly affects the throwing athlete. Repetitive forces to the elbow from throwing tend to place abnormal stress on the joint and predispose athletes to acute injuries. However, like a torn ACL, a torn UCL can be fixed through reconstructive surgery.

V is for Voluntary Muscle

A voluntary muscle is a muscle that can be controlled by will and is attached to the skeleton. You can often identify a voluntary muscle because it is one that can be worked out through strength training exercises. Voluntary muscles include: quadriceps, biceps, pectorals, etc. In contrast to voluntary muscles, your body is also made of involuntary muscles that do not need to be controlled, but instead simply work on their own accord. A perfect example of a involuntary muscle is the heart which is often thought of as an organ, but is in fact a muscle.

W is for Weight Loss

Body weight affects health much more than most people are aware of. Being overweight, or obese, can have negative effects on your bones, muscles, joints, and organs. Weight loss is a great way to maintain your health. Often, for someone who is in need of a total knee replacement or other repair, weight loss is required to become an eligible surgical candidate. At Orthopaedic Specialists, we want our clients to live the best and healthiest lives they can which often starts with weight loss and exercise.

X is for Lower Extremity Avulsion Fractures

Lower extremity avulsion fractures are common injuries in pediatric and adolescent patients. This is because youths have growth plates that are still open and connected to tendons. When a traumatic event happens to areas of the body, often the plate suffers an avulsion fracture.

Y is for Youth Sport Specialization

What is considered as sport specialization? According to Dr. Brian Feeley, youth sport specialization is year-round, intensive training in a single sport. However, Dr. Feeley is also concerned that youth sport specialization at a young age increases the rates and risk of overuse injury and burnouts mentally. This can be especially true for youth athletes who start specializing in a single sport at a young age with a large group of peers. Some sports that fall into this category and should be monitored for overuse injuries include: cheerleading, gymnastics, football, and baseball.

Z is for Zika Virus

The Zika virus gained attention after the media started covering it after it started spreading at a fast rate. However, the Zika virus has been a concern since the 1950s in Central and South America. Due to the seriousness of the virus, it is important people are aware of symptoms. Symptoms include: headaches, rash, fever, joint and muscle pain. Conjunctivitis is also a main symptom of the Zika virus that can be a telltale sign if one is confused on what their symptoms mean. While there are no vaccinations against the virus, acetaminophen will help manage the pain until it passes. Once a person is infected with the virus, they are protected against future infections.

At Orthopaedic Specialists, we strive in making our patients and office visitors as comfortable as possible. We know that the medical field can be overwhelming and confusing. This is why we work so hard to achieve transparency between our office staff and patients. We hope these two installations of the ABCs of Orthopedics help to alleviate some confusion. 

Dr. Stacie Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists in Louisville, KY has over 20 years of medical experience. If you are suffering from bone, joint, or muscle pain or have experienced a sports-related injury, contact her today. You can contact Orthopaedic Specialists by calling 502-212-2663 or filling out a contact form.