Patient of the Month: Anne Shelburne

Meet our patient of the month Anne Shelburne!

anne shelburne

Anne and her husband, Tim, are both retired attorneys, who after meeting at the Brandeis School of Law, practiced law for 30 + years in Kentucky and North Carolina. Now the duo design, produce and sell decorative and functional art crafted from clay and wood out of their studio in Spencer County. Hobbies that once served as therapy during their careers as lawyers have now become their full time passion. Anne is a ceramicist, and Tim a woodworker. You can follow their work on Instagram at the handle @ridgeworksky or purchase it at the Edenside Gallery on Bardstown Road.

Anne fondly refers to her female figurines (pictured below) as “Queens.” She strives to depict the beauty, strength and resilience of women in each figurine.

Recently, while Anne was glazing one of her favorite Queens, it fell and the arm broke off at the right shoulder. Rather than discarding the broken Queen, Anne fired her and was pleased with the results, although she only has one arm. As fate would have it, just a few weeks later, Anne would suffer from a similar injury at the beach (fortunately she would get to keep her arm).

During a trip to North Carolina for an art show, Anne lost her balance on the beach while photographing gulls, landing on her right shoulder. Though she initially thought she had dislocated it, Dr. Grossfeld would later diagnose it as a displaced acromion fracture, an extremely unusual injury.

Luckily, with the right preventative measures, exercises and physical therapy, Anne has been able to avoid surgery and is recovering well. She’s even turned to her art as part of the healing process, beginning with a super imposed image of her one armed Queen onto the X-ray of her now healing fracture.

You can find Anne and Tim most days working away in their studio with their studio cat, Critter.

 

 

 

4 Things to Know About Recovering from an ACL Injury

ACL tear

If you have injured your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), you may be wondering about the recovery process. How long will it take? What does it involve? Can you return to the activities you enjoy? How will your body be effected long-term?

There are many factors that determine the answers to these questions for you. Here are 4 things for you to know about recovering from an ACL injury.

1. Degree of injury

When you injure your ACL, you have likely torn the ligament to some extent. However, the degree of the tear influences how long it will take for you to recover.

The severity of an ACL tear is often diagnosed by grade. A grade 1 ACL injury involves an ACL that has suffered mild damage and is not torn. Most of the time, this level of injury can be treated without surgery. A grade 2 injury is when an ACL is stretched and torn slightly, and a grade 3 injury is a complete tear. Surgery is often the best treatment for a torn ACL.

2. Common Treatments

There are a few common treatments for an ACL injury. One of the most common nonsurgical treatments is physical therapy. Importantly, this can help patients re-develop stability in their injured knee. Choosing to heal an ACL injury non-surgically may be the right option for patients who have less severe injuries, more sedentary lifestyles, or knees with open growth plates.

Another common treatment involves surgery. In the procedure, doctors rebuild the torn ACL using a ligament or tendon from elsewhere in the body. Patients with grade 3 injuries and active lifestyles that would be hindered by knee instability should consider surgery. After surgery, physical therapy treatment can help improve knee stability.

3. Recovery Timeline

The amount of time required for recovery depends on the type of treatment and each patient’s unique situation. In general, you may be able to resume normal activities after 6-12 months.

Recovery involves a significant amount of symptom management and rehabilitation. After surgery, addressing swelling and pain is crucial. You can do this by using ice, rest, pain relief drugs, and crutches in the first couple of weeks after surgery. Physical therapy also helps patients develop knee stability in the months following surgery.

4. Risks After Rehabilitation

There are some risks to be aware of after rehabilitation. Re-injury of the ACL occurs at the highest rate right after returning to activity. Some of the major risk factors for re-injury are young age (under 20), a family history of ACL injuries, returning to activities that strain the ACL, and returning to activity too soon. Additionally, around half of all people with an ACL injury have osteoarthritis later in life. Because of the risks after an ACL injury, doctors may discourage patients from returning to the full level of activity they had before their injury.

If you have an ACL injury or you have any questions about recovering from an ACL injury, you may want to consult with a professional for advice and treatment. Call Dr. Grossfeld’s office at 502-212-2663 for more information and an expert opinion.

 

3 Things You Need to Know About Running Injuries

Running injury

Chronic injuries are incredibly common for runners. These injuries occur over time due to a complex web of factors. Here are 3 things you need to know about running injuries.

1. Common Injuries

There are a multitude of injuries you can experience as a runner, but just a handful comprise the vast majority of all injuries. Here is a brief overview of the most common running injuries.

PFPS

Runner’s knee, officially called Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is an injury where knee pain recurs, particularly after extensive periods of sitting, altitude descent, and long runs.

Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an injury below the calf that occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes overstressed and irritated. Symptoms often include swelling or a dull pain above your heel that may recede after icing or rest.

Hamstring problems

Having tight, weak, or painful hamstrings is a common injury type that can slow down your pace and shorten your strides. Symptoms of hamstring problems often occur while running hills or running with higher speeds.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is an injury in which the tendons and ligaments on the bottom of the foot running between heel and toes become inflamed. Pain from plantar fasciitis is typically worst before the ligaments and tendons are warmed up, like first thing in the morning or at the beginning of a run.

Shinsplints

Shinsplints is a term given to medial tibial stress syndrome, where muscles around the tibia experience small tears. Tender or aching pain often accompanies runs but may go away afterwards.

ITBS

The iliotibial (IT) band, which extends from the outer thigh to the outer knee, rubs along the femur during running. Iliotibial Band Syntrom (ITBS) occurs when irritation develops from this, and symptoms often occur a few minutes into a run but disappear after.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures occur due to cumulative strain on a bone, commonly on the shins, heels, and feet. Pain often builds during a run and continues even when walking or being on your feet.

2. Preventing Running Injuries

Injury prevention is a key part of healthy and sustainable running. Here are a few aspects of running you can focus on to help prevent injuries.

Cadence

Many of the key ways to prevent chronic running injuries relate to running form. One important aspect of form is cadence. Cadence is a measurement of your strides per minute. An optimal cadence is generally thought to be 170 or higher, but can vary person to person. There is some evidence to suggest a higher cadence can improve overall running form and therefore reduce injury rate. A higher cadence tends to help the body become more biomechanically efficient.

One part of that efficiency is having a shorter stride, which reduces the force of impact when the foot hits the ground. Additionally, when feet strike closer to the midfoot and are more centered, as opposed to heel striking or striking on the outer foot, injury rates are reduced and efficiency is increased.

Periodization

Another key to injury prevention over time is periodization. Periodization entails planning an exercise schedule in periods of time or cycles to reach a specific goal or set of goals. Workout frequencies, types, lengths, and intensities are varied according to the goals of a period. Not only does this allow optimal preparation for performance, it also can help prevent injury.

For instance, when training for a race, a periodized plan might take place over 12-16 weeks and have gradual buildups, plateaus, dips, and descents in terms of mileage and intensity. Varied workout types like high intensity interval training, long runs, recovery runs, cross-training, strength training, and rest days might be spread throughout each week. After a race, a periodized plan might include several weeks of lower mileage and more frequent rest days, before adapting to meet another set of goals over several weeks or months..

Periodized training can help structure gradual increases in mileage over several months, which is extremely important for injury prevention. Adding too many miles too quickly is a very common way to develop injuries. Generally, you should not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% at a time, and you should include periods of slower increases, plateauing, and tapering.

Overall, periodization is an important way to think about training to optimize performance and prevent overuse injuries.

Cross-training

Cross-training, or training with other forms of exercise, is another powerful tool for injury prevention. Cycling, swimming, core exercises, stretching, and strength training are key ingredients to a healthy running schedule. These activities can help you develop the stability and flexibility needed to sustain training in a healthy and optimized way.

Listening to your body

As simple as it may seem, being mindful of how your body feels during running and responding accordingly is a powerful way to prevent injuries from developing or worsening. By using pain as a guide to how and when you run, you can avoid chronic injuries. Have a flexible approach to training- your body will thank you for it!

3. Recovering From Injuries

If you do develop an injury, it is critical to assess the severity and treat your body accordingly. In general, rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications are a good start for dealing with symptoms in the short term. Additionally, it’s important to seek professional medical advice to develop a plan for healing. Physical therapists can help you with your healing process, and can help you develop more sustainable and healthy practices so you won’t become injured again in the future. Sometimes, surgery might be the best option to help you heal.

For more information on running injury treatment and surgery, please contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld and the Orthopaedic Specialists at 502-212-2663.

Patient of the Month: Judy Morrison

Meet January’s patient of the month Judy Morrison!

At 68, Judy enjoys the outdoors and being physically active. Originally from New Jersey, Judy moved to Louisville in 1980 and is a mom of two as well as an investment adviser.

In May of 2019, Judy traveled with her daughter to hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain (also known as the Santiago de Compostela) a medieval pilgrimage that takes anywhere from 5-6 weeks to complete. The pilgrimage ultimately leads to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in Spain where legend has it his remains are buried.

Though her first reaction to the idea of the hike was to tell her daughter “you’re crazy,” Judy immediately became inspired after watching the movie “The Way,” in which actor Martin Sheen plays an American father who travels to France to retrieve the body of his estranged son (who died while attempting the pilgrimage) and ends up taking the journey himself in an effort to understand.

“After watching the film, I said to myself, ‘okay I’m doing this.'” Judy trained for 6 months to build her legs and upper body strength enough to be able to carry her backpack for the duration of their trip. The mother daughter duo began their trek in France, walking 5 days, at 15 miles a day on a trail marked by yellow arrows and clam shells.

However, it was during their travels that Judy aggravated her back one day when she went to hoist up her backpack. After 6 months of medicine and worrying that she had torn her rotator cuff, she was referred to Dr. Grossfeld by her doctor for a cortisone shot. Judy is happy to report that she is feeling much better and was actually able to swim laps for the first time very recently. “The thought of not being able to do things would be devastating.”

In May of 2020, Judy and her daughter plan to pick up where they left off. Although it was very challenging, I cannot recommend this hike enough. My favorite thing about the trip was the people that we met along the way and just the breathtaking scenery of the towns, country side and mountains that surrounded us.”

An Overview of Tommy John’s Surgery

tommy john's surgery

Athletes sustain injuries frequently, and some of these wounds can have life-long consequences. Many have to quit the field entirely because they suffered a career-ending injury. Fortunately, doctors and researchers work continuously to come up with effective treatments for such cases. Tommy John’s Surgery is a perfect example of this. Here’s a brief overview of this procedure:

When do You Need Tommy John’s Surgery?

Repetitive stress injuries are common in sports. Athletes that pitch or continuously throw fastballs often sustain Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) damage. This damage occurs when the constant stress or exertion causes an ulnar ligament tear. You’ll hear or feel a popping sensation along with immediate numbness. Other symptoms include swelling in the inner part of an elbow, a weakened grip, elbow stiffness, inability to straighten the arm without significant discomfort, and a tingling sensation.

History of This Surgery

Tommy John’s Surgery is formally known as Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction. Its primary objective is to stabilize a patient’s elbow, eliminate pain, and restore range of motion. Most athletes return to the field in a year or so after undergoing this surgery.

This reconstruction was first introduced by Frank Jobe, M.D., a well-known orthopedist who treated Major League Baseball pitcher Tommy John back in 1974. Until 1974, a ligament tear was considered permanent. Athletes with this injury had a ‘dead arm’ with long-term mobility issues. Dr. Jobe came up with an effective way to restore the UCL that lets athletes resume their careers after recovery. Around 85% of the athletes were able to continue playing with no compromise in skill.

What Happens During Tommy John’s Surgery?

UCL reconstruction is an outpatient procedure performed by a board certified orthopedic surgeon that takes around 60 to 90 minutes. Patients can return home after the surgery is done and complete their recovery. You’ll be given general anesthesia, so make sure someone accompanies you for the procedure.

This procedure involves taking a tendon from some other part of your body or a donor and replacing a damaged UCL with it. Here’s a more detailed look at what happens:

  1. Harvesting a Graft

The surgeon will first harvest a graft from some other part of your body like a palmaris longus tendon, big toe extensor tendon, or hamstring tendon. A doctor can harvest a ligament from any part of a patient’s body, but these three locations are ideal.

  1. Cleaning a Joint

A surgeon will make a 3-4 inch incision outside the patient’s elbow to access the torn UCL. They will move all muscles and tissue aside and examine the damaged area carefully. The surgeon will then remove all the damaged tissue and only small sections of the original ligament if necessary. These fragments can help reinforce a new graft, making your elbow more stable.

  1. Adding the Graft

There are several ways of adding a graft to an elbow joint. Many surgeons use a docking or figure 8 technique, both of which have high success rates. Here’s a look at this process:

  • The surgeon drills holes in the upper arm (humerus) and lower arm (ulna) bones.
  • They thread the graft tendon through these holes carefully, making sure not to cause any damage.
  • The graft is secured in place with screws, buttons, or sutures.

Once the graft is in place, everything is stitched up once again. This procedure has a high success rate, but complications can happen. Some patients develop infections at the implant or harvest sites. The new graft can also tear or rupture, especially if it isn’t secured correctly. Patients can sustain blood vessel or nerve damage, which causes temporary or permanent numbness.

Patients should not move their elbow for around 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Once the site is healed, you can start on physical therapy for a complete recovery. For more information on elbow injuries, surgery, or other sports-related injuries, please contact Orthopaedic Specialists at 502-212-2663.

6 Things You Should Know About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

what is carpal tunnel syndrome

Approximately one in 20 people develop carpal tunnel syndrome at least once in their lifetime, and 3-6% of people in the US suffer from it. It’s a fairly common injury, especially in modern times, and this painful condition can worsen with time, which is why you need to get treatment as quickly as possible. Here’s a look at some facts you should know about it:

  1. What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the median nerve in your wrist. It happens when a nerve or tendon swells or becomes inflamed. Compressed nerves and nerve trauma is relatively common, especially in women. While it is considered a modern ailment, earliest reports of CTS date back to the 1800s.

  1. Who Are Most Vulnerable to It?

People with rheumatoid arthritis, patients with hypothyroidism, people with diabetes, and pregnant women are most vulnerable to it. Carpal tunnel syndrome usually disappears after pregnancy, but sometimes it can linger for several months. Don’t delay in getting treatment if that happens because there may be other underlying issues.

  1. What are the Symptoms?

Early symptoms include a certain amount of stiffness that develops overnight. Patients feel the need to shake out their hands, hoping for some relief from discomfort. As the condition progresses, you may experience pain, numbness, and tingling. Patients usually feel these symptoms in their thumb and two fingers closest to it.

Severe nerve compression also weakens a person’s grip. You may struggle with opening bottles, holding items, or applying any pressure. Symptoms can get worse if a patient continues using the ailing hand for extended periods.

  1. What Causes CTS?

Repetitive stress is a common cause of CTS. If you engage in activities like typing or playing the piano, you may develop CTS. Sometimes, there’s no clear underlying cause. Here’s a look at some commonly known triggers:

  • Regular use of vibrating heavy machinery
  • Edema or fluid retention caused by pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis that causes inflammation or degeneration of nerves
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Injury to the wrist
  • Overactive pituitary gland
  • Lesions
  • Tumor or cyst in your wrist
  • Structural problems

These are some common causes of CTS. Get a complete examination and prompt treatment to ensure there are no serious underlying issues.

  1. Testing for CTS

Most doctors will ask questions about your symptoms and see if they are an indication of carpal tunnel syndrome. They will scrutinize a patient’s hand, looking for any sign of weakness around the thumb. Here’s a look at some tests they perform:

  • Tinel’s Test
  • Phalen’s test for wrist-flexion
  • Electromyography
  • Nerve conduction study
  • Imaging scans like x-ray or ultrasound (MRIs are ineffective)
  • Blood tests to look for underlying conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, or arthritis.

Once a doctor has conducted some of these tests, they’ll come up with a treatment plan. In most cases, physical therapy is sufficient.

  1. Medical Treatment Options

A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or corticosteroid injections for treatment. Injections administered directly to the carpal tunnel are more effective than oral medication. If the symptoms last for more than six months despite various treatments, a doctor may recommend carpal tunnel release or decompression surgery. This outpatient procedure has a 90% success rate and provides long-term relief.

Patients can also perform some at-home exercises and take preventive measures to address this problem. Resting your hands, icing the affected area, wrist splints, etc., can help.

If you experience symptoms, contact your physician immediately for treatment. Prompt treatment is the only way of avoiding permanent consequences. It is also a good idea to look at underlying conditions like diabetes or obesity to prevent reoccurrence.  

Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Stacie Grossfeld, has decades of experience helping patients in Louisville Kentucky with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Orthopaedic Specialists now at 502-212-2663.

 

Answers to 5 Common Questions about Rotator Cuff Tears

rotator cuff tear

Shoulder injuries are very common, especially among active individuals. These injuries are often a result of excessive strain or a sprain caused by activities like softball, swimming, tennis, baseball, golf, or weight training. People also develop problems because of rotator cuff degeneration, which manifests over time and is a symptom of age. One of the most common injuries to this region is called a ‘rotator cuff tear.’

  1. What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Many rotator cuff injuries start with an inflammation caused by strain or sprain. This inflammation is called tendonitis, and it can heal gradually if your shoulder remains stable. Sometimes, injuries like tendonitis continue to worsen until the tendons become frayed or torn, and this is called a rotator cuff tear.

A tear can be partial or full based on its depth. A partial-thickness tear penetrates a small portion of a tendon and can be quite shallow. A full-thickness tear penetrates to the bone, causing the tendon to separate from it.

  1. How Do I Know I Have Injured my Rotator Cuff?

Pain is the most glaring symptom of an injury. Many patients also experience a great deal of stiffness or loss of mobility. Here’s a look at some common symptoms:

  • Pain while performing overhead activities.
  • Shoulder pain at night, which impacts the person’s sleep.
  • Weakness in the injured shoulder.
  • Problems with daily activities like bathing, dressing, reaching outward, etc.

If you experience any of the signs mentioned above, visit a doctor immediately for treatment. Untreated rotator cuff tears can cause chronic pain, which compromises a patient’s quality of life.

  1. What Happens When I See the Doctor?

If you have a shoulder injury, it is best to visit a specialist orthopedic surgeon. They will look at your medical history, past injuries, and conduct a thorough physical examination. A doctor will first take an x-ray to check for fractures or breaks before ordering an MRI for torn cuffs. Some doctors also request an ultrasound if the MRI isn’t an option.

After they have conducted a thorough examination, the doctor will come up with a treatment plan to address the situation.

  1. What are the Treatment Options?

A surgeon’s treatment approach depends on the extent of your injury. In most cases,  no invasive procedure is needed. A patient will heal with time and well-planned physical therapy. If you’re in too much pain, a doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, pain killers, or steroid injections to make things easier.

If your tear goes deeper than 50% of the tendon, you will require surgery. The doctor will repair all anatomical damage to aid in recovery. As a patient’s tear heals, they will regain their full range of motion.

Physical therapy is an important aspect of this recovery process. Therapists will recommend exercises that strengthen muscle, improve flexibility, and expand the overall range of motion. Without therapy, you won’t be able to recover completely as the tendon will remain weak for years.

  1. What can I expect Post Surgery?

Rotator cuff tear repair surgery is an outpatient treatment. You won’t be asked to stay in the hospital unless there are complications. Patients must wear a sling for several weeks after treatment, especially if they have undergone surgery. This sling keeps your shoulder immobile and provides support.

Recovery depends on factors like the patient’s current health, chronic medical conditions like diabetes, patient’s age, bad habits like smoking, etc. Your surgeon and physical therapist will work together on a post-procedure treatment plan. They will track your recovery before providing permission for everyday activities.

Dr. Stacie Grossfeld has decades of experience helping patients in Louisville Kentucky with rotator cuff pain. As a double board certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician, Dr. Grossfeld is able to diagnose and treat all types of shoulder injuries including rotator cuff tears. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call Orthopaedic Specialists at 502-212-2663.

 

Common Foot Injuries You Might Not Know About

Feet are some of the most resilient parts of our body. They can handle a lot of abuse but remain strong enough to support the entire body weight. Unfortunately, they are also the most neglected parts of the body. Most people ignore things like persistent soreness, random spikes of pain, and other such issues. Here’s a look at some of the most common foot injuries that you might not know much about:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis

Have you ever experienced a sharp, spiking pain that seems to originate from within the foot? It usually occurs in the heel and is most prominent in the mornings. Most people ignore this pain because it fades away gradually throughout the day. The pain is caused by plantar fasciitis and happens because you have tight or tense hamstrings and calves.

People who place a lot of pressure on their hamstrings or calves are vulnerable to this injury. For example, if your job requires standing at a desk in high-heels for several hours at a time, you might experience plantar fasciitis regularly. The best way to treat this problem is to stretch and relax the muscles until they are more flexible. A relaxing massage can also help.

  1. Bunions

A bunion is a lump that grows on the base of your big toe. The skin on this bump can become sore, tender and red. People who wear tight shoes regularly are more vulnerable to bunions. The condition is also common among people with a genetic predisposition to arthritis.

You need to switch to more comfortable shoes if you develop bunions. You will experience more pain if the soles brush harshly against the inflammation. If the injury becomes too irritated, apply some ice to calm the inflammation, and stay off your feet for some time. Doctors won’t recommend surgery unless the pain is severe enough to affect your ability to function.

  1. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are quite common, and they can be very painful. Despite this, people tend to ignore them and continue with their regular activities. Ignoring stress fractures can lead to problems in the future. The injury is most common among runners, especially if they don’t use proper running techniques, and they land incorrectly. This places a lot of stress on the foot, ankles, and legs; leading to small fractures.

The fractures heal naturally, and most people don’t even notice the injury after a while. However, it is a good idea to be a little careful after sustaining a stress fracture. Wear a medical boot to provide more protection to the injured site and avoid placing too much pressure on it. This allows your foot to heal properly and reduces the possibility of a fracture happening again.

  1. Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are the most common type of foot injury. They happen when a person’s foot rolls outward, and the ankle rolls inward, which strains all surrounding ligaments. If the injury is severe, you’ll experience intense pain and swelling in the area. Don’t try to walk an ankle sprain off because that will worsen your injury. Ankle injuries happen when people lose their balance and land on their feet awkwardly. It is also common in people with a tendency to wear high-heeled shoes.

The best way to treat this condition is to RICE. Rest your ankle immediately after the injury, ice it for around 20 minutes every few hours, wrap it with compression tape to reduce swelling, and keep the injured foot elevated.

Other common ankle injuries include Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, and turf toe. Don’t ignore any pain from your feet and ankles, regardless of how mild it is. Proper treatment and care can keep your feet healthy.

As always, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention prior to self-diagnosing. Dr. Stacie Grossfeld with Orthopaedic Specialists is experienced in diagnosing and treating many different kinds of foot injuries. Getting an expert opinion will have back on your feet in no time.

 

Preventing & Treating Head Injuries In Student Athletes

Young athletes experience sports injuries, especially head injuries, at an alarming rate. Most of these go unreported and untreated, which can lead to serious medical complications down the line. Student-athletes are enthusiastic, reckless, and they tend to dismiss any pain to remain on the field. That’s why parents, teachers, and coaches need to be vigilant. Ignoring the problem can lead to long-term cognitive and developmental issues.

Understanding Student Athletes

It is important to understand students and their responses to injuries before coming up with solutions for this problem. Here’s a look at what you need to know:

  • Early adolescents between the ages of 11 to 14 don’t understand the short term and long term consequences of head injuries. They’re less likely to report it or follow the treatment advice. Doctors need to question them directly to get a straight answer from the child.
  • Children between the ages of 14 and 16 are more independent, but also more susceptible to peer pressure. They also have a sense of invulnerability, which means their judgment is compromised. They are most likely to continue playing against medical advice. Student-athletes in this age group value social status and the opinion of their peers more than their health. Doctors need to approach them carefully to ensure they don’t go against medical advice.
  • Student-athletes, in their late adolescence, are more reasonable. They around 17 to 19 years old and have a better understanding of the limitations of their bodies. They’re more likely to report and less likely to ignore doctor’s advice.

Adults need to alter their treatment approach according to the child’s level of development. The goal isn’t to discourage the athlete from sports or forcing them to rebel.

Preventive Measures

Prevention is the best cure. Taking preventive measures before and during the game can help athletes avoid injuries and maintain peak performance. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make sure students have good-quality sports appropriate protective gear. Helmets and mouth guards are the most critical components of the gear. Make sure they fit correctly because loose helmets do more harm than good.
  • Students need proper training and should know how to avoid injuries. They shouldn’t take unnecessary risks and learn the right techniques to play the game.
  • Awareness can also help students avoid injury, and schools should educate children about concussions and other head injuries. They should explain the short term and long term consequences.
  • Schools should also have a testing system in place to help diagnose head injuries. Tests like Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing or ImPACT can help identify students who have been injured.
  • Teachers and coaches can also encourage peer reporting. Teammates can report to coaches if they see that their team member is injured.

These preventive measures can help students avoid most injuries. Unfortunately, injuries can happen even if we take all possible precautions.

Treating Head Injuries

The most common and effective treatment for a concussion is physical and mental rest. The patient shouldn’t engage in any intense physical activity like playing a game, running, or even walking long distances. Physical exertion will trigger symptoms like dizziness, nausea, headaches, and blurred vision.

The patient also needs to avoid mental exertion for a set period. This means they can’t watch TV, read books, play video games, or engage in activity that requires cognitive focus.

Students will start to recover gradually as their brain heals. They can engage in mild physical and mental activities as long as those activities don’t trigger the symptoms. Athletes should only get back on the field once they have recovered completely.

Dr. Grossfeld has over 25 years of experience in orthopedic medicine and is a double board-certified orthopedic surgeon in sports medicine. To get more information about concussions and other sports related injuries, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld today by calling 502-212-2663 to make an appointment. 

 

 

 

Repairing a Torn Meniscus: What to Expect

A meniscus tear is one of the most common cartilage-related injuries of the knee, which causes a lot of pain and can hamper your ability to move considerably. The meniscus is a strip of cartilage that supports and stabilizes knee joints. It forms a soft barrier between the bones of the joint to reduce wear and tear. Unfortunately, this cartilage is quite fragile, and just a small twist can tear it. The injury is prevalent among those who play football, soccer, and volleyball regularly.

What Does a Torn Meniscus Feel Like?

You will feel a distinctive popping sensation when you sustain the injury, which will be followed by a wave of pain and intense swelling. Most patients find it difficult to bend or straighten their leg, and sometimes the joint can become locked up. Some athletes ignore the injury and keep on playing, which can worsen the problem quickly. If you experience a sudden discomfort in your knee, visit a doctor immediately.

The doctor will take x-rays and MRIs to understand the extent of the injury. X-rays will help spot broken or fractured bones while an MRI will provide information about the cartilage.

What is the Treatment?

A torn meniscus can heal without assistance if the injury is located in the outer portion. This area is called the ‘red zone’ and it receives a lot of fresh blood supply, which means it receives ample healing nutrients. If the tear in this area is small enough, you only need to rest your leg to recover fully.

However, if the injury is in the ‘white zone,’ it won’t heal on its own. This area doesn’t receive much blood supply or healing nutrients. If the tear is large enough and causes mobility issues, you will need surgery. Here’s a look at the treatment options:

Minor Meniscus Tears

If the tear is minor, you need to rest your knee as much as possible. Avoid walking on the leg and use crutches if needed. Ice your knee for 15 to 30 minutes at a time for 2 to 3 days. Icing once every 3 hours will help bring down the swelling and reduce pain. Wrap a compression bandage around the knee to control the swelling and lower the pain. It is a good idea to keep the knee elevated as much as possible and take anti-inflammatory medicine.

Once you have sufficiently recovered, start doing stretching and strengthening exercises to remove stiffness and reduce stress on the joint. Experts encourage hiring a professional physical therapist to avoid additional strain.

Surgical Repair

There are three approaches to a severe meniscus tear: you can repair it, remove it, or replace it. The doctor will recommend a surgery based on the intensity of the injury and your current health. Replacement is usually an option for younger, more active patients, while removal is the right choice for older ones.

Most patients choose arthroscopic meniscus repair, which has a long recovery time but better long-term results. Patients need to understand that they might not even be able to start on physical therapy until six weeks after the surgery.

This surgery is an outpatient procedure and lasts around 1 to 1.5 hours. Patients can rest in the recovery room for a couple of hours before going home. The knee will be placed inside a brace to keep it stable. Patients will need to keep the brace on for several days after the procedure. Doctors will prescribe pain killers and medication to reduce inflammation. Patients need to keep their knee straight, reduce the swelling, and gain control over the muscles that support the joint. They can start on physical therapy after the brace is removed.

For more information on meniscus tears, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld and the Orthopaedic Specialists of Louisville, Kentucky at 502-212-2663.