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Doctor, when can I drive?

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Your provider realizes that driving a car is a necessity of everyday life for many people. So when something happens—whether it’s a flat tire or a fractured leg—drivers want it fixed quickly so they can get back on the road again.

With this in mind, patients must realize that all injuries and procedures can alter one’s ability to drive. Braking and accelerating require coordinated activity at the hip, knee and ankle. Steering and shifting require use of the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Sitting upright and watching the road requires good spine function. As we see it, driving requires total body coordination.

Based on the available studies, patients who sustain major lower extremity fractures should delay driving the longest, but nearly every orthopedic procedure will have some impact on a patient’s ability to drive safely. The decision to resume driving should be individualized, as everyone’s body heals at different rates. Patients and their doctors need to talk early on about what impact the procedure may have on driving skills and, after the surgery, how the recovery is proceeding. For elective procedures, driving discussions should take place when the decision to schedule surgery is made.

Most studies have considered emergency braking to be the critical test that allows a patient to return to driving without posing a risk to others, but several other factors must be considered: Continue Reading »

Knee exercises to help prevent basketball injuries

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ACL injuries are more common in female athletes than in male athletes, at a ratio of around 8-to-1. That may seem discouraging for women athletes, but there is good news! There are specific sets of ACL-protective exercises that can be incorporated into practices to reduce the number of injuries. The Affinity Orthopedics & Sports Medicine departments have videos that demonstrate these exercises to reduce injury risk, and most school athletic trainers are well versed in describing these exercises. Other common injuries in basketball include kneecap dislocations, meniscus tears, hamstring/groin pulls and tendinitis. The plan below will outline how to best avoid these problems.

First, I’ll discuss a few facts about knee injuries and basketball, then a few warm-up exercises important for most running, cutting and jumping sports, followed by a number of dynamic exercises to prevent injuries to the knee. Finally, I’ll end with a summary of lower extremity exercises to avoid. Keep in mind that basketball practices should begin with light cardio and dynamic stretching before heavy competitive maneuvers are added. Static stretching is, in general, best added at the end of a practice to keep muscle fibers as responsive as possible during play. Continue Reading »

11 Stretches You Should Do Every Day

stretchingIn my previous blog post, we learned the basics of stretching; now it’s time to get down to the specifics. Here are 11 stretches that you can perform every day to improve your overall flexibility and help decrease the likelihood of nagging injuries. We’ll start from the feet and work our way up.

  1. Prone Calf Stretch:

Begin in a push-up position. Next, keep your legs straight as you walk your hands backward toward your feet. Bend at the hips so your butt rises into the air while the heels of your feet press into the ground. Continue to walk your hands backward until a comfortable stretch is felt in both legs. You can increase the stretching sensation by bending one knee while keeping the other straight.

  1. Side-Lying Quad Stretch:

As the name suggests, start by lying on one side. For an example, let’s begin on our left side to stretch the right leg. Pull the heel of your right leg toward your butt. Grab your ankle with your right hand and add some additional pressure. Be sure to keep your knees together to perform the stretch properly. Once you’re finished with the right leg, flip over and perform this exercise with the left leg.

  1. Seated Hamstring Stretch:

To begin this stretch you need to be in a seated position. Keeping your right leg straight out in front of you, bend your left knee and bring your left heel into your groin. Now, keep your back straight as you bend forward at the hips. You can reach forward with both hands, but be careful to not round your back. Repeat with the left leg. Continue Reading »

Five Guidelines to Follow When Stretching

shutterstock_171467156“So, how much do you bench?”
“What’s your mile time?”
“How far can you get on the sit-and-reach?”

One of those doesn’t sound so familiar. Flexibility is something that is often forgotten by many. This is unfortunate because maintaining, or even increasing our flexibility, is something that greatly benefits our body in the long run.

As we age our body’s ability to go through its full range of motion naturally decreases. This is due to the fact that many of our daily activities cause our muscles to be in shortened positions without us even realizing it. For example, sitting at our computers often causes the front muscles of our chest to become tight and the muscles of our backs to lengthen. Sitting at a desk over-activates the hip flexor muscles. This causes the pelvis to become rotated, which can lead to several other problems. All of these imbalances can lead to aches, pains and additional injuries down the road.

What we do on a daily basis can put our bodies into poor and imbalanced positions, so it becomes increasingly important that flexibility exercises become part of our daily routine. Stretching allows us to maintain the body’s full range of motion and can correct any inequalities in muscle length.

Continue Reading »

RACE to Your Fitness Goals

RACEHave you made the New Year’s resolution to finally run that half marathon this year? Lose that holiday weight by hitting the treadmill? Reclaim the part of your youth when you enjoyed running? All of these sound like great reasons to be active, but do these well wishes hold up once you start to feel tightness in one calf, clicking in your knees or that sharp pain in your hip? If you want to keep the dream alive, instead of slowing down or stopping, schedule a RACE!

The RACE (Running Assessment and Clinical Evaluation) program is a personalized, one-on-one study of you and your body mechanics while you walk or run. This program is for the old or the young, the ultra marathoner or the 5K-charity walker. We will find what is hurting, the reasons that cause the pain and what you can do to help yourself get through it. During your appointment, one of our licensed athletic trainers will go through your personal health history looking for past injuries, details on any current ailments and your training schedule.

During your exam, your range of motion, flexibility and strength will be examined to see if there are any imbalances in your lower body. Then, we’ll examine what your individual foot type is, as that can tell us many things about how you walk before you even place a foot on the treadmill. Continue Reading »

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