Importance of Stretching at Your Desk

If you spend your day seated at work, you know that feeling when you first stand up after a long time at your desk. Your legs are tight, your back aches and your neck feels stiff. It’s easy to get caught up with your tasks, but taking breaks to relieve your muscles is so important for many reasons. Here’s why:

Promote Circulation

Without regular movement, our circulation slows down, which may present serious issues. Just a few minutes each hour to allow your blood flow to recalibrate can prevent them.

Improved Posture

When you’re engrossed in your work, it’s easy to begin to slouch unknowingly. Taking a break to stand will remind your body to practice good posture to prevent injuries.

Reduce Tension

Remaining in a seated position for a long time increases the tension in your neck, back, hip and leg muscles. By giving these muscle groups a chance to elongate releases this tension and commonly associated pain.

Mental Clarity

Breaks from work are not only good for the body, but good for focus and mood. Stepping away from your desk to connect with your physical self has been shown to increase productivity.

Stretches to Consider

Here are some stretches to try the next time you take a body-health break at work.

  • Hands/Arms – Extend your arms out in front of you, palms facing down. Move your hands up then down. Repeat with palms facing up.
  • Shoulders – Cross your arms across your chest, alternating arms top and bottom
  • Neck – Gently roll your head clockwise, then counterclockwise
  • Back – Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms out in front of you.
  • Hip – Seated, cross one leg over the other and rotate your torso in the direction of the top leg. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Hamstrings – Standing, cross one leg over the other. Bend from your hip towards your toes. Repeat with opposite leg.
  • Ankles – Seated or standing, lift one leg off the ground and circle your ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise. Repeat on other side.

The specialists at NEOSM are here to help you live your best life. Prevention is the key to maintaining good health, so remember to keep moving throughout the day to keep your body in tip-top shape!

All about Achilles

You’ve heard people reference ‘Achilles’ when referring to someone’s weak spot. It comes from the Greek mythology stories of the hero of the Trojan War, Achilles, whose body was invincible except for the back of his heel, where he was most vulnerable. A nod to the legends, the tendon connecting the heel to the calf has been named after this figure, but the tendon itself is stronger than you’d think.

Function of the Achilles Tendon

The largest and strongest tendon of the body, the Achilles tendon (also called the calcaneal tendon) facilitates walking by anchoring the calf muscle to the heel bone, allowing the heel to lift. Activities like running and jumping require the functions of the Achilles which withstands a great amount stress and movement. It is a true workhorse of the human body.

Achilles Issues & Treatment

Because of the importance of the Achilles tendon in every day movement, any issues can be debilitating. Some common syndromes of the Achilles and treatment are:

>Tendonitis

Caused mostly from overuse, tendonitis of the Achilles with present itself with pain in the back of the heel, especially when walking, and swelling or tenderness in the area. Essential in overuse, stress of the tendon causes small tears. Other causes include arthritis, obesity, wearing footwear without proper support, or foot issues, like flat feet. 

Treatment for tendonitis of the Achilles include rest to allow the small tears to heal along with ice therapy. Depending on the severity, anti-inflammatories may be prescribed and perhaps physical therapy. It’s most important to be patient with recovery and follow your doctor’s orders to avoid regression.

>Tear/Rupture

When the fibers of the Achilles tendon are separated, it is considered a tear or rupture, a serious condition as the tendon can no longer function as normal. How can you test if the tendon is torn? There is a simple test called the Thompson test. Laying face-down on a bed with feet extended past the edge, have someone squeeze the calf muscle. Doing so should cause the foot to point down (away from the head). If there is a tear, the foot will not move.

Tear of the Achilles
Credit: orthoinfo.aaos.org

Depending on the severity, treatment for a ruptured tendon would be similar to that of tendonitis, rest and ice, and likely a boot to immobilize the foot. In many cases, surgery would be deemed necessary in order to repair the tear, followed by physical therapy to strengthen the leg muscles to support the tendon. Full recovery is about four to six months.

As stated before, the Achilles tendon is an MVP of the human body and any injury can be painful and frustrating. The orthopedic specialists at NEOSM are here to care for you and help you keep living life to the fullest. Reach out if you need us!

Parents’ Guide to Injury

One of the hardest things as a parent is seeing your child hurt and feeling helpless. Accidents happen to the best of us, and as safe as you may be, at some point, they may get hurt. What do you do if/when that happens? Well, how you react and navigate through the process of treatment and healing can make all the difference for your child. Here’s our guide for the best approach to injury.

At Time of Injury

>Stay Calm

Your little one will look to you on how to react to the sudden pain and confusion brought on by their injury. It’s important to stay calm, reassure them you are prepared to help and have control of the situation.

>Assess the Injury

Ask these questions:

  • Is the area immediately swollen or bleeding excessively?
  • Has the child lost full range of motion without severe pain?
  • Is the hurt area appear deformed?
  • Is there numbness or tingling of the extremities?

If the answers are yes, seek immediate attention.

>Keep Them Comfortable

Should immediate attention be necessary, it’s important to limit movement of the injured area until evaluated by a medical professional. Not only will your child be more comfortable by limiting pain associated with movement, but you can avoid injuring them further. Depending on the injury, ice packs may be helpful to ease the pain.

At the Doctor’s Office

>Stay Positive

It’s natural for children to be nervous at the doctor’s office. Add in the pain they may be experiencing, they’re likely to be even more guarded. Make sure to validate their feelings, while assuring them that their visit is a good thing, as it’s the first step on the road to feeling better.

>Come Prepared

The more prepared you are for your visit, the less time your little one will be asked to be patient in our waiting room. At NEOSM, we provide all our patients the opportunity to complete pre-visit paperwork online at home before their visit, saving you time in our office. Be sure to bring all necessary paperwork (ie. referrals, insurance information) as well.

>Have Your Child Ask Questions

Giving your child, no matter the age, the opportunity to ask their provider questions about their injury and treatment will provide them more control of their situation. Also, it’ll give you, the parent, a glimpse into what their main worries may be, allowing you to address them specifically.  Discuss what questions they may want to ask beforehand so they don’t feel put  on the spot and are prepared.

After Your Visit

>Continue to Stay Positive

Your child may be disappointed with the necessary treatment for their injury. You may feel the same. It’s normal, of course. That’s why it’s even more important now to remain understanding and positive, as much as you can. It won’t take away their disappointment, but it may help pull them, and you, out of a negative outlook. Remind them how brave they are!

>Follow Doctor’s Orders

Kids need help to follow doctor’s orders, be it caring for their cast or being reminded of their restrictions. Adhering to the treatment plan and directions of care will ensure the recovery time is not unnecessarily extended by any complications.

>Follow-Up

Once treatment is complete, be sure to follow-up with your providers so they can make sure all has healed properly. Make sure your child is cleared for certain activities before they jump back into them. This will prevent re-injuring themselves.

We hope this guide helps you feel more prepared should you find your child hurt. And, as always, the specialists at NEOSM are available with same or next-day appointments see you through your child’s injury with the utmost compassion. Give us a call when you need us!

5 Superfoods for Bone & Joint Health

Growing up you’ve probably have heard that milk and dairy is best for strong bones. End of story. Is it really just that simple? Yes, calcium is a component to building healthy bones, but there are many more options besides a glass of the white stuff, and they come with additional benefits.

First, what makes a food ideal for your joints and bones? Look for a diet rich in Vitamin D, Magnesium, Vitamin K and, of course, Calcium, plus other components to reduce inflammation of joint pain. Here are our top choices to add to your daily meals and the nutrients they provide.

KALE

A true superfood, kale is full of high levels of Vitamin K and Calcium, plus the added benefit of anti-oxidants.

SALMON

Not only is salmon rich in Vitamin D, but also Omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and protein to support muscle building to protect bones.

EDAMAME

Now readily available at supermarkets everywhere, edamame is the perfect snack to up your calcium, protein and anti-oxidant consumption.

BERRIES

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries are rich in anti-oxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.

TOFU

A great vegan option, firm, calcium-set tofu is loaded with protein, magnesium and calcium.

With these superfoods in your diet, plus regular exercise, you can help build healthy bones from the inside out!

Learn more about Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and our providers, explore our website or contact us for a consultation.

Swimming – The Ultimate Exercise

The way we workout is a personal choice. Some people love running out on an open path, others can bike all day long, some swear by their Pilates class, while Zumba may be the first choice for others. Since it’s a preference, is it possible to crown the best exercise out there? We say ‘yes!’ and that the #1 choice for physical exercise is… swimming! Let us tell you why and we’re sure you’ll agree.

Open for All Fitness Levels

Aside from knowing how, there is no barrier of entry to begin a swimming regimen. Since it’s a self-paced exercise, you control the level of difficulty, speed and effort according to your ability.

Low Impact

Exercises on dry land can be hard on your joints. Think about the shock your ankles, knees and hips have to absorb each time you step while running. In a pool, there is no impact on your joints and, in fact, the buoyancy the water provides lightens your body weight load, allowing you to carry yourself easier and further.

Muscle Building

The resistance provided by the water is just enough to build muscle strength. Stronger bodies lead to healthier bones and better balance, reducing the risk of falls and fractures. You can also increase intensity by using webbed aquatic gloves.  

Cardiovascular Strength

Swimming is not only a muscle building exercise, but also stellar for heart health. As you build on endurance during your swims, your heart rate increases building on your cardiovascular strength. A stronger heart means less fatigue during daily activities and less risk of cardiac conditions.

Little to No Equipment

Once you have access to a pool, what more do you actually need – just a suit and goggles. That’s it! No special shoes, no fancy bike or other contraptions.

So, have we convinced you that swimming is the #1 exercise choice? Even if not, we hope you’ll consider adding some laps to your fitness regimen for all the reasons above. If you do, let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Body Weight and Joint Pain

Leading a healthy lifestyle is important for so many countless reasons. Living a long life is a priority, of course, but living a life of quality where you can move freely as you’d like is equally important.  That’s why it’s important to discuss the impact of body weight on your joints, but first, let’s talk about BMI.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Part of staying vital is maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). Studies show that BMI has great implications on joint health, but what is BMI? 

BMI is a calculation of your height and weight. BMI does not diagnosis the health of a person, but will identify categories that increase the risk of health issues. Below is a table of BMI weight status categories and you can use this tool to calculate yours: link to BMI calculator.

BMIWeight Status
Under 18.5Underweight
18.5 – 24.9Healthy Weight
25.0 – 29.9Overweight
30.0 and AboveObesity

The Impact of Obesity on Joints

When BMI is in the obesity weight status category, it is more common to see the following associated joint issues.

Pressure on Knees and Hips

When you think about the function of our load-bearing joints (our knees and hips), you realize the actual load they bear when lifting or moving our bodies. In fact, for every 10 pounds of extra weight you carry, your joints take on 30 to 40 pounds of force. Managing a healthy weight and BMI removes this unnecessary additional stress on your knees and hips.

Inflammation and Osteoarthritis

Obesity results in chronic inflammation in the body and constant inflammation makes the body more susceptible to osteoarthritis – even in non-load bearing joints like the wrist. This is when the smooth cartilage protecting the joint has worn away, causing pain and stiffness. As the wear on the joint continues, bone rubs on bone creating the need for medical intervention, either by non-surgical or surgical methods.

Increased Risks of Surgery

Not only does obesity increase the risk of osteoarthritis, the progression of the disease is faster than those with healthy BMI’s. Thus the need for surgical solutions is greater. There is a greater risk for complications from surgery for patients with BMI’s over 30 than those in a healthy range. Your surgeon will always discuss your particular risks and expected outcomes during any pre-surgical consultations.

Prevention

Helping our patients stay active is our mission at NEOSM, and we love to help provide preventative tips to keep you mobile. By maintaining a healthy BMI, the issues above can be better avoided. To do so, consistently eating a diet full of nutrient-rich fruit, vegetables and lean proteins is a priority. It is also important to live an active lifestyle, whatever that may mean to you. It can be a walk around the block each day or a tennis match with a friend. The more you move the more you build upon your overall health.

And as always, the specialists at NEOSM are here to guide you however you need. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, please feel free to call one of our nine offices most convenient to you.

5 Tips to Shop for the Right Athletic Shoe

In order to avoid injury in a sport, it’s important to have the right gear. Football players wear pads right? And softball players wear batting helmets? Well almost all sports require the right athletic shoe.  Injuries related to inadequate foot gear can range from blisters and ankle issues to knee and hip pain. But how do you go about finding the right shoe? Here are tips to take with you on your shopping trip for the perfect gear for your feet.

1 – Find a Specialty Store

The first step in finding the right shoe is finding a shop that specializes in the activity you are looking to do so you can benefit from their expertise. For example, if you are looking for a running shoe, your best bet is visiting a running store. The sales professionals are not only more knowledgeable on the best fit for you, but the stores themselves usually have a treadmill to test out the sneakers.

2 – Save Your Trip for the End of the Day

If you were to try new shoes on first thing in the morning, they’ll likely be uncomfortable by nighttime. That’s because, as the day wears on, our feet naturally swell. So the end of the day the best time for that shopping trip for new shoes.

3 – Come Prepared

It seems simple, but many people forget this step: bring the same socks you would normally wear with your athletic shoe. Any sock thinner or thicker that what you plan to regularly wear is going to affect your fit.

4 – Check Your Fit

Once you’ve arrived to the shop and start trying on athletic shoes, how do you know if it’s the right fit? Think Toe, Heel, Feet. Look for ½ an inch of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe, with room enough to wiggle your toes. Take some steps and make sure your heel isn’t slipping in and out of the shoe at all, otherwise you can count on blisters. And make sure to try the shoes on both feet as many of us have differences in width and even length between our left and our right.

5 – Take Them for a Spin

Take your time moving around the shop to test how comfortable the athletic shoes are. Try to mimic some of the moves you’ll be doing, like jumping for basketball. Understand the return policy of the store as well, as you may have the opportunity to test your new shoes outside the store. Some specialty stores have generous policies, allowing you to return used sneakers if they don’t work out within a month.

With these tips in mind, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect shoe to match your activity and avoid unnecessary injuries. Have more questions? Feel free to contact us at neosmteam.com/contact-us.

What is Tommy John surgery? (And why the name?)

If you follow sports, baseball in particular, you may have heard of a star player being out for Tommy John surgery. No, there isn’t a part of the elbow named “Tommy John” – the surgery is a reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and a baseball player named Tommy John was the first to undergo the procedure successfully, thus the common name. So what causes the injury that necessitates this type of operation? To answer, it’s important to understand the anatomy of the elbow and the function of the UCL.

Source: OrthoInfo

As shown in the diagram, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) attaches the upper arm (humerus) to the forearm (ulna). The UCL stabilizes movement of the elbow when throwing, but the more stress it endures through repetitive motion or force, the greater the risk of the ligament deteriorating. That is why UCL tears are particularly common in baseball pitchers, who contort their elbows in a series of different angles during a single hard throw, then repeat these motions over and over. 

Symptoms

There are different signs that you may have an injury of the UCL. These include:

  • A sudden ‘pop’ sensation in your elbow
  • Pain when in a throwing motion
  • Limited ability to throw
  • Tingling in the hand or fingers
  • Weakened grip strength

Treatment

Once non-surgical options have been exhausted, like physical therapy, rest or medication, your orthopedic may recommend surgery. Thankfully, since Tommy John first had his surgery, countless athletes have benefited from UCL repair or reconstruction surgery to get them back on the mound. During the operation, an orthopedic surgeon will either repair the tear in the ligament or reconstruct using a donor tendon from elsewhere in the body to graft a new ligament. Rates of return to sports 9 months after surgery are high for this type of treatment – 85%-95% of throwing athletes returning.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above, remember, ignoring the issue can lead to further complications. The team of specialists at NEOSM are here to help you overcome your injuries and make the most out of life. Reach out to us anytime for a consultation.