How to Care for Your Cast

We know it’s not the best news when you or your child need to be placed in a cast. But your orthopedic knows it’s the best course of action for your injury to heal properly. For however long it needs to remain on, we have some tips on how to make sure your time in your cast is successful.

When You First Get Your Cast

When first injured, the swelling that occurs can make the cast feel tight and uncomfortable. It’s important to take measures to treat the swelling to help the healing process by doing the following in the first 24-72 hours.

ELEVATE – Prop the injured arm or leg with support so that it is above the heart to allow fluid and blood to drain.

MOVEMENT – Move uninjured fingers and toes to prevent stiffness.

ICE – Apply ice to the injured area. Be sure to place loose ice in a plastic bag to keep the area dry and loosely wrap around the cast.

Caring for Your Cast

KEEP IT DRY – It’s important to keep the cast, and the injury, dry. When bathing or showering, cover the cast in two layers of plastic and seal with a band or duct tape. Avoid submerging in water, even when covered. Some injuries can be treated with a waterproof cast, so ask your doctor if yours is safe to get wet.

KEEP IT CLEAN – Dirt and sand particles can not only irritate the skin, but can hinder the healing process.

ITCHINESS – It’s common, but don’t try to relive any itches with an object or powders into the cast. If it continues and is unbearable, contact your doctor.

DON’T DIY – Don’t mess around with your cast. No pulling at the padding and no trimming of any rough edges without consulting your orthopedic. Never remove the cast on your own.

SPEAK UPIf you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, be sure to let your physician’s office know.

  • Increased pain or tightness
  • Numbness/tingling in the casted area
  • Burning or red/raw skin around the cast
  • Inability to move toes or fingers
  • Crack or soft spot on the cast

With proper care, you can ensure the time needed in a cast isn’t unnecessarily extended. And, as always, the specialists at Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are here to answer any questions and guide you through your treatment. We welcome your call any time. 

Backpack Safety Tips

School’s back in session. And we know kids can be weighed down, literally, with school work, leading to back and neck pain. The help minimize the risk of injury, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shares their guidelines to carry books and school work around safely.

But what can parents do to ensure kids are safe from injury?

  • First, ensure your child is following the guidelines above, and remind them throughout the school year.
  • Pay attention when your child picks up their backpack – are they struggling or look off balance? If so, help them adjust the items in their bag or remove some heavy items.
  • If your child is complaining of back pain, keep in mind that their backpack may be the cause. Should their discomfort continue, ask if keeping a second set of textbooks at home is an option or consider purchasing a rolling backpack.

With these tips, we wish all students a safe and successful school year from all of us at NEOSM!

5 Signs Your Child May Be Overtraining

When watching young athletes in motion, it’s easy to think they have a boundless cache of energy and stamina. So daily practices, rigorous game schedules and continued training shouldn’t be a problem, right? Actually, no. Overtraining can actually deteriorate an athlete’s performance. With more and more children committing to one sport year-round, risks of burnout and injury increase. Here are signs of overtraining and tips to help make your child a healthy life-long athlete.

Five Signs of Overtraining

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of interest in practice or competition
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Persistent pain in muscles or joints
  • Decrease in sport performance

Protecting Your Athlete

Time to Heal:

Include 1 to 2 rest days from sport training or competition per week to allow muscles and body to heal.

Quality Rest:

Get plenty of sleep per night to send your body into restoration mode.

Variety of Activity:

Participate in a variety of sports to prevent overuse injuries.

Scheduled Time Off:

Every 2 or 3 months, take a longer break from structured practice or games of a single sport. During this time, focus on maintaining strength and stamina in different ways.

Learn to Listen:

Teach your athlete to always listen to their body and understand cues of burnout or injury.

See a Specialist:

Add a NEOSM Sports Medicine specialists to your team. Our physicians are ready to work with your athlete to help them perform at their peak level while avoiding unnecessary injury.

For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

4-to-1 Rule & 3 Points-of-Contact: A Guide to Ladder Safety

If you followed the Olympics, you may be familiar with the touching story of US gymnastics team member, Suni Lee’s, father John Lee. In August of 2019, Mr. Lee suffered a tragic accident, falling from a ladder while trimming a tree. The incident resulted in a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the chest down. In the midst of his struggles, Mr. Lee continued to be an inspiration and source of strength as his daughter pursued her dreams as an Olympic athlete. While we don’t know details specific to Mr. Lee’s incident, their story is an opportunity for us to increase awareness on the grave importance of ladder safety.

Over half a million people are treated for ladder-related falls and over 300 people die from falls each year, so the focus on safety cannot be overstated. Here are our safety guidelines to minimize your risks as you climb.

The 4-to-1 Rule

A ladder safety standard, the 4-to-1 rule state that the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder rises. This allows for maximum stability. So, for instance, if the ladder touches the wall 8 feet off the ground, the base of the ladder should be 2 feet away from the wall.

Three Points-of-Contact

The way you climb or descend a ladder makes a difference in reducing the risk in falls. The 3 points-of-contact is a method where the climber faces the center of the ladder and has either two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet on the ladder at all times. This provides a safe stance in the case one limb loses contact with the ladder.

DO’s & DO NOT’s

  • DO ensure the ladder is on stable ground. DO NOT place ladders on muddy areas or prop on other surfaces (like a box or crate) to try to increase height.
  • DO extend a ladder 3 feet higher than a roof, if you are climbing onto the roof. DO NOT climb a ladder higher than two steps down from the top. NEVER stand on the top rung of a ladder.
  • DO inspect your shoes before climbing to make sure they are clean and not a slip risk. DO NOT climb in flip-flops or sandals, or pants long enough to be a trip hazard.
  • DO place the ladder so it is in reach of the work you need to do. DO NOT overreach or overextend your body past the side rails of the ladder.
  • DO make sure someone is nearby to spot you while you are on the ladder. DO NOT have more than one person on a ladder at any time. NEVER engage in horseplay on a ladder.
  • Most importantly – If you for any reason feel uncomfortable on the ladder, DO NOT climb. It’s not worth risking serious injury.  

We hope that you will take these safety guidelines into action whenever you are working with a ladder. The specialist at NEOSM urge you to prevent unnecessary injuries. Should you need our help, contact us for more information.

What Everyone Needs To Know For A Safe Pool Season

There’s really nothing better than taking a dip in a cool pool on a long, hot summer day.  With a nice swim, we can relax, exercise or just have fun with friends. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on a good time – or, more importantly, suffer a serious injury – so we’re sharing some easy-to-follow tips to think about next time you’re planning a day poolside.

Before You Plunge

Before you get into a pool, it’s important to evaluate first and foremost if you actually should. Ask yourself: Am I alone? Do I not see a lifeguard present? Is the weather report calling for lightning? Have I consumed alcohol? Am I too tired or too overheated? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, reconsider.

Know Your Depths

Make sure you know how deep the water is. Look out for depth indicators throughout the pool, as depths can vary in different sections. NEVER dive in shallow water and always check depth markers before you go in headfirst. More on diving in our next section. If you are an inexperienced swimmer, avoid depths where you cannot stand comfortably with your head above water.

Diving

It bears repeating: NEVER DIVE IN SHALLOW WATER. Serious spinal cord injuries, including paralysis of all four limbs, can and do occur. Never dive headfirst in above ground pools or water that is murky and where you can’t see the bottom. Dive only off the end of a diving board and swim away from the diving area immediately to avoid the next diver.

Pool Deck

If you sit by a pool with children long enough, you’re sure to hear a lifeguard or parent yell “Don’t run!” at least once. It’s for good reason. The area around a pool will naturally be wet, creating a slick surface that is easy to slip on. Add in flimsy flip flops or bare feet and running, and chances of a fall increase. So walk carefully. Also, if swimming at night, make sure the area is well lit to avoid any hazards for trips or falls.  

Swimming for Fitness

If swimming is your go-to for aerobic exercise, you’ve made a great choice. It’s an activity that can be continued as you age, is gentle on your joints and is simply a great workout. As with any form of exercise, injuries can occur, so make sure to warm-up your body before you start, stretch often and include weight bearing exercises in your program to strengthen your shoulders and back.

With these basic guidelines, you’re sure to have a summer full of poolside fun, hopefully injury-free. However, should you encounter an issue, as always, the specialists at NEOSM are here to help.

Preparing Your Home for Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery can really be life-changing. Eventually, majority of patients are able to resume daily activities with considerable less pain and discomfort. Before and immediately after surgery, it’s important to follow your physician’s instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary setbacks. One key direction from our surgeons is to create a home environment focused around healing and recovery before your scheduled procedure to help set you up for success. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends you consider the following to prepare your home for your return.

Arrange for help at home from a family member, friend or caregiver for days or weeks after surgery.

Clear or arrange furniture so you can easily make your way with a cane, walker or crutches.

Plan for avoiding stairs. Consider moving your sleeping quarters downstairs, if you are able.

Remove any tripping hazards. Throw rugs or area rugs, electrical cords and clutter, for example, can be dangerous during recovery.

Make sure you have a good chair with a high seat and a footstool for elevation.

Have a shower chair and gripping bar set up in the bathroom.

Set up a “recovery center” – an area where everything you need most often are at your fingertips, like a table by your chair with your medications, tissues, water pitcher, phone, etc.

These simple planning steps not only provide a safe environment for your recovery, but they also grant you a huge amount of peace-of-mind, which you’ll appreciate once you are discharged.

If you have any questions about these tips, or knee replacement surgery in general, give us a call, the specialist at Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine would be happy to provide answers.

At-Home Relief for Tight Hamstrings

Did you know lower back pain, hip and knee issues, poor posture and other problems can be associated with tight hamstrings? The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located in the back of the thigh. When these muscles are tight, or inflexible, they can cause discomfort beyond pain in the immediate area.  If it’s difficult to touch your toes without bending your knees, either from standing or when seated on the floor, you may be suffering from tight hamstrings. So what can you do to feel some relief?

Prevention

A common cause of tight hamstrings is being in a seated position for prolonged amounts of time. Too much sitting means your hamstrings are constantly flexed, so it’s important to give those muscles a chance to elongate. Take breaks to stand up, walk around or do some stretching.

Equally important is the time you give to stretching before and after you exercise. Proper warm up and cool down of your hamstrings can prevent injury.

Stretches

Consistent stretching is a great way to relieve tight hamstrings. Here are some stretches to try at home.

  • Simple Hamstring Stretch

Seated on the floor with both legs straight out, reach forward while bending at the hip towards your toes, being careful not to overly round your back. Hold for up to 30 seconds.

  • Hamstring Stretch with Strap

While lying flat on the floor, place a strap or towel around the bottom of your foot, hold on to each end in your hands. Slowly extend your leg so the bottom of your foot is raised towards the ceiling while keeping your knee straight. Your other leg should be extended on the ground. Hold for up to 30 seconds. Repeat with your other leg.

  • Standing Hamstring Stretch

While standing, cross one foot over the other. Bend at the waist and slowly lower your upper body toward your knees, careful not to bend your knees. Hold for up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

It’s always key to listen to your body. If you are experiencing prolonged pain, it may be a sign of a more serious issue. Contact us to meet with one of our orthopedic specialists for a consultation.

The “Wreck-less Checklist” for Distracted Driving

Here are the facts:

  • An estimated 400,000 people were injured in accidents due to distracted driving in 2018. (NHTSA)
  • Distracted driving leads to 1.6 million crashes per year. (National Safety Council)

As an orthopedic practice, we treat a number of serious injuries related to car accidents, ones that affect a patient’s life forever. It is particularly painful to know that some of these injuries could have been prevented if a driver involved wasn’t unnecessarily distracted. That’s why the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons teamed up to lead the Decide to Drive initiative. Their mission is to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving and provide tools to keep the focus on the road.

One such tool is the “Wreck-less Checklist”. Committing to these 9 actions to before driving can literally save lives. And they want to remind you: the four most advanced safety features are two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel.

Source: DecidetoDrive.org

The physicians at NEOSM urge you to take this checklist into practice and be safe on the road.