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Tips to Avoid Back Pain During Leaf Clean-Up

Fall in New England is synonymous with beautiful changing leaves, but it also a time for yard work, slippery leaves, and avoiding ticks.

Here are some tips from OrthoConnecticut to protect you during leaf season.

  1. Know where the leaves need to go and use the right tools. Are you bagging, mulching, composting, or preparing leaves for citywide leaf curbside collection? Decide upfront what is best for you based on your physical ability.
  1. Mow regularly. Chopping up deciduous leaves, or mulching, as part of regular mowing is both good for your lawn and back. During the heavy leaf falling period, you might want to mow twice a week.
    • Self-propelled or push mower posture is important. If using a push mower, the best posture for mowing is pushing with your legs and arms to reduce strain on back. A self-propelled mower lets you walk behind the mower as it mainly does the work.
    • Take a break every 15-20 minutes to rest. 
  1. Use the right equipment. Here are some ideas for the right tools.
    • Rakes: be sure your rake is the correct fit, that it is proportional to your height and size to avoid straining posture or muscles, and a padded handle.
    • Leaf blowers: save time and energy by considering lightweight gas or electric leaf blowers to blow leaves either into a pile for bagging or onto a tarp for easier moving. Some leaf blowers rest on your back and ease the need to move the blower from arm to arm.
    • Work gloves: protect your hands from blisters and ticks.
    • Good shoes: protect yourself from wet leaves, slipping, skidding and possibly falling with arch-supportive shoes and anti-slip soles.
    • Tarp: helpful for moving leaves from one spot to another for composting.
  1. Posture for raking and lifting leaves: The National University of Health Sciences recommends:
    • Warm up with stretches first
    • Rake in sections, don’t do a large yard all at once, spread out work over several days. Take breaks every 15-20 minutes.
    • Keep your back straight and avoid repetitive motions by switching arms and pulling in different directions to work out different parts of your body equally.
    • Practice proper lifting. BEND AT YOUR KNEES (not at your waist), feet shoulder-width apart. Tighten your abs when lifting, straighten your knees and keep your back straight.
    • For turning, you should avoid twisting at the waist by moving your feet instead.
  1. Avoid ticks. Put pants inside your socks to create a barrier for ticks. Complete a body check following working with leaves and grass.
  1. Drink water … stay hydrated.
  1. Cleaning gutters … ladders, slippery leaves and roofs can add up to big falls. Consider hiring a professional for this task – they’ll have the right equipment and protective gear.

OrthoConnecticut Can Help
Our physicians and physician assistants are available to help you if you’ve strained your muscles or back during Fall Leaf Season. Contact us today for an appointment and #getmovingCT.

10 Tips for Managing Knee Pain When You Travel

Close up of woman leg with pain - long driving on the way.Knee pain while traveling is common, but if you’re prepared you don’t have to be sidelined. Sitting in tight, no-room-to-stretch airline seats, bouncing trains or buses, and sitting in one position in a car for too long can exacerbate pre-existing knee conditions or create knee stiffness and muscular cramping.

Whether it’s arthritis, runner’s knee, kneecap, meniscus, ligament, or other knee conditions causing you discomfort, employing these helpful strategies can reduce or eliminate knee pain while traveling.

General Strategies

  • Dress comfortably in loose or stretchy clothing, wear supportive shoes and compression socks to increase circulation and help prevent blood clots.
  • Plan breaks in your schedule so you can minimize long stretches of travel. Shorter hops mean more walking and stretching – – and the breaks can enhance your explorations at different destinations along the way.
  • Don’t sit too long, move and stretch more. Get up and walk around to avoid stiffness or cramping and to relieve pain. Slide your feet/legs forward and back while seated to stretch your muscles and knee joints – be sure to repeat often.
  • Seat location can help. Reserving an aisle seat (preferably a bulkhead) on planes, trains and buses makes it easier to stretch legs (periodically) into the aisle.
  • Know your cars cruise control. If safe, periodically use cruise control while driving to stretch your legs out. Make frequent rest stops to stretch and move.

Tips to Prepare for Travel

  • Ask your Orthopedist about preventative treatment. Would a knee brace, assistance device, compression socks, corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid injection (to reduce pain or lubricate your joint), or anti-inflammatory medication be of help for your knee condition.
  • Keep all advised medications in a handy location and in the prescription or over-the-counter bottles for easy identification and safety instructions. Ask if premedicating 30 to 45 minutes before travel is helpful.
  • Be prepared for icing or heating your knees. Why not pack a reusable hot or cold bag for relieving sore knees. Ask your doctor which is appropriate for your condition.
  • Ask your Orthopedist for knee strengthening exercises. Some examples include:
    • Pull your heels. Strengthen your hamstrings by lifting your toes with your helps on the floor until you feel tension in your hamstrings. Hold for 10 seconds.
    • Lift your legs. Do straight leg lifts if room allows to strengthen your quadriceps (or front thigh)
    • Slow and careful backward walking to strengthen hamstrings and stabilize knees over time.

Tips Post Travel

  • Keep moving, if possible, to avoid stiffness. If in pain consider applying heat or ice as appropriate, rest and elevate your knee. Does your hotel have a hot tub? Go and enjoy for stiff muscles. Most importantly, enjoy your travels.

OrthoConnecticut Can Help

Our physicians and physician assistants are available for travel consults in advance of your journey. Contact us today for an appointment and enjoy a safe and wonderful trip!

Reference: thepointsguy

Today’s Hip Replacements Have Shorter Recovery Times and Longer-Lasting Results

hip replacement photo_8in wide 1.3 megsIf you suffer from persistent hip pain due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, an injury, or joint deterioration, a hip replacement could both relieve pain and improve mobility.

During the procedure, your damaged hip joint is replaced with implants that recreate the ball and socket of a healthy hip. Most patients can return to an active lifestyle after hip replacement, often becoming more mobile than they had been for years while suffering from hip pain.

While it is not uncommon for your doctor to recommend a hip replacement to those suffering from chronic hip pain, many people still think of the procedure as the last step to treating hip problems.  They fear post-operative complications and months of recovery time. However, the procedure has made tremendous strides in the last few years.  “New technology and new approaches have made hip replacement surgery less invasive, with decreased recovery time,” says specialist Dr. Robert Deveney of the Total Joint Center at Danbury Orthopedics.  “In fact, some minimally invasive approaches, when medically appropriate, can have patients on their feet within days of surgery.”

New Approaches to Hip Replacement

The anterior approach gently pushes muscles and surrounding tissue apart, sparing the muscle tissue from trauma. This enables a much faster recovery and a quicker return to normal function after the operation. It also results in fewer post-operative restrictions than other types of hip replacement surgeries. Ask your orthopedist if you are a candidate for this procedure.

There is also a new, minimally-invasive procedure called a Mini-Posterolateral total hip replacement, which allows for a small incision, no cutting of the abductor muscles aand full weight bearing immediately after surgery. Shorter recovery time and fewer post-operative complications are observed with this procedure.

New Materials Last Longer

In addition, hip sockets are now often being replaced with ceramic or plastic materials, instead of metal. These newer materials are significantly less corrosive and result in improved joint longevity. “State-of-the-art materials and leading edge technology have made hip replacement a very strong option for so many people these days,” says Dr. Deveney. “We are eager to inform patients about all the options so they can make the best decision for themselves and get back to their active lives.”

About Danbury Orthopedics

Danbury Orthopedics, founded in 1954, is a multi-specialty practice staffed by leaders in orthopedic care; the practice is a member of OrthoConnecticut, along with New Milford Orthopedics and Coastal Orthopedics, providing comprehensive care to the community. The practice’s Centers of Excellence provide integrated treatment, offering individualized and compassionate care by a team of specialists. The goal of the practice is to help patients regain mobility, lead active lives and attain optimal well-being. To make an appointment with any of the practice’s specialists, please visit myorthoct.com or call 203.797.1500.