Tag Archives: OrthoCare Express

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.

Nine tips to help with Osteoarthritis

Arthritic seniors hands cutting flowers

If you’re middle-aged or older, it’s likely you have some Osteoarthritis in your hands, fingers, hips, knees, feet or spine. The most common form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage between joints and bone gradually wears away causing joint swelling, pain, stiffness, deformity, and reduced range of motion. Most often X-rays are used to diagnose and assess the amount of joint loss, or other issues that can occur like thinning bone, reduced joint space, joint fluid, or bone spurs. If you have osteoarthritis, here are some options your Orthopedist might recommend.

If you’re in pain, seek treatment and get help!

Nonsurgical treatment for joint mobility, strength and pain relief can include:

  • Lifestyle changes
    • Lose weight to reduce joint stress
    • Rest and ice when swollen
    • Include low-impact exercise such as stretching, walking, water exercise, swimming, muscle strengthening and cycling to help strengthen your muscles, joints and keep you active.
  • Medications to ease pain and swelling
    • Use oral NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
    • Use corticosteroid or hyaluronan injections in the joint to provide pain relief and cushioning.
  • Walking aids as needed
    • Use supportive/assistive devices – braces, splint, elastic bandage, cane, crutches, or walker.
  • Physical therapy
    • Improve balance, flexibility, range of motion, reduce pain and strengthen the muscles supporting the joints.

OrthoConnecticut recommends you consult your orthopedist surgeon for advice on surgical options, which might include:

  • Arthroscopy
    • In some cases, can temporarily improve pain
  • Osteotomy
    • To realign and reduce joint pressure
  • Joint fusion
    • To fuse bones together and eliminate joint flexibility
  • Partial or complete joint replacement / arthroplasty
    • Resurfaces the arthritic bones with manmade components to eliminate the arthritis and substantially reduce or even eliminate pain.

OrthoConnecticut Can Help

Our physicians and physician assistants are available to diagnose and advise you on the best ways to treat your Osteoarthritis,. Contact us today for an appointment and #getmovingCT.

Girls and Sports is a Win-Win

Schoolgirl baseball team in a team huddle with their coach

Girls participating in sports is a win-win that stretches far beyond known physical aerobic benefits. Being part of a team encourages cooperation, self-reliance, confidence/self-esteem, friendships, adventure, fun, health benefits and the joy of movement and teamwork that carries into adult life.

Are there obstacles? Yes! There are fewer obstacles because of Title IX, but disincentives such as cost, access, and “throws like a girl” comments still exist. Even so, the benefits certainly outweigh them.

What are some of the benefits? According to momsTEAM, a trusted source for parents, sports benefits girls in many ways including getting through the trials of adolescence:

  • Better physical health including better self-reported health, healthier menstruation, stronger bones, and fewer chronic illnesses later in life. Even reduced cigarette/drug use and less sexual activity are linked to playing sports for girls.
  • Higher body esteem plus lower risk of obesity and sedentary lifestyle – Harvard Medical School studied girls between 5th and 12th grade and found a positive relationship between girls playing multiple sports and developing healthy eating habits with good body images.
  • Stronger grades, lower dropout rate – studies have shown higher organization in setting priorities and budgeting time, and better performance in math and science. “High school athletic participation significantly lowers the dropout rate for white females in suburban and rural schools and Latina athletes in rural schools.”
  • Deeper social networks and higher peer acceptance – team sports help develop close friendships and greater entry into the complex social hierarchies of high school. Physical activity is also linked to reduced stress, depression and teen suicides.
  • Enhanced career benefits – team sports nurtures leadership and teamwork skills, self-confidence, and broadens the ability to speak sports vernacular. Donna Lopiano, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, observes, “Sports is nothing more than organizing a group for high performance. And that’s what businesses do.”

Tips to keep girls in the game as they grow into adulthood

  • Make sure she is hydrating and participating in safe muscular warm-ups, stretching, and cool downs to reduce risk of injury.
  • Pace participation and training to her body strength and stamina.
  • Help her maintain balance between athletics in her overall repertoire of activities, R&R time, and schoolwork.
  • Keep an eye on stress and seek to main balance on girls wanting to achieve a certain level of advancement – let it be fun and a natural progression to wanting to be physically active as adults.
  • Show your girls, through your activity, that aging does not mean less activity or enjoyment of sports! And if there is pain, how to rest, ice and get help.

OrthoConnecticut & OrthoCare Express Can Help

Our physicians and physician assistants are available to advise on sports safety. We know accidents happen, that’s why walk-in orthopedic specialist care is available 7-days a week at our urgent care service,  OrthoCare Express. Download our vCard so the contact information is already in your address book, should an emergency happen.

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

J. Albert Diaz, M.D. Joins The Sports Medicine Center at Danbury Orthopedics

J. Albert DiazDiaz Brings Over 18 Years of Experience as Sports Medicine Specialist

DANBURY, CT – Danbury Orthopedics is pleased to announce that J. Albert Diaz, M.D., will join the practice as of June 1st. A specialist in the field of sports medicine, minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgery, Dr. Diaz completed his orthopedic residency training at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and his sports medicine fellowship at the Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center where he served as Assistant Team Physician to the Minnesota Vikings and Timberwolves. He attended Dartmouth College and the Tulane University School of Medicine, and currently serves as Team Physician for Joel Barlow High School in Redding.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Diaz join our sports medicine team to work alongside Drs. Ciminiello, Henshaw and myself,” says Danbury Orthopedics’ President, Dr. Michael Brand. “Our patients will certainly benefit from his arthroscopic surgical expertise, and the eighteen years of experience he brings in this field.”

Dr. Diaz is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the Arthroscopy Association of North America. He maintains surgical privileges at Danbury Hospital, Danbury Surgical Center and Western Connecticut Orthopedic Surgical Center.

“I am delighted to bring my skills to the highly trained team at Danbury Orthopedics, and continue to care for patients in the greater Danbury area,” says Dr. Diaz. “This organization has made significant advancements to meet the needs of the modern orthopedic patient and I am excited to be a part of it,” adds Dr. Diaz. Danbury Orthopedics offers the full suite of orthopedic services, including the highest quality diagnostics, non-operative and surgical treatment solutions, integrated care by its physical therapy team, its own orthopedic-only outpatient surgical center, and OrthoCare Express, a walk-in orthopedic specific urgent care service, 7 days a week.

Running Right – to Avoid Common Injuries

Story by Ross Henshaw, MD, Sports Medicine Specialist, Danbury Orthopedics

family runnersDANBURY, CT – As any runner will tell you, this simple sport is one of the most rewarding and convenient exercise activities. It’s a wonderfully efficient way to improve your health, except when it produces chronic, nagging injuries. So what’s the best way to safely enjoy a running program? Start smart, with a progressive training schedule that gradually builds the intensity and duration of your workouts.

What the Pros Say

Typically, a running coach or trainer will recommend increasing distances no more than 10% a week. If you have never been a runner, seek advice from friends, trainers or your local athletic store. There are also great resources online and in print. But if you have an underlying health condition or are new to exercise, make your first step a consultation with your physician to be sure it’s OK to start running. Orthopedically, running is a safe exercise for most people but there are exceptions, even among athletes. So if you have a history of orthopedic injury or joint pains, particularly those involving the legs or spine, seek the advice of an orthopedic surgeon.

While any form of exercise can cause or aggravate a preexisting injury, endurance sports generate typical injury patterns. Endurance sports by definition involve prolonged repetitive motion. While a soccer player may run 3-7 miles in a game, depending on position, he or she is rarely only running straight ahead at the same speed. But runners go straight ahead at a maintained speed, which means your hip, knee, ankle and arm motions are roughly the same for the duration of the exercise. Hills change the degree of motion and add more jarring forces.

The longer the duration and hillier the terrain, the more our joints are cycling and the more our tendons and ligaments are pulling and rubbing around our joints. When we start an endurance sport like running and build up too quickly, the abrupt increase in joint motion can lead to ‘overuse’ injuries.

The Top 5 Complaints

In my practice, the most common running injuries are hip bursitis, kneecap pain, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Here’s a quick anatomy lesson:

Hip Bursitis – ‘Trochanteric Bursitis’ is an overuse injury caused by friction between the illiotibial tendon band and the hip bone. This large tendon travels over the bony prominence on the outside of the hip, goes all the way down to the leg and attaches just below the outer side of the knee. When we run, this band rubs back and forth over the outer hip bone; over time the friction creates inflammation. Our bodies have natural ‘cushions’ called ‘bursa’ that are designed to reduced this friction, but if they have not had time to adapt they can swell and hurt. (A related injury is ITB syndrome.)

Kneecap pain and Patella Tendonitis – Often grouped as ‘anterior knee pain’, this refers to pain in the front of the knee and is common among runners. The quadriceps muscle in the front of the thigh powers our ability to straighten the knee. It works by using the kneecap or ‘patella’ for leverage across the knee. This generates pressure and can cause the kneecap to become sore. It’s especially evident when people walk down stairs or inclines and is precipitated by excessive downhill running. The quadriceps muscle tapers to become a tendon that attaches to the kneecap and then to the shin bone (tibia) via the patella tendon. When strained, the quadriceps and patella tendons can also develop micro tears and become inflamed. Treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatories, strengthening exercises, cross training and progressing back to running while avoiding hills.

Shin Splints – Shin splints, or ‘posteromedial tibial stress syndrome’, can occur on one or both shins, but most commonly on the dominant leg depending on your stride. Pain originates at the lower third of the inner part of the shin just behind the bone. The pain is usually discrete and easily reproduced by pressing on the trigger point. This condition is caused by inflammation where the Soleus muscle in the calf attaches to the tibia. As the muscle helps runners with ‘pushing off’ it pulls on the attachment site, which may become inflamed and swollen. This pain usually hurts only when running, early or later in a run. Some people try to run through the pain, which worsens it so that even walking becomes painful. Treatment for this overuse is rest and cross training. Some people may be predisposed to shin splints because of running style or leg, ankle or foot alignment.

Achilles Tendonitis – The strong Achilles tendon is prone to inflammation when starting a running program, particularly on hilly terrain. Our calf muscle tapers off to become the Achilles tendon that inserts into the heel and powers the push-off of the running stride. Running uphill demands more stretch from the calf, forcing it to work harder. This can lead to micro tears of the small Achilles fibers. Micro tears do not become full tendon ruptures, but cause inflammation and swelling as the body tries to repair and regenerate the area. The usual treatment for this pain is rest, stretching, strengthening, cross-training and as the pain dissipates, a gradual return to running with limited hills.

Plantar Fasciitis – Dreaded heal pain! Its most common early symptom comes not with running, but with the morning’s first step. The plantar fascia is a tight band of tissue that supports the foot arch. It attaches to the heel and traverses across the sole, attaching broadly across the end of the foot. When we run the plantar fascia can become overstressed at the smaller attachment on the heel, especially in individuals with tight calf muscles. Initially, inflammation starts after the run and hurts upon standing after a period of inactivity. When the foot and ankle bend to stand flat, the fascia stretches and hurts. Best treatment is to recognize it early and rest, cross train and take an anti-inflammatory. More severe cases may require calf stretching, night splints that keep the plantar fascia stretched, and heel pads.

Pain is a warning!

While it sounds like a lot can go wrong, most of us can enjoy running without ever suffering from these common maladies. As a sports medicine specialist, my best advice is to recognize symptoms early and not ignore the pain. Early recognition and treatment generally lead to a quicker recovery. I also recommend cross training. Even if you prefer running as your primary aerobic exercise, you’ll benefit by incorporating other forms of conditioning such as biking, elliptical or swimming into your routine. If you pay attention to symptoms and mix it up, you can help avoid painful injuries due to repetitive overuse of the joints … and stay active.

Accidents happen

Should an unexpected injury occur, runners in the region can access the orthopedic urgent care service offered at Danbury Orthopedics. OrthoCare Express, the walk-in, orthopedic emergency treatment center, is open 7 days a week in the heart of downtown Danbury, CT at 226 White Street. The Center is staffed by fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons and highly trained Physician Assistants, and is open weekdays from 8 am – 8 pm, and on weekends from 10 am – 3 pm. No appointment is necessary and no referral is required. Visit orthocareexpress.com or call 203.702.6675 for more information.