May 2014

Many sports and work injuries can be treated without surgery, but if the patient has not responded to therapy and medication, surgery may be necessary. After surgery, our rehabilitation program is designed to help prevent future injuries.
.

 

June 4, 2014

Q:

My 15-year-old has been diagnosed with a torn labrum in her hip. What treatment options exist for this condition? Is it common?

A:

This is not a very common injury in this age group, but it can occur in sports that requires significant twisting, such as in soccer. Conservative treatment is usually attempted first, but if the pain does not improve with therapy, surgery by an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip arthroscopy may be needed.

June 2, 2014

Q:

A podiatrist says I need surgery on my Achilles’ near the heel because I have a bone spur and Achilles’ tendinitis. How do I know whether I really need surgery and how do I find someone who does this surgery frequently enough to be an expert at it?

A:

You can always get a second opinion especially when a physician recommends surgical treatment. Here at Loyola University Medical Center we have a fantastic podiatry department. Any of the physicians on our podiatry team would be able to help you decide whether surgery should be the next step in your treatment plan.

June 2, 2014

Q:

My 28-year-old son has an elbow problem. He plays water polo, swims and was a high school football lineman. Can you recommend an ortho doctor in the St Louis area at SLUH or Washington U hospitals?

A:

Dr. Ken Yamaguchi at Washington University is an excellent choice in the St. Louis area.

June 2, 2014

Q:

I’m a 28-year-old male who participates in a lot of outdoor recreational sports. Recently I noticed that every time I work out my right shoulder feels inflamed and sore. I can’t recall any injury at the site. What can be the cause of this?

A:

This could be a few things, but often it is a rotator cuff overuse injury. Treatment includes icing the shoulder and resting it. If the pain doesn’t improve within a week or two, I would suggest that you see an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder conditions. This doctor would probably have you try some physical therapy to help you get “back in the game.”

May 29, 2014

Q:

Is any education being given to teachers and high school/junior high coaches in Illinois regarding sports-related concussion? (i.e what signs to look for; when to seek medical treatment, etc.).

A:

Our Sports Medicine physicians at Loyola University Medical Center hold several conferences throughout the year to discuss and present on topics that are being talked about in the news. Concussions is one of the topics we discuss the most. The athletic trainers at the schools we cover know that our Primary Care Sports Medicine physicians have a policy that will get patients with a suspected concussion into a physician’s office within 24-48 hours of the injury. Our Primary Care Sports Medicine physicians also work very closely with our Neurology team in the event a patient needs further treatment. Our Physical Therapy team at Loyola also has a Vestibular Therapy program for patients with prolonged symptoms.

As we start the 2014-15 school year, our Sports Medicine staff at Loyola will be attending parent meetings at the schools we provide coverage for to ensure parents and coaches know about the seriousness of concussions along with the signs and symptoms to look for.

May 29, 2014

Q:

I am 72 years old. I either have partially or completely torn my left hamstring. This may have happened more than a year ago. I have been told that a repair is impossible after so long. I can feel at the back of my left knee. My ortho said there is nothing that would help except maybe a brace, which makes my gait worse. Is there any treatment so I can stabilize my gait?

A:

Have you tried physical therapy? Physical therapy is a great option for those who are not candidates for a repair. In many cases, strengthening the muscles surrounding the injured area will help make up for the deficit caused by the injury. Physical therapists can also work with your physician to determine the best brace for you and the activities you are involved in.

May 29, 2014

Q:

I’m having severe pain in the back of my legs. I’m a diabetic and I have lupus. I’m also on the lung transplant program list and take several pills. Could anyone tell me what to do?

A:

I would discuss this pain with your Primary Care physician to see what their thoughts might be in terms of the best options for you. After being evaluated, physical therapy might be the best option to resolve the pain as oral anti-inflammatories and injections are not great options with your other medical issues. Physical therapy would help you gain strength and range of motion to help decrease the pain in this area.

May 27, 2014

Q:

I’m a 60-year-old woman and I stumbled on the stairs and hurt my right knee several weeks ago. I did not realize I had injured anything until the following morning when I got out of bed. It was very sore in the beginning and I spent a lot of time off my feet with my leg up. Now it’s better but still sore if I’m on it too much. How do I know whether I need to see a doctor about it or should I wait in the hope it gets better and I can be more active.

A:

It might be a good idea to see a physician if you are still having issues. A physician can decide whether some formal physical therapy, an injection or an oral anti-inflammatory might speed up the healing process and get your activity level up in a shorter amount of time especially as we approach the busy summer months.

May 15, 2014

Q:

Lots of talk about Tommy John surgeries and starting with too many young players. What’s the answer?

A:

This is a big problem and the overwhelming majority of these injuries, which involve the ligaments on the inside elbow of the throwing arm, can be prevented since they are due to throwing too many pitches in too short a span of time.  Visit the USA Baseball and  American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine websites to see current recommendations. Remember the phrase “No pain is no gain” doesn’t apply to most sports injuries.

May 15, 2014

Q:

I had knee surgery a few months ago and they removed 75 percent of my meniscus. Is there an implant procedure that works?

A:

Not all patients need implant procedures after removal of part of the meniscus. You should discuss this with the surgeon who performed the procedure to see if it is indicated for you. This depends on, among other things, whether you had any arthritis at the time of surgery.

May 15, 2014

Q:

I’m in my mid-60s and I have been an active woman. My father fell down the stairs and broke his femur last November. Then my lifestyle changed. My husband and I rode our bikes around the city and along the lakeshore about a month ago. After that, my right knee began to ache occasionally. There was no immediate pain and no pain while I was riding. Do you think it is a strain or something more?

A:

Your knee pain is probably a strain due to your relative inactivity while you cared for your father. It is important that before you return to biking after such an event that you slowly resume activity and train with quadricep and hamstring flexibility and strengthening exercises. Your knee will likely improve if you reduce the amount of biking for now and spend some time on these exercises.

May 9, 2014

Q:

I have been having shoulder pain for the past month. I cannot perform any exercises that require pushing (bench press, shoulder press, etc.). Are there any alternatives to surgery that you would recommend?

A:

You should try conservative treatment for at least a few months before considering surgery. Have your doctor evaluate you and, if needed, send you to physical therapy. A steroid injection in the shoulder bursa and continued physical therapy is recommended if you don’t get better with some over-the-counter medications and therapy after four to six weeks. An MRI may be ordered at some point during your treatment if the physical therapy is not progressing. Surgery would be a final option if the pain does not subside and affects your ability to sleep at night and normal daily activities. Surgery is sometimes considered sooner, depending on the requirements of the patient.

May 9, 2014

Q:

I injured the inside of my leg. I’m not sure, but I think it is my meniscus. Is something like that able to heal on its own? I have been working out in the pool, too. I’m thinking I might be able to strengthen the muscles around it.

A:

Conservative treatment of a meniscal injury is definitely an option as long as you can get full range of motion without any obstruction. Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the leg can help patients experience fewer symptoms. A steroid injection can be beneficial to control the inflammation in the knee joint and help physical therapy progress smoothly.

If the pain does not subside and/or there is a blockage in the motion of the knee joint, you may need an MRI and eventually  arthroscopic surgery to remove or possibly repair the meniscus. After surgery patients usually undergo physical therapy two to three times per week for about six weeks. They can return to athletic activity between eight to 10 weeks after surgery to remove the meniscus and in three months after surgery to repair the meniscus.

May 9, 2014

Q:

I had a fall at work and had a talus fracture and a bad dislocation. The injury happened May 15 last year. I had major surgery and I’m still in work conditioning. I’m still getting minor swelling and pain. Is this normal?

A:

This is a complex injury with prolonged recovery; sometimes permanent problems may occur even with optimal treatment. Minor swelling and pain even a year after major surgery can occur, but you should see your doctor if you are concerned.

May 9, 2014

Q:

I would like to know what is the best option for a partial tear in a nerve tendon in my right elbow. The orthopaedics doctor sent me in for an MRI and that was the result.

A:

Partial injuries, meaning there isn’t a complete tear, are normally treated with over-the-counter medication and physical therapy. You will need a prescription to see a certified athletic trainer or a licensed physical therapist. If you don’t see improvement in four to six weeks, seek treatment with a board certified orthopaedic surgeon.

May 1, 2014

Q:

Do I need therapy or can I do the exercises on my own?

A:

You need a visit or two to see a therapist to learn how to do exercises properly. Some surgeries require more supervised therapy due to the complexity of the surgery.

May 1, 2014

Q:

Won’t an injection cause damage to my joint?

A:

Judicious use of injections are helpful to diagnose and treat problems in the shoulder, knee and elbow but should not be overused.

May 1, 2014

Q:

When can I return to work or sports?

A:

Most surgeries allow return to office work in a week and sports in two to six months, depending on what surgery has been performed.