...you want to wait extra loooong for your fracture to heal
...you want to have a higher risk of surgical complications, like infection or problems healing your wound
...you're okay with developing osteoporosis
...you want to be more likely to develop overuse injuries, like bursitis or tendonitis - and take longer to recover
...you want to have a detrimental effect on your athletic performance
...you want to have more pain after a surgery
Sound attractive? I would guess not for most.
As an orthopaedic surgeon, I treat many acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, including fractures, sprains, strains, tendon/ligament injuries and bursitis. I often discuss with smokers the risks above - not to mention the risks of smoking that first come to mind...the damaging effects on the heart and lungs. Many individuals are unfamiliar with the fact that smoking can even affect the health of the bones and joints.
Your doctor tells you that you have a rotator cuff tear...now what?
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that connect muscle to the top of your humerus at the shoulder. These tendons are important because they help give you the strength to be able to lift you arm as well as rotate it. You need your rotator cuff to be able to reach a lightbulb, swing a tennis racket, or even to scratch the back of your head.
Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is a watersport that is rapidly growing in popularity. The Sports and Fitness Industry Association showed in the past three years, participation in standup paddleboarding has increased by nearly 120 percent. That’s more than other fast-growing sports including adventure racing, MMA, rugby and BMX.
As a sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon, I work with athletes of many levels. One area that we don’t always get to touch on when focusing on injury is nutrition and its importance. This is where we rely heavily on our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for solid advice. I’m honored to have Niki Strealy, RDN, LD of Strategic Nutrition talk to us about nutrition for the active adult. Not only is she a seasoned professional, she herself is a runner and a track coach. Who better to bring together nutrition and sports?
Thanks, Niki, for being a part of my blog!
Dr. Bergen is one of my inspirations in blogging, and she sets the bar high. Check out her blog at www.drbarbarabergin.com!
I cannot agree with Dr. Bergen more, when she says “respect the stairs”! Read on...
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner (like me) or a pro, there are many things you can do to prevent injuries on the tennis court. Did you know in 2007, more than 21,000 people were treated in the US for tennis-related injuries?
Here are a few tips to avoid injury on the courts:
- When playing outdoors, dress appropriately for the weather and don’t forget sunscreen and a hat.
- Court surfaces - surfaces such as cement, asphalt or synthetic aren’t very forgiving. Consider inserts to absorb shock to protect your back and other joints when playing on harder surfaces.
As the weather warms up, hitting the courts is looking more and more attractive. Recreational basketball is a great full-body workout, but don’t forget important safety tips to avoid injury.
Data reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) showed that in 2016,
The AAOS recommends the following basketball safety tips:
AAOS has more resources on orthopaedic news and education.
Visit AAOS, at:
Newsroom.aaos.org for bone and joint health news, stats, facts, images and interview requests.
ANationinMotion.org for inspirational patient stories, and orthopaedic surgeon tips on maintaining bone and joint health, avoiding injuries, treating musculoskeletal conditions and navigating recovery.
Orthoinfo.org for patient information on hundreds of orthopaedic diseases and conditions.
In the sunshine-starved city of Portland (especially NOW...summer, where ARE you???), vitamin D should be on your radar. Recent studies bring to light (pun intended!) the importance of Vitamin D for muscle strength, injury prevention for all - and especially for those interested in sports performance.
A new review article in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, vitamin D supplements help increase muscle strength in athletes who are vitamin D deficient. Higher levels have also been linked to injury prevention and improving athletic performance.
“Vitamin D deficiency commonly affects many people around the world,” said lead study author and orthopaedic surgeon Geoffrey D. Abrams, MD. “With higher serum levels of vitamin D playing a role in muscle strength, injury prevention, and sports performance, it’s essential for individuals to take necessary steps to ensure they’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin D intake, whether through direct sunlight or other sources including fish, eggs, fortified dairy products, and dietary supplements. Studies also have shown that daily vitamin D supplements are proven to be more effective than weekly or monthly doses.”
So, what should your vitamin D level be?
The Endocrine Society's guidelines for vitamin D say that:
What are the symptoms of low vitamin D?
How could an adequate vitamin D level help the athlete?
What's the take home message for you?
DON'T go out and megadose yourself on vitamin D in the hopes that in 8 weeks you will wake up LeBron-esque. But DO talk to your doctor about your vitamin D level. Know where you stand, and take vitamin D supplementation as directed by your doctor if it is recommended.
I was recently asked by a friend, who had a teenage child who is interested in becoming an orthopaedic surgeon, “what does it take to become an orthopaedic surgeon?”
In total, from the time one graduates from high school, it takes a minimum of 13 years of schooling/training to become an orthopaedic surgeon. That’s 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5 years of residency training as a “junior” doctor and then if a subspecialty is desired, another 1-2 years of training. Orthopaedic surgeons can subspecialize in sports medicine (like I did), orthopaedic oncology, spine, adult reconstruction (that’s joint replacements), pediatric orthopaedics, foot/ankle reconstruction, shoulder/elbow, hand - to name a few.
Not all college graduates decide to go straight through to medical school, with some individuals taking time off to travel, obtain a graduate degree, work or perform research. Personally, I took a non-traditional path as I hadn’t decided to apply for medical school until a few years after my undergraduate degree. I pursued a brief, minimum-wage-paying but very fun career in the snowboarding industry, spent some time in acupuncture school, and then was an event/seminar coordinator. It was a circuitous route, but it certainly gave me some real-world experience prior to entering medical school, and I felt it prepared for being able to relate and speak to individuals of all backgrounds and ages. As I worked full-time planning workshops across the U.S., I spent about two years taking classes at night and on weekends to complete my prerequisites to be able to apply to medical school. And then - I took the MCAT, the standardized exam that is part of the medical school application.
What many younger students thinking about medicine as a career don’t know is that the tests continue after school is completed. Through residency and beyond, there are exams that must be passed - such as the orthopaedic in-training exams during residency, then the written first part of the orthopaedic board examinations that are required at the end of residency.
Even after starting your first “real job” as an orthopaedic surgeon, there’s a second part for board examinations - an oral exam that looks at actual patient cases during a defined period of time in the first 20 months of practice. When you see that a surgeon is “board-eligible”, it means they’re in good standing to sit for this second part of the exam. Once passed, that surgeon then becomes “board-certified”. To remain board-certified, continuing education is required, as is a recertification exam every 10 years.
The tests and studying never end! It’s a long road, but if you’re heart is in it, it is worth it. I’m in a rewarding field and I love what I do.