Health Tips

Walking and Sports – What Could Happen?

Enjoying time outside, whether engaging in your favorite sports or taking a nice afternoon hike, may seem like your usual summer plans. However, the twists and turns of being outside can catch you by surprise and may result in injury or an emergency. If you’re an active, outdoor person, the information below can help you stay prepared for walking-related or sports injuries.

1: Walking

Walking brings many benefits, such as weight management, muscle strength and improved circulation. Walking has also been proven to strengthen your heart and boost your immune function. However, it only takes a rock or an acorn, and you’re caught off guard with a twisted ankle or a swollen foot.

What can happen on a walk?

Whether enjoying a brisk walk or a stroll, keep in mind a few pointers:

  • Watch your step. Stepping on a foreign object can cause a fall.
  • Make sure your shoes fit you well and are well maintained. If your shoes no longer fit, are worn out or are too large a size, you are more susceptible to accidents.

How to Handle Injuries from Walking

  • If you experience a walking injury, avoid putting pressure on the affected area for two to three weeks or until manageable.
  • Icing the injury for 20 minutes a few times a day can also help with recovery.
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication can help with the pain and swelling.
  • Need to move around? Crutches will be your new best friend for the next few weeks.
  • Keeping pressure on your injury with a bandage or elastic sleeve can help with the healing process. Just make sure it isn’t applied too tightly as you don’t want to cut off circulation.

On the other hand, severe injuries that involve joint swelling or extreme pain need immediate medical attention. And, experiencing back or neck pain, especially if there is pain that runs down the arm or leg, warrants immediate medical attention.

2: Sports Injuries

Summer sports, such as soccer, tennis, cycling and running make a great source of exercise and camaraderie, but they can also be a source of injuries. There are two types of injuries you can sustain: Acute injuries happen suddenly, while chronic injuries develop over time. Some of the most common sports injuries include:

  • Sprains - This is the result of a stretch or tear of a ligament near a joint and is most often caused by falling or by a twisting motion. Symptoms are pain, swelling, and bruising.
  • Runner’s knee - This can be common to runners and anyone who does a lot of walking, biking, or general knee bending. Symptoms include pain behind your kneecap, especially when you bend your knee.
  • Dislocations - These happen when the ends of your bones move out of their normal position. Symptoms include extreme pain, swelling, and not being able to move the area.
  • Achilles tendon - These injuries are common in sports that require a lot of running. Symptoms include swelling in the area or if the area is warm to the touch.
  • Broken bones - A fall or blunt force can cause sudden pain, swelling, numbness and tenderness around the area. Go to the emergency room for suspected broken bones.

How to Avoid Sports Injuries

Although accidents can happen to anyone at any given time, exercising caution can go a long way when trying to avoid sports injuries. The following tips are reminders to keep you safe during your next hike or soccer game with friends:

  • Make sure you stretch before and after you exercise.
  • Always use proper protective gear, such as a helmet for cycling or when at bat for baseball or softball.
  • Stay hydrated. Stopping for a drink every 20 minutes during your activity is good practice.
  • Be mindful about the environment you’re in, watching for objects that could be falling hazards.
  • Keep a first-aid kit stocked with items you may need for minor injuries.

How to Handle Sports Injuries

If you get injured while playing a sport, stop right away. Riding out the pain of waiting to see if it will subside while still engaged in the sport may only worsen your condition. Most minor sports injuries can be managed at home and should get better in a few days, but for injuries that bring you swelling and pain, it’s best to seek medical attention.

Knowing how to perform basic first aid can also help prevent injuries from getting worse. However, if the injury is severe or life-threatening, call 911 immediately.

When to See a Doctor for Sports Injuries

Don’t delay seeking medical help when you have an emergency. Go to the doctor right away the moment your injury causes extreme swelling, bruising or pain.

Safe Orthopedic Care

The providers at Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics are here for you. Providing our patients with outstanding compassionate care when and where they need it is why we’re here. In addition to medical solutions, we strive for a heartwarming, healing experience. Your safe care is our #1 priority.

If you need help for your injuries, please don’t delay. Call us today at 855.219.6200 and make that appointment!

Sources:
American Academy of Family Physicians
Harvard Health 

Don’t Shrug Off Shoulder Pain

You may not give your shoulders much thought until a stiff, aching joint makes activities like carrying groceries or buckling a child into a car seat nearly impossible. The shoulder is capable of a wider and more varied range of motion than any other joint in your body, yet its flexibility is what makes it vulnerable to instability and injury.

Protect Your Shoulders

Use these tips and exercises to help avoid shoulder pain and injury before they occur:

  1. Don’t carry heavy shoulder bags. If you must lug heavy contents, use a backpack.
  2. Listen to mom’s advice. Standing up straight promotes good posture, preventing future problems.
  3. Take regular breaks at work if your job involves repetitive motion or sitting at a computer all day. Briefly stretching your back and shoulders during the workday can help, too.
  4. If activity causes soreness or stiffness, give your shoulder adequate rest before engaging in the activity again.
  5. Ease into a sport you’ve been away from for a time. For instance, don’t spend hours on the tennis court if you haven’t played since last summer. Tennis players, swimmers and ballplayers have the highest risk of shoulder injuries.

Shoulder Pain Exercises

Exercise and stretch regularly to keep your shoulder muscles and joints strong. Here are a few exercises we recommend.

1: Seated Scapular Retraction
Seated at the edge of chair, find neutral posture. With elbows bent at 90 degrees squeeze the shoulder blades together while keeping the chin neutral or slightly tucked. Two sets of 10.

2: Cane Stretch for Range of Motion
Laying on either the floor or a bed, hold a cane (or golf club or dowel roll) with a wide grip, allow the cane to slowly fall back overhead using the nonpainful shoulder as the guide. Repeat this movement 10 times with a three-second hold.

Pendulums
Stand at the edge of a bed, placing one hand on the edge for support and bending from the hips to allow the painful shoulder to hang. Make small circles in one direction and then switch to the opposite direction. Two set of 10 each direction.

The providers at Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics are here for you.  Don’t shoulder the pain alone; call us today at 855.219.6200 and make that appointment!

Hip Fractures

Hip fractures send more than 300,000 Americans age 65 and older to the hospital each year. While hip fractures can be treated, the injury can lead to severe health problems and reduced quality of life.

Most hip fractures occur because of a fall, especially among adults over the age of 65 with osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak. In addition to advanced age and osteoporosis, other risk factors associated with hip fractures include lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet when younger, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use and certain medications. Environmental factors such as loose rugs or a cluttered living space could increase the chance of falling.

A hip fracture causes pain in the outer upper thigh or groin area as well as the inability to bear weight on the side of the injury. The hip area may become stiff, show signs of bruising or swelling, and a significant level of discomfort could occur after any attempt to rotate or flex the hip. Most hip fractures are diagnosed following an X-ray, which also shows where the fracture occurred in the hip.

Treatment is determined based on the patient’s overall health and age as well as the location and severity of the fracture. Most hip fractures are treated surgically using one of three methods:

  • Inserting metal screws into the bone, if it is properly aligned, to hold it together as it heals.
  • Replacing part of the femur, the long bone that extends from the pelvis to the knee. This method, called a partial hip replacement, calls for removing the head and neck of the femur and replacing them with a metal prosthesis.
  • Replacing the upper femur and pelvic bone socket with a prosthesis. This is called a total hip replacement.

Patients typically do better if they undergo surgery soon after the hip fracture occurs. They may be encouraged to get out of bed the day after surgery with help from a physical therapist, who also will work with patients to help them regain strength and start walking again. After a hip fracture, most patients are hospitalized for approximately one week and may then be either discharged home or referred to a nursing home if they are unable to live independently. Physical therapy rehabilitation usually takes approximately three months.

People at risk for hip fractures can take steps to reduce their chances of falling.

  • Men and women over the age of 50 should make sure they get enough vitamin D and calcium in their diet.
  • Engage in weight-bearing exercise to help strengthen bones and prevent falls.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and do not smoke.
  • Wear shoes with non-skid soles and avoid high heels and shoes like sandals and bedroom slippers that flop when you walk.
  • Check your home for trip hazards like throw rugs, electrical cords and clutter.
  • Make sure your home and outside walkways are well-lit so you can see where you are walking.
  • Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about whether assistive devices may be needed to help you keep your balance.

The providers and staff at Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics wants you to know that your hip pain can’t wait!  Call 855.219.6200 to make that appointment with one of our offices today!

Affiliated with Brookwood Baptist Health Primary and Specialty Care Network