Let’s Talk Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a lot more common than you think and the condition is exactly what the name implies, the movement in the shoulder is severely restricted, usually due to pain in movement and the shoulder is for all purposes -“frozen”. The actual name of this condition is “adhesive capsulitis” and is often a result of an injury that lead to lack of use of the shoulder due to pain in movement.

Another reason for the condition is the progression of arthritis and also shoulder surgeries are often to blame. Individuals that will have a high risk for suffering a frozen shoulder include people suffering from diabetes stroke victims, people suffering lung disease, arthritis sufferers, individuals with heart disease and people that have had accidents injuring the shoulder and haven’t rehabilitated the injury. An interesting statistic about frozen shoulder is that it is rarely seen in people under the age of 40.

Diagnosing Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is usually very easy to spot. The joint of the area becomes so stiff and tight that it is nearly impossible to move. Simple body movements such as raising the arm are nearly impossible to do. Many people with frozen shoulder will comment that their shoulder area is worse at night. To get a 100% diagnosis, your physician will do an arthrogram on the area.

Frozen Shoulder Treatment

The treatment of frozen shoulder will begin slowly and increase as the level of pain in movement subsides. In most cases, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs will be given and the heat will be applied to the shoulder frequently to help relax and loosen the muscles. Then gentle stretching exercises will be done and the repetitions of these exercises will be very slowly increased over a period of many days. This is usually done with the help of a therapist and should never be attempted without medical supervision as you can actually tear the muscle and worsen the condition.

A more high-tech approach to the pain of frozen shoulder is found with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). This is basically a small, battery-operated unit that delivers nerve impulses that block pain. It is a pain blocker of choice method for many people and for other people it simply will not work. General manipulation of the shoulder area under general anesthesia is also sometimes necessary for a shoulder that has been allowed to “freeze” for a long period of time.

Once you begin treatment however, continue the regimen of daily stretching, heat and exercise and you should be able to have a shoulder that is back to 100% functioning in the near future.

Do You Use R.I.C.E.?

We’re not talking about food, R.I.C.E. is the basic method for treating a large number of sports related injuries.

If you’re involved in running, aerobics, weight training or other good health-related activity, you’re doing wonderful things for your body however you’re also at a higher risk for sprained joints, strained muscles and other minor injuries. Fortunately, giving yourself proper care in the first day or two after injury can reduce the time you’re on the sidelines healing.

In the event you suffer a sprain, strain, pull, tear or other muscle or joint injury, treat it with R.I.C.E.- that’s an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Using the R.I.C.E. can help relieve pain, limit the swelling and can protect the injured tissue, and all of these combined will speed healing of your injury.

Each component of the R.I.C.E. method works with the other parts to help your body heal as quickly as possible from injury.

* Rest: Resting your injured body part is vital to protect the injury from being further or re-injured during the healing process. Additionally, resting gives your entire body the energy needed to do complex repairs and heal completely.

* Ice: Use the power of cold to give yourself short term pain relief. An additional kiss from the use of cold therapy is that it will limit the swelling. Use in short periods as needed rather than one long use of a cold pack as over use can cause skin damage. A good rule of thumb is 15 minutes on and 20 minutes off as needed for pain and swelling.

* Compression: The use of compression limits swelling, which you don’t want to happen because along with pain, swelling slows down the healing process. Depending on the type of injury you have, many people report that they experience pain relief from compression as well. This is especially true for people suffering leg injuries. The easiest way to compress is simply to wrap a bandage firmly over the injured area. The compression should be firm but not constriction, if discomfort is experienced – loosen a little.

* Elevation: Another magic element of healing and reducing swelling is to elevate the injury. It’s especially effective to raise the injured body part higher than the heart.

After a couple of days of R.I.C.E., your injury will begin to heal and your body will take its natural course for repairing the damage. If your pain or swelling doesn’t alleviate after 48-hours, contact your physician or go to the ER and get your injury looked at to rule out a larger issue.

Otherwise you should be back in action in a very short period of time and just remember to start slow and use the 10% rule on your affected body part and increase your activity participation by 10% a week and along with gentle stretching and rehabilitation exercises for the injured part, you’ll slowly but surely be back to 100% in no time at all!

Avoiding the Dreaded Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Legs cramps for pregnant women have been occurring since time immortal. However, no one still knows exactly why the leg cramps occur although strong evidence points to a combination of increased weight bearing by the legs during pregnancy since the majority of cramps occur in the late second and third trimester; along with an excess of phosphorus and a deficiency of calcium and/or potassium.

Some tried and true ways to avoid leg cramps is to stretch you legs a few times a day and especially before retiring for the night. Avoid pointing your toes as this can lead to a muscle lock up and leg cramp. Instead pull your toes upwards towards your body and very gently stretch your calf muscles (where nearly all pregnancy cramps occur) a few times. Rotate your feet and wiggle your toes to stimulate circulation as well. Start with a few and build up your repetitions.

Avoid crossing your legs or standing for long periods of time in the same position. Additionally, applying gentle heat to your calf muscles can further relax the legs and many pregnant women find this is especially beneficial at bed time after stretching their legs.

Then attack your leg cramps from a nutrition angle as well. Add potassium-rich foods such as bananas and if indigestion is an issue, a potassium based antacid will give you the double whammy against leg cramps by providing calcium and potassium. Good sources of calcium are milk, green leafy veggies, almonds, tofu and if your doctor gives the okay, salmon.Get the phosphorus-rich foods out of your diet. This will mean saying good-bye to soft drinks, processed meats and snack foods.

Also, if the pain and cramp in either leg is accompanied by any swelling or feels tender, call your doctor as you could have a condition that although rare, could be life threatening. swelling or tenderness or will not go away, call your doctor. You could have a blood clot, although it is a rare condition, your changes are increased during pregnancy and it requires immediate medical attention. Use these tips and alleviate your leg cramps so you can enjoy your pregnancy from start to finish when your healthy, beautiful baby arrives!

Midfoot Sprain or Lisfranc’s?

Sometimes a common sports injury is actually a very uncommon one. A case in point is the midfoot sprain, these are painful but often minor; however they should always be looked by a sports medicine professional.
Why? It could be a rarely seen “but it does occur” type of injury called Lisfranc’s Injury. While it doesn’t occur often, if left untreated the consequences for this injury will be severe to the sufferer and it should always be ruled out to avoid complications in the future.

What is Lisfranc’s?
Basically Lisfranc’s joint are the tarsometatarsal joins were the long bones (also called tarsals) in the foot meet and join with the smaller bones (metatarsals) of the toes. Dr. Jacques Lisfranc was a surgeon that served in Napoleon’s Army and was the first person to describe an amputation through this joint.

What are the symptoms of Lisfranc’s?
These mirror a common metatarsal injury with midfoot pain and difficulty bearing weight on the foot.
Some bone deformity may be noted in an x-ray; however this is not always seen. Swelling is common as is tenderness felt in the joints with any movement. Pain is experienced if the foot is pressed upwards and more so if the foot is rotated at the same time.

What is the best treatment?
First and foremost see a sports medical professional that will know to look for both types of injuries. The x-ray will be taken with the injured person in the a weight bearing position on the foot. Lisfranc’s sometimes doesn’t show up with an x-ray and if your doctor suspects you may have a Lisfranc’s injury – an MRI or bone scan may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

With a sprain, usually the injured foot is wrapped and the injured person is told to stay off of it. With Lisfranc’s the treatment is a little more intense. A plaster cast with a toe plate supporting the toes that usually runs inside the cast to the knee to completely immobilize the joint during the healing process will be applied. Additional treatments will depend on how severe the injury is but the usual time for the cast to be worn is 4-6 weeks as the bones must heal precisely in place so no movement can occur. When the cast is removed, generally lower foot and leg strengthening exercises are done to restore mobility and strength to the affected area.

If you have injured your foot and the pain is continuing after a day – have your medical professional rule out Lisfranc’s so you can return and participate full force in the activities you enjoy most!

Study Shows Some Sports Injuries Related To Illegal Activity

According to a study published in the February issue of Injury Prevention, of the sports injuries that occurred in United States high schools over a two year period from 2005-2007.estimates that more than 98,000 of those injuries were directly due to an action that was ruled as illegal by a referee, official or disciplinary committee.

The researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital conducted a study that analyzed data from the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 for National High School Sport-Related Injury Surveillance. Through this study nine different common high school sports were included: boys’ football, soccer, basketball, wrestling and baseball and girls’ soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball.

The highest rate of illegal injuries were found for soccer of both sexes. Girls’ volleyball, softball and boys’ baseball had the lowest number of illegal injuries occurring. Interesting, a full 32% of the injuries related to illegal activity were to the head and/or face and 25% were concussions.

Christy Collins, Co-Author of the CIRP study reported,”Our research indicates illegal activity is an overlooked risk factor for sports-related injury and reducing illegal activity through enhanced enforcement of rules and targeted education about the dangers of illegal activity may reduce sports-related injuries.”

By definition, activities that were ruled illegal are not supposed to occur. Thus, injuries attributed to illegal activities should be largely preventable in high school sports.

Dawn Comstock of CIRP and Co-Author of the report commented,”Each sport has a unique set of rules developed to promote fair competition and protect participants from injury, thus, enforcing rules and punishing illegal activity is a risk control measure that may reduce injury rates by modifying players’ behavior.”

This study was funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will hopefully open both the eyes of both participants as well as coaches to the dangers of straying outside the rules and keep sports both challenging and safe activities.