Patella Tendinopathy and Injuries

The basic function of the patella tendon is to transfer force of the quadriceps muscles; which causes the extension of the knee. The quadricepses are the muscles that are most active during the running and kicking of the ball in football.

Patella Tendinopathy is degeneration of the tendon (tendonsis). A breakdown of the tendon is characterized by focal lesions which are small and do not have an inflammatory response. Degeneration is when the tendon isn’t processing its normal tensile strength and could rupture if you continue with sporting activities. Patella Tendinopathy is also associated with aging. Some contributing factors are; joint stiffness, muscle tightness, muscle weakness, poor pelvic stability, inappropriate or excessive training, inadequate warm up and inappropriate footwear.

Some of the signs and symptoms of patella Tendinopathy are coming on gradually: pain in the tendon, worsened by activity, focal areas are tender, tendon is very stiff first thing in the morning, and the tendon may appear thickened in comparison to an unaffected area, the pain will be in the front of the knee, just below the kneecap. It commonly occurs from too much activity, repetitive or prolonged strain on the tendon. For less severe cases, you may only notice an ache or stiffness in your knee that worsens with rest following any activity that requires strong or repetitive contractions of the quadriceps muscles. Some of these activities include hopping, squatting, jumping, kicking, or climbing stairs.

The treatment for Patella Tendinopathy varies from case to case but includes ice for analgesia (do not put directly on the skin), rest from any sporting activities for at least three months, eccentric muscle work; referring to a muscle which is lengthening while contracting. In persistent cases, they will recommend an injection of Aprotinin. If the condition has not gotten better within a six-month period, your doctor may discuss surgery with you. Use surgery only as a last resort because even that is not going to be 100% effective. Treatment may comprise of soft tissue massage, ultrasound, stretches, use of crutches, joint mobilization, exercises, and education. Rehabilitation will be necessary after surgery and may take many months to accomplish.

There are rules to prevent Patella Tendinopathy so follow these: the intensity, frequency, and duration of training have to be carefully monitored with only gradual progression. Any sudden increases should be avoided. Flexibility and muscle strength has to be maintained with regular strengthening sessions. You have to wear the correct footwear and make sure that the surface is appropriate with the sport you are practicing.

If you begin having aches and pains in the knee area as described above, please make sure you visit your doctor and have some testing done. The sooner you are diagnosed and start treatment or rehabilitation the quicker you will be able to heal and resume normal activity.

Achilles tendon and Footwear

Achilles tendon is a tendon in the back of the leg, also known as calcaneal tendon or tendo calcaneus. The tendon is located in the area of the ankle, behind it. This tendon is the thickest and certainly the strongest tendon in your body. It measures approximately five point nine (5.9) inches long, beginning near the middle of your calf. The most common Achilles tendon injuries are an Achilles tendon rupture or Achilles tendonitis; inflammation of the tendon.
Believe it or not, the best way to avoid an Achilles tendon injury is to have the correct footwear. Footwear and the Achilles tendon are actually related in the following three ways: you have to correctly fit footwear that can prevent injuries, can help you recover from injuries and can help prevent injuries from coming back. If you have the wrong footwear, unfortunately, it can be a factor in having Achilles tendon issues and injury. They can also delay your recovery and it will increase the chance of reoccurrence.
When buying footwear you must match it to the person’s individual requirements. This includes the firmness, cushioning, height, heel height, and correct arch. If you end up with an injury to Achilles tendon, it likely means that you need to change your footwear.
Some people can get away with inexpensive and tiny fixes to their footwear; using arch support inserts or placing a piece of material under his heel to add cushioning. Other people can receive help by just wearing better shoes and/or sports shoes. There are people who have unique feet structure and they require custom-built shoe inserts also known as orthotics. Orthotics and specialized shoes could be very costly so if you have to, triple check that that is what you need so you are not overspending.
For a handful of unfortunate people, a brace might be required. The brace will be able to immobilize your foot after an Achilles tendon injury; one example can be the rupture of Achilles tendon. Braces that are to be used can be wrap devices that can provide a small amount of support helping in the immobilizing devices that are used to block flexing or prevent pointing of and then to further damage of the Achilles tendon.
Here are a couple of the guidelines to follow when finding sports shoes or regular everyday shoes to help prevent an Achilles tendon injury:
1. Heel cushioning and height: please make sure it is not too little but also not too much as either situation is doing any good for any tendon. You should have a slight cushion or elevation in the heel.
2. Not too little: you don’t want cushioning which is so soft that your heel will sink lower at the heel than the front part of the foot; it overly strains the tendon.
3. Flexible sole at the forefoot: the midsoles should be firm, but also be able to bend comfortably at each stride.
If you have Achilles tendon injuries, please consult your doctor and get it taken care of! If you don’t have one and wish to prevent one from happening, follow the guidelines above and get the proper shoes and don’t overdue the exercise and sports.

How Cell Phones Can Affect Your Fingers

Cell phones are an indispensible tool in today’s society. A lot of us feel naked without our phones in plain sight. However, there are some health concerns associated with these tiny pieces of technology that you might not think of.

We have all heard things about the way our phones affect our bodies. However, there is a casualty of everyday cell phone use that we tend to overlook – our fingers. We can spend hours with a phone in our grasp, whether we are talking or texting, and not think twice about what it is doing to our hands. Some of the most common conditions caused by too much cell phone use are trigger finger and “text thumbs.”

The Mayo Clinic defines trigger finger as “a condition in which one of your fingers or thumb catches in a bent position. Your finger or thumb may straighten with a snap – like a trigger being pulled and released.” This sometimes-painful condition is caused by overuse and overdevelopment of the flexor tendons, or the tendons used to curl our fingers. Holding your cell phone all day can cause this. The tendons then develop scar tissue that builds up and catches on the tendon sheath, making it difficult to straighten out the affected fingers. Symptoms often begin with a swelling sensation and a popping or snapping when you bend and relax your fingers. More acute cases can cause the fingers to lock so firmly that you have to use your opposite hand to straighten them. These cases are usually accompanied by pain that makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks. When left untreated, this condition can cause permanent damage to the tendons and tendon sheaths. It is important to see a doctor if you begin having these symptoms. Typically, treatment begins with rest and discontinuation of the activity that caused the symptoms in the first place. Stretches are usually enough to cure most cases, but sometimes surgery can be necessary for extreme situations.

Another common injury associated with cell phones is called texting tenosynovitis, or “text thumb”. As the name implies, this is associated with texting for extended periods of time. Texting causes to use our thumbs in an unnatural way; they were meant to help us grip and grasp things, not type. Considering that some people can type up to 40 words per minute on their Blackberry, this puts our thumbs at risk for injury. Text thumb is really a technologically enhanced case of repetitive strain injury. The nerves get irritated and inflamed, and the thumbs begin to hurt. Some dedicated texters can even develop de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, which causes pain along the side of the wrist at the base of the thumb. Treatment for this condition is similar to that of any overuse condition – rest, ice packs, anti-inflammatories, and in some severe cases, cortisone injections.

The best treatment for both of these conditions, however, is to prevent them in the first place. Try to make sure and stretch your hands throughout the day. Don’t always use the same hand to hold your phone – switch between the two throughout the day. If you are texting and your thumbs begin to get sore, stop texting and call instead. And don’t fall for the various thumb splints on the market that claim to alleviate texting thumb, because they often make the problem worse. While we may not be able to use our phones less, we can lessen the impact our phones have on our fingers.

Need Instant Relief Anywhere? Try Mueller Kold Instant Cold Packs!

How many times have you needed an ice pack, gone to the freezer, and found that there weren’t any there? You can’t always wait for a traditional ice pack to chill…so what do you do? In the past, the answer was to grab some ice if you were at home. But ice melts, and, even if you could deal with that, what if you’re not at home? Well now there is a solution — Mueller Kold Instant Cold Packs. These handy little instant ice packs cool within seconds instead of hours to provide you with relief anywhere.

Mueller Kold Instant Cold Packs are simple and easy to use. You just squeeze them firmly and give them a good shake. After shaking for only 30 seconds, these chemical cold packs are ready to provide soothing relief. This is possible because they contain water, urea and ammonium chloride. The chemical reaction between these substances produces the quick cooling results. One warning…these instant ice packs get cold, and I MEAN COLD! They are the coldest packs that we sell. For this reason, it is important to always place a towel or some other barrier between the cold pack and the skin. After you are done applying the pack, just dispose of it.

Of course, the biggest benefit of these packs is that they don’t need to be pre-chilled. You can keep them in your medicine cabinet, your car, or anywhere you may need them. Imagine the next time you go to the park with your little ones…They get to playing too roughly, and the inevitable injury occurs…The difference is that this time, you don’t need to go scavenging for ice or rush home immediately. You just pull out one of these little instant ice packs, squeeze, shake, covers, and apply to the boo-boo. Crisis averted.

Another great application for these instant cold packs is sporting events. Since these little packs get so cold so quickly, they are the ideal instant ice packs for injuries. Twisted ankles, pulled shoulders, and banged up knees are no match for the cooling power of these fantastic little packs. And at only $19.99 for 16 of them, it’s easy on your wallet to keep stocked up. Whether it be little league, company softball, or professional teams, you can’t go wrong when you have these available. And these are just some of the possible uses for these great instant ice packs.

These wonderful packs measure 9” by 6” and stay cold for up to two hours. This is plenty of time, since you really should not apply ice for more than half an hour at most anyway. No matter if it’s for your kids, for your sports team, for the office, or just for your home personal use, they are great to have on hand. Why not stock up today?

Shoulder Pain – Common Causes and Treatments

At some point in all of our lives, almost every one of us experiences some kind of shoulder pain. We overdo it when working out, play a little too roughly with the kids, or forget to warm up before pitching softball. But there are some types of shoulder pain that can be a little more serious than others. Some of the most common reasons for painful or stiff shoulders are tendonitis, frozen shoulder, dislocation, rotator cuff tear, or shoulder instability.

Tendonitis is the most common diagnosis for people who have shoulder pain. In the shoulder, it is the rotator cuff that is most likely to develop this condition. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that attach your arm to your shoulder and allow you to move it around freely. Tendonitis is basically what it sounds like, the irritation and inflammation of the tendons. You can get tendonitis from simply using your shoulder too much or in an improper way. To get relief from this kind of shoulder pain, stop doing what made you sore in the first place! It seems obvious, but it really is the first thing you should do to treat your pain. Next, apply ice or a cold pack to the sore shoulder. Cold helps numb the area and reduce swelling. If you can take anti-inflammatory medication, they will also help you find some relief.

Rotator cuff tears, on the other hand, are a completely different animal. A common symptom of this injury is pain across the top of the shoulder and down the arm to the elbow. Usually the joint becomes painful to use and noticeably weak. This condition means that the muscles have actually torn part of the way (or sometimes all the way) across. In these cases, most injuries can be treated with physical therapy and medication. However, some rotator cuff tears require surgery to correct them.

Another common culprit for shoulder stiffness is frozen shoulder. This is another condition that is exactly what it sounds like – the shoulder “freezes” up and is hard to move. This condition is different, though, because too much movement does not usually cause it. In fact, frozen shoulder usually just appears for no apparent reason. People between 40 and 60 are most likely to get this condition, and women are twice as likely to get it than men. The joint capsule around the shoulder becomes thick and scarred, and it becomes very difficult to move. Luckily, though, this problem does get better. There are some things you can do to help, such as doing light exercises and stretching. The best way to learn these exercises is to visit a physical therapist. Applying moist heat is also a great way to help with both the stiffness and the pain.

When the bones of the arm come out of the shoulder socket itself, this is called shoulder dislocation. This is normally very painful. The arm may be hanging at an unusual angle. Sports injuries and falls are the most common causes. If you’ve ever seen the “Lethal Weapon” movies, you may be familiar with “the Riggs method” of repairing this type of injury, but DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! Dislocations are best treated by a doctor. Once the joint is put back in place, the arm is usually put in a sling to heal.