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Treating and preventing common sports injuries

Looking to be more active in 2014? Have you been waiting all year to enjoy winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding?

There are a few common injuries that often get my patients down when they are on the go. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you prevent these common injuries and determine the best treatment options should you need it.

Sprains/Fractures
The most common injuries in the wrist and ankle are sprains and fractures. Throwing, twisting, weight-bearing, and impact can put you at risk for a wrist injury. Ankle sprains and fractures are typically caused by making a fast, shifting movement with your foot planted on the ground.

In most cases, I recommend the RICE approach: rest for around 48 hours; ice the injured area to reduce swelling (use a pack wrapped in a towel); compress with an elastic ACE wrap; and elevate the injury above heart level.

However, if you experience these symptoms, contact your provider for further evaluation.   
  • Pain at the time of injury
  • Swelling
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Difficulty moving the wrist or ankle
  • A “popping” or tearing sensation during the trauma
  • Warmth and tenderness of the skin
More serious injuries will likely be treated with a splint, boot or cast. The healing process can take up to six weeks. Surgery may also be required.

ACL Tears
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major ligaments in your knee that helps with stabilization when turning or planting. ACL injuries take place during cutting or pivoting movements. The hallmark of a torn ACL is a distinct popping noise and your knee may give out. The  ...

How to treat PFS runner's knee

Patellofemoral pain constitutes a quarter of the injuries to the knee.  Kneecap pain can be both debilitating and frustrating; prolonged pain can limit physical activity and cause those suffering from it to abandon their recreational and sporting activities. 

Patellofemoral pain usually manifests as a gradual onset of pain around the edge or underneath the kneecap during physical activities.  Common activities such as descending hills or stairs, squatting, running, or sitting for long periods of time can all aggravate the pain and cause soreness. 

How your knee works

patellofemoral pain image from http://www.moveforwardpt.com/The knee joint is made up of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap).  The patellofemoral joint refers to the kneecap and the groove (trochlea) in the femur in which the patella sits.  The four muscles of the quadriceps all attach to the patella.  The patella is a sesamoid bone (the bone is embedded within the tendon) and it plays a crucial role in the function of the leg by lengthening the lever arm of the muscles and tendons of the quad to maximize power and function and by acting as a shield to protect the knee from direct trauma.  The cartilage covering the kneecap within the knee joint acts as a shock absorber, protecting the underlying bone from stress.  With running and jumping, the knee (and its overlying cartilage) can experience forces up to 8 times bodyweight.  The cartilage itself does not have a nerve supply, but the bone underneath has an extensive nerve supply and these nerves become painful when the cartilage is not functioning properly to pad and protect the bone.

In patellofemoral syndrome, or PFS (also known as runner’s knee), the cartilage undersurface of the patella become angry, inflamed, irritated, and the kneecap hurts.

How to treat PFS or runner’s knee

  1. Loosen things up.  Use a foam roller to roll out the quad muscle and the illiotibial (IT) band.  These tissues all hook into the kneecap and can contribute to pain when they are tight.
     
  2. Make things stronger.   In the early recovery period (the first several weeks when you are just starting out on your recovery journey) ....

It may be your first robotic knee surgery...

....but at Swedish, it's definitely not ours.

If you have advanced arthritis in part of your knee, robotic-assisted surgery is a great way to go. The incision is smaller. Recovery time is faster. And the surgery is more accurate for better knee function down the road.

So where should you go? Well, Swedish was the first in the Puget Sound area to perform MAKOplasty for partial knee replacements, and we’ve done more of them than any hospital in the region.

Come learn more from a Swedish orthopedic surgeon at one of our seminars, and take the first step toward a pain-free life. Or, watch the below video to see highlights from a partial knee replacement procedure:

FREE ROBOTIC KNEE SURGERY SEMINAR

Call 206-386-2502 or register online at www.swedish.org/classes
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6–8 p.m. OR Thursday, Feb. 16, 6–8 p.m.
Swedish Orthopedic Institute 601 Broadway, Seattle
(Corner of Broadway and Cherry St. – Hourly parking available under the building)

Miss out on Swedish's live knee surgery? Watch the recap today.

If you missed out on Swedish's live knee surgery in March, we have a recap for you - but five minutes of video instead of the five hours originally streamed!

On Tuesday, March 15, 2011, surgeons from the Swedish Orthopedic Institute offered the opportunity to see a knee surgery in a way that has rarely been done before by a healthcare system. Sean Toomey, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, repaired the knee of a patient, streamed live online. The webcast was moderated by orthopedic surgeon James Crutcher, MD. The patient, identified by Dr. Toomey as a candidate for a partial knee replacement procedure, volunteered and consented to have his knee replacement surgery streamed live.

The live webcast provided a rare front row seat into advances in surgical technology, featuring new robotic-assisted technology for knee replacements. During the surgery, the video portion of the webcast was embedded below, and was accompanied by a live chat. Viewers sent questions during the procedure using the live chat features (no login or account needed) or via Twitter using hash tag #livekneesurgery and were answered by the narrating physician during the webcast. Anyone interested in learning about orthopedic options at Swedish or surgical technology were encouraged to join the web stream.

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