AAOS Yearly Conference: 2014 in New Orleans

AAOS Yearly Conference: 2014 in New Orleans

It is always great when the American Academy of Orthopaedics has its yearly conference here at home in New Orleans. It means many things to me. Here are a few of my thoughts on this upcoming week of working sessions, presentations, and a chance to learn about the latest innovations in orthopaedic surgery and orthopaedic care.

I don’t get to go every year, but I will be there this year. (How could I miss it since it is right here in New Orleans, Louisiana?) This a chance for me to catch up with former colleagues, mentors, and friends who live all over the country. Everyone gets caught up in their weekly routine. So having an opportunity to reconnect with people you rarely see and getting a chance to take a look at the latest advances in my field is something I really enjoy.

So I will be in the office in the Orthopaedics Department all day Monday March 10th, 2014, seeing patients at Ochsner Kenner. From Tuesday through Friday I will be sitting in various conference rooms, walking the display floor, and clearing out a few times to handle various surgeries I have scheduled for this week.

If I don’t see you tomorrow, or at the conference, I will be back in the office all week as usual as of Monday March 17th, 2014!

AAOS New Orleans, LA 2014

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting – 2014

Achilles’ Tendon Injuries

Achilles' Tendon Injuries

Unfortunately for (LA Lakers Fans) Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles’ tendon recently. This is the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel.

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It is very common to develop Achilles tendinitis (an inflammation within the tendon). As this continues over a long period, the tendon can even become degenerated and sometimes will rupture.

 

There are two distinct locations in which the Achilles tends to become inflamed and these have very different courses:

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The first is right at the back of the heel where the Achilles inserts onto the heel bone (calcaneus). This is commonly referred to as a ‘pump bump’, but don’t let that fool you. Women are not the only ones to develop the inflammation here. In this area, the tendon gets a good amount of blood supply from the bone and so these very rarely, if ever, go onto rupture. These, however, are tougher to get rid of and can take a long time to treat.

 

20130417-204058.jpgThe second place is higher up the leg. This is in an area between the insertion and where the tendon and muscle meet which makes it an area that has less robust blood supply. This is why tendinitis in this area can more often lead to ruptures. The inflammation in this area however is normally easier to relieve.

Treatment for both types of tendinitis start with relative rest. This means taking some time off of working out and maybe even placement into a walking boot or cast to keep the Achilles from having to work. Also a course of physical therapy focused on stretching the tendon and modalities such as ultrasound or electric stimulation can help relieve the inflammation. Anti-inflammatories are often prescribed as well.

If the tendon does rupture, patients often describe this as feeling as if they were shot or kicked in the calf. It also becomes difficult to walk on the leg. It is important to seek care quickly so that treatment can be started and you can obtain the best outcome. These can sometimes be treated with splinting and casting without having any surgery. Other times, surgery to repair the tendon can be the best option.

 

Thoughts from AAOS 2013: Day Two – Aging and Ortho

Thoughts from AAOS 2013: Day Two - Aging and Ortho

I learned and was reminded of a few tips for all of us weekend warriors today @AAOS2013 today.

First, as we all age, a number of changes occur to our bodies. Our bones can start to lose density, making it more likely to fracture. The collagen which makes up our ligaments changes ratios of the proteins which make it up, causing our ligaments to become stiffer. This can lead to increased stress on the ligaments as well as less joint motion. Also, our muscles become more stiff as well and lose their elasticity, making injury more common. Finally, we can lose muscle mass and strength at an alarming rate, especially after the age of 50! Fortunately, with REGULAR strength training, this loss of muscle mass can be avoided.

If you are a weekend warrior or just wish to begin a new fitness regimen, there are some steps you can take to help prevent injuries.

Studies have shown that supplementation with vitamin D and calcium prior to beginning a new exercise regimen can significantly reduce your risk of stress fractures. Also, making sure that you have well cushioned, well fitting shoes can help reduce the risk of injury to your bones or joints as well.

Daily stretching after a brief warmup can also help mitigate some of the loss of flexibility.

It can be difficult to fit in daily exercise, as I know very well. However, trying to do consistent exercise a few times a week is very beneficial. In fact it is generally speaking better than a marathon workout session on the weekend.

Keep these thoughts in mind and you can reduce your possibility of injuries as you work out and even as you do your physical chores around the house.

Another blog tomorrow and keep the email and tweets coming in:
Twitter: @drpamortho
Email: questions@drpam.md