Common Spring Injuries: Causes & Prevention

Article featured on Atlanta Spine Institute

Common Spring Injuries: Causes & Prevention

The winter is finally behind us. Spring means warmer weather, chirping birds, and unfortunately, injuries. Although we encourage being active in the spring, it’s important to be mindful of common spring injuries and make an effort to prevent them. So what are the most common spring injuries? Keep reading to find out.

Walking and Running

You may walk and run far more in the spring than the winter. This is particularly true if you prefer to exercise outside. When you start to walk or run outside in the spring, take things slowly. Realize that your body needs time to adjust and may have difficulty adapting to the wind and terrain at first. Once you’ve walked or ran for a few weeks, you can pick up the pace and increase the intensity.

Also, wear running shoes that fit you properly and offer good support. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of injuries like runner’s knee, piriformis syndrome, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and stress fractures.

Gardening

When you think of gardening, you may picture yourself relaxing outside while growing your favorite plants and produce. The reality, however, is that gardening can be risky and raise your risk of injury, especially if you ignore proper safety precautions. Here’s why: Every time you dig, rake, or weed, you’re engaging in repetitive movements and can face some severe back pain and posture issues.

To lower your chances of gardening injuries, dress in protective clothing, wear gloves, and refrain from sitting on your knees. In addition, don’t be afraid to break every once in a while. There’s no reason to “push yourself” and risk injury just so you can complete your gardening tasks faster. Your health and safety should be your top priority.

Sports

There are a variety of sports you may play once the spring season hits. Golf, baseball, and tennis are a few examples of spring sports that often lead to spring injuries. These sports involve repeatedly moving your shoulders, elbows, and arms. They may cause overuse injuries like wrist fractures, shoulder dislocations, muscle strains, and ankle sprains. To prevent them, stretch and warm up before games and practices, wear proper shoes, use the correct technique, and rest your muscles as much as possible.

Fortunately, most spring injuries can be treated with conservative measures like rest, medication and physical therapy. In some cases, however, surgery may be required. The good news is surgical intervention is almost always effective.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

How to Stay Strong and Coordinated As You Age

Article featured on Harvard Health

So many physical abilities decline with normal aging, including strength, swiftness, and stamina. In addition to these muscle-related declines, there are also changes that occur in coordinating the movements of the body. Together, these changes mean that as you age, you may not be able to perform activities such as running to catch a bus, walking around the garden, carrying groceries into the house, keeping your balance on a slippery surface, or playing catch with your grandchildren as well as you used to. But do these activities have to deteriorate? Let’s look at why these declines happen — and what you can do to actually improve your strength and coordination.

Changes in strength

Changes in strength, swiftness, and stamina with age are all associated with decreasing muscle mass. Although there is not much decline in your muscles between ages 20 and 40, after age 40 there can be a decline of 1% to 2% per year in lean body mass and 1.5% to 5% per year in strength.

The loss of muscle mass is related to both a reduced number of muscle fibers and a reduction in fiber size. If the fibers become too small, they die. Fast-twitch muscle fibers shrink and die more rapidly than others, leading to a loss of muscle speed. In addition, the capacity for muscles to undergo repair also diminishes with age. One cause of these changes is decline in muscle-building hormones and growth factors including testosterone, estrogen, dehydroepiandrosterone (better known as DHEA), growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor.

Changes in coordination

Changes in coordination are less related to muscles and more related to the brain and nervous system. Multiple brain centers need to be, well, coordinated to allow you to do everything from hitting a golf ball to keeping a coffee cup steady as you walk across a room. This means that the wiring of the brain, the so-called white matter that connects the different brain regions, is crucial.

Unfortunately, most people in our society over age 60 who eat a western diet and don’t get enough exercise have some tiny “ministrokes” (also called microvascular or small vessel disease) in their white matter. Although the strokes are so small that they are not noticeable when they occur, they can disrupt the connections between important brain coordination centers such as the frontal lobe (which directs movements) and the cerebellum (which provides on-the-fly corrections to those movements as needed).

In addition, losing dopamine-producing cells is common as you get older, which can slow down your movements and reduce your coordination, so even if you don’t develop Parkinson’s disease, many people develop some of the abnormalities in movement seen in Parkinson’s.

Lastly, changes in vision — the “eye” side of hand-eye coordination — are also important. Eye diseases are much more common in older adults, including cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. In addition, mild difficulty seeing can be the first sign of cognitive disorders of aging, including Lewy body disease and Alzheimer’s.

How to improve your strength and coordination

It turns out that one of the most important causes of reduced strength and coordination with aging is simply reduced levels of physical activity. There is a myth in our society that it is fine to do progressively less exercise the older you get. The truth is just the opposite! As you age, it becomes more important to exercise regularly — perhaps even increasing the amount of time you spend exercising to compensate for bodily changes in hormones and other factors that you cannot control. The good news is that participating in exercises to improve strength and coordination can help people of any age. (Note, however, that you may need to be more careful with your exercise activities as you age to prevent injuries. If you’re not sure what the best types of exercises are for you, ask your doctor or a physical therapist.)

Here are some things you can do to improve your strength and coordination, whether you are 18 or 88 years old:

  • Participate in aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or aerobic classes at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
  • Participate in exercise that helps with strength, balance, and flexibility at least two hours per week, such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and isometric weightlifting.
  • Practice sports that you want to improve at, such as golf, tennis, and basketball.
  • Take advantage of lessons from teachers and advice from coaches and trainers to improve your exercise skills.
  • Work with your doctor to treat diseases that can interfere with your ability to exercise, including orthopedic injuries, cataracts and other eye problems, and Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.
  • Fuel your brain and muscles with a Mediterranean menu of foods including fish, olive oil, avocados, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, and poultry. Eat other foods sparingly.
  • Sleep well — you can actually improve your skills overnight while you are sleeping.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Ways to Improve Your Stamina

Article featured on Verywell fit

If you had to choose one—and only one—component of fitness to improve, what would you choose? You’re probably thinking you’d try to improve your strength, endurance, or speed, all of which are worthwhile goals to chase.

However, there’s one less-appreciated fitness factor that actually combines multiple components of fitness into one: stamina. If you want to most bang for your fitness buck, consider working to improve stamina.

What Is Stamina? 

Stamina is defined as “the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort,” according to Oxford Dictionary. What this means in practical terms is that good stamina allows you to:

  • Run faster for longer distances
  • Lift heavier weights for more reps
  • Take longer, tougher hikes
  • Push through perceived pain, discomfort, and fatigue
  • Perform daily activities with high energy levels

The better your stamina, the more efficient you become at just about everything, mentally and physically.

Stamina vs. Endurance

People often use the words “stamina” and “endurance” interchangeably, and while the two terms are similar, they aren’t the same. Endurance is defined as “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way,” and there are two types of endurance related to fitness: cardiovascular and muscular.

Cardiovascular endurance refers to the ability of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to support rhythmic exercise such as swimming, cycling, and running. Muscular endurance refers to the ability of your muscles to sustain repetitive movements under a given load, such as during weightlifting or hiking. Both types of endurance are important and both represent a component of stamina.

Stamina vs. Strength

“Strength” has lots of different definitions, but in regard to fitness, it essentially defines how much weight you can lift. People who are very strong can lift heavier weights and can also lift lighter weights for many reps. People with less strength can’t lift as much and may not be able to lift as many reps.

Strength training contributes to your stamina because it conditions your body to sustain movement under heavy loads.

Improving your strength even helps for endurance-focused exercises because the stronger your muscles, the better they can handle repetitive movements.

Stamina vs. Speed

Speed, as you probably know, refers to how fast or slow you move while walking, running, swimming, or performing other cardiovascular exercise. Genetics may influence speed more than they influence strength and endurance, although you can improve your speed with hard work just like you can improve any other part of your fitness.

Stamina mainly comprises endurance and strength, because the definition refers to your ability to sustain a given effort. The stronger you are, the more reps you’ll be able to lift with a given load. The better endurance you have, the longer you can sustain a given speed during a run. Stamina is less of a function of speed, but speed certainly still plays a role in your overall fitness.

How to Improve Your Stamina

The key concept here is to challenge yourself. If you’re trying to improve your stamina (or any aspect of your fitness) you’ll need to follow the “principle of progressive overload,” a physiological rule that explains how the body gets stronger, faster, and fitter.

To put it simply, the principle of progressive overload says that you won’t improve in any capacity if you keep doing the same workouts at the same intensity over and over again.

You must change something, be it frequency, intensity, volume, weight, distance, speed, or rest intervals.

For example, if you can barbell squat 10 reps at 100 pounds, you should next try to squat 12 reps at 100 pounds or 10 reps at 105 pounds. Small tweaks like this lead to significant improvements over time.

Here are 15 ways to change up your workout routine and induce improvements in your stamina. 

1. Go for Long Walks 

Here’s a simple way to improve your stamina: Simply move your body for long periods of time. Going for long walks of 30 to 60 minutes is a phenomenal way to build endurance, especially for beginners. Even advanced exercisers can enjoy the stamina-boosting effects of long-distance walking if they amp up the speed and intensity.

2. Add Running Intervals

If you don’t feel walking is enough to improve your stamina, try tossing in a few running intervals throughout your walk. Interval training is proven to be one of the best methods for improving overall fitness, at least in a time-efficient sense. Next time you head out for a walk, add a 30-second sprint every three or four minutes.

4. Increase Your Running Distance or Time

Go the distance for stamina. Since stamina is a combination of endurance, speed, and strength, challenge yourself to maintain your usual running pace for a minute longer. When you can do that, add another minute. Your stamina should continue to improve this way for a while, although everyone has limits on how far and fast they can run.

5. Run Hills and Stairs

If increasing your running distance or time doesn’t sound fun (we don’t blame you), vary the type of running instead.

If you live near hills or hiking trails, adding hill runs to your routine can make a huge difference in your stamina.

Alternatively, stairs and bleachers work, too. Running in an uphill manner challenges your lungs and legs alike.

6. Try High-Volume Weightlifting

Studies show that volume is the number-one variable in resistance training that improves fitness. Volume refers to the total load you lift in a given session, day, or week. It’s calculated by multiplying weight by reps.

For example, if you perform three sets of 10 squats at 100 pounds, find your total volume by multiplying three by 10 by 100. The total volume comes out to 3,000 pounds. In general, continually increasing your volume benefits your fitness.

7. Practice Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercise refers to any exercise during which muscles fiber, but don’t extend or contract. Planks and wall-sits are two good examples of isometric exercises. Incorporating isometric work into your fitness routine can teach your muscles to sustain a position under stress for longer periods of time.

8. Decrease Rest Intervals During Workouts

One surefire way to improve your stamina is to allow yourself less rest time (unless you’re lifting very heavy weights, in which case you should rest three to five minutes between sets for optimal strength gains).

Studies show that decreasing rest intervals while performing moderate- to high-intensity exercise increases physical performance and body composition.

Shortening your rest interval forces you to perform more work in less time, which in theory should support improvements in stamina.

9. Try Cycling 

Riding a bike in any fashion—mountain biking, road biking, or indoor cycling—can improve your stamina if you push the pace (and the terrain if you’re outside).

Indoor cycling in particular is proven to increase aerobic capacity, a major contributor to stamina, as well as other health markers.

Mountain biking may be more effective at increasing muscular endurance and power due to the increased and variable resistance.

10. Swap Cycling for Rowing

If you’re already an avid cycler, you may want to add rowing to your workout rotation. Scientists have long hypothesized that rowing is a more effective workout than cycling because rowing recruits more muscle groups in a more intense fashion. Rowing seems to improve cardiovascular capacity more than cycling, so next time you have the opportunity to hop on an erg, go for it!

11. Have Dance Parties 

Dancing is a phenomenal mode of exercise that will leave your lungs and muscles burning—and it’s fun! Dancing may also require you to assume new positions and challenge your range of motion, which can improve your overall fitness.

Several scientific studies have shown dancing to have significant impacts on health and fitness, from better mobility and balance to improved cardiovascular endurance. Dance as exercise may also increase adherence for some people, because the cost and transportation barriers to entry are low.

12. Play Sports

Again, destructuring your fitness routine could, if counterintuitively, improve your stamina and fitness. Most sports require complex skill sets that may be outside of your comfort zone. If you’re used to lifting weights, running, or other relatively monotonous movements, swapping one workout each week for a sports game is a great way to hone other physical skills.

For instance, a game of soccer includes sprinting, jogging, walking, cutting, kicking, dodging, and even throwing, depending on the position you play. The intermingling of these different movements provides a fun and challenging way to improve your stamina.

13. Listen to Music While Exercising

Everyone knows a good song can pump you up for your workout. Listening to music brings people joy and energy, and this remains true during exercise. Listening to upbeat music during your workout might boost your performance in a number of ways, from reducing your perception of fatigue, distracting you from the strain of your workout, and making exercise feel easier.

14. Drink Caffeine Before Exercising

If you’re looking for a one-off way to improve your stamina, consuming a bit of caffeine before your workout might help. Studies show that caffeine acts as a great pre-workout supplement, because it can increase your energy, mood, and physical capacities, although the effect seems to be more significant in men than women, and you should be careful not to become reliant on caffeine.

15. Add Meditation to Your Fitness Routine

Remember how we mentioned that the word “stamina” refers to both physical and mental pursuits? This is where that tidbit of information comes in. Adding mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to your overall wellness routine might improve your mental stamina.

If you’re used to fast-paced, engaging workouts, mindfulness practices will challenge you to push through perceived boredom and handle stress, two factors that play a role in how long you’re able to exercise at a near-maximal level. In fact, a 2016 study in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that medical students reported improved mental stamina (less stress and improved patience and wellbeing) after six weeks of yoga and meditation.

Don’t Forget to Rest and Recover

Finally, make sure you have recovery days scheduled into your workout routine. Contrary to popular belief, the actual act of exercising isn’t what improves your fitness—it’s the repair and rebuild phase that does. If you perform an intense workout every single day, your body never gets the chance to recover, thus it never has the opportunity to repair your muscles. Rest days are critical to your improvement over time.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Can Chronic Pain Be Prevented?

Article featured on WebMD

Our approach to pain management largely depends on what’s causing the pain. When it’s a byproduct of an ongoing health condition, our focus is finding a good pain management strategy to keep discomfort at a minimum. But when it’s rooted in an isolated event or injury, we can focus not only on treatment, but also the prevention of chronic pain. In situations like this, it’s worth asking – can we keep acute pain from becoming chronic?
The answer isn’t simple – pain is complex and unique to each individual – but there are some things that you can do to prevent pain from taking hold in the long-term. And, similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart attacks, one of the keys to prevention is understanding the risk.
Certain events have been identified as being high risk for developing chronic pain:

  • Surgeries: Though most all surgeries are painful, some are particularly associated with developing chronic pain: mastectomies, thoracotomies (opening up the chest), joint replacements, amputations, and spine surgeries like laminectomies and fusions. With each of these different types of surgeries, it is  common to experience persistent nerve pain related to the operation. There are ongoing studies looking for ways to block excessive nerve irritation during these surgeries, including starting anti-neuropathic pain medications, like pregabalin, gabapentin, and venlafaxine prior to the surgery. If you have a procedure scheduled, talk to your surgeon ahead of time to see if this would be appropriate for your situation.
  • Acute trauma: Acute trauma, like motor vehicle accidents or fall injuries, carries an elevated risk of chronic pain. In my experience, there are usually multiple reasons for this, related to both physical and psychological factors. High-impact injuries from events like falling off of a ladder or getting rear-ended on the freeway cause significant jarring to joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves of the body, causing a chain reaction that leaves the musculoskeletal system over-tensed and the nervous system over-activated in such an intense way that it may not let up. The emotional response to the injury only serves to further amplify this response. In my practice, behavioral health experts often work with patients to treat anxiety, and even PTSD, that is often associated with going through traumatic injuries. Reducing symptoms of distress early after an injury can play a key role in promoting a quicker recovery and diminishing the chances of progressing into chronic pain.
  • Low back pain: Unlike other acute injuries, like a sprained ankle, where rest is a necessary part of the recovery process, low back injuries don’t heal as well with prolonged bed rest. Recovery is quicker when appropriate movements and a return to typical daily activities are started early on after a back injury.  For added guidance on safe exercises and activities, consider working with a movement specialist such as a physical therapist, chiropractor, or Pilates instructor until you feel comfortable doing things on your own.
Past studies suggest that belief patterns also play a role in the development of chronic pain. For example, catastrophizing, when we think the absolute worst about a given situation, can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, fear, and hopelessness. Catastrophizing is a known risk factor for developing chronic pain, while feeling more optimistic seems to be associated with improvements in health and well-being. One theory on how chronic pain can develop is known as fear-avoidance, where pain or even the anticipation of pain creates so much fear about further injury, that a person starts to shut down and avoids certain movements. These behavioral changes brought on by high levels of fear are felt to increase the likelihood of developing more widespread and lasting pain. One way that I help my patients change unhealthy perceptions is by approaching things in a very slow and deliberate fashion. Each little accomplishment along the way builds confidence, and the more confidence that is built, the easier it is to wash away negative feelings like fear and anxiety that stand in the way of recovery.
With so many different factors contributing to chronic pain, our approach to prevention should be multidimensional – better education, the right medications, exercise and physical therapy, counseling, and even good nutrition. If you are experiencing acute pain, talk to your doctor about how you might leverage these tools to keep your pain from transitioning into a chronic problem.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Orthopedic Soft Tissue Repair Market Projected to have a Stable Growth for the Next Few Years

Article featured on Orthogate
North America had the largest share in global orthopedic soft tissue repair market in 2014, attributed to the increase in sports injury cases due to high share of sports activity in this region.
A soft tissue injury is the damage of ligaments, muscles and tendons of hip, knee, shoulder and elbow joint. A soft tissue injury usually occurs from a strain, sprain and continuous use of a particular part of the body and it can result in swelling, pain, bruising and loss of function. To cure soft tissue injury, the soft tissue repair procedure is used. On any soft tissue injury, Protection Rest Ice Compression Elevation (PRICE) principle should be immediately applied to minimize the soft tissue damage and to reduce inflammation caused by it. One of the methods to diagnose soft tissue damage is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
On the basis of surgeries, the global orthopedic soft tissue repair market can be broadly segmented as vaginal prolapse, achilles tendinosis repair, lateral epicondylitis, rotator cuff repair, anterior cruciate ligament and gluteal tendon. On the basis of applications, the global orthopedic soft tissue repair market can be broadly bifurcated as hernia repair, dental, dural repair, skin repair, vaginal sling procedures and breast reconstruction repair.
The rising trend towards safe and simple persistent surgeries and growth in number active lifestyle opting patients are driving the demand of the orthopedic soft tissue repair market. Moreover, with the increase in popularity of rough and energetic sports such as football, soccer and basketball, there had been a considerable increase in the number of soft tissue damages. Some of the factors driving the growth of orthopedic soft tissue repair market are rising geriatric population, increasing obesity rate, advanced medicinal technological advancements, and lack of substitutes.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

The Benefits of Starting Your Day with a Walk

Article featured on Healthline

When you wake up in the morning, movement might not be your first priority. But starting your day with a walk — whether it’s around your neighborhood or part of your commute to work or school — can offer your body a number of health benefits.
Here are 10 reasons why you may want to start your day by getting in some steps. There are also a few tips to seamlessly work it into your daily routine.

1. Boost your energy

Starting out your day with a walk may give you more energy throughout the day. If you walk outdoors, that’s especially true.
Studies show that adults who walked for 20 minutes outdoors experienced more vitality and energy than those who walked for 20 minutes indoors.
A small study found that 10 minutes of stair walking was more energizing than a cup of coffee for 18 women who felt sleep-deprived.
The next time you need a morning energy boost or feel tired when you wake up, you may want to try a walk.

2. Improve your mood

There are physiological benefits to walking in the morning, too.
A walk may help:

  • improve self-esteem
  • boost mood
  • reduce stress
  • reduce anxiety
  • reduce fatigue
  • ease depression symptoms or reduce your risk for depression

For best results, try walking for 20 to 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.

3. Complete your physical activity for the day

One benefit of walking in the morning is that you’ll complete your physical activity for the day — before any other family, work, or school obligations derail you.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that healthy adults should complete at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
Try to complete a 30-minute walk 5 mornings a week to meet these requirements.

4. It may help you lose weight

Walking in the morning may help you meet your weight loss goals. Walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes can burn up to 150 calories. Combined with a healthy diet and strength training, you may find you lose weight.

5. Prevent or manage health conditions

Walking can offer numerous benefits for your health, including boosting your immunity, as well as preventing and helping you manage various health conditions.
Studies show that walking for 30 minutes per day can reduce your risk for heart disease by 19 percent. If you live with diabetes, walking may also help lower your blood sugar levels.
It can even help increase your life span and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

6. Strengthen muscles

Walking may help strengthen the muscles in your legs. For best results, walk at a moderate to brisk pace. Try to change up your routine and climb stairs, walk up and down hills, or walk at an incline on the treadmill.
Add in leg-strengthening exercises like squats and lunges several times a week for more muscle tone.

7. Improve mental clarity

A morning walk may help improve your mental clarity and ability to focus throughout the day. A recent study found that amongst older adults, those who started their days with a morning walk improved their cognitive function, compared to those who remained sedentary.
Walking may also help you think more creatively. Research shows that walking opens up a free flow of ideas, which may help you problem-solve better than if you’re sitting or remaining sedentary. This is especially the case if you walk outdoors.
The next time you have a morning meeting or brainstorming session, suggest that your co-workers join you a on a walk, if possible.

8. Sleep better at night

Walking first thing may help you sleep better at night later. A small 2017 studyobserved older adults aged 55 to 65 who were experiencing difficulty falling asleep at night or were living with mild insomnia.
Those who exercised in the morning versus the evening experienced better sleep quality at night. More research is needed to determine why exercising in the morning may be better for sleep than exercising at night, though.

9. Beat the heat

One benefit of walking in the morning in the summertime — or if you live in a climate where it’s warm year-round — is that you’ll be able to fit in exercise before it gets too hot outside.
Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated before and after your workout. Bring a water bottle with you, if needed. Or, plan to walk along a route with water fountains.

10. Make healthier choices throughout the day

Starting your day with a walk may set you up to make healthier choices throughout the day. After your walk, you may feel more energized and less sleep-deprived.
When your energy drops or you’re tired, you’re more likely to reach for comfort snacks or energy boosters. Walking in the morning may inspire you to choose a healthy lunch and snacks in the afternoon.

Make it part of your routine

  • Set out clothing for your walk the night before. Leave your socks and sneakers by the door so you don’t have to look for them in the morning.
  • Try to set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier so you can get in at least a 20-minute walk in the morning. Look for a nature trail nearby or just walk around the neighborhood.
  • Find a friend or co-worker to walk with in the morning. Chatting and working together can help keep you motivated.
  • If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, consider making walking part of your commute. If you can’t walk all the way to work, try getting off the bus a stop or two early to get a walk in. Or, park farther away from your office so you can walk from your car.

Should you walk before or after breakfast?

If you walk in the mornings, you may wonder if walking before or after breakfast matters and if it’ll help if you have weight loss goals. Research is mixed on whether or not skipping breakfast will increase your metabolism or help you lose weight faster.
Some research shows that exercising in the fasting state (before breakfast) helps your body burn more fat. But more studies are needed.
In the meantime, it depends on your body. If you feel fine taking a walk before eating, or if your stomach feels better if you don’t eat, that’s OK. Or, you may find that you feel better eating a small snack like a banana or a fruit smoothie before heading out on your walk.
Either way, after you exercise, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast and drink plenty of water.

The takeaway

Starting your day with a short walk can offer a number of health benefits. You may feel more energized throughout the day, see your mood and mental clarity improve, and sleep better at night. Be sure to stretch before and after your walk and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you have more questions, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

How Tendons Become Stiffer and Stronger

Article featured on Science Daily

Tendons are what connect muscles to bones. They are relatively thin but have to withstand enormous forces. Tendons need a certain elasticity to absorb high loads, such as mechanical shock, without tearing. In sports involving sprinting and jumping, however, stiff tendons are an advantage because they transmit the forces that unfold in the muscles more directly to the bones. Appropriate training helps to achieve an optimal stiffening of the tendons.

Researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, working at Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich, have now deciphered how the cells of the tendons perceive mechanical stress and how they are able to adapt the tendons to the demands of the body. Their findings have just been published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
At the core of the newly discovered mechanism is a molecular force sensor in the tendon cells consisting of an ion channel protein. This sensor detects when the collagen fibres, that make up the tendons, shift against each other lengthwise. If such a strong shear movement occurs, the sensor allows calcium ions to flow into the tendon cells. This promotes the production of certain enzymes that link the collagen fibres together. As a result, the tendons lose elasticity and become stiffer and stronger.

Gene variant overreacts

Interestingly, the ion channel protein responsible for this occurs in different genetic variants in humans. A few years ago, other scientists found that a particular variant called E756del is clustered in individuals of West African ancestry. At that time, the importance of this protein for tendon stiffness was not yet known. One-third of individuals of African descent carry this gene variant, while it is rare in other populations. This gene variant protects its carriers from severe cases of the tropical disease malaria. Scientists assume that the variant was able to prevail in this population because of this advantage.

The researchers led by Jess Snedeker, Professor of Orthopaedic Biomechanics at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, have now shown that mice carrying this gene variant have stiffer tendons. They believe that tendons “overshoot” in their adaptive response to exercise due to this variant.

Major performance advantage

This also has direct effects on people’s ability to jump, as the scientists showed in a study with 65 African American volunteers. Of the participants, 22 carried the E756del variant of the gene, while the remaining 43 did not. To account for various factors that influence a person’s ability to jump (including physique, training, and general fitness), the researchers compared the performance during a slow and a fast jump. Tendons play only a minor role during slow jumping manoeuvres but are particularly important during fast jumps. With their study design, the scientists could isolate the effect of the gene variant on the jumping performance.
This showed that carriers of variant E756del performed 13 percent better on average. “It’s fascinating that a gene variant, which is positively selected due to an anti-malaria effect, at the same time is associated with better athletic abilities. We certainly did not expect to find this when we started the project,” says Fabian Passini, doctoral student in Snedeker’s group and first author of the study. It may well be that this gene variant explains in part why athletes hailing from countries with a high E756del frequency excel in world-class sports competitions, including sprinting, long-jumping and basketball. To date, there has been no scientific investigation into whether this gene variant is overrepresented among elite athletes. However, such a study would be of scientific interest, Passini says.

The findings about the force sensor and the mechanism by which tendons can adapt to physical demands are also important for physiotherapy. “We now have a better understanding of how tendons work. This should also help us treat tendon injuries better in future,” Snedeker says. In the medium term, it may also be possible to develop drugs that dock onto the newly discovered tendon force sensor. These could one day help to heal tendinopathies and other connective tissue disorders.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.
New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.
Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.
If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

7 causes of shin pain

Article featured on MedicalNewsToday, medically reviewed by Angela M. Bell, MD, FACP — Written by Anna Smith on July 23, 2020

People may typically associate shin pain with shin splints. However, other issues can also cause shin pain.

Medial tibial stress syndrome, or shin splints, is the inflammation of the tendons, muscles, and bone tissue around the tibia. People describe shin splint pain as sharp, or dull and throbbing.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), shin splints are a common cause of shin pain, there are many other causes of shin pain, such as an injury, bone bruise, or stress fracture.
This article will cover a range of reasons why a person may have shin pain, as well as symptoms, treatments, and how to prevent them.

1. Minor injury

A person who has an injury to their shinbone from a fall or blow may experience some pain or bruising.
Symptoms
Symptoms of a minor injury can include:

  • swelling
  • pain
  • bruising
  • a bump
  • bleeding
  • weakness or stiffness in the leg

Treatment
Minor injuries due to a blow to the shin will generally heal quickly. A person with a minor injury to their shin can treat it in the following ways:

  • resting
  • using an ice pack, making sure not to place ice directly on the skin
  • lightly wrapping the injury in a bandage
  • elevating the leg above the heart to help stop any bleeding or swelling

2. Bone bruise

A bone bruise on the shin can occur due to injury, such as a fall or playing sports.
A bone bruise occurs when a traumatic injury to a bone damages blood vessels and blood and other fluids build up in tissues. This causes discoloration to the skin around the damaged area, but the injury is typically deeper than the familiar bruises that appear on the skin. Although a person can bruise any bone, bones nearer the skin, such as the shin, are most common.
Symptoms
It is not always possible to detect whether the bruise is a superficial skin injury or on the bone. Symptoms of a bone bruise on the shin can include:

  • prolonged pain or tenderness
  • swelling in the soft tissue or joint
  • stiffness
  • discoloration in the injured area

Treatment
A person can treat their bone bruise in the following ways:

  • resting
  • applying ice
  • using pain medication
  • raising the leg to reduce swelling
  • wearing a brace to limit movement if required

For more severe bruises, a doctor may need to drain the bruise to remove excess fluid.

3. Stress fracture

Stress fractures occur when muscles become tired through overuse, and they are unable to absorb any extra stress.
When this happens, the muscle transfers the stress to the bone. This causes tiny cracks, or stress fractures, to form. According to the AFP, females, athletes, and military recruits are at higher risk of developing stress fractures.
Stress fractures can be the result of:

  • increasing physical activity suddenly
  • wearing improper footwear, such as worn or inflexible shoes
  • running more than 25 miles per week
  • repetitive, high-intensity training

Females, athletes, and military recruits are all at a higher risk of developing stress fractures, according to the AFP.
Symptoms
Symptoms of a stress fracture in the shinbone include:

  • shin pain when touching or putting weight on the leg
  • prolonged pain
  • tenderness at the site of injury
  • swelling at the site of injury

A stress fracture requires immediate treatment to prevent the small crack from getting bigger.
Treatment
A person who has a stress fracture can treat it in the following ways:

  • reducing activity
  • taking anti-inflammatory drugs
  • using a compression bandage
  • using crutches

4. Bone fracture

The shinbone is the long bone that people fracture most often, according to the AAOS. A fracture to the shinbone can occur due to significant trauma to the leg, such as from a car accident or a bad fall.
Symptoms
Symptoms of a fractured tibia include:

  • severe, immediate pain
  • deformity of the leg
  • possible loss of feeling in the foot
  • bone pushing out skin, or poking through the skin

If a doctor suspects a person has broken their shinbone, they will confirm it with an X-ray.
Treatment
Treatment for a fracture will depend on the type of fracture a person has. For less serious fractures, treatment involves:

  • wearing a splint until the swelling reduces
  • wearing a cast to immobilize the leg
  • wearing a brace to protect and support the leg until fully healed

If the person has an open fracture or one that does not heal with nonsurgical methods, it may require surgery.

5. Adamantinoma and osteofibrous dysplasia

According to the AAOS, adamantinoma and osteofibrous dysplasia (OFD) are rare forms of bone tumors that often begin growing in the shinbone. There are many similarities between the two tumors, and doctors think that they are related. Adamantinoma is a slow-growing, cancerous tumor that accounts for less than 1% of all bone cancers.
Adamantinoma can spread to other parts of the bone. According to the National Cancer Institute, adamantinoma typically appears in young people after their bones have stopped growing. OFD also accounts for less than 1% of all tumors in bones. It is a noncancerous tumor that does not spread and often forms during childhood.A third type of tumor called OFD-like adamantinoma contains cancerous and noncancerous cells and does not spread to other parts of the body.
Symptoms
The most common symptoms of both tumors include:

  • swelling near the tumor site
  • pain near the tumor site
  • fracture due to the tumor weakening the bone
  • bowing of the lower leg

Treatment
A healthcare professional will observe and suggest X-rays for both OFD and OFD-like adamantinoma.

  • If the tumor causes the leg to bow, the doctor may recommend wearing a brace.
  • If the tumor causes deformity or bone fractures, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Adamantinomas will require surgery to remove them as they do not respond to chemotherapy or other cancer treatment.

6. Paget’s disease of the bone

Paget’s disease of the bone is a disease of the skeleton that causes newly forming bone to become abnormally shaped, weak, and brittle. Although Paget’s disease can affect any bone in the body, it mainly appears in the spine, pelvis, femur, and shinbone.
Symptoms
Up to 70%of people with Paget’s disease will have no symptoms. However, if symptoms are present, they can include:

  • bone pain
  • dull pain
  • bending of bones
  • bone fractures
  • loss of sensation or movement
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain

Treatment
If a person does not experience any symptoms from Paget’s disease, a doctor may simply monitor it. Treatments for Paget’s disease can include:

  • anti-inflammatory drugs
  • using a cane or brace
  • bisphosphonate medications
  • surgery
Everything You Need to Know about Fibromyalgia

Everything You Need to Know about Fibromyalgia

From Medical News Today

Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic syndrome that causes bodily pain and mental distress.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can be confused with those of arthritis, or joint inflammation. However, unlike arthritis, it has not been found to cause joint or muscle inflammation and damage. It is seen as a rheumatic condition, in other words, one that causes soft tissue pain or myofascial pain.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), around 5 million adults aged 18 years or over in the United States experience fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women.

Fast facts on fibromyalgia:

Here are some key points about fibromyalgia. More detail is in the main article.

  • Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other types of discomfort.
  • Symptoms resemble those of arthritis, but fibromyalgia affects the soft tissue, not the joints.
  • The cause is unknown, but risk factors include traumatic injury, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, and genetic factors.
  • There is no cure, but medications, exercise, acupuncture, and behavioral therapy can help relieve symptoms and improve sleep quality.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • widespread pain
  • jaw pain and stiffness
  • pain and tiredness in the face muscles and adjacent fibrous tissues
  • stiff joints and muscles in the morning
  • headaches
  • irregular sleep patterns
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • painful menstrual periods
  • tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • sensitivity to cold or heat
  • difficulties with memory and concentration, known as “fibro-fog”
  • fatigue

The following are also possible:

  • problems with vision
  • nausea
  • pelvic and urinary problems
  • weight gain
  • dizziness
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • skin problems
  • chest symptoms
  • depression and anxiety
  • breathing problems

Symptoms can appear at any time during a person’s life, but they are most commonly reported around the age of 45 years.

Treatment

Medical attention is needed because fibromyalgia can be difficult to manage. As it is a syndrome, each patient will experience a different set of symptoms, and an individual treatment plan will be necessary.

Treatment may include some or all of the following:

  • an active exercise program
  • acupuncture
  • psychotherapy
  • behavior modification therapy
  • chiropractic care
  • massage
  • physical therapy
  • low-dose anti-depressants, although these are not a first-line treatment

People with fibromyalgia need to work with their doctor to come up with a treatment plan that provides the best results.

Medications

Medications may be recommended to treat certain symptoms.

These may include over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. However, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) issued a recommendation against using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat fibromyalgia in their updated 2016 guidelines.

Antidepressants may help reduce pain. Anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin also known as Neurontin, and pregabalin, or Lyrica, may be prescribed.

However, a review has suggested that patients often stop using these drugs because they are not effective in relieving pain or because of their adverse effects.

Patients should tell the doctor about any other medications they are taking to avoid side-effects and interactions with other drugs.

Exercise

A combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training, or strength training, has been linked to a reduction in pain, tenderness, stiffness, and sleep disturbance, in some patients.

If exercise is helping with symptoms, it is important to maintain consistency in order to see progress. Working out with a partner or personal trainer may help to keep the exercise program active.

Acupuncture

Some patients have experienced improvements in their quality of life after starting acupuncture therapy for fibromyalgia. The number of sessions required will depend on the symptoms and their severity.

One study found that 1 in 5 people with fibromyalgia use acupuncture within 2 years of diagnosis. The researchers concluded that it may improve pain and stiffness. However, they call for more studies.

Behavior modification therapy

Behavior modification therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that aims to reduce negative, stress- or pain-increasing behaviors and improve positive, mindful behaviors. It includes learning new coping skills and relaxation exercises.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 3 Steps to Early Detection

A bit of a departure from our typical post,  we feel it is important to share important health information from a variety of resources on relevant topics beyond Orthopedics and bone health. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to share a few tips regarding early detection. There’s a good chance you or someone you know will be affected by this disease in their lifetime and early detection is the key to better outcomes. Please share this information with the women in your life.

From the National Breast Cancer Foundation 

Help Detect Breast Cancer Earlier  

This year, over 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The good news is that when breast cancer is detected early, it can be treated more successfully, increasing the chances for survival.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of what could potentially be breast cancer. To help with this, National Breast Cancer Foundation has identified three steps you can take to be proactive about your breast health and help increase your chances of detecting breast cancer early.

This potentially life-saving information can be found in our free guide, 3 Steps to Early Detection. This free resource helps you answer three important questions:

  1. What should I look for if I examine my own breast?
  2. When should I see my doctor?
  3. When and how often should I get a mammogram?

 

From  Atrio Health Plans

Three Steps to Early Detection

If there are eight American women in a room, one will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2016 alone, it’s estimated that more than 246,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

There also are incredibly encouraging breast-cancer statistics. For example, when breast cancer is detected early and in a localized stage, the five-year relative survival rate is 100 percent.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and ATRIO Health Plans wants women to know that there are proactive steps they can take to detect breast cancer when it’s most treatable.

Step One: Be Aware of Potential Symptoms

Step one is being aware of potential breast-cancer symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, contact your healthcare provider promptly; chances are good that cancer is not the cause, but it’s worth your time to make an appointment if you notice:

  • unusual nipple tenderness;
  • changes in areola, nipple, or breast-skin texture, including enlarged pores, pitting, or reddened scaling;
  • a lump in/near the breast or underarm;
  • any unexplained change in the size or shape of a breast;
  • swelling of the breast, particularly if on only one side;
  • decrease in breast size, especially if just one breast is impacted;
  • a nipple that has turned slightly inward or become inverted;
  • Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple has become scaly, red, or swollen; also may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange;
  • nipple discharges, particularly if they’re clear or bloody.

Step Two: Self-Exam

A woman’s next line of defense is performing monthly breast self-exams:

  • In the shower – Move the pads of your fingers in a circular pattern from the outside to the center of each breast and armpit area. If a lump, thickening, or a hard knot is detected, contact your healthcare provider.
  • In front of a mirror – Visually inspect your breasts, first with arms at your sides, then raised overhead. Keep an eye out for changes in breast as well as nipple shape, swelling, and skin dimpling; pay particular attention to changes occurring in just one breast.
  • Lying down – With a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head, move the finger pads on your left hand in a circular motion over the entirety of your right breast and armpit area; gently squeeze the nipple to test for discharge. Follow the same steps on your left breast.

Step Three: Mammogram and Clinical Exam

Women’s most effective early detection weapons are regularly scheduled mammogram screenings and clinical breast exams.

Mammograms often can uncover a breast lump before it can be felt. They also can point to potential abnormal cells. Current guidelines are:

  • Women 40 and older should have mammograms every one or two years.
  • Women who are younger than 40, and have breast-cancer-risk factors, should ask their healthcare professional how often they should have a mammogram.

A clinical breast exam is performed by a healthcare professional trained to recognize breast abnormalities. Most often, this exam is conducted by your primary care physician or gynecologist as part of an annual assessment.

October is the ideal month for women to empower themselves and take proactive steps to preserve their breast health.

Sources:

http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/early-detection-of-breast-cancer

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-symptoms-and-signs

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/clinical-breast-exam

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-stage-0-and-stage-1

 


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.