Category Archives: General Ortho

Is There a Difference Between Sprains and Strains?

Strains and sprains are both common orthopedic injuries. However, many people do not know that there is a difference between the two. The difference between sprains and strains comes down to the part of the musculoskeletal system affected. Sprains affect ligaments while strains affect muscles and tendons.

The Basics

A sprain is an injury to a ligament. Ligaments are tissues that connect two or more bones to a joint. Sprains occur when one or more ligaments are stretched or torn. The severity of a sprain injury depends on how badly the ligament is damaged and how many ligaments are involved in the injury. Sprains can occur at any joint in the body, but according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), ankle sprains are the most common type of sprain.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Tendons are the fibrous cords of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. Strains can range in severity from a mild overstretch to a complete tear. Strains can happen suddenly (acute muscle strains) or develop over time from repetitive movements or positions (chronic muscle strains). Muscle strains commonly occur in the neck, shoulder, lower back, and hamstring.

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains

As we’ve just seen, sprains and strains are different types of injuries, so it only makes sense that they have different symptoms. But because they are both injuries to the musculoskeletal system, there is some overlap in symptoms.

Sprains

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Inability to use the joint
  • Skin discoloration
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness

Strains

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
  • Cramping
  • Limited range of movement
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Bruising 
  • Discoloration

Causes of Sprains and Strains

Both sprains and strains occur as a result of an injury during physical activity. They can be caused by similar things, from something as simple as walking to a traumatic injury like a fall or body blow.

Sprains

Sprains may be caused by a number of activities. They can happen during everyday activities or during exercise or playing sports. Sprains are common injuries in sports like track & field, football, baseball, and basketball.

  • Walking on uneven surfaces
  • Landing awkwardly from a jump
  • Overextension while playing sports
  • Landing on an outstretched arm after a fall
  • Twisting or pivoting during physical activity
  • A blow to the body that forces the joint out of its usual position

Strains

Strains can also be caused by a number of physical activities. Some strains occur during everyday activities while others happen during exercise or playing sports. Strains are common injuries in sports like gymnastics, tennis, golf, rowing, boxing, wrestling, soccer, football, and hockey.

  • Slipping and losing footing
  • Lifting something heavy incorrectly
  • Throwing something
  • Not warming up before exercising
  • Overextension during activity
  • Repetitive movements in sports
    • Tennis
    • Golf
    • Baseball
  • Poor or awkward posture for a long period of time

Treatments for Sprains and Strains

The first line of treatment for strains and sprains includes resting, elevating, and icing the affected area. Wearing a bandage or brace may also help with healing by providing compression. Over-the-counter pain killers may help relieve the pain associated with a sprain. Physical therapy can help you regain complete mobility by giving you exercises that will stabilize and strengthen the injured area. Some severe sprains may require surgery to repair. 

Sprains can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to heal depending on the severity. However, if your symptoms last longer than a week, you should see a doctor so they can rule out further injury or develop a treatment plan to heal the injury correctly. Other signs you should seek medical attention include:

  • Numbness in the injured area
  • Inability to walk
  • Inability to use arms and legs
  • The injury is bleeding

The team Paris Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are dedicated to helping our patients recover from a wide range of orthopedic conditions and injuries. Our services include general orthopedic medicine, joint replacement, sports injury treatment, and a bone health clinic. If you’re having trouble with a suspected strain or sprain, call (903) 737-0000 to make an appointment.

Tips for Relieving Joint Pain in Winter

Millions of Americans suffer from joint pain each year. Some joint pain is due to injury or illness, but a lot of cases are caused by arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 23% of adults in the US are diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor. No matter the cause of your joint pain, you might experience worsening symptoms when it gets colder outside. To get relief, you can try some of these winter tips for joint pain.

1. Stay Active

One of the most important tips for joint pain relief year-round is staying active. Exercise strengthens muscles that help take the pressure off joints and keeps you loose. You may need to focus on this more during cold weather because we often spend less time being active outdoors. You can move many workouts inside during winter to stay active. Try low-impact training with swimming at an indoor pool or using an elliptical trainer. Make sure you safely warm-up for all workouts and include stretching in your routine.

2. Increase Anti-Inflammatories

To receive joint pain, you can increase the number of anti-inflammatory foods you consume. Look for foods that have healthy omega-3 fatty acids like avocados and certain fish. You can also take a supplement of krill oil to increase intake. Other foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties include garlic, turmeric, onions, probiotic foods, green tea, berries, and dark leafy greens.

3. Hydrate

Dehydration is linked to increased pain sensitivity. You lose moisture in cold and dry conditions even though you’re not sweating. Make a point to consume enough fluids throughout the day to relieve joint pain.

4. Dress Warmly

Make sure you bundle up in layers when it’s cold out. Ensure that the joints you have trouble with are well insulated so the cold won’t get to them and cause them to become stiff. 

5. Apply Heat

Along with dressing warmly, one of the best tips for relieving joint pain during winter is applying heat to stiff and aching areas. Heating pads and wraps are good options for applying heat directly to the joint. Electric blankets are good for keeping your entire body warm while relaxing. Some people find relief by soaking in warm water in either a bathtub or hot tub. If you can find a heated pool to swim in, you get the two-for-one benefit of a soak and low-impact exercise.

6. Lose Excess Weight

Extra weight increases strain on joints. It’s not always an easy task to lose weight, especially during the holidays when so many treats are around. However, if you stay active and make smart food choices, knocking off a few pounds might provide you with some pain relief. 

7. Increase Vitamin D

During the winter, some people don’t spend enough time outside in the sun. This can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to increased sensitivity to joint pain. Have your vitamin D levels checked during your next doctor’s appointment and if it’s low, ask your doctor about the best supplements to take.

8. Avoid Slipping

During the winter, the ground can be slippery due to ice, sleet, or snow. If you live in a place where those conditions are common, consider investing in winter boots that have treaded soles appropriate for gripping slick ground. If you’re already suffering from joint pain, then you don’t want to further injure yourself by slipping and falling.

9. Use Pain Relievers Sparingly

During winter months you might need to supplement these lifestyle habits with a pain reliever. Many times an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen may be suitable to take on occasion. Sometimes these drugs, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have negative side effects that pose risks if you have conditions like kidney disease or stomach ulcers. That’s why it’s important to check with your doctor before beginning even OTC medication.

10. See an Orthopedic Specialist

Paris Orthopedic and Sports Medicine provide patients in Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma with comprehensive orthopedic services, including treatment for joint problems. If you’re struggling with joint pain, call our Paris, Texas orthopedics office at (903) 737-0000 to make an appointment.

 

6 Tips to Prevent Spring Yard Work Injuries

As the grass finally starts to grow back from the winter months, it becomes a gentle reminder that a lot of work is ahead for you. Every year, thousands of injuries result from poor mechanics when performing yard work and many other injuries result from general mistakes.

While you get prepared to start your spring cleaning outdoors, it is important to consider ways to keep your body healthy and running strong all summer long. Proper consideration now can prevent many unwanted and unneeded medical bills, allowing your time in the yard to be relaxing opposed to causing additional stress.

The following are some helpful tips to prevent yard work injuries this spring and throughout the year:

1. Pay attention to the details

It is extremely common for individuals to get distracted with their thoughts while out in the yard. When this happens, it becomes easy to overlook rocks or debris which can quickly become dangerous projectiles when they come in contact with a lawn mower or weed eater.

It is also important to look for uneven ground that may cause an ankle or knee injury when carrying heavy objects or mowing the lawn. This uneven ground may be tough to see if the grass is too high, therefore a walk through prior to starting work is recommended. Flagging uneven ground may prove to be helpful in preventing a number of injuries.

2. Don’t forget to warm-up

Warming up prior to doing yard work may seem like a ridiculous idea. However, similar to performing any athletic activity it is important to get the body loose prior to engaging in strenuous physical activity. Failing to do so will leave the muscles cold and susceptible to injury when starting out, especially if carrying heavy materials.

It is not essential to perform an overly dynamic warm-up as you would before going for a run or hitting the gym, but light stretching of the major muscle groups in addition to moving the limbs and trunk around will help to get the blood flowing. This will prepare the body for physical activity, preventing and minor muscle strains from becoming nagging injuries over the next few months.

3. Use proper mechanics

Using proper mechanics when performing any physical activity including yard work is the best way to prevent injury. We all know the saying “lift with your legs and not your back” but not many actually put this saying into practice outside of the gym. Keep this in mind as you move pavers or larger plants around the garden. Bracing your core and thinking about proper movement will help keep you healthy, especially when considering back injuries.

If you do not possess the proper range of motion to use proper lifting and movement mechanics, it is important that you start a flexibility program that uses a combination of static and dynamic stretching. The inability to get in certain positions because of range of motion will greatly increase your risk of injuries, both minor and more substantial, such as in the case of a herniated disc.

This applies to both big movements as well as things that require a longer period of postural control, such as gardening. If you feel yourself starting to tighten-up while mending to your flowers or vegetables, it is a good idea to get up for a few minutes to get the blood flowing, assess your position, and get back to work in a healthy spine neutral position.

4. Read equipment manuals

While proper mechanics are important, many yard work injuries are the result of improper or negligent equipment use. Before operating new lawn care equipment or equipment you may not already be familiar with, read the manual to understand all of its safety features and instructions for use.

Always be mindful of your fingers or other extremities any time you are operating any equipment that has a blade including lawn mowers, edgers, chainsaws or hedge trimmers. Remember, sharp blades have the potential to cause injury even when they are not in motion.

5. Know your limits

Whether you’re 20 or 65 years old, there’s a good chance you don’t want to think of yourself as having limits when performing yard work duties. Whether you are trying to carry two bags of grass clippings in one trip or save money by scaling a ladder to clean the gutters yourself, pushing past your limits and comfort zone increase your risk of injury.

As with anything in life that requires a physical demand, be honest with your capabilities when it comes to yard work. There’s no shame in outsourcing these tasks to a professional especially when it helps you avoid an unexpected trip to the emergency room.

6. Have a plan if things go south

Taking the proper precautions can help you to get the most out of your body, achieve the tasks you need done and keep you healthy in the process. But, accidents can happen to even those who go to great lengths to prevent them.

The experienced team at Paris Orthopedic specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of injuries and conditions, including the most common yard work injuries such as strains, sprains and fractures. To request an appointment, call (903) 737-0000.

6 Most Common Orthopedic Surgeries

Unintentional injuries account for 30.8 million emergency department visits each year. These include injuries ranging from strains, sprains, and dislocations to concussions and fractures, most of which affect the musculoskeletal system.

The musculoskeletal system includes the bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, joints and bursae–the lubricated cushions between a bone and the surrounding soft tissue. When looking at all musculoskeletal injuries, fractures (broken bones) account for 16%.

When possible, non-surgical treatment methods are always preferred. However, in many cases, surgery is necessary to correct these orthopedic injuries. Based on data from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, these are the six most common orthopedic surgeries:

#6 Partial Shoulder Replacement (15,860)

Shoulder replacement surgeries are significantly less common than knee or hip replacements. While they may be performed to treat an injury such as a severely torn rotator cuff, shoulder replacement surgery is often used to relieve painful conditions such as osteoarthritis. A partial shoulder replacement, or hemiarthroplasty, is a procedure during which the head of the humerus bone (long bone in the upper arm) is replaced with a prosthetic ball, but the natural socket is left intact.

#5 Total Shoulder Replacement (29,414)

In cases where the shoulder socket is affected, a total shoulder replacement is necessary. There are two different methods–traditional arthroplasty and reverse arthroplasty. In a traditional shoulder replacement surgery, the original ball-and-socket surfaces of the shoulder are replaced with similarly shaped prosthetics. During a reverse, the positions of the shoulder joint’s ball and socket are switched–the ball at the top of the upper arm bone (humerus) is replaced with a socket-shaped prosthetic and the socket is replaced with a prosthetic ball.

#4 Partial Hip Replacement (105,509)

Partial hip replacement surgery is most often performed to repair certain types of hip fractures. Like the shoulder, the hip is comprised of a ball and socket joint. With a partial replacement, the femoral head (or ball) is removed and replaced with either a ceramic or metal ball that is attached to a metal stem. The stem, called a hip implant, is set into the femur. The socket is left intact.

#3 Total Hip Replacement (306,600)

The hip is one of the body’s largest joint and hip replacement surgery is considered one of the most successful surgical procedures in all of medicine. A total hip replacement includes replacement of the femoral head (ball) and neck, and removal of any damaged cartilage in the pelvis. There are three types of bearing surfaces available for total hip replacements–metal ball on plastic liner, ceramic on ceramic, and metal on metal. Metal on highly cross-linked polyethylene (plastic) is the most recommended for its durability. Around 98% of this type of replacement last around 20 years in young, active patients.

#2 Spinal Fusion (465,070)

Spinal fusion may help relieve back pain symptoms caused by conditions such as degenerative disc disease, spondylolistheses, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis, as well as fractured vertebrae, a herniated disk, infection or a tumor. With this procedure, two or more vertebrae are fused together and heal into a single, solid bone in order to restore the stability of the spine or eliminate painful motion. It is based on the theory that if the vertebrae causing the pain cannot move, they should no longer cause pain.

#1 Total Knee Replacement (645,062)

Knee pain is the second most common cause of chronic pain in the United States. For those who are unable to perform everyday tasks, such as sleeping, without difficulty and pain, joint replacement surgery is often recommended. It may also be used to correct a knee deformity.

The procedure name, total knee replacement, can be misleading. What many people may not realize is that the bones themselves are not actually replaced, but rather their surfaces. The bones (tibia and femur) are prepared by removing any damaged cartilage from their surfaces along with a small amount of underlying bone. Metal implants are then used to recreate the surface. The patella (kneecap) is also resurfaced before a medical-grade spacer is inserted between the metal components. This space creates a smooth gliding surface to restore joint function.

Contact Paris Orthopedics

Paris Orthopedic and Sports Medicine’s team of board-certified physicians offer comprehensive orthopedic and musculoskeletal services for patients throughout Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma. Their services include both surgical and non-surgical treatments for sports injuries and a broad range of bone, muscle, and joint problems. For more information or to schedule an appointment call (903) 737-0000.

*The figures listed in parentheses next to each procedure represent hospital discharges

Winter Weather and Back Pain

In Texas, we are fortunate to only experience relatively mild winters compared to other parts of the country. The coldest period tends to be late-December through mid-February. No matter how mild the winter, cooler temperatures have the potential to exasperate back pain (and joint pain) especially for those with conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. While there is minimal evidence to support the connection between weather and back pain, there are several reasons why your pain may be affected by the season.

  1. Vasoconstriction: When exposed to cold temperatures, the blood vessels in your extremities narrow to deliver extra blood to more vital areas such as your brain, heart, lungs and bowels–a process called vasoconstriction. This results in the tightening of your muscles, tendons and ligaments, which are all vital to supporting your spine. As these become stiff, it places extra strain on the back that may result in pain or discomfort.
  2. Barometric Pressure: There have been no scientific studies to prove a connection, but the anecdotal experience is far too widespread to ignore it. The most popular hypothesis regarding barometric pressure and back pain is that when the barometric pressure drops prior to a storm or when there is a drastic change in temperature, there is less gravity to prevent further swelling in joints. When your joints are already inflamed from an existing condition, previous surgery or injury, the swelling is compounded and results in increased pain.
  3. Lack of physical activity: Colder weather and shorter days may deter even those with the best intentions from getting enough physical activity on a regular basis. It may seem counterproductive, but outdoor activity and exercise actually help joint and back pain. Your muscles need continued exercise in order to fulfill their vital role of supporting the spine. Without it, you become more susceptible to injury.
  4. Abnormal physical activity: In the winter, you may find yourself doing back-intensive activities that you otherwise don’t perform or participate in during other times of the year such as raking leaves, chopping wood or learning to ski on vacation. When your back isn’t conditioned or strong enough to handle these activities, your risk of experiencing back pain increases.
  5. Seasonal Depression: Whether you experience the winter blues or suffer from seasonal affective disorder, winter weather and less sunlight can take their toll both mentally and physically. Seasonal depression can cause back pain, fatigue, increased perception of pain and decreased interest in daily physical activity.

Don’t let back pain force you into hibernation this winter. To help you stay active during the cooler months of the year, dress in layers to help keep your muscles warm especially when you’re outside. Activities you can do any time of year that are great for back health include swimming at an indoor heated pool, indoor aerobic exercise and walking. Just make sure you wear proper footwear to reduce your risk of slips and falls that can result in a herniated disc or fractured vertebrae.

Contact Paris Orthopedics

If your joint or back pain becomes more than you can manage on your own, call (903) 737-0000 to schedule an appointment with Paris Orthopedic. Our team of experts offers comprehensive orthopedic and musculoskeletal services for patients throughout Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma.

Summer Activities for Lower Back Pain

Now that it’s finally summer, the weather is beautiful and school is out, you’re likely excited to get up and moving. If you are living with lower back pain, be careful as jumping into strenuous activities may shock your body and worsen you condition.

Here at Paris Orthopedics, we encourage you to enjoy the following activities so that you can make the most out of the summer days while protecting your back.

Yoga

Research has proven that yoga is an effective treatment for lower back pain. There are a variety of poses that can ease your pain while increasing your strength and flexibility. We recommend taking a yoga class at a beach or park and trying the supine twist, sphinx, thread the needle, cat and cow, and downward facing dog poses.

Swimming

One of the ideal ways to beat the summer heat and reduce lower back pain is swimming. This low-impact workout can relieve the pressure on your spine and joints while strengthening your back. When swimming, choose strokes that exercise your abdominal and hip muscles as a strong core is essential to maintaining proper posture and a healthy spine.

Water Aerobics

If you don’t consider yourself a strong swimmer, prefer a group activity, or are recovering from a back injury, water aerobics is a great option. Water aerobics has been proven to provide a variety of benefits for back pain sufferers including a stronger core, reduced re-injury risk, improved cardiovascular function, and pain relief.

Walking

Walking is simple activity that can do wonders for your back. Since walking increases endorphins, which are your body’s pain inhibiting hormones, it can help you stay functional and complete everyday activities with ease while reducing your lower back pain. It’s a good idea to schedule a daily walk with a friend or family member around your neighborhood or a nearby park.

Cycling

As long as you don’t ride on an off-road trail, cycling will place less stress on your spine that other forms of aerobic exercise such as running or jogging. If you participate in cycling on a smooth, well-paved surface and keep your back straight while riding, you’ll improve the muscular strength of your lower body and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.  

Contact Paris Orthopedics

Prior to engaging in any summer activities, it’s wise to consult a spine specialist at Paris Orthopedics. We’ll evaluate your condition and make recommendations that are right for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.