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Home > Injury Prevention

Top 5 Preventable Orthopedic Injuries


Bunions 
Bunions are a common foot condition that can become painful and unsightly. The best method of preventing bunions, or preventing their progression, is to follow a few simple steps:
  1. Wear comfortable shoes: This may seem obvious, but if the shoes are causing pain at the site of your bunion, then they're not good shoes to be wearing.
  2. Think wide toebox: Wider shoes may not be as fashionable as the newest Polo or DKNY shoes, but comfort really should matter more.Avoid high heels: Heels cause orthopedic surgeons to shudder, and for good reason--they're bad for your feet. If you have to wear them, do so in moderation.
  3. Make sure the shoe fits: The toebox is just one area--the rest of the shoe, including heel and arch, should also fit well. Try some tips on how to buy the right shoes. 
  4. Pad the bunion: When the bunions become painful and irritated, they become more prominent. If it's bothering you, place some moleskin or cushion around the bunion.

Wear & Tear Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, commonly referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. Patients diagnosed with this condition often worry about the late stages of treatment consisting of joint replacement surgery. However, with efforts at preventing the progression of arthritis, many patients can avoid needing joint replacement. 
  1. Weight loss: Obesity is one of the most significant factors contributing to the development and progression of arthritis. By losing even a small amount of weight, patients often find dramatic relief of their arthritis. Unfortunately, exercising with painful joints can be difficult, but there are ways to lose weight while protecting joints. 
  2. Activity Modification: Impact sports can accelerate the progression of arthritis. Patients with arthritis should perform low impact exercise activities. The best low-impact exercise options include cycling, swimming, pilates, and yoga. Stair machines and walking can all be low-impact, but are not as good.
  3. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can be used to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint. By strengthening the muscles, the damaged joint is better supported. Physical therapists can be very helpful at teaching patients ways to stay fit despite their joint problems.
  4. Ambulatory Aids: The most common ambulatory aids are a cane or walker. Another option for patients with knee arthritis is a special brace that can relieve pressure on the most damaged side of the joint. While not every patient can use this type of brace, it is worthwhile to ask your doctor if a so-called 'offloading brace' may be appropriate.
  5. Joint Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin are often sold as 'joint supplements.' The benefit of these medications has been the subject of controversy, but they are thought to be most effective in patients with early arthritis.
  6. Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Medications an be used to help control inflammation in the arthritic joint. These medications can help ease the symptoms of mild to moderate arthritis. Always use anti-inflammatory medications under the direction of your physician. 

Could be a possible complication of osteoporosis, a condition that causes thinning of the bone. Hip fractures are severe injuries that can lead to many problems. Preventing a hip fracture is the most important step you can take. Patients over age 65 and anyone with significant osteoporosis should take these five steps to prevent a hip fracture: 

1. Stay Active: Many people believe that they should become less active as they age. They feel as though they cannot safely exercise, and become more sedentary. Unfortunately, this is precisely the opposite of what needs to be done. Weight-bearing exercise has been shown to have beneficial effects on maintaining healthy bone. Furthermore, fit people have better balance and are less likely to fall or fracture a bone.

2. Home Safety Check: Home safety is important in preventing falls in the elderly. All people over age 65, or anyone with osteoporosis, should check to ensure their home is safe.

3. Stay on Top of Your Medications: Do you know what medications you are taking? Do you know what they are for? By knowing your medications, and the signs of problems with these medications, you can take control of your health. Let your doctor know if you think a medication could be causing a side effect that may lead to unsteady walking, loss of balance, or a fall.

4. Check Your Vision: As we get older, we may face problems such as failing vision, cataracts, and glaucoma. These problems can be easily screened and all people should have their vision regularly checked. Treating poor vision is a crucial step to avoiding falls.

Back Strains

Improper lifting technique can lead to back, leg and arm pain. Poor technique can cause both acute injury, and serious chronic effects. Learning the right way to lift will help you avoid these problems.

  1. Plan ahead before lifting: Knowing what you're doing and where you're going will prevent you from making awkward movements while holding something heavy. Clear a path, and if lifting something with another person, make sure both of you agree on the plan.
  2. Lift close to your body: You will be a stronger, and more stable lifter if the object is held close to your body rather than at the end of your reach. Make sure you have a firm hold on the object you are lifting, and keep it balanced close to your body.
  3. Feet shoulder width apart: A solid base of support is important while lifting. Holding your feet too close together will be unstable, too far apart will hinder movement. Keep the feet about shoulder width apart and take short steps.
  4. Bend your knees and keep your back straight: Practice the lifting motion before you lift the object, and think about your motion before you lift. Focus on keeping you spine straight--raise and lower to the ground by bending your knees.
  5. Tighten your stomach muscles: Tightening your abdominal muscles will hold your back in a good lifting position and will help prevent excessive force on the spine.
  6. Lift with your legs: Your legs are many times stronger than your back muscles--let your strength work in your favor. Again, lower to the ground by bending your knees, not your back. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps to keep your back straight.
  7. If you're straining, get help: If an object is too heavy, or awkward in shape, make sure you have someone around who can help you lift.
  8. Wear Back Support: If you are lifting in your job or often at home a back belt can help you maintain a better lifting posture. 

Tips:

  1. Never bend your back to pick something up. It's just not worth the damage that improper lifting technique can cause.
  2. Hold the object close to your body. You are a much more stable lifter if you're not reaching for an object.
  3. Don't twist or bend. Face in the direction you are walking. If you need to turn, stop, turn in small steps, and then continue walking.
  4. Keep your eyes up. Looking slightly upwards will help you maintain a better position of the spine.


ACL Tears

The anterior cruciate ligament, also called the ACL, is one of four major ligaments of the knee. Injuries to the ACL can be devastating, and may require surgery and a prolonged rehabilitation. Rates of ACL tears are especially high in women; about 8 times as frequent when compared to men. 

What can be done to prevent ACL injuries?

The best way found to reduce the risk of ACL injury is with the use of neuromuscular training programs. As stated above, the dynamic stabilizers of the knee are important in helping to control knee stability. Neuromuscular training is the process of teaching your body better biomechanic movements and improved control of these dynamic stabilizers. This is an unconscious process -- not something you can choose to do. However, there are ways to teach your body to have better unconscious neuromuscular control.


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