Rotator Cuff Tears

rotator cuff tear anatomy shoulder

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles and their tendons that together form a « cuff » around the head of the humerus (upper end of the arm). The 4 muscle, originate from the scapula (shoulder blade), are upraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. Tendons of each muscle fit on the humerus tuberosity.

Rotator cuff’s functions :

  • Lift the arm

  • Turn the arm

  • Stabilize the humerus in the joint

Causes

rotator cuff tear anatomy

The causes of a rotator cuff tear can be an acute injury such as a fall or because of chronic wear with tendon degeneration. For people over 40 years old, the pinching of the tendon on the underside of the scapula may participate in tearing.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of rotator cuff tears is based on an examination and/or diagnosis study such as a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to confirm the diagnosis. Diagnosis early on in the first symptoms and rotator cuff’s treatment can help to boost the treatment’s results.

Treatment

Goals treatment are to relieve pain and restore strength to the injured shoulder. Several tears in rotator cuff can be treated without surgery. Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections and physical therapy can all be beneficial in treating the symptoms of a tear in the cuff.

Even though a full-thickness tear needs to be cured with surgery, it’s possible to use non-surgical treatments to have a satisfactory function in some cases.

Surgery

rotator cuff tear anatomy surgery

Surgery is recommended if there is persistent pain or shoulder weakness that doesn’t improve with non-surgical treatment. Often patients who have surgery indicate nocturnal pain and difficulty using the arm for lifting and reaching. Many will indicate persistent symptoms despite several months of treatment and limited use of the arm.

Surgery is also recommended for active people who use the arm for overhead work or sports.

Surgical options

The type of repair performed is based on the findings at surgery. A partial tear my necessarily only a trimming or smoothing procedure called a debridment. A full-thickness tear with the tendon torn from its insertion on the humerus is repaired directly on the bone.

3 techniques are used for rotator cuff repair :

  • Open repair (through a traditional incision)

  • Mini-open repair (partially assisted by a camera view, with a smaller incision)

  • Arthroscopic (performed with only a small camera inserted through multiple small puncture wounds)

Recovery and rehabilitation process

Whether for the treatment of non-surgical and surgical rotator cuff tear, rehabilitation has a very important role. Usually recovery is at least 6 months or more depending on the extent of the tear.

When there is a tear, there is frequently a loss of shoulder movement. An exercise or physical therapy program is needed to restore strength and improve shoulder function.

Although surgery repairs the defect of the tendon, the muscles around the arm remain weak and an important effort is necessary in the rehabilitation so that the procedure is a success. After surgery, a complete re-education can last several months.

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-Steph

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Overuse Injuries

overuse injuries sport injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

There are 2 types of injuries : Acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are usually caused by a single traumatic event. Here are some examples :

  • Wrist fractures

  • Ankle sprains

  • Shoulder dislocations

Acute injuries are less common in sport than overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are usually subtle and appear over time, making them difficult to diagnose and treat. Here is some example :

  • Tennis elbows

  • Swimmer’s shoulder

  • Pitcher’s elbow

  • Runner’s knee

  • Achilles tendinitis

  • Shin splints

Why

Human body is extraordinary to adapt to physical stress. We’re used of thinking that « stress » is bad for our emotional well-being, but physical stress is simply doing an exercise or activity. This is beneficial for our muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. This physical stress causes an internal process called remodeling. Remodeling process involves both the breakdown and the build up of tissue. It’s necessary to have a good balance between 2, if breakdown occurs more rapidly than buildup, an overuse injury occurs.

Causes

overuse injuries sport injury gym fail

Usually, it’s training errors that cause overuse injuries. These errors are too fast acceleration of intensity or duration or activity frequency. These injuries can also happen to people who return to the sport/activity after an injury. They try to make up for lost time as quickly as possible to reach the level they had before the injury. Doing an exercise with a good technique is important to avoid overuse injuries. When the exercise’s technique is bad, it creates overuse injuries. It’s for this reason that coaches, athletic trainers and teachers can play a preventive role so that athletes avoid overuse injures.

There are people who more easily have overuse injuries. An unbalance between strength and flexibility around certain joints predisposes some people to have this type of injury. Body alignment, such as knock-knees, bowlegs, unequal leg lengths and flat or high arched feet, also impact overuse injuries. There are also people who have weak links because of old wounds, incomplete rehabilitation of wounds or others anatomy factors.

Other factors must also be taken into account as equipment such as the type of running shoe or ballet shoe and terrain (hard versus soft surface in aerobic dance or running).

Diagnosis

Generally the diagnosis is based on the athlete’s history and physical examination. It’s recommended to make a diagnosis with a sports medicine specialist with a specific interest and knowledge of your sport. In some situations X-rays, bone scan and MRI may be necessary.

Treatment

overuse injuries sport injury ice

Here are some recommendations for treating an overuse injuries :

  • Cutting back the intensity, duration and frequency of an activity

  • Adopting a hard/easy workout schedule and crosstraining with other activities to maintain fitness levels

  • Learning about proper training and technique from a coach or athletic trainer

  • Performing proper warm-up activities before and cool down after

  • Using ice after an activity for minor aches and pain

  • Using anti-inflammatory medications as necessary

If symptoms persist, a sport medicine specialist may create a more detailed treatment plan for your specific condition. This may involve an exam of your training program and an evaluation of predisposing factors.

Prevention

Majority of overuse injuries can be avoided with a proper training program, common sense and learning to listen your own body. The quote : « No pain, no gain » doesn’t apply here. The 10% rule helps a lot to get things to the next level.

In general, you should increase the training’s intensity to a maximum of 10% per week. This allows your body to have enough time for recovery and response. This rule should be used to increase pace or milestone for walkers or runners. Or for the weights amount to increase for strength training programs. In strength training, add flexibility exercises and core stability exercises help tremendously to minimize overuse injuries.

It’s recommended to seek advice from sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer to prevent chronic or recurring problems. Your training program can also be modified to maintain fitness levels safety while you recover from your injuries. You must return to the sport only if an authorization is granted by a health professional.

Remember, it’s very important to warm-up before training and cool down after training.

Stats

3.5 millions of children are treated for overuse injures every year.

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-Steph

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MRSA Infections

mrsa infection anatomy

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. Aureaus), or MRSA, is a bacterium that creates skin infections and other types of infections. The first time that MRSA was seen in US hospitals during the 1970s. Recently, there is a new strain of MRSA know as Community Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or CA-MRSA, has left hospitals and began to spread in the community.

This is the strain that is prevalent among athletes. The difference between CA-MRSA and Healthcare-Associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) is in their effects. CA-MRSA usually creates skin infections while HA-MRSA causes bloodstream, urinary tract and surgical site infections. This make CA-MRSA less dangerous than HA-MRSA. Another difference is that CA-MRSA is more vulnerable to antimicrobial.

Symptoms

Signs of infections are :

  • Redness

  • Warmth, Swelling

  • Pus

  • Pain at sites where there are skin wounds

  • Abrasions or cuts

MRSA has the ability to spread to other organs in the body and when that happens, symptoms are more severe.

At this stage, symptoms are :

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Low blood pressure

  • Joint pain

  • Severe headaches

  • Shortness of breath

  • An extensive rash over the body

These more advanced systemic symptoms require immediate medical attention.

Treatment

The 1st choice for treating MRSA skin infection is to use an antibiotic that has been created to kill bacteria with mild side effects. Most early infections with no widespread symptoms can be treated with oral antibiotics. Because of the nature of this decease and antibiotic options, many patients think they’re « cured » after only a few doses and decide by themselves to stop taking the prescribed drugs. However, MRSA is able to re-infect the patient and become resistant to antibiotics used previously.

For moderate to severe infections, treatment may be with intravenous antibiotics.

These infections associated with deep abscesses or boils require open surgical drainage in addition to antibiotic therapy. Most infections resolve in 7-10 days with an adequate treatment despite the fact that a deep abscess can take up to 4 weeks to eradicate the infection by resolving the abscess cavity.

Early identification and treatment of MRSA infections decrease the amount of playing time lost and decrease the chance that the infection will become severe. Skin may be protected by protective clothing or gear designed to prevent skin abrasions or cuts.

Prevention

mrsa infection anatomy

It’s necessary that athletes have good personal hygiene but it must be added that athletes and visitors to athletes facilities must also keep their hands clean by washing them often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub. The minimum is to have clean hands before and after sports and activities. For example when we use weight training equipment that is shared by all gym members, it’s important to have clean hands after using toilette or when someone is injured taking care the wounds (including changing bandage).

Ordinary and antimicrobial soaps are effective for washing hands. It’s noted that liquid soap is a better option because it’s not possible to share this type of soap compared to bar soap. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contain at least 60% alcohol are the perfect choice.

Athletes should shower immediately after exercise and shouldn’t share soap and towels. Washing all uniforms and clothes after each use is important. Athlete should avoid sharing items that are in contact with the skin and avoid sharing personal items as they contact the skin. Fortunately, most surfaces don’t provoke a risk of spreading staph and MRSA.

Athletes who have had MRSA

Several high school, college and professional athletes have contracted MRSA infections. There have already been epidemics among athletes on the same team. A study published in « The New England Journal of Medicine » shows an infection MRSA among St. Louis Rams professional football franchise (USA) athletes. During a single season, MRSA infections were found among 5 of 58 Rams athletes (9 percents) that was tested. All infections developed on areas of the body that are common places for turf injury.

Stats

  • Today, MRSA accounts for about 50-70% of the S. Aureus infections that are present in healthcare facilities across the world.

  • Statistics fro the Kaiser foundation in 2007 indicated that approximately 1.2 million hospitalized patients contract MRSA infections.

  • Serious MRSA infection is still predominantly related to exposure in the healthcare setting, where approximately 85 percent of all serious MRSA infections occur.

  • Fortunately, in children under 18 years old, mortality rates are much lower (1%), even though the number of hospitalized children with MRSA has almost tripled since 2002.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here .

Meniscal Tears

meniscus

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Meniscus tear

meniscus tear

Meniscal tear is one of the most common knee injuries in athletes. This is caused after a contact injury or a traumatic twist. The meniscus is a wedge-shaped cartilage that provides a cushion in the medial and lateral portion of the knee joint and acts as a « shock absorber ». It’s located in the area of joints contact to prevent the bones rub between them because of the bodyweight. It’s hard and rubbery to help cushion the joints and keep the knees stable.

It’s important to also know that the meniscus helps to nourish the knee by facilitating the diffusion of joint fluid. With this injury, athletes can experience acute pain with a swelling and often a catching or locking sensation.

Diagnose

A meniscus injury can be diagnosed on the basis of the story that the patient provides and a physical examination of the knee.

An orthopedic surgeon my also use other techniques to further diagnose such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which gives a 3-dimensional image of the inside of the knee joint. In some cases, a surgeon can perform an arthroscopic inspection of the articulation, this is a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Treatment

knee brace

A small meniscus tear can be treated with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. When a meniscus tear causes a significant loss of movement or catching, the appropriate treatment is often a surgical operation. Depending on the location and type of tear, the treatment may be a simple arthroscopy to remove the torn fragment. Depending on how quickly the inflammation disappears, athletes can return to a full activity after a week or months.

For athletes with a repairable tear, sutures are used to sew the meniscus. In this situation, the knee is braced for 6 weeks. These athletes take at least 3-6 months to back to their activities but maintain the full cushion in their knees.

Prevention

There is not really any way to prevent a meniscus tear apart from a conditioning program to try to prevent an acromioclavicular ligament (ACL) tear and knee instability.

Stats

Women have meniscus tears more often than men and at an earlier age. These tears are often associated with an acromioclavicular ligament injury (ACL)

There are some variables of meniscus tears can be repaired and despite repair, they aren’t always heal. But arthritis can be avoided in the majority of cases when repair is successful. One study shows that 60% of patients who undergo meniscectomy (partial elimination) had some degree of progressive arthritis.

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-Steph

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Mature Athlete

mature athlete

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Physical exercises are for everyone, including the mature population. Exercises allow older people to keep a healthy body and maintain their independence. The main health problems of the mature population are arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, depression and hearing and sight loss. With the exception of hearing and sight loss, all these health problems can be serious decrease with an adequate workout program.

All mature athletes should have a complete medical and musculoskeletal assessment before starting any workout program. Having a complete medical examination, medical advice and a workout program helps to avoid serious injuries and health accidents. These 3 things should meet the needs of a mature athlete to avoid disease, increase endurance, strength, body image and competitiveness.

Exercises are beneficial

It’s important that a qualified personal trainer create a specific workout program to improve strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. If the workout program includes sports such as golf or tennis, the technical knowledge of the golf/tennis instructors is helpful to avoid injury and improve performance. For results, workout programs must be consistent for at least 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week.

If physical conditions require correction, a cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation program or physical therapy may be helpful before starting a workout program. These rehab programs should be taught to mature athletes at a fitness level where they could continue with their own workout program.

Exercise type for the workout program

physical exercise type

An athlete should use types of exercises based on his/her desire, pre-existing conditions and his/her ability to exercise without pain. For an athlete with lower extremity joint problems such as arthritis or instability, it’s recommended to avoid exercises with repetitive impacts like running. For athletes with an unstable shoulder, it’s recommended to avoid overhead exercises such as military press and pull-ups.

Using several types of exercise to improve strength, can allow better recovery of muscle and tendon tissue. If a mature athlete wants to make a sport that can aggravate a pre-existing problem on a muscle, tendon or bone, that athlete should be in a good condition before doing this sport. It’s recommended to decrease this sport’s frequency to reduce the painful symptoms.

What equipment to use

Having shoes that fit with the exercise and/or the sport is beneficial. If the person has a foot with significant deformity such as flat feet (fallen arches), using orthopedic shoes helps to reduce stress on the entire lower extremity. The symptoms of arthritis in the knee may be decrease by the use of specialized braces.

Prevent injury or discomfort during exercise

If there is discomfort during or after physical exercise, this should be analyzed to prevent it from starting again or getting worse. Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory can be used in the short term if there is no interference with other medical conditions. It’s important to know that the use of ice, heat, massage and flexibility programs can decrease several symptoms caused by exercise.

There is more aggressive treatment with narcotic analgesic and/or cortisone injections but this should only be used to treat a specific lesion. This shouldn’t be used to allow an athlete to complete in the short term.

Summary

Creating a customized workout program with a medical professional and/or a qualified personal trainer helps a mature athlete to :

  • Keep independence

  • Increase physical abilities

  • Prevent injuries

  • Improve the quality of life

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here.

Heat Illness

heat illness

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Every summer, hundreds of people experience sun-related illnesses and heat. Being prepared and hydrated avoids theses situations.

Why

When an athlete exercises, his/her body temperature increase and the body sweats to cool the body. During this process, body fluids and electrolytes are lost. If the boy is not recharged with fluids and electrolytes, it’s dehydration and it increase the risk of heat illness as a heat stroke.

Symptoms

Symptoms are :

  • Chills

  • Dark colored urine

  • Dry mouth

  • Headaches

  • Thirst

  • Weakness

If the heat illness progress, there are more serious symptoms like :

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Body temperature increasing to dangerous levels

  • Muscle cramps

  • Nausea

  • Tingling of the limbs

  • Death

How to prevent

The most effective treatments for heat illness are :

  • Proper training for the heat

  • Fluid replacement before, during, and after exertion

  • Appropriate clothing (light colored, loose fitting and limited to one layer)

  • Early recognition via direct monitoring of athlete by other players, coaches and medical staff

  • Monitoring the intensity of physical activity appropriate for fitness and how an athlete has acclimated to conditions.

  • If possible, having an athletic trainer on site during events and practices to properly prevent and treat heat illnesses.

In situations where the training program is intense or during a trip in a hot climate, an athlete should limit the intensity and duration of the training session. Thereafter, the athlete will increase the training’s intensity for a period of 7-14 days to allow to the body, the time to adjust to the climate and environmental conditions. For athletes with respiratory, gastrointestinal or other diseases, they should especially evaluate these new conditions.

When an athlete should hydrate

hydrate

It’s necessary to hydrate before, during and after a training session. Drinking 47cl (16 ounces) of water is recommended 1 hour before exercises. Hydration should continue with 11-23cl (4-8 ounces) of water every 15-20 minutes throughout the effort

There is a trick to track the hydration’s level is to weigh before and after a physical activity. If the athlete is lighter after a physical activity, this means that there a deficit of fluids (indicated by weight loss) and it’s necessary to recharge them. For the next physical activity, it will be essential to drink more to evaluate the losses (perspiration). An athlete who loses more than 2-3% of his/her bodyweight during exercise may decrease the performance and the body’s physiological function.

If the athlete is heavier after a physical activity, it means that there is a surplus of fluids (indicated by gain weight). For the next physical activity, it will be essential to drink less to evaluate the surplus.

How to treat it

When you see signs of heat illness or heat stroke, it may be an imminent danger of death. It’s necessary that a person immediately call for medical assistance while you’re cooling the person at risk.

Treatment included :

  • Getting the athlete to a shaded area

  • If it heat stroke, cool the athlete rapidly using cold water immersion. If immersion is not available you may use spray from a hose, cold water sponging, or placing cold towels over the entire body

  • Monitoring body temperature

  • Providing cool beverage if possible (i.e., if the athlete doesn’t have altered consciousness).

  • Getting medical assistance as soon as possible.

Heat exhaustion is a type of heat illness that can happen after several days of exposure to high temperature and improper or unbalanced fluid recharging.

Statistics

  • Heat stroke is a type of serious illness related to heat. It can cause death to athletes and this is probably the leading cause of athlete death during the months of July and August.

  • The body produces 1.8 liters (a half of gallon) of perspiration to cool the body every hour. If there are not enough fluids or the heat is overwhelming the body, the person may develop heat-related illness.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here.

Concussion

concussion
A blow to the head that makes the brain hit the skull

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interessed in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters mental state or creates others symptoms. Many people think they have no concussion because they have not lost consciousness. You must know that it’s possible to have a concussion without losing consciousness. Often football or rugby players say : « I just got my bell rung » when they have been hit on the head that makes the ears rings, but these symptoms are often consistent with concussion.

Signs

  • Balance problems

  • Difficulty communicating, concentrating

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

  • Fatigue

  • Feeling emotional

  • Feeling mentally foggy

  • Headache

  • Irritability

  • Memory difficulties

  • Nausea

  • Nervousness

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Sadness

  • Sensitivity to light or noise

  • Sleeping more than usual or difficulty falling asleep

  • Visual problems (blurry or double vision)

  • Vomiting

Diagnostic

diagnostic

As soon as a concussion is suspected, a trained coach, certified athletic trainer or the team physician should immediately perform an initial « sideline » evaluation, including :

  • Symptoms list review

  • Focused neurological exam

  • Focused orientation exam that tests short-term memory recall such as the event, play, opponent, score or last meal.

  • Focused orientation exam that tests long-term recall such as name, birth date, place of birth.

  • Assessment of athlete’s ability to stay attentive to a complex task such as reciting months backwards.

If a person is suspected of having a concussion and there is no diagnosis, a concussion may place an athlete at risk of developing second impact syndrome. It’s a potentially fatal injury that occurs when an athlete suffers a second head injury before the old head injury has completely healed.

Second impact syndrome

Second impact syndrome is a potentially fatal injury that occurs when an athlete suffers a second head injury before the old head injury has been fully healed. Unfortunately, it’s complicated to know if the brain has been healed from the first injury. Even after all symptoms resolved, it’s possible that the healing isn’t complete and that it increases the risk to the brain of having the second impact syndrome. Neurocognitive testing can help doctors or physician decide when the athlete can return to the competition in the best conditions.

Neurocognitive testing

Neurocognitive testing

Neurocognitive testing is a questionnaire (usually on the computer) that athletes do that deals with several areas of brain function, including memory, problem solving, reaction times, brain processing speed and post-concussion symptoms. It’s most valid if the athlete has a pre-injury baseline test on file to compare the post concussion test. This information can be really helpful for the doctor or physician to decide when the athlete can return to the competition.

When to return to the competition

All athletes suffer concussion (whatever the gravity) should pass an evaluation by a qualified health care provider before returning to the competition. Athletes should return to competition after they have been completely cleared of all concussion symptoms and have no symptoms during and after physical tests.

Baseline testing is important for assessing concussion symptoms after an incident. The baseline testing often includes neurocognitive tests, symptom checklists, sideline assessment tools such as the Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool and balance testing.

Statistics

  • Athletes who have already had a concussion are more likely to have another concussion.

  • Children and teenagers are more likely to have concussion and take longer to heal than adults.

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-Steph