Thursday, 21 of September of 2017

Category » Aging Tips

List-Making Can Improve Communication With Your Doctor

Patients today are much more educated about health care thanks to the Internet. But good communication between patients and doctors can still be a problem for many people. Sometimes, patients may feel uncomfortable asking too many questions or they may be intimidated or confused by medical terms.There may be a lot of information to absorb at one visit. Or patients may have more questions once they get home and have time to think about it.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests the best way to avoid any issues with communication is to be prepared by making a list in advance of your visit. You might want to keep your list on the refrigerator, at your desk, by the TV or even in your purse. That way when ideas come to mind, you can jot them down.

What should be included on your list? Here are some ideas:Make a list for your doctor

  • Jot down your symptoms with as much detail as possible; for example, when did they start, when does it hurt the most, is the discomfort constant or is it only at certain times of the day or during certain activities?
  • List all medications, starting with prescription meds, but also including any daily over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, alternative medications or treatments and of course, any allergies to medications.
  • Summarize your medical history, which should include any surgery or major medical conditions you have had in the past or currently.
  • Write down questions you want to be sure to ask the doctor. Not sure what to ask? It is your right as a patient to ask about: 1) the benefits and risks of surgery, 2) possible complications, 3) treatment alternatives, 4) what you can expect after surgery in terms of recovery time, treatment outcome and level of discomfort after the procedure, and 5) what limitations you may have during recovery and long-term.

How else will help make your visit with the doctor more successful?

  • Bring recent X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs,with you. If you don’t have them, be sure to bring the name of the physician who ordered the tests and his or her contact information.
  • Be honest with the doctor. Don’t withhold information that might be important. Voice any concerns you may have and speak up when you don’t understand. Sometimes it’s a good idea to bring a family member or close friend to help you remember the information after you get home.

Do you have a visit scheduled with Dr. Kagan to discuss an orthopedic-related concern? The doctor offers easy-to-understand information about the latest treatments for orthopedic-related conditions at www.kaganortho.com/learn-more.

 


Sprains & Strains

Whether you’re a teen playing high school sports, an adult who is an avid runner or a senior who plays weekly doubles tennis, chances are that at some point, you’ll experience the discomfort of an occasional sprain and strain – the most common injury sustained in sports today, reports the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Many people think of sprains and strains as the same injury. They’re similar, but distinct. Here’s the difference.

A sprain occurs when you overstretch or tear a ligament. For example, step awkwardly off the curb and land on the side of your feet and chances are you’ll sprain your ankle. Jump down from break wall at the beach onto a sidewalk and you can twist and sprain your knee. Or try to break your fall by stretching out your arm and chances are you’ll sprain your wrist or shoulder.

When you sprain something, it means that you’ve injured one or more ligaments, the fibrous band of connective tissue that connects the bones and stabilizes the joint. Overstretching or tearing a ligament puts pressure on the joint and can force it out of alignment.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Just like ligaments connect the bones, the tendons connect the muscles to the bones. Overstretching or the opposite, contracting a muscle or tendon, can cause injury. Chronic overuse and repetitive movement, perhaps caused by intensive training, can set up a repetitive injury cycle.

Who’s at risk for sprains and strains?

Just about everyone, but especially athletes. RICE or rest, ice, compression and elevation are typically the first line of defense prescribed by the physician. Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication can also help reduce swelling and decrease discomfort.

But a severe sprain or strain may require medical treatment. If the pain and swelling continue after initial treatment with RICE, call your doctor. You may need X-rays, more intensive treatment or even physical therapy to help strengthen and rebuild the injured tissues.

Prevention Tips

It’s not always possible to prevent a sprain or strain if you’ve an avid athlete. But NIAMS (The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease) offers these prevention tips: 1. Wear appropriate shoes for the sport and make sure they fit well. 2. Warm up and stretch before intensive exercise. 3. Run on flat surfaces. 4. Stop exercising when you’re tired or in pain.

Want to know more about orthopedic-related injuries? Go to www.kaganortho.com/learn-more.


Steps To Prepare Your Home Following Hip Replacement Surgery

A few weeks before you’re admitted to the hospital for hip replacement, you’ll want to begin making preparations for what to expect post-surgery during the recovery period. While some people may opt to spend a few weeks in a short-term inpatient rehab center, others prefer to go directly home.

If you do go home, remember that your spouse, a family member, friend or home health aide will need to assist you with daily activities for the first week or two since your mobility will be limited. You’ll need help with bathing, using the toilet, cooking, grocery shopping, and driving to doctor appointments.

To make your return home safer and more comfortable, here are some suggestions from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Consider it your pre-surgery to do list.

1. Sleep on the first floor. You won’t want to climb stairs, so if your bedroom is not on the first floor, designate any area for sleeping. Consider renting a hospital bed rather than sleeping on a couch. You’ll also want the bathroom on the first floor. If necessary, get a portable commode chair.

2. Avoid anything that you could strain your new hip joint. Many of today’s beds are oversize and high off the ground. Be sure that you can sit on the edge of the bed and have your feet easily touch the floor.

3. You won’t want to stand for too long, so place a firm-backed chair in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or other room you use frequently. That way you can sit to rest and to do daily tasks.

4. You’ll most likely be using a walker at first. Attach a bag or basket to the walker and place frequently used items in it such as a notepad, pen, tissue, cell phone and the remote control. It will make your life much easier.

5. Make meals in advance and freeze them so you won’t have to worry about cooking. If family or friends ask how they can help, have them prepare a meal for you. Get all items, especially toiletries that you may need now. You want to avoid have to shop for last minute items after you get home.

6. To avoid slipping and falling in the bathtub or shower, consider getting a special rubber-tipped shower chair. At the very least, place non-slip suction mats on the floor of the bathtub or shower floor. Installing grab bars in the bathroom is also a good idea.

7. Temporarily remove all loose throw rugs and make sure that the lighting is good throughout the house. You don’t want to risk tripping and falling.

8. Small pets can get underfoot easily. Consider asking a family member to take them for a short time, have them boarded at the kennel or if appropriate, have them stay outside in the yard during the first couple days or week.

Hip replacement is a very common orthopedic procedure. As the number of baby boomers age, the number of people undergoing the surgery is expected to increase considerably. For information about how the surgery is performed, go to www.kaganortho.com/learn-more.


Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Pain, tenderness and stiffness in your hip – what’s going on? Unlike a major trauma from a car accident or fall, the discomfort from osteoarthritis of the hip can be subtle at first. You may notice a twinge of pain or an achy feeling in your hip after tennis, a long walk or a day of yard work.

Over time, the symptoms can become more pronounced. Rather than just hurting after exercise or chores, your hip may give you trouble when you get out of bed in the morning and after you’ve been standing or sitting for long periods of time. Eventually, the discomfort may even wake you up at night, prompting you to change positions to get more comfortable. As osteoarthritis progresses, some people experience a dull ache nearly all the time, causing them to walk with a limp and making it hard to climb stairs or get up from a chair.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain in the hip that may radiate to the lower back or down the leg
  • Tenderness and swelling in the hip area
  • Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the hip joint, making it hard to move and remain active
  • Crackling, creaking or a grating sensation in the joint
  • Bone spurs may form around the edges of the joint

If you have been living with symptoms of osteoarthritis for a while, it’s time to see the doctor. About 10 million Americans have osteoarthritis, making it a very common complaint. You don’t have to live with the pain or allow it to put a limit on your enjoyment of life.

For more information about osteoarthritis of the hip, go to www.kaganortho.com/learn-more.


Staying Flexible As We Age

As the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) notes, while there may be not be a fountain of youth, staying active through regular exercise that promotes stretching and flexibility can offer many anti-aging benefits. Aerobic activity that raises the heart rate is important for fitness and conditioning, but stretching is just as vital for good health.

Gentle exercise stretches the muscles, reduces tightness and tension, and increases blood flow. It promotes flexibility in the joints, which improves our range of motion and can lessen many common aches and pains. The repetitive motion of exercise also promotes the body’s natural process of lubricating joint surfaces, says the AAOS.

Here are additional reasons why stretching and staying flexible is important no matter what your age.

Regular exercise and stretching helps maintain balance, which reduces the risk of falling.

Exercise stimulates muscle growth, counteracting the tendency to lose muscle mass with age. Muscles that are toned and strong reduce stress on the joints.

Stretching improves the flexibility and elasticity of tendons and ligaments, lowering the risk of sports-related injuries.

Exercise increases bone mass, density and overall strength, which may prevent osteoporosis and decrease the potential for fractures later in life.

When stretching, the Mayo Clinic suggests following proper technique for the best results. Perform a low intensity exercise like brisk walking for five to ten minutes to warm up muscles before stretching, making sure that when you are stretching, you don’t bounce or push it until you feel pain, which can cause small muscle tears. Stretch the calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders – the major muscle groups. And remember to stretch both sides of the body equally.

Not all exercise is equal. The AAOS cautions again being a “weekend warrior.” Fast-paced, competitive activity on the weekends only can do more harm than good and can put you on the path for developing injuries ranging from stress fractures to torn or inflamed tendons and ligaments. It’s much better to take a short time every day for gentle stretching and moderate exercise.

Orthopedic surgeons are doctors who specialize in treating musculoskeletal injuries that affect the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, joints and cartilage. Dr. John Kagan has more than 20 years experience treating patients of all ages with orthopedic-related conditions. Learn more about his expertise at www.kaganortho.com.


4 Components of a Good Exercise Program

Many people think of fitness only in terms of strength training and cardio, but flexibility and balance are critical, too. Here’s a look at what each of these four components bring to a well-rounded fitness program.

Strength Training: Resistance machines, lifting weights, pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups strengthen the bones and muscles, sculpt the body and decrease body fat. Core strength training, which refers to the muscles of the abdomen, lower back and pelvis, keeps the back strong and prevents injury.

Cardio: The vigorous, sustained action of aerobic exercise increases the heart rate, making the heart more efficient, and it improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and energy to the tissues. Swimming, running, dancing, brisk walking, climbing stairs, tennis and bicycling are good cardiovascular exercises.

Flexibility: Regular stretching improves muscle and joint flexibility, reduces tension in the body and enhances range of motion. Yoga and tai chi are good choices to improve flexibility. Always stretch with a gentle warm-up and cool down after any type of exercise to reduce the risk of injury.

Balance: Balance training improves the body’s stability and reduces the risk of falling, especially as we age. Our sense of balance can diminish over time so be sure balance exercises are part of your overall fitness plan.

For more information on maintaining healthy muscles and bones, please call 239-936-6778 or visit http://www.kaganortho.com


Tips for staying active as you age

While there may be no single fountain of youth, you can slow down the aging process by staying physically active. Regular exercise enhances muscle and joint function, keeps bones strong, and decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Here are some tips developed by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that can help you exercise safely.

Warm Up
Always take time to warm up and stretch before physical activity. Research studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up with jumping jacks, stationary cycling or running or walking in place for 3 to 5 minutes. Then slowly and gently stretch, holding each stretch for 30 seconds. Do not stretch cold muscles.

Cool Down
Just like warming up, it is important to cool down. Gentle stretching after physical activity is very important to prepare your body for the next time you exercise. It will make recovery from exercise easier.

Consistent Exercise Program
Avoid the “weekend warrior” syndrome. Compressing your exercise into 2 days sets you up for trouble and does not increase your fitness level. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you are truly pressed for time, you can break it up into 10-minute chunks. Remember that moderate physical activity can include walking the dog, working in the garden, playing with the kids and taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Parking on the far end of a parking lot will increase the distance you have to walk between your car and your destination.

Be Prepared
Take sports lessons. Whether you are a beginner or have been playing a sport for a long time, lessons are a worthwhile investment. Proper form and instruction reduce the chance of developing an “overuse” injury like tendinitis or a stress fracture.

Lessons at varying levels of play for many sports are offered by local park districts and athletic clubs.
Invest in good equipment. Select the proper shoes for your sport and use them only for that sport. When the treads start to look worn or the shoes are no longer as supportive, it is time to replace them.

Listen to Your Body
As you age, you may find that you are not as flexible as you once were or that you cannot tolerate the same types of activities that you did years ago. While no one is happy about getting older, you will be able to prevent injury by modifying your activity to accommodate your body’s needs.

Use the Ten Percent Rule
When changing your activity level, increase it in increments of no more than 10 percent per week. If you normally walk two miles a day and want to increase your fitness level, do not try to suddenly walk four miles. Slowly build up to more miles each week until you reach your higher goal. When strength training, use the 10 percent rule as your guide and increase your weights gradually.

Balanced Fitness
Develop a balanced fitness program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility. In addition to providing a total body workout, a balanced program will keep you from getting bored and lessen your chances of injury.

Add activities and new exercises cautiously. Whether you have been sedentary or are in good physical shape, do not try to take on too many activities at one time. It is best to add no more than one or two new activities per workout.

If you have or have had a sports or orthopedic injury like tendinitis, arthritis, a stress fracture, or low back pain, consult an orthopedic surgeon who can help design a fitness routine to promote wellness and minimize the chance of injury.

For more information on bone and joint health or to discuss your orthopedic care and concerns, please contact our office at 239-936-6778 or visit www.kaganortho.com.



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