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.

The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

10 Ways to Move More in Everyday Life

Article featured on Healthline

It can feel overwhelming when you’re trying to make time for exercise. Here are some tips I give my physical therapy patients… and how I manage to keep myself moving. I get it. We’ve all said, “Who has time to exercise when you’re a…”

Just fill in the blank: working parent, working night shifts, entrepreneur, student, person who commutes, or parent who stays at home keeping children alive. You’re not alone in trying to figure out how to fit exercise into your day.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve realized the I’ll-work-out-later approach doesn’t work for me. I have to block time out of my day to exercise so I can stay sane and maintain my health and strength.

And here’s another tip: Try adding in a few bonus activities throughout the day and week to keep your body moving. Just a few extra minutes of movement here and there really do add up over time.

Here are 10 ways to move more during everyday life, without having to block more time out of your busy schedule!

1. Take the stairs

I know. This is so boring, and you’ve heard it a bajillion times. Yet, it’s one of the best tips for a reason.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator increases your heart rate, helps with balance, and improves lower-extremity strength. If you’re feeling saucy and have a few minutes, you can even do some heel raises off the edge of a step for calf strength, or take the stairs two at a time.

Skip the elevator, your body and heart will thank you.

2. Incorporate walking meetings

If you work from home or have transitioned to virtual conference calls, schedule a walk during one call per day.

If you don’t need to be staring at a screen looking at spreadsheets, plug in your headphones, slip your phone in your pocket, and solve the world’s problems on a walk. It’s a great way to mix up your daily routine.

And if you work in an office, take your one-on-one meetings to go. Walking together enhances team bonding, and you may even come up with better ideas. Research shows walking boosts creativity and enhances mental acuity.

3. Lunge it up

I do this a lot, and I get funny looks sometimes, but hey — I’m a busy woman, and my time is precious!

When you’re shopping, try walking lunges down the supermarket aisles while holding onto the cart. The cart offers a good balance point, and you can get about 10–20 lunges in a single pass, depending on how long your supermarket’s aisles are. Go for it, it’s surprisingly fun!

4. Sit on an exercise ball

Swap out your office chair for a stability ball. This can help with back pain and help improve posture, and while sitting on the ball, you can do some gentle mobility stretches for your neck, pelvis, and spine.

Try a hula-hoop motion and tucking and untuck your pelvis to help fire up your core stabilizers. If you want to add in some abdominal work, you can also try seated marches or other exercises on the ball — all while sitting at your desk!

5. Park far away

While we need to be safe and alert to our surroundings, if you’re in a safe and well-lit area, consider parking further from the entrance of wherever you’re going. Adding in a few minutes of walking time here and there adds up over time and can increase your daily step count!

6. Have more sex

Yup, you’re welcome. Some older research states that sex burns calories at a rate of about 3.1 calories per minute for women and about 4.2 calories for men.

So although it’s not the same as a vigorous jog, you can (for sure) work up a sweat during sex. Have fun, try new positions and techniques, and bond with your partner all while moving more.

7. Foster a pet

Our local shelter and other adoption agencies are always looking for volunteers to help. Take the family to the shelter and volunteer to take a few dogs for a walk.

You get to increase your time outside, help a dog and your community, teach your kids about caring for others, and spend some quality family time being active and moving your body. It’s a win-win-win for all involved.

8. Have a dance party

Clear the furniture from the room and put on some tunes. You can do this while cooking dinner, folding laundry, or vacuuming.

Dancing is a fabulous way to burn calories and work on your balance and coordination. Plus, you can make it a game or contest with your kids. They need to learn about 80s rock, right? Put on some ACDC (or whatever makes you tap your feet) and get shakin’.

9. Switch up your game night

During your next family game night, swap out cards or board games for active games.

Here’s a list to jog your memory: hide and seek, kick the can, scavenger hunts, Twister, freeze dance, potato sack races, pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs, hopscotch, jump rope, hula hoop contests, limbo… the games you once played as a kid are just as fun to play now.

Games like these can be played with people of any age, as well as indoors or outdoors. My family has a blast playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Freeze Frame Dance Party, and we all are sweaty and tired afterward.

10. Exercise or stretch during TV time

I know this goes beyond all tenets of “binge and chill,” but hear me out. Walk on the treadmill, use a stationary bike, stretch on the floor, use weights for upper- and full-body strengthening, or do Pilates during your next Netflix sesh.

If you watch a 30-minute show and move the whole time, that’s 30 minutes of exercise you didn’t have before! You can even limit it to when the commercials come on if that feels like a good place to start.

Keep your exercise stuff near your “binge-watching” place, and do some bodyweight exercises or even foam rolling during your show. Just a few reps of bicep curls, tricep presses, or arm raises with light hand weights will make a huge difference in your arm strength, posture, and well-being.

This is especially true for women, who are at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Incorporate weight training into your routine to keep your bones healthy and strong.

The bottom line

I hope these ideas will motivate and inspire you to get up and move a bit more throughout your day.

I know how difficult it is to maintain a good routine. It can seem overwhelming when you first start to exercise, but trying a few of these things will help.

Start small by adding in a few lunges here and there, a walking meeting once a week, or stairs a few times, and before you know it, you’ll be movin’ and groovin’ much more than you were before.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Avoid Common Winter Injuries With These Helpful Tips

Article featured on Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania

If you’ve experienced an injury or pain while performing a wintertime activity, you are not alone. Personal injury during winter is likely to occur from performing simple activities, especially if you aren’t prepared to prevent an incident. From your back, shoulder and neck to joints and knees, pain and injury in these areas are commonplace during the winter.

The good news? Preventing winter injuries is possible, and you can enjoy the season without unnecessary pain and stiffness. Read on to discover information about winter back injuries, winter shoulder injuries, and — most importantly — health and safety tips to avoid any orthopedic winter injuries.

What Are the Most Common Winter Injuries?

Winter weather conditions bring with them a variety of potential risks for personal injury, as well as injury to others. Some of the most common winter incidents that lead to personal injury include:

  • Falling on ice and snow
  • Experiencing muscle strain from shoveling snow or scraping ice off the car
  • Driving and motor vehicle collisions
  • Accidents while playing winter sports and activities

Not all incidents will cause severe injury, but some winter accidents can be quite serious, especially for certain age groups and for people suffering from previous injuries.

SLIPPING AND FALLING ON ICE AND SNOW

Slipping and falling on ice can be a scary experience. Ice can be difficult to see both at night and during the day. What looks like water pooled on the pavement can actually be a sheet of ice. You could step off the curb and right onto a slippery ice patch. When this happens, severe injury can occur if you fall to the ground. You may be able to recover and only skid briefly, but even if you don’t end up falling, you can wrench your back or experience another kind of injury in your attempt to recover.

Anyone is in danger of injuring themselves by falling or slipping on ice or snow, but seniors are especially at risk. In fact, according to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury among older Americans, and winter weather conditions only exacerbate that concern.

There are a variety of potential injuries that can occur from falls on ice, but the most common include the following:

  • Bruises
  • Head or brain injuries, including concussions
  • Ankle strains and twists, and other kinds of muscle sprains and ligament strains
  • Broken bones, most commonly hip and wrist fractures
  • Back injuries, including spinal compression fractures
  • Injuries to the spinal cord

Prevention is always the best method to avoid a slip or fall on icy days, and there are a few things you can try to keep you and your family safer:

  • Wear proper footwear made for icy and snowy conditions.
  • Keep your stride shorter and avoid long steps.
  • Slow things down — try not to rush or run outdoors.
  • Keep de-icer or sand on hand for when things get slippery around your house.
  • In case of injury, always have your cell phone handy.
  • If you need to do outdoor chores, take your time and don’t hurry.

Unfortunately, even with the best preventative measures, accidents happen. Skeletal and muscular issues arise every winter when people fall on ice or snow. If the fall is serious, you may need to call 9-1-1 or go to the ER immediately.

However, some people are unaware that they have a severe injury. This may be because they don’t feel the effects of the fall immediately, or they believe their pain and discomfort will pass with time. Symptoms like pain or swelling should not be ignored, and it’s important to seek the advice of a medical professional to assess your condition.

If you experience an injury on the ice or snow, whether it’s from slipping and falling or from attempting to prevent a fall, make an appointment with a specialist as soon as possible to determine if there is a serious injury. They will also be able to offer an effective treatment plan that meets your individual needs.

SHOVELING SNOW

One of the most loathsome winter jobs is shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. It can take a long time and require a lot of physical exertion. The low temperatures make the task of shoveling snow even more unpleasant. The repetitive actions of twisting and lifting while shoveling can cause severe strain on the body. All it takes is one muscle to be pulled the wrong way for your back, neck or shoulders to seize up.

Snow shoveling can be a potentially risky duty that can cause severe injury. A national study found that over the course of eleven years, there was an average of 11,500 emergency room visits due to snow shoveling injuries. The most common injuries reported were soft tissue injuries mostly to the lower back region. Among the remaining injury reports, lacerations and fractures were also reported, including injuries to the hands, arms and head.

DRIVING AND COLLISIONS

Most of us must continue to work and carry on with our normal, everyday activities even in snowy winter weather conditions. But if you aren’t prepared for winter driving conditions and don’t take the proper safety precautions, you can put yourself and others at risk. A study found that over a period of ten years, there were over 445,000 people injured as a result of weather-related vehicle collisions. The winter weather brings with it all kinds of potentially hazardous road conditions, such as:

  • Wet pavement
  • Sleet and slush
  • Full coverings of snow and ice

FALLING OR COLLIDING DURING WINTER ACTIVITIES

One of the most enjoyable parts of winter is the fun you and your family can have with all kinds of winter activities and sports. From ice hockey and skating to skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun in the winter. For kids especially, sledding and tobogganing are some of the best childhood memories of their winter seasons.

These winter activities can be quite risky if you aren’t practicing safety. Falls and collisions in many winter activities can cause several forms of injury. Broken bones and stiff muscles and joints are some of the most frequently reported injuries when it comes to outdoor sports and activities. Running outdoors along the sidewalk or on trails can also pose safety risks if the pavement isn’t salted and the trails aren’t properly cleared.

TYPES OF WINTER INJURIES

These incidents produce various types of injuries, which can range from mild and easily treatable to severe and long-term. Some of the resultant injuries from these winter accidents most commonly include:

  • Head injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Neck pain and tension
  • Knee joint pain and soreness
  • Wrist sprains
  • Elbow fractures and dislocation
  • Ankle sprains and strains
  • Hip fracture and soreness

HEAD INJURIES

Head injuries occur during the winter as a result of any number of incidents. Most commonly, falling on ice and hitting your head on the pavement can lead to a potentially serious brain injury. If this occurs, it will need immediate treatment by a physician. A brain injury can be difficult to treat, and often the symptoms won’t be noticed until long after the injury has occurred.

Head injuries can occur during winter activities like tobogganing, snowboarding and skiing, or one can also occur as a result of a motor vehicle collision, which has the potential to lead to serious long-term health consequences.

SHOULDER INJURIES

Shoulder injuries commonly occur when you fall on icy pavement. When your shoulder meets contact with the hard ice-covered pavement, dislocation can occur. This damage to the shoulder joint can be quite severe and leave you suffering from soreness and bruising for a long time afterward.

A torn rotator cuff can happen as the result of repetitive overhead motions from winter sports or shoveling snow. This muscle tear can leave you feeling sore and stiff and may result in a chronic injury as well.

BACK INJURIES

There are plenty of winter incidents and activities that can cause a back injury. The most common injury associated with shoveling snow is to the back, specifically the lower back. Back injuries can also be the result of a serious fall on the icy pavement or on the stairs. Falls during winter sports and activities can also result in a back injury.

Another common way to injure your back during the winter time is by scraping your car’s windshield to remove ice and snow. The bending and leaning motion your body performs while reaching across to scrape the ice can result in pulled and strained back muscles.

Depending on the level of severity, treating a back injury with heat may help to relax sore muscles. An injury that is caused by a fall on ice may damage your spine, so treatment by a physician will be required.

NECK INJURIES

Like back and shoulder injuries, neck injuries can occur due to a number of different winter incidents. The repetitive motion of shoveling snow can certainly lead to stiffness and soreness in the neck muscles. Neck injuries can also happen when scraping snow and ice from your car’s windshield when your muscles become strained from leaning and reaching.

These injuries can usually be treated with a heating pad to relax tense neck muscles. If a neck injury is caused by a fall or a motor vehicle collision, it should be treated at the emergency room.

KNEE PAIN AND STRAIN

High-impact winter sports can be very damaging to your knees over a period of time. This type of injury usually occurs while performing activities and sports such as skiing and snowboarding, where your knees are absorbing the shock of hard landings. Running outdoors on pavement can also cause a similar injury to your knees. The best thing to do with a knee injury is to take it easy until it heals, avoiding any high-impact activities.

WRIST FRACTURES AND STRAINS

A fall on the icy pavement can cause wrist injuries such as fractures and strains. When you take a fall, your natural instinct is to extend your arms and brace your fall with your hands. The impact of the fall on your hands can cause a severe wrist strain or even fracture.

The result can be a serious injury if not treated properly. Your wrist may heal improperly, which could lead to chronic pain later in life.

ELBOW INJURIES

Like wrist injuries, elbow injuries can also arise from a fall on icy pavement. When you extend your arms to brace your fall, not only do your wrists take the impact but your elbows do as well. Your elbow could become dislocated if the impact is so significant that it pops your bone out of position. Otherwise, a more potentially severe injury could be an elbow fracture. This can lead to long-term pain if not treated properly.

ANKLE STRAIN

Falls on slippery, icy pavement can also cause ankle injuries. When you struggle to recover your balance after slipping on ice, you can easily roll and twist your ankle. This may end up being a muscle injury whereby the tendon has been strained. Otherwise, a certain type of fracture in the ankle bone can result if more impact has been felt. This type of fracture can be caused not only by a fall on iced-over sidewalks, but also due to winter sports injuries.

HIP FRACTURE

Slips and falls on icy roads and sidewalks can result in many different types of broken bones, fractures and injuries. But one of the more severe injuries occurs when a fall is so hard and sudden that it fractures the hip bone. This can be a very difficult injury to repair, and it can also cause chronic, long-term pain. This injury especially affects seniors who are predisposed to osteoporosis or previous hip injuries. This injury should certainly be treated as an emergency by a physician.

Age Groups and Demographics Most Affected

Certain incidents and their resulting injuries may affect certain age groups more than others. It’s important to apply appropriate safety measures, so everyone can stay safe during the winter.

CHILDREN

Children are susceptible to falls. They can easily fall and injure themselves if they can’t reach handrails or don’t have proper balance. If your child experiences a fall, it’s important to first assess their head for any injuries and then check for elsewhere, like wrists and elbows.

Children especially enjoy their time sledding and tobogganing, which can put them at risk for injury. Be sure to always supervise kids during winter activities and provide them with helmets to protect their heads.

SENIORS

Like children, seniors are also at a higher risk of slipping and falling on icy pavement. Seniors can easily lose their footing and take a fall that can put them in severe danger. Seniors who have suffered in the past from hip injuries could further damage their hips or back. Seniors should be accompanied and helped down driveways and across parking lots to ensure they are stable and have the support to walk safely. Seniors with mobility issues may want to consider motorized scooters during the winter months for extra safety precautions.

ADULTS WITH PREVIOUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Adults with previous back, neck and shoulder injuries are also at risk to be severely injured in any of these winter incidents. A slip or a fall can trigger a past injury and can cause further damage. Additionally, adults with a predisposition to osteoporosis are also at higher risk for broken and fractured bones if involved in a collision or a fall.

ACTIVE ADULTS

Adults who remain active throughout the winter months are also at greater risk for injuries if proper safety precautions aren’t followed. Adults who ski and snowboard should be advised that, without the proper equipment, they can be at risk for head injuries as well as neck, shoulder, knee and ankle injuries.

People who run in the winter should be advised to use properly cleared and salted trails and sidewalks, so they don’t risk slipping and falling.

WINTER INJURY PREVENTION TIPS

Though many of these winter accidents can be quite common, they are easy enough to prevent by following specific steps.

  • Thoroughly and regularly salt driveways, sidewalks and stairs
  • Walk carefully across parking lots and provide children and seniors with additional support
  • Stretch before performing any physical exercise
  • Stay hydrated while exercising and shoveling snow
  • Ensure proper footing when shoveling snow or scraping ice off the car
  • Wear a helmet and protective equipment during winter sports
  • Always supervise children playing outdoors in the snow
  • Before shoveling or scraping, make sure to properly stretch

Most businesses and shopping centers take precautions to salt their parking lots and sidewalks once winter hits. Even still, patches may be missed or ice may have formed since the last salting. When rushing into stores and shopping centers, slow down and take your time to carefully walk across the parking lot. Look for areas that have been clearly salted or do not appear wet. Hold onto children and seniors to help stabilize them as you walk across the parking lot or driveway and indoors.

For back injury prevention, it is advised to stretch lightly at first, then move into a deeper stretch. If you are going to be shoveling snow, then it’s important to stay well-hydrated and take frequent breaks so as not to exhaust your body and muscles.

When performing winter sports and activities, be sure to always have the proper protective equipment, like helmets, to prevent head and other serious injuries. If you have access to a gym or can use a treadmill at home, it will prevent any risk of slipping and falling while running outdoors during the winter.

If you choose to run outdoors, go with a buddy and be sure one of you carries a cell phone to call for help in the event of an injury. Familiarize yourself with your running route ahead of time to ensure it’s an area that has been salted and cleared of ice and snow.

WINTER DRIVING SAFETY TIPS

Winter weather can make driving more difficult, which means it can put yourself and others at risk of injury. In order to prevent motor vehicle collisions, follow these winter driving safety tips:

  • Have proper winter-grade tires installed on your car
  • Store an ice scraper in your car
  • Keep windshield washer fluid full
  • Have your vehicle inspected, especially breaks
  • Have a winter safety kit in your trunk, including a high-visibility safety vest, gloves and jumper cables
  • Keep a first aid kit in your car
  • Never drive without a cellphone
  • Limit the time spent driving in the dark

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUFFER A WINTER INJURY

If you or a family member suffers a winter injury, it’s important to first assess the severity level. Sometimes muscle injuries can be treated with ibuprofen and by applying ice or a heating pad (whichever is more comfortable) or taking a warm bath. However, more severe injuries will need to be treated immediately by a professional. If you suspect broken or fractured bones or a head injury, report it to a physician right away, visit the emergency room or visit your orthopedic injury clinic.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday

Growing Pains – Are They Real?

Article featured on Nationwide Children’s.

It’s the middle of the night and your child wakes up complaining of leg pain for the third time this week. As a parent, you worry that it might not just be the result of sports practice earlier that day. Is it something much, much worse that you could be overlooking?

“Relax,” says Elise Berlan, MD. The discomfort may simply be from “growing pains.” Medically, growing pains aren’t a big deal, but they can prompt tears, sleeplessness and concerns for all involved.

Here are some common questions about growing pains, how to help your child through them, and when it may be time to see your pediatrician.

What Are Growing Pains?

Children, from preschoolers to preteens, typically experience growing pains as a dull, throbbing ache in both of their legs or calf muscles. The pains come and go, can occur in the day or evening, and can even wake a child up from sleep.

Many people assume that growing pains start in the bones – but there isn’t any scientific evidence that the discomfort is related to bone growth. Some experts think what we know as “growing pains” could be because of a lower pain threshold to muscle strains that are caused by normal play.

Who Gets Growing Pains?

Twenty-five to forty percent of children will experience growing pains at some point in their lives, and are slightly more common in girls than boys. Growing pains seem to happen during the preschool years and again during preteen years, with most cases reported between the ages of three to five and the ages of eight to 12.

What Helps Relieve the Pain?

  • Heating pads
  • Massage
  • Cuddles and distraction with a movie or toy
  • Stretching
  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Ibuprofen can upset the stomach, so give it with food or milk. Never give a child aspirin because it can cause a rare reaction called Reye syndrome.

When Should My Child See a Doctor?

Growing pains never affect a child’s joints, and the pain typically only lasts a few hours at a time. If your child is complaining of long-lasting joint pain or joint pain in the morning, or if the joints look red or swollen, then go see your pediatrician. Also make a doctor’s appointment if the pain is accompanied by limping, fever, rash, changes in appetite, weakness or tiredness.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday

Six Common Winter Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Article featured on Froedtert & Medial College of Wisconsin. 

Winter is approaching! Find out how to avoid common injuries. Cold, snow and ice are part of living in Wisconsin in the winter, so it can be challenging to stay healthy at this time of year. Emergency departments often see people suffering from winter-related injuries, some of which are preventable.

1. Slips and Falls

Icy outdoor surfaces make people vulnerable to slips and falls. Common injuries include broken bones, hurt backs or sprained joints. Head injuries are also common.

Being mindful of how you walk in the winter can decrease your chances of slipping on ice. Take short, slow steps with slightly bent knees — as if you’re waddling like a penguin — and extend your arms to your sides. Leaving your hands in your pockets will make it harder to keep your balance. Use handrails whenever possible, and treat every walkway as though it has black ice.

Appropriate care after a fall is always important, and this is especially true for older adults. Older people, especially those over 65, can be severely injured as a result of what in younger people might constitute a minor fall, such as slipping while stepping off a curb. Broken hips, head injuries and other serious injuries can significantly impact overall health, well-being and longevity and should not be underestimated. An urgent care clinic may be appropriate if you think you have a sprain or strain. Many minor injuries can be treated by rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Call your primary care doctor for advice, or try an online virtual clinic.

If you fall and are unable to get up, think you may have a broken bone or are in severe pain, you probably need emergency care. This is especially important if you have or think you may have a head injury, as it may be serious. Seek emergency care if you have a loss of consciousness, a severe headache after the fall, nausea and vomiting, confusion or disorientation after the injury, increased sleepiness, seizures or are on blood-thinning medications.

2. Back and Neck Injuries

Shoveling can lead to neck and back injuries, which is why proper form is important. Instead of lifting the snow onto the shovel, push the snow away. Protect your back by keeping a slight bend in your knees. You may also want to warm up your muscles first by stretching.

3. Heart Attacks

Shoveling snow or using a snow blower can be strenuous work, especially for someone whose heart may not be used to that amount or type of exercise. If you have one or more risk factors for heart disease, avoid overexerting yourself in cold weather. That means taking frequent breaks from shoveling or having someone else do it for you, and going inside if you start to overheat.

If you experience shortness of breath, chest pain or any other heart attack symptoms, you should call 911 immediately. If you haven’t seen your primary care doctor in a while, it may be time for a yearly checkup to ensure you are in tip-top shape!

4. Hypothermia

The body does an excellent job of maintaining a constant temperature, but extended exposure to cold can overwhelm its auto-regulation. Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below 95°F. If you must be outside during frigid weather, wear plenty of layers and stay as dry as possible. Elderly individuals and young children are often at more risk, but hypothermia can affect anyone. Alcohol use can also make you more susceptible to hypothermia.

Warnings signs of hypothermia include shivering, loss of dexterity, impaired thinking, high pulse and increased breathing. Shivering is one way the body maintains its temperature. As hypothermia progresses, the body’s shivering mechanism may stop working, people may get more confused and the heart can stop working normally. If you think someone is suffering from hypothermia, call 911, gently bring them out of the cold and remove any wet clothing. If you think someone does not have a pulse, call 911 and start CPR.

5. Frostbite

Frostbite can cause permanent damage to the body as skin, nerves and tissue freeze at the site of injury. Your extremities — hands, feet, ears or tip of your nose — are most vulnerable. Avoid prolonged time outdoors in frigid weather. If you must go outside, wearing gloves, warm socks and hats can help prevent frostbite.

The first signs of frostbite can be numbness, clumsiness and cold skin. The skin can also appear discolored or turn black. Treatment often includes rewarming (as long as there is no risk of re-freezing), wound care, and pain control. If you believe you may be experiencing frostbite, seek emergency care.

6. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is often called “the silent-killer” because it is an odorless, colorless gas found in exhaust fumes of carbon containing fuels (gas, wood, coal, etc). Inhaling the fumes causes the carbon monoxide to build up in your blood stream. Carbon monoxide decreases delivery of oxygen to your body. This can lead to brain and heart problems. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, dizziness and tiredness.

The risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases in the winter due to an increased use of fume-producing products like fireplaces, furnaces and kerosene heaters. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, have your home heating system inspected every winter and make sure any fuel-burning devices, like heaters or gasoline generators, are properly ventilated. If you have a fireplace, clean your chimney and flue annually. Do not “warm up” your car in a garage, as this can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide. Install a carbon monoxide alarm or test your existing alarm.

If you suspect someone may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, get them outdoors and call 911. Fire departments have devices to test for carbon monoxide and can initiate medical care if you need it.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday

How Can I Improve My Balance?

Article featured on Summit Ortho written by Kyle Hall, DPT

Although it is often overlooked, balance is an important part of your overall physical fitness. Poor balance increases your chance of falls or other causes of injury and can reduce your overall mobility.

“Your body relies on three things for balance: your eyes, your inner ear, and receptors in your joints — that’s the part that can decline with age or injury,” Hall said. These joint receptors contribute to balance by sending signals back to the brain to tell you that you are falling or that there is more pressure to one side or another.

How can I improve my balance?

Yoga and Pilates are excellent for improving your steadiness, and core-strengthening exercises like planks and straight leg raises can help as well. Heel raises can increase ankle strength, which can help support you if you wobble. But if you have problems with your balance, it may be smart to add specific balance-building exercises into your daily routine three to five times a week.

A typical progression of balance exercises may include:

  • Weight shifting from side to side, forward and backward, and along a diagonal. You can stand in a corner or in a doorframe so that you can use the wall to balance yourself, if needed.
  • Tandem stance — standing with your feet heel to toe, as if you’re on a balance beam. This gives you a narrow base of support, challenging your balance. To add difficulty, you can close your eyes or stand on something soft and uneven, like a pillow.
  • Standing on one foot for 30 seconds — for more challenge, close your eyes.
  • Doing the “Superman,” reaching your arms forward, with one leg out behind you.
  • Walking heel to toe (called a “tandem walk”) or doing a few grapevine steps will help with balance as you move.

If you’re an athlete who wants to attain higher levels of performance, try using a minitrampoline, plyometrics, and box jumps. You can also catch a ball thrown by someone else, with planned and unplanned changes in direction.

Should I be working on balance?

There are several easy ways to test your balance:

“Standing with your feet together and your eyes closed, you should be able to stand for about 30 seconds. If not, balance is something to work on,” Hall said.

Other balance benchmarks include:

  • Can you stand in tandem stance (heel to toe) for 30 seconds?
  • Can you reach forward about 10 inches without holding on to anything?
  • For people ages 65 and under:
    • Can you stand on one leg with eyes open for 30 seconds?
    • Can you stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 20 seconds?

There are many good balance tests available for free online. Hall suggests the Berg Balance Test, which will tell you if you’re at high risk of falling or should use a cane or walker for safety.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday

Are You Ready for a Marathon?

Article featured on Summit Orthopedics

If you are a runner, running a marathon may be on your bucket list. We share some advice for you to consider before you commit to your first marathon.

In the summertime race events are plentiful. Runners can include the whole family in a day of fitness fun by signing up for a family run, race to raise money for worthy causes, or set their sites on the race that tests their endurance as a runner: the marathon. It is important for aspiring marathoners to understand that it is one thing to run a 5-mile course, and quite another to complete a 26.2 mile race.

The decision to run a marathon should be given serious consideration. To run a marathon safely means making a significant time commitment to months of planning and training.

We suggest that runners consider three factors before they commit to their first marathon.

Schedule

Training for a marathon means dedicated time to training; but that’s not where your time commitment ends. You’ll also need time for proper recovery between training sessions, and should also factor in a higher-than-normal level of fatigue. If you are at a point where demands on your time are high, or you may not have the support you need, you might want to consider a half marathon instead. This shorter race still requires training, and will give you more first hand experience about whether you are ready for the demands of a longer race.

Pre-Existing Injuries

If you have any knee, hip, or back issues, marathon training is going to increase the stress on problem areas. This is a factor you should discuss with a physical therapist before you commit to training for a big race.

Nutrition

Marathon training increases your body’s nutrition needs. If you aren’t a healthy eater, are you ready to make significant changes in your diet to protect your body’s performance?

Running is a wonderful way to stay fit and healthy, and every runner talks about the emotional satisfaction that goes hand-in-hand with their sport. We applaud ambitious goals like checking that first marathon off the bucket list, and we want you to be ready and able to commit the time and discipline you’ll need to safely train to achieve your goal.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Exercises and Stretches for Hip Pain

From Versus Arthritis

Here are some exercises designed to stretch, strengthen and stabilize the structures that support your hip.

It’s important to keep active – you should try to do the exercises that are suitable for you every day. Repeat each exercise between 5–10 times and try to do the whole set of exercises 2-3 times a day.

Start by exercising gradually and build up over time. Remember to carry on even when your hip is better to prevent your symptoms returning.

If you have any questions about exercising, ask your doctor.

It’s also a good idea to try to increase your general fitness by going for a regular walk or swim, this will strengthen your whole body – which helps support your hip. It can also improve your general health, fitness and outlook.

Simple stretching, strengthening and stabilising exercises

The following exercises are designed to stretch, strengthen and stabilise the structures that support your hip. These exercises for hip pain (PDF, 983 KB) are also available to download and keep.

It’s important not to overstretch yourself if you’re in pain. It’s normal to feel some aching in the muscles after exercising, but you should stop and seek advice if you have joint pain that lasts more than a few days.

If you’ve had a hip replacement you will probably be advised to take it easy for the first six weeks and not to push yourself too much. Ask your physiotherapist what exercises they recommend you should start with and how to do them.

You may feel slightly uncomfortable during or after exercise, but this should settle within 24 hours. It shouldn’t be painful. If you feel any sudden pain stop exercising and seek medical advice.

An illustration of someone marching on the spot.

Hip flexion (strengthening)

Hold onto a work surface and march on the spot to bring your knees up towards your chest alternately. Don’t bring your thigh above 90 degrees.

An illustration of someone standing whilst holding onto a table, moving their leg backwards and keeping it straight.

Hip extension (strengthening)

Move your leg backwards, keeping your knee straight. Clench your buttock tightly and hold for five seconds. Don’t lean forwards. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

An illustration of someone standing and holding onto a chair, lifting their leg sideways.

Hip abduction (strengthening)

Lift your leg sideways, being careful not to rotate the leg outwards. Hold for five seconds and bring it back slowly, keeping your body straight throughout. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

An illustration of someone standing whilst holding onto a table, bending their knee towards their bottom.

Heel to buttock exercise (strengthening)

Bend your knee to pull your heel up towards your bottom. Keep your knees in line and your kneecap pointing towards the floor.

An illustration of someone squatting down, bringing their knees towards their toes.

Mini squat (strengthening)

Squat down until your knees are above your toes. Hold for a count of five if possible. Hold on to a work surface for support if you need to.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with one bent leg and one straight leg with a towel under it's knee. They're raising their foot off the floor.

Short arc quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Roll up a towel and place it under your knee. Keep the back of your thigh on the towel and straighten your knee to raise your foot off the floor. Hold for five seconds and then lower slowly.

An illustration of someone laying down with their legs straight, pulling their toes and ankles towards them whilst pushing their knees to the floor.

Quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Pull your toes and ankles towards you, while keeping your leg straight and pushing your knee firmly against the floor. You should feel the tightness in the front of your leg. Hold for five seconds and relax. This exercise can be done from a sitting position as well if you find this more comfortable.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with their knees bent and hands under the small of their back. They're pulling their belly towards the floor.

Stomach exercise (strengthening/ stabilising)

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Put your hands under the small of your back and pull your belly button down towards the floor. Hold for 20.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with their feet to standing, lifting their pelvis and lower back off the floor.

Bridging

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then lower down slowly.

An illustration of someone laying on their back and pulling their knee toward their chest.

Knee lift (stretch)

Lie on your back. Pull each knee to your chest in turn, keeping the other leg straight. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times. If this is difficult, try sliding your heel along the floor towards your bottom to begin with, and when this feels comfortable try lifting your knee.

An illustration of someone sitting with their knees bent and feet together, pressing their knees downwards.

External hip rotation (stretch)

Site you your knees bent and feet together. Press your knees down towards the floor using your hands as needed. Alternatively, lie on your back and part your knees, keeping your feet together. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times.

 


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Daily Stretching Routine for Seniors

From AAPTIV

Tight muscles, stiff joints, and aches and pains—aging can take a toll on your body, but the good news is that stretching can help you feel better.

Research indicates that stretching improves flexibility, promotes balance, and has the power to reduce pain or stress. Additionally, stretches that focus on posture and mobility can support daily activities and limit your risk of falling or injury. Read more