Athletic Injuries

Sports Cardiology: Heart Healthy & Being Active Live Chat on January 26th

sports-cardio-cilAsk the experts! Talk to the physicians who are the medical providers for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Dream, Georgia Tech athletes and more!

When you’re an athlete, professional, amateur or weekend warrior, you have unique health needs. Optimal health is vital to your performance and in some cases, your ability to participate at all. Even with the best training and care, the body doesn’t always cooperate. That’s where we come in.

Emory Healthcare is the first and only health system in Atlanta to launch a Sports Cardiology practice. Collaborating with the Emory Sports Medicine Center, the program not only focuses on diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease, but also preventing future issues.

The unique partnership between Emory Sports Medicine Center and Emory Cardiology means our physicians work together to diagnose your condition and deliver a proper treatment plan so you return to the activity you love, safely. This level of collaborative care is not available in programs that focus on cardiovascular health or sports medicine exclusively.

We encourage athletes and exercising individuals, and their families, of all ages and levels to join us for a live chat on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST hosted by Emory sports cardiologist, Jonathan H. Kim, MD, and sports medicine physician, Neeru Jayanthi, MD. Don’t miss your chance to get your general sports and sports cardiology related questions answered by the same physicians who treat the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, Dream, Georgia Tech and other professional and recreational athletic organizations across metro Atlanta. Register below.

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Key Steps To Diagnosing And Treating Concussions

orth-concussion-checklistv3The current medical definition of a concussion is essentially a ‘transient alteration in mental status that may or may not require loss of consciousness that may result from a direct or indirect blow to the head.’ The struggle many of us feel when we read this is, ‘What does that mean?’

It is critical for orthopaedic surgeons who work on the sidelines of athletic teams, athletic trainers, athletes, parents of athletes, coaches and school administrators to be able to correctly recognize and diagnose a concussion. After an athlete suffers a head injury, any misdiagnosis may lead to severe brain damage, prolonged disability, and even death.

However, a concussion may be tough to diagnose if a person does not know what to look for, or if an athlete does not report his or her symptoms. A concussion can present itself in a variety of ways, making it difficult for non-concussion experts to detect, diagnose and treat. Other than temporary loss of consciousness, which is most recognizable, other signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

Concussion diagnosis

While signs and symptoms of a concussion generally show up shortly after the injury, some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur each year in the United States. However, it is believed that around 50 percent of concussions go unreported.

Because the effects of a concussion are not always visible, many athletes return to their sport too quickly following a head injury. That’s why it’s crucial to educate parents, coaches and other athletic officials about the importance of having head injuries examined by a specialized physician who has experience caring for patients with concussion.

Concussion treatment

According to recent studies, 79 percent of Americans believe there is no way to cure a concussion and only 29 percent of Americans believe all concussions are treatable. These days, a concussion is fully treatable, but the key is to identify risk factors that may prolong and complicate recovery early on. At Emory, our team of concussion experts pioneer and utilize the latest treatment therapies to deliver treatment plans developed for each athlete. Some treatment recommendations include cognitive and physical rest, while others require more aggressive therapies. No two concussions are alike; therefore no two concussion treatment plans should the same.

To schedule a consultation with a concussion expert at Emory, or to see one of our sports medicine specialists, please request an appointment online or call 404-778-3350.

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About Emory Sports Medicine Center

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopaedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide comprehensive treatments for athletic injuries in Atlanta, Dunwoody and Johns Creek. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, the sports medicine specialists at Emory are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries, including concussions.

About Dr. Pombo

pombo-matMathew Pombo, MD, joined the Emory Orthopaedic Surgery faculty as a highly regarded orthopaedic surgeon, speaker, author and researcher who specializes in getting patients with injuries back to an active lifestyle. His professional interests include anatomic single- and double-bundle ACL reconstruction, rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, meniscal/cartilage injury and repair, joint preservation in the aging athlete, and minimally invasive joint replacement surgery of the knee and shoulder.

Dr. Pombo has conducted extensive scientific research, published multiple journal articles, written several book chapters, and has presented at both national and international meetings on topics related to sports medicine, concussions, and orthopaedic surgery. He has been instrumental in bringing awareness to sports-related concussions and the new Georgia “Return to Play” Act and is one of the top regarded experts in the area for the treatment of concussions. He currently serves as the Director of the Emory Sports Concussion Program.

Dr. Pombo, his wife, and two boys, Eli and Henry, live in Johns Creek, GA. Dr. Pombo enjoys spending time with his family during his days off. Many of his patients also enjoy watching him succeed in his second career as a professional race car driver, where he can be found driving at race tracks across North America.

Best Ways To Recognize And Treat An Ankle Fracture

ankle-injury

What is an ankle fracture?

A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. An ankle fracture can range from a simple break in one bone, which may cause discomfort but not stop you from walking, to more serious fractures, which damage multiple bones that hold your ankle joint in place and may require surgery or immobilization for some time.

There are three bones that make up the ankle joint:

  • Tibia – shinbone
  • Fibula – smaller bone of the lower leg
  • Talus – a small bone that sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the tibia and fibula

Any one of the three bones could break as the result of a fall, twisting, rolling or rotating your ankle, a car accident or some other trauma to the ankle. The more bones that are broken, the more unstable the ankle becomes and the longer the recovery time.

What are the signs and symptoms of a fractured ankle?

Common symptoms of an ankle fracture include:

  • Immediate and severe pain, which can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tender to touch
  • Decreased ability to walk or put any weight on the injured foot
  • Deformity or protruding bones

Because a broken ankle can frequently be confused with an ankle sprain, most severe injuries to the ankle should be examined by a musculoskeletal specialist.

What are the treatment options?

First, to prevent further complications, make sure to stay off the injured ankle until you receive medical evaluation from a physician. Other ankle fracture treatments include:

  • Elevate the ankle and apply ice to the injured area to decrease swelling and pain.
  • Rest and make sure to stay off the affected ankle.
  • Depending on the type of the fracture, a splint/cast/boot may be used to stabilize and realign the ankle joint.
  • Some patients may require surgery if the fracture is severe enough.

What is the best way to heal from a fractured ankle?

Healing of an ankle fracture depends on the severity of the injury. To optimize bone healing we advise patients eat a good diet, get enough calcium and vitamin D, and follow treatment instructions from their physician.

Will an ankle fracture heal by itself?

Some ankle fractures will heal without surgical intervention but most require some period of immobilization in boot or brace if treated without surgical intervention.

What should someone with a fractured ankle do to keep relatively fit during the period of immobility?

Patients often worry about their fitness when they are immobilized or unable to put weight on their extremity after an ankle fracture. I recommend my patient at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center begin upper body exercises as soon as they can resume activity. We also have patients frequently use rolling knee walkers, which allow them to be as mobile as possible while they are healing.

If you’ve suffered an ankle fracture, seek medical attention from an orthopaedic physician specializing in fractures. The physician will conduct a physical exam, perform appropriate imaging and recommend a treatment plan (non-surgical or surgical) to get your back to your pre-injury functional level safely and as soon as possible. If the injury is severe, please call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room.

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About Dr. Bariteau

bariteau-jasonJason Bariteau, MD, grew up in a small town just outside of Albany, New York. After completing his undergraduate degree in Biology at College of Saint Rose, he then pursued his medical degree at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Following completion of his medical training he developed his surgical skills during his orthopedic surgery residency at Brown University. He then subsequently completed two advanced orthopedics fellowships; the first at Brown University in orthopedic trauma and the second at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas Texas under the tutelage internationally known Foot and Ankle Surgeon James W Brodsky MD. He currently resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and three children.

Related Resources
Takeaways from Dr. Olufade’s Ankle Sprain Chat

Protect Your Knees at Any Age

knee-painKnee problems are the most common reason people visit an orthopaedic or sports medicine surgeon. May seem like common sense, but if you want healthy knees later in life, start taking care of them now, even if you are young.

The knee is the largest and strongest joint in your body and the major support structure of all your lower extremities. Unfortunately, as people age, knee issues become more common. Possible knee symptoms are aches, stiffness, and swelling and are usually caused by two main factors.

First, as we age, we lose some of the natural cartilage that acts as a cushion between the four bones in your knee joint. Damage to, or wearing down of, the cartilage causes pain and makes it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs.

Second, if you play sports, live an active lifestyle, or have suffered a knee injury, it is likely you may experience future or further knee problems as you continue to age.

Obesity has more recently become a major risk factor for knee conditions such as arthritis, not only of the knee, but also the hip and ankle.

Now that we know the major causes of knee problems, what’s a person with aging knees to do? While you can’t stop the aging process, you can follow these key tips to protect your knees.

1. Monitor changes in your knee health and record any signs and symptoms to share with your orthopaedic physician.

Symptoms from the aging process may be knee pain, but swelling is another common indicator. With age and cartilage loss, the body naturally responds by trying to repair itself, so there may be fluid in the knee, which is the body’s way of trying to increase shock absorption and lubrication in the knee.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Every extra pound you put on places about four 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knees. Getting rid of extra weight may help alleviate knee pain or cure it altogether.

3. Exercise

Living an active lifestyle and incorporating low impact exercise into your routine promotes healthy knees. Make sure you leave enough time to properly warm up and stretch before starting your activity. Strength training uses resistance to build strong muscles and flexibility in the skeletal muscles.

4. Don’t overdo it!

Make sure you do not ignore the ongoing knee pain. If you play sports, consider additional training to learn proper techniques and alignment. When doing squats and lunges, don’t bend your leg beyond a 90-degree angle and make sure your knee stays directly over your foot. If injured, try using the RICE method to relieve immediate pain and reduce swelling: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. And contact your healthcare provider if the pain persists or intensifies.

The team of knee specialists at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center includes orthopaedic surgeons, non-operative and sports medicine physicians, and trainers. At Emory, we offer the most advanced knee treatments in the Southeast, including anatomic ACL reconstruction, PRP knee therapy, meniscus repair, and more. To schedule an appointment, call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

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About Dr. Spero Karas

karas-speroDr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Karas is an internationally recognized expert in the field for sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He has been recognized as one of America’s “Top Orthopaedic Doctors” in Men’s Health Magazine and “Top Sports Medicine Specialists for Women” in Women’s Health Magazine. Atlanta Magazine has named him in “Atlanta’s Best Doctors” for the past eight years.

Dr. Karas came to Emory in 2005, after serving as Chief of the Shoulder Service and team physician at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He currently serves as head team physician and orthopedic surgeon for the Atlanta Falcons, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.

How to Recover From a Patellar Tendon Tear

The patellar tendon is the tendon below the kneecap (patella) that attaches the quadriceps (front thigh) muscles to the tibia (shinbone). This tendon is extremely important in straightening the knee or slowing the knee during bending or squatting. Basically, any physical activity or sport requires an intact patellar tendon.

Patellar tendon tears can be either partial or complete. When there is a complete tear, the patellar tendon separates from the kneecap and the knee cannot be straightened.

Athletes tend to overexert themselves during play and when too much body weight or force is placed on the knee, the patellar tendon can rupture or tear. Because this tendon is very small and vital to knee support, choosing an orthopaedic surgeon and physical therapist who specialize in knee injury treatment is crucial. Recovery from a patellar tendon tear can take a long time, so your best friend during those rehabilitation months needs to be your physical therapist.

The general phases to recovery from a patellar tendon injury are provided below for reference to the average patient, but individual patients will recover at different rates depending on age, associated injuries, pre-injury health status, rehab compliance, tissue quality and severity of the injury.

Phase I: Called the “protection phase,” requires about 6-8 weeks of strengthening exercises after surgery. These specific exercises work to restore strength to your quadriceps and range of motion in the knee.

Phase II: Six weeks after surgery, your therapist will remove your brace so you can move more freely with a greater range of motion. Exercises will continue to be conservative to normalize gait and assess control without the brace, including leg stands and squats.

Phase III: This phase starts around 4 months after surgery and focuses on restoring more of the knee function. Running and biking are incorporated in the session as well as sport-specific drills tailored to the athlete’s sport and position. We add impact into the drills and hope to see good control and no pain during participation.

Patellar tendon ruptures are typically major injuries, yet athletes can and should expect to return to their previous level of play after surgery and rehabilitation.

Have you suffered an injury or are recovering from surgery? Make sure you have a team of highly-specialized sports medicine and physical therapy experts who will work together to design an individualized treatment program to meet your goals so you can return to the sport you love.

The highly-trained physicians and surgeons at the Emory Sports Medicine Center treat a wide variety of sports medicine conditions and athletic injuries, including sprains and strains from the foot and ankle to the elbow and hand. To see an Emory Sports Medicine specialist, call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

Emory Physical Therapy offers a complete range of services for patients needing rehabilitation services at seven convenient locations around metro Atlanta. Our experienced staff includes board certified clinical specialists in orthopedics and sports medicine, certified intramuscular and manual therapists, Pilates certified specialists, certified strength and condition specialists.

About Dr. Karas

karas-speroSpero Karas, MD is a team physician for the Atlanta Falcons. He is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Karas is an internationally recognized expert in the field for sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He has been recognized as one of America’s “Top Orthopaedic Doctors” in Men’s Health Magazine April 2007 and “Top Sports Medicine Specialists for Women” in Women’s Health Magazine. Atlanta Magazine has named him “Atlanta’s Most Trusted Sports Medicine Specialist” for the past three years.

He has authored over 200 manuscripts, presentations, and instructional videos and has presented his research at numerous institutions both internationally and throughout the United States. His work has been featured in NBC television, Men’s Health Magazine, Ski Magazine, and numerous internet health services. He works closely with industries in the design of orthopaedic devices and teaches physicians throughout the world in their use.

Dr. Karas came to Emory in 2005, after serving as Chief of the Shoulder Service and team physician at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He currently serves as team physician for the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech Baseball and Lakeside High School, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.

Using Heat and Cold to Treat Injury

back-painIt’s hard to get through life without straining a muscle, spraining a ligament, or wrenching your back. When something hurts, ice and heat are often the go-to solutions, and using temperature therapy to complement medications and self-care can be very effective. But while both heat and cold can help reduce pain, it can be confusing to decide which is more appropriate depending on the injury. Our tips below give you the facts on when to use (and not use) heat and cold therapies.

When to Use Cold Therapy

Cold is best for acute pain caused by recent tissue damage is used when the injury is recent, red, inflamed, or sensitive. The inflammatory process is a healthy, normal, natural process that also can be incredibly painful. Here are some examples of common acute injuries:

  • Ankle sprain
  • Muscle or joint sprain
  • Red, hot or swollen body part
  • Acute pain after intense exercise
  • Inflammatory arthritis flare ups

When you sprain something, you damage blood vessels causing swelling to occur. Applying something cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing the swelling and limiting bruising. Cold therapy can also help relieve any inflammation or pain that occurs after exercise, which is a form of acute inflammation. However, unlike heat, you should apply ice after going for a run to reduce post-exercise inflammation.

Tips for Applying Cold

  • Cold should only be applied locally and should never be used for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Apply cold immediately after injury or intense, high-impact exercise.
  • Always wrap ice packs in a towel before applying to an affected area.
  • Do not use ice in areas where you have circulation problems.

When to Use Heat Therapy

While ice is used to treat acute pain, heat therapy is typically used for chronic pain or conditions. Unlike cold therapy’s ability to constrict blood vessels, heat allows for our blood vessels to expand and our muscles to relax. That’s why overworked muscles respond best to heat. Heat stimulates blood flow, relaxes spasms, and soothes sore muscles. Some common chronic conditions that heat is used to treat are:

  • Muscle pain or soreness
  • Arthritis
  • Stiff joints

Tips for Applying Heat

  • Unlike cold therapy, heat should be applied before exercising. Applying heat after exercise can aggravate existing pain.
  • Protect yourself from direct contact with heating devices. Wrapping heat sources in a folded towel can help prevent burns.
  • Stay hydrated during heat therapy.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to heating sources.

Low Level Heat

If you find that heat helps ease your pain, try a continuous low-level heat wrap, available at most drugstores. You can wear a heat wrap for up to 8 hours, even while you sleep.

What to Avoid

Heat can make inflammation worse, and ice can make muscle tension and spasms worse, so be careful. Just like anything else, don’t overdo it! It’s normal for your skin to be a little pink after using cold and heat therapies, but if you start to notice any major skin irritation like hives, blisters or swelling, you should call your doctor. Otherwise, use whatever works for you depending on your condition. Both ice and heat can be very effective if used correctly!

About Emory Sports Medicine Center

At the Emory Sports Medicine Center, our experts specialize in advanced procedures to treat and repair a wide range of sports related injuries. Recently recognized as one of the nation’s TOP 50 orthopaedics programs, Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine has 6 convenient locations across metro Atlanta, as well as 6 physical therapy locations. Click to learn more >>

About Dr. Mines

mines-brandonDr. Brandon Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream, Decatur High School and a team physician for NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He is also a rotational physician for United States soccer teams.

Dr. Mines enjoys giving talks and lectures regarding the prevention of sports injuries. In fact, as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Society for Sports Medicine, Dr. Mines has attended and presented at various national conferences. Through the years, he has helped all levels of athletes return to the top of their game.

What is a ruptured ligament?

sprained-ankleA sprained ankle is a very common injury in athletes, non-athletes and people of all ages. Approximately 25,000 people experience this injury each day. Ankle sprains are usually caused by an injury that places stress on a joint or ruptures the supporting ligaments. A ligament is an elastic structure that connects bones to other bones.

A ruptured ligament indicates a severe sprain. The ligaments in the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint in position, providing stabilization and support. Rupturing occurs when the ligaments tear completely or separate from the bone, impairing proper joint function.

Causes of ankle sprains

  • Sprains are common injuries caused by sports and physical fitness activities. These activities include: walking, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other jumping sports. Contact sports such as football, hockey and boxing put athletes at risk for ankle injury.
  • Falls, twists, or rolls of the foot that stretch beyond its normal motions are a result of ankle sprains.
  • Uneven surfaces or stepping down at an angle can cause sprains.

Treatment for ankle sprains

When treating a severe sprain with a ruptured ligament, surgery or immobilization may be needed. Most ankle sprains need a period of protection to heal that usually takes four to six weeks. A cast or a cast brace protects and supports the ankle during the recovery period. Rehabilitation is used to help decrease pain and swelling and ultimately prevents chronic ankle problems.

A sports medicine specialist should evaluate the injury and recommend a treatment plan. Meanwhile, using the RICE method is a simple and often the best treatment for injuries.

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compress
  • Elevate

Surgical treatments are rare in ankle sprains, but surgery may be needed in the event the injury fails to respond to nonsurgical treatment. Possible surgical options include:

  • Arthroscopy is a procedure done on the joint to see how extensive the damage is. Surgeons look for loose fragments of bone or cartilage or if a ligament is in caught in the joint.
  • Ligament reconstruction repairs the torn ligament with stitches or sutures.

How to prevent ankle sprains

Tips to prevent ankle sprains include:

  • Stretching and warming-up before physical activity
  • Wearing shoes that fit properly
  • Paying attention to walking, running or working surfaces

The highly-trained physicians and surgeons at the Emory Sports Medicine Center treat a wide variety of sports medicine conditions and athletic injuries, including sprains and strains from the foot and ankle to hand and elbow.

About Dr. Olufade

olufade-oluseunDr. Olufade is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports related injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in concussion, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration.

Dr. Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class and Editor of the PM&R Newsletter. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences.

Related Resources
Is it a Sprain? Or a Fracture?
Find Out How to Prevent, Diagnose & Treat Ankle Sprains
What Should You Do When You Sprain Your Ankle?

Takeaways from Dr. Mason’s Chat on How to Train and Prepare for Summer Running Races

Running Live ChatThank you for attending the live chat on How to Train and Prepare for Summer Running Races on Tuesday, June 9 with Emory Sports Medicine physician Amadeus Mason, MD. We had a great discussion, so thank you to all who participated and asked questions. From tips for preventing shin splints to advice on how to train for a 5K, we were thrilled with the number of people who were able to register and participate in the chat. (You can check out the transcript here).

The response was so great that we had a few questions we were not able to answer during the chat so we will answer them below for your reference.

Question: I have inflammation behind my knee. What can I do?

Amadeus Mason, MDDr. Mason: Inflammation behind the knee can be due to a number of knee conditions. Baker’s cyst are common and can be caused by injury to the knee, arthritis, damage to the cartilage of the knee, and other problems. Sprains (caused by overstretching and tearing of the stabilizing ligaments) can lead to swelling of the knee area as well.

Seek immediate medical attention if you are in serious pain, or are experiencing symptoms such as: paralysis, loss of sensation, absent pulses in the feet, the inability to move the knee joint, severe bleeding, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or uncontrollable pain.

Swelling behind the knee may not produce any other symptoms, but if your condition persists and continues to cause concern, seek an evaluation from a sports medicine physician or knee specialist.

Question: What is the best way to correct an IT band injury that has caused can imbalance and pain while running?

Amadeus Mason, MDDr. Mason: If treated appropriately with conservative treatment and resting of the affected area, IT Band Syndrome is usually curable within 6 weeks. If your injury was not appropriately treated, or not given adequate time to heal, the source of your current complications may be due to:

  • Chronically inflamed tendon and bursa, causing persistent pain with activity that may progress to constant pain.
  • Recurrence of symptoms if activity is resumed too soon through overuse, a direct blow, or poor training technique.
  • Inability to complete training or competition.

Until you are able to seek an evaluation from a sports medicine physician, I would discontinue the activity (ies) that are causing you pain so you do not further damage the iliotibial band.

Question: I get cramps in my calf when I run but not when walking. Is there a remedy?

Amadeus Mason, MDDr. Mason: Cramps are a result of a few factors, but dehydration and improper warm-up are the most common causes.

To prevent muscle cramps, runners need to consume enough fluid before exercising. Some healthy tips are:

  • Drink 16 to 20 ounces 45 minutes before training.
  • Drink 2 to 4 ounces every 15 minutes during a training session.
  • Before you begin your run, warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of low impact activity, like walking to warm up the muscles.

For more information about all our orthopedic and sports-related injuries, visit Emory Sports Medicine Center. Think you need to be evaluated by a sports medicine physician? To make an appointment with an Emory physician, please complete our online appointment request form or call 404-778-3350.

Related Resources

Is it a Sprain? Or is it a Strain?

sprain vs strainA common question we field from patients with injuries is, “Is it a sprain? Or is it a strain?” While they both result in similar pain and symptoms, sprains and strains are actually different injuries that involve completely different parts of the body.

A sprain is an injury that affects the ligaments, which are a type of connective tissue that connects bones to other bones. When a sprain occurs, the ligaments are either stretched or torn and depending on the severity of the stretching and tearing, can be very painful. Sprains most commonly affect the ankles, in particular the lateral (outside) portion of the ankle, which can occur from a variety of activities.

Strains, on the other hand, affect the tendons, the fibrous connective tissue that connects muscles to bones, or the muscles themselves. Strains involve the stretching and/or tearing of these tendons or muscles.

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains

The hallmark symptoms associated with sprains and strains are similar

  • Pain
  • Redness and/or bruising
  • Swelling and inflammation at the site of the injury
  • Stiffness in the affected area

Causes of Sprains and Strains

Sprains typically happen suddenly and can occur in a variety of ways. When a person falls or twists in a way that puts their body in an unusual position or is hit with an impact that does the same, sprains can occur. On the contrary, strains can occur over time as a result of prolonged, repetitive movements, or occur suddenly.

One of the most common causes of sprains and strains is participation in athletic activities.

Treatment of Sprains and Strains

Most sprains and strains can typically be resolved with the RICE method – rest, ice, compression and elevation. Depending on the severity of the injury, future treatment and recovery efforts may involve a combination of physical therapy and various exercise techniques.

Seek help from a sports medicine physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Cannot put weight on the affected area without feeling significant pain
  • Cannot move affected joint
  • Have numbness around the injured area
  • Have significant swelling and/or changes in skin color

With proper care, most sprains and strains will heal without long-term side effects.

Prevention of Sprains and Strains

While there is no true way to prevent all sprain and strain injuries, proper stretching and strengthening regimens can help keep your body strong and more resistant to many injuries, including sprains and strains.

The highly-trained physicians and surgeons at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center treat a wide variety of orthopaedic, spine and sports medicine conditions, including sprains and strains from the foot and ankle to hand and elbow.

About Dr. Olufade

Dr. Oluseun OlufadeOluseun Olufade MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports related injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in concussion, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration.

Dr. Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class and Editor of the PM&R Newsletter. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences.

How to Train and Prepare for Summer Running Races – Join Us for a Live Online Chat!

Running Training Live ChatWhether you are a seasoned marathon runner or recreational jogger, it is important to train properly and know how to prevent injury.

If you are interested in learning more about preventing and treating sports and running injuries, join Emory Sports Medicine physician Amadeus Mason, MD, for an online web chat on Tuesday, June 9 at noon. Dr. Mason will be available to answer your questions such as:

  • Injury prevention
  • Stretching
  • Race-day tips
  • Symptoms of certain athletic injuries
  • Risk factors for athletic/running injuries
  • Treatment for specific sports injuries
  • When to visit your sports medicine physician

To register for the live chat, visit emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats! If you already have questions for Dr. Mason, go ahead and submit in advance so our team can answer during the chat!

Sign Up for the Chat

From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapies and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for a range of athletic-related injuries. Visit our website to learn more about the Emory Sports Medicine Center.