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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Meet your Spine Surgeon: A Conversation with Dr. John Heller 
Nov 8, 2017 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

Spine Surgeon The spine supports the body’s weight and protects the nerves in the spinal cord that run through it. It helps maintain the body’s muscle control and nerve coordination, and without it, we wouldn’t be able to function. Spine surgery, a subspecialty of orthopedic surgery, includes the treatment and management of a wide variety of conditions affecting the neck and back, including herniated discs and fractures. For Emory Healthcare spine surgeon John G. Heller, MD, the care and treatment of patients with spine issues is personally rewarding. His practice works to improve the lives of patients while training the next generation of spine surgeons. Patients, understandably, often have many questions regarding spine conditions and their treatment. Recently, Dr. Heller spoke with Dr. Bruce Feinberg for The Weekly Check-up on WSB Radio about a wide range of issues related to [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Real Patients. Real Stories – Kathleen Karr's Total Ankle Replacement
Aug 14, 2017 By Jason Bariteau, MD

total ankle replacement karrKathleen Karr thought her dancing days were over — until she underwent total ankle replacement surgery.  Kathleen suffered an ankle injury during a car accident when she was 39 years-old. Unfortunately, the injury worsened over time. She began to lose more and more mobility in her ankle until, finally, she found herself barely able to walk. Frustrated with her lack of mobility, Kathleen scheduled an appointment with an orthopaedist. After performing an initial exam and reviewing her X-rays, the doctor found that she had end-stage ankle arthritis and recommended an ankle fusion. While the procedure would give her back some mobility, the doctor warned that she would still not even be able to walk uphill or downhill following her surgery. Kathleen had always been an active, vibrant woman. The thought of living out the rest of her life with such limited mobility just felt [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
The best (and worst) exercises for lower back pain
Jun 29, 2017 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

lower-back-painOver 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. If you have it, you may think rest is the key to recovery. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work. But most lower back pain will actually get better when you stay active. Exercise can:

  • Ease your lower back pain
  • Help you heal faster after a lower back injury
  • Maintain your strength and flexibility
  • Prevent re-injury
  • Reduce your risk of disability from chronic back pain

Lower back pain exercises

You should focus on activities that strengthen your back, such as walking, swimming and walking in waist-deep water in the pool. Also, these strengthening exercises can help combat back pain:
  • Back extensions. While lying on your stomach on the floor, press your elbows into the ground and push your upper body toward the ceiling. Hold this

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Preparing for Summer Road Races Live Chat Transcript
Jun 13, 2017 By admin

  Road race runnersHave you been training hard getting ready for summer races or events like the AJC Peachtree Road Race? Emory sports medicine physician Amadeus Mason, MD and Emory sports cardiologist, and Peachtree Road Race Medical Director, Jonathan Kim, MD, answered questions around preventing injuries, when and how to stretch and discussed appropriate treatment options for select injuries.  The live chat had a good turnout and the transcript is now available below.

Live Chat Transcript

June 13, 2017, 12:01 PM EmoryHealthcare: Welcome everyone! Thanks for joining us today for our Live Q&A on Preparing for Summer Road Races with Dr. Mason and Dr. Kim. June 13, 2017, 12:02 PM EmoryHealthcare: We'll get started in just a minute. The doctors are here to answer all your questions! June 13, 2017, 12:04 PM EmoryHealthcare: Please note that all questions are moderated before [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
The Best Treatment for an Achilles Tendon Injury
May 27, 2017 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

Achilles Tendon InjuryAn Achilles tendon injury can affect your ability to perform the activities you enjoy and even your ability to walk. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience significant pain in your Achilles tendon, which connects the muscles on the back of your calf to your heel bone.

Types of Achilles Tendon Injuries

There are two common types of Achilles tendon injuries:
  • Achilles tendinitis: A gradual onset of pain, often from overuse. It can usually be treated with rest and rehabilitation.
  • Achilles tendon tear or rupture: A sudden injury that may feel as though you were hit or kicked in the back of the ankle. It usually affects your ability to walk properly and may require surgery to repair the rupture.
It’s crucial to know which type of Achilles tendon injury you have because treatment is very different for each form. If you suspect you have a torn [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
The 4 Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
May 19, 2017 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

Causes of shoulder pain Whether you’re throwing a football, unloading the dishwasher or scratching your back, shoulder pain can compromise even the most basic daily activity. Here’s how to identify and treat the biggest instigators of shoulder pain, which include:

  • Arthritis
  • Fracture (broken bone)
  • Instability
  • Tendon inflammation and tears
The shoulder is made up of tendons, muscles and bones. Its main purpose is to position your hand for your everyday tasks and movements. Since the shoulder is such a mobile joint, it’s more prone to instability or impingement in its soft tissues. This can lead to acute (sudden) or chronic pain.

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is a frequent cause of shoulder pain. The most common form of arthritis in the shoulder is osteoarthritis, which is known as “wear and tear” arthritis and may crop up as you age. Many people respond to arthritis pain by reducing [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Should You Use Heat or Ice to Treat an Injury?
May 8, 2017 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

Should You Use Heat or Ice to Treat an Injury?Whether you have arthritis pain, a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, it’s important to know when to use—and when not to use—heat or ice to treat an injury. Heat and ice—also known as temperature therapy—are very effective complements to medication and self-care when treating an injury at home. While both therapies can reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling, they aren’t appropriate for every injury.

When to Use Cold Therapy

It’s best to use cold therapy for acute or sudden pain caused by a recent injury that’s sensitive, red or inflamed. Inflammation is a normal bodily response to an injury, but it can be quite painful. Here are some of the most common acute injuries that benefit from cold therapy:
  • Ankle sprain
  • Inflammatory arthritis flare-ups
  • Muscle or joint sprain
  • Red, hot or swollen body part
  • Sudden intense pain after exercise
A joint or [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Total Ankle Replacement – Valerie's Story
Apr 13, 2017 By admin

Valerie's total ankle replacement

Valerie on Mount Kilimanjaro

After an accident in 1979 that resulted in an ankle injury, Valerie underwent surgery on her left ankle to repair the joint. At the time, total ankle replacement was in its infancy and regarded as an experimental procedure. It wasn’t until the late 80s and early 90s that advancements in design made total ankle replacement a viable option for patients. Initially, the ankle surgery worked, but after five years, Valerie began to experience constant pain at her ankle. Being resilient, she didn’t let the pain stop her from living her life, so she carried on without realizing that she had changed her gait to compensate for the pain. Valerie walked on the tips of her toes for 25 years! She didn’t anticipate the arthritic damage caused by changing her body’s natural movement or the pain it would cause in other areas of her body. After her [...]

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Student Athletes Must Undergo a Pre–Participation Sports Physical
Mar 22, 2017 By admin

Student Athletes helped by Emory Orthopedic Doctors After months of being dormant during the winter, student athletes are anxious to get back in the game. While increased exercise and participation in sports outweigh the risk of injury or illness, it is crucial that every child undergo a pre–participation sports physical before beginning practice. In the U.S., a pre–participation exam (PPE) is required for student athletes who want to take part in sports and/or sports camps.

Pre-Participation Exam Benefits

  • Identifies potential life-threatening conditions, such as risk of sudden cardiac death
  • Evaluates existing conditions that may need further treatment or monitoring
  • Diagnosis orthopedic conditions that may need physical therapy or other treatments
  • Identifies student athletes at high risk for violence, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, anemia, asthma, hypertension, and more
  • Reviews history

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Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Back Pain Diaries: Herniated Disc – Signs, Symptoms and Treatment 
Mar 10, 2017 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

Dr. Lisa Foster discusses herniated discs

Dr. Lisa Foster, Emory Clinic

A herniated disc is a common lower back injury, but did you know lower back pain is the number one cause of disability around the world, according to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study. For this blog, we spoke with our own Emory Clinic physician, Dr. Foster, to better understand those rubber like discs that sit between our spinal bones. Your spine is made up of 26 vertebrae bones. Between them are soft disks filled with gel-like substance. These discs cushion the vertebrae bones and keep them in place. As we get older, the discs tend to degrade. When this happens, the discs lose their ability to cushion the vertebrae bones and this can lead to pain if the back is stressed.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, also commonly referred to as a ruptured disc or slipped disc, occurs when a cartilage disc in the spine becomes damaged and [...]

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