Posts Tagged ‘injuries’

What is a Biomechnical Injury?

Dr. Amadeus Mason of Emory Sports Medicine explains biomechanical injuries and how they can be prevented and treated.

Biomechanical Injury

In sports medicine, we see a lot of biomechanical injuries. A biomechanical injury is caused by the overuse or incorrect use of a joint or muscle. This type of injury generally occurs when the joint has been stressed in the wrong way or overstressed repetitively over a short period of time. While any joint can sustain a biomechanical injury, at the Emory Sports Medicine Center, I see a lot of runners who come in complaining of knee pain.

Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, is a biomechanical injury. It usually presents as pain on the outer side of the knee and is a common complaint among middle-distance runners or in athletes when they try to do too much running too quickly. This usually occurs early in the season or when athletes increase the intensity of their training, e.g., moving up from 5K to 10K distance.

To prevent a biomechanical injury, no matter where in the body it is, you need to be cognizant of how you’re stressing your joints and give your body enough time to accommodate the increased stress. If you’re a runner, start slow with low mileage (1–2 miles) and a moderate pace and slowly increase distance or intensity, but not both. If you’re lifting, start with a lighter amount of weight and a higher number of reps in each set and then, as you increase the weight, decrease the number of reps per set.

If you think you might have a biomechanical injury, you should be evaluated by a sports medicine specialist who understands biomechanical injuries. He or she can correctly determine the source of your pain and initiate the appropriate interventions so you can get better. If you’re in pain but not sure what type of injury you have, don’t take chances—come see a specialist here at the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Things to Keep in Mind if You Have (Or Suspect You Have) a Biomechanical Injury:

  • This type of injury will not just “heal on its own” with rest. You need to address the cause of the pain, or the symptoms will come back when you return to whatever activity caused the pain in the first place.
  • Don’t push through the pain. This pain is telling you that you’re doing something wrong. This is not a no-pain, no-gain situation.
  • There’s no quick fix. There’s no pill or quick shot that can cure a biomechanical injury. The best approach is to correct the problem using a holistic approach, which may include therapy, medications, modalities, and injections (as needed). Physiotherapy, in conjunction with steroid injections or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, can help reduce inflammation and, in turn, alleviate pain and facilitate addressing the underlying biomechanical issues. This is why it’s important to seek the help of someone who understands this type of injury.

Have you had a biomechanical injury? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Dr. Amadeus MasonAbout R. Amadeus Mason, MD:

R. Amadeus Mason, MD, is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track and Field and the National Scholastic Sports Foundation Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

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Not Just on the Sidelines: Emory Sports Medicine Doctors Work with the Atlanta Falcons On & Off the Field

Dr. Spero Karas Atlanta Falcons Team Doctor

Source: Atlanta Falcons Website

The Atlanta Falcons recently contracted Emory Sports Medicine physicians to help manage the team’s sports medicine needs. I am honored to now serve as the Falcons’ head team physician; my colleague, Dr. Jeff Webb, is the assistant team physician. Now that football season is finally upon us, we’re staying busy!

We’re excited to be bringing expert care to the Falcons in a three-prong approach that includes:

  • Athletic performance improvement – strength training and conditioning, biomechanical corrections, and injury prevention through corrective exercises and through training that improves flexibility, flexibility, posture, gait, and overall core strength and strength and balance.
  • Athletic training – the care and prevention of injuries through treatment, taping and orthotics, bracing, heat, ultrasound, muscle stimulation and similar methods.
  • Sports medicine – surgical and medical care of injuries and illnesses

As head team physician, I direct the sports medicine prong, working closely with Dr. Webb and drawing on all the resources of Emory Sports Medicine and Emory Healthcare so that, whatever the problem, I can rely on the finest specialists in the field. The Falcons play really hard and end up with many interesting injuries and illnesses. It’s my job to make sure that the Falcons are wrapped in a complete blanket of world-class care. Emory Sports Medicine offers comprehensive services and renowned experts who can cater to the needs of each player and his specific injury.

As you can see, our work will extend far beyond the sidelines of the games, but Dr. Webb and I will also be there on the sidelines for every game, assessing injuries, and providing care.

I’m really looking forward to being at the games with the Falcons, though it does require me to separate the football fan in me from the physician, taking a more analytic approach to the game. When the Falcons score a touchdown, I’ll be focused not on the elation of the moment or the guy who brought it into the end zone, but on all eleven guys who just contributed to that score. I’ll make sure they’re properly hydrated and that there are no issues arising from their ongoing injuries. I have to be more aware of the medical situation rather than getting too caught up in the excitement of the game.

I’m very proud to be the Falcons’ head team physician, but ultimately my job is to provide the best, most competent care in order to insure the health and safety of each athlete. I’ll save my own celebrating for later, when the job is done.

See how Dr. Karas and the team at Emory Sports Medicine is working with the Atlanta Falcons in this short video, “Meeting the New Team Physician,” on the Atlanta Falcons website.

About Dr. Spero Karas

Dr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. His specialties include sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, with a subspecialty certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 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, Ogelthorpe University, Perimeter College, Oglethorpe University, Perimeter College, and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.

 

Why Your Rotator Cuff Matters More Than You Think – Part 2: Treatment & Prevention

Rotator Cuff pain

In part one of my rotator cuff blog series, I discussed how the rotator cuff works and what happens when it is injured. The good news is that many rotator cuff injuries can be treated with physical therapy alone, particularly if you seek care at Emory Sports Medicine at the first sign of an injury. So let’s now look at the treatment options available to you if you injure your rotator cuff, and how you can prevent a rotator cuff injury from occurring in the first place.

Rotator Cuff Treatment

Every rotator cuff injury has its own unique cause, its own particular damage, and its own best path to recovery. It’s like detective work, figuring out which rotator cuff muscles and tendons are causing the problem, whether the problem is weakness, stiffness or inappropriate mechanics, and then deciding which treatments will be most effective. At Emory Sports Medicine, we first want to figure out why you’re experiencing rotator cuff pain. Is your problem caused by an underdeveloped muscle or one that has poor flexibility? Are you moving with poor mechanics? Is an anatomical abnormality to blame?

Once we know what’s causing the problem, we create a custom physical therapy program that may include targeted strengthening exercises, stretches, manual therapy and reeducation of the muscle.

For example, if a patient comes to Emory Sports Medicine with a rotator cuff problem but he seems to have good strength in his shoulders, we may stand him in front of a mirror and ask him to raise his arms. Maybe we’ll notice that his whole shoulder is lifting up along with the arm, a “shoulder shrug.” If he’s just lifting his arm to wave at someone, it probably doesn’t matter, but when he applies force in that position – say pitching a baseball – he’s putting a lot of unnecessary strain on his rotator cuff. So we’ll work with him to reeducate his muscles, keeping his shoulders down and engaged correctly when he raises his arm. This approach often fixes bad mechanics and the problem goes away.

Rotator Cuff Injury Prevention

Of course the very best strategy is to prevent a rotator cuff injury from happening in the first place. Major league pitchers make rotator cuff training one of their top priorities in the off-season, not because they want to go around flexing their rotator cuff to impress people, but because they know they’ll have longer, more successful careers if they do. Any qualified coach, athletic trainer, or physical therapist should be able to guide you in developing a rotator cuff training program, and anyone at risk for rotator cuff injuries should strongly consider starting and sticking to such training.

Developing strong and flexible pectorals, deltoids, lats, biceps, triceps and other upper body muscles is all good, but if you want to put all that strength to good use, don’t neglect developing your rotator cuff. It matters more than you think.

Do you have questions or comments about rotator cuff injuries? If so, I welcome you to leave them for me in the comments section below.

Michael Biller is the director of physical therapy for Emory Physical Therapy’s Perimeter and Sugarloaf locations and currently treats patients at the Perimeter location. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with his physical therapy degree in 1992. He is a board certified clinical specialist in orthopedics and is a McKenzie credentialed practitioner. Biller is a guest lecturer on many topics, including the spine and extremities, and serves as a book reviewer for the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. He is also Emory Physical Therapy’s clinical coordinator for student education. He is married to his lovely bride, Rachel, who is also a physical therapist, and has two children. Biller enjoys getting outdoors on the weekends, especially to go mountain biking and hiking.

 

More Runners’ Chat Questions Answered

Dr. Amadeus MasonOn Wednesday, I held a live chat on the topic of running to help those preparing for the Peachtree Road Race and to educate runners of all skill levels on injury prevention, nutrition, and technique. It was my first so-called “live chat,” so I really didn’t know what to expect. The questions that I received in yesterday’s chat were fantastic. Not only do I feel like I got to help the 50+ people who joined me in the chatroom, but I myself was able to learn something in the process. Typically when I chat with people who have questions for me, they are my patients, in a one-on-one setting. This really gives me the time to feel them out and learn about them as individuals. Wednesday, I was charged with a new and equally inspiring and fulfilling task– to educate a group, without being able to see them in person or learn about them before we talked. It was an extremely eye opening experience.

I want to thank those who joined me Wednesday for a wonderful chat. It was so successful, in fact, that I didn’t get a chance to answer each and every question. For those who were in the room, I promised to follow up with a blog to answer all questions that were unaddressed, and I have done so below. At the bottom of this blog post, you will also find the documents I mentioned in the chat for your further reference. As an added bonus, to make sure everyone gets a chance to discuss the topic of running and all of its facets with me, we will be holding the next live chat on running on June 15th. PART II CHAT TRANSCRIPT

Larry: I ran a marathon with IT band issues.  What can I do to prevent it in the future?
Dr. Mason: Larry, to prevent IT band problems, you should strive to work on increased flexibility. I’d advise that you watch the rate at which you increase your mileage/distance and start training early enough to allow for a slow and steady progress with sufficient recovery times between training sessions.

Shirley: Dr. Mason, Why does my back hurt periodically when I am tired while running?  Should I bend over to stretch?  I am a beginner.
Dr. Mason: I can’t speak to your specific medical circumstances without seeing you in-person, but generally speaking, oftentimes people experience back pain while running due to hamstring tightness. For these patients, I advise that they avoid the typical stretch that involves bending over, and instead focus on extension type exercises.

M. White: How do I know when it is time for new running shoes?  This will be my first time running longer than a 5k.
Dr. Mason: My recommended guidelines for footwear are if you run more than 20 – 25 miles a week you should change you shoes every 3 – 4months ( ~300 miles); if you run less than 20 miles a week can change shoes twice a year.

Sylvia: Hi. Dr. Mason. Is there any particular type of shoe that you would recommend as best for protecting against injuries; Knees, ankles, shin splints, etc.?
Dr. Mason: Studies have shown that shoe comfort is a more important factor in preventing injury than the actual type of shoe.  I would recommend you get evaluated at your local running store to determine what class of running should would be best for you. After doing that, go ahead and pick the most comfortable one in that class.

Judy: I’m used to walking about 3 miles about 3 times a week.  I am signed for the Peachtree.  Obviously I will be walking it.  I have 6 weeks to step up my training.  How would you suggest I proceed to get to 6 miles in time for the race?  Thanks.
Dr. Mason: Good question, Judy. I’d recommend adding about ½ mile to your distance each week.

Steve: Dr. Mason, I have a chronic hamstring issue.  What can I do to help the issue?  What type of Dr. or therapist should I seek out for help?
Dr. Mason: I would recommend you see a physician with sports medicine training.

M. White: I have been training for a 5k (took 30min) – which I ran a couple of weekends ago.  To train for the Peachtree what should I do?  Increase distance or time?
Dr. Mason: My answer here depends on whether you want to run the Peachtree for time or just for fun.  Since this race is twice the distance of a 5k,  I would start out increasing your distance (1/2 mile a week. Once you get to 5 miles then you can start increasing your pace.

Mac: What are some good lower-fat proteins for vegetarian novice runners?
Dr. Mason: As a vegetarian you should be concerned about getting in GOOD fats as opposed to LOW fat.  To that end eating things like beans, nuts and/or soy would be good choices.

Dawn: When I ran the Peachtree last year, I found it difficult to actually drink water at the hydration stations (did more of a swish-and-spit).  I am concerned about dehydration during the race.  Should I increase my fluids before the race?
Dr. Mason: Yes, in a 10K there is LESS risk/concern for dehydration that in half or full marathons, but you should be starting your hydration process now.  I recommend increasing you fluid intake (electrolyte/water) weeks before you run and incorporating “water stops” in to your training.  You know you are well hydrated when you have to use the bathroom 30 min after fluid intake (when you’re not running).

1st Timer: Are there any weight training exercises you recommend?
Dr. Mason: In order to answer this question in detail, I would need more information from you.  What I can say is that weight /strength training should be a part of any running program. This type of training should primarily (but not solely) focus on lower body strength and be accompanied by a good flexibility program.

Jacqui: How frequently should you increase pace or distance?
Dr. Mason: I normally recommend increasing distance then pace. But, as we mentioned in the chat, it really depends on the goals you’re looking to achieve. If you are looking to run a long distance race, you’ll probably want to focus on increasing distance, more often than pace, and doing so every 2 weeks should work well. Just remember to never increase both distance and pace at the same time.

Shalewa: What about energy enhancers like sports beans or 5 hour energy drink?  Are those bad for you?
Dr. Mason: Most “energy enhancers” are just caffeine or a caffeine derivatives and I would stay away from them as they greatly increase dehydration risk.  Good nutrition that balance carbohydrates, proteins and good fats should give you the energy you need for a 10K.  With marathons, ultra marathons, and triathlons in-competition metabolic supplements (which are very different from the energy enhancers) are often provided and can be helpful.  You’ll want to be careful and make sure that you are using them throughout your training so your body has time to adjust.

Jennifer: Hi, Dr. Mason.  I am an active person who is new to running.  After my training runs I am experiencing some discomfort/tightness in my upper and outer knees.  What can I do to help prevent this?
Dr. Mason: If these symptoms are not preventing you from doing the type/intensity of run that you want, then I would recommend working on the flexibility and strength of you quads and hamstrings.  If you are having to modify your training runs then you should see a Sports Medicine Physician.

Thanks again to those who joined me in Wednesday’s chat. I hope to see you all in Part II on June 15th! Below are the documents I referenced in the chat, please feel free to download them and keep them for reference. If you missed Part I of the chat, you can check out the chat transcript. You can also sign up to attend Part II of the chat, which is taking place on June 15th at 12pm.

Related PDF Downloads:

 

 

Emory Plays a Key Role in Accelerated Bone Healing

Dr. Scott Boden Emory HealthcareAt Emory Healthcare, we’re always looking for new and better ways to treat patients. Bone healing, particularly after spine fusion surgery, is one of the many areas in which we’ve pioneered research that can significantly improve our patients’ quality of life. For more than two decades, the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center has been instrumental in developing technology to improve bone healing, accelerate the speed of healing, and prevent the need to “borrow” bone graft.

While some broken bones heal quickly and easily, certain types of leg bone fractures and high energy traumatic fractures often need extra help. In some cases, bone graft has been used in the treatment of difficult fractures, segmental bone loss, and fusion of other joints in the body that may have severe arthritis (e.g., foot joints). At Emory, spine fusion represents 50% of the reason our surgeons would harvest bone graft in the past. Many spine operations involve getting bone to grow in the spine, where it normally doesn’t grow. Also, for certain types of long spine fusions, there’s often not enough bone. Traditionally, the surgeon would harvest bone graft from the patient’s hip (pelvis). This process, called an iliac crest bone graft harvest, often causes patients to complain of chronic pain at the bone donor site.

So how do we accelerate bone healing and avoid the use of bone graft? Emory has participated in laboratory studies and clinical trials to work out the details of how to use special proteins in humans. The first procedure was approved by the FDA in 2002. The approval is for only very specific indications, so work is ongoing to optimize these proteins for more broad use. Since we at Emory are very familiar with the science and development of these proteins, we’re able to use them safely in a variety of individual patient cases. In some situations, use of these proteins can prevent the need for bone graft harvest from the hip and result in better healing.

Some of the newer bone-healing technologies have only limited approval by the FDA and can be associated with some local side effects, so their use is not as broad unless they are being used by a very experienced surgeon or as part of a research trial—such as those conducted at Emory. Over the next five to 10 years, you can expect these new bone healing technologies to be more commonly used. If you’re having surgery at Emory that requires bone grafting or bone healing, ask your surgeon whether bone healing technology is a viable option for you.

Have you had a bone graft or surgery using new bone-healing technology? We welcome your questions and feedback about accelerated bone healing in the comments section below. For more information on accelerated bone healing technology at Emory, watch the short video below:

About Dr. Boden

Scott D. Boden, MD, Director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, is an internationally renowned surgeon, lecturer, and teacher and the driving force behind the Emory University Orthopedics and Spine Hospital (EUOSH). Dr. Boden started practicing at Emory in 1992.

Are You a Runner Looking to Prepare for the Peachtree Road Race?

Peachtree Road RaceDr. Amadeus MasonThe Peachtree Road Race is right around the corner! Whether you’re a beginning runner and wondering how to get started, or a seasoned pro and have been running for years, there always new things to learn about training, nutrition, attire, and even injury prevention. As a runner, training for peak performance is key.

No matter what running category you fall into, you can join me on Wednesday, May 18 from 12 – 1:00 p.m. for an interactive online Q & A web chat TRANSCRIPT on healthy running. Much of what we cover will be dependent upon your questions, but the chat will span a wide array of running related topics and I will be available to answer questions and discuss them, including how to best prepare for Peachtree Road Race success!

If you are interested in learning more about running benefits, prevention, and tips, register for the live chat now. Spread the word about our online runner’s chat to your fellow runners, friends and neighbors. I’ll see you on the 18th!

RUNNERS CHAT TRANSCRIPT

 

About Dr. Mason
Dr. R. Amadeus Mason is a board-certified physician at Emory Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He is the team physician for USA Track and Field and the Nike/National Scholastic Sports Foundation Track and Field and Cross Country meets, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field. Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community.

 

 

Preventing and Treating Achilles Tears

Brandon Mines, MDYou may know that Chamique Holdsclaw, one of my former Atlanta Dream players (not to mention one of basketball’s most gifted female athletes), suffered an Achilles tendon injury this year. While this injury is common with basketball players, it is most prevalent in men ages 35-45. They’re often the “weekend warrior” types—so the injury is more likely to happen when they overdo it, and when they don’t have a good stretching regimen.

There are two basic variations of Achilles injuries: a bad sprain, and a complete tear. It’s important to know whether the Achilles is torn or not, because the treatment is very different: a torn Achilles means surgery; a strained Achilles means rehab and rest. Some people with Achilles tears are misdiagnosed with sprains, only to find out later that they have Achilles tears and they’ve missed the window to have it fixed. (An Achilles tear should be repaired within four weeks of tearing it.)

Here’s the difference between an Achilles strain and a tear: a strain is a gradual onset of pain that tends to get worse with more activity. An Achilles tear is a sudden injury, and it feels as if you were hit in the back of the ankle—the tendon actually pops and tears in a sudden fashion. Most people who have this tear will actually say, “Somebody must have kicked me me because I felt it in the back of my heel/ankle.”

If you’ve suffered an injury like this, it’s important for you to see a sports medicine doctor immediately. You can also take our Ankle Quiz.

If you’re healthy and uninjured, be sure to do everything you can to keep it that way. Here’s are some tips to prevent Achilles injuries:

  • Exercise regularly; in other words, don’t jump into a game of full-court basketball after not working out for a year.
  • Wear shoes with a lot of support.
  • Warm up and stretch for 15 minutes before playing.
  • Stretch and stay warm during breaks in the action.

Do you have any questions about the prevention or treatment of Achilles tendon injuries? If so, be sure to let me know in the comments section.

About Brandon Mines, MD:

Dr. Mines has been practicing with Emory since 2005 and specializes in family practice and sports medicine. His areas of clinical interest include ankle, shoulder, hand, knee, sports injuries, upper extremities, and wrist. Dr. Mines holds organizational leadership memberships at the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine.

Ironman Triathlete Back on Track after Lumbar Laminectomy

Dr. Tim YoonWhen it comes to spinal disorders, there’s good news for the weekend warrior who enjoys vigorous athletic training and competitive sports activities. Being in great physical shape plays a large role both in your recovery and getting you back to an active lifestyle.

Joann Pope, one of my current patients, has an impressive athletic resume. She completed the half Ironman in Panama City, Florida, 21 times straight. She qualified for the world-famous Hawaiian Ironman seven times and finished four times. But two years ago, at the age of 74, her back started hurting and she had to stop racing due to lumbar spinal stenosis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a degenerative condition that causes a narrowing of the spinal column in the lower back, known as the lumbar area. This narrowing occurs when the growth of bone or tissue or both reduces the size of the openings in the spinal bones. This narrowing can squeeze and irritate the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. It can also squeeze and irritate the spinal cord itself, causing pain, numbness, or weakness, most often in the legs, feet, and buttocks.

You might think that the physical stress of being a triathlete took its toll on Joann’s back, but that isn’t the case. In fact, if she hadn’t been in such great shape, her spine might have begun degenerating long before it did. For more than 20 years, Joann has been running, biking, and swimming. She was 47 when she started running, back in 1984. After she ran the Boston Marathon, her daughter talked her into doing a triathlon, the ultimate endurance test – a grueling three-part race with no stops.

So, thanks to her level of fitness, it’s as if Joann has the body of someone 20 years younger. Despite her active lifestyle , the lumbar stenosis progressed, and Joann’s pain, which came on slowly, continued to get worse.

Before Joann came to see me, she’d been experiencing lower back pain for a year. To address it, she’d been taking pain pills twice a day and was undergoing physical therapy, the first line of defense for lumbar stenosis. But when therapy didn’t ease her pain, her physical therapist told her she needed to see a surgeon. She chose to come to the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

In July of 2010, I performed a lumbar laminectomy and fusion on Joann. This procedure, also called a decompression, relieves pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve by widening the spinal canal. In Joann’s case, I removed the portion of the bony roof of the spine, or lamina, that was pressing on her lumbar nerves. Then I fused the two lowest lumbar vertebra, L4 and L5, with screws. When she woke up, the pain she had before surgery was gone.

Because Joann had been in such great physical shape before the surgery, she recovered rapidly and was swimming and walking again quickly. Now she’s walking two miles a day and is working up to getting back on her bike. Joann remains pain free and plans to go back to racing.

Have you had a lumbar laminectomy, or would you like to learn how spine surgery at Emory can get you back to the active life you enjoy? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

About S. Tim Yoon, MD:
S. Tim Yoon, MD, PhD, specializes in minimally invasive surgery and cervical spine surgery. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery. Dr. Yoon started practicing at Emory in 2000.

Top Four Ways PRP Therapy is Different at Emory Sports Medicine

Dr. Amadeus MasonFootball fans are anticipating a competitive Super Bowl match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers this Sunday. Steelers’ fans might remember that the last time the Steelers were in the Super Bowl—in 2009— wide receiver Hines Ward was very close to being unable to play because of a sprained medial collateral ligament of his right knee. Fortunately, he was able to contribute to his team’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals with the help of a cutting-edge procedure called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.

Since Ward’s high-profile recovery, PRP therapy has become a popular treatment for those suffering from ligament and tendon injuries—and Emory Sports Medicine has become a leader in the PRP therapy field.

Here’s how it works: PRP therapy is an outpatient procedure, in which blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge for 15 minutes to separate out the platelets. The layer of platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the diseased portion of the tendon with the guidance of an ultrasound machine. Patients are then put on a program of relative rest followed by physical therapy for the first six weeks. After about 6 to 12 weeks, patients are re-evaluated for improvement. (Many patients require only one treatment.)

Sounds simple, right? It can be, but only if it’s performed properly and with the right expert guidance. Below we’ve outlined four factors that allow Emory Sports Medicine to excel at PRP therapy:

  1. We’ve been doing this since the beginning. PRP therapy is a fairly new procedure, and Emory has two doctors on staff who are skilled in performing it: Dr. Kenneth Mautner and myself. Both of us are dedicated to keeping up with the latest developments in the field.
  2. A vital step in the PRP process is the separating of platelets. We use only the most advanced centrifuge systems to ensure the highest concentration of platelets harvested from the process.
  3. We use ultrasound guidance to place the PRP into the affected tendon. Many other practices don’t use ultrasound—and the difference can be compared to dropping an atomic bomb vs. using a laser-guided missile. Although utilizing PRP in a generalized area can be helpful, placing it in a specific area will give the best chances at a positive result, proper healing, and full recovery.
  4. Emory Sports Medicine has developed a standardized post-injection protocol – a daily and weekly follow-up program designed to give patients the best chance at recovery.

While PRP therapy is still a relatively new procedure, when a skilled team of physicians does it properly, the results are remarkable. Just ask Hines Ward!

Are you considering PRP therapy? Do you have any questions regarding this procedure? If so, be sure to leave a comment here, or contact Emory Sports Medicine for an evaluation today.

About R. Amadeus Mason, MD:
Dr. Mason specializes in family practice and sports medicine. His areas of clinical interest include ankle, foot, shoulder, sports injuries, wrist, and ultrasound. Dr. Mason holds organizational leadership memberships with the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Georgia State Medical Association.

New Technology for Reducing Risk & Recovery Times for Young Athletes

John Xerogeanes MDWhether your child plays football, basketball, soccer or gymnastics, a common worry for many parents is the looming possibility of a sports injury. In many of these sports, anatomic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are one of the most common injuries young athletes experience. For most children who injure their ACL, treatment consists of rehabilitation, wearing a brace, and reducing athletic activity levels until they stop growing (usually around their mid-teens), at which point ACL reconstruction surgery can safely be performed.

Why do we wait until kids stop growing to perform the surgery? ACL operations are typically conducted with extensive use of X-rays in the operating room, which often leads to a large margin of “chance” when working around growth plates. Essentially, performing ACL surgery on a young child significantly increases the risk of causing a growth plate disturbance.

To help ease this fear and risk, we’ve developed a new 3-D MRI technology at Emory Sports Medicine Center. The 3-D MRI technology makes it possible for surgeons to reconstruct ACL tears in young athletes without disturbing the growth plate. This technology allows us to better pre-operatively plan and perform ACL surgery with more precision and less risk.

As one of the four major ligaments in the knee, the ACL is somewhat like a rubber band, attached at two points to keep the knee stable. In order to replace the ligament, a tunnel is created in the upper and lower knee bones (femur and tibia) and a new ligament (typically taken from a hamstring or allograft tissue) is slid between those tunnels and attached at each end.

With the new 3-D technology being used at Emory, we can actually see from one end to the other on either side of the knee, and can correctly position the tunnels so we are able to place the new ligament with more precision. With this technology, ACL surgery can be done in less time than the traditional surgery, and we have great confidence that the growth plates in our young patients will not be damaged.

Kids who undergo this type of operation will still have at least one year of recovery time. The good news, is that it does allow them to eventually pursue normal activity much sooner than they would with the traditional surgery. This new method of ACL reconstruction is able to be performed on children and adults alike. My hope is that this new technology will aid us in preventing future re-injury for athletes who have suffered from ACL tears.

About John Xerogeanes, MD:

Dr. Xerogeanes, or Dr. “X”, is chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. He is also head orthopaedist and team physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Agnes Scott College. As a member of a number of professional societies and organizations, including the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Dr. Xerogeanes has contributed to many textbooks and has received numerous research awards. Dr. Xerogeanes’ work has been featured on CNN, ESPN and network television news