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Considering Knee Surgery?? Don’t race for the operation table just yet.

A popular surgical procedure worked no better than fake operations in helping people with one type of common knee problem, suggesting that thousands of people may be undergoing unnecessary surgery, a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine reports.

The unusual study involved people with a torn meniscus, crescent-shaped cartilage that helps cushion and stabilize knees. Arthroscopic surgery on the meniscus is the most common orthopedic procedure in the United States, performed, the study said, about 700,000 times a year at an estimated cost of $4 billion.

The study, conducted in Finland, involved a small subset of meniscal tears. But experts, including some orthopedic surgeons, said the study added to other recent research suggesting that meniscal surgery should be aimed at a narrower group of patients; that for many, options like physical therapy may be as good.

The surgery, arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, involves small incisions. They are to accommodate the arthroscope, which allows doctors to see inside, and for tools to trim torn meniscus and to smooth ragged edges of what remains.

The Finnish study does not indicate that surgery never helps; there is consensus that it should be performed in some circumstances, especially for younger patients and for tears from acute sports injuries. But about 80 percent of tears develop from wear and aging, and some researchers believe surgery in those cases should be significantly limited.

“Those who do research have been gradually showing that this popular operation is not of very much value,” said Dr. David Felson, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University. This study “provides information beautifully about whether the surgery that the orthopedist thinks he or she is doing is accomplishing anything. I think often the answer is no.”

The volunteer patients in the Finnish study all received anesthesia and incisions. But some received actual surgery, others simulated procedures. They did not know which.

*By Pamela Belluck: Full article originally posted in The New York Times on 12/26/2013

Ergo OccMed is a therapeutic clinic located in Washington, DC. We are an outpatient based facility staffed only by licensed physical therapists. The therapists at Ergo OccMed specialize in physical and occupational therapy, sports rehabilitation and speech. Ergo OccMed therapists have extensive experience working with chronic pain, joint disorders, prosthetics, sports injuries, work injuries and work conditioning. For more information on our practice and the benefits of physical and occupational therapies, visit us on Facebook or at www.ergooccmed.com

Athletes and Concussions – A Physical Therapist’s Point of View

There’s winter, spring, summer, fall, and of course my favorite season- Football!

As the season kicks off and the grid-iron excitement returns, so does the seriousness and risks of concussions to athletes. As a physical therapist, I often witness athletes, coaches and sports enthusiast make light of the effects of concussions. I enjoy the hard- hitting, neck- snapping action as much as the next guy but consideration of players’ safety and well-being should be paramount. The bottom line is, the severity and complications of concussions are REAL!

Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity so all coaches, parents, and athletes should be able to recognize the symptoms. Whether you’re in middle school, the NCAA or the NFL- here are the facts.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Balance impairment
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Blurred vision
• Difficulty sleeping
• Loss of memory and ability to concentrate
• Mood swings
• Depression and Anxiety

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 3 million concussions occur each year. One of the most common myths is that a person must become unconscious in order to suffer from a concussion. Actually, 90% of concussions occur without loss of consciousness. Here are a few other important things every athlete should know:
• Concussion symptoms DON’T always show up right away.
• Concussions can occur without direct head impact.
• Most concussions occur during regular contact and can be frequent.

Concussions are considered to be a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and should not be taken lightly. Symptoms may seem mild but the injury can lead to significant life-long impairment affecting an individual’s memory, behavior, learning, and/or emotions. Proper diagnosis and management are crucial.

How can physical therapy help?
No two concussions are the same so it is important to have a thorough assessment by a physical therapist to allow him/her to develop a customized treatment plan to your specific injury. A therapist can provide therapeutic solutions to headaches, neck and spine injuries as well as balance impairment and dizziness which are often associated with concussions.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a concussion and would like more information on treatment and prevention, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For more info on the benefits of physical and occupational therapy treatment, you can contact me at wyatt@ergooccmed.com or visit us on Facebook or at www.ergooccmed.com.

Don’t Let Heel Pain Slow You Down. Seek Treatment For Achilles Tendonitis.

As fall arrives, many people will head outdoors to participate in their favorite leisure activities to include long walks and running as well as more vigorous activities.

Written by:
Olu P. Ezeani, PT, CFO

A common injury that I  see is a condition called Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy. Patients typically complain of a gradual onset of pain slightly above the heel. Many times a patient can not recall the mechanism of injury. Achilles pain can occur for several reasons but the main reason is overuse or stress to the Achilles region.

What happens is that overuse or stress can cause inflammation, micro tears, and pain in the Achilles tendon. Inflammation of a tendon will occur as a natural response to the injured site. When these symptoms are noticed it is important to seek out a medical professional specifically a licensed Physical Therapist to properly diagnose and treat the condition.

Repair of the Achilles tendon

Last season, NBA great Kobe Bryant battled an Achilles injury which eventually led to surgery. Now not many of us share the grueling workouts and intense activity levels as Kobe thankfully, so prompt treatment from a physical therapist  in most cases is sufficient.  But if you want to see what  repairing a torn Achilles entails, Kobe shared the pic below from his surgery with his twitter followers.

A therapist can diagnose this condition and successfully treat using manual techniques along with modalities which will decrease pain and inflammation. These manual techniques will assist in resolving the soft tissue dysfunction. It’s also helpful to properly tape the Achilles area before heading out for your run or pick-up basketball game. Taping Technique is a pretty simple demonstration of taping techniques.

Please be safe this fall and should you incur any of the aforementioned symptoms, please seek out a physical therapist to help alleviate your symptoms. And remember to Keep It Moving!

Ergo OccMed is a therapeutic clinic located in Washington, DC. We are an outpatient based facility staffed only by licensed physical therapists. The therapists at Ergo OccMed specialize in physical and occupational therapy, sports rehabilitation and speech. Ergo OccMed therapists have extensive experience working with chronic pain, joint disorders, prosthetics, sports injuries, work injuries and work conditioning. For more information on our practice and the benefits of physical and occupational therapies, visit us on Facebook or at www.ergooccmed.com