Return2Fitness

  • The Aftermath of Getting Reconstructive Knee Surgery

     

    When you've undergone reconstructive knee surgery, you are signing up for a rather lengthy recovery process. While the surgery may be necessary and may be helpful in the long run, it's important to manage expectations. The recovery can take some time, and it requires time and effort from the person undergoing surgery. Here are some things to know about after your reconstructive knee surgery.

    1. Regaining Knee Extension is Crucial
    Getting knee extension back as soon as possible is crucial. If you wait too long, you may never regain full extension ever again. This could also lead to arthritis down the road. Be prepared for extensive physical therapy in order to do this. Physical therapy will likely start the day of or the day after your therapy, and it won't be easy. However, do as much physical therapy as your insurance will cover, and definitely ask for exercises to do at all by yourself. Don't forget to do them, either! It can make the difference between a full recovery and pain in the future.

    2. Pain is Inevitable
    Unfortunately, there will be pain. You will be given pain killers after the surgery, but that won't get rid of all of the pain you will experience. Be prepared to limit yourself due to the amount of pain. Also, be prepared for the pain to last for a long time.

    3. Know Your Limits
    Some people are anxious to get back to normal activity as soon as possible. The reality is that this isn't possible. It is essential to take time to recover properly. Otherwise, you could prolong the injury or even hurt yourself even more.
    Your physical therapist will be able to tell you how much you can manage based on your progress while working with you. Follow their advice.

    4. You May Need Aids to Walk
    Get familiar with crutches or a walker to temporarily help you with mobility. You may not need to use it all the time, but you will see that they help.The good news is that you will probably only need the crutches for about 7 to 10 days. Also, expect to need extra help with stairs.

    5. Inflammation
    Inflammation will be quite extensive after surgery. And it will make recovery that much harder. Therefor, you will be under a rigorous cycle of taking ice on and off your knee to help. You may also talk to your doctor and physical therapist about other ways to manage the inflammation.

    Knee surgery is a positive thing. It will fix your injury or fix the pain that you are experiencing. However, the recovery process does take some time, and you will feel it. You will also have to put some effort into it. However, if you do, you could experience a full recovery.

  • How an Injury Can Make You More Tired

     

    When you're injured, you may notice that you experience more fatigue than usual. This can be annoying, or it can drastically impact your daily life. But why does an injury make you more tired? There are many causes to fatigue after an injury including, but not limited to stress, reacting to pain, and hindered mobility.

    Stress

    Being injured can be stressful. Aside from the obvious complications of being injured, such as pain, it can drastically interrupt your daily routine. If your injury was the result of a traumatic accident, you may have the added stress of trying to navigate the trauma and bad memories from it. If your injury causes you to be unable to perform duties at work, being forced to take time off to recover can add yet another layer of stress.

    One of the main symptoms of stress is a significantly lowered amount of energy. The mental energy needed to deal with all the change caused by your injury leaves you with little left for other things. This additional stress, caused by side effects from the injury, is more than enough to make you exhausted.

    If your stress is tied to traumatic events, hindering your daily activities, or interrupting your relationships it's wise to seek help from your doctor. Your doctor may be able to provide you with help managing your stress levels, and improving your quality of life.

    Pain

    Researchers have found that your body simply dealing with, and reacting to pain can make you fatigued. When you're hurt, it takes attention away from other things, putting added strain on an already compromised body.

    These researchers also point out that people tend to sleep in different positions to protect their injury. These unusual sleeping arrangements may not be comfortable, and lead to getting less deep sleep than you are used to, with the obvious effect of increased fatigue.

    Hindered Mobility

    It's quite likely that any injury is going to impact your mobility. It could be directly, such as a broken leg or injured knee, or indirectly such as a sprained back. Limping, using crutches, being forced to use your non-dominant hand, finding new ways to put on your clothes, eat your food, or brush your teeth uses muscles that are not accustomed to being used in that way.

    When you're injured, moving is essentially a workout except you've to invent this workout yourself, and it may not be one that's good for your body. Using new muscle groups for new tasks takes up a huge amount of energy, and is extremely exhausting.

    Aside from the injury itself, various aspects that come with an injury will drain you and make you more tired. Stress, lack of sleep, pain, and finding new ways to navigate life; it's easy to see why. The good news is that as you heal, your energy levels should return. If your energy isn't returning as you heal, consult with your doctor. Prolonged exhaustion can cause or increase depression, which can be quite serious if left untreated.

  • When Should Someone Get Tommy John Surgery?

     

    Nowadays, athletes are using additional medical technologies to improve their performance. In the case of Tommy John surgery (TJs), this is no exception. Athletes are booking consultations to get the surgery done en masse. This could be viewed as an abuse of modern medical technique.

    What is Tommy John Surgery?

    Tommy John surgery is the reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament. This ligament is found in the medial elbow. The surgery consists of replacing that ligament with a tendon that is located somewhere else in the body. The surgery is popular among baseball players, specifically pitchers.

    The surgery was first done in 1974 on a pitcher named Tommy John by Dr. Frank Jobe. The procedure consists of first opening up the patient's arm. Holes are made in the ulna and humerus bones. The surgeon then takes a tendon from the patient or from elsewhere and weaves it into the holes.

    The Surgery's Effectiveness

    Early predictions for the success of the surgery were not that favorable. However, nowadays, the success rate has climbed to 85-92 percent. Tommy John himself went on after rehabilitation to do exceptionally well at the game.

    The rehabilitation time is fairly substantial. It takes six months to one year, depending upon which position you play. If the surgery is performed twice, the prognosis isn't as good.

    When Do You Need Tommy John Surgery?

    Around 51% of high school athletes think that the procedure should be done on athletes with an elbow injury to improve performance. The reality is that the only approved medical reason for the surgery is if you have a torn or ruptured ulnar collateral ligament.

    Ulnar collateral ligament injuries happen when repeated stress harms the inside of the elbow. These injuries are occurring with greater frequency with the rise of popularity of certain sports, such as baseball. If the injury is minor, a physical therapist can help with it. Surgery can be done if the patient has ongoing pain or if their elbow lacks stability when they play their sport.

    If you've a UCL injury, then you may have the following symptoms:

    - It becomes painful to use your arm in an overhead position
    - You've soreness in the inside edge of your elbow
    - You've swelling along the inside of your arm
    - You've numbness or tingling in the arm
    - Your elbow joint feels unstable

    Many UCL injuries can be avoided by correcting your form when you play your chosen sport. Tommy John surgery, despite its high success rate, should only be used if all other options are exhausted. There's always some level of risk involved in any surgery and an invasive procedure should always be done with caution. That being said, the surgery definitely has a positive use for some people.

  • What to Do If You Strain Your Abdominal Muscle?

    An abdominal muscle pull or strain occurs when you stretch or tear one of the muscles in your belly. This usually occurs as the result of lifting a heavy object or doing excessive crunches or sit-ups; however, it can even happen during a hard cough or sneeze.

    Symptoms of an Abdominal Muscle Strain: 

    The symptoms of an abdominal muscle strain can vary depending on the severity of the injury. The most common symptoms include:

    • Muscle stiffness and discomfort.
    • Muscle pain and soreness.
    • The area is tender to the touch.
    • Swelling and bruising.
    • Difficulty stretching or flexing the muscle.
    • Muscle spasms.

    Immediate First Aid Treatment:

    Immediately after experiencing any type of pulled muscle, you should apply ice to the affected area. This will relieve the pain and slow any inflammation or bruising. You can use the ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time every two to three hours as needed. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen can also be beneficial in alleviating pain. You should always take these medications according to package directions, and you should not use them for more than 10 days without consulting your doctor. Of course, you should avoid any activities that put stress on the affected muscle until you have completely healed. The healing process may take up to six weeks in the case of a severe strain.

    Follow-Up Care:

    Your healthcare provider may prescribe a course of physical therapy focused on stretching and strengthening your core abdominal muscles. At this stage, you may find that applying moist heat for 10 to 15 minutes before stretching will help relax tight muscles. You should not use heat therapy as long as you continue to have swelling.

    You can reduce your chances of an abdominal strain by gently stretching and warming up before activities. Exercises that build core strength will keep your abdominal muscles strong and flexible so that they are less susceptible to injury. If you are starting a new workout routine, be sure to start gradually to avoid overuse injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Finally, you should use proper technique when lifting heavy objects, which involves keeping the back straight while you bend your hips and knees.

  • When Can a Thigh Bruise Become More Serious?

     

    Muscle contusions, also known as bruises, are an extremely common injury among athletes in contact sports. The quadriceps muscles that make up the thigh are particularly susceptible to bruises from falls or repeated blows from objects or other body parts. In most cases, these contusions are minor and don’t require medical treatment; however, deep tissue bruises can sideline an athlete for months and even lead to significant complications.

    What Causes a Bruise:

    Direct or repeated blows to the body can crush the connective tissue and muscle fibers beneath the skin. The damaged blood vessels then start to leak into the tissue. This typically causes a bluish discoloration on the surface of the skin that gradually transitions to a greenish-yellow. You may experience pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion in the joints near the injury. The affected muscle may also feel stiff and weak.

    RICE Therapy:

    The recommended treatment for bruises follows the rest, ice, compression, elevation formula:
    • Rest the affected area to protect it from further injury.
    • Apply ice to the area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. This numbs the pain, reduces inflammation, and narrows blood vessels to slow bleeding into the muscle tissues.
    • Wrap the injured area using an ace or another type of compression bandage.
    • If possible, try to elevate the injured area above the level of the heart.

    Mild to moderate bruises typically heal within a few weeks; however, deep bruises may take as long as six weeks to heal fully. A regimen of gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can help alleviate stiffness and improve range of motion.

    When to See a Doctor:

    You should see a doctor as soon as possible anytime you experience bruising that causes significant pain, swelling, or obvious tissue damage. In rare cases, a deep thigh bruise can result in serious complications, including:
    • Compartment syndrome—Rapid swelling and pressure from built-up fluids in the tissue can compress blood vessels and disrupt the blood supply to the affected muscles, which can lead to tissue death. This is an emergency requiring immediate medical treatment. Early signs of compartment syndrome include tightness, numbness, and pale, shiny skin near the affected area.
    • Myositis Ossificans—If you try to rehabilitate a severe contusion too quickly, you can cause bone to grow within the affected muscle instead of new muscle cells. These bony formations can pain and reduce flexibility.

    The best way to prevent complications from deep thigh bruises is to seek prompt treatment and follow your doctor’s directions regarding exercise and rehabilitation.

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