Is your young athlete SMART?

5 ways to stay healthy during spring soccer

Soccer season is here! All across the front range, youth soccer teams are back at it. Practices are in full swing and games have begun! No matter what level of play your young athlete enjoys, sports injuries are unfortunately part of the game, and knee and leg injuries are the most common.

Causes range from overuse of muscles and tendons, or from trauma – a kick to the leg or a twist of the knee. We can’t always avoid injury, but parents should be aware of the most common injuries, and know what you can do to keep your young athlete active on the field.

Trauma injuries – from collisions and impact – can vary from slight to severe; from bumps to broken bones. The severity of many are often quite clear but internal trauma and tears may not be as easily recognizable. Know your child’s performance and pain tolerance and pay close attention when something appears to alter either.

Strains and pains are frequent indicators of overuse. Each season countless soccer players of all abilities encounter calf strains, shin splints, tendinitis, groin pulls, or even stress fractures – classic overuse injuries. Parents and coaches can fail to recognize the severity of an overuse injury. A watchful eye and candid feedback from the player are very important.

So how do you help keep your child in the game and off the injured list? Play and train SMART with these tips to keep you in game shape:

S – See a doctor. Start the season with a physical to assess overall health and identify any potential problems.

M – Maintain proper conditioning to defend against wear and tear on your body. Even energetic young athletes can’t go from a lazy offseason to a full practice and competition schedule without risk of injury. Maintaining healthy playing status is directly tied to stamina and performance and serves as a great tool to combat injury.

A – Adjust your diet (food and water intake) to match season’s strains. Training camps and games are good examples of the sport’s extra rigors and both require adequate fuel and hydration for performance and recovery.

R –  Recognize weather conditions and the impact it will have on your body. Excessive heat, high winds and extreme cold all impact muscle and bone’s ability to respond to movement and exertion. Recognize the role that the elements play in sports, and plan ahead with proper protection to minimize their negative effect.

T – Time off. Protect your body from the injuries and fatigue of over-use. Playing an alternate sport periodically or skipping a session rather than year-round play can give your body and mind much-needed relief and allow young athletes to stay sharp physically and mentally.

All sports carry risks and rewards. As parents, coaches and doctors, our goal is to support and educate athletes to minimize risks and allow them to #BeActive and enjoy the rewards of athletics and teamwork.

Be Active 2015 – Video

Do you miss your meniscus? Q&A with Dr.Wayne Gersoff

At Advanced Orthopedics, we know that active lifestyles are a way of life in Colorado, and knee pain shouldn’t get in the way of your day-to-day activities or your fitness. There are multiple causes of knee pain and today we’ll answer 3 questions about one commonly damaged area: meniscus cartilage.

What are the menisci? They are two c-shaped cartilage sections that sit on top of the tibia – the lateral and the medial meniscus. The menisci play a pivotal role separating and cushioning your femur (thigh bone) from your tibia (shin bone). When a meniscus is damaged (or removed, if beyond repair), only the articular cartilage is left to protect your knee, but articular cartilage alone cannot cushion the movement long term and it becomes fragmented as is wears away. The result is the painful feeling of bones rubbing against the rough, fragmented cartilage – osteoarthritis.

If I tear or damage my meniscus, what are my options? The timing, severity and type of meniscus tears can greatly influence your options. If you are younger than 55, active, and have no damage to your articular cartilage, there are many options. In younger individuals, the peripheral third of the meniscus has a relatively good blood supply. Tears smaller then 5 mm in this area have the potential to heal on their own with appropriate rest and protection.

When surgical intervention is required, options include knee arthroscopy with either partial resection of the torn meniscus or repair of the torn meniscus. In situations where a portion of the meniscus is removed, new technology allows for the segmental replacement of that portion of the meniscus with a collagen meniscal implant (CMI). In the event that there is loss of the majority of the meniscus, another  option – meniscal allograft transplantation – is an increasingly viable option as well.

How does meniscal transplantation work? Healthy donor meniscus cartilage called an allograft is harvested, frozen and reviewed for fit and viability. Once a match is determined, arthroscopy guides the procedure as the donor meniscus tissue is secured in the anatomically correct position in the knee.

What can I expect with a meniscus transplant? Expectations can be summarized in four key stages: procedure, recovery, rehabilitation and outcome. As with most arthroscopic procedures, meniscus transplants are often outpatient procedures. After the initial post-operative recovery, patients begin a very detailed and progressive rehabilitation process. The goal of the rehabilitation process is to allow for healing of the meniscus while progressively increasing motion and regaining strength. Due to the slow healing process of the meniscus allograft, patients can expect there full recovery to take up to 6 months. Successful outcomes are marked with pain relief, increased activity and prolonged knee function.

Meniscus transplants aren’t for everyone, but for qualified patients who adhere to the prescribed rehabilitation protocols and activity modifications, the outcome yields significant benefits. Meniscus transplants relieve knee pain and prolong the longevity of your knee while using the healthy donor meniscus cartilage to optimize your knee’s function and restore an active lifestyle. Ask your doctor if meniscus transplantation is right for you. Your specialist can guide you through the options and offer the most effective treatment to keep you AO active instead of kneeling down to pain.