Advanced Ortho explains the best way to work from home.

Learning how to work from home? A survival guide for staying healthy and sane.

Whether you are used to a work from home environment or it’s totally new to you, there are many things you can do you keep yourself in good health both mentally and physically. And while these tips apply any time, they are especially relevant right now. Consider these tips to keep yourself and anyone you live with happier and healthier while you work from home.

1) Create and maintain a schedule.

This is key for you, and anyone you live with. You may have people who work from home, others who are remote learning from home, and still others who are trying to run a household under totally new circumstances. A good schedule includes setting aside time to work, play, eat, socialize and exercise (more on that later). It can also help you allocate household resources in a way that works for everyone – including computer and television time, sharing space in a home office or rec room, and giving everyone a little space when they need quiet time. Here, communication is key, but so is flexibility.

2) Set up a proper workspace and maintain good posture

Start with identifying a dedicated space to work that is as free from distractions as possible. This may mean making some compromises with housemates or family, or trading time in a dedicated space. From there, maintaining good posture is all about straight lines and 90-degree angles.

If you’re using a computer (and let’s be honest, who isn’t), the top of your monitor should be at eye level, allowing you to look straight ahead and avoiding a tilt or strain on your neck. When it comes to your seated position, your forearms and thighs should be parallel to the floor, putting your elbows and knees at a 90-degree angle. Likewise, your feet should be flat on the floor and your back straight to protect your spine. 

As you pay attention to good sitting posture, you may realize it’s harder than you expected! Engaging your core muscles to maintain good posture is takes practice, and breaks!

3) Schedule movement time

When that perfect posture has driven you to exhaustion, it’s time for a break. As we’ve mentioned before, sitting for 5+ hours has been shown to be the health equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes! If that’s not enough to get you moving, here are two more good reasons: Harvard reminds us that exercise actually changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills! And, if you live with children, it’s especially important for them to be moving, for everyone’s sanity. They are probably bouncing off the walls already, so embrace it!

If you spend a lot of time at your desk when you work from home, plan to get up every hour and at least walk around or stretch a little bit. Regardless of what your work or family schedule is, try to also block 30 minutes to an hour of each day to do something active. Run around in the yard with kids, walk around the block (while maintaining social distancing recommendations), walk up and down stairs in your house or whatever works in your environment. Many gyms including Orange Theory Fitness are offering free online workouts to help everyone stay active.

4) Take advantage of new (and existing) online resources

Many things we’re used to doing in person can now be done online, so take advantage of these handy resources. From purchasing office supplies to outfit your new work from home environment, buying groceries online for pickup or scheduling a telehealth appointment with your orthopedic doctor, many businesses are adapting to current circumstances with technology.

We’re all learning to work from home (even our doctors and staff are doing it too!), and if you are new to it, give yourself some time to adjust. Adopting a healthy mindset and healthy practices up front will make the transition easier and support your whole health in the long run. 

Pickleball Ruptured Achilles

Are you at risk for a ruptured Achilles? How to reduce your risk.

A ruptured Achilles is a the most common tendon rupture that can occur in your legs. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. While it is a strong tendon, it can partially or fully tear, or rupture, if over extended.  

Certain demographic and lifestyle factors can increase your risk for a ruptured Achilles. While gender and age are two key risk factors that none of us can influence – the majority of ruptured Achilles tendon injuries happen to men between the ages of 30-50 – there are several other risk factors that may be managed or minimized by lifestyle choices:

Maintain a healthy body weight: Excess weight puts additional strain on the Achilles tendon, thus making ruptures more likely. By maintaining a health body weight, or BMI (Body Mass Index), people of all ages and genders can reduce their risk of a ruptured Achilles.

Take a smart approach high-impact exercise: Especially with certain activities or when increasing intensity suddenly. Any sport that emphasizes running, jumping, quick pivots or change in direction tends to see a higher-than-average occurrence of Achilles tendon ruptures. Common examples include tennis, high-intensity cross training, soccer, and basketball. Similarly, any dramatic increase in your level of intensity can put you a higher risk for a tear.

Warm up well, weekend warriors: If you don’t get much activity during the week, but like to go “all-out” on weekends, be sure to really emphasize a good warmup, ease into your activity, and always remember to stretch. Keeping your body limber and staying warm throughout your activities can help to minimize the risk of a ruptured Achilles or other injury.

Know the potential risks of some antibiotics: Certain antibiotics, known as fluoroquinolones, may increase the risk of a ruptured Achilles tendon by causing damage to the tendon. While this type of antibiotic may also damage other tendons, the majority of cases are associated with weight-bearing tendons, and the Achilles, in particular. Doctors typically only prescribe such drugs under specific circumstances when the benefit of the antibiotic outweighs the risk of an Achilles tear. However, patients should be sure to review and understand the risks and benefits before taking any medication.

Understand that steroid injections also have a cost-benefit trade off: Steroids can reduce inflammation and joint pain but can also weaken tendons, including the Achilles when injected nearby.

Ruptured Achilles Prevention

In addition to knowing the risks there are a few things you can do to minimize your chances of an Achilles tendon rupture, including:

Keep your workouts diverse: Especially if you already have any of the other risk factors, be mindful of how frequently you participate in activities that demand a lot of running and jumping. This could include alternating between running and biking or swimming and taking rest days between court or field time.

Don’t go from zero to 60: If you’re starting a new routine or are thinking about rounding up the team for some glory-days court time, be smart and conservative. Don’t go from couch potato to working out 5 days a week; and try to resist getting overly competitive in a pickup game if you haven’t touched a ball in years. A good rule of thumb for increasing your effort is to do so no more than 10 percent per week. When you do exercise or compete, always warm up slowly and stretch before you really get going. Gently stretch key muscle groups, in particular your calves. Never bounce while stretching – instead make slow gradual motions.

Listen to your body: If you’re feeling sore or feel like an exercise or a move is too much, don’t ignore the warning your body might be giving you. Back off your intensity when you need to. This could mean alternating walking with running or replacing a hopping motion with a stepping motion in an intense exercise class.

How to tell if you’ve ruptured your Achilles and what to do next

Many people report feeling sudden, intense pain and hearing a snap or popping sound when their Achilles tears. Most also notice an immediate limit in their ability to walk normally. If you think you’ve ruptured your Achilles, you should seek prompt medical attention from an orthopedic specialist. They will be able to confirm the nature and severity of the tear and recommend the best treatment plan to get you back on your feet and active.

Whether you’ve partially or fully torn the Achilles, surgery is often the best solution to repair the damaged tendon. A foot and ankle specialist will reattach a fully ruptured Achilles or repair a partial tear. Patients must typically be off their foot or the foot and ankle may be immobilized for at least several weeks to allow the tendon to begin to heal. In some cases, immobilization without surgery is an option.

Full recovery from ruptured Achilles surgery takes time – around 6 months to get back to normal activities, if you’re following a good physical therapy plan.

Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Specialists has several foot and ankle surgeons who use the latest surgical and open repair techniques that minimize the incision size and provide the best patient outcomes.  Get in touch for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists.

Best Foot & Ankle Surgeons

Keith Jacobson, DPM

Dr. Keith Jacobson

Alan Ng, DPM

Dr. Alan Ng

Scott Resig, MD

Dr. Scott Resig

Shoulder Replacement - How to choose the right doctor

What to consider when choosing a shoulder replacement doctor

If you’ve been coping with chronic pain and low range of motion in your shoulder and have exhausted other treatment options, it might be time to look for a shoulder replacement doctor. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), more than 50,000 people in the US have shoulder replacement surgery each year, and while it’s not as common as hip or knee replacements, it’s just as effective in improving joint pain for many patients. But having shoulder replacement surgery is still a serious decision, so take time to find the right surgeon for your needs. In addition to reviewing the credentials of a prospective shoulder replacement doctor, you should be sure you’re working with a surgeon who will:

  1. Exhaust non-surgical options first
  2. Evaluate the cause of your shoulder condition
  3. Recommend the right type of surgery for your condition
  4. Thoroughly explain the procedure risks, benefits, process, timeline and recovery
  5. Serve as your health partner following the procedure, monitoring your rehab, recovery and addressing any complications or concerns.


  1. Choosing a shoulder replacement doctor: Exhaust non-surgical options first: Before pursuing surgery, an experienced shoulder replacement doctor will first work with you to ensure that you are a good candidate for surgery and determine if other options, such as rest, physical therapy and injections, can give you the relief and activity level you’re seeking. Once those options have been exhausted, surgery may be the most appropriate recommendation.
  1. Choosing a shoulder replacement doctor: Evaluate the cause of your shoulder condition: A shoulder replacement doctor will also want to know the cause of your shoulder damage, which can include a wide range of conditions. These may include various types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, which cause degeneration of the joints, or less common conditions like Osteonecrosis, in which the blood supply to the joint is limited. Injuries are another major cause of shoulder damage either as a direct result of a fracture or over time due to post-traumatic arthritis.
  1. Choosing a shoulder replacement doctor: Recommend the right type of surgery for your condition: Your surgeon should have experience with and can recommend the type of procedure that is most appropriate for your condition. Depending on the severity and type of injury you have, you may be looking at any of the following types of shoulder replacement surgery.
  • Reverse shoulder replacement surgery is often the best procedure when the rotator cuff or other shoulder tendons have sustained major damage especially if you have arthritis in the shoulder joint.
  • If your damage is isolated to the ball of the humerous (the upper arm bone), your shoulder replacement doctor may recommend partial shoulder replacement.
  • And total shoulder replacementsurgery is often recommended when arthritis has damaged ball and socket.
  1. Choosing a shoulder replacement doctor: Thoroughly explain the procedure risks, benefits, process, timeline and recovery: Look for a shoulder replacement doctor that takes time to explain the procedure to you, including risk and expected outcomes, any pre-surgery preparations and requirements, what to expect on the day of surgery, the anticipated hospital stay, and – perhaps most importantly, the plan for recovery.
  2. Choosing a shoulder replacement doctor: Serve as your health partner following the procedure, monitoring your recovery and addressing any complications or concerns.: While recovery can be lengthy (up to several months), the reward can be significant, with many patients enjoying major improvements in pain and motion after successful surgery and rehabilitation. But a good shoulder replacement doctor will ensure that you understand the commitment and effort required for a successful rehabilitation too, so that you can get back to being active and pain free. They will also check in following surgery to check for complications and see you for office visits as you progress.

There are three shoulder replacement doctors within Advanced Orthopedics, all of who are board certified surgeons who specialize in shoulder replacement and repair of other shoulder conditions.

James Ferrari, MD

Dr. James Ferrari

H. Andrew Motz, MD

Dr. H. Andrew Motz

John Papilion, MD

Dr. John Papilion

If shoulder pain is severely limiting your daily activities or range of motion, and any of these descriptions apply, it might be time to raise your hand for shoulder replacement surgery. Contact our office to set an appointment.

Denver MCL Specialists Help Skiers in Colorado

Denver MCL Specialists Diagnose MCL Injuries to Keep Coloradans Active

Denver MCL specialists continue to see a high volume of MCL injuries. The medial collateral ligament (MCL for short) is in fact the most frequently injured ligament of the knee – accounting for as many as 40% of knee ligament injuries. And because minor MCL injuries often go undiagnosed, this number is likely low. But with proper diagnosis and individualized treatment, MCL patients typically have a solid path to recovery.

What is an MCL injury?

Let’s start with what the MCL does and where it’s located. The MCL is tissue connects your thigh bone (femur) to the top of your tibia, (your shin bone), on the inside of your knee. It stabilizes your knee to keep it from bowing too far inward.

Anyone can damage their MCL, but it’s also more common among men and athletes – even recreational athletes. Direct content is the most common cause, so it’s no surprise that Denver MCL specialists see a higher incidence of MCL injuries in patients who participate in contact sports, such has rugby, football, soccer and ice hockey. 

But here in Colorado, skiing is one non-contact sport where MCL injuries also tend to occur. This is typically the result of sudden twisting or stress on the knee that is common with frequent ski turns, starts and stops.

If any of these types of situations have resulted in knee pain that doesn’t improve with a bit of rest and ice, it’s probably time to see a doctor. MCL diagnosis involves a physical evaluation which includes checking for swelling, bruising and evaluating range of motion. An MRI or X-ray may also be needed. Our Denver MCL specialists help patients classify MCL injuries into grade I, II or III and determine the best course of treatment.

  • Grade I (Mild) injuries can be addressed at home (with ice, rest and mild pain reliever like Advil) and improve in just a couple of weeks
  • Grade II (moderate) may require the use of a brace to stabilize the knee. Your doctor may also ask you to minimize weight bearing activities for a few weeks.  
  • Grade III (Severe) injuries may require surgery, especially if other parts of the knee are also injured (such as your ACL, which occur with an MCL injury about 95% of the time, when there is more than one injury), or at a minimum require patients to brace the leg and limit weight-bearing activity for at least 6 weeks

Knee pain can also be the result of conditions other than MCL tears, so it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of MCL injuries. Patients typically have pain and lack of mobility around the knee joint and many report hearing a “pop” at the time of the injury.

Advanced Orthopedics’ Denver MCL specialist team frequently performs MCL repair or reconstruction – a procedure where the damaged ligament is either repaired or removed and replaced with tissue harvested from the hamstring or patellar tendon. The replacement tissue – called a graft – restores knee stabilization while aiding the growth of new tissue.

As with all MCL strains, physical therapy plays a vital role in the restoration of long-term strength and range of motion. Although individual recovery time varies, many MCL patients who opt for surgery return to their sports in six to nine months.

Have questions? Advanced Ortho’s team of Denver MCL specialists are available to answer your questions.

Best Knee Surgeons

Dr. Mark Failinger

James Ferrari, MD

Dr. James Ferrari

Wayne Gersoff, MD

Dr. Wayne Gersoff

dr harold hunt denver co

Dr. Harold Hunt

Jared Michalson, MD

Dr. Jared Michalson

Cary Motz, MD

Dr. Cary Motz

H. Andrew Motz, MD

Dr. H. Andrew Motz

Dr. Justin Newman

John Papilion, MD

Dr. John Papilion

Scott Resig, MD

Dr. Scott Resig

R. Presley Swann, MD

Dr. R. Presley Swann

Nerve Pain in Your Hand

Nerve Pain in Your Hands? Common Causes and Treatments

Nerve Pain in Your Hands? Common Causes and Treatments

Nerve pain in your hands can keep you from many important daily tasks. From texting and typing, to eating, grooming and sometimes even writing (yes, with a pen – people still do it!), healthy hands are, at once, remarkably efficient and incredibly vulnerable. 

The hands’ complex structure is the root of both of these traits. Your hands are a collection of bones, joints nerves and tendons that, when functioning properly, put the world at your fingertips. However, when nerve pain in hands interrupts their remarkable efficiency, it can turn your life upside down. If you have frequent pain or numbness in your hands you already know this all too well.

There are numerous factors that can cause numbness, tingling or nerve pain in hands or fingers including various autoimmune diseases, diabetes, or inflammation but one of the most common sources is a pinched nerve. Frequently, nerve pain in the hand or wrist is a result of overuse or trauma. Falls, car accidents and work injuries are common causes of hand and wrist nerve injuries. When a nerve receives too much pressure from the adjoining tissue (i.e. bones, muscles, tendons), pain, tingling or numbness ensues.

Who’s at risk for nerve pain in the hands?

Gender, weight, overuse and motion repetition are among the factors that increase the risk of nerve pain in your hands or wrists. Women have smaller carpal tunnels and are more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome. Both excess weight and overuse can lead to increased risk of pinched nerves.

What are the symptoms of nerve pain in hands?

Your hands can perform a complex range of motions. When that motion is impaired or one of those actions – such as flexing your wrist, thumb or finger – is lost, the culprit may well be nerves in your hand or wrist. Numbness, tingling, weakness and pain are other indicators that nerve function is being impaired and it’s time to see a specialist.

Identifying the cause of the loss of motion or source of pain is best revealed through a physical exam and potential tests such as an x-ray, MRI, ultrasound or CT scan. Your orthopedic specialist will determine the best diagnostic tools after a physical exam.

What are my hand nerve pain treatment options?

Just as the origins of hand pain are diverse, so too are treatments for the wide range of conditions. For many, conservative treatments such as rest and ice may offer relief within days or weeks. Often, lifestyle changes like adjusting typing posture, taking breaks or limiting the frequency of specific activities can have a significant impact. When conservative solutions aren’t enough, medications or physical therapy can help. More severe nerve injuries or symptoms may require surgery.

Nerve pain in the hands can have a major impact on your day-to-day life, including the ability to work, exercise and take care of family so don’t ignore symptoms. Early diagnosis of hand and finger numbness provides more opportunity for positive outcomes with both surgical non-surgical solutions. Schedule an appointment with one of our hand and wrist specialists today.

Best Hand & Wrist Surgeons

A. Todd Alijani, MD

Dr. A. Todd Alijani

Davis Hurley, MD

Dr. Davis Hurley

Dr. Micah Worrell

Dr. Micah Worrell

Osteoporosis, Bone Health

Do you know how to protect your spine from osteoporosis?

Questions you should be asking (and the answers from an expert!)

When do adult bones start to weaken and become susceptible to osteoporosis? Who is most likely to get it? What are the symptoms? What can be done to prevent it?

No matter your age, knowing the answers to these questions is a great start to helping you prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. We talked with Advanced Orthopedic surgeon and bone health specialist Dr. Cary Motz. to get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about preventing osteoporosis. His team, including Angie Waller, PA and Brooke Shankar, PA, run the Bone Health Clinic at Advanced Orthopedics.

What is osteoporosis?

The team means “porous bones,” and the disease causes a reduction in the density of bone tissue – essentially bone loss – which often results in fractures. Small spine fractures, called compression fractures, can lead to curvature of the spine and pain, and larger fractures like a hip break can be devastating.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

You may have heard it called the ‘silent disease’ because often there are few or no symptoms early on. Even small spine fractures – called compression fractures – often occur without pain. But over time, loss of bone density and compression fractures can have a significant impact on your spine, resulting in reduced range of motion, severe pain, loss of height, and a curved spine. All of these symptoms can wreak havoc on an active lifestyle.

What causes osteoporosis?

One of the most common causes of osteoporosis is reduction of hormones – specifically estrogen in women and androgen in men. This happens as we age and as menopause sets in for women. But other factors like lack of exercise, smoking, a lack of calcium in the diet and even heredity, can be contributing factors.

Who is at risk?

Osteoporosis is very common, affecting more than 10 million Americans, and it disproportionally impacts women, in particular those over 60. It is estimated that one in every two women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, as will one in four men over the age of 50. So guys – it’s not something you should not ignore.

When should I take preventative measures?

It’s never too soon to be active in your health management and practice good bone health. Our bones are at their strongest right around age 30 – after we are done growing but before we start to experience any loss of bone density. From that point on, some bone loss is inevitable, but you may be able to impact how much. Part of being active in your health is practicing prevention whenever possible. Here are five simple things you can do at any age:

  1. Build bone mass while you are young! If you are younger than 30 – or have kids – it’s building time! The international osteoporosis foundation estimates a 10% increase of peak bone mass in children reduces the risk of an osteoporotic fracture during adult life by 50%!
  2. Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. This is easy to do by eating fortified dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. If you are dairy free, consider a supplement with calcium and vitamin D, which aids absorption.
  3. Be Active! Studies show that those who regularly participate in weight-bearing activities build stronger bones and are less prone to osteoporosis.
  4. Avoid smoking and heavy drinking: Besides being terrible for you in general, both smoking and heavy drinking limit your body’s ability to maintain bone mass, which happens continuously in healthy adults. Slowing or stopping this process leads to osteoporosis.

If you have risk factors or have had a fracture, it’s definitely time to get in for a diagnosis. Osteoporosis can be diagnosed with a bone scan called a DXA. DXA scans are recommended every two years for the following populations:

  • Women over the age of 65, or younger with risk factors
  • Men over the age of 70, or younger with risk factors
  • Anyone over the age of 50 with a broken bone
  • Anyone with 1½ inches of height loss
  • Anyone with back pain due to a possible break in your spine

Osteoporosis can be devastating to an active adult, and it’s incredibly prevalent among older adults and especially women. It’s also preventable and a little information can go a long way to keeping you fracture free and active in every decade of life.

Start taking control of your bone health by ensuring you are getting enough calcium, maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle, and getting a bone health evaluation if you are over age 50. Our spine and bone health specialists are here to help you #BeActive! 

Bone Clinic

Specialized Bone Health Clinic Has Seen a 50% Increase in Osteoporosis Evaluations in the Past Year

DENVER – Oct 23, 2019 – Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists marked its first anniversary of service to the Colorado community for its specialized Bone Health Clinic this month. Osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually – that’s one every three seconds. The specialized clinic provides osteoporosis management programs, tailored to each individual patient, and is home to three certified specialists who are committed to help the region change these trends:

“As one of the top orthopedic practices in the Rockies, we are committed to bone health and the management of osteoporosis,” said Dr. Motz. “Osteoporosis – and the fractures that come from it – are preventable and treatable. Colorado’s active population need not be impacted at the alarming national osteoporosis rate, but, because there typically are no symptoms in the early stages, it’s important to be evaluated.”

As people age, they lose bone density and bones become weaker. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that half of women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. And data shows that after experiencing a fracture due to osteoporosis, people are 86% more likely to have another fracture in the next year.

As Coloradans continue to be more active in their senior years, they need modern resources to support their healthy, active lifestyles. The bone health specialists at Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists provide bone health evaluations and a variety of treatment options that help patients live full and active lives without the interruption of fractures or osteoporosis.

About Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Specialists

The premier orthopedic practice for Coloradans who love to be active, Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Specialists is home to top doctors in their fields of expertise. The team educates, prepares and supports patients from diagnosis through recovery and offers a full continuum of care – from physical therapy to non-surgical options to advanced surgery – for orthopedic injuries and conditions ranging from knees, hips, shoulders, backs, hands and feet. Learn more at or

Dr. Keith Jacobson, President of ABFAS

Dr. Keith Jacobson Begins Term as President of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS)

Rigorous Certification Standards Remain Top Priority

DENVER – Oct 15, 2019 – Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Specialists, a division of Orthopedic Centers of Colorado announced that Dr. Keith Jacobson, DPM was elected as president of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Dr. Jacobson’s term runs until September of 2020. 

In his role as president, he will advance the mission to protect and improve the health and welfare of the public by the advancement of the art and science of podiatric surgery.

“I’m honored to represent my peers – the best foot and ankle surgeons in the world – as president of ABFAS,” said Dr. Jacobson. “Ensuring that patients can select a qualified foot and ankle surgeon based on the rigorous ABFAS certification is critical to the integrity of our healthcare system, and I’m committed to ensuring that our certification represents the highest possible standard of care.”

ABFAS is the industry standard for qualified foot and ankle surgeons, and the organization works to promote lifelong learning and professional accountability, which are the board’s foundational principles for quality healthcare.

ABFAS certifies qualified foot and reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgeons. Prior to receiving certification, candidates must become board-qualified in either foot surgery and/or reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery. ABFAS continues to review and improve the certification exams and uses a rigorous Case Review process combined with a didactic and computer-based patient simulation examination.

About Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists

Advanced Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists is widely recognized as the regional leader in comprehensive orthopedic services. The 19 physicians of Advanced Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists have received specialized training in orthopedic surgery and in subspecialty areas within the field of orthopedic medicine. They diagnose and treat even the most complicated orthopedic conditions and are supported by a professional staff of physician assistants, medical assistants, x-ray technicians and administrative personnel at our two offices in Denver and Parker. Learn more at Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

sports medicine specialists, Dr. Wayne Gersoff

Work Hard, Play Hard: How Sports Medicine specialist Dr. Wayne Gersoff Has Helped Pro and Amateur Athletes Be Active and Stay in the Game

The sports medicine expert’s lifelong love of athletics inspires him to help patients even with severe injuries return to an active life

“People who are active want to stay active,” says Dr. Wayne Gersoff, and he should know. Not only is he a leader in sports medicine who’s helped keep top athletes – professional, collegiate, and high school competitors – in peak playing condition, but he’s also a lifelong athlete himself in multiple outdoor sports.

Dr. Gersoff has been helping Colorado athletes since the 1987, when he set up the first sports medicine program at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, while also overseeing the care of all the members of CU’s athletic teams. He went on to become the first team doctor for the Colorado Rockies and served the Major League Baseball team at all home games for eight seasons. He also cared for the Denver Grizzlies minor league hockey team and has served with the Colorado Rapids soccer squad since its launch 16 years ago. Not to mention the US men’s and women’s soccer teams and Denver Public Schools, Grandview and Chapparal high school athletes.

He says he got into sports medicine in part because “I’ve always played sports.” At Yale, where he earned his undergraduate degree and did his residency, he played soccer (his lifelong passion) and had a mentor, Dr. Aversa. It was Dr. Aversa who, recognizing Dr. Gersoff’s love of athletics, recommended that he take up sports medicine. He started when he was still a resident, covering all the various Yale teams’ home games. He followed with a fellowship at the University of Wisconsin under sports medicine pioneer Dr. Clancy.

That led to the opportunity at CU, where the athletes under his care included the 1990 NCAA champion Buffaloes football team. He fondly remembers treating legendary Buffs quarterback Darian Hagan, who tore his patellar tendon at the Orange Bowl. Dr. Gersoff repaired the injury, but there was still uncertainty as to whether Hagan would be able to play again the following season. But he did, and after he scored his first touchdown, Hagan found Dr. Gersoff and gave him a big hug.

Colorado Rockies right fielder Larry Walker was similarly thankful for Dr. Gersoff’s treatment. He’d fixed up Walker’s shoulder during the off-season, and when Walker returned to the outfield in 1997, he had an MVP-winning season, for which he thanked Dr. Gersoff with a large, framed LeRoy Nieman print.

Dr. Gersoff was also on board for the Grizzlies’ championship season in 1995 and the Rapids’ championship season in 2010. And he’s been on duty for at least 300 games with Denver high school football teams. Dr. Gersoff says the thank-yous from these teens have made those cold nights and weekends all worthwhile.

In the meantime, after nearly a decade at CU, Dr. Gersoff left the university to go into private practice. A resident, Dr. Andy Motz, soon joined him, and with a few other specialists, they built the practice that became the Advanced Orthopedics group.

While working with all these sports teams, Dr. Gersoff kept up his own athletic pursuits, including soccer, running, mountain biking, and road biking. He and his wife stay active together by biking, hiking, and snowshoeing. In recent years, he’s taken up reining – a western equestrian discipline and precision-movement sport. Dr. Gersoff says he enjoys riding with his daughter.

When Dr. Gersoff’s daughters were children, he made it a point to schedule his professional commitments around their games and practices. Once, he recalls, he had to give a presentation in Baltimore, and he moved it so that he could fly home to Colorado in time to coach a game that afternoon. Today, his older daughter, who played two sports at Princeton, is a law school student at the University of Wisconsin, while his younger daughter, a highly accomplished equestrian athlete, is an undergraduate at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.

Both Dr. Gersoff’s personal Be Active lifestyle and his work with top athletes helps guide his treatment of patients with sports injuries. “Whatever activity they’re doing, they should do it for the love of it and not feeling like they have to do it,” he recommends. “When you enjoy it, you are willing to put the mental and physical preparation in, and while injuries may be unavoidable, the physical preparation will help minimize some of those risks.”

He encourages patients to remain active even after severe traumas. “You can move on,” he says of patients who’ve suffered a devastating injury, “but if it’s more severe, you can still be active, but you take a modified approach.”

As an example, he cites Juli Furtado, once a CU student who’d been a top slalom skier on the US National Ski Team before suffering multiple knee injuries. Dr. Gersoff successfully operated on her knee but told her he didn’t think it was wise to return to the slopes. Instead, he recalls, he suggested she take up biking. Within a year, she’d won a national women’s road biking race. She switched to mountain biking and became a champion in that sport, too, even racing in the 1996 Olympics before she finally retired.

Whether they’re world-class athletes like Furtado or everyday patients, active people who suffer injuries “don’t want to go from 100 to zero,” Dr. Gersoff says. “Part of our job is to listen and help them think of ways to preserve that injured body part for a long time.”

Has sports medicine helped you stay active after an athletic injury? Tell us your story.

tips for rotator cuff surgery

Patient Perspectives: 8 things you should know before having rotator cuff surgery

Top tips from a working mom, a caretaker, an elite athlete and a retiree who’ve been there, done that.

A rotator cuff tear is a common repetitive motion injury, caused by occupational and recreational activities, and can also occur more often as we age.  They can also occur with a specific traumatic event. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, nearly 2 million people experience pain or limited range of motion due to rotator cuff problems each year. And while not all tears need surgery, full, or complete, rotator cuff tears, often defined as anything more than 90 percent torn, are almost always surgically repaired.

Orthopedic surgeons can provide great perspective on who is a good candidate for surgery, common outcomes and what to expect from the procedure. “Rotator cuff surgery is less invasive than many other surgeries and most patients with full rotator cuff tears experience a tremendous improvement in range of motion and a reduction in pain after surgery,” says surgeon Dr. James Ferrari.

“But surgery is not a silver bullet, and patients must be informed and committed to their rehabilitation to maximize a positive outcome,” Dr. Ferrari notes. “Every rotator cuff repair I do is different. Although you can learn from others’ experience, you cannot compare your personal outcome with anyone else. Long recovery and moving too much too soon can be more harmful than helpful.”

If you’ve already been diagnosed with a full or significant rotator cuff tear, and are considering or preparing for surgery, being prepared is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

“Preparation will help you to make an informed decision, arrange for the resources and support you may need post-surgery, and put yourself in the best position for a speedy and smooth recovery, ” notes Cary Motz, M.D.

Real patients who have recovered from rotator cuff surgery are an invaluable source of first-hand advice – for both patients and their caretakers. No matter how you describe your lifestyle, tips from four real patients can help you plan for the best possible outcome:

The Athlete: Tommy K. The longtime multi-sport athlete has had surgery before, but he says his shoulder procedure was the best result he’s had, due in great part to his commitment before and after surgery. His advice:

  1. Follow your surgeon’s post-operative protocol to the letter. Even when I felt that I was being too conservative with movements or not pushing hard enough with resistance/weight, I resisted the urge to go beyond the limits that the surgeon set, and it kept me on track.
  2. At the same time, it’s great to work towards a goal. I had a kiteboarding trip in the Outer Banks, planned for September (8 months post-surgery) and I wanted to be in great shape. Continuously thinking about this trip did two things to help my recovery. 1) It kept me working hard in PT and then later in the gym once I was released by the surgeon 2) It kept me from doing something stupid, like pushing too hard too soon and potentially setting myself back.

The Working Mom: Sarah H. An active mom of two, tennis player and dedicated Orange Theory Fitness member, this busy bond trader is up before the sun every day and at work before the markets open on the east coast. Her tips for planning ahead and the right equipment were key to a speedy recovery:

  1. Your surgeon will recommend a special ice machine that circulates ice water through a shoulder sleeve. There may be a small expense to buy the machine but it’s worth it. Plan ahead and buy one. The machine is so much better than an ice pack because it stays cold and in place on your shoulder. It helps to reduces pain and swelling. Using the ice machine regularly meant less pain (and fewer pain killers) after surgery. It helped me rest more comfortably and made it easier to start physical therapy.
  2. You’ll be asked to wear a supportive sling for several weeks, and it’s not always easy to comply. It restricts your range of motion and is tempting to take it off when you start to feel better. But it protects you more than you realize – and can even help you avoid re-injury while you’re healing. The sling helped me in two ways: It provided physical support to allow my shoulder to heal; and provided a visual reminder to myself – and others – that I was in fact, still healing. It limited my tendency to try to use my arm too much too soon and minimized the chance of reinjury from an unexpected strain, such as my daughter jumping into my arms unexpectedly, or a good intentioned nudge on the shoulder from a colleague or friend.

The Retiree: Marilyn J. A retiree with an active lifestyle, Marilyn is very active in the local community, and enjoys hosting events for neighbors and friends. She went into surgery while in the middle of preparing to sell her house! Her tips for tackling it all and the commitments she made that helped her get back to painting and moving only two months after surgery.

  1. Build strength before your surgery. No matter your fitness level, any improvement in your strength and fitness pre-surgery will contribute to a faster and better recovery. Give yourself some time prior to the procedure to improve your strength in complementary muscle groups and consult your doctor about other changes you can make to improve your overall health before your surgery day.
  2. Be committed to physical therapy. Your doctor will tell you when you are ready for physical therapy, but you may be asked to start a home exercise program almost immediately– be ready to get moving and take the process seriously. Even in retirement, it’s easy to cite a busy schedule as an excuse not to go to PT. Find a physical therapy location that is easy to work with, easy to get to and can accommodate your personal schedule.

The Caretaker: Kamee W. A busy professional, mom and wife, Kamee had the task of taking care of her usually active husband as he recovered from rotator cuff surgery. And while they planned ahead with many of these tips, managing work and family life with one less person to help makes a big difference. Her tips for the caretaker:

  1. Plan for more than just caretaking. Don’t underestimate the effect that the surgery will have on the caretaker. It’s so much more than meeting the patient’s needs for support and comfort, it affects everything you might have done as a team prior to the procedure: driving, household chores, family activities, cooking and more. You can do some things in advance, like cooking and freezing meals before surgery.
  2. Enlist help. For all those things that can’t be done ahead of time, ask for help! Hire a neighborhood teen to do regular household tasks like mow the lawn or walk the dog; share the pick-up and drop off schedule with family and friends— that goes for kids and for patient appointments; and splurge on grocery delivery for a few weeks. Using extra help and short cuts can add up and making the difference of keeping your sanity or feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Scheduling surgery is a big decision but with the right preparation and planning, you can have a smooth and positive outcome. Need a diagnosis or ready to consider surgery? Schedule an appointment with one of our shoulder surgeons.

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Dr. James Ferrari

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Dr. Wayne Gersoff

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Dr. Davis Hurley

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Dr. Cary Motz

H. Andrew Motz, MD

Dr. H. Andrew Motz

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Dr. John Papilion

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Dr. Micah Worrell