Friday, December 20, 2013

Running in a Winter Wonderland: Tips for Outdoor Cardio

While many head indoors for the holiday hustle, joining gyms or buying treadmills of their own, there is still a great opportunity to challenge yourself with some outdoor cardio.

Yes, weather conditions may rule out certain days and yes, some added precautions must be taken; however, running at your local park or neighborhood trail can help you build strength in ways never before imagined. The beginning of the wintry mix does not have to mean a decline in your level of fitness. If you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular system and burn off a few holiday calories, this may be just the ticket. Here are some steps to see if it’s appropriate:

  • An Honest Assessment. Before heading out, its important to have an accurate idea of just what type of physical activity your body can endure. Always speak with a physician before undertaking serious physical exercise or activity of any kind. Discuss the opportunities available for improving your strength and endurance during the winter months, and remember there’s often more than one way to garner the same result. Above all stay positive, but remain realistic. 
  • Dress for Success. If your physician approves, recognize that a change of wardrobe will be essential for taking on the colder conditions. Wearing multiple layers will come down to preference and comfort, but a hat and gloves should become standard. Many professional athletes utilize moisture wicking under layers to keep from overheating, but staying covered and warm should be a priority before going out in the elements. Likewise, don’t forget about purchasing proper footwear that suits your particular foot type. Your standard running or walking show might not be the best choice for trekking through snow or debris, so think about purchasing trail shoes or special winter footwear depending on your frequency of training. 
  • Proper Hydration is Key. Just because the summer heat is long gone doesn’t mean you need to dial down your water intake. Attempts at preserving internal temperature will undoubtedly result in perspiration and dehydration, so staying properly hydrated will still be important for optimum performance and minimized discomfort afterwards. Take breaks, shift to a focus on intervals or shorter runs instead of long endurance challenges, and remember to replenish fluids lost after your exercise. 
  • If The Weather Outside Looks Frightful… Listening to mother nature may be the most important decision you make. Don’t head out in the middle of a snowstorm or soon after one comes to an end. Be mindful of the earlier end to the day and don’t run after dark. Always inform someone of where you are going and how long you plan on being out. Steer clear of road running if at all possible, and watch out for black ice on pathways. Stay attuned to your surroundings and do not run outdoors with a music device. When conditions seem questionable, the treadmill or even swimming in an indoor pool are both great ways to get your cardio work in.

Above all, staying safe during an often chaotic holiday season is the goal. Exercise, train, and compete with others as much as you can. You’ll motivate each other, stay safe, and reap better enjoyment from it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Safeguarding Your Body from Winter Sports Injuries

Winter is no time to become sedentary, but it’s no surprise that snow, cold and inclement conditions contribute to an increase in injuries and orthopedic pain. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission 2010 reports, nearly 450,000 people were treated for winter sports injuries related to skiing, snowboarding, sledding and ice skating.

To avoid becoming an injury statistic, consider the following tips while pursuing winter sports and recreation:
  1. Stop when you’re tired. A significant percentage of winter injuries occur when participants experience muscle fatigue or decreased alertness—and choose to push through these conditions. Whether you’re in an alpine environment or playing closer to home, cold weather elevates the demand on your body. To keep up with the demand, rest at regular intervals and know when it’s time to call it a day.
  2. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink! Hypothermia and frostbite are not the only health hazards associated with winter activity. Since thirst is less noticeable during winter than other seasons, hydration is even more critical. Your body is made up of nearly 2/3 water—and dehydration sets in after a small percentage of fluid loss. In addition to carrying a water bottle or tube-fed hydration system during winter outings, avoid diuretics like caffeine and alcohol.
  3. Maintain your fitness level. Many winter sports require a level of conditioning your body may not be used to, so the best way to prevent seasonal injury is to stay fit—year round. Then, a few weeks before it’s time to hit the slopes, the rink or the trail, focus on muscle conditioning that is specific to your sport.
  4. Wear appropriate safety gear. A recent Johns Hopkins study reported that nearly 20 percent of skiing and snowboarding injuries lead to head injuries when participants hit trees, the ground, and other inanimate objects. Often, injured were not wearing helmets. While it sounds intuitive, it shouldn’t be forgotten: helmets save lives every day. In addition to a helmet and goggles, remember to protect your skin from cold by wearing a base layer, high-quality gloves, and boots.
  5. Warm up before any type of winter activity. To preserve your body’s core temperature, muscles and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) contract. In this tight position, they are more vulnerable to tears and sprains. A lengthy warm-up is the best way to avoid this. It’s also wise to acclimate your body to the cold a few minutes at a time as winter sets in. Soon, your body will more quickly adapt to chillier temperatures.
In addition to skiing, boarding, sledding and ice skating, a number of other winter activities leave participants prone to traumatic winter injury. The most common include:
  • Slip-and-falls
  • Shoveling injuries
  • Snow blower accidents
  • Snowmobiling
Unfortunately, no amount of agility, performance and core training will render you injury-free 100 percent of the time. When slips, falls or sports accidents occur, don’t wait to see an orthopedic specialist. After thoroughly assessing your condition, the doctor may recommend additional scans or tests to determine the best course of action—and may provide you with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce discomfort during healing. Waiting to treat your injury could result in increased joint inflammation or chronic pain that compromises your work and family life.

To learn more about common winter sports injuries and their treatment options, visit our Patient Education portal. Serving patients of all ages in Passaic, Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Morris counties, our team of board-certified surgeons and orthopedic specialists helps patients conquer pain, accelerate rehabilitation and get back to an active, healthy lifestyle—year round.

Dr. Robert A. Kayal, MD, FAAOS
Kayal Orthopaedic Center
Ridgewood & Franklin Lakes, NJ

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Preserving Your Orthopaedic Health with Breakthrough Treatment

Each year, the rigors of law enforcement cause a significant health and safety issue for officers across the country. In addition to finding themselves in the line of fire, local, county and state police often suffer from orthopaedic injuries and disabling musculoskeletal conditions. A number of work-related factors impact these conditions, including:
  • Duty belts: Depending upon required equipment, duty belts can add between 15 and 20 pounds of unbalanced weight to an officer’s body. The stress of this belt can impact gait patterns, as well as placing stress on the low back when officers are seated for long shifts.
  • Patrolling: It’s an unfortunate reality that many crime fighters spend long days on patrol, whether on foot, by car or motorcycle. Slouching in patrol cars or standing for long periods can cause and exacerbate back and hip pain, resulting in spinal imbalances, disc degeneration, stiff muscles and sciatic nerve problems.
  • Poor eating habits: Late nights, long shifts and constant interruptions often result in undesirable dietary habits. Unfortunately, research has shown a significant connection between poor diet and inflammatory conditions. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C and antioxidants and low in refined carbohydrates have been shown to decrease swelling and alleviate pain in some cases.
  • Occupational stress: Daily stress may cause law enforcement personnel to use their muscles in ways that lead to future orthopaedic concerns, including back and neck pain.
  •  Sleep deprivation: Lack of sleep impacts more than the ability to think. Some studies indicate that insomnia increases muscle knots and trigger point irritation. Low back pain or orthopaedic conditions may further disrupt sleep, worsening the problem.
While it is not possible for police and state patrol officers to avoid physical and mental stress, it is important to be cognizant of aches and pains—and take steps to manage them before they become pervasive orthopaedic problems.


Innovative Orthopaedic Treatment Options

Law enforcement personnel suffering from acute or chronic pain, immobility or swelling may benefit from many of the services offered by Robert A. Kayal, MD and his team. Kayal Orthopaedic Center is a regional leader and pioneer in minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery, and each physician takes a progressive, customized approach to patient health. After assessing symptoms, discussing work stress and establishing a diagnosis, Kayal Orthopaedic Center physicians recommend the treatment or procedure that will provide optimal pain relief and expedite return to activity.

Common treatment options include, but are not limited to:

A painless technique that works at the cellular level, MLS Laser Therapy boosts healing and speeds recovery. The minimally invasive treatment uses laser energy photons to penetrate tissue and spur cellular regeneration. Best of all, over 90 percent of patients experience positive results after just three to four treatments!

MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURES: The Kayal Orthopaedic Center team can treat many bone and joint problems using minimally invasive surgery rather than open surgical techniques. Performed using small incisions and a tiny camera, minimally invasive techniques reduce surgical pain, speed rehabilitation and prevent excess scar tissue. This approach is used for many procedures, including ligament & tendon reconstruction, partial & total joint replacement, rotator cuff repairs, spinal disc surgery, and foot & ankle repairs.

PARTIAL AND TOTAL JOINT REPLACEMENT: When conservative treatments don’t solve a joint problem, joint replacement may be recommended. Most orthopaedic surgeons perform about 20 joint replacements each year, but Dr. Kayal routinely performs more than 200 each year. Kayal Orthopaedic Center is proud to have introduced outpatient joint replacement surgery to the local community, and expertise includes partial & total knee replacement and partial & total hip replacement. When conducted with a minimally invasive approach, these procedures require a much smaller incision than traditional joint replacement.

PLATELET RICH PLASMA (PRP) THERAPY: PRP is a relatively new procedure that uses a patient’s blood to stimulate tissue repair. The blood is spun in a centrifuge, and blood cells are separated from platelets. The platelets, which contain growth hormones and other nutrients, are injected into damaged joints and used to trigger the body’s healing response. PRP may be used to repair cartilage, nerves, bone, ligaments, muscles or tendon injuries, and Kayal Orthopaedic Center has performed thousands of successful PRP procedures.

PODIATRIC TREATMENTS: Foot & ankle pain is a frustrating burden for law enforcement personnel. Using industry-leading podiatric techniques, Kayal Orthopaedic Center surgeons help officers stay out of pain and on their feet. Expertise includes radiofrequency coblation for chronic tendon & ligament problems, ankle arthroscopy, viscosupplementation for arthritis, prolotherapy for chronic Achilles tendinosis, and PRP for soft tissue and joint pain.


Maintaining Your Orthopaedic Health

Orthopaedic health is critical to job performance and quality of life. While it is nearly impossible to avoid orthopaedic injury or musculoskeletal strain, Kayal Orthopaedic Center encourages officers to consider the following in an effort to protect bone and joint health:
  1. When managing a new injury at home, remember to rest, ice, compress and elevate (RICE) for at least 48 hours.
  2. Avoid “working through the pain” when you are injured. Seemingly small injuries may lead to ongoing, debilitating pain if unaddressed. Kayal Orthopaedic Center is proud to treat all types of acute and chronic orthopaedic pain.
  3. When possible, consider a lighter-weight alternative to the traditional duty belt. If permitted, consider tactical suspenders to take the load off your back and hips.
  4. Take care of your back. Perform workouts safely and carefully, and add regular core workouts to your routine. When your core muscles are strong, back injury is less likely.
To learn more about Dr. Kayal and his elite team of orthopaedic surgeons, or to request a consultation to discuss your back pain, musculoskeletal injury or orthopaedic disease, call our Franklin Lakes and Ridgewood offices at 201.560.0711 today. Providing orthopaedic services, minimally invasive procedures and innovative treatments for emergency and first responders, Kayal Orthopaedic is proud to treat New Jersey’s finest—and return them to duty and quality of life.