Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Protecting Those Precious Joints: Summer Health for Runners

When performed correctly, running improves both cardiovascular fitness and joint condition. However, diehard runners should embrace the following tips to prevent injury, especially as summer and fall marathons approach. 
  • Proper footwear is no joke. Everyone loves a bargain, but it’s a good idea to avoid cheap footwear. Recreational and competitive runners benefit from shoes that include high-quality arch support and sole cushioning. Most athletes wear a half to full size larger in running shoes, so it’s smart to be properly fitted for running shoes at a store staffing qualified footwear consultants. If you run often, consider purchasing two pairs of shoes so they can properly dry between runs.    
  • Choose your running surface wisely. When you have the opportunity, select a semi-soft surface like grass or dirt. Running daily on concrete or asphalt is harder on knee joints. Avoid uneven surfaces, where you’ll have more chance of rolling an ankle or injuring your foot. 
  • Cross train on the off days. To build up your “non-running” muscles, try swimming, biking and strength training. Cross training makes you a well-rounded athlete that’s less prone to injury. 
  • Warm-up and stretch. Avoid taking off at full speed with out a warm-up or pre-run stretch. Though it takes extra time, structured warm-ups prepare your body for the task to come—and reduce the chance of ligament, tendon and muscle damage.
  • Listen to your body. Pain is a signal that something is awry, so don’t “push through the pain.” Instead: ice, elevate and rest minor injuries, and give your body the time it needs to heal when it’s hurt. For more nagging or chronic pain, consult with your orthopedic surgeon. The Kayal Orthopaedic Center team specializes in conservative and surgical treatment plans, and is committed to getting runners back to exercise quickly and safely.   
At Kayal Orthopaedic Center, PC, we encourage patients to embrace wellness through regular exercise. To schedule your sports medicine appointment at either of our state-of-the-art facilities, call 201-447-3880 today, or fill out our brief contact form. A staff member will return your call promptly. We look forward to caring for you! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Avoiding the Pain of Summer Foot & Ankle Ailments

By Robert A. Kayal, MD, FAAOS

Protect Your Foot & Ankle 
With the summer season upon us, athletes of all levels—from triathlon participants to rec league softball players—are vulnerable to foot and ankle pain. Sports that involve jumping, uneven surfaces or lateral motion present an increased injury risk, especially if the participant has sustained previous injuries. High-risk activities may include: 

  • Hiking: From acute injury to repetitive stress conditions, uneven terrain over long distances leaves hikers susceptible to a variety of lower limb problems. 
  • Baseball and softball: There’s no doubt that the lower body takes a beating during baseball and softball. Injuries are especially common when players are sliding between bases or fielding balls on uneven surfaces. In addition, improperly fitted cleats can cause forefoot pain and other foot problems
  • Running: If you’re used to working out on a treadmill during cold weather, returning to the asphalt can lead to heel pain, tendonitis—or even a stress fracture.
  • Tennis and soccer: The side-to-side movement required during tennis and soccer is physically demanding for ankle joints, and commonly leads to sprains, strains and twists of varying severities.  
While foot and ankle injuries cannot be entirely avoided, Kayal Orthopaedic Center’s foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Chad. W. Rappaport, DPM, FACFAS, encourages summer athletes to keep safety in mind as they’re training, playing, and enjoying the sunshine. To reduce your chances of NJ foot injury, remember the following tips:  

  • Condition your body year round. Foot and ankle injuries occur more often in athletes who lay low all winter and attack the pavement as the weather warms. Unfortunately, deconditioned bodies are often ill-prepared to return to activity after a seasonal hiatus, and are more vulnerable to injury. If you are returning to exercise after a lengthy break, remember to start slow and work your way back to intensity over time.  
  • Select high-quality shoes. Your footwear greatly influences the health of your feet, and properly fitted shoes are especially important during physical activity. High-quality footwear should include adequate arch support, insole cushioning and toebox space. If you’re experiencing pain related to your footwear, a visit to your NJ podiatrist can help. Some New Jersey foot pain patients may also require orthotics to improve balance and ensure correct foot positioning.  
  • Support your feet and ankles. Serious and recreational athletes who have experienced an ankle sprain or other foot injury should support feet and ankles during activity. A lace-up, neoprene or plastic brace can help to stabilize the lower extremities and prevent a repeat strain. Your NJ podiatrist may also recommend physio athletic tape to help to stabilize weak ankles and provide gentle compression after mild injury. 
  • Get a medical opinion. While many people embrace the “no pain, no gain” theory when it comes to their favorite sport or fitness activity, it does not serve them well. If you encounter swelling that hasn’t resolved in a couple of days, or ongoing foot & ankle pain that lasts for a couple of weeks, it’s time to visit your New Jersey foot and ankle doctor. Other signs that you need to see the podiatrist include: throbbing, stiffness, tingling, numbness, burning, or red, infected areas. Remember: If you experience an acute injury that renders you unable to put weight on your foot, or unable to get relief from severe pain and swelling, an ER visit is in order.

Kayal Orthopaedic Center podiatrist, Dr. Chad W. Rappaport, specializes in foot and ankle pain and immobility due to sports injuries, medical conditions, overuse and inappropriate footwear. To schedule a consultation or inquire about insurance coverage for your foot pain or ankle condition, contact Kayal Orthopaedic team via email or telephone today! Dr. Rappaport serves Bergen County, Passaic County and the surrounding area at Kayal Orthopaedic’s Franklin Lakes and Ridgewood locations, and performs surgical procedures at Valley Hospital, Hackensack Medical Center, Chilton Hospital and Patient Care Associates.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dr. Kayal Answers Your Questions

By Robert A. Kayal, MD, FAAOS

NJ Orthopedic FAQs
From week to week, my team and I field many questions from patients dealing with the pain, immobility and strength deficits caused by orthopaedic injuries and conditions. In this blog, I’d like to address a few of your most recent questions. 

What Do You Think About "Resolving" to Become Fit?
Ah, New Year’s resolutions. You may have already forgotten yours, but fitness is a common focus when people decide to improve their overall health—any time of year. And, while I believe that fitness should be part of everyone’s life, a lack of stretching and conditioning can lead to the sports-related injuries that bring patients to our office. 

Stretching out, eating wisely, and easing into a new exercise routine rather than becoming a “weekend warrior” (someone who works out at high intensity over a short period of time) is the correct way to approach physical fitness. This way, your body adjusts to the new levels of activity slowly and you will be less likely to hurt yourself. Think of fitness as a marathon instead of a sprint.

What Are the Most Common Winter Injuries?
Some of the most common winter injuries that we treat are related to overuse or snow-related accidents. They include: 
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Ligament strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Tendon rupture
  • Low back pain
  • Muscle fatigue
Other frequently encountered winter injuries include ACL tears in the knee, ankle and wrist fractures, and skier’s thumb. Remember to keep safety first in your mind when approaching exercise or winter activities. Injury can occur when you least expect it: from neglecting to stretch before a jog to shoveling incorrectly after a snowfall.

How Can I Prevent Injury?
The short answer? You can’t. Injuries happen to everyone at one time or another, but you can reduce the chance of injury through a series of easy and efficient steps:
  • Warm up before physical activity. Perform range-of-motion stretches, or walk for several minutes to warm up.
  • Train appropriately for sporting events through a combination of weight training, strengthening and stretching exercises.
  • Maintain good bone health through healthy levels of calcium and vitamin D to reduce the risk of bone breaks. Ask your Kayal Orthopaedic bone specialist about vitamin recommendations. 
  • Strengthen your core muscles to support your spine. Practicing yoga and pilates are excellent ways in which to support your core and improve your overall balance and functionality.
If you’ve been injured during athletics or daily activity, don’t wait to address your pain. Call our NJ orthopedic offices today to schedule a one-on-one appointment with me or with a member of my qualified surgical staff!

Seeking Help
At Kayal Orthopaedic Center, we specialize in orthopaedic health for all ages: children, teens, adults and senior citizens. Don’t let pain management limit your activity or become a daily task on your to-do list! Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Ridgewood or Franklin Lakes offices, or visit our website to educate yourself about common injuries and conditions! We look forward to serving you, and wish you health and safety during the rest of the winter!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Healthy Diet and Exercise for the New Year

By Robert A. Kayal, MD, FAAOS

2012 brings feelings of hope and optimism, as well as a deluge of resolutions. Many people resolve to lose a few pounds, particularly after paying the price for holiday indulgence. While diet and exercise can indeed help you achieve your weight loss goals, Kayal Orthopaedic Center, your premier New Jersey orthopaedic surgical team, reminds you that healthy diet and exercise is the key to keeping yourself pain-free and in better condition.

Healthy Exercise Habits
According to the American Obesity Association, carrying more weight than is appropriate for your frame size can lead to musculoskeletal pain. Aerobic exercise can help you shed the pounds needed to take excess pressure off of your joints, but it’s important to employ healthy exercise habits. If you have never exercised before or if you have pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, consult your primary care provider before you begin a series of workouts.

Once you have the green light to work up a sweat, start slowly. Walking, jogging and simple stretching gets your body used to the increase in activity without the threat of muscle strains and sprains. Chronic pain in your hips, knees, back, feet or ankles may simply be your body’s way of telling you to slow down, but if your pain persists, be sure to contact your local NJ orthopaedic doctor for advice. “Working through the pain” can lead to more serious injury. As you become more physically fit, incrementally increase both your mileage and workout time to amp up your weight loss routine.
Begin a Healthy Diet
Exercise can increase your flexibility, contribute to joint health and help you work off holiday pounds, but following a healthy, year-round diet is another smart lifestyle change that protects you from obesity and chronic disease. As with exercising, be sure your intended dietary changes are appropriate for your individual state of health.

Vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients help you focus, improve your immunity and keep you feeling full for longer periods of time so you aren’t as tempted to snack. Remember to make healthy lifestyle changes, though—instead of adhering to unhealthy fad diets and unproven supplements. Slow and steady is just as crucial for healthy dieting as it is for exercising. Simple ways to ease into a healthy diet include:
Some of the most frequently of the most frequently occurring shoulder conditions treated by the Kayal Orthopaedic Center include:

  • Drinking water instead of sugary juices and sodas
  • Choosing brown rice and whole wheat pastas and bread products over white
  • Crunching on nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables instead of fat-laden, salty snacks
  • Including low-fat dairy products in your diet

A healthy lifestyle can help to keep your aching back or sore hips in check, but if you still experience pain, don’t let it become a habit. Contact Kayal Orthopedic Center today to discuss your symptoms. Happy New Year! May you experience health, fitness and happiness in 2012.