Health Tips - 2012 Archive

Torrance Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group
Orthopedic Doctors
Physical, Hand & Aquatic Therapy

Two locations:

23456 Hawthorne Blvd.,
Suite 300
Torrance, CA 90505-4716

El Segundo

Phone: 310-316-6190
Fax: 310-540-7362

By Date: Current | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

By Topic: General Orthopedics | Neck, Back & Spine | Shoulder, Elbow & Upper Extremity | Hand, Wrist & Forearm | Hip & Pelvis | Knee & Upper Leg | Foot, Ankle & Lower Leg

December 21, 2012
Benefits of Pool Therapy: Buoyancy and hydrostatic properties of water make pool therapy an ideal alternative to traditional physical therapy. Its buoyancy property allows for decreased stress on joints, decreased pain with weight bearing, decreased tonic muscle activity and allows for increased functional activity. Its hydrostatic benefits include decreased tendency for blood to pool to the lower extremities, decreased swelling and reduction to tactile hypersensitivity. Pool therapy also has positive psychological benefits like relaxation and offers social interaction for our patients.

Keep in mind that pool therapy is not ideal for all. Please refrain from entering the pool if you have one or more of the following: fear of water, tears/breaks in the skin, incontinence, severe peripheral vascular disease or uncontrolled seizure. Speak to your primary physician prior to beginning a pool therapy program.

Talk to one of our doctors or your physical therapist about our pool therapy program available in a new facility located within two miles of our office location.

December 17, 2012
Save your Back: Back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries. It is often caused by ordinary work activities like sitting at the computer desk or lifting heavy objects.

Here are a few helpful tips to protect your back:
Sitting: while driving or sitting at your home or office chair, sit in a neutral position (no slouching or sitting with the shoulders rounded and head forward. Use a lumbar roll or rolled towel by placing it on the small of your back. Here's a head to toe check at the computer desk.
1. The top of the monitor should line up with the top of your head.
2. The screen should be positioned at arm's length.
3. Shoulders should be relaxed.
4. Wrists should be straight.
5. Ears, shoulders and hips should line up vertically.
6. Elbows should be bent at 90 degrees
7. Hips should be as far back on the chair as possible and bent at 90 degrees.
8. Knees should be bent at 90 degrees
9. Feet should be supported or flat. (If you are short, you can place them on a low step stool or book)

1. If you are a side sleeper, ly on your side with a pillow between your knees.
2. If you are a back sleeper, place pillows or a bolster under your legs (thigh to heels)
3. If you are a tummy sleeper, place a pillow under your hips. This is the least ideal position for sleeping, especially if you experience back problems

Carrying/picking up objects:
1. Keep your abdominals tight before and while lifting any object.
2. Keep the object as close to your body as possible.
3. Bend at the knees and hips as if sitting, and use your legs.
4. Pushing is recommended instead of pulling. Stay close to the object as you push it and use your legs.
5. The golfer's pick-up or "tripod" is recommended for picking up small, light objects. (Golfer's pick up is standing on one leg while picking up an object, as a golfer would to pick up a golf ball. Good balance and flexibility or upper body support is ideal with this technique.)

December 7, 2012
Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that allow the arm to lift and rotate. A tear in one or more of the tendons can lead to a painful, weak shoulder. When the tendons or muscles of the rotator cuff are torn it may be difficult to lift and turn/rotate the arm with the same range of motion as before the injury. A tear can occur suddenly (trauma) or develop gradually over time. Other causes include a fall on an outstretched arm, poor blood supply to an area of the cuff, overuse, and gradual weakening of the tendons of the shoulder. Pain is also very common at night, often radiating down the arm.

Depending on the severity of the tear, surgery may be necessary. A complete rotator cuff tear will not heal on its own. Surgery is usually required if the patient's goal is to return to optimal function. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to help regain range of motion as well as strength. There is a possibility that your strength may not return to 100% after the tear.

November 30, 2012
Knee Replacements: Partial or total knee replacements can relieve pain and increase mobility. Damaged joint surfaces are replaced with metal and plastic implants. This reduces pain and can help you get back to everyday life activities such as going up and down stairs or standing up from a lower chair with more ease.

The aim of therapeutic exercises is to keep your knee as flexible as possible. It is important to get your knee as straight as you can to bend it enough to do everyday tasks. It is important to strengthen your thigh, hip and calf muscles.

When you start your exercise program you may experience an increase in pain. As you continue to practice these exercises, your pain will improve and the exercises will get easier every day. Here are some Do's and Don'ts:


Use your CPM as directed
Stay as active as possible
Ice your knee 3x a day for 15 minutes (unless otherwise directed)
Do share any concerns with your doctor or physical therapist


Don't give up, doing less leads to weakness and stiffness
Don't be frightened of all pain, some aches/discomfort during exercise is normal and part of treatment.
Don't lie in bed with a pillow under your knee, except for short periods of time (less than 15minutes)

October 26, 2012
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Are you one of the 1.3 million in the United States that have rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage the joints of the body. This systemic disease affects the internal organs of the body which in turns, causes inflammation to the joint lining tissue. Pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of functional mobility are all symptoms of RA. The inflammation can affect the body's organs such as the heart and lungs. Smaller joints are more likely to be affected by RA such as joints in the hands, feet and elbows. Many times, the inflammation can cause disuse of the joint and therefore, the muscles surrounding the joint become weak. Although there is no current cure for RA, the disease can be controlled especially if you seek medical help early. If you believe you are having symptoms of rhematoid arthritis, please contact one of our orthopedic specialists at Torrance Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group. We are here to help you with your wellness journey.

October 19, 2012
Have you ever experienced a repetitive motion injury? If the answer is yes, you may be amongst one of the most common injuries in the United States. These injuries involve the tissues as a result of repeated motions like household cleaning, jogging or throwing a football. Tendintis and bursitis are both common types of repetitive motion injuries. Tendinitis is an inflammation of a tendon (white fibrious tissue that connects muscle to bone) which is responsible for joint movement. Common tendinitis injuries are located at the shoulder, biceps and elbow like lateral epicondylitis. The most common symptom is pain at the site and worsens with active motion. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa sac which are located where friction may develop and act as a cushioning between the tendon and the bone. Common bursitis areas are located in the elbow, knee and hip. The most common symptoms are pain, tenderness and decreased mobility at the site. To assist with tendinitis or bursitis symptoms, elevate, rest the involved joint and ice 3 times a day for 15 minutes. If the symptoms worsen such as nighttime awakening from pain or inability to sleep on affected side, please contact one of our specialists at Torrance Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group. We are happy to help you with your wellness journey.

October 15, 2012
Shin splints, or tibial stress syndrome, refer to pain along the shinbone. Shin splints occur with physical activity and are a result of excessive forces being placed on the bone or the surrounding tissues that connect muscle to the bone. Shin splints can be caused by either irritated or swollen muscles from overuse, tiny stress fractures in the bone, or overpronation which will cause excessive stretching of the muscles in the lower leg. Depending on the exact cause, pain may be felt on either side of the shinbone or in the muscles. The dull aching pain may be experienced during exercise or shortly after finishing exercise or in some cases constant. Despite the different causes treatment for shin splits will be the same – icing/rest, NSAIDS, a more supportive shoe or arch support, or physical therapy here at TOSMG that will focus on improving flexibility and strength in the lower leg.

October 9, 2012
We know many of you are concerned because of the recent outbreak of meningitis throughout the country. The source of the tainted steroid drugs, the New England Compounding Center Inc, is located in Framingham, Mass. Please rest assured that the physicians at Torrance Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group have not purchased any of our steroid medications from this pharmacy. If you have received an injection from any of our doctors in recent weeks, and are worried about potential risks, please feel free to contact our individual physician's secretary. We will be happy to answer any of your questions and do our best to put you at ease.

October 5, 2012
Have you ever heard the term "golfer's elbow" or medial epicondlytis? Although many people who have this condition have never actually golfed, the diagnosis occurs in many that use a non-overlapping grip or when throwing objects such as a baseball. The pain usually occurs on the inside of the elbow and can reoocur when the wrist is flexed and palm is facing down. To help relieve the elbow pain, try taking a anti-inflammatory like ibuprofren, use heat and/or ice and purchase a elbow strap from a local drugstore. Once the pain begins to dissipate, try stretching the arm with the elbow bent at 90 degrees at your side, flexing the wrist with the palm down. If you continue to have discomfort, please visit one of our specialists at Torrance Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group.

October 1, 2012
Piriformis syndrome is a disorder in which the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. The piriformis is a flat band-like muscle located in the buttocks and assists in the stabilization in the hip joint. The sciatic nerve either passes through or runs alongside the piriformis muscle and branches out to innervate the muscles of the leg. Pain, numbness and tingling can originate in the buttock but can travel down the length of the leg, when the piriformis compresses the sciatic nerve. These symptoms can be triggered with firm pressure on the muscle, climbing stairs or sitting for extended periods of time. A physical exam using certain movements to elicit pain by a doctor or physical therapist here at TOSM can be used to help diagnose piriformis syndrome, although there is no definitive test. Avoidance of aggravating factors, rest, ice/heat and a stretching/exercise program are traditional treatments for piriformis syndrome.

September 20, 2012
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is the inflammation of the thick fibrous band that runs down the outside of the thigh. This band originates at the hip and inserts at the outer side of the shin bone just below the knee joint. It is responsible for helping with the stability of the knee. Where the ITB crosses the knee joint, a fluid filled sac called bursae is located below in order to facilitate a smooth surface for the band to glide over. When this bursae inflames the ITB does not glide smoothly and may cause pain or swelling across the outside of the knee. Endurance athletes are prone to developing ITBS or those who have a sudden increase in activity or mileage. Conservative treatment includes rest, ice and NSAIDS. Once acute symptoms are addressed improving mechanics and flexibility can be taught by one of our physical therapists here at TOSMG.

September 14, 2012
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common hand condition caused by a pinched median nerve in your wrist. Carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway at your wrist that becomes compressed which can cause numbness, pain, weakness and uncoordination. Carpal tunnel is more common in women, symptoms can occur after a wrist fracture, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, inflammatory conditions such as rhemutoid arthritis, changes in body fluid balance such as pregnancy and ergonomic factors. If you begin to feel symptoms, try to rest the hands, icing your wrists throughout the day, taking pain and/or inflammation medication and wearing a wrist neutral brace (that you can purchase from local pharmacy or physcian's office) at night. If you continue to feel symptoms, please visit a physician at Torrance Orthopaedic Sports & Medicine Group and let us help you through your wellness journey.

August 31, 2012
Osgood-Schlatter disease can create a painful lump below the kneecap in children experiencing growth spurts during puberty. Children will typically experience pain at the bony prominence on the upper shin bone, just below the kneecap. There are certain activities that may cause an increase in knee pain – running, jumping, and ascending/descending stairs. The severity of pain will vary from person to person and will usually only affect one knee but on rare occasions will affect both knees. The discomfort may last for weeks to months and has the possibility to recur until the child has stopped growing. Typically Osgood-Schlatter will affect boys aged 11-13 and girls 11-12 who participate in high impact activites such as basketball, volleyball and gymnastics. A physical exam in addition to x-rays will help doctors diagnose Osgood-Schlatter. Consider seeing us here at TOSMG if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms as school sports begin.

August 24, 2012
Tennis Elbow:
Tennis elbow (aka lateral epicondlytis) is a common condition where the muscles and tendons of the forearm which attaches to the outside of the bone area (called lateral epicondyle) is injured. You don't have to necessarily play tennis to get tennis elbow. Tennis elbow can occur in either or both arms but more likely, the dominant arm. Symptoms include pain outside of the elbow, pain increases with gripping and with functional mobility (ie: opening jars, lifting groceries). To reduce your pain and inflammation, try to rest your elbow, use a elastic band that you wrap around the forearm (can be purchased at your orthopedic physican's office or local drugstore), apply ice to the area of pain, avoid heavy gripping, ensuring proper body mechanics with movement and taking anti-inflammatories (if your stomach can tolerate it). If you continue to feel aggravation at the elbow and forearm, please make an appointment with a physician at Torrance Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group.

August 17, 2012
One common foot problem is plantar fasciitis, which is a thickening of the tissue at the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band on the bottom of the foot is overstretched or overused. Foot arch problems, long distance running, poor fitting shoes, and sudden weight gain can predispose individuals to a higher occurrence of plantar fasciitis. The most common complaint is a pain and/or stiffness in the heel, which can be dull or sharp, burn or ache. The pain is usually worse in the morning within first few steps, excessive standing or walking, or after intense activities. A health care provider may recommend the use of an anti-inflammatory, foot and ankle stretches, use of supportive shoes, resting and icing. Treatment may also require the use of a night splint, a boot, cast, or orthotics. If you are currently experiencing foot pain consider seeing us at TOSMG.

July 27, 2012
Nintendo Thumb:
Some videogame users are presenting with thumb and wrist pain that has been termed Nintendo thumb. The Nintendo thumb is a repetitive motion injury where the thumb bone meets the wrist bone. Many videogame users play videogames for hours and hold the video game controller with the wrist bent. The first signs of Nintendo thumb are pain and swelling at the palm near the thumb and pain with gripping and pinching.

In order to prevent the Nintendo thumb, take rest breaks and decrease usage time. Every 30 minutes, the videogame user should take a break and only play for no more than 2 hours per day. The same protocol should follow with IPods when texting, cell phones, tv and computers.

If you see signs of the Nintendo thumb, make an appointment with your doctor.

July 13, 2012
iPad's have become a staple in many of our lives. Sometimes as modern technology advances, this can affect our general health. Many of recent iPad users have reported neck or shoulder pain, otherwise known as the "iPad shoulder." To prevent an "iPad shoulder," be aware of your posture and body mechanics when using the device. Just like a desktop computer, your iPad should be at eye level and a keyboard may be a great option to maintain proper body mechanics. Every few hours, stand up and stretch. One stretch that may be helpful is standing at a doorway and placing your shoulders and elbows at 90 degrees (similar to a goal post) and gently step one foot forward through the doorway. The name of the game – good posture and good mechanics with all electronic devices to prevent pain.

July 6, 2012
Are you having numbness or tingling in your ring and small finger? It could be an elbow problem. Try using an elbow pad to protect the nerve at the inside of the elbow. This could ease the problem.

June 29, 2012
The shoulder joint is very susceptible to discomfort and injury because of it's large mobility and complexity. Poor posture and overuse are leading causes of shoulder pain.

A few tips:

  • Take breaks: Stop your regular activity at least once an hour, stretch and walk around.
  • Apply hot or cold compresses. Use cold for inflammation and heat to increase blood flow to the area and relax tense muscles. Use this modality for 15 minutes at a time.
  • Adjust your chair. Your keyboard positioning should be slightly below elbow height. Mouse should be close to keyboard.
  • Computer Monitor should be at eye level.
  • Use a phone headset or hands-free to decrease neck and shoulder strain.
  • These tips can help restore proper posture, relieve discomfort and prevent future injury.