Is the Bone Broken or Fractured?

Is the Bone Broken or Fractured?

Many people have the misconception that broken bones and fractures are different injuries. In reality, “fracture” is a clinical term and “break” is a lay term, but the two have the same meaning. Both words refer to a loss of integrity in the bone that can range from a simple hairline crack to a complex injury with multiple bone fragments. Additionally, people tend to believe that, if they can move their bone, it isn’t broken. This is not true. Any swollen, bruised, painful joint that has been injured should be evaluated and X-rayed to assess for a fracture. If you have an injury that fits this description, stop by our walk-in-clinic for a consultation. Even if you’ve injured the same bone as someone you know, your treatment options could vary greatly.

Your treatment options depend upon a number of things—most significantly, the location and severity of the break. At the Orthopedic Institute, we’ll clearly explain the options and provide you with the best possible recovery from your injury.

Check out these key signs that a broken or fractured bone needs surgery: 

Are the Bones Pulling Apart?

In order to fix a broken or fractured bone, it needs to be held in position long enough to heal itself. Normally this can be accomplished by carefully aligning the broken bone and wrapping affected limb in a plaster cast. However, in some cases, the bones attempt to pull apart, which prevents the break from healing properly and causes complications.

Does the Bone Break Skin?

When a broken bone breaks the surface of the skin, it is called an “open fracture.” In these situations, the bone needs to be moved back inside the body and realigned through surgery. These types of fractures are particularly serious because they open the wound and the bone itself up to the possibility of infection.

Does the Fracture Involve Joints?

Fractures that involve joints are called intra-articular fractures, and they generally require surgical intervention to correct. These fractures should not be taken lightly, as they often result in long-term complications. Joints are meant to fit together neatly, so they don’t rub or grind when you move. A fracture that damages a joint could potentially leave the surfaces uneven and cause them to grind on one another.

Are the Bones Displaced?

When a bone breaks and the two ends of the broken bone become significantly misaligned, it is called a displaced fracture. When the bone is broken into many pieces, it is referred to as a comminuted fracture. These fractures are complex and cannot be healed with a cast alone. Surgery is required to piece the bones back together so they can heal properly. Comminuted fractures can happen to any bone, but they are most common in the elbow, wrists and legs.

If you or your family member has a serious injury and you’re worried the bone may be broken or fractured, the experts at Orthopedic Institute are here to help, so make an appointment or stop by our walk-in-clinic for a physician consult.

3 Types of Foot and Ankle Pain You Shouldn't Ignore

3 Types of Foot and Ankle Pain You Shouldn’t Ignore

You should never ignore any type of pain, but pain in your feet or ankles can take an extra toll. That’s because if  you have trouble walking, you are more likely to stop being physically active—which can lead to further health issues down the road.

Pain-free mobility is essential to your quality of life! Learn more about the three types of foot and ankle pain you shouldn’t ignore. 

1. Bunions

Just because they’re common, doesn’t mean you should ignore them! Bunions are essentially a deformity of the big toe. Patients with bunions have a toe which points outwards, as well as a bump on the inner side of the foot. (Hint: See our pedorthist for help with orthotics and shoe modifications.) As a bunion gets bigger and calluses form, it can force you to shift your weight to avoid pain when you walk—potentially causing back and neck pain. Ignoring bunions can lead to:

  • Painful swelling
  • Cracked skin
  • Overlapping lesser toes (leading to pain elsewhere in your foot)
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Increased risk of arthritis
  • Increased risk of falls

2. Pain on the top or sides of your feet

From tendonitis and stress fractures to bone spurs, joint inflammation and more—pain on the top or sides of your feet should always be taken seriously. Have you picked up an activity recently that your feet might not be used to? Or, maybe you’ve been squeezing your feet into shoes that are too tight and/or don’t have much arch support. No matter the cause, it’s important to see a foot and ankle specialist to diagnose and treat the pain.

3. Foot pain right away in the morning

Even if you’re not a “morning person” who jumps out of bed with a smile to start the day, you should not be in pain when you step out of bed. Shooting pain in your foot or ankle right away in the morning is most often a sign of plantar fasciitis. This condition caused by inflammation of the tendons that connect your heel to your toes. Other causes of morning foot pain could include:

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Bone spurs
  • Flat feet (“fallen arches”)
  • Arthritis

While there are aches and pains that don’t warrant a visit to the doctor’s office, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you have persistent foot or ankle pain that lasts longer than a week, make an appointment to come in and see the experts at Orthopedic Institute.

Not sure you need an appointment right now? Check out these everyday tips for fighting off foot and ankle pain.

Outpatient Joint Replacement Surgery: The Benefits & How to Prepare

Outpatient Joint Replacement Surgery: The Benefits & How to Prepare

The idea of an outpatient procedure is always an attractive one—the ability to have your surgery and return home the same day can be valuable. In fact, at Orthopedic Institute (OI), joint replacement surgeries can often be performed outpatient—as much as 90 percent of such surgeries at OI are outpatient for select scenarios.

From total shoulder replacements to knee and hip procedures, why does outpatient matter—and how should you prepare?

The Benefits

Among the obvious benefit of being in the comfort of your own home post-surgery, outpatient procedures can have other marked benefits. Without the expense of a hospital stay, outpatient surgery will typically save money on your final bill. It has also been shown anecdotally to be less stressful—the familiarity of home often makes a great recovery space. It also means less of a time strain on your schedule—you can book your appointment on an ideal day and keep any unnecessary time off from work or other commitments to a minimum.

Preparing for Surgery

Informing Your Team

One of the first steps of prepping for an outpatient joint replacement surgery is informing your team of physicians about what medications you’re currently taking regularly. Some medications may need to be halted in advance of your surgery day, including over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Make sure to provide honest answers to medical history questions—these will play an important role in clearing you for the procedure.

Getting Tested

Your doctor may order some tests prior to the procedure—these pre-op examinations may include X-rays, blood tests and EKGs to determine your readiness for surgery. Your physician should also provide you with materials you may need to help you better understand what the surgery entails—including what to bring on the day of, what will be the goal of the surgery and joint exercises to try leading up to the date.

Post-Surgical Recovery

Upon leaving the clinic, your surgeon or physician will offer you advice on how to care for yourself from home. For starters, you should plan on having someone to drive you—post-surgery, it’s recommended you don’t operate a vehicle due to drowsy or dizzy conditions. You should use medication as prescribed or recommended by your doctor—and make sure you have a phone number handy to call a qualified nurse or physician if you have any questions about medications or other elements of the recovery process.

4 Everyday Tips for Fighting Off Foot & Ankle Pain

4 Everyday Tips for Fighting Off Foot & Ankle Pain

 Are your “dogs” barking? You’re not alone! Every day, we take thousands of steps. So it’s no surprise that foot and ankle pain can occasionally be part  of our days, too – especially as we age. See your doctor for serious pain that interferes with daily life. But when it comes to occasional foot pain or discomfort, there are a few simple steps you can take for quick relief. 

Here are 4 tips to give foot and ankle pain the boot. 

1. Wear the Right Shoes

One of the best things you can do to relieve foot and ankle pain today – and prevent it from happening tomorrow – is to wear properly fitted, well-cushioned shoes. Have your feet measured at a shoe store at least once a year to make sure you’re wearing the correct size and width, and replace older shoes that no longer fit. This doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish, it just means you need to know what to look for when buying new footwear.

2. Support Your Arches

Arch support isn’t just for people with flat feet – it’s important for all of us! If you’ve been experiencing foot and ankle pain, especially from wearing flat-soled shoes, try adding Powerstep inserts to your shoes. Our pedorthist, Reid Herrboldt, swears by them. They can be tough to find, but good news … we carry multiple sizes! Stop by OI to pick up a pair. Or better yet, make an appointment with Reid for a professional fitting. Your legs and feet will feel better, because proper arch support helps reduce weakness and soreness all day long.    

3. Stretch Often

Muscles can become stiff and painful whether you’re standing and walking all day, or simply sitting at a desk or table. Every hour or so, remind yourself to stretch, relax and lengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles. Start by pointing your toes down to stretch the top of the foot and ankle. Then, roll your feet in circles (clockwise and counter-clockwise) to loosen up your ankle. Finally, point your toes straight up to stretch the back of your calf. Our physicians and therapists like these six stretches from Prevention Magazine.

4. Baby Your Feet

You can help your feet recover from carrying you around all day with simple foot care techniques. Do the bottoms of your feet hurt? Try rolling them from heel to toe over a frozen water bottle, tennis ball or baseball. The gentle massage stretches muscles and helps your feet recover from the day. Pain on the top of your foot can be an indication of arthritis. Most people with plantar fascitis have very tight calf muscles. You can use the six stretches noted above for relief.

If your foot and ankle pain persists, it’s time to see a specialist at Orthopedic Institute.

5 Things to Look for in Orthopedic-Friendly Shoes

5 Things to Look for in Orthopedic-Friendly Shoes

Whether you’re accommodating for a temporary or chronic condition, shoes with orthopedic features can be a great tool for improving your foot health. They can go a long way toward treating conditions such as blisters, long-term foot pain, bone spurs or arthritis—all symptoms that can be born out of wearing improper footwear. If you’ve decided it’s time to look for a better shoe, whether by pedorthist recommendation or by personal interest, there are a few things to look for when trying out your options.

Here are five things you should look for in your orthopedic shoe purchase.

Inside Features

When investigating the inner workings of your everyday shoe of choice, it’s important to look for a few key elements. Does the insole provide adequate support—is it removable, and does it offer the right amount of cushion for your distinct arch? How about toe room—does it offer the right amount of space to prevent irritation or calluses over time? (Look for round- or square-toed shoes, and avoid shoes that come to a point.) The bottoms of each person’s feet can vary widely, so make sure you’ve taken steps to ensure your individual shape is accommodated for. (Your left foot may even vary from your right!)

You could also benefit from features that you can add to your existing shoes, such as certain inserts and custom-made appliances. For example, some steel flat inserts are used to help with toe pain, some small, custom-made heel lifts can help with planar fasciitis—the list is virtually endless. Talk with an Orthopedic Institute specialist to see if this could work for you.

Are you an avid runner? There are even more considerations to make when it comes to shoes built for joggers. Check out our blog on determining a best-fit shoe!

Outside Features

The comfort and effectiveness of your everyday-use shoes depends on more than just the inner elements. Outer pieces can have a big impact on quality as well. Look for pairs that feature breathable fabric on the top of the shoe for optimum ventilation in warmer conditions. The style of the base of the shoe is also critically important—make sure it features quality tread to keep your contact with the ground stable and balanced.

Adequate Heel

Many shoes feature a slight heel. Depending on your arch and the foot condition you’re accounting for, a slight lift can actually help in some cases, such as plantar fasciitis. (Consult with your pedorthist on which heel features are best-fit for you and your condition—depending on what you’re accounting for, less heel may be a better idea.) You should also keep your eyes peeled for pairs that have a stable heel counter—the cup that offers structure to the back half of the shoe. A good way to spot this is to test a heel’s bendability. If it’s difficult to bend, it should provide stable support.

True Fit

This may or may not surprise you, but your feet can experience slight changes in size throughout the day depending on factors such as humidity and temperature. That’s why picking the absolute right fit can be so important for someone looking for shoes that maintain quality foot health. Consider trying on pairs in the afternoon or evening hours once your feet have been walked on for several hours and have slightly expanded from use and outside conditions. This also goes for older shoe-buyers—our feet change throughout our lives, so if you’re still wearing the same size you wore years ago, it might be time to take updated measurements.

(Pro tip: When pinpointing the best fit, it’s important to wear the style of socks you’ll most often be utilizing when wearing these shoes—it will give you the truly best idea of the size you should buy.)

Specialization

When it comes to finding quality shoes, it helps to do your homework before you head to the store. While some major footwear manufacturers may offer shoes with joint-healthy support in addition to standard designs, they may not have a true specialization in this style of shoe. Look for companies with good reviews and endorsements of health organizations or manufacturers that solely focus on quality, well-designed and manufactured shoes. It also can’t hurt to speak to your pedorthist about best practices when buying. Check out OI’s own resident pedorthist, and schedule an evaluation!

Senior Health: When Injuries Are Serious Enough for an Orthopedic Visit

Senior Health: When Injuries Are Serious Enough for an Orthopedic Visit

Injuries can be difficult to evaluate if you’re not a trained professional. Especially if symptoms don’t start to act up until well after the injury occurred. So how can you tell if your injury needs to be examined by an orthopedic specialist?

Here are some signs for seniors to watch for after an injury.

Foot or Ankle Injuries

Did you twist your ankle stepping off a curb or drop a heavy box on your foot? If you notice swelling that doesn’t go away or pain when you place weight on the injured limb, you might require a visit to our clinic or to a foot specialist on the Orthopedic Institute (OI) team, such as Dr. Watson.

You definitely need to get checked out upon difficulty walking or if you can’t manage to move more than a few feet.

OI actually offers walk-in hours for immediate check-ups, weekdays from 3-7 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. You can also make an appointment online here.

Ligament Injuries

Consistent pain isn’t the only indicator for a visit to the orthopedist. A torn ACL doesn’t always result in pain but certainly warrants a clinic trip. If your knees feel strange turning corners or they feel unstable, these are signs you need to see a health professional. Torn cartilage and ligaments can also cause problems by causing joints to stick or outright lock up.

Just like for foot or ankle injuries, OI can check out the effects of a ligament injury during walk-in hours, weekdays from 3-7 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., or by setting up an appointment online here.

Muscle Injuries

Muscle pulls, also known as strains, are common. It’s also common, when lifting weights, to experience some minor soreness that dissipates within a day or two.  However, severe tears can require surgery to piece the muscle tissue back together. A strain of this nature can sometimes be associated with a weakness sensation or inability to use the associated muscle or tendons.

Our specialists at OI can complete a series of orthopedic tests on areas of pain in order to pinpoint any possible tears. If more information is needed, an MRI can diagnose the tear’s severity.

Wear and Tear

Over time, areas such as the knees, ankles, shoulders and other parts that see a lot of use, can start to act up. Inflammation in joints can get worse, causing pain and stiffness. When arthritis sets in, it can cause many daily activities to become painful chores. Consistent joint swelling, tenderness and restricted range of movement can be signs of arthritis. Check out our blog on alternative therapies for more on possible treatments.

Time for a Visit

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms and have a concern, it’s never a bad idea to get checked out by an orthopedic specialist. Your health is important to the team here at OI. We can set you up with the right treatment plan to help you recover and once again get your body back in motion.

5 Solo Exercises That Improve Your Agility

5 Solo Exercises That Improve Your Agility

There’s never a bad time of year to get in a workout—so how can you shake off some stiffness and soreness and get your agility back to its optimum state? Furthermore, what is “agility?” Agility is the ability to move your body quickly, easily and with control and balance. (In other words, it’s something we all strive for in our health and fitness.)

Here are a few exercises you can do solo that help to improve your agility.

Jumping Rope (Control)

Jumping rope is more than just a playground activity for kids. (Though that’s also a great excuse to improve agility in the whole family.) It’s also a part of the regimens of professional athletes in the fields of boxing, basketball and football. It’s a fantastic way to strengthen your balance, speed and overall control. In addition, it helps build up your stamina and works to power up the muscles in your legs.

Ladder Running (Precision)

To really get your blood pumping, one of the best things you can do is incorporate full body movement. If you have access to a rope ladder, you’re in luck—lay it down on the floor in an area with plenty of wiggle room and run the spaces between the rungs like you would a tire drill. Pump your arms while you move, and add in modifications for extra credit, such as bringing your knee to your chest on each leg bend.

Cutting & Skaters (Balance)

If you’re looking for a good calorie-burner that doubles as an agility enhancer, try out speed skating (without the ice). Pick an area with some room to spread out and move as a speed skater does, from side to side, crossing your leg in the back as you reach each side. Just make sure to establish your cutting mechanics first – check out our demo below on how to ease into skater hops.

Shuttle Run (Speed)

It’s a classic drill you’ll probably remember from fitness tests in school, but it still can be a potent way to build your agility as an adult. Place “start” and “finish” objects in an area where you can spread out and run some sprints. Run back and forth between your items, and increase the distance between the items each time you run the drill. If you’re on a bike path or running trail, you can even assign landmarks on the path as your “markers” and perform your back-and-forth agility exercise out in nature. Check out the demonstration below for drilling a shuttle run – in this case, using yard lines.

Cone Drill (Speed)

One of the best ways to build agility is to force yourself to make directional and pace changes in a rapid-fire setting. Set up some cones in a triangle or rectangle and sprint from cone to cone. As you reach a new cone, try a different style of sprinting, such as high knees, tuck jumps, side shuffles, etc. Vary up your routine, and it will (literally) keep you on your toes. Check out the demo below to see how it works in practice – you can even try diagonals to add another challenge element.

How to Do the Lunge Correctly

Lunges are one of the most efficient ways to easily build strength in multiple parts of your body, including your calves, core, and glutes. Their relative ease makes them incredibly popular for at home or gym workouts. However, the exercise is only effective when done correctly. If you let your form slip, you’ll lose a lot of the powerful punch a lunge can provide – as well as possible cause long-term damage.

Read on for tips from the expert trainers at D1 Sioux Falls Sports Training facility, and check out the video above!

Foot Placement

One of the most common issues keeping people from achieving a proper lung is foot placement. Your foot should point straight ahead – avoid rotating it out and away from your body. If your foot is rotated, it can put undue stress on your ankle and knee.

Knee Alignment

As you place your foot correctly and begin to lower into a lunge, pay attention to where your knee is landing. Your knee should be in line with the outer portion of your leg. It is common for people to rotate their knee to the inside of their body as they lunge forward. This usually happens because of improper training or some sort of knee weakness. As soon as you rotate your knee to the inside, you stop working the outside of your glut, losing potential muscle work.

Holding Your Chest

Once you have fully lowered into a lunge, make sure to keep your chest high and neutral. Avoid leaning excessively forward. When you lean forward, you drive all the pressure and weight towards your toes and knees. You should keep your body established in a vertical placement over your legs.

Make it Even

You may have perfect lunge technique on your right side, but everything starts to slip when you move to your left side. This is actually relatively common, especially if you have an injury or are recovering from surgery. Find a qualified trainer to work with you on making sure you keep your weaker knee in the correct position.

If you are placing your body directly in a lunge, you should come down into the proper position without any issue. Interested in becoming a lunge expert? Join the qualified trainers at D1 Sports Training to learn how to exercise safely and effectively.

The Right Fit: Choosing Running Shoes

The Right Fit: Choosing the Perfect Running Shoes

With the warm weather coming soon, the sidewalks and pathways will be packed with runners. But before you head to your next run, it’s important to make sure you have the right shoes.

Check out our tips on how to choose the right shoes to support your feet while running. 

What’s the difference?

Sure, picking out your everyday shoes might be more about the look than the function. And depending on how much you value comfort, that might outrank style for you. But when it comes to running shoes, there’s a big difference. Most importantly, pick shoes that offer enough space to accommodate the width of your foot. Think about how your mom tested your shoes out when you were school shopping – account for one thumb-width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. (And women should consider squared or rounded toes, rather than pointed ones.)

What arch is best?

First, you must determine what type of foot, or more specifically what type of arch you have: low, medium, or high. You should always measure your arch height when you’re standing to avoid an inaccurate measurement. Arch height will determine the shape of the shoe needed, also known as the “last”. The last of the shoe is the amount of curve on the bottom of the shoe. Shoes are built on a straight, semi-curved, or curved last. Identifying your foot type can also help you figure out how much cushioning or support you will need.

Don’t skimp on analyzing the arch of your foot when it comes to picking out running shoes. Even the way you run has an affect on which type of shoe to select. Inspect the shoe you’ve been running in for the following:

  • Wear primarily around the ball of the foot and secondarily the heel is often indicative of a flat-arched foot. This is usually a more mobile foot, also referred to as a pronated foot. This foot has the potential to allow too much motion and needs a more supportive shoe that offers better motion control and stability.
  • Wear primarily along the outer edge of the shoot usually hints at a high-arched foot. This is usually a more rigid, stable foot, also called a supinated foot. This type of foot needs more cushioning inherent in the shoe to provide for better absorption of shock to prevent injuries to the feet and legs.

If all else fails and your wear pattern isn’t speaking to you, another way to tell is by having a running analysis done by a trained professional. (And the pros at Orthopedic Institute can certainly help you identify your desirable arch as well.)

What about the price?

That price tag can be a little scary – but the saying is true: “You get what you pay for.” Buying the cheapest running shoes you can find will likely mean you’ll need to replace them sooner or you’ll suffer the consequences from the poor support. Investing a little more traditionally ensures you’re getting the best quality materials and construction. Don’t worry – you won’t have to drop $200 on a pair of shoes. Good athletic trainers (running shoes) run anywhere from $80-150. 

Common Foot Problems: Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. This chronic problem is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament-like structure that passes from the heel to the forefoot. The inflammation is caused by the fascia partially tearing or pulling away from the heel. A bony spur may also develop where the fascia and heel bone meet.

Self-care includes over the counter arch supports or heel pads, exercises, massage and heat or ice.

Doctor’s care may involve anti-inflammatory medications, custom-made orthotic supports or heel cups, night splints, physical therapy, and, if necessary, a cortisone injection. Complete recovery may take months.

Surgery can be performed to release the fascia in severe cases. It can be done traditionally (open surgery) or endoscopically (using a telescope-like instrument and small incisions).

If your foot flattens too much, the plantar fascia may overstretch and become inflamed.

If your foot doesn’t flatten, the plantar fascia may be pulled too tight, eventually causing pain.

What Orthopedic Institute offers with pedorthic care:

  • Custom Orthotics
  • Running/Walking Analysis
  • Shoe Recommendations
  • Diabetic Foot Care
  • Amputee Foot/Toe Filler
  • Custom Bracing/ AFO
  • Shoe Modifications
  • External/Internal Heel Lifts

Dr. Watson specializes in foot and ankle medicine, and also general orthopedics.  He completed his fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at GIKK in Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Reid Herrboldt, MS, ATC, CPED

Our pedorthist, Reid Herrboldt, has many years of field experience and specializes in diabetic care, athletics, and pediatric care for orthotics and bracing.

To make an appointment to see one of our specialists please call 605.331.5890 or 888.331.5890 E-mail: contactus@ortho-i.com