Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Terms to know:

  • Physiologic effect: activities that affect body movement without any relation to a specific disease.
  • Physiologic cascade: sequence of repeated activation reactions due to a series of developments from a specific initial stimulus – example: compressing a nerve can cause muscles to involuntarily spasm due to a lack of blood flow and neurological control over the signal sent to the muscles in which that specific nerve controls.
  • Sensory Nerve Fibers: transmit sensations, such as temperatures and pain, to the brain and spinal cord. These fibers control the sensations you feel on your skin or within your body.
  • Peripheral Motor Nerve Fibers: transmit signals from the brain and spinal cord to muscles. These fibers tell your body how to move and function.
  • Vascularized Fat Flaps: fatty tissue that has blood vessels capable of delivering nutrients to cells within the tissue.  
  • Muscle Atrophy: muscle weakness or loss of muscle mass

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

“Cubital tunnel syndrome” is a collection of symptoms of the upper limb caused by increased pressure within or on the ulnar nerve as it passes along the backside or inside aspect of the elbow. This is indicated within the illustrations below.  It is one of many “compressive neuropathies” in which our nerves contribute to symptoms of pain, numbness, and/or motor dysfunction. These symptoms occur from a physiologic cascade of breakdown within the nerve triggered by reduced blood flow to the lower arm.

A way to demonstrate this physiologic breakdown is to take your finger and press on your skin. You’ll notice, your skin will temporarily turn white as pressure is applied due to the lack of blood flow to that specific area. The same thing happens with our nerves when there is external pressure applied to a nerve that reduces the local blood flow into the area. This can also occur when there is internal pressure within the nerve. Nerves typically display a surge of dysfunction symptoms that are initially temporary but can lead to irreversible long-term changes if not addressed.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Nerve Compression

For those interested in this sequence of breakdown and dysfunction, nerve compression in short produces diminished local blood flow from pressure placed on the compressed area. Reference back to pressing your finger on your skin for any amount of time. This reduction of local blood flow then creates altered signals to your brain. Similarly, consider the times your foot falls asleep when one leg is crossed over the other. This painful tingling and perhaps muscle clumsiness, is rapidly reversed when you simply change the position and “shake it out”. In other words, when you restore local blood flow.

However, over time chronic nerve compression leads to swelling within the nerve. This results in an alteration of the protein transport sequence necessary for proper nerve fiber function along the length of the nerve. See the illustrations below. In addition, compression on the “insulation” (called Myelin) around our peripheral nerves that promotes faster conduction, reduces the ability for nerve fibers to transmit a signal to the muscle to operate. After prolonged periods, this can lead to muscle atrophy.

Normal-Neuron-Signal-Transportation-from-Cell-to-Muscle
Compressed-Neuron-Signal-Transportation
Muscle Atroph

Nerve Breakdown and Dysfunction Timelines

Sensory nerve fibers tend to display breakdown and dysfunction first, with motor nerve fibers secondarily. Eventually, with prolonged compression, the normal connective tissue around the nerve fibers becomes thick and scarred resulting in reduced capacity of the fibers themselves. Once this occurs, there is potential that these fibers may not recover full function, even if the nerve is later decompressed through surgical intervention.

Unfortunately, although this sequence has been well defined in animal studies, it is difficult to predict the timing of this deterioration in humans.  There are several variables that may contribute to either the resiliency or vulnerability of individual patients to progress to the endpoint of permanent nerve fiber scarring and dysfunction. Because of this, if you are experiencing ongoing symptoms of any form of nerve compression, it’s recommended to be seen by an orthopedic specialist.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vs Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

The well-known Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common compressive neuropathy in the upper extremity and involves compression of the median nerve at the wrist. Alternatively, Cubital tunnel syndrome, as discussed here, is slightly less frequent and results from compression of the ulnar nerve as it travels along the inside of the elbow.  We have normal structures that surround and support the location of the ulnar nerve as it travels behind the medial epicondyle. The medial epicondyle is that bony prominence on the inside of your elbow. However, with cubital tunnel syndrome, these normal structures, along with a normal increase of tension along the ulnar nerve as the elbow bends, can create diminished local blood flow and initiate the breakdown and dysfunction cascade mentioned above.

Cubital-with-Muscle-Illustration
Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome
Upper-Extremity-Nerves-Carpal-vs-Cubital-Graphic

The symptoms resulting from this breakdown are usually quite easily recognizable.  Patients usually complain of:

  • Numbness along the ulnar border of the hand (ring and small finger)
  • Tenderness along the inside portion of the elbow
  • Clumsiness and weakness in the hand

Many patients will experience the symptoms of numbness along the side of the hand and elbow pain during the night, as most of us sleep with our elbows bent.  Symptoms may also occur with similar positions during the day. These can be activities such as talking on the phone, typing, leaning on a surface, or vigorous pushing and pulling.  Most patients will notice numbness, typically around the inside of the elbow first. Clumsiness may emerge later.  Over time, with chronic compression, the numbness will persist around the clock and patients will exhibit actual atrophy of the smaller muscles within the hand.  When addressed soon enough, we can aim to stop the process before it reaches this stage.

Some patients can have these problems secondary to instability of the ulnar nerve. You’ll notice when the nerve is instable, it will snap back and forth over the bony prominence on the inside of the elbow whenever flexing or extending the arm.

Hand-Numbness-Symptoms

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

It is important to note that not all patients will manifest these exact symptoms. There are obviously variant presentations that require your physician to be attentive to symptoms and additional examination findings.  Let’s discuss the process of what goes into the diagnosis of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and the various treatment methods available.

Diagnosis

Aside from taking your injury history and listening to your symptom patterns, your clinician will perform a physical exam. This exam will include isolating the level of the injury to the nerve, the degree of nerve dysfunction, and other contributing factors.  Consider that these symptoms may also be manifestations of compression of a cervical nerve root in the neck, compression of a group of nerves passing underneath your clavicle. This condition is specifically referred to as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Additionally, compression elsewhere along the ulnar nerve within the arm, or compression of the ulnar nerve within the wrist, could be potential causes for your symptoms.  Furthermore, sometimes symptoms of hand clumsiness or muscle atrophy is a manifestation of peripheral neuropathy, an intrinsic disease of the nerves themselves, independent of compression. Diabetic neuropathy is one form of this potential cause.

To help distinguish your diagnosis, your physician may also employ electrodiagnostic studies (often referred to as an “EMG”). These EMG’s are performed by an outside provider to help “map out” locations and severity of your nerve compression. From here, your physician will work with you to build a treatment plan suitable for your individual needs.

Initial Treatment

Initial treatment for patients with early symptoms and findings, involves avoiding compression and traction (pulling) on the ulnar nerve. For example, you will want to avoid leaning on your elbow or activities such as heavy weightlifting where weight is pulling on the affected arm.

The simplest initial treatment for pain relief is to use a nighttime splint to block hyperflexion of the elbow.  Hyperflexion while sleeping is often the main contributor of symptoms for patients with this problem. For many patients, “Nerve glide” exercises such as the below, may also be helpful. There may, however, be some patients who do not respond to these exercises.

This condition, in its earliest form, is often reversible and over 50% of patients do not require surgery. Improvement in symptoms may be gradual and take a few months.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Surgery

If symptoms persist or if you exhibit more advanced phases of nerve compression, your physician may recommend surgical treatment to decompress the nerve and enhance blood flow. The most basic surgical measure is “decompression” of the ulnar nerve as it passes through the cubital tunnel. Sometimes, this is enough, allowing the nerve more mobility with less local compression as it glides through the cubital tunnel. However, this procedure may not be effective for every case.

The most common procedure performed is the decompressing of the nerve followed by “transposition” of the nerve to the front of the elbow, just anterior to the medial bony prominence.  With this maneuver, the nerve is both decompressed and placed in a position where it is no longer subjected to stretching or tension. In some cases, the nerve may be left lying just superficial to the muscle on the inside of the elbow. Alternatively, the nerve can also be buried within that musculature to further decrease tension.

Whatever the procedural method selected, the nerve needs to glide freely with minimal tension or kinking around anatomic structures.

Ulnar nerve glide floss

Ulnar-Nerve-Glides
Ulnar Nerve Glides

Cubital Tunnel Surgery Recovery 

Our physicians rarely immobilize, or restrain, the elbow following ulnar nerve decompression or transposition surgery. This is because we want your nerve to glide freely and limit potential for scarring.  However, we do not want any form of violent pushing, pulling, or twisting over the initial 4-to-6-week window. To provide protection against these violent movements, we will prescribe for your surgical dressings to be in place for the initial 7 days. After those 7 days, you will typically be able to remove the dressing and allow running water (faucet or shower) over your wound. We usually have patients return for a follow up visit within 10-to-14-days post operation to complete a wound check and suture removal.

Most patients do not require formal physical or occupational supervised therapy after cubital tunnel syndrome surgery. However, we may provide instructions for simple exercises that you can perform independently at home.  If further supervised visits are needed, our occupational therapists are certainly available to accommodate as such.

Things to Know Before Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Surgery

All surgical procedures incur some risk. However, those specific to ulnar nerve surgery are localized to:

  • Wound infection (fortunately the risk for infection is quite low)
  • Direct injury to the ulnar nerve
  • Persistent or even temporary worsening of symptoms
  • Numbness on the posterior aspect of the elbow (due to a small sensory nerve branch separate but overlying the ulnar nerve)
  • Recurrent symptoms

Let’s discuss why symptoms would occur again. This is because some patients are genetically more predisposed to developing scar tissue around nerves. Unfortunately, we are not able to identify those who are predisposed to such scaring before surgery. However, the good news is, those of us surgeons seasoned in peripheral nerve surgery are quite familiar with patients exhibiting this phenomenon. In the event this scarring occurs, it may require further surgery. This additional surgery would include concurrent measures with use of different materials to encase the nerve. Alternatively, we can utilize vascularized fat flaps to surround the nerve and limit further scar formation.

What to Expect After Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

Nerve recovery and symptom resolution varies widely. Some patients note resolution of burning and tingling within just a few days or weeks.  For others, depending on the degree and chronicity of nerve compression pre-surgery, this may take a few months.  This is particularly the case with patients who demonstrate muscle atrophy changes pre-surgery. Unfortunately, many of those patients will not regain normal muscle function. With this, the goal with nerve compression surgery is to stop the process of ongoing muscle atrophy from lack of neural input. Neural input is in essence, the lack of brain neurons that tell the muscle to function. Fortunately, sensation for less severe cases may recover over a few months. For patients who have had severe or chronic compression, sensation is estimated to take anywhere between six to nine months.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome or any other nerve injury, call us today. Our physicians will develop a treatment plan to ensure you do not suffer from any further muscle atrophy and sustain as much normal motor function as possible.

Developed by the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Hand and Upper Extremity Center

Meet Our Providers

Dale Cassidy, MD, MBA

Dale Cassidy, MD

Jeffry T. Watson, MD

Jeffry Watson, MD

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Total Knee Replacement vs Partial Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement vs Partial Knee Replacement

Joint Replacement surgeries, specifically Knee Replacement surgeries, have become some of the most common procedures performed across the globe. This is due to many types of arthritis affecting our joints and causing joint damage. Much like the end of a chicken bone, our bones are covered with a thin but resilient layer called Hyaline Cartilage. Arthritis can be thought of as the progressive deterioration, or wear, of this layer. As this happens our underlying bones begin to rub against each other causing the substantial pain so many experience. These various types of arthritis can be caused from previous injuries, autoimmune conditions, or even simple wear and tear from activities and aging. Whatever the cause, the results can be debilitating.

Hyaline-Cartilage-2-600x491
Osteo-Progression-600x324

Symptoms of Arthritis

Symptoms of Arthritis range from mild stiffness and soreness to the loss of proper anatomical (muscular and skeletal) function, severe pain consistently felt within the joint, and the inability to walk. As a result, many ask when is it time to see a doctor to seek pain relief for arthritis? In short, if the pain is keeping you from performing your day-to-day activities, we recommend scheduling with a fellowship trained orthopedic joint specialist to see what treatment options will suit your individual symptoms and needs.

Bi-Lateral-Osteoarthritis-in-Knees-x-ray-with-detail-600x479
Osteo-x-ray-detail-600x473

Treatment for Arthritis

For those who come to us with various symptoms of arthritis, there are a few initial steps that need to occur so we can appropriately diagnose your pain as arthritis pain and thus develop a suitable treatment plan for you.

The first step in diagnosis is taking you through a full examination of the joint in question and taking x-ray images. From here, you and your physician will work together to develop a treatment plan specific for the patients needs and lifestyle. In many cases, conservative treatments such as physical therapy or injection therapy, will be recommended as a starting point. If conservative treatment options are unable to help settle the arthritis pain, surgery is often our next best option.

Over the years, the surgeries used to treat arthritis pain have become very commonplace, exceptionally reliable, and tremendously rewarding for both the patient and surgeon when the patient returns to the activities they we’re limited from prior to treatment.

Total Knee Replacement vs Partial Knee Replacement

In most cases “Knee Replacement” can be thought of as a “Knee Resurfacing”. Essentially, the surgeon will remove the worn cartilage layer from the knee and replace (resurface) it with a new layer made of a very smooth hard metal and a medical-grade plastic to restore the joint.

Total Knee Replacement

In the knee, there are three main areas where our bones come in contact with each other. The femur, (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone) and patella (kneecap). Restoring all three of these areas at one time is what we medically classify as a Total Knee Replacement. In many cases, by the time a patient comes to see us, their cartilage damage is severe enough, a Total Knee Replacement is the most appropriate treatment.

Total-Knee
Total-Knee-pot-op-x-ray-2

Partial Knee Replacement

Alternatively, there are some instances where only one of these three areas is the culprit for arthritis pain. In this case, a less invasive Partial Knee Replacement may sufficiently relieve the patient’s pain.

A Partial Knee Replacement procedure involves the removal of the one area of damaged cartilage and replacing it with a similar yet more localized hardware. The knee’s unaffected areas are left alone. With most cases, this procedure can be accomplished through smaller incisions causing less surgical injury to the knee. In other words, a Partial Knee Replacement could be classified as a minimally invasive surgery with less harm done to the knee compared to a Total Knee Replacement.

Partial-Knee
Partial-Knee-x-ray-post-op

What to Expect with a Knee Replacement?

One thing to always remember, just because a procedure CAN be performed, does not mean it is always the correct choice. Always thoroughly discuss treatment options with your surgeon when making decisions to undergo surgery. To elaborate, there are some cases where you may not a good candidate for either one of these procedures. Your size, age, weight, overall health, outcome expectations, and  physical limitations or abilities all play a role in whether a knee replacement will be the correct procedure for you. With this, no matter if a partial knee or a total knee replacement is chosen, the procedure must be able to:

  • Be performed safely
  • Improve your function
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Meet your physical ability expectations and support most tasks that you will place on it after surgery.

Furthermore, each procedure requires a visit to either a hospital or a surgery center, where the surgery is performed through an incision over the front of the knee. During the procedure you will be under anesthesia.

Keep in mind, a Total Knee Replacement and a Partial Knee Replacement will both involve some amount of downtime and commitment to a rehabilitation period after surgery. However, with technology advancements we are now able to have most patients up walking with assistance immediately after surgery. Additionally, in many cases we can perform the procedure as an outpatient procedure and send you home to recover the same day as surgery.

Knee Replacement Recovery Time

Although a partial knee replacement may be slightly less painful and overall an easier recovery than a total knee replacement, they are both very dependent on a strict and crucial rehabilitation period. The patient’s diligence with their postoperative physical therapy protocols is critically linked to the success of their surgery. Also, as mentioned previously, your preoperative condition and overall health status greatly affects success of the surgery as well as the time to reach full recovery. If post operative rehabilitation is adhered too, many patients are walking independently within days to weeks following the procedure. Likewise, some patients are able to go back to work within four to ten (4-10) weeks as well. After either type of knee replacement surgery, you can expect to see progressive improvement in your knee’s pain and function for up to a year.

If you are suffering from pain and stiffness in your knees that is not adequately controlled with a conservative treatment, talk with your orthopedic surgeon or call us today to schedule your initial evaluation.

Developed by the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Joint Replacement Team

Meet Our Providers

Dr. Tyler Bron, MD

Tyler Bron, MD

Dr. Michael Feign, DO

Michael Feign, DO

Dr. Eric Jepson, DO

Eric Jepson, DO

Dr. Theodore Stringer, MD

Theodore Stringer, MD

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What is Frozen Shoulder? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

What is Frozen Shoulder? 

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Terms to know:

  • Humerus: upper arm bone
  • Scapula: shoulder blade
  • Clavicle: collarbone
  • Shoulder Capsule: group of strong connective tissues that encapsulate and secure the shoulder’s ball and socket joint
  • Contracture: when a soft connective tissue around a joint becomes stiff, constricted, or shortened.
  • Manipulation under Anesthesia (MUA): when the patient receives general anesthesia and a series of stretching, traction, and mobilization is performed by the surgeon.
  • Arthroscopy: a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves using a camera and specially designed instruments that are inserted into the joint via several small incisions.

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that is made up from three bones: the Humerus (the upper arm bone), the Scapula (commonly known as the shoulder blade), and the Clavicle (collarbone). The humerus fits right into a shallow socket that is formed within the scapula, right under where the clavicle sits above the scapula. Strong connective tissues surround this joint and hold these boney structures in place. These tissues are referred to as the Shoulder Capsule in medical terms. Additionally, Synovial fluid resides within the shoulder capsule and shoulder joint to help the shoulder move with ease.

Adhesive-Capsulitis-anatomy-normal-vs-inflammed-600x373
Adhesive-Capsulitis-anatomy-600x531

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is a condition where the shoulder capsule surrounding the shoulder joint becomes stiff and in turn causes pain in the shoulder. It is a relatively common cause of disabling shoulder pain and dysfunction.  Although it is not as common as a rotator cuff problem, the pain it causes is typically much more severe.

Adhesive Capsulitis

Frozen Shoulder Stages

There are three (3) stages of Frozen Shoulder.

Stage one (1) is referred to as the ‘Freezing” stage. This is when pain can worsen and range of motion becomes more limited. This stage typically lasts between six (6) to nine (9) weeks.

Stage two (2) is the ‘Frozen” stage. In many patients, pain may subside to some degree however, stiffness typically remains. Day to day activities can also be very difficult during this stage that can last anywhere between four (4) to six (6) months.

Stage three (3) known as the ‘Thawing’ stage, is when the shoulder stiffness starts to decrease and motions begins to slowly improve. It is within this stage when a patient will begin to return to their normal or close to normal strength as well. This stage is the slowest progression stage and can take anywhere from six (6) months to three (3) years.

Frozen Shoulder Stages

What Causes Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder affects approximately three (3%) percent to five (5%) percent of the general population and tends to affect patients between the ages of forty (40) and sixty (60) years old.  The cause of this problem is not well understood however, it involves scarring and contracture of the joint capsule. This scarring and constriction leads to limited mobility of the shoulder joint.

Many who are affected by frozen shoulder do not have any predisposing conditions, however those with diabetes, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular disease, fibrocystic breast disease, or Parkinson’s disease may be more at risk.  Additionally, Frozen Shoulder can also develop following trauma to the shoulder, or even after a previous shoulder surgery.

Frozen Shoulder Symptoms

The hallmark physical examination involved with the diagnosis of frozen shoulder is assessing the loss of passive and active mobility in the shoulder joint.  Patients often do not acknowledge the significant loss of motion when it occurs as it usually develops slowly and many unconsciously compensate by using more scapular (shoulder blade) motion when performing day to day activities.

Frozen Shoulder Treatment

The good news is that Frozen Shoulder will usually get better without any formal treatment.  The bad news is that it can take a very long time (up to several years), and patient symptoms will often trigger them to seek treatment to shorten the course of this problem. To help with this, there are a variety of conservative treatment options available with surgical treatments typically utilized as a last resort for the appropriate patients.

Conservative Treatment Options

Conservative treatments include modalities such as physical therapy for joint mobilizations, oral non-steroidal medications, and steroid injections that can help improve the pain level and restore functional motion.  With this, the primary objective in the conservative treatment of frozen shoulder is to control pain while the problem resolves on its own. Studies have shown that, approximately more than ninety percent (90%) of patients see substantial improvements with these various conservative treatments.

Moreover, additional conservative treatment methods have been developed in recent years. These methods however, remain considered as experimental procedures and are not yet approved through the FDA. To learn more about these alternative treatments, we recommend that you further discuss with your physician.

As an alternative to conservative methods if pain and functional limitations are not responding to these conservative treatments, surgery or a Manipulation under Anesthesia can be considered to restore proper mobility. Both conservative and operative treatment methods have shown great success in relieving pain from Adhesive Capsulitis and restoring mobility within the shoulder joint.

Surgical Treatment Options

There are two general operative treatment options to help treat Frozen Shoulder: Manipulation under Anesthesia (MUA) or Arthroscopic Surgery.

Manipulation under Anesthesia

The first, Manipulation under Anesthesia, is performed with the patient completely sedated by an anesthesiologist with intravenous medication.  After the patient is asleep, the surgeon simply manipulates the shoulder in a very specific manner to break apart the scar tissue and restore the shoulder’s range of motion.  The key to success with this procedure is for the patient to participate in physical therapy and maintain the range of motion after the manipulation.

Arthroscopic Surgery

Secondly, surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure where the patient will return home the same day as surgery. Typically an Arthroscopic technique is used during this operation.  To define, Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves using a camera and specially designed instruments that are inserted into the joint via several one quarter inch (1/4”) incisions.  The instruments are utilized to cut and remove the scar tissue that is restricting movement.  This approach is very effective in restoring normal, or near normal, range of motion. The key with this procedure is that the patient does their part with following their prescribed post-operative physical therapy protocols.

Following surgery of this kind, the arm is kept out of the sling and full range of motion is encouraged from the day of surgery.  Daily physical therapy is typically prescribed for the first couple weeks after surgery to help maintain the motion attained during surgery and strengthen the muscles around the joint.  This procedure is effective in restoring and maintaining the motion of the shoulder in over ninety (90%) of the cases that require surgery.

If you believe that you are suffering from symptoms of a frozen shoulder, call our office today to schedule with one of our Fellowship Trained Shoulder Specialists. Let’s get you on the road to recovery!

Developed by the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Sports Medicine Team

Meet Our Providers

Dr. John Redfern, MD

John Redfern, MD

Dr. Richard Stockelman, MD

Richard Stockelman, MD

Craig A. Yager, MD

Craig Yager, MD

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The First Xvision Augmented Reality Spine System in Colorado

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group’s Dr. Roger Sung, MD is the first in Colorado to pilot the
innovative xvision Augmented Reality Spine System

Augmented reality headset gives surgeons “x-ray vision” during procedures for accurate and
personalized implant placement while keeping their eyes on their patients

Colorado Springs, CO, December 2020 – Dr. Roger Sung, MD and his Physician Assistant Kelsey Chrane with Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group are now offering spine surgery with the Augmedics xvision Spine System, a groundbreaking augmented reality (AR) guidance system that allows surgeons to “see through” a patient’s anatomy as if they have “x-ray vision.” The xvision Spine System is the first AR guidance system to be used in surgery and is currently approved for use in open and minimally invasive spine implant procedures.

Similar to a real-time GPS, this “see-through” surgery lets surgeons know exactly where to place implants in a patient’s unique anatomy, and is bringing a new standard of personalization and care to the operating room. The xvision Spine System is different from other image guidance systems, as it allows surgeons to maintain their focus directly on the patient, rather than on a distant screen displaying the patient’s anatomy.

“Augmented reality is a way to look at a patient’s anatomy in three dimensions “live” in the operating room through a headset. It’s like having x-ray vision as it allows us to peek inside. We can take complicated complex spine anatomy and simplify it to allow for better precision and accuracy in surgery. This lets us work through smaller incisions with less trauma to the tissues. Patients can have a quicker recovery and better long term outcome.” – Dr. Roger Sung, MD First Physician in Colorado to use and offer xvision Augmented Reality.

The xvision Spine System consists of a transparent near-eye-display headset and all elements of a traditional navigation system. It accurately determines the position of surgical tools, in real-time, and superimposes them on the patient’s CT data. The navigation data is then projected onto the surgeon’s retina using the headset, allowing him or her to simultaneously look at both the patient and the navigation data. The xvision Spine System is designed to revolutionize how surgery is done by giving the surgeon better control and visualization, which may lead to easier, faster and safer surgeries.

“Moving here to Colorado Springs, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to use Augmented reality and the technology that’s brand new in surgery; that I would be the first woman and the first physician assistant in the world to be able to use this technology, and that we would be the first facility in Colorado to use this technology. Having the opportunity to be involved with a technology that is so new and cutting edge has been incredibly rewarding and also has been really gratifying to know that even here in Colorado Springs I am still able to be involved in the most cutting edge technology and medicine that is available.”- Kelsey Chrane, PA-C First Woman and First Physician Assistant in U.S to use and offer xvision Augmented Reality.

About Dr. Roger Sung, MD
Dr. Sung is a fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in cervical and lumbar surgery, microsurgery, and minimally invasive surgery. He also performs complex spine reconstruction via minimally invasive techniques. Dr. Sung also offers spine surgery with local or spinal anesthesia as an alternative to general anesthesia. These options allow many patients to have complex surgeries in an outpatient setting. Dr. Sung’s expertise with minimally invasive techniques allows for quicker recovery and quicker return to lifestyle.
For more information on Dr. Sung, visit https://www.csog.net/our providers/roger-d-sung-md/

About Kelsey Chrane, PA-C
Kelsey is a Physician Assistant specializing in Orthopaedic surgery and spine surgery. She works with Dr.Sung in The Spine Center. Prior to joining the CSOG team, she worked in a multi-disciplinary Orthopaedic practice at a Level I trauma center in Houston, Texas. She primarily worked in Orthopaedic trauma surgery as well as spine, sports, hand, and pediatric care.
For more information on Kelsey, visithttps://www.csog.net/new-providers-page/roger-d-sung-md/

About Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group
Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is the largest independent orthopedic practice in Southern Colorado and has been providing care to the Colorado Springs community and Pikes Peak region since 1994. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people we serve. We do this by making
orthopedic care as efficient as possible, offering a broad scope of services all in one practice – X-Rays, MRI, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Outpatient Surgery Center, Orthotics and Prosthetics. No matter your need, our 15 Fellowship Trained Board Certified physicians, subspecializing in all aspects of orthopedics – ranging from Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, Hand and Upper Extremity, Spine, and Joint Replacement – have your entire Road to Recovery journey, under one roof.
For more information, visit www.csog.net

About Augmedics
With Augmedics, the future of surgery is within sight. The Chicago-based company aims to improve healthcare by augmenting surgery with cutting edge technologies that solve unmet clinical needs and instill technological confidence in the surgical workflow. Its pioneering xvision system, the first augmented reality guidance system for surgery, allows surgeons to “see” the patient’s anatomy through skin and tissue as if they have “x-ray vision,” and to accurately navigate instruments and implants during spine procedures. Augmedics is backed by Terra Venture Partners and AO Invest, a venture arm of the AO Foundation. The AO is a medically guided, not-for-profit organization, a global network of surgeons,
and the world’s leading education, innovation, and research organization for the surgical treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.
For more information, visitwww.augmedics.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Chelsey Valerio
Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group
cvalerio@csog.net
719-867-7329

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Orthopedic Self-Care Tips

Helpful Orthopedic Self-Care Tips

Your body’s musculoskeletal system is a complex masterwork made up of thousands of moving parts that performs like a well-oiled machine and with orthopedic self-care, you can maintain this process. Whatever movements you make — walking, stretching, reaching, bending, flexing, grasping — are dependent upon the smooth interaction of bones, muscles, and joints. That’s why avoiding injury and the wear and tear of repetitive motions over the course of a lifetime is so important. Here are some orthopedic self-care tips you can use to keep your body in top shape for years to come.

How to Build Your Bone Strength

  • Flex those joints. Spend a few minutes every day slowly stretching and moving each of your joints through their full range of motion without hyperextending.
  • Stay active. Avoid allowing your joints to remain in the same position for an extended period of time, commonly from standing, sitting, leaning, bending over, etc. Stay active, taking breaks often, by moving around and stretching to prevent your joints from stiffening.

helpful care tips

How to Keep Your Muscles Healthy

  • Exercise regularly. Any physical activity is better than none, but strength training is most beneficial for maintaining muscle mass and tone. Not only does it prevent muscle atrophy (losing muscle mass) over time, but it also strengthens your bones.
  • Drink plenty of water. Muscle function is dependent on hydration. Drinking water prevents muscles from cramping. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages if you can, as these can lead to dehydration.

We’re here to provide total care and help you stay active and fit. If you have any questions about our Express Bone & Joint Injury Care services, please call our office at (719) 622-4550.

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Prevention Tips: Avoid Orthopedic Disorders and Injuries

Prevention Tips: Avoid Orthopaedic Disorders and Injuries.

According to the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly true when it comes to orthopedic disorders and injuries. One of the best ways to deal with them is to avoid them in the first place.

prevention tips
Here are several simple ways you can avoid serious orthopedic disorders and injuries:

  • Watch your weight. Did you know that for every 10 pounds you gain, there is a 36% increased risk that you will eventually develop osteoarthritis? Imagine the stress that an additional 20, 30, 40 pounds or more would put on your muscles and joints! Simply maintaining the normal weight for your height will greatly reduce that risk.
  • Never stop exercising. Regardless of your age, regular exercise increases muscle mass and helps keep your joints functioning properly. The best routines include walking, swimming, stretching, and biking on level ground. However, limit or avoid exercises that place extreme stress on your joints, such as long-distance running and deep knee bends. Also, be sure to stretch before you exercise to maintain flexibility, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of stress injuries such as sprains and strains.
  • Focus on developing strong core muscles. These help you balance your body weight, rather than putting too much stress on specific joints. You can strengthen your core muscles by practicing yoga and/or pilates.
  • Wear supportive yet comfortable footwear. The right shoes promote proper alignment and reduce the risk of developing back or knee pain.
  • Make sure your home and workplace are safe. Most injuries occur in the home and in work environments. Household safeguards may include handrails on stairs and hallways, proper flooring, and the installation of bathmats and grips in bathtubs to avoid slips and falls. At home or on the job, be conscious of repetitive movements that can cause strains. If you must do some heavy lifting, be sure to stretch first, then lift using your legs and core muscles. Also, be sure your workstation is ergonomically friendly, especially if you need to sit for long hours or work at a computer. Take frequent breaks to avoid repetitive stress conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

At CSOG Express Bone & Joint Injury Care, not only can we treat your pain – we can show you how to prevent and avoid orthopedic disorders and injuries. If you have any questions about our express care services, please call our office at
(719)622-4550.

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Should I Visit Urgent Care or the ER?

Should I Visit Urgent Care or the ER?

We’ve all had to ask the question, “should I visit the urgent care or the ER.” It’s late at night, and you’ve rushed to the emergency room where you are placed last on the list. You’re in a crowded, noisy waiting room amidst heart conditions, strokes, uncontrollable coughing, and other ailments considered more catastrophic than yours. It is one scenario that’s all too common. While many had hoped the Affordable Care Act would have reduced ER wait times,- they appear to be worse than ever. A 2014 study done by The Centers for Disease Control reported that the average total time in the ER was two hours. A director at one major hospital compared the balancing of patient needs to a “stock exchange,” – in that someone is always coming in with a direr problem than the last. Orthopedic injuries such as fractures, joint issues, and muscle strains don’t always make the cut.

orthopedics on call

History of Urgent Care & ER

During the 1970s, urgent care came on the scene, revolutionizing the healthcare landscape and offering a less burdensome alternative to the ER, without sacrificing the quality of doctors. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, there are currently 7,000 of these centers within the United States. Specialized centers are popping up for different types of medicine, including orthopedic care. Unlike run-of-the-mill urgent care centers – which primarily treat colds, coughs, and minor cuts, facilities such as Colorado Springs Orthopedic Group’s Express Bone & Joint Injury Care offer on-the-spot bone and joint treatment by experts in the field of orthopedics at a significantly lower cost than the ER.

How do you know when an orthopedic injury requires a trip to the ER, or to Express Bone & Joint Injury Care?

The question is: how do you know when an orthopedic injury requires a trip to the ER, or to Express Bone & Joint Injury Care? Consider the severity of your injury. If you are suffering from a life-threatening problem, severe blood loss, deep lacerations, or a fracture with the bone visible – it’s best to head toward the ER. Most urgent care facilities don’t have the necessary tools to handle an injury of this magnitude. However, if you’ve suffered from a broken bone, joint injury, dislocation, or sports injury, visiting an orthopedic urgent care can help you to cut out the middle man, allowing access to an expert right from the start. Oftentimes, this will save you both time and money.

Employee Experience

The employees who work at these facilities typically have years of surgical as well as clinical diagnosis and treatment experience in orthopedics. Obvious deformities of the elbow, knee, or ankle are better treated in the ER, as they may require more intense pain control than is available at an urgent care facility. Once you’ve been treated in an orthopedic care center, their staff will refer you to a specialist for ongoing follow-up treatments. One benefit of going to an urgent care center affiliated with a regular orthopedic group, is that they will already be familiar with your condition.

Extended Hours

Musculoskeletal injuries aren’t scheduled; and sometimes a sprain, strain, or fracture can leave you feeling helpless. Urgent care centers offer extended hours for people to accommodate before and after work schedules and don’t require an appointment to be seen the same day. However, they aren’t open 24/7 like the ER is. In some cases, the inevitable occurs and time just isn’t on your side.

Express Bone & Joint Injury Care

Thanks to the advent of Express Bone & Joint Injury Care, you no longer need to make the choice between lengthy visits at the ER or waiting weeks for an appointment with that in-demand specialist. Whether it’s our society’s obsession with instant gratification, or simply a need in the market that has finally been met – the introduction of these specialized facilities is a welcome change. For more information, contact Colorado Springs Orthopedic Group Express Bone & Joint Injury Care at (719) 622-4550.

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Does Positive Thinking Help with Recovery Time After Surgery?

Does Positive Thinking Help with Recovery Time After Surgery?

There is solid evidence that having a positive attitude about your surgery and recovery process will help speed your healing. According to researchers who reviewed 16 different studies about positive mental attitude and healing, the right frame of mind can make a huge difference. The studies covered over 30 years and different types of surgery, but they all came to this conclusion. So if you’re wondering “Does positive thinking help?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

How does positive thinking help? 

does positive thinking help - happy couple smiling and laughingThe exact reason positive thinkers tend to have better surgical healing outcomes is still not completely understood. Scientists have a few theories to explain the benefit of positive thinking including:

  • Positive thinking allows you to feel less stress which in turn lowers inflammation. With less inflammation, the body can heal quicker.
  • People who are more positive in general tend to make better life choices and are better able to focus on long-term goals. This may include following post-operative orders or physical therapy recommendations.
  • Negative thoughts and emotions weaken your immune system’s responses.

While the precise reason why positive thinking helps may elude scientists, the benefits are still very real.

How can you become a positive thinker?

Now that we have answered the question, “Does positive thinking help with recovery after surgery?” you may be left wondering how to get this benefit in your own life. There are some simple steps you can take to shift your frame of mind for a more positive outlook on surgery and life in general.

  • Smile more! Studies have show that smiling, even fake smiling, improves your outlook. This simple act reduces both stress levels and your blood pressure.
  • Practice re-framing stressful situations. When something has you stressed or anxious, try to find something to be grateful for in the situation. There is almost always a silver lining to every dark cloud in your day.
  • Work on becoming a resilient person. You can do this by fostering positive relationships with friends and family, learning that change is just a part of life, and working to resolve stressors in your life instead of ignoring them.

Another way to reduce the stress associated with an upcoming surgical procedure is to have complete trust in the expertise of your surgical team. At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group we have a team of specialists who will walk you through the surgery and recovery process. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation with one of our caring and competent physicians.

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Activities and Essential Nutrients for Better Bone Health

Activities and Essential Nutrients for Better Bone Health

better bone health through exercise and nutrition

One of the most important things you can do to enhance your life is to maintain strong, healthy bones. Your bones deteriorate as you age, and most bone mass is created by the age of 30. So how can you attain better bone health? Here are some key steps you can take.

1. Eat a balanced diet. 

This should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a balance of proteins and fats. Consuming large quantities of vegetables in particular helps children grow strong bones and helps older adults maintain their bone density.

2. Do strength training exercises. 

Weight-bearing exercises not only build muscle, but also help to increase bone mass. This holds true both for the young and the old. You can work with a personal trainer to discover the best weight lifting plan for you.

3. Get the right vitamins

If you are eating a healthy diet, you should not need to take an additional vitamin supplement. The key nutrients for better bone health are Calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Zinc. When you eat a wide variety of foods, your body will get all of these key nutrients.

4. Consume the right amount of calories

Both over and under-eating are not good for your bones. Very low calorie diets can cause you to lose bone mass, while being overweight can produce the same result. Strive to maintain a stable, healthy weight for better bone health.

Why better bone health? 

The most common bone disease of older adults is osteoporosis. This disease causes your bones to become thin and brittle. It is more common in women, but men also suffer from osteoporosis. For this reason, you can never start too early when thinking about better bone health. Some of the symptoms of osteoporosis are:

  • A bone that breaks very easily
  • A stooped posture
  • Back pain due to a collapsed or fractured vertebra
  • Loss of height over time

At the Bone Health Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, our providers address bone health through comprehensive care including risk assessments, dietary information, lab and pharmacy services, and specialized treatment. Our mission is to promote better bone health, reduce fracture risks, accelerate healing, and prevent re-fractures, ultimately detecting the disease at its earliest stage and taking measures to prevent its advancement. Schedule an appointment today for a bone health screening.

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Safety Tips for Kids Playing Sports

Safety Tips for Kids Playing Sports

Your young athlete is learning valuable skills, having fun and staying fit. Most parents encourage their children to engage in sports for all of these benefits. You may also be concerned about how to keep your child injury free this season. Follow these safety tips for kids playing sports, and your child will get the most our of their sports activities.

Kids playing sports need protective gear

kids playing team soccerProtective gear is the first line of defense in preventing injury for kids playing sports. Of course that gear will be different depending on what sport your child plays. Protective gear may include:

  • Helmet
  • Cleats
  • Pads
  • Eye protection
  • Athletic cup (for boys)

Your child’s coach should let you know what protective gear you will need.

Always warm up

It’s never a good idea to hit the field or court without warming up first. Your child should start with a light jog and then do some stretching before every practice and game. In team sports, most coaches will have the kids warm up together. For individual sports, you may need to lead your child in a warm-up routine.

Know how to play the game

When all the players know and follow the rules of the game, fewer injuries occur. This is where practice comes in. The more children practice their chosen sport, the better they will be at following the rules, staying in the game and off the sidelines with an injury.

Kids playing sports must look out for others

It’s important for your child to be aware of his or her teammates while playing. This can be accomplished by being courteous of the other players, listening to the coach, and being aware of surroundings. It is also important for kids playing sports to communicate with their teammates. For example, yelling “I got it!” when going in to catch a baseball can prevent a collision with the other players.

Never play while injured

Unfortunately, even when you follow the above tips, injuries can still happen. Kids playing sports may be tempted to push through and keep playing with an injury. Be sure to give your child time to heal before returning to their sports activities or the injury may become worse. This can end a fun season for your child.

Specialists in sports injuries

When the unthinkable happens, and your child is injured while playing sports Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is here to help. With an onsite x-ray machine, our Express Care Clinic is available for your urgent care needs. Our specialists in the sports medicine clinic will also treat your child and get him or her back to the sports they love.

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Learn the best sleeping positions for neck and back pain relief

Learn the Best Sleeping Positions for Neck and Back Pain Relief

When you sleep your body is doing much more than resting. This time allows your body to regenerate and enable you to feel refreshed and rejuvenated when you wake up. In order to get the optimum benefits from sleeping, it is important for you to consider the best sleeping positions for neck and back. Whether you are already suffering from neck and back pain or your pain results from your sleeping position, follow these helpful tips to get the best out of your night’s sleep.

Best Sleeping Positions for Neck and Back

Keeping your spine in a neutral position while sleeping is the key to relieving neck and back pain. This means that your spine is straight and your hips are aligned.

  • Sleeping on your back provides the best overall sleeping position to keep a neutral spine. Use a small pillow to support your head while still keeping your neck aligned with your spine.
  • Sleeping on your side with your legs stretched out is the next best option, especially if you snore while sleeping on your back. You can place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned.

Sleeping Positions to Avoid

With the goal being sleeping with a neutral spine, there are some sleeping positions to avoid in order to prevent neck and back pain.

  • Sleeping on your side with your legs curled is not an ideal position as your neck and shoulders cannot align properly. Your weight distribution is also uneven in this sleeping position which can lead to back pain.
  • Sleeping on your stomach may be the worst position of all if you are trying to avoid neck and back pain. Your spine is not aligned in this position, it puts pressure on your joints, and your neck must twist to one side.

When to See a Specialist

If you have been using the best sleeping positions for neck and back but are still experiencing chronic pain, it may be time to see a specialist. The trained physicians at the spine clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help. Our services range from treating conditions such as herniated discs and low back or neck pain, to more complex problems such as spinal tumors, scoliosis, and stress fractures. The majority of spine problems can be treated without surgery. In most cases, our doctors will refer you to our in-house physical therapy department to try conservative treatment first. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.

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Finding Meaning in Daily Rituals

Finding Meaning in Daily Rituals

We all have our own routines: the way we prepare a meal, get ready in the morning, or wind down before bed. Our daily choices create our future. But what makes the difference between a daily routine and a daily ritual? It’s all about mindfulness.

Daily Rituals Versus Routines

Pouring a cup of coffeeYour daily routine may feel like it’s controlling you. It’s the long list of tasks you must complete every day from getting the kids to school, to going to work, then making dinner and getting everyone to bed. If you are mindful about the simple steps in this process, you can turn your routine into a ritual that you control. When you create daily rituals, you allow the small steps in your day to take on greater significance. This can add happiness and meaning to your daily life.

Creating Positive Rituals

The same tasks performed every day in the same order can be considered either daily routines or daily rituals, it all depends on your frame of mind. How can you give those things the meaning needed to make the transition into becoming a pleasing ritual?

  • First you need the right perspective and attitude. Instead of negative self-talk, change your inner dialogue to something positive that you can repeat daily.
  • Instead of mindlessly completing your tasks, really focus your attention on your actions. Involve all of your senses in whatever you are doing.
  • Focus on the bigger picture of why your daily rituals are important to your life. Every action you complete in a day has a benefit somehow.

By being intentional about these steps, you can bring meaning to your day and enjoy greater productivity and an elevated mood.

Daily Rituals with Physical Therapy

If you have an injury or are recovery from surgery, physical therapy may be part of your daily routine. Turning your prescribed exercises into a daily ritual can not only bring you more satisfaction, but also speed the healing process. Whey you are more invested in physical therapy, you get better results. The specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can get you connected with someone in our physical therapy clinic to help you on your healing journey.

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How to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

How to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

Every year, one in four older adults will experience a fall. This can often lead to painful injuries such as hip fractures. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death in this age group, but if you are 65 or older, you don’t need to consider falls to be a natural part of the aging process. Improving your balance will greatly decrease your risk of experiencing a fall.

Tips for how to improve balance through exercise

As you age, the systems that prevent falls are also aging. Your vision, muscles, and central nervous system are all losing a small amount of function the older you become. Your reaction time to trip hazards is increasing as well. All of these factors combine to create a great risk of falling as you age. Here are some ways on how improve balance through exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, or bicycling. This helps serve as gait training as well as increasing your stamina.
  • Lift weights to help strengthen your muscles. You can use hand weights, resistance bands, or weight machines.
  • Flexibility training such as stretching or yoga. Find a local class with other seniors who are interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Tai Chi for muscle strength and balance. This ancient Chinese practice has been shown to decrease the incidence of falls in older adults.

Before starting any exercise program for how to improve balance, you should consult your doctor. If you experience pain or dizziness after a new activity, stop and rest.

Tips for how to improve balance through training

Exercise is not the only way to improve your balance and avoid falls. This can also be accomplished through balance training activities that you can do as you go about your day. Some examples are:

  • Alternate balancing on one foot while waiting in line
  • Practice sitting and standing without using your hands for assistance
  • After you are used to taking walks, try switching to an uneven surface.

By combining exercise and balance training, you can help condition your body to avoid a nasty fall. If you are looking for help with getting started on a plan for how to improve balance, contact the physical and occupational therapy office at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. We can help develop a plan to keep you on your feet. If you do experience a fall, the physicians at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help as well. Give us a call today.

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Wide Awake Surgery for Hand and Wrist Conditions

Is Wide Awake Surgery for Hand & Wrist Conditions the right option for you?

If you are in need of surgery for your hand or wrist, you may be concerned about the risks of general anesthesia. This drug-induced coma is much more than simply falling asleep. Some risks and side effects of anesthesia are:

  • temporary memory loss or confusion
  • nausea and vomiting
  • chills and dizziness
  • breathing problems

Fortunately, another surgical option exists for your hand or wrist condition.

What is Wide Awake Surgery?

Wrist Pain Hand Surgery

In wide awake surgery, a local anesthetic is used instead of a sedative or general anesthetic, and there is no need for a painful tourniquet. This allows you to be comfortably awake for the whole procedure. Your surgeon is better able to control bleeding and can safely extend the surgical time. Further, it provides an option for people who cannot undergo traditional general anesthesia due to an underlying medical condition. You are also able to interact with your surgeon and fully comprehend your post-operative instructions.

Benefits over General Anesthesia

The biggest benefit of wide awake surgery is being able to test the surgical results while modifications can still be made to the procedure. This can be helpful for conditions such as:

In addition to improved surgical outcomes, this method also avoids both the preoperative testing and the post-operative grogginess. Wide awake surgery also does not require preoperative fasting and there is less swelling and pain after the surgery. Overall, it allows you to get the best results possible with the least amount of stress, anxiety, and discomfort.

Orthopedic Physician for Wide Awake Surgery

Dr. Dale Cassidy is part of the hand, elbow, and nerve center at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. He is a pioneer in the field of wide awake surgery with a goal of minimizing patient exposure to anesthesia in order to optimize patient recovery time, while still providing completely comfortable care. Dr. Cassidy’s additional training makes him extraordinarily well qualified to render care for traumatic injuries as well as chronic and degenerative disorders of the hand and wrist. He is a member of several highly respected medical organizations including the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Association of Hand Surgery, and El Paso County Medical Society. Call today for a consultation for your wide awake surgery.

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Safety tips for bike to work day Colorado Springs

Safety Tips for Bike to Work Day Colorado Springs

While the weather in Colorado can sometimes be unpredictable, our 300 days of sunshine offers the opportunity to bike to work. Biking to work benefits you in many ways including:

  • Saving money on gas
  • Getting a daily workout
  • Reducing air pollution
  • Avoiding traffic
  • Getting fresh air and sunshine
  • Increasing positive mood

Whether you are a seasoned bike enthusiast or just getting started, you’ll want to keep some safety precautions in mind if you plan to participate in Bike to Work Day Colorado Springs.

Tips for Biking to Work Safely

Bike to Work SafetyBicycles are considered vehicles in most states, and rules apply for safely operating bikes in the same way they do to cars. In order to avoid accidents or injuries follow these tips.

  • The first thing to take care of when you decide to bike to work is a good helmet. This one simple step can reduce your risk of injury by as much as 85 percent.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially if you need to ride your bike in the dark. It’s important to stay visible to those around you.
  • Keep your bike properly maintained. Check your tire pressure, gears, brakes and chain regularly.
  • Know the rules of the road. Use proper hand signals and stay in bike lanes or on approved roadways.
  • Watch for hazards in your path such as rocks, glass or sand, and pay special attention at intersections.
  • Don’t wear earbuds while riding to work. You need to be fully aware of your surroundings in order to react quickly.

Follow these six tips, and Bike to Work Day Colorado Springs will be safe and fun!

Bike to Work Day Colorado Springs

In the state of Colorado, June is bike to work month, with an official “bike to work day” that is normally scheduled in the month of June. For 2020 the date has been postponed to September 22, 2020. The number of participants in Bike to Work Day Colorado Springs has risen dramatically since it’s start in 1995. Biking is especially popular in Colorado, so that trend is likely to continue.

If you are an inexperienced biker and find yourself sore or injured after biking to work, contact the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group to help get you healthy and back on your bicycle enjoying all the benefits of riding your bike to work.

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How Screen Time Affects Your Health

How Screen Time Affects Your Health & What You Can Do About It

Most parents are concerned with the amount of time their children spend on screens, but the average adult spends 11 hours per day on a screen of some sort. All of this technology can be a life-saver in business and productivity, but unfortunately, it’s not so good for your health. Some negative effects of too much screen time are:

  • woman holding a phoneWeight gain: more time in front of a screen translates into less physical activity
  • Depression: significant time spent watching TV or playing videos games correlates to higher depression rates
  •  Vision problems: this can include blurred vision, headaches, and dry, strained eyes
  • Sleep disruption: the blue light emitted from cell phones and computers hinders melatonin production, the hormone necessary to help you fall asleep
  • Other health conditions: screen time can even increase the likelihood of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer

What you can do about how screen time affects your health

In this digital age, not one is asking you to give up screens entirely. Most people need to use an electronic device for work or school, staying in touch with friends and family, or simply for entertainment. The key here is being conscious of your screen time usage and practicing moderation. Here are some tips for healthier screen time habits:

  • Use the settings on your phone to set limits on certain apps or on phone usage overall
  • Schedule quality time with your family and friends
  • Make time for exercise
  • Turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime
  • Seek help if you are experiencing depression
  • Take breaks from sitting at your computer at least every hour

When you start paying closer attention to your screen time habits, you will be able to change how screen time affects your health.

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group cares about how screen time affects your health

At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we provide a holistic care model. How you spend your time each day affects your physical health as well as your mental health. If you are experiencing negative effects from excessive cell phone usage, check out our article on how to prevent smartphone hand pain. Our specialists are also available to help if you are feeling pain in your back, legs, or joints due to sitting for long periods of time in front of a screen. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!

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Valuable tips for training for a marathon

Valuable tips for training for a marathon

People participate in marathons for a variety of reasons. You may want to get in shape, lose weight, or support a worthy cause. Whatever your “why,” training for your first marathon can seem like a daunting task. Running 26.2 miles is no small feat! With plenty of preparation and planning, you can be successful in your fitness endeavor.

Preparation when training for a marathon

runners training for a marathonChoosing a Marathon. One of the first things you will have to decide is which marathon you would like to participate in. Some important things to consider are:

  • Terrain: Marathons can be run on anything from crow-lined city streets to hilly country roads.
  • Participants: Would you prefer a race with thousands of other runners or something a little more low key?
  • Location: You can sign up for a destination marathon or find one in your home town.

To figure out which marathon is right for you, go as a spectator to several and cheer on the runners. This will give you the best feel for the race and help you chose the marathon that’s right for you.

Getting Started. Many trainers advise you to start training for a marathon one full year before the race. This will give your body and mind time to adjust to running longer and longer distances.

  • Consult with your doctor before you start training
  • Build up your distance gradually to avoid injury
  • Participate in smaller races first
  • Get to a point of running 20-30 miles per week
  • Do one long run every 7-10 days

With these steps in place, you can be successful in your training for a marathon.

Preventing injury when training for a marathon

Running long distances puts you at greater risk for injury. It is important to take certain precautions in order to keep you safe, healthy, and injury-free.

  • Stretch before and after runs
  • Hydrate well before, during, and after your run
  • Eat carbohydrates to keep your energy up
  • Take a rest day to give your body time to recover

Pain and injury while training for a marathon

Even if you have used proper preparation and prevention techniques, you may find yourself in pain or injured while training for a marathon. If this happens, the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help. Our Express Care Clinic is there for urgent treatment needs. Our Sports Medicine Clinic is also available to help you get back on the road to meet your marathon goal.

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What are the signs of needing a hip replacement?

What are the signs of needing a hip replacement?

Living with chronic hip pain can be exhausting and frustrating. The hip is one of the most commonly replaced joints, and osteoarthritis is the main reason for hip replacement surgery. A bad hip can limit your ability to do the things you enjoy as well as complete simple activities of daily living. But how do you know what are the signs of needing a hip replacement? The specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group have seven tips to answer this question.

  • Doctor with patient experiencing hip painDo you have hip pain when you are active? Does the pain lessen when you rest?
  • Do you have delayed hip pain that comes on after an activity and lasts for a few days?
  • Does your hip pain wake you at night?
  • Do you have bone on bone arthritis in your hip joint as shown by X-ray?
  • Do you have swelling and inflammation in your hip?
  • Do you have stiffness in your hip that inhibits your ability to do basic daily activities?
  • Do you avoid activities you enjoy because you know it will lead to pain?

If you answered yes to many or all of these questions, it could be time for a hip replacement.

The specialists who can answer what are the signs of needing a hip replacement

In general, doctors will start with the least invasive approach before deciding on surgery as the method of treating your hip pain. This can involve weight loss, steroid injections, pain medication, or physical therapy. Once you have tried all of the non-invasive options, the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can find the surgery that best suits your needs. There are two types of total hip replacements: traditional and anterior approach. In both procedures, the ball (top part of the femur, or leg bone) and hip socket are replaced. What differs between these two procedures is the placement of the incision, which can be on the side or front (anterior) of your hip. Using computer-assisted surgery, our total joint experts can ensure the proper positioning of your hip implant.

When you need a hip replacement, you are in good hands at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. Living with constant hip pain can lead you to become withdrawn and depressed. If you are a candidate for hip replacement, our joint reconstruction specialists are here to help.

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5 Tips To Start Lifting Weights Safely

5 Tips To Start Lifting Weights Safely

If you’re like most Americans right now, you are looking forward to getting into the gym. If you haven’t done a weightlifting program before, you may wonder how to start lifting weights safely. It’s an important thing to consider, especially if you are unfamiliar with using weights to stay fit and healthy. Here are some tips to help get you started.

1. Warm up your muscles

Before doing any sort of strength training, you need to get your muscles warmed up. You can accomplish this through stretching or using a foam roller to wake up your muscles. Another great option is 5-15 minutes of cardio to get your blood flowing. Now your muscles are ready for a workout.

2. Learn proper technique

You must lift weights properly to avoid injury. Most gyms have trainers available to help you with the correct form when weightlifting. If you do not have access to a trainer other great resources are online videos, Facebook groups or fitness apps. Don’t just wing it when trying something new. This is definitely not how to start lifting weights safely.

3. Choose the right weight

free weights at the gymWhen you first start lifting, you’re better off having slightly too little weight rather than too much. Experiment when doing your workout and see what weight size feels comfortable. It should be somewhat difficult to complete the last few reps of your final set of lifts. Your arms or legs may shake with the effort, but you should not feel sharp pain.

4. Rest between workouts

When starting a new lifting routine, your body will need rest to recover from the strain on your body. Weightlifting causes tiny tears in your muscles. This is how the body grows new muscle mass, but you need 1-2 days between weightlifting sessions to let this process happen. How do you feel the day after your workout? Soreness is to be expected, but you should not be in pain. If you are, give yourself another day of rest.

5. Gradually increase your time lifting

If you are new to weightlifting, give your muscles a little time to adjust to this new routine. Start out with just two days per week for the first 1-2 weeks, then add in a third day. You don’t want to shock your muscles and get hurt. Ideally you will work your way up to 3-5 lifting sessions each week.

Follow these tips for how to start lifting weights safely and you should avoid an injury. If you find you over did it at the gym, visit the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. We can help with all of your acute orthopedic needs.

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Orthopedics & Prosthetics Colorado Springs: Caring for our Military

Orthopedics & Prosthetics Colorado Springs: Caring for our Military

The Colorado Springs area is home to several military installations. At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we are proud to be of service to these men and women just as they have been to our country. For years our doctors have provided these soldiers, veterans, and their families with orthopedic care and specialty services such as high-quality prosthetics for amputees. Whether troops just returning from war or veterans of wars long past, at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we treat all types of acute and chronic orthopedic injuries, from complex combat injuries and loss of limbs, to back pain, sprains, and everything in between.

Orthopedics Colorado Springs

Doctor and patient with orthopedic leg braceA military career is a rewarding one that may bring with it different injuries and chronic conditions. From jumping out of planes to running with heavy packs, the life of a serviceman or servicewoman is hard on a body. At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group we have specialists to help. These include:

Our trained physicians will treat you with compassion and respect and can offer the highest quality of care for orthopedics Colorado Springs.

Prosthetics Colorado Springs

Audubon Orthotic & Prosthetic Services has been providing quality care to the residents of Colorado Springs since 2000. The staff is highly qualified and ready to serve our military veterans with personalized care in a timely manner and in a comfortable environment. The specialists at Audubon understand how devastating it is to lose a limb. They are able to help patients regain their function and self-confidence with a high quality, durable prosthesis. Within their expansive state-of-the-art lab, they can design, fit, and fabricate custom prostheses for the lower extremity (leg) and upper extremity (arm). For prosthetics Colorado Springs, Audubon is the the leader in this field.

Caring for our Military

At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, our care goes even further than simply treating injured troops. We know that a debilitating injury affects the whole family, and we work with all family members – even extended relatives who may be caregivers – to help everyone adjust after a loved one comes home with these types of injuries. To help restore function, mobility, and independence, we also provide world-class rehabilitation. Our physical and occupational therapy programs are tailored for each individual to meet his or her goals. Give us a call today so we can get you back on the road to recovery, and thank you for your service!

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Heel Pain In The Morning With Dr. Dresher

Heel Pain in the Morning with Dr. Dresher

Do you have chronic heel pain in the morning? This may be due to plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of the thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to your toes. This painful condition can inhibit your daily life and activities. Thankfully, plantar fasciitis treatment can usually be accomplished at home.

What is causing my heel pain in the morning?

Heel pain in the morning getting out of bed

Plantar fasciitis occurs when small tears accrue in the tissue band from any of the following issues:

  • Wearing shoes that are too hard
  • Bad habits when running
  • Flat feet
  • High arch without proper support in shoes
  • Being overweight
  • Standing for long periods

While some cases of plantar fasciitis are due to genetics, many can be prevented or treated with good home care.

How can I prevent heel pain in the morning from plantar fasciitis?

There are many things you can do to prevent pain from plantar fasciitis including:

  • Wear shoes with good support
  • Replace tennis shoes often
  • Avoid walking on hard surfaces barefoot
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Low-impact exercises like swimming or walking
  • Avoid high-impact exercise such as running
  • Stretch your legs and feet

Whether you lead an active lifestyle or spend much of your time at home, these things can help prevent plantar fasciitis from developing.

How can I get treatment for plantar fasciitis?

If you know your heel pain in the morning is caused by plantar fasciitis, there are non-invasive ways to treat it. These include:

  • Rest
  • Ice the bottom of the foot
  • Stretching
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotics
  • Night braces

We always suggest you start with home care and other minimally invasive plantar fasciitis treatments before seeking the help of a doctor.

When should I see a doctor?

If the pain persists after several months you should schedule a visit with Dr. Dresher, our trained foot and ankle specialist. You may have underlying issues such as a bone spur rubbing on the tissue or a stress fracture. At that time Dr. Dresher may request an x-ray or an MRI to better understand what is causing your heel pain in the morning. Surgery should be the last resort for plantar fasciitis treatment unless there is a secondary condition like a bone spur. The specialists at the foot and ankle clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can assess your condition and make a plantar fasciitis treatment plan that will work for you.

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Tips For Preventing Smartphone Hand Pain

Tips for Preventing Smartphone Hand Pain

Let’s face it, most of us have our phones in hand more often than not. Holding and using your device for several hours each day can lead to pain in your hands and wrists. You can even develop a repetitive stress injury in your thumb from typing too much. Follow these simple tips for preventing smartphone hand pain.

Hold your phone correctly

Person holding a smartphoneMost of the positions you can hold your phone in are not good for your muscles. This is why developing smartphone hand pain is so common in today’s times. When using your phone, try to keep your wrist straight as much as possible. You can do this by texting with once hand rather than using both thumbs. Another method would be setting your phone on a flat surface while you type.

Relieving smartphone hand pain

When you are experiencing pain due to excessive use of your phone, there are things you can do to alleviate this discomfort. Some of the best ways to do this are:

  • Take breaks to stretch your hands, fingers and wrists
  • Apply heat to relax sore muscles
  • Apply cold to calm more acute muscle spasms
  • Massage your hands to increase blood flow and relieve tight muscles
  • Use your fingers instead of your thumbs when typing to prevent developing a serious condition in this digit
  • Use the voice activated features of your phone

All of these techniques will help you recover from smartphone hand pain and help to prevent damage to your hands, fingers, or wrists. Making lifestyle adjustments to use your phone less will also go a long way in preventing pain and injury.

When to see a professional for smartphone hand pain

Most symptoms related to using your smartphone can be relieved with home treatment. If you are experiencing numbness, tingling, cramping, or stiffness long after you put down your phone, it may be time to see a professional. You may have developed a repetitive stress injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis or nerve damage. The hand specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help. Our skilled doctors will assess your condition and make recommendations for treatment options so that you can get back to your activities of daily living.

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5 Tips For How To Choose the Right Doctor

5 Tips for How to Choose the Right Doctor

Choosing a doctor that you are comfortable with and confident in is a very important decision for your health. Like most important life decisions, making an informed choice can take some investigation and effort. Your time will be well spent when you follow these five tips on how to choose the right doctor for you.

1. Talk to family and friends

Finding the right doctor can be as simple as asking people you trust for their recommendations. Your friends and family members may have experience with the type of doctor you are looking for. Remember though that all people are different, and the perfect doctor for your best friend may not be the perfect fit for you as well.

2. Check on insurance coverageImage of Doctors

Once you have a few names on your list, check with the providers to be sure their office accepts your insurance plan. This can easily be accomplished by calling the doctor’s office or your insurance carrier. Leaving out this important step can put an unexpected bill in your mailbox.

3. Consider location

While you may be willing to travel farther for a renowned specialist, you should still consider driving time when looking for a new doctor. If you will have frequent appointments, you may not want to make a long commute to visit your doctor’s office. You’re also much more likely to keep appointments with a provider that is conveniently located near where you live or work.

4. Research the quality of care

The most important question to answer when deciding how to choose the right doctor is how confident are you in their quality of care. You can use the website Certification Matters to find out if the doctor you are considering is board certified. Board-certified physicians must pass comprehensive exams as well as stay up to date on advancements in their field of expertise. This ensures your doctor is on the cutting edge of recent studies and technology and can provide you the best care possible.

5. Call the doctor’s office

Now that you’ve narrowed down your search to a few providers, give each office a call. Is the receptionist friendly and attentive? Did you experience a long hold time? Are they booked out very far in advance? These are important things to consider when deciding on a new provider.

We can help you with how to choose the right doctor

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group has specialists to meet all of your orthopedic needs. Our orthopedic physicians are board-certified or board-eligible and fellowship-trained in many subspecialties including sports medicine, foot & ankle, spine, hand & upper extremity, trauma, and joint replacement. With this breadth of knowledge and expertise, we have you covered from head to toe.

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How Wearable Technology Can Help With Physical Therapy

How Wearable Technology Can Help with Physical Therapy

Sometimes when you leave the physical therapist’s office, the best laid plans to follow through on your PT goals fall apart. So many of us have smart watches and fitness trackers like the Apple Watch and Fitbit. These amazing gadgets can keep track of your activity levels as you go about your day, but they can also help with physical therapy when you leave your physical therapist’s office.

Using your smart watch to help with physical therapy

Person with Fitness Tracker WatchWhether you have an Apple Watch or some other variety of smart watch, this piece of wearable technology can help with physical therapy tracking and goals. Some fitness features included in a smart watch might be:

  • Recording workouts
  • Step tracking
  • Heart rate tracking
  • Goal setting
  • Long term trend data

A smart watch provides a great way to help with physical therapy. It will often include software that tracks session-based tasks that would be assigned by your physical therapist. When you’re completing these activities on your own at home, this information can be invaluable to meeting your physical therapy goals.

Using your Fitbit to help with physical therapy

Wearable fitness trackers like the Fitbit can also help with physical therapy. Many of the features of this wearable technology are similar to those of the smart watch, and they can include:

  • Heart rate tracking
  • Activity tracking
  • GPS tracking

Depending on which version you own, fitness trackers tend to be smaller and lighter than a smart watch. They are also more likely to be waterproof which can be helpful if swimming is part of your physical therapy routine.

No matter what type of wearable technology you choose, these handy gadgets can keep you on track with your physical therapy plan. The better you are at sticking to your goals, the quicker you will heal from your injury or surgery. The physical therapy office at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is here to help with your physical therapy needs. Give us a call today!

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6 Ways To Help Chronic Shoulder Pain

6 Ways to Help Chronic Shoulder Pain

Man with shoulder painMany conditions can lead to chronic shoulder pain including:

  • arthritis
  • bursitis
  • shoulder strain
  • injury
  • tendonitis

This common ailment affects people of all ages and activity levels. No one likes dealing with pain that can affect your quality of life and your ability to maintain your current activity level. What can you do when you’re experiencing shoulder pain that won’t go away?

1. Ice

When you have to manage chronic shoulder pain, you can start with icing the affected area. Apply a cold pack for up to 20 minutes as often as five times daily. This process will help calm inflammation in your shoulder and help alleviate your pain.

2. Compression

Another technique you can try at home for shoulder pain is compression. Wrap your shoulder in an ACE bandage or regular bandage. The wrap should be snug, but not too tight. If you begin to feel tingling or numbness in your fingers or arm, release some of the pressure from the bandage.

3. Medication for chronic shoulder pain

When you are experiencing shoulder pain, your first choice of medication should be an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or aspirin. If this type of medicine is ineffective, you can talk to your doctor about a stronger pain medication or a muscle relaxant. Both of these require a prescription.

4. Rest

Your shoulder pain may be due to over exertion. Take some time to rest your shoulder. This can be accomplished by changing your activity level or by wearing a sling to support your shoulder while it heals. Continue to move your shoulder gently until the pain subsides.

5. Exercises and stretches for chronic shoulder pain

Stretching and exercising your shoulder can help speed healing and prevent further injury when done properly. It is best to consult a physical therapist when rehabilitating from a shoulder injury. The physical therapists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help.

6. Specialists for chronic shoulder pain

When home treatment for your chronic shoulder pain hasn’t worked, it’s time to see a specialist. You should visit a doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Inability to raise your arm
  • Severe pain that doesn’t subside with home treatment
  • Persistent weakness in your shoulder, arm or hand

The Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is there when you need immediate treatment. We are also available for regular office visits. Call today to schedule an appointment for help with your shoulder pain.

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Dr. Sung Answers Questions About Management of Severe Pain

Dr. Sung Answers Questions About Management of Severe Pain

Roger D Sung MDDr. Roger Sung is a fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in cervical and lumbar surgery, microsurgery, and minimally invasive surgery. He also performs complex spine reconstruction via minimally invasive techniques. With his experience in this specialty, he has helped many patients manage severe pain.

Dr. Sung offers spine surgery with local or spinal anesthesia as an alternative to general anesthesia. These options allow many patients to have complex surgeries in an outpatient setting. Dr. Sung’s expertise with minimally invasive techniques allows for quicker recovery and faster return to normal function.

Should I only take pain medication when I’m having severe pain?

No. You should take your pain medication just as it is prescribed. It is much easier to keep mild pain under control rather than wait until it becomes severe pain. There may be times you take your medication when you are not experiencing any pain at all. This is the best method of managing your pain.

What should I do when my pain level increases to unmanageable pain?

If your pain level has become unmanageable, you should contact your doctor. There may be certain activities or certain times of day when you will experience more severe pain. If your current pain management plan is no longer effective, your doctor can help make adjustments to make you more comfortable.

What are some ways to manage severe pain on my own?

You can always try:

  • Relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing
  • Reducing stress
  • Staying physically active

All of these methods can help you deal with chronic and severe pain.

Are narcotics the only way to manage severe pain?

No. I make it a priority to provide all my patients with comprehensive and individualized treatment so they can return to the activities they love. If narcotic pain medication is not the best treatment for you, we can look into other options like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or in some cases surgery.

Will I always be in severe pain?

Hopefully not. Chronic pain is very difficult to live with. I work with my patients on the best treatment plan so that you will be able to live the life you were used to before being slowed down by severe pain.

If you are in chronic or severe pain, you can contact Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group to make an appointment with Dr. Sung for a consultation.

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Spring into fitness without a sore ankle

Spring into Fitness Without Getting a Sore Ankle

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer, and most Coloradans are ready to get back outside for some Spring fitness. No matter how you like to experience the great outdoors, it’s important to do so safely. No one wants to end up with a sore ankle. Just a little preparation can keep you pain and injury-free this Spring.

Preventing a sore ankle

Woman Running through the WoodsIt’s very common to experience a sore ankle when you get back into running, jogging, biking, or other fitness routines. Your ankles take a lot of the force when you are doing physical activity. The soreness you experience may be from stress on the joint, ligaments, tendons, or muscles. A few simple steps can prevent a sore ankle.

  • Warm up before exercising
  • Stretch your legs and ankles
  • Wear proper shoes
  • Avoid uneven surfaces
  • Wrap your ankle if you’ve had a previous injury

If you do end up with a sore ankle, try RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You can also use an anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen.

Sore ankle or sprained ankle?

A sprained ankle can happen to anyone. According to some estimates, at least 25,000 Americans suffer from a sprained ankle each day. It is usually caused by rolling, twisting, and turning your ankle past its normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve the outer ligaments. In extreme cases, these ligaments may tear. If your sore ankle does not respond to home treatment and you experience any of the following:

  • Severe pain that cannot be controlled with an anti-inflammatory
  • Severe swelling
  • Inability to bear weight on the injured foot

It is time to seek professional help. Depending on the severity of the sprain you may be on crutches for a few days or put into a boot or a splint to restrain the movement of your ankle. In rare cases surgery may be required. After the resting period is over, you may be referred to a physical therapist for specific exercises to rehabilitate your ankle. The Express Care Clinic and the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, such as Dr. Brad Dresher, can assess your injury and help with your sore ankle. We can also provide physical therapy to help you recover and get back to your spring fitness routine.

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Tips For Travel After Knee Replacement Surgery

Tips For Travel After Knee Replacement Surgery

If you have a surgery scheduled for knee replacement, you may be wondering how soon you will be able to get back to normal life. For many, this includes travel after knee replacement surgery either by car or by airplane. Both of these will require you to sit for longer periods of time in a cramped position. We will discuss some precautions you can take to make travel after knee replacement more comfortable after your initial healing period of 6-10 weeks.

Air travel after knee replacement surgery

Inside View of Plane with PassengersWill you be able to make your daughter’s wedding the summer after your surgery? Questions like this may weigh on your mind as you schedule your knee replacement. Air travel poses some unique challenges. It often involves lots of walking to and from your gate, sitting in a small seat for several hours, and the added concern of developing a blood clot. Here are some precautions you can take to have a safe and comfortable flight:

  • Wear compression socks to prevent a potential blood clot
  • Get up and walk around as often as possible
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water and avoiding alcohol and coffee
  • Stretch and flex your muscles

By following these recommendations you will be able to enjoy your flight and arrive at your destination with minimal discomfort.

Car travel after knee replacement

Ready for that next road trip? Once your initial recovery period ends, you can make plans to hit the open road. Aside from the cries of “Are we there yet?” from the back seat, car travel after knee replacement shouldn’t cause you too much anguish if you follow these simple tips:

  • Take frequent breaks and walk around
  • If possible, switch from driver to passenger to give your driving leg a break
  • Stretch out your legs and flex your muscles as often as you can

Even if you haven’t used any assistive devices during your recovery period, you may want to consider using a cane, walker, or crutch while you are traveling to relieve some of the stress on your knee joint.

The specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group are your best choice for your knee replacement surgery. We can also provide physical therapy services as well as support during the healing process. Give us a call today if you have any questions about travel after knee replacement.

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How Does A Flexible Spending Account Work With Coinsurance?

How Does a Flexible Spending Account Work with Coinsurance?

Health insurance has become a complicated enterprise. Some commonly used terms like copay, deductible, coinsurance, and flexible spending account may not be so common to the typical consumer. We will explore how does a flexible spending account work, and what is coinsurance.

How does a flexible spending account work?

Doctor Shaking Hand with PatientsA Flexible Spending Account, or FSA, lets you set aside money for medical expenses. Since your employer removes the funds from your paycheck before taxes, you realize the tax savings. You and your employer can add money to the account up to the limits outlined by the IRS. It is important to note that the money in a Flexible Spending Account must be used by the end of the year, otherwise your employer can keep the unused funds. Some employers may let you to pay expenses for the previous two months or roll over $500 to the next year. Each year you must re-enroll in the FSA program. You will also need to:

 

  • Find out what your employer’s contribution will be
  • Estimate how much you will spend on medical care this year
  • Decide on the amount you want deducted from your paycheck each month for your FSA

You can use the funds in your flexible spending account one of two ways. You can either use the provided debit or credit card or use your own money and send in receipts for reimbursement.

How does a flexible spending account work with coinsurance?

Many people confuse copay with coinsurance. They are very different things in the health insurance industry. A copay is a flat rate you pay when you see a doctor or receive other medical treatment. Coinsurance is the amount you are responsible for after you have met the deductible. There are three phases in health insurance:

  • Deductible phase: you have not yet met your deductible
  • Coinsurance phase: you pay a certain percentage for your care
  • Out-of-pocket maximum phase: your insurance company covers all the charges

Once you are in the coinsurance phase, you and your health insurance company are now sharing the cost of treatment at a set percentage rate. You can use your FSA to cover this additional cost for your health care needs.

How does a flexible spending account work at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group?

At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we accept all major insurance carriers as well as Flexible Spending Account payments. You can visit our offices for all of your orthopedic needs. When you require urgent orthopedic care, come to our Express Care Clinic for immediate help for your injury.

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What Is A Spinal Stimulator?

What is a Spinal Stimulator? 

If you are among the 100 million Americans who struggle with chronic pain, you may be looking for alternatives to pain medication.  So, what is a spinal stimulator? A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is one promising source of relief. The SCS is a small device that delivers electrical signals to the spinal cord thereby masking the pain signals to the brain. The device is similar to a pacemaker and is surgically placed under the skin. Once in place, the spinal cord stimulator sends mild electrical signals to the spinal cord. It does not remove the source of pain, but it does disrupt the pain signal thereby reducing the pain experienced.

Is spinal cord stimulation right for me?

Now that you know what is a spinal stimulator, you may also wonder how it can help your condition. If you are suffering from chronic pain, an SCS may be right for you. There are several factors that can indicate the use of an SCS.

  • Medication is not an option or is ineffective
  • Surgery is not an option
  • The side effects of medications and/or surgery are undesirable
  • Your current method of pain relief is impacting your life in a negative way

What is a spinal stimulator supposed to do?

Some intended outcomes of placing a spinal cord stimulator are:

Back Pain

  • Pain reduction of 50-70%
  • Better able to sleep at night and relax during the day
  • Reduced need for pain medication
  • Better able to accomplish activities of daily living

You can adjust the SCS manually with a remote control. It can be turned off or on, and the strength of the stimulation can be increased or decreased. For more details about a spinal cord stimulator, see this Johns Hopkins Medicine article.

Who can provide spinal cord stimulation treatment?

Only a specialist can perform SCS surgery. If you have exhausted your options for pain relief through medication, surgery, or other treatments, this procedure may provide the relief you are seeking. The spine clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help. Give us a call to set up a consultation with one of our trained physicians.

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Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Methods

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of the thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to your toes. This painful condition can inhibit your daily life and activities. Thankfully, plantar fasciitis treatment can usually be accomplished at home.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Before discussing plantar fasciitis treatment, you must first understand what causes this condition.  Plantar fasciitis occurs when small tears accrue in the Walkingtissue band from any of the following issues:

  • Wearing shoes that are too hard
  • Bad habits when running
  • Flat feet
  • High arch without proper support in shoes
  • Being overweight
  • Standing for long periods

While some cases of plantar faciitis are due to genetics, many can be prevented or treated with good home care.

Plantar Fasciitis Prevention

There are many things you can do to prevent plantar fasciitis including:

  • Wear shoes with good support
  • Replace tennis shoes often
  • Avoid walking on hard surfaces barefoot
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Low-impact exercise like swimming or walking
  • Avoid high-impact exercise such as running
  • Stretch your legs and feet

Whether you lead an active lifestyle or spend much of your time at home, these things can help prevent plantar fasciitis from developing.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

If you already have plantar fasciitis, there are non-invasive ways to treat it. These include:

  • Rest
  • Ice the bottom of the foot
  • Stretching
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotics
  • Night braces

We always suggest you start with home care and other minimally invasive plantar faciitis treatments before seeking the help of a doctor.

When should you talk to a physician?

If the pain persists after several months you should schedule a visit with Dr. Brad Dresher, our foot and ankle orthopedic specialist in Colorado Springs. You may have underlying issues such as a bone spur rubbing on the tissue or a stress fracture. At that time our physician may request an x-ray or an MRI to better understand what is causing your pain. Surgery should be a last resort for plantar fasciitis treatment unless there is a secondary condition like a bone spur. The specialists at the foot and ankle clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can assess your condition and make a plantar faciitis treatment plan that will work for you.

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Difference Between Occupational & Physical Therapy

What is the Difference Between Occupational & Physical Therapy?

Many patients are confused when it comes to the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy. Both can be helpful to you after an injury or surgery or if you are struggling with the activities of daily living.

What does an Occupational Therapist do?

Well, we don’t help people find jobs. That’s a common misconception. No, we actually help patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities function in day-to-day life. An occupational therapist focuses on rehabilitating people to live normal lives after an accident or other situation that causes their body to function differently from the norm. This can include people who have experienced an injury or those who have a developmental or intellectual disability.

Difference Between Occupational and Physical TherapyOccupational Therapy

The main difference between occupational and physical therapy is the focus of treatment. PT primarily focuses on rehabilitating the body part that was injured while OT works holistically to help the patient perform activities of daily living. Occupational therapists still help to improve range of motion and strength, but we do this so patients are better able to perform daily tasks. Occupational therapists treat the whole person rather than just the injury or impairment.  In some cases a patient may start with a physical therapist and then continue working with an occupational therapist.

How are OT and PT similar?

While there is a difference between occupational and physical therapy, the fields do have some overlapping areas of treatment including:

  • Educating on the prevention of injury
  • Educating on the healing process
  • Delivering hands-on rehabilitative care

What makes the OTs at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group unique?

At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we specialize in occupational therapy for the upper extremities. This means we help people who are struggling with hand, wrist, arm, and elbow issues.

  • We teach you how to get as much use out of these limbs as possible
  • We help you increase mobility and dexterity
  • We help you recover to full health after an injury
  • We work in conjunction with the CSOG hand, elbow, and nerve doctors to improve results after surgery
  • We specialize in custom splinting

You can find more information on our website, csog.net, or check out otpotential.com for information, resources, and tips.

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X-ray Shielding May No Longer Be Necessary

X-ray Shielding May No Longer Be Necessary

According to a recent New York Times article, using a lead apron during X-Ray procedures may not actually be necessary. X-ray shielding has been common practice for decades and is a law in many states, but new research is showing that there may be no benefit at all to using the lead drape. In fact it could have negative effects. The purpose of X-ray shielding is to protect other areas of the body, especially reproductive organs, during a scan. Unfortunately, the lead drapes can:

  • Reduce the quality of the scan
  • Increase radiation exposure
  • Create the need for a second scan

Resistance to Ending X-ray Shielding

Doctors and patients alike are hesitant to give up the age-old practice of X-ray shielding. Most people fear radiation, and wearing a lead apron gives the patient peace of mind during the scan. The following factors show why it is no longer necessary:

x-ray shielding

  • The amount of radiation in a scan today is a slim 5% of what was used during the 1950s
  • It is difficult to place the lead drape in a precise position
  • Using X-ray shielding can make the machine to emit more radiation
  • X-ray shielding cannot protect against X-ray scatter inside the body

Professional organizations, including the American College of Radiology, are now endorsing the idea that routine X-ray shielding should be discontinued as a general practice.

On the Cutting Edge

The radiology department at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is ahead of the trend with ending X-ray shielding. We have been practicing this way for the past two years. We have made it our priority to educate our patients on the safety of X-ray scans when performed without shielding. For all of your orthopedic X-ray scanning needs, you can trust the professionals at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group.

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Hip Bursitis Symptoms & Treatment

Hip Bursitis Symptoms & Treatment

Bursa are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning and reduce friction between bone and soft tissue in different areas of the body including the hips, shoulders, heels, and elbows.  There are two main bursa in the hip that generally become irritated or inflamed. When this happens, you will experience pain each time the tendon moves across the bone.  Since this motion occurs every time you take a step, hip bursitis can be quite painful.

Hip Bursitis Symptoms

Hip bursitis is a common condition that can occur in athletes and the general population.  It is more common in women, the middle-aged, and the elderly. Hip bursitis can be brought on by overuse, a hip injury, spine disease, a difference in leg lengths, rheumatoid arthritis, previous surgery, or bone spurs or calcium deposits. Some of the symptoms of hip bursitis are:

  • Tenderness on the upper/outer thighHiking in the Snow in a Forest
  • Sharp pain in hip or groin area
  • Swelling
  • Aching pain at the hip extending down the outer thigh
  • Pain typically worse at night
  • Pain worse when walking or rising from a chair
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected hip

Hip Bursitis Treatment

Many people can experience pain relief from hip bursitis through small changes to their day-to-day routines.  Some of these changes include:

  • Rest: As with most injuries, rest is key to recovery.  You should avoid the activities that bring on pain or modify the movements of the activity.  If you are an athlete, you can consult with a physical therapist or trainer to be sure you are performing exercises appropriately to not further aggravate the bursa.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication: Over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen can help control the inflammation and pain associated with hip bursitis.
  • Ice the affected area
  • Use a walker, cane, or crutches when the pain is most intense
  • Stretching
  • Physical therapy to increase hip strength
  • Steroid injection

With hip bursitis treatment, usually one or a combination of the above is enough to help most patients.

Preventing Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis can’t necessarily be prevented, but it can be minimized by avoiding repetitive activities that stress the hips. Some potential ways to minimize the likelihood of hip bursitis are:

  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Using a shoe insert if there is a difference in length between your legs
  • Maintaining muscle strength and flexibility in your hips

Seeking Help

If you have a fever in addition to the above symptoms, you should visit the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Express Care Clinic to be treated right away and rule out an infection.  Otherwise, if your symptoms do not improve within two weeks, it’s time to seek professional help for hip bursitis treatment. The doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group are specialists who can help diagnose your problem and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation.

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Senza Omnia Spinal Cord Stimulation System to Treat Chronic Pain

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Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Is Among First in the U.S. to Offer Next-Generation Senza Omnia Spinal Cord Stimulation System to Treat Chronic Pain

Roger D. Sung, MD, Implanted Omnia, the Only System Designed to Deliver Nevro’s Proprietary HF10 Therapy, Expanding Patient Treatment Solutions through a Minimally Invasive Procedure

Colorado Springs, CO—January 20, 2020— Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group (CSOG) is the first practice in Colorado and among the first pain management practices in the United States to offer the Senza® Omnia™ system, a new spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy to treat chronic pain. Omnia™ was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is the first and only SCS system designed to deliver Nevro’s proprietary HF10® therapy and all other available frequencies, providing chronic pain patients with the most versatile SCS treatment solution available. The Omnia system battery is designed to last 10 or more years, with continuous 10 kHz settings.

Spinal cord stimulation involves the delivery of electrical signals to the spinal cord to alter pain signals to the brain. The electrical pulses are delivered by small electrodes on leads that are placed near the spinal cord and connected to a compact, battery-powered generator implanted under the skin during a minimally invasive procedure. SCS is a reversible therapy that has helped hundreds of thousands of people experience relief from chronic pain – most commonly, severe pain in the low back and lower extremities.

“I am thrilled to offer my patients one system that includes all frequencies and the most waveforms of any spinal cord stimulator.” said Dr. Sung, spine specialist with CSOG. “Chronic pain often requires versatility to manage effectively. With the introduction of Omnia into our practice, we can now offer patients the proven advantages of HF10 therapy while still having access to all other SCS frequencies.”

“Given our community’s active lifestyle and home to military families, CSOG has invested in providing the best orthopaedic care possible,” said Nicole Banning, CSOG president. “It’s one of the reasons we pursued this new SCS system for our patients as an addition to our end-to-end care that includes Express Care, imaging, physical therapy, orthotics and prosthetics, surgery, and complete orthopaedic care.”

Other SCS systems on the market are limited to a frequency below 1500 hertz. Omnia delivers the widest range of frequencies of any SCS system, between 2 and 10,000 hertz. In addition to HF10, Omnia offers the most waveforms in a single product and can be programmed to provide waveforms independently or paired with HF10. The pairing of waveforms across frequency ranges enables dual mechanisms of action that no other system can offer.

“I took special interest in being trained to conduct this type of pain management because chronic pain is the most common reason for physician visits in the U.S.,” said Dr. Sung. “I make it a priority to provide all my patients with comprehensive and individualized treatment so they can return to the activities they love.”

More than 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, which is the primary cause of adult disability in the U.S.[1] and is a costly public health issue. Combined loss of productivity and healthcare costs related to chronic pain exceed $560 billion annually in the U.S.[2] There are a variety of treatment options for chronic pain that range from medications to surgical interventions.

To help support Colorado Springs’ active community, CSOG’s Dr. Sung is hosting a lecture on spine stimulators and other pain management options on March 11 at 5:30pm at CSOG’s north office located at 4110 Briargate Parkway, Suite 300, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.

About CSOG

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is the largest independent orthopedic practice in Southern Colorado and has been providing care to the Colorado Springs community and Pikes Peak region since 1994. Our physicians are board-certified or board eligible and fellowship trained in many sub­specialties including not only the accuracy of robot assisted surgery, but also sports medicine, foot, ankle, spine, hand, upper extremity, trauma, and joint replacement. With this breadth of knowledge and expertise, we have you covered from head to toe. We provide orthopedic surgical and medical services when and where you need us. Our on­site capabilities include digital X-rays and MRIs, an Express Care walk-in clinic, osteoporosis screening, physical and occupational therapy, and a state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center. Schedule an appointment today! Call (719) 632-­7669. We have two convenient locations to serve you in Colorado Springs.

1.Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults —United States, 2016

2.Debono DJ, et al. Caring for patients with chronic pain: pearls and pitfalls. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2013 Aug; 113(8):620-7.

3.https://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/viewfactsheet.aspx?csid=57

4.Institute of Medicine. Relieving pain in America: a blueprint for transforming prevention, care, education, and research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2011

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How Your 2020 Resolution Can Help Your Knee Problems

How your 2020 Resolution Can Help your Knee Problems

Do you suffer from knee pain? It could be due to being overweight. Over 70 percent of all Americans are overweight or obese. A BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 or higher indicates overweight, while 30 or higher indicates obesity. Losing weight can benefit your body in many ways including relieving inflammation and stress on your joints. In fact, knee pain and back pain in particular are two of the most common complaints associated with being overweight.

Causes of Knee Problems

Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on a joint. Being overweight increases this wear and tear in two ways. First, the extra weight you are carrying puts greater pressure on your joints. Second, the inflammation associated with being overweight also causes problems for your joints. This can be true for joints like knees and hips, but it is also true for other joints like those in the hands.

Weight Loss Can Help Knee Problems

The good news is that losing even a few pounds can provide relief for your aching joints, knee pain, and lower back pain. One study showed that women who lose 11 pounds, or decrease their BMI by just two points, can decrease their risk of osteoarthritis by 50%. If you increase your activity level and include strength training in your weight loss regimen, this is another factor that will boost your joint health. Stronger muscles are better able to support your joints.

Helpful Tips for Weight Loss

Losing weight and then maintaining that healthy weight are essential to overall health, joint health, and less knee problems. It is important to eat a healthy diet filled with nutrient rich foods. Some other steps you can take on your weight loss journey are:Weight Loss Helps With Knee Pain

  • Eat smaller portions
  • Practice only eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full
  • Take walks after meals
  • Join and gym and meet with a trainer
  • Cook meals at home rather than eating out
  • Park farther away from the entrance to your office or grocery store
  • Use a pedometer or other device to monitor your daily activity level
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand

Follow these 8 simple steps, and you will be on your way to healthier joints as well as a healthier lifestyle! If you have already been successful in getting to a healthy weight and still have knee problems, it may be time to see a specialist. The doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can assess your condition and create a treatment plan that will help alleviate your knee pain.

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Avoiding An Injured Finger This Winter

Avoiding an Injured Finger this Winter

The most common finger injuries we see in the clinic include lacerations, crushing injuries, fractures, and sprains. Finger sprains are quite common, especially in the sports world, and symptoms may linger for several months. In the winter, some types of injuries become more common. These can include:

  • Frostbite
  • Sprains from winter sports
  • Lacerations from snowblowers

Injured finger: Frostbite

You can easily get an injured finger due to frostbite. This condition can occur in as little as thirty minutes when your hands are exposed in freezing temperatures. The symptoms of frostbite include:

  • Cold, tingling skin
  • Numbness
  • Discolored skin
  • Joint and muscle stiffness
  • Waxy-looking skin

With frostbite, prevention is key. Always wear insulated gloves when you will be working or playing outdoors. If you will be out for long periods of time, try using hand-warmer packets, and switch to mittens as they will keep your fingers warmer.

Injured finger: Sprain

Finger sprains are very common in any winter sport. Practice helps reduce the risk of injury, but you cannot prevent them entirely. If a finger is jammed or sprained, you can buddy tape the injured digit to an adjacent non-injured one as a form of splinting. If the injured finger is swollen, discolored, misshapen, or in severe pain, it may be more than just a sprain.

Injured finger: LacerationsWintertime person using snow blower

Each year, around 9,000 people lose a finger to a snowblower accident. Snowblower injuries may vary from a simple cut that can be repaired with a few sutures to a more severe injury that requires finger re-implantation or amputation. You must use proper caution when operating a snowblower. Always turn the machine off before trying to clear a blockage with your hands.

When to visit the doctor?

Since finger injuries often occur after a forceful, sudden impact, they are difficult to prevent. It is best to see a doctor if you think you have broken a finger. A specialist like those of us at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help assess your situation and provide splints and other treatment as necessary. Determining if you have a sprain, fracture or potentially a tendon injury can be important to assess in the first couple of days after an injury for the optimal outcome. In many situations, you can receive treatment other than surgery.

If the injury appears more severe, it is important to see a doctor right away. That is one reason we opened our Express Care walk-in clinic. It is a more affordable alternative to the ER and provides on-site expert care for orthopedic injuries that is often not available right away in an Emergency Room. We are also happy to take care of you in the hand department whenever you need to see a physician. Same-day appointments are usually available.

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What Is An Ambulatory Surgery Center?

What is an Ambulatory Surgery Center?

An Ambulatory Surgery Center, or ASC, is a health facility that gives patients the option of having surgeries or procedures done outside a hospital setting. Hospitals play an important role in our communities, providing care for anything from a minor injury to surgery or intensive care. An Ambulatory Surgery Center is a very convenient alternative to the traditional hospital for otherwise healthy people.

Ambulatory Surgery Center vs. Hospital

ASC’s provide the same quality care as hospitals yet have lower infection rates, quicker recovery times, and a much lower cost. While most hospitals offer outpatient surgery, doctors and patients both favor Ambulatory Surgery Centers for certain procedures due to the benefits listed above. Some surgeries you can have done at an Ambulatory Surgery Center are:

  • Cataract surgery
  • Colonoscopy and biopsy
  • Joint drain or injection
  • Routine venipuncture
  • Hysterectomy
  • Total joint replacement
  • Spine surgery

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Procedures

When doing outpatient treatments, following the surgery the patient moves to the post-anesthesia care unit and is released once they have recovered. A nurse will generally call the next day to check up and answer any questions there may be. Inpatient surgery on the other hand implies that the patient will be staying in a hospital for one or more nights after the procedure. The shorter stay at an Ambulatory Surgery Center makes it a very appealing option. Even complex procedures that were traditionally only performed in a hospital are now being handled at ASC’s.

Benefits of using an Ambulatory Surgery Center

Doctors first starting using ASC’s in order to provide better care for their patients. An Ambulatory Surgery Center offers a clean environment with the best equipment as well as a team of specialists to effectively carry out procedures in their area of expertise. Scheduling is also much more efficient and convenient at an ASC.

The physicians of Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group are pleased to offer you a convenient alternative for outpatient surgery. You can be confident that youambulatory surgery will receive the highest quality of outpatient care and friendly, attentive service. The Orthopaedic and Spine Center of Southern Colorado is our state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center, conveniently located on-site at our North Campus office. This surgery center houses six operating rooms, two procedure rooms for pain management, and a recovery center, with nine convalescent suites for patients whose surgery requires an overnight stay and round-the-clock nursing care for recovery.

Our operating rooms and recovery suites offer the most sophisticated surgical equipment and technology available for outpatient procedures. Our physicians are also supported by a professional, highly trained, and qualified staff of anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, registered nurses, surgical technologists, and ancillary personnel.

To make your visit as stress-free as possible for both you and those who accompany you, we offer convenient drop-off and pick-up areas, a comfortable waiting room, and efficient turn-around times. Call today to learn more about our services.

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How To Prevent Common Winter Injuries

How to Prevent Common Winter Injuries & When to Go to the Hospital

Winter brings fun times celebrating the holidays with family and friends as well as participating in exhilarating sports like skiing and sledding; however, it is also critical to prevent common winter injuries. Winter also has a set of common injuries that can leave you wondering when to go to the hospital. You can enjoy all that winter has to offer while still remaining injury-free.

Common winter injuries

Because of the snow and ice, winter carries with it the risk of injury. Some of the most common ways people get hurt in wintertime are:Winter Scene with Snowman and Shovel

  • Slipping and falling on ice
  • Over-exertion while shoveling
  • Injuries from winter activities such as sledding, ice skating and skiing
  • Automobile accidents

While there are risks, you need not stay indoors to keep yourself and your family safe this season.

Preventing winter injuries

Prevention takes some prior planning, but is well worth the effort to keep you and your family healthy and happy.

  • Help prevent slips and falls by using ice melt and wearing appropriate foot attire for the snow. Take your time, and use handrails when available.
  • When shoveling snow, be sure to take breaks, wear warm clothing, and go at a slow pace. To avoid over-exerting one side of your body, alternate throwing the snow to your left or right side. 
  • Use caution when participating in winter sports. Use the correct equipment, and do not take unnecessary risks.
  • If you must go out in icy conditions, most car accidents are preventable when drivers keep a safe following distance, go slowly, and minimize distractions. When in doubt, don’t go out!

When to go to the hospital

Sometimes things happen, even when you have done your best to prevent injuries. At this point you may be wondering when to go to the hospital. A visit to the Emergency Room is in order for all life-threatening injuries. For other severe or minor injuries to your bones or joints, the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Express Care Clinic is the perfect option for the best possible care. Our specialists will make you comfortable and assess your injury as quickly as possible to get you on the road to healing and back to enjoying the wonderful winter festivities.

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Hand Day 2020

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 13, 2019

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Partners with The Touching Hands Project for “Hand Day,” a Day of Free Hand Surgery for Local Patients

COLORADO SPRINGS – On February 29, 2020, Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group (CSOG) will host “Hand Day”, offering a day of free hand surgery and procedures to uninsured residents in the Colorado Springs area.

For the second time, CSOG is partnering with The Touching Hands Project (THP), which provides free hand surgery and hand therapy to adults and children in underserved communities. Hand Day 2020 will take place in at least nine U.S. cities.

Through relationships with local clinics, CSOG has identified 21 patients who need hand surgery. With the help of volunteer surgeons, nurses, anesthetists, therapists, medical professionals, and translators these patients will undergo their procedures on Hand Day. Following their surgeries, they will receive free follow-up care.

“It is a way for us to come together and help the people in our back yard” said Dr. Watson.

THP, founded in 2014, began with a single international mission, expanding to 10 missions by 2016. That same year, THP added domestic missions and conducted the first Hand Day in Atlanta. THP plans to hold Hand Day in 50 cities within the next five years. The goal is for all those who suffer from a serious hand injury or deformity to have access to affordable care, specialized treatment, and rehabilitation. Among other donors, THP is funded generously by the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand.

Learn more about THP at www.touchinghandsproject.org, or, donate today.

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Help For Your Back & Neck Pain Symptoms

Help for Your Back & Neck Pain Symptoms

Eight out of ten people will suffer back and neck pain symptoms at some point in their lives. Sudden or acute pain may indicate an injury, however many people experience constant, chronic back and neck pain symptoms. The severity of the pain can range from a dull ache to sharp pain that inhibits your activities of daily living. If you are struggling with this common condition, there is help for you.

Potential causes of back and neck pain symptoms

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. There are many different possibilities for causes of this condition including:

  • Over-exertion
  • Repetitive motion
  • Aging
  • Injury
  • Obesity
  • Weak muscles
  • Joint weakness
  • Osteoporosis

Because there are so many things that may cause back and neck pain symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by a specialist when your pain is acute or chronic.

Preventing bigger problems associated with back and neck pain symptomsFather and Child sledding

Since it is difficult to ascertain the exact cause of your symptoms, bigger problems may develop if you ignore what your body is telling you. Untreated back and neck pain could result in:

  • Weight gain from lack of physical activity
  • Nerve damage
  • Disability and loss of productivity
  • Depression
  • Further injury

When your body is in pain, this is a message to you that something is not right or is not working properly. It is important for you to listen to that message and take action.

Treating or minimizing back and neck pain symptoms

There are many ways you can manage your back and neck pain symptoms. The first thing you can start with is an over the counter pain medication such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Once you are certain that you are not injured, you can also try some of the following methods to alleviate your pain:

  • Exercise
  • Stretching
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight management
  • Assistive devices
  • Pain management techniques

All of these methods should be considered before introducing Opioid medications.

Finding a specialist for back and neck pain symptoms

If you have tried home care methods for alleviating your back and neck pain symptoms and you are still experiencing acute and/or chronic pain, it may be time to seek the help of a specialist. The doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help. We have a team of specialists who are qualified and ready to assess your back and neck pain symptoms and help you get some relief.

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Recognizing Early Signs Of Arthritis

Recognizing the Early Signs of Arthritis

Twenty-three percent of all Americans experience arthritis.  This condition is an inflammation of the joints that often results in pain and stiffness. It breaks down the cartilage that helps joints bend and move smoothly. The effects of arthritis generally worsen with age.

Early signs of arthritisTwo people skiing

If you experience:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • redness
  • decreased range of motion in your joints

You may have arthritis. The best way to know for sure is to have a physical examination with an orthopedic specialist. He or she can diagnose your symptoms and order imaging like x-rays, CT scans, or an MRI to help determine the best treatment options for your situation.

Treatment for advanced arthritis

If the arthritis is significantly impairing your ability to perform day to day activities, your physician may recommend surgery to repair the damaged joint. In some cases, a joint repair may be the only thing necessary to smooth joint surfaces and increase function. This can often be done through a small incision and the use of a camera, or scope. More extreme cases may require a total joint replacement in order to reduce pain and increase mobility and range of motion. Although these procedures tend to have great outcomes, you should always ask you doctor about more conservative treatment options for your situation.

Non-surgical options for the early signs of arthritis

Pain is the driving force behind surgical and non-surgical treatment options for arthritis. There is no known cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can reduce pain and help you function more normally. Sometimes, a simple cortisone injection can make a world of difference. Overweight patients can also reduce the pain and stress in joints by losing even a few pounds. The important thing is to speak with a specialist about your specific needs.

Time to see a specialist

Once again, pain is usually what causes people to see a doctor. If you have any questions about your joints or other orthopedic conditions, it doesn’t hurt to come see us. We can educate you on your options and work with you to determine an ideal course of action for you. Visit Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group for more information or to book an appointment for your arthritis pain.

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What Causes A Sore Achilles Tendon & How Is It Treated?

What Causes a Sore Achilles Tendon & How is it Treated?

Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon that can lead to pain, irritation, and swelling. Your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and is located on the lower back of the leg, and a sore Achilles can be debilitating. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Pain in this area is common because it is such a frequently used part of the body, especially by athletes. The Achilles is used for walking, running, climbing, jumping, and standing on tip toes.

Causes of a sore Achilles tendonJogger on the road

Achilles tendonitis usually stems from overuse and degeneration. Runners can suffer from the condition when they suddenly increase the intensity of workouts. Middle-aged adults and weekend warriors might also have a sore Achilles if they play a sport they are not conditioned for. The prognosis may be different for patients suffering from strains in different parts of the Achilles tendon.

When should you see a doctor for a sore Achilles?

If you hear a sudden pop in the back of your calf or heel, you should see a doctor right away. This could be a sign that you have torn the Achilles tendon, and an orthopedic specialist is needed to put the pieces back together. Other less severe signs that you should see a doctor about your sore Achilles tendon include:

  • Bone Spurs on the heel
  • Swelling that gets worse with activity
  • Pain and stiffness in the morning
  • Severe pain the day after exercising
  • Thickening of the tendon

Non-surgical treatments

An X-ray and MRI may also be needed in addition to a physical evaluation to determine the best treatment options for your sore Achilles tendon. Sometimes the condition will improve with rest and ice over time. Certain anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone shots can help, or your provider may recommend physical therapy. Stretching and strengthening of the calf muscle can also help relieve pain and reduce the risk of injury in the first place.

When is surgery necessary?

Surgery is usually recommended as a last resort if other treatment methods have proven unsuccessful. If the Achilles is torn, it will not repair itself – the tendon cannot grow back together unless it is aided by stitches or sutures. Surgery is also recommended in more serious situations, when the tendon is more than 50% torn, or in the case of an Achilles tendon rupture. Patients usually recover very well after surgery. They will experience some pain, and the recovery time will vary based on the severity of the injury.

Overall, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation of your sore Achilles tendon. This way we can determine the extent of your condition or injury and come up with treatment plans before the pain worsens. Contact Colorado Springs Orthopaedic group for a consultation with Dr. Brad Dresher, our foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs.

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How long does a cortisone shot last?

How long does a cortisone shot last?

A cortisone shot is an injection that can help reduce pain and inflammation in a particular area in the body. They are most commonly used in joints including knees, hips, shoulders, elbow, spine, and even smaller joints in the hands and feet.

When should you consider cortisone injections?

Surgery is generally a last resort for patients with joint pain. Instead, our physicians prefer to start with non-invasive options like a cortisone injection. This treatment option can help you

  • minimize joint pain
  •  increase mobility
  • delay surgery
  • get back to regular functioning and daily activities
  • soothe arthritis flare-ups

Cortisone shots do not work for everyone, but they are an easy and often useful option to try before more invasive treatments.

How does a cortisone shot work?

Cortisone by itself is not a pain reliever. Instead it is an anti-inflammatory. The cortisone is injected directly into the joint and prevents collagen production.  This in turn prevents further inflammation and calms nerves thereby reducing pain.

How soon will I get relief after receiving an injection?Adults running down a path

A cortisone shot is made up of a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic. Because of the anesthetic, your joint will probably feel numb for a few hours after the injection. The corticosteroid should kick in within 3 to 5 days of the injection, but some people experience immediate relief. Patients often wonder how long does a cortisone shot last. Pain relief and reduced swelling last for different amounts of time for different individuals. The relief may continue for months or last only a few days. People frequently see benefits from regular cortisone injections, but it is not recommended to get them too frequently. Your doctor can help determine an appropriate treatment plan during your consultation.

What are the risks of cortisone injections?

Cortisone injections are a very safe treatment for joint pain. There are minimal risks and rarely do we see any complications. The biggest difficulty is for those who have a fear of needles. Several options may be available for your specific orthopedic situation, and it is important to seek advice from a specialist to discuss cortisone shots as well as alternate treatments. The doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help guide you in making this decision and with providing treatment.

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Signs and Symptoms Of A Sprained Wrist

Signs and Symptoms of a Sprained Wrist

To understand the signs and symptoms of a sprained wrist, we must first understand what occurs inside the body when the wrist is sprained. Ligaments are the strong tissues that connect bones to other bones and help stabilize joints. Sprains occur when these ligaments are damaged, torn, or stretched too far. A wrist sprain is usually the result of a fall or injury that causes the hand to bend forcefully. Many wrist sprains are caused by a fall during normal everyday activities. Tripping and catching yourself on an outstretched hand is the most common cause. Sports and outdoor recreation are also activities that frequently result in sprains. Since these injuries generally occur very suddenly, the best ways to avoid a sprain include using wrist guards or protective tape, and using caution when walking in wet or slippery conditions.

Signs and symptoms of a sprained wrist

Chances are, if you have a sprain, you’ll know it. Wrist sprains are painful and can show symptoms through:

  • swelling
  • bruising
  • tenderness to touch
  • warmth around injured area
  • popping or tearing sound in the wrist

Treating the signs of a sprained wrist

For minor strains, use RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. In conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications, this process should help reduce minor pain and swelling. Moderate strains may need to be immobilized for a period of time using a splint or brace. Your doctor may also advise a specific stretching routine to help you regain full mobility. Severe strains or strains involving a ligament tear may require surgery. This process involves reattaching the ligament to the bone or using a graft to reconstruct the ligament. If your doctor deems surgery necessary, he or she will talk to you about which options are best for your case.

When to see a doctortennis player experiencing wrist pain, potential symptoms of a sprained wrist

When in doubt, it is a good idea to see an orthopedic doctor for your wrist pain. They can help you determine the severity of your sprain and whether or not it will require treatment to heal. A sprain may very well heal on its own, but even minor injuries can result in a torn ligament. These do not heal on their own but require surgery to avoid long-term problems. Also, what may seem like a sprain may actually be a fracture. If these fractures go untreated, they can result in improper healing that requires surgery down the road. If you are experiencing the signs of a sprained wrist, visit the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. Our specialists will assess your injury and create an effective treatment plan.

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Shout out to Veterans!

Shout Out to Our Military Veterans!

Veterans Day is celebrated across America on November 11. This national holiday began in 1919 to commemorate the end of Work War I. It was formerly known as Armistice Day until 1954 when President Eisenhower changed the name in order to honor all veterans. There are over 18 million veterans in the United States, and this holiday serves to applaud them for their service and accomplishments.

United States Veterans

Veterans include men and women who have served in any branch of the armed forces:American Flag hanging in a barn

  • Air Force
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Army
  • Coast Guard

Veterans are from all walks of life and many different professions. Nine percent of veterans are women. We have veterans living in every single state of the union as well, and the states with the highest number of veterans are California, Texas, and Florida.

Honor and Sacrifice

Why is it important to honor and thank our veterans each year? These men and women, and their families as well, make great sacrifices to defend and support our country. This is true during times of peace and during times of conflict. Those of us at Audubon Orthotic and Prosthetic Services would like to join the rest of our country in saying thank you to all of our veterans.

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What Are The Signs Of Scoliosis & How Is It Treated?

What are the signs of scoliosis, and how is it treated?

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine.  The sideways curve is most often noticed when a child is growing significantly, such as right before puberty. Since about 3% of adolescents suffer from scoliosis, it is important to have all children evaluated to ensure their spines are developing properly. No one knows exactly what causes this condition, but it does seem to be hereditary.

Signs of Scoliosis

There are varying degrees of scoliosis from mild, to moderate, to severe.  Some symptoms of this condition include:Young Girl in Ballerina Outfit

  • Uneven waist
  • Uneven hips
  • One shoulder more prominent than the other
  • Uneven shoulders

If scoliosis goes unnoticed, the spine can begin to twist causing the ribs to stick out on one side.

Scoliosis Treatment

The treatment options for scoliosis depend on the severity of the curvature of the spine. Most cases of scoliosis are mild.  In this case, the treatment is X-rays and monitoring, If the signs of scoliosis begin to worsen, a brace can assist to correct the curve while the spine continues to grow. In severe cases, scoliosis can lead to deformities that are disabling.  If your child has severe scoliosis, surgery may be advised. Girls have a much higher risk of having scoliosis that requires treatment or surgery.

Finding a Specialist when you see signs of scoliosis

If treatment is necessary, your physician will guide you in the process of getting a brace to correct the problem or in severe cases, scheduling a surgery. The most common type of surgery for scoliosis is spinal fusion where the surgeon fuses two or more vertebrae together to prevent movement.  A second option is placement of a spinal rod that can grow with your child.  This is only used when the child is still young, the curve is developing quickly, and growth is also occurring rapidly. The first step will be to make an appointment for an evaluation with an orthopedic doctor. The specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help diagnose and treat your child’s scoliosis. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

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What Is Shoulder Dislocation?

What is Shoulder Dislocation?

Shoulder dislocation is when the upper arm bone pops out of the socket that is part of the shoulder blade. The shoulder is the most susceptible to dislocation because it is the body’s most mobile joint. Dislocations vary in severity based on how far the ball slips out of the socket. The bigger the dislocation, the more tendons and ligaments are stretched and damaged.

Symptoms of shoulder dislocation

When asking “What is shoulder dislocation?” the first thing you must know is that a shoulder dislocation is very painful. You may also experience:

  • swelling or bruising
  • inability to move the joint
  • numbness and tingling near the joint or further down the arm
  • muscle spasms in the shoulder

You can usually tell that the shoulder looks deformed and out of place when it is dislocated. Young men have the greatest risk of shoulder dislocation as this injury often occurs while playing sports. It can also occur during a car accident, fall, or other traumatic blow to the shoulder.

What is shoulder dislocation vs. shoulder instability?athletes playing soccer

Once a shoulder has been dislocated for the first time it may be more prone to future dislocations. In addition to injury and overuse, this can cause the upper arm bone to slip out of its socket repeatedly, thus resulting in instability. This may occur more and more frequently as the ligaments and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint are less able to hold the ball and socket together.

Treatment for shoulder dislocation

Seek medical help if you suspect you have dislocated your shoulder. A professional can help put the ball back into the socket with a procedure called closed reduction. You should feel almost immediate relief from the acute pain. Your doctor may prescribe a sling and recommend icing sore spots during the recovery period. Full function and recovery tend to follow within the next few weeks. For immediate help visit the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group’s Express Care Clinic.

Surgery for shoulder dislocation

Surgery is generally a last resort for orthopedic conditions like shoulder instability. If possible, your doctor should seek other treatments first and use surgery if these options have failed or are unlikely to succeed. If the damage to the joints, tendons, or ligaments is too great, surgery can be a great option to help hold the ball and socket in place. Physical therapy will play a key role in getting you back in action after this type of procedure. The specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help determine the best treatment plan for your shoulder dislocation.

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Dupuytren’s Contracture Of The Hand

Dupuytren’s Contracture of the Hand

What is Dupuytren’s contracture?  This condition affects the layer of tissue under the skin in the palm of your hand. Over time, knots form in the tissue and eventually force one or more fingers into a bent position. The condition makes it impossible to fully straighten these fingers and can be a real hindrance to daily functioning.

Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contractureHand with curled fingers

Usually, the first sign of Dupuytren’s is a thickening of the skin on the palm. It takes years for the disease to progress, but can eventually manifest as a puckering or dimpling of the skin. Next a lump of tissue will start to develop that is sensitive to the touch. The lump is usually not painful. As the tissue continues to knot up and tighten it will begin to affect the fingers and pull them in toward the palm. The two fingers farthest from the thumb are most often affected.

Can Dupuytren’s contracture be prevented?

We don’t yet know the specific causes of Dupuytren’s contracture. Those who have a higher risk of developing the disease:

  • Use tobacco and alcohol heavily
  • Men over the age of 50
  • People of Northern European descent
  • People with diabetes
  • Have a family history of the disease

There is no indication that hand injuries or occupations involving repetitive hand movements cause this disease.

Treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture

There are a variety of treatment options ranging from minimally invasive injections to surgery to remove the affected tissue. With enzyme injections, the tight cord in your hand is weakened allowing your doctor to manipulate your fingers and break the cord holding them down. For the surgical option, the diseased tissue is removed, allowing your fingers to move freely. Both of these treatments have produced great results for our patients in many different situations with differing levels of disease severity.

When to see a doctor

If the disease is progressing slowly and does not cause pain or inhibit the daily use of your hands, you may not need treatment right away. If it is making daily life difficult, it may be time to seek some sort of treatment. Either way, it is helpful to get a professional opinion. Dr. Watson at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group has treated a number of patients with Dupuytren’s contracture. He prefers to start with a conservative approach. Surgery is not necessary for everyone and our goal is to work with patients on a plan that makes them comfortable.

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What Is Spinal Fusion Surgery?

What is Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Spinal fusion surgery permanently connects two or more vertebrae.  This process prevents movement between the individual vertebrae. Metal plates, screws, and rods are used to connect the vertebrae.  Alternately, bone or a bone-like material can be used to complete the surgery.

How do I know if I need spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion sounds kind of scary! So, how do you know if this procedure is right for you? There are three main conditions that answer the question, what is spinal fusion, and do I need it?

  • Spine deformities: surgery corrects a condition such a scoliosis
  • Weak or unstable spine: corrects instability due to severe arthritis
  • Herniated disk: regains stability of the spine after removal of a damaged disk

While spinal fusion can be successful for these three condition, it has not been proven in situations of non-specific back pain treatment.

How does spinal fusion help?Older Couple Walking on the Beach

When two vertebrae are fused together, this creates one solid bone instead of two.  Since the two vertebrae can no longer move independently, the pain associated with their movement or instability is alleviated. This procedure also prevents the stretching of the nerves surrounding the vertebrae which can reduce your pain. Since only a small portion of the spine is fused, spinal fusion surgery does not usually limit your range of motion once you have healed completely.

What are the risks of spinal fusion surgery?

As with any surgery, there are always potential risks involved. It is important for you to weigh these risks against the benefits of the surgery.  These may include:

  • Infection: you will likely receive antibiotics before, during, and sometimes after surgery to prevent infection
  • Persistent pain: some people will experience ongoing pain at the graft site
  • Continuing symptoms: in some cases, your original symptoms may return
  • Nerve damage: this complication is very rare
  • Pseudarthrosis: only occurs when there is not enough bone formation

It is important to discuss any complications you may experience with your doctor.

Who do I trust to perform this surgery?

Now that you have answered the question, what is spinal fusion, you may be asking who to see for this procedure. The qualified experts at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help.  Give us a call for a consultation today. Read more about spinal fusion surgery here: Minimally Invasive Posterior Spinal Fusion.

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What Is Arthroscopy & Is It Right For You?

What is Arthroscopy & Is It Right for You?

Arthroscopy is a type of surgery that allows the physician to see inside a joint using a scope or small viewing instrument. The surgeon is able to get a useful look at the joint without making a large incision or affecting other areas of the joint

What is arthroscopy compared to traditional surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery isn’t the best solution to every joint issue, but it can help to relieve pain and repair damage in a variety of situations. Patients often appreciate this type of procedure because it helps minimize the risk of infection and lowers their recovery time after surgery. Arthroscopic surgeries are also quicker than traditional surgeries and can be performed as outpatient procedures. In some cases, you may be in surgery for just 10 minutes and able to return home soon thereafter.

When is arthroscopy necessary?

Almost any joint can be inspected using a small scope, but the joints most commonly treated with an arthroscopy are:Athlete with Injured knee

  • Knee
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Ankle
  • Hip
  • Wrist

Bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments are the main components of our joints. When these are compromised due to injury or disease, an arthroscopic surgery can often help. It allows the surgeon to smooth out the damaged parts of the joint or repair pieces that may be torn, pinched, or strained.

When is arthroscopy not appropriate?

Some physicians believe arthroscopic surgeries are not useful for those suffering from degenerative knee disease which is sometimes arthritis. In these cases, arthroscopic surgeries do not always produce a long-term benefit. It is essential to speak with a specialist and understand all your options before you agree to any type of surgery. There are often other steps you can take before resorting to surgery of any kind, even something that is less invasive, like arthroscopy.

Alternatives to arthroscopy

The most important thing is to speak with a specialist and understand all your options before you agree to any type of surgery. One of our main goals as physicians at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is to educate patients so they can make the best decisions possible. We work with you one-on-one to determine the most effective plan for your condition. Every situation is different, so it is vital that your doctor not take a “cookie-cutter” approach to your treatment and recovery.

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Treatment For Hip Impingement Pain

Treatment for Hip Impingement Pain

Hip impingement pain occurs when there is abnormal wearing between the ball and socket of the hip joint. Basically, the ball and socket don’t fit together properly. This restricted motion causes friction that damages parts of the joint. It can lead to hip impingement pain and even arthritis in younger or older individuals. This condition commonly affects teens and young adults.

Symptoms of hip impingement pain

Most people who have a hip impingement suffer pain or stiffness in the groin area that is increased with exercises that stress the hips in any way. This may include:

  • running
  • jumping
  • flexing the hip
  • moving after prolonged periods of sitting

If left untreated, hip impingement can cause serious issues, even damaging or tearing of the labrum, the cartilage that helps hold your thigh bone in place in the hip socket.

Causes of hip impingementPerson Golfing

Hip impingement is generally the result of abnormally shaped parts of the hip joint. In this case, there is no way to prevent the condition. Hip impingement may also be caused by repetitive movements beyond the normal range of motion for the hip joint. This is more common among certain athletes. The condition can also be caused by an injury to the hip.

When to see a provider

Professional diagnosis for hip impingement pain is essential for a proper treatment plan. If you have been experiencing consistent pain in the hip and groin area, the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help. First, you will receive a physical exam to assess the health of your hip joint.  Further testing such as X-ray, MRI, or CT scan may also be necessary to diagnosis hip impingement.

Treatment for hip impingement pain

Physical therapy and certain stretches can help reduce pain and the potential for more damage, but surgery is the best option to correct the issue. Hip impingement surgery will reshape the hip socket and help prevent further damage to the surrounding tissues. A minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery will be most effective in most cases.  However, in cases of more severe deformity, an open surgery may be recommended.

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Exploring The Benefits Of Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Exploring the Benefits of Reverse Shoulder Replacement

When you have tried the non-surgical treatments for shoulder pain such as activity changes and medication, it may be time to speak to a specialist about a Man Swimmingshoulder replacement. Each year over 53,000 people have shoulder replacement surgery. This procedure relieves pain effectively. In shoulder replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged parts of the shoulder and prosthetic parts are put in to restore the joint.

Shoulder Replacement Options

There are several types of partial and total shoulder replacement. In the traditional total shoulder replacement a plastic socket and metal ball are used to create a new joint for the damaged one you already have. Instead of a total shoulder replacement, your surgeon may replace only the ball portion of the joint, leaving your own socket. He or she can also replace only the damaged socket and leave your own bone for the ball portion.  The latter two options generally provide less pain relief than a total shoulder replacement surgery.

Benefits of Reverse Shoulder Replacement

In reverse shoulder replacement, the ball and socket are switched.  The surgeon attaches a plastic socket to the top of the arm bone, and adds a metal ball to the shoulder bone. With a reverse shoulder replacement, you will use the deltoid muscle to raise your arm rather than the rotator cuff. You may benefit from a reverse shoulder replacement if your:

  • Previous total shoulder replacement failed
  • Rotator cuff is completely torn
  • Arthritis is severe with rotator cuff tearing
  • Arm weakness is severe

With traditional shoulder replacement, you would not be able to lift your arm fully when any of the above conditions exist. As long as the shoulder is cared for properly, the new joint should last 10-15 years.

Finding a Skilled Provider

If you experience severe shoulder pain and any of the conditions listed above, it may be time to seek the help of a professional. Only an orthopedic surgeon has the training and experience to provide you with the best outcome for this type of surgery. Call Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group today to set up a consultation to explore the benefits of reverse shoulder replacement.

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Have you figured out where to get a sports physical for your student?

Have you figured out where to get a sports physical for your student athlete?High School Football Athlete

Back to school means the end of summer and the beginning of school sports. Most schools will require a specific sports physical form be filled out before your child can participate. If you wait until the last minute, you are likely to find that your child’s pediatrician is booked out past the paperwork deadline. Don’t let your student athlete miss out on a great opportunity.

Where to get a sports physical

There are a few places you can get a sports physical for your child. They will vary in cost and in the speed at which they can fit you in for an appointment.

  • Primary care pediatrician: Not always able to schedule your child for a sports physical in a timely manner
  • Pharmacy clinic: May have a long wait time and a higher price
  • Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Express Care Clinic: Able to treat urgent bone and joint care needs as well as conduct sports physicals

Colorado Springs Orthopedic Group Express Care for sports physicals

The Express Care Clinic has expanded hours to be accessible around your work and school schedules.  We are open Monday-Friday 9am-7pm and Saturday 10am-2pm. Our providers will get you in and out in a timely manner and provide all of the documentation you need to get your child on the field or court. This is generally a quick exam, and no appointment is necessary. Call 719-622-4550 if you have any further questions, or visit our clinic at 4110 Briargate Parkway, Suite 145; Conveniently located on the first floor of our Briargate office.

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What Is The Value & Purpose Of Physical Therapy?

What is the Value & Purpose of Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists use precise exercises and specialized equipment to help rehabilitate your physical abilities.  They routinely start treatment with an intake appointment.  At this time your physical therapist will assess your condition and create a plan for rehabilitation. You may need physical therapy after an injury, because of aging, or due to some birth defects. Doctors also usually recommend physical therapy after orthopedic surgery.

Purpose of physical therapy after surgery

During the healing period following surgery, it is essential that you follow your physical therapy plan.  This will include a combination of office visits and exercises to perform at home.  When you faithfully complete your physical therapy recommendations, you give your bones, muscles, and soft tissues the best opportunity to heal properly. Disregarding the recommendations of your physical therapist can:

  • Limit your range of motionExercise dumbbells and sneakers
  • Lessen your flexibility
  • Inhibit proper joint function
  • Affect your surgical outcome

The purpose of physical therapy after surgery is to give you the best possible outcome in your activities of daily living.

Is seeing a physical therapist necessary?

With the availability of information on the internet, is it really necessary to see a physical therapist? You may be tempted to figure it out on your own. Physical therapists have extensive training in the musculoskeletal system and human movement.  They are able to customize a treatment plan for your precise needs and watch to ensure you are completing the exercises correctly.  Failure to do so can cause your healing to progress more slowly.  In a worst-case scenario, you may injure yourself by trying to work out a physical therapy plan on your own.

How often will I need to go to physical therapy?

Since the purpose of physical therapy is to rehabilitate after surgery, the frequency of your visits will vary depending on what type of surgery you have had.  At first, you should expect to have office visits 1-3 times per week. These visits will be coupled with exercises for you to complete at home.  Depending on what part of your body is being rehabilitated, physical therapy treatment can last 6-8 weeks. It comes to an end whenever you have reached your treatment goals. Our physical therapists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group will help you in creating the best plan for healing and rehabilitation after your surgery.

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Understanding Pulled Groin Muscle Symptoms

Understanding Pulled Groin Muscle Symptoms

A strained groin muscle is commonly referred to as a pulled groin muscle. It is important to understand pulled groin muscle symptoms. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon in the body is stretched beyond its normal limit. It is sometimes simply called a pulled muscle. A groin strain occurs when any of the muscles on the inside of the thigh are stretched beyond capacity. Athletes who suffer groin pain usually have had an injury to one of these muscles. Those who play soccer, hockey, and football are especially susceptible to these and other kinds of strains. Injuries from falling, twisting, or other sudden traumas can lead to acute pain in the groin muscles. Overuse can also bring about problems for the athlete and non-athlete alike.

What does a Pulled Groin feel like? 

As a physically active person, you may suffer from groin pain at some point in your life.  Pulled groin symptoms may include:

  • Tenderness and pain on the inside of the thigh and groin areaathlete playing basketball pulled groin muscle, strained groin, pull groin
  • Pain when bringing your legs together
  • Pain when raising your knee
  • A snapping or popping feeling at the time of injury that results in severe pain

If you experience any of these pulled groin symptoms, you need to know if you have a groin strain or if you have actually torn a muscle in your groin. A strained groin muscle can be prevented in several ways. Some of these include wearing proper footwear, warming up before working out, increasing exercise intensity slowly, and doing exercises to strengthen your thigh muscles.

Treating a minor strain

Many minor strains and orthopedic injuries can be treated through RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. These types of injuries can heal within a couple of weeks while more intense strains may take up to a month and a half to heal completely. Occasionally, a groin injury can result in more than just a strained muscle. If a muscle is torn, the severity of the tear will dictate whether you need surgery to repair the damage. Sometimes RICE is enough to help during months of recovery, but not always.  It can be challenging to diagnose a tear on your own, but these injuries are usually associated with greater pain, more swelling and bruising, and more stiffness in the area.

Treating a groin tear

If you have severe groin pain, or severe muscle pain of any kind, it never hurts to see a specialist. With a sudden and painful injury, you should visit the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. Your doctor can help diagnose the severity of your pulled groin symptoms and how best to treat the injury. He or she understands the differences between sprains and tears and will put you on the fastest road to recovery. If you have a minor injury, try RICE for a while and see if the pain decreases over the next few days. If your condition does not improve, it is time to visit one of the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group.

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Do I Have Runner’s Knee Or Need A Total Knee Replacement?

Do I Have Runner’s Knee or Need A Total Knee Replacement?

Runner’s knee is another name for palletofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).  This condition causes pain around the front of the knee and around the kneecap, or patella. Despite the name, it can happen to people who are not runners.  All types of athletes are prone to runner’s knee as well as those who sit for long periods each day.  It is also more common in women and younger people. The stiffness and pain caused by PFPS can make daily activities such and climbing stairs and kneeling down difficult or even unbearable.

What causes runner’s knee, and how can I prevent it?

Runners knee is usually caused by overuse and repeated stress on the knee joint. It can also result from poor footwear and improper use of sporting equipment. In some cases, misalignment of the kneecap is the cause of the pain. The symptoms of runner’s knee are:Runners in a Marathon

  • Pain when you perform exercises that require repeated bending of the knee such as jogging, climbing stairs, or squats
  • Pain after you have been sitting for a long period with your knees bent
  • Pain when you intensify your activity level or change walking surfaces
  • Cracking or popping sounds when you bend your knee

Prevention of runner’s knee is key for any athlete. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to avoid this painful condition. First, be sure to wear appropriate footwear whenever you are engaging in physical activity. Second, warm up your muscles and stretch before you exercise or play sports. Finally, maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting undue stress on your knees.

How do I treat runner’s knee?

There are several home remedies that are effective in treating runner’s knee. Start with the RICE protocol to relieve your pain

  • Rest: avoid bearing weight on the injured knee
  • Ice: apply cold packs several times each day
  • Compression: wrap the knee for comfort
  • Elevation: when resting, keep your knee higher than your heart

In addition to the RICE method, you can also use an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. You should also decrease your activity level until the pain subsides. If these methods are not effective, you should see a specialist. They may recommend physical therapy or orthotics to help fix the problem. In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove damaged cartilage or to move the patella into proper placement. In general, runner’s knee will not require a total knee replacement.  If you have experienced a sudden knee injury, visit our Express Clinic for immediate attention.  If you are experiencing chronic pain, make an appointment with one of our specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group.

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Signs Of A Torn Rotator Cuff & What to Do Next

Signs of Torn Rotator Cuff & What to Do Next

A healthy, functioning rotator cuff is essential for the fluid movement of your shoulder joint. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles that stabilize the shoulder. Damage to the muscles or ligaments of the rotator cuff can lead to significant pain as well as loss of range of motion. Rotator cuff damage is most common in people who perform repetitive overhead motions either at work or at play.  This type of injury is also more common as people age. In some cases, a torn rotator cuff can happen as the result of a sudden injury. It is important to recognize the signs of a torn rotator cuff and seek treatment before causing additional damage.

Types of rotator cuff injuries

When you have injured your rotator cuff, the damage can be anywhere from mild to severe.  There are three grades of strains:Baseball Player Pitching, which is commonly associated with rotator cuff injuries

  • Grade one strains involve stretching but no tears
  • Grade two strains involve partial tearing of the tendons or muscles
  • Grade three strains involve a complete tear

If you have strained your shoulder joint, you may experience mild pain and inflammation.  This type of injury can generally be treated at home with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. If you are finding that you are still in pain and have lost the use of your shoulder joint, it is important to know the signs of a torn rotator cuff.

Signs of a torn rotator cuff

Tears to the rotator cuff can either be chronic or severe. A chronic rotator cuff injury generally occurs in athletes or with those whose professions require frequent overhead movements. An acute rotator cuff tear occurs with a very sudden and forceful movement of the arm against resistance or to stop a fall. For both causes the same signs of a torn rotator cuff will be evident including:

  • Pain worsens at night and inhibits sleep
  • Weakness and decreased range of motion in the affected shoulder
  • Pain worsens when lifting the arm high into the air

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to be seen by a professional. Some rotator cuff injuries can be treated with physical therapy, but others may require surgery.

When and where to seek help

If you are experiencing the signs of a torn rotator cuff, you will want the care of experienced specialists. The doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help. If you have experienced a sudden injury, the physicians at our Express Care Clinic are available to diagnose and treat your shoulder problem.  If you are experiencing the worsening of chronic pain, please made an appointment to see one of our shoulder specialists for a consultation and treatment plan.

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Broken Bones Are Common Summer Injuries In Colorado

Broken Bones are Common Ssummer Injuries in Colorado

Boy on a SwingSummertime and broken bones may not seem to be two things that go together.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  With the increase in outdoor activities, bone fractures are among the most common summertime injuries, especially in children.

Common Summertime Injuries

The warm weather, sports, and vacations of summer bring us joy and wonderful memories. This season also brings with it the risk of different types of injuries.  Some of these include:

  • Drowning
  • Dehydration
  • Sunburn
  • Insect Bites
  • Fractures

Summertime and Broken Bones

The sports of summer such as diving, volleyball, baseball, soccer, hiking, rafting, and many others all have one thing in common; they increase your risk of bone fractures. Summer is also the time when children are outside playing, thereby increasing their risk of fractures as well.  Who is most at risk of broken bones?

  • Smokers have an elevated risk of bone fracture
  • Frequent drinkers also carry this risk
  • Those who regularly take steroid medications
  • People with chronic disorders
  • Patients with Type 1 diabetes
  • Those with a family history of bone fracture

Symptoms of bone fracture

When you are injured, one of the first questions you may ask is, “Is it broken?”  The following are symptoms of bone fracture:

  • Swelling and/or bruising
  • Pain that worsens when you move or apply pressure to the area
  • Deformity of the injured area
  • Loss of function of the injured body part

Where to go for these common summertime injuries

Since fractures are such common summertime injuries, it is important to know what to do when you find that you or someone you love has been injured. You need to be seen quickly.  The specialists at the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can quickly and effectively assess your injury. We have on-sight X-ray available, and our Express Care Clinic is a lower cost than either an Urgent Care or Emergency Room visit. The doctors at the Express Care Clinic are all specialists and can give a higher level of care for a bone fracture.

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Grilled Food, Independence, and Whiplash – 4th of July Injuries

Grilled Food, Independence & Whiplash – 4th of July Injuries

The 4th of July is a great day to spend time with friends and family as you celebrate Independence Day.  Unfortunately, it is also a day of increased emergency room visits.  Some are due to burns from fireworks, however, the other causes of 4th of July injuries may surprise you.

Five most common 4th of July injuries4th of July Celebration

  • Face and Eye Injuries: When you are looking up at fireworks, your risk of injury is greater.  Be cautious around fireworks, and seek medical attention if your face or eyes are hurt.
  • Hand and Finger Injuries: Again, when handling fireworks, use caution. Even sparklers can burn your hands and fingers.
  • Food poisoning: Proper food handling practices will help alleviate this problem. Always wash your hands when preparing food, and keep foods at safe temperatures.
  • Swimming accidents: Always be sure children are attended to and wearing life vests. If the adults are drinking, they should not be swimming.  This is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
  • Car Accidents: The number one cause of 4th of July injuries is auto accidents. This is partly due to the increased number of people out on the roadways and also to those drinking and driving.

Whiplash and other auto accident-related injuries

Since car accidents are the biggest cause of 4th of July injuries, it is important to know what to do if you find yourself in an accident.  Whiplash is caused by the sudden movement of the neck in a back and forth motion. It is common in rear-ending accidents. Sometimes the effects of a whiplash injury are not immediately apparent. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor after any car accident.

Bone fractures and joint damage are also common injuries that can occur in a car accident. If you are experiencing any pain after an auto accident, seek medical attention. The doctors at the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can assess your injuries and set up an effective treatment plan.

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Robot Assisted Total Knee Surgery Comes to Colorado Springs

Robot Assisted Total Knee Surgery Comes to Colorado Springs

If you are a candidate for total knee surgery, you may wonder about the accuracy of robot assisted surgery.

Tyler R. Bron, MD, Ted L. Stringer, MD, and Eric K. Jepson, MD, of Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group are excited to pilot an innovative technology that will assist in total knee replacement surgery. They are among the first physicians in the Springs to use the Mako Robot. We’re thrilled to bring medical technologies to Southern Colorado that are traditionally only available in major cities. This robotic arm is specially designed to give the accuracy of robot assisted surgery and customization to total joint replacements. Patients can rest assured that the Mako Robot is safe and regulated by many safety features.

Patients frequently ask if the robot itself performs the surgery

No is the simple answer:

  • The surgeon sets up and controls the robotic arm during the entire procedure.
  • The process starts with a CT scan of the joint that helps create a 3D model of your knee.
  • Stryker’s Mako Software then creates a unique plan for your specific surgery.
  • In the operating room, the surgeon guides the robotic arm within the predefined area and marks off boundaries for the surgery.

Accuracy of robot assisted surgery

Because of the combination of a 3D model of your knee as well as the doctor’s physical assessment of its range of motion, this prosthetic is customized to each individual person’s anatomy. The physician is also able to direct the arm and make minor adjustments as the procedure continues. All of this combined with strict safety protocols makes the accuracy of robot assisted surgery a secure new way to help patients get the most out of their joint replacements.

To learn more about the Mako Robotic­Arm visit their website at https://patients.stryker.com/knee­replacement/options/mako­robotic­arm­assisted­total­knee

You can also call (719) 632­7669 to schedule a consult with Dr. Tyler R. Bron, Dr. Ted L. Stringer, or Dr. Eric K. Jepson to learn more about robot assisted surgery and other options for your knee or total joint.

About Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group:

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is the largest independent orthopedic practice in Southern Colorado and has been providing care to the Colorado Springs community and Pikes Peak region since 1994. Our physicians are board-certified or board eligible and fellowship trained in many sub­specialties including not only the accuracy of robot assisted surgery, but also sports medicine, foot, ankle, spine, hand, upper extremity, trauma, and joint replacement. With this breadth of knowledge and expertise, we have you covered from head to toe. We provide orthopedic surgical and medical services when and where you need us. Our on­site capabilities include digital X-rays and MRIs, an Express Care walk-in clinic, osteoporosis screening, physical and occupational therapy, and a state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center. Schedule an appointment today! Call (719) 632­7669. We have two convenient locations to serve you in Colorado Springs.

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Diagnosis & Treatment Of Knee & Hip Arthritis

Diagnosis & Treatment of Knee & Hip Arthritis

The term “arthritis” refers to joint pain or disease.  There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and it can affect more than one joint in a person.  Osteoarthritis is the most common form, and it is caused by the breakdown of cartilage. When this happens, bones in the joint rub against each other causing pain, swelling, and loss of movement. Knee arthritis and hip arthritis are both types of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of Knee Arthritis or Hip Arthritis

How does arthritis affect the knee or hip? As the cartilage in the joint breaks down, the bones rub together causing damage to the joint. The process takes years to develop and progresses in four stages:

  • Stage One (Minor): Small lumps grow on the bone, and the damage to the cartilage is minor.
  • Stage Two (Mild): The cartilage begins to wear down slightly, and you may begin to experience pain or stiffness.
  • Stage Three (Moderate): Cartilage loss has occurred, and there may be signs of inflammation.  You will likely experience pain when performing daily activities such as walking, running, or bending.
  • Stage Four (Severe): The cartilage loss is severe causing bone on bone movement in the joint.  You will probably experience much more intense pain.

Prevention of Knee Arthritis or Hip Arthritis

Arthritis is not necessarily a condition that you can prevent, but you can understand the risk factors. These may include:

  • Family history of arthritis
  • Developmental diseases affecting the joints
  • Variations in anatomy
  • Dislocations of the joints or fractures of the bones
  • Obesity

Treatment of Knee Arthritis or Hip Arthritis

For mild and moderate arthritis you can use these treatments to find relief:

  • Use heat and cold on the affected area
  • Be sure to rest when needed
  • Stay active and maintain a healthy weight
  • Do exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the joint
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medication

When the joint deterioration has progressed to the moderate or severe stage, joint replacement may be an option. Joint injections can also be an effective way to deal with the pain associated with knee arthritis or hip arthritis.  When you have tried home treatment and your pain is no longer manageable, it is time to see a specialist.  The doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic group can help with the best possible treatment plan.

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Do Orthotics Work to Improve Your Life?

Do Orthotics Work to Improve Your Life?

Most people will suffer from foot pain at some point in their lives. Some studies estimate that 77% of Americans have experienced foot pain.  Of those who live with chronic foot pain, 83% say this pain affects their activities of daily living. Orthotics can help many of these people alleviate their pain.

Do orthotics work?

Orthotics are shoe inserts that can help correct an irregular or abnormal walking pattern. They are recommended when muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, or bones are not functioning correctly and causing pain. Orthotics work by slightly changing the angle at which the foot contacts the walking surface. In many circumstances, they can be an effective approach to alleviating foot pain.

How are orthotics made?

True orthotics are much more than arch supports. There are three different types of orthotics; rigid, soft, and semi-rigid.

  • Rigid orthotics are manufactured from a firm material such as carbon fiber or plastic. These orthotics are made from a mold of your own foot.  They generally do not wear out or break.
  • Soft orthotics are made from compressible materials and are molded to your foot as you wear them. These orthotics help take pressure off sore areas of your foot, absorb shock as you walk or run, and increase balance.
  • Semi-rigid orthotics consist of layers of flexible materials reinforced with more rigid materials.  These orthotics provide balance as well as allow the foot to perform more effectively.

Benefits of wearing orthotics

If you are wondering, “Do orthotics work?” the answer is, “Yes!” There are many benefits to wearing orthotics including:

  • Alleviating foot, low back, ankle, and leg pain
  • Improving balance
  • Correcting alignments of the foot and leg
  • Distributing pressure and absorbing shock
  • Allowing you to participate in activities of daily living

Orthotics let your feet function properly, and this affects many other areas of your body.

Where do I get orthotics?

Sneakers with InsertsOrthotics can be purchased over-the-counter or through a specialist.  If you are experiencing a mild foot problem and are of average height and weight, these may be an option for you.  Over-the-counter orthotics are available at drug stores or running stores.  If your pain or alignment problem does not improve, you may need to see Dr. Brad Dresher, Colorado Springs Orthopedic Doctor, for custom orthotics.  At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, our professionals can help you find the right orthotics in Colorado Springs to address the issue you are having.

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What Are Symptoms Of Nerve Damage?

What Are Symptoms Of Nerve Damage?

With any injury or other source of pain, there is always the possibility of nerve damage.  Before being able to answer this important question, you must first understand how nerves function in your body.

What role do nerves serve in the body? 

Nerves communicate messages between the brain and other parts of the body through electrical signals. They are responsible for telling muscles to move and letting the brain know when something is causing pain or a change in pressure or temperature. Nerves are fragile and can be easily damaged in a variety of ways.

What causes nerve pain?

Nerve Damage - Hand and Wrist Pain

Nerve pain can be caused by a variety of factors including injuries and other health conditions. Pressure, like in carpal tunnel syndrome, can cause nerve pain in the hand and wrist. Traumatic injuries can cause nerve pain in various areas of the body. Diseases like diabetes or autoimmune diseases can also affect the nerves’ ability to function normally.

What are the symptoms of nerve damage?

Most people experience some level of pain with nerve damage. For some, it’s a stabbing pain that wakes them up in the middle of the night. For others, it manifests as a burning or tingling sensation that can last all day. Nerve damage can also interrupt critical signals between the brain and muscles, preventing the muscles from working properly or causing numbness. Some common symptoms of nerve damage are:

  • Pain or sensitivity
  • Muscle weakness or twitching
  • Paralysis
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Numbness

Whatever the symptoms, nerve pain can be debilitating and effect every aspect of daily life.

Is nerve damage permanent?

Although it may take months, non-operative recovery is possible for many nerve injuries. For nerve damage that does require surgery, nerve grafting, transfers, or muscle transfers may help to re-animate a limb. The important thing is to schedule a consultation with a trained doctor to help diagnose the symptoms of nerve damage and come up with a treatment plan. The specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group are always happy to see patients and help them recover from injuries or nerve damage.

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How To Heal A Sprained Ankle

How to Heal a Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle can happen to anyone. According to some estimates, at least 25,000 Americans suffer from a sprained ankle each day. It is usually caused by rolling, twisting, and turning your ankle past its normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve the outer ligaments. In extreme cases, these ligaments may tear. When you experience an injury, you may wonder how to heal a sprained ankle.

Home Treatment

When you suspect a sprained ankle, the first step towards healing is the RICE protocol:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Take these four simple steps to help alleviate pain and speed the healing process. You can also use an anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen.

Healing Time

The amount of time it will take to heal your sprained ankle depends upon the degree of the sprain.  There are three degrees of ankle sprains:

  • First degree (the ligaments have stretched but not torn) 1-2 weeks healing time
  • Second degree (partial tear of the ligament) 3-6 weeks
  • Third degree (torn ligaments) 8-12 months

The severity of your pain and swelling as well as your ability (or inability) to walk can help you determine which type of sprain you may have.

Seeking Professional Help

If your injury does not respond to home treatment and you experience any of the following:

  • Severe pain that cannot be controlled with an anti-inflammatory
  • Severe swelling
  • Inability to bear weight on the injured foot

Running Ankle SprainIt is time to seek professional help. Depending on the severity of the sprain you may be on crutches for a few days or put into a boot or a splint to restrain the movement of your ankle. After the resting period is over, you may be referred to a physical therapist for specific exercises to rehabilitate your ankle.

If you are experiencing severe pain or if the swelling and pain have persisted for more than one week, you should see a specialist. An X-ray will show if there is a stress fracture, and an MRI will show if you have any torn ligaments. If you have a complete tear, this will require surgery. If the ankle is still unstable, it may also require surgery to tighten everything back up. The Express Care Clinic and the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can assess your injury and show you how to heal a sprained ankle.

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What Is An MRI Procedure & Do I Need One?

What is an MRI Procedure & Do I Need One?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to get detailed images of the inside of your body. An MRI can even produce 3D images of the inside of the body that can be viewed from different angles.

MRI Procedure

The MRI machine is usually shaped like a large, round tube. For the MRI procedure, you will lay down on a long padded bed that will slowly move the desired body part inside the tube. During the MRI procedure, the patient:

  • Must stay very still for the duration of the procedure which normally lasts 20-30 minutes
  • Will not feel anything, but may hear a noise as the images are captured.
  • Wears ear protection

Why use MRI?MRI

Before the MRI magnet or x-ray machines, there were limited ways for physicians to see what is going on inside the body without performing surgery. Now, doctors can get a good look at problem areas in the body through non-invasive methods. They can examine your organs, tissues, and skeletal system in detail without having to put you through an operation.

X-rays are helpful for looking at your bones, but an MRI procedure can give more information about your orthopedic condition. It allows us to see what’s going on with your:

  • cartilage
  • muscles
  • tendons
  • ligaments
  • tissues surrounding your bones and joints

This helps the doctor determine the most effective treatment options.

Do I need an MRI?

If you experience an orthopedic injury or suffer from chronic pain in your joints or back, it may be time to see a doctor. He or she can help determine the cause of your pain and whether you will need imaging in the form of an x-ray or MRI procedure. Most physicians will start with a physical exam and follow up with imaging as needed. The whole process helps paint a full picture of your orthopedic condition and give insights into the best treatment plan.

Are there any risks?

Since an MRI uses powerful magnets, the presence of metal in your body may be a safety hazard. Make sure to tell your doctor and technologist about metal in your body including:

  • pacemaker
  • cochlear implants
  • artificial heart valves
  • any other metal implants

Even tattoos can affect your MRI, so it is important to be aware of such things.

Newer magnets, like the one at the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group’s MRI Center, are designed with a shorter tube and larger bore to help minimize patient discomfort during a test. The bore is the opening of the MRI tube. Some people may still experience claustrophobia and sedation may be helpful to these patients.

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Shoulder Strain Symptoms & Treatment

Shoulder Strain Symptoms & Treatment

A shoulder strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon in the shoulder. This can happen when the shoulder stays in one position for a long period of time. For example, when someone is typing with poor posture or carrying a heavy backpack over one shoulder, a strain can occur. Playing sports, like tennis or swimming, which require repeated overhead movements of the arms also increases a person’s susceptibility to shoulder strain.

Shoulder Strain Symptoms

It is important to know the symptoms of shoulder strain so that you can seek treatment if necessary. These include:

  • mild to severe pain
  • swelling
  • difficulty performing tasks of daily living
  • bruising

Shoulder Strain Treatmentswimming

Depending on the severity of your shoulder strain symptoms, you may be able to treat the injury at home. If you suspect that you have a shoulder strain, it is very important to rest. You’ll also want to ice the painful area for 10-20 minutes at least three times a day. If the swelling has not changed in 48 to 72 hours, it’s time to go to Express Care for further diagnosis.

If your shoulder strain is more severe, you may need to see a physical therapist. Working with a physical therapist will help alleviate your shoulder strain symptoms and get you on the road to healing.

Shoulder Specialist

Sometimes, what may seem like a simple shoulder strain is actually a more severe injury like a tear. If you experience any of the following, go to Express Care immediately:

  • joint that appears deformed
  • inability to use the joint or move your arm away from your body
  • intense pain
  • sudden or severe swelling

In the case of a more intense injury, the specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can diagnose and treat your shoulder strain symptoms.

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ACL Tear & Reconstruction

ACL Tear & Reconstruction

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the most frequently injured ligaments in the knee. This is why it is critical to understand an ACL Tear It connects the femur (thigh bone) to the lower leg and gives stability to the knee. It helps to keep the leg bones aligned and discourages bone displacement.

Signs of an ACL tear

An ACL tear usually occurs when the knee is hyper-extended or when the knee is twisted harshly. Athletes are most susceptible to such injuries when they jump and land awkwardly, slow down quickly, change directions suddenly, or pivot. Football, basketball, skiing, and soccer are the sports that tend to produce the most ACL injuries.  Some signs of a torn ACL are as follows:

  • Popping sensation or loud pop sound in the knee
  • Swelling
  • Inability to continue the activity
  • Severe pain
  • The feeling of instability in the knee

Don’t ignore the signs of an ACL tear. If you think you’ve injured your knee and feel a lot of pain, it’s probably a good idea to get checked out. A physician may use a combination of a physical exam and imaging to figure out what’s happened to your knee. An x-ray, MRI, or CT scan are standard procedure for many such injuries. Once the doctor has diagnosed your injury you and he or she can work out a treatment plan.

soccer - footballACL Reconstruction

As with any orthopedic condition, we prefer to start with conservative treatment options. The problem with a torn ACL is that it will not get better on its own. Surgery is often the only option to restore function to the knee. This type of repair is usually conducted as an arthroscopy surgery.  The surgeon makes small incisions to insert a lens that allows him or her to see inside the joint. Using a graft, the surgeon can then replace the damaged ligament and work to repair any other parts of the knee that may have been damaged. Sometimes this procedure can be done as an outpatient surgery so you can head home more quickly afterward.

Injury Prevention

Staying active and strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee joint can help prevent ACL injuries. For example:

  • Hamstring and Quadriceps strengthening exercises
  • Core strengthening exercises
  • Using proper technique when exercising

Make sure to warm up and stretch your muscles before starting a sports game, practice, or exercise routine. Balancing practice and correct form while pivoting or turning can also help you avoid an ACL tear. If you do find yourself experiencing any of the signs of a torn ACL, our specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic group can help you with your treatment plan.

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What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition in which the Median Nerve is compressed as it travels into the hand.  Compression leads to nerve dysfunction which manifests as symptoms that may include numbness, pain, tingling, weakness, and dropping things. Symptoms are often first noted at night and you may wake up and feel the need to shake your hand or hang it off the bed to try to get it to “wake up”.

Who is most likely to have it?

Typically, women are more likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome than men. The peak age range for developing carpal tunnel is between 45-60, but it can affect people any time in adulthood.

What are the causes?

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by many things, but it usually occurs in patients who are exposed to vibration, frequently use their fingers, or frequently use extreme wrist motions. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by:

  • repetitive motion
  • use of vibrating hand-held tools
  • pregnancy
  • arthritis
  • trauma to the wrist
  • swelling or inflammation around the tendons
  • work stress
  • diabetes
  • hypothyroidism
  • tumor or cyst in the carpal tunnel

There are many different professions and sports that expose people to the risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, most of the causes are from preexisting medical conditions.

HandWhat can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?

It’s a common misconception that office workers who spend large amounts of time working at a computer are the most likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome. In reality, there is little statistical evidence to support this idea. The best way to help prevent the syndrome is to have frequent physical examinations. These may help to identify medical conditions that are sometimes associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, such as hypothyroidism or diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment can also help to prevent worsening of the disease.

Is there a non-surgical treatment?

Oftentimes, early carpal tunnel syndrome can be managed without surgery.  Patients who experience mild symptoms or those who have carpal tunnel syndrome due to pregnancy can often improve within a few months.  This is especially true if the patient is under the age of 30. Some nonsurgical treatments are:

  • night splinting
  • steroid injections
  • rest and ice
  • anti-inflammatory medication
  • occupational therapy
  • hand exercises

When is surgery necessary?

Surgery is generally a last resort for treating carpal tunnel syndrome, but in some cases, it is required to prevent permanent nerve damage.  If not addressed early enough, there can be permanent weakness and loss of sensation.  The surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, and you are immediately allowed to use your hand for light activity after surgery as tolerated.  Some patients who spend most of their time at a desk can go back to work the same day if they feel up to it.  Your recovery may take longer if you do a lot of heavy lifting or manual labor.  Contact Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group for a consultation regarding a treatment plan that is right for you.

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Stress Fracture Treatment Options

Stress Fracture Treatment Options

Not all bone fractures occur as an obvious or sudden injury.  If you are experiencing pain in your feet, legs or ankles, it is essential to consider the possibility of a stress fracture.

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture, sometimes called a hairline fracture, is a thin fracture caused by recurrent force to an area.  A stress fracture can also occur if you have bones weakened by osteoporosis. This type of injury is most common in the lower extremities:

  • Tibia (larger inner leg bone)Running
  • Fibula (smaller outer leg bone)
  • Heel
  • Ankle
  • Metatarsals of the foot

Stress fractures are frequently found in runners, athletes, and dancers.

Stress fracture symptoms

The pain of a stress fracture often develops gradually and increases with any weight-bearing activity. Some additional symptoms may include:

  • Diminished pain when resting
  • Intensified pain with normal daily activities
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Bruising

Some stress fractures can be diagnosed with a physical examination, but most will require an X-ray.

Stress fracture treatment

For a suspected stress fracture, start with First Aid and the RICE protocol:

  • Rest. Avoid weight-bearing activity as much as possible
  • Ice. To reduce swelling, apply ice immediately after the injury followed by cold packs several times per day for 20 minutes each time.
  • Compression. Use a soft bandage to lightly wrap the area.
  • Elevation. Rest with your foot higher than your heart as often as you can.

A medication such as ibuprofen can also help with the pain and inflammation.

When to see a Doctor?

If you suspect a stress fracture, you should see a doctor before the injury gets any worse.  With stress fracture treatment, your doctor may have you wear a walking boot or use crutches while the injury is healing. This can take 6-8 weeks. If you think you may have a stress fracture, visit the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Express Care Clinic or schedule an appointment with one of our qualified specialists to have your injury evaluated.

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Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain

Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain

If you are among the 100 million Americans who struggle with chronic pain, you may be looking for alternatives to pain medication.  A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is one promising source of relief.

What is spinal cord stimulation?

The SCS is a small device that delivers electrical signals to the spinal cord thereby masking the pain signals to the brain.  The device is similar to a pacemaker and is surgically placed under the skin.  Once in place, the spinal cord stimulator sends mild electrical signals to the spinal cord.  It does not eliminate the source of pain, however, it does disrupt the pain signal thereby reducing the pain experienced. You are able to adjust the SCS with a remote control.  It can be turned off or on, and the strength of the stimulation can be increased or decreased.

Is spinal cord stimulation right for me?

If you are suffering from chronic pain, an SCS may be right for you.  There are several factors that can indicate the use of an SCS.

  • Medication is not an option or is ineffective
  • Surgery is not an option
  • The side effects of medications and/or surgery are undesirable
  • Your current method of pain relief is impacting your life in a negative way

What are the intended result of spinal cord stimulation?Upper Back Pain

  • Pain reduction of 50-70%
  • Better able to sleep at night and relax during the day
  • Reduced need for pain medication
  • Better able to accomplish activities of daily living

Who can provide spinal cord stimulation treatment?

Only a specialist can perform SCS surgery. If you have exhausted your options for pain relief through medication, surgery, or other treatments, this procedure may provide the relief you are seeking. Please contact one of the doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group for a consultation.

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Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Methods

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Methods

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of the thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to your toes.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Before discussing plantar fasciitis treatment, you must first understand what causes this painful condition.  Plantar fasciitis occurs when small tears accrue in the tissue band from any of the following issues:

  • Wearing shoes that are too hard
  • Bad habits when running
  • Flat feet
  • High arch without proper support in shoes
  • Being overweight
  • Standing for long periods

Plantar Fasciitis Prevention

There are many things you can do to prevent plantar fasciitis including:

  • Wear shoes with good support
  • Replace tennis shoes often
  • Avoid walking on hard surfaces barefoot
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Low-impact exercise like swimming or walking
  • Avoid high-impact exercise such as running
  • Stretch your legs and feet

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

If you already have plantar fasciitis, there are non-invasive ways to treat it.Walking

  • Rest
  • Ice the bottom of the foot
  • Stretch
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotics
  • Night braces

When should you talk to a physician?

If the pain persists after several months you should schedule a visit with a doctor. You may have underlying issues such as a bone spur rubbing on the tissue or a stress fracture. At that time the physician may request an x-ray or an MRI to be done. Surgery should be a last resort for plantar fasciitis treatment unless there is another reason like a bone spur.

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Difference Between Occupational & Physical Therapy

Difference Between Occupational & Physical Therapy

What does an Occupational Therapist do?

Well, we don’t help people find jobs. That’s a common misconception. No, we actually help patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities function in day-to-day life. We focus on rehabilitating people to live normal lives after an accident or other situation that causes a person’s body to function differently from the norm. This can include people who have experienced an injury or those who have a developmental or intellectual disability. Many people then ask what is the difference between Occupational and Physical Therapy. 

Difference Between Occupational and Physical Therapy

The main difference between occupational and physical therapy is the focus of treatment. PT primarily focuses on rehabilitating the body part that was injured while OT works holistically to help the patient perform activities of daily living. Occupational therapists still help to improve range of motion and strength, but we do this so patients are better able to perform daily tasks. Occupational therapists treat the whole person rather than just the injury or impairment.  In some cases a patient may start with a physical therapist and then continue working with an occupational therapist.

How are OT and PT similar?

While there is a difference between occupational and physical therapy, the fields do have some overlapping areas of treatment including:

  • Educating on the prevention of injury
  • Educating on the healing process
  • Delivering hands-on rehabilitative care

What makes OTs at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group unique?

At CSOG, we specialize in occupational therapy for the upper extremities. This means we help people who are struggling with hand, wrist, arm, and elbow issues.

  • We teach you how to get as much use out of these limbs as possibleOccupational Therapy
  • We help you increase mobility and dexterity
  • We help you recover to full health after an injury
  • We work in conjunction with the CSOG hand, elbow, and nerve doctors to improve results after surgery
  • We specialize in custom splinting

You can find more information and learn about our therapists on our website, csog.net, or check out otpotential.com for info, resources, and tips.

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Hip Bursitis Treatment

Hip Bursitis Treatment

Bursa are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning and reduce friction between bone and soft tissue in many different areas of the body including the hips, shoulders, heels, and elbows.  There are two main bursa in the hip that generally become irritated or inflamed. When this happens, you will experience pain each time the tendon moves across the bone.  Since this motion occurs every time you take a step, hip bursitis can be quite painful. If you believe you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek a diagnosis and and receive hip bursitis treatment.

Hip Bursitis Symptoms

Hip bursitis is a common condition that can occur in athletes and the general population.  It is more common in women, the middle-aged, and the elderly. Hip bursitis can be caused by overuse, a hip injury, spine disease, a difference in leg lengths, rheumatoid arthritis, previous surgery, or bone spurs or calcium deposits. Some of the symptoms of hip bursitis are:

  • Tenderness on the upper/outer thigh
  • Sharp pain in hip or groin area
  • Swelling
  • Aching pain at the hip extending down the outer thigh
  • Pain typically worse at night
  • Pain worse when walking or rising from a chair
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected hip

Hip Bursitis Treatment

Older Couple Hiking

Many people can experience pain relief from hip bursitis through small changes to their day-to-day routines.  Some of these changes include:

  • Rest
    As with most injuries, rest is key to recovery.  You should avoid the activities that cause you pain or modify the movements of the activity.  If you are an athlete, you can consult with a physical therapist or trainer to be sure you are performing exercises appropriately so as to not further aggravate the bursa.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
    Over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen can help control the inflammation and pain associated with hip bursitis.
  • Ice the affected area
  • Use a walker, cane, or crutches when the pain is most intense
  • Stretching
  • Physical therapy to increase hip strength
  • Steroid injection

With hip bursitis treatment, usually one or a combination of the above is enough to help most patients.

Preventing Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis can’t necessarily be prevented. It can, however,  be minimized by avoiding repetitive activities that stress the hips. Some potential ways to minimize the likelihood of hip bursitis are:

  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Using a shoe insert if there is a difference in length between your legs
  • Maintaining muscle strength and flexibility in your hips

Seeking Help

If you have a fever in addition to the above symptoms, you should visit the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Express Care Clinic to be treated immediately and rule out an infection.  Otherwise, if your symptoms do not improve within two weeks, it’s time to seek professional help. The doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group are specialists who can help diagnose your problem and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation.

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What To Expect With Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

What to Expect with Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Total shoulder replacement is helpful for those experiencing severe pain and stiffness due to degenerative joint disease or arthritis. When the Shoulder Replacement Surgery to relieve shoulder painnormally smooth cartilage in the shoulder joint disappears, this creates a bone-on-bone situation causing significant pain while also limiting movement. Shoulder replacement surgery is advised when:

  • Your pain cannot be controlled with injections or anti-inflammatory medications.
  • You experiencing stiffness and loss of motion.
  • You experience a grinding sensation when you move your shoulder.

Tests such as a series of X-rays, an MRI, and/or a CT scan will be used to assess the condition of the shoulder.  When surgery is advised, the first goal of shoulder replacement is pain relief while the secondary goal is to restore strength, function, and range of motion to the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Total shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the ball (humeral head) with a new metal ball and replacing the socket (glenoid) with a new plastic socket.  Having metal on plastic, rather than metal on metal, allows the new joint to function smoothly and without the pain associated with the damaged joint.

Recovery from Shoulder Surgery

After surgery, your shoulder will be in a sling, but you will have the use of your hand and wrist. After about six weeks of recovery, your whole arm will be able to handle light use.  During this recovery time, physical therapy will be necessary to rehabilitate your muscles and tendons. It will take several months to regain complete and pain-free use of your shoulder.

Cost of Shoulder Replacement Surgery

A total shoulder replacement surgery is a costly procedure.  The bill can range anywhere from $6,000 to $22,000.  The average price is $12,000.  Thankfully, most insurance companies will cover a large portion of this cost.

At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we have several excellent surgeons available to perform this surgery including:

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What To Do About A Fractured Or Jammed Finger

What to do About a Fractured or Jammed Finger

If you have injured your finger, you may be wondering whether it’s a fracture or jammed finger. While both conditions can cause pain, each has unique but similar symptoms. This can make it difficult to distinguish between the two.

Jammed Fingers

With a jammed finger, you may experience:

  • Pain
  • Difficulty holding things
  • Redness and swelling in the injured area

You can get a jammed finger when you smash your finger against something and the force pushes the tip of your finger down towards your hand. In this case, the joint in the middle of your finger absorbs the force of the blow, and the ligament in your finger gets stretched. A jammed finger is a common injury while playing sports, like when you try to catch a ball.  Alternately, you might jam it doing something as simple as closing a door or pushing the sheets under the mattress as you make the bed.

Fractured Fingers

jammed fingerAlternately, with a fractured finger you may experience:

  • Severe pain
  • Inability to bend or straighten your finger
  • Swelling in the finger that lasts for hours or days

You can get a fractured finger in the same ways you would get a jammed finger.  The only difference is the severity of the injury.

Treating Injured Fingers

When it comes to how to treat your injured finger, it depends on how badly the finger is injured. If the injury is minor, you can try the following:

  • Apply ice for fifteen minutes each hour to bring down swelling.
  • Keep your finger elevated above your chest.
  • Take an over the counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen to ease any discomfort
  • If the finger looks like it is out of joint, do not pull on it. Instead, try splinting it or taping it to the neighboring finger
  • Keep the finger splinted until the pain stops. This can take about one to two weeks.

For more serious injuries, see a doctor. You may need surgery if you have a bone fracture or a torn ligament or tendon. An x-ray may be necessary to determine if the finger is jammed or if it is fractured instead.  You should go to express care when your finger appears misshapen or deformed when the finger is numb, if you notice any signs of infection developing on or around the injury, or if the pain does not improve with rest, ice, elevation, and medication. The Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is available to help in these situations.

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Pulled Hamstring Prevention & Treatment

Pulled Hamstring Prevention & Treatment

A hamstring injury is a tear or strain to the tendons or large muscles on the back of the thigh. Often referred to as a pulled hamstring, it is a common injury in athletes and can occur in different severities. There are three grades of hamstring tears: grade one is a mild strain or muscle pull, grade two is a partial muscle tear, and grade three is a complete muscle tear. A hamstring injury can occur when any of the muscles or tendons are stretched beyond their limit. They often occur during sudden, explosive movements, such as sprinting, jumping, or lunging. However, they can also occur more gradually if not treated appropriately upon initial injury.

Prevent a Pulled Hamstring

woman stretching hamstring. Potentially has a pulled hamstring and is practicing pulled hamstring exercises.

To avoid a hamstring strain there are multiple steps you can take:

  • Warm-up before physical activity
  • Stretch after physical activity
  • Boost the intensity of your physical activity slowly
  • Strengthen the hamstrings and glutes as a preventative measure

The best way to prevent injuries to the hamstring is through strength training for the surrounding muscles and stretching before any physical activity that could strain the hamstring muscle.

Treatment for Pulled Hamstring

When a hamstring injury occurs take the following actions to help speed healing:

  • Use an elastic bandage around your leg to keep down swelling
  • Apply ice for 20-30 minutes every three hours
  • Elevate your leg on a pillow while sitting or lying down
  • Take an anti-inflammatory painkiller such as ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin.

You should consider seeing your doctor if you have any concerns about your hamstring pain. More specifically, consult your doctor if you think it is a severe injury, it is not healing, or your symptoms are getting worse. With a complete detachment, you will be in acute pain, may hear a popping sound, and might have significant bruising. Your doctor can also advise you as to when to return to normal activities and what exercises to do in order to help recovery. Physical therapy is sometimes required for full healing.

Express Care for Sports Injury

While most hamstring strains can be cared for at home, sometimes the tear may be more severe.  Some grade three hamstring tears may even require surgery.  If your pain is intense and cannot be controlled with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE) protocol) along with anti-inflammatory medication, it is time to head to the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. Call 719-622-4550.

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Bone Health: Osteopenia, Osteoporosis & Osteonecrosis

Bone Health: Osteopenia, Osteoporosis & Osteonecrosis

Osteopenia Osteoporosis Visual AidOsteopenia, Osteoporosis, and Osteonecrosis are often called silent diseases because they have so few symptoms, but complications can cause disability, pain, and sometimes death. These diseases of the bone occur when people lose too much bone mass, make too little new bone tissue, or both. Up to 54 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone mass) which increases the risk of osteoporosis. Another disease, osteonecrosis, is caused by low blood flow to the bone.

Risks and Prevention of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

Losing bone mass is a part of the normal aging process, however certain groups of people are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Women, people over the age of 50, people with low body weight, and those with a family history of osteoporosis all have an increased likelihood of contracting the disease. Since osteoporosis increases the risk of fractures, the focus should be on the prevention of breaking a bone. This can be accomplished by doing things in the home to prevent falls, using assistive devices or non-slip shoes when going out, and maintaining a good exercise routine. Another important part of prevention is including Vitamin D and Calcium in your diet.

Detecting Bone Diseases

Since osteoporosis can often go undetected, it is important for women aged 65 and older to have a bone density scan. People with one or more of the heightened risk factors should get bone scans done sooner than that. All men aged 75 years and up should also be tested for osteoporosis.

Make an Appointment

At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group we are fortunate to have Megan M. Perry, PA-C on staff.  A move from Chicago brought Megan to Colorado Springs and a job assisting Dr. Watson and Dr. Cassidy with the hand and upper extremity specialty of orthopedics. She is passionate about bone health and actively educates patients on how to stay healthy.  Megan is transitioning out of the hand department to pursue her passion in bone health. Call 719-632-7669 to schedule an appointment for a bone density scan with Megan today.

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Best Ways To Recover After A Skiing Injury

Best Ways To Recover After A Skiing Injury

Skiing is an exciting, fun sport that the entire family can enjoy together. However, like any activity, injuries can and do occur which is why it’s important to know what to do when you find yourself knee-deep in snow and tending to an injury.

Individual seeking the best ways to recover from a ski injury

After a skiing injury

When an accident occurs, it is important to first determine whether you need immediate medical attention or simply have a sprain. If your body is disabled in any way, in severe pain, or you experience numbness you should seek immediate medical attention. In the case that the injury is mild, you want to apply an ice pack or snow from around you onto the area in pain immediately for 10-20 minutes as well as elevate the injured area if necessary. You do not want to apply heat during the first 72 hours following the injury; applying heat will increase pain, blood flow, and swelling, resulting in a slower recovery. It is also important to rest and let yourself heal. The rest period can take as little as a few days, or it could require weeks or months to recover.  

When should I see a doctor?

After an accident, it is important to know which type of doctor to see and when. If you suspect a broken leg, broken arm, or broken ankle, visit an orthopedic specialist or a sports medicine doctor right away.  If your injury doesn’t heal within three weeks you should consider making an appointment with your primary doctor, however, scar tissue can interfere with movement and cause pain in the future which is why you should also visit a physical therapist or massage therapist.

Express Care

The Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can provide expert care whether you are dealing with a minor or major injury.  It is a great alternative to the Urgent Care office as we have orthopedic surgeons on staff for when you need them. Express care is uniquely equipped to care for bone and joint injuries. Before you head off on your next Skiing excursion, be sure to save our number, 719-632-7669, in the unfortunate event of a skiing injury. 

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The Anterior Approach To Hip Replacement Surgery

The Anterior Approach To Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery requires the replacement of the top of the thigh bone as well as the socket of the pelvis.  The damaged hip joint is then replaced with prosthetic components. This procedure is done to reduce pain and to improve hip function. With the traditional posterior (back of the joint) approach, the surgeon must cut through muscle and soft tissues in order to reach the joint.  This creates a much larger incision, and the muscles must be repaired and reattached after the procedure. Since the muscles require significant healing time, the risk of future dislocation is greater.

Why Anterior Hip Replacement May Be a Better Option

Hip ReplacementAnterior hip replacement is a minimally invasive option for hip replacement surgery when compared to the posterior procedure. Even though this is not a new procedure, it is estimated that only 15%-20% of all hip replacements use this unique approach. Anterior (front of the joint) hip replacement surgery is done with more specialized instruments and through smaller incisions. This provides several advantages over the posterior procedure. First, this is a muscle splitting approach rather than a muscle cutting approach.  The surgery is performed between a natural separation of the muscles. This allows the integrity of the hip muscles to stay in place in order to better support the newly reconstructed hip joint. Second, with anterior hip replacement there is less post-surgical pain, faster healing time, and a shorter hospital stay. The final benefit of anterior hip replacement is the decreased risk of dislocations.  Since the muscles were not cut, there is less healing involved.  After the healing process is complete, the patient will enjoy a better range of motion as well.

Find Out More

Anterior hip replacement is a technically challenging procedure.  Since the surgeon has a somewhat limited view of the hip joint in an anterior hip replacement surgery, it is important to consult a physician that is experienced in this procedure. Colorado Springs Orthopaedic group has two such surgeons.  Call today for a consultation with Dr. Bron or Dr. Huang.

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Avoiding Ankle, Hip & Knee Injuries While Playing Basketball

Avoiding Ankle, Hip & Knee Injuries While Playing Basketball

Playing basketball is a great way to stay in shape while having fun and making friends as long as you avoid injury, such as a sprained ankle.  It is not a sport without risk. The three most common basketball injuries are ankle and foot, followed by hip and thigh, and then knee injuries.  Ankle Sprains are by far the most common type accounting for 43% of all basketball injuries. A sprained ankle occurs when the foot rolls inward or outward causing the ligaments in the ankle to stretch or tear from a sudden and unexpected movement. Hip and thigh injuries can occur when a player jumps, runs, or pivots while placing extra strain on the legs. Finally, knee injuries can either be severe, such as an ACL tear, or minor like a sprain or strain to the knee joint.

Sprained Ankle playing BasketballWith basketball, as well as all sports, prevention of injury is key.  To prevent foot and ankle injuries, the player needs the right kind of foot support. A good quality basketball shoe as well as taping up your ankle before a game can go a long way for staying on the court. To prevent hip and thigh injuries, do some good stretching and warming up before the start of every game and practice.  For your knees, the best prevention is building stronger leg muscles. Working out when you are off the court will help strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint. Also, if your knees are prone to injury, always wear a knee brace when playing.

If you are injured playing basketball, start with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE protocol).  When your pain does not subside after using RICE, it’s time to head to the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group.  In some cases, the injury is still apparent after a few weeks, or the patient is a serious athlete who wants to avoid diminished performance or a risk of reinjury. For these instances it is important to consult a specialist who can effectively diagnose the injury and suggest treatment and rehabilitation options. Call us today if you think you are dealing with a foot, ankle or knee injury.

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Back Pain & The SI Joint

Back Pain & The SI Joint

Eight percent of all Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. It is the second most common cause of disability. Doctors are becoming more educated on the causes and treatments for low back pain.  One potential cause is the sacroiliac (SI) joint. The SI joint is located in the pelvis.  It links the pelvic bone to the sacrum. This joint can be injured or deteriorate over time causing low back, leg, pelvic, or buttock pain.

Back Pain and the SI JointUnfortunately, the SI joint is often overlooked. With the prevalence of disc treatment for back pain, the SI joint is sometimes neglected. Orthopaedic and neurosurgeons are rarely taught to consider the SI joint as the potential cause of a patient’s back pain. Most of the treatments for the spine are still centered on disc surgery.

A properly functioning SI joint will provide stability for the pelvis and bear the load of the upper body. SI joint dysfunction can occur as a result of childbirth, trauma, degeneration, or other conditions. The pain however, may not be in the SI joint itself but in the soft tissues that surround the SI joint or other areas of the body.

There are several different treatment options for patients with SI joint dysfunction. Some people improve with exercises and physical therapy.  Others need therapeutic injections.  Finally, an SI joint fusion can be considered to alleviate chronic pain. In the fusion procedure, a small incision is made along the side of the buttock. Titanium implants will then be placed across the SI joint. The whole procedure takes about an hour, and the healing time is significantly less than in open surgery. SI joint fusion may be appropriate for patients who have been diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction and who have not responded to less invasive therapies. Give us a call at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group to see what the best treatment option is for you. Our spine physicians are eager to help – Dr. James Bee, Dr. Roger Sung, and Dr. Paul Stanton. 719-632-7669

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The Truth About Stem Cell & PRP Therapy

The Truth About Stem Cell & PRP Therapy

If you are looking for a non-invasive treatment for degenerative arthritis, bursitis, tennis elbow, patella tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff tears, muscle injuries, shin splints, or a variety of other musculoskeletal conditions, Stem Cell therapy or PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy may be an option.  Orthopedists are always looking for new and innovative ways to treat their patients.  Stem Cell and PRP therapy both provide a promising method to promote healing without surgery or in addition to a surgical procedure.

lp content imageStem cells are the cells of the body that are undifferentiated, meaning they can turn into other cell types.  Stem cells can be obtained from the umbilical cord, bone marrow, or adipose (fat) tissue.  The stem cells obtained from the embryonic environment are preferred to other types of stem cells, first because the potential of stem cells is thought to decrease with age and second because it can be painful to extract bone marrow.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is plasma with many more platelets than is typically found in the blood. Platelets contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing process and can therefore stimulate that natural process in orthopedic injuries.  With PRP therapy, the patient’s own blood is drawn, the platelets are concentrated using a centrifuge, and then the PRP is injected back into the injured area.

For both Stem Cell therapy and PRP therapy, the healing process begins immediately after the injection is given.  The patient should start to experience a reduction of pain in 2-6 weeks. For some people, improvement may still be limited after three months.  In these cases, a follow-up injection may be needed.  Many patients will still experience relief up to two years after treatment.

Both Stem Cell therapy and PRP therapy are considered experimental and therefore are not covered by insurance. The cost will vary depending on the volume and type of injection to be given. Consult with one of our doctors at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group to see if Stem Cell or PRP therapy is right for you.

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Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic Pricing

Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic Pricing

When you are in pain or injured and need urgent care right away, choosing where to seek medical attention can be a stressful and complicated decision.  There are three main options for treatment: Urgent Care Walk-in Clinic, Express Care, and Emergency Room. For each of these options, the care provided as well as the pricing will vary greatly.

Emergency Room

First, when should you seek treatment at an Emergency Room?  As the name suggests, this is the place for genuine emergencies.  The care provided at the ER is meant to stabilize and treat urgent medical situations.  The providers assess patients as quickly and effectively as possible in order to save lives.  However, the triage system at the ER allows for those needing immediate attention to be seen first.  For this reason, if you arrive at the ER with a sprained ankle, for example, you will be a much lower priority to be seen. At the emergency room you are also exposed to a host of contagious germs. Some situations that necessitate a trip to the ER are chest pain, bleeding that won’t stop, loss of consciousness, and severe burns.  The cost associated with a trip to the ER is also quite high.

Urgent Care

An Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic handles less serious complaints, but those that should be treated within 24 hours. The Urgent Care is the right place to go for allergies, sinus infection, headache, and cold or cough.

Express Care

Little Girl with Arm in a SlingColorado Springs Orthopaedic Group’s Express Care walk-in clinic is a unique option for bone and joint injuries. At our clinic there is less waiting which means you can stop the pain sooner and start healing faster. Express is a specialty copay which is usually less than urgent care facilities, and the cash pay program is significantly lower than both an urgent care or the emergency room. With the CSOG Express Care clinic you have direct access to specialists in bone, muscle and joint injury care. There is also less risk of contact with possible contagious germs found in emergency rooms and urgent care centers. At our Express Care clinic we treat all of the following:

So when the unexpected happens, now you can go directly to our new Express Bone & Joint Injury Care Center with no appointment! Call (719) 622-4550 to learn more.

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3 Sports Medicine Tips For Preventing Skiing Injuries

3 Sports Medicine Tips For Preventing Skiing Injuries

Skiing is a great way to get outdoors, experience the beautiful Colorado scenery, and stay physically fit. Unfortunately, skiing brings a risk of injury. What do sports medicine specialists have to say about that? Some of the most common types of skiing injuries are knee sprains, fractured wrists, broken legs, head injuries, shoulder dislocations, and ankle and foot sprains.

By far the most common skiing injury is a sprained knee. This occurs when the ligament around the knee joint is injured by tearing or stretching too far. A knee sprain can happen during skiing when the knee bends in the opposite direction from how it normally bends or from too much strain on the knee joint. This can cause significant knee pain.

Braces

Thankfully, there are methods to help prevent injuries while skiing. One of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce injury is to wear a brace. Knee, wrist, and ankle braces are readily available and a great first line of defense against injury. Wearing a helmet is also essential in protecting the skull and brain. Our sports medicine specialists recommend another important step in preventing injury – wearing equipment that fits properly.

Conditioning

Conditioning is another way to prevent skiing injuries. Of course, you must do this this well before hitting the slopes. A good program will include endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling, biking, or jumping rope will all increase your level of endurance. Strength exercises such as squats, toe-raises, and sit-ups will condition your muscles for the strenuous sport of skiing. Stretches for the hamstrings, quads, and Achilles tendons are the third part of conditioning your body for your next skiing adventure. Finally, balance exercises such as standing on one leg and single leg hops will round out your conditioning regimen.

Stretching

One final way to prepare your body for skiing is to stretch before heading down that mountain. When most people set out to go skiing, this begins with a long car ride followed by waiting in line while standing in the cold. Your need to warm up your muscles to prevent injury. You can accomplish this by stretching after getting off the lift and then by taking an easy run the first time down.

By following these tips for preparation and prevention, you increase your chances of having a fun and injury-free day on the mountain. Of course, if you do happen to injure yourself, call 719-632-7669 to schedule an appointment with the best orthopedic specialists in Sports Medicine in Colorado Springs.

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Free Surgery Day for Hands & Upper Arms

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Launches

A Free Surgery Day for Hands & Upper Arms

On October 6th, 2018, Colorado Springs, CO – Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group (CSOG) is teaming up with the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) to bring the first Free Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery Day to our region. Surgeries will take place at the Orthopaedic Spine Center of Southern Colorado on the second floor of CSOG’s current practice at 4110 Briargate Parkway, Suite 200.

“Many doctors do great things during medical mission trips. We at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group wanted to do something in our back yard.” said Jeff Watson MD.

Dr. Cassidy further explains, “Many physicians go overseas to help people in need, but sometimes overlook the need in our own communities. I thought it would be a lot of fun to help people who don’t have access or resources otherwise. People are so happy to have someone to listen and genuinely care about them.”

“The Touching Hands Project is dedicated to expanding our reach right here at home. Our U.S. missions, called “Hand Day”, take place at the facilities of hand surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. During these one-day missions, the medical staff provides free hand surgery for patients in their community who do not have access to hand care. These patients need our help for a variety of medical conditions that require surgery to be able to return to work and support their families.” – from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand website (ASSH).

For additional information Please call 719-622-4546.

About CSOG: Since 1994, Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group (CSOG) has been a one-stop-shop for comprehensive orthopaedic care in Southern Colorado. As a large multispecialty group, CSOG has physicians who specialize in treating sports injuries, hand and arm injuries, foot and ankle problems, back and neck pain, hip and knee conditions, and arthritis. This allows CSOG physicians to refer to one another when they come across an injury that another doctor may have more experience treating. As a patient, this is much more convenient than having to go to another office and fill out more paperwork.

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Mourning the loss of beloved orthopedic surgeon, C. Milton Waldron, MD

Dr. C. Milton Waldron, Beloved Surgeon and Friend of Colorado Springs, Passes Away on June 5, 2018

June 5, 2018, Colorado Springs, CO – Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group (CSOG) mourns the loss of beloved orthopedic surgeon, C. Milton Waldron, MD. Dr. Waldron died in his home on June 5th after a long battle with cancer and leukemia. He was surrounded by his loving family.

Dr. Waldron was born in Kentucky and graduated from medical school at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY. He moved out of state to complete his residency at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO. It was in 1965 when Dr. Waldron finally moved to Colorado Springs and started an independent orthopedic practice. Since then, he has earned numerous awards and was affiliated with the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Best Doctors in America since 1996, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Western Orthopaedic Association, El Paso County Medical Society, Colorado State Medical Society, and American Medical Association.

In addition to his success in academia and entrepreneurship, Dr. Waldron excelled at creating genuine relationships with those around him. He became like a father, brother, and mentor to many of his coworkers. He cared for his patients and treated others the way he wanted to be treated. He also became a familiar figure in college athletics by serving as the team physician for Colorado College Hockey. His involvement with students also included supporting the Semester at Sea program for students traveling around the world.

Before his passing, Dr. Waldron requested a private funeral service for his close family and friends. He wanted to depart from this world the same way he lived life; with little fuss and with great humility. Dr. Waldron gave much of himself to our community and he will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

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Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Launches Express Bone and Joint Injury Care Center

May 4, 2018,  Colorado Springs, CO – Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group (CSOG) announces its Grand Opening of Southern Colorado’s first express care facility dedicated to treating bone, muscle and joint injuries. The clinic will start seeing patients on May 7 on the first floor of CSOG’s current practice at 4110 Briargate Parkway, Suite 145.

“Injuries are not planned, so we decided to invest in express care that requires orthopaedic specialists for a community that enjoys such an active lifestyle,” said Nicole Banning, chief operating officer of CSOG. “We’ve seen this model successfully serve other active communities and we believe our residents deserve fast, affordable care to get them back to what they enjoy doing faster.”

In an article published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc., the findings for these facilities documented a reduction in wait time compared to ERs by as much as 60 percent and a savings by as much as 95 percent. The article cited the advantage of continuity of care when patients are treated by the same physician at the time of an injury that will oversee their ongoing care.

“Our physicians are highly skilled in all types of injuries, including sprains, minor dislocations, torn ligaments or tendons in addition to breaks and joints,” said Ronald Hollis, MD of CSOG. “We have all the equipment necessary for stopping the hurting and starting the healing faster, such as X-ray, MRI, casting, a brace shop, physical therapy and a surgery center.”

“One of the reasons the care is expedited is that we specialize in orthopaedics, making it unnecessary for patients to wait behind strokes and heart attacks,” Banning said. “Additionally, our patients reduce the risk of contagious germs that they would encounter in other commercial urgent care outlets.”

The express care facility will have extended hours, which are Monday- Friday 9am – 7pm and Saturday 10am-2pm. No appointments are necessary for this walk-in care facility. A Grand Opening is being held on Monday, May 4 from 2pm to 5pm.

For additional information, call 719.622.4550, visit the website at http://csogexpress.com or email to expresscare@csog.net.

About CSOG: Since 1994, Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group (CSOG) has been a one-stop-shop for comprehensive orthopaedic care in Southern Colorado. As a large multispecialty group, CSOG has physicians who specialize in treating sports injuries, hand and arm injuries, foot and ankle problems, back and neck pain, hip and knee conditions, and arthritis. This allows CSOG physicians to refer to one another when they come across an injury that another doctor may have more experience treating. As a patient, this is much more convenient than having to go to another office and fill out more paperwork.

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