Winter Orthopedic Injury

Avoiding Orthopedic Injury During Winter Play

Texans don’t really catch “fresh powder” at home, but we somehow maintain a hearty love of snow and ski slopes. And whether we choose a weekend in New Mexico or a grander getaway to Colorado resorts, Texans are always seeking exciting winter escapades.

But before you head up a mountain—and certainly before you glide back down—prep yourself to stay safe and avoid all-too-common orthopedic skiing and snowboarding injuries.

Common Orthopedic Offenses In Skiing

Arguably the single most common type of injury associated with skiing or snowboarding is a sprain or tear in the knee, in particular the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Ascending the slopes, working your way back down, and attempting to correct a fall all present opportunities to injure the knee.

Other common injuries are unsurprisingly associated with falling and tend to affect the hands and wrists or shoulder. You know the scene, even if you don’t snowboard or ski: the fall is approaching, it’s happening in slow motion, and so you extend your arms to catch yourself. This scene almost never concludes with you unscathed.

Keep Yourself Unscathed On the Slopes

So how do you stay safe while taking full advantage of snow sports? Here are three pro tips to keep you in one piece.

  1. Conditioning: Athletes don’t just train to perform well; they train to remain uninjured. The same applies for regular Joes hitting the slopes; snowboarding and skiing are athletic endeavors and the appropriate physical preparation will do a lot for your safety. Maintain your cardio power and muscular strength throughout the year, and then be sure to warm up immediately before your activity.
  2. Equipment: This may seem like a no-brainer, but too many accidents can be blamed on ill-fitting boots, worn bindings (this device keeps your ski attached to your boot) and ski poles that are the wrong length for the skier’s height. Whether you own your gear or are renting it from a ski facility, check it before every outing and don’t rely on anything that isn’t up to par.
  3. Weather & Environment: You traveled all this way, have only two days to hit the slopes, and that’s when an icy storm blows through. It’s disappointing. But high winds, low visibility, wet snow and ice, or a sudden drop in temperature can all spell disaster when you’re zipping down a steep hill. So mind the weather and know what conditions you face on the slopes.

Make It Memorable, Keep It Safe

An epic winter adventure shouldn’t be remembered for the injury that brought it crashing to a halt. So do yourself a favor and take the proper steps to ensure your own safety, and possibly that of others. And if you find yourself nursing an orthopedic tweak or injury, contact Methodist Hospital for Surgery’s renowned orthopedic team.


Methodist Hospital for Surgery Earns ACR Accreditation

Methodist Hospital for Surgery, has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). MRI is a noninvasive medical test that utilizes magnetic fields to produce anatomical images of internal body parts to help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.

The ACR is a national professional organization serving more than 36,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.


Improving Quality of Life with Physical Therapy

What do you think of when someone mentions physical therapy (PT)? If you find yourself believing that physical therapists are called on scene only after someone has suffered a traumatic injury or stroke, allow us to reacquaint you with this particular medical specialty.

PT has numerous applications, for everything from orthopedic pain and neurological conditions to autoimmune disorders and even asthma. And as you may have already guessed, there are various types of PT, too, including orthopedic, acute care, post-operative care, neurologic rehabilitation and more.

In reality, once you look at all that can be accomplished with PT, you’ll probably realize that you or someone close to you could benefit greatly from a consultation and treatment plan.

What can a physical therapist do for me?

PT is about improving quality of life. That may mean reducing pain, improving physical function or limiting the effects of a disability or impairment. The most common reasons people seek help from physical therapists include:

  • Joint Pain (affecting hips, knees, ankles or shoulders, including arthritis)
  • Sprains, Strains & Sports Injuries
  • Post Operative Pain/Limited Function
  • Vertigo & Balance Disorders
  • Spinal Stenosis & Scoliosis
  • Cardiac & Stroke Rehab
  • Degenerative Diseases (e.g. cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, Guillain-Barre syndrome, etc.)
  • And more!

But did you know that PT is also valuable in preventative care? The basics of PT focus on posture, increasing strength and flexibility, and improving coordination, which makes it an ideal way to prevent sports or work-related injuries, arthritic and joint pain, and complications of certain spinal conditions.

How does a physical therapist determine my needs?

Your initial PT evaluation will usually include a basic physical examination and several functional tests. But don’t worry—your therapist isn’t looking for an Iron Man competitor and therefore does not expect impressive feats of physical strength.

Instead, functional tests look at range of motion, general patterns of movement, flexibility and overall strength, as well as posture while sitting and standing. In addition, your therapist will ask several questions related to daily activities, work environment, current physical complaints and your expectations for therapy.

Following the initial evaluation, your therapist will walk you through a proposed treatment plan, which may include physical exercises and stretches, heat and/or ice therapy, massage, electrical stimulation, manual therapy and more.

So what are you waiting for?

Clearly, there are a multitude of reasons to consider a visit with your nearby physical therapist. Whether you’re struggling with pain or mobility issues today, or want to prepare your body for a specific physical endeavor, a physical therapist can help you better understand your body, the way it moves and how to care for its structure.

If you believe PT could be the ideal method to manage or prevent pain, treat an injury or stay on top of a disability, contact the outpatient physical therapy team at Methodist Hospital for Surgery.


Don’t Take a Back Seat to Back Pain

Most adults consider back pain a common part of life. Long days behind a desk, toting toddlers, gym routines and even daily chores all seem to become known as a twinge in the neck, a throb in the shoulders or just an endless ache along the spine. But how can you know when back pain is something more than just a symptom of the norm?

Your spine is a control tower—pay attention to what it controls!

Think of your spine as a control tower that affects the performance of your limbs and even several vital organs. With that in mind, it makes sense to note when these “satellite” areas are being affected by pain. As for what kinds of pain, consider these:

  • Tingling and/or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Shooting pain that travels down the leg
  • General weakness affecting the legs or upper body

If you experience these symptoms in conjunction with back pain, there’s a lot that could be happening. Specifically, you could be suffering from one of several conditions that cause inflammation and subsequent pressure on the major nerves in your back and shoulders.

Symptoms such as numbness, tingling, shooting pain, pain that travels or general weakness—especially when they accompany back pain—are a sure sign that it’s time to chat with your doctor, because delayed treatment of potentially injured nerves can lead to permanent damage.

Time of day determines a lot.

Have you noticed that your pain peaks at night? Perhaps more specifically when it’s time to lie down in bed? This can be a telltale sign of many things, from degenerated discs to neuropathy or even tumors. While sprains can generally be treated with rest and perhaps pain medication, other conditions will require your doctor’s attention.

Track the days you’re spending in pain.

orthopedic spine specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery are industry leaders in diagnosing and treating all manner of back pain, spine and disc deformities and injuries, as well as underlying medical conditions that can cause pain along the spine and in the limbs. If you’ve begun to suspect that your pain is a result of more than the daily grind, give us a call and let our spine specialists set you upright again!

wound care

Closing the Gap with Specialty Wound Care

Not all wounds are created equal.

If you’ve tried all the ointments and employed countless bandages but your wound persists beyond a week or two, it may be time to visit a specialist. And maybe you’ve never thought of wound healing as a struggle, but there are millions who are uniquely prone to dealing with stubborn—even life-threatening—cuts, abrasions and bruises.

Recognizing Common Chronic Wounds

Venous and foot ulcers are arguably the most common of all chronic wounds, generally because of their frequent occurrence in diabetics. But diabetes isn’t the only key risk factor. Other common conditions and habits associated with this type of wound include:

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Physical Immobility/Paralysis

When a venous or foot ulcer begins, it usually appears as a dark red or purple patch on the bottom or side of the foot, around a toe or on the side of the lower leg. Over time, the area will develop into a shallow red crater and the edges will likely become thick and calloused.

The real challenge is when these wounds go unnoticed. For those with poor circulation or certain complications of diabetes, the nerves around the wound may not be fully functioning—this means the wound won’t actually hurt like it otherwise would. If left untreated, the wound could become infected and even begin to cause nerve and tissue damage.

Benefitting From Specialty Wound Care Treatment

Such a unique problem demands a unique approach. Enter the wound care specialist.

“The body has an amazing ability to heal itself, however many times, it needs a little help from evidence-based research and applied knowledge to achieve healing,” states Joseph Williams, MD, Medical Director, Methodist Hospital for Surgery’s Center for Wound Care & Hyperbarics. “Our center offers advanced treatment options for those living with non-healing wounds.”

Depending on the type and severity of a chronic wound, specialists have incredibly advanced treatment options at their disposal. For example, most treatments can begin with debridement. During this simple treatment, diseased tissue is trimmed away, the wound is bandaged and then specialty footwear is used to relieve pressure from the area; this process is usually repeated several times over a course of weeks or months until the wound is completely healed.

Perhaps one of the best things a wound care specialist can do is teach patients how to properly care for themselves and their chronic wounds at home. A specialized home care regimen may include:

  • Specialized Diet
  • Antibiotics to Prevent Infection
  • Smoking Cessation (if applicable)
  • Elevation of Affected Limbs
  • Routine Walks or Daily Exercise (to improve circulation)
  • Compression Stockings or Bandages

But if a wound persists after routine debridement and comprehensive home care, your specialist will have numerous advanced treatment options to discuss, some of which may include topical solutions, hyperbaric treatments or surgery. Talk to your physician today if you have questions about chronic wound care, or contact Methodist Hospital for Surgery’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbarics for information on our wound care specialists.


Step Up! Podiatric Insight for Happy, Healthy Feet

Sometimes it’s easy to write off foot pain—blame a long afternoon, ill-fitting shoes or yesterday’s workout—but it’s not something to ignore, especially if it’s persistent.

Fortunately, the podiatric specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery have some insight for keeping your feet happy, healthy and steadily stepping along.

The Most Common Foot Pain Offenders

The list of common causes for foot pain is extensive and includes everything from bunions and bone disease to flat feet and fractures. For most of us though, the culprits are injury, overuse, inflammation or arthritis. But we’re going to narrow our focus even more, since arguably the most common foot ache complaints stem from those first two offenders: injury and overuse.

Foot ache that stems from overuse may include:

  • Dull ache
  • Painful arch
  • Difficulty wearing shoes
  • Tenderness to the touch

Meanwhile, symptoms of injury could include any of the above as well as:

  • Inflammation
  • Inability to walk or apply pressure
  • Pain in ankles, knees or hips
  • Visible bruising or redness

If you have pain or swelling that you consider severe (especially if it’s stopping you from walking or standing), or if you’re a diabetic with open wounds on your feet, it’s time to call your doctor. Otherwise, consider some targeted home remedies.

A Good Excuse to Prop ‘Em Up

That euphoric feeling of relief when you prop your feet up isn’t just in your head. By elevating your feet, especially if they’re at or above the level of your heart, you’re using gravity to help reduce inflammation and redirect blood back to your heart. Plus there’s a lot to be said for simply taking your body weight off your feet, which helps further reduce inflammation and lets your muscles recover.

In addition to simple rest and elevation, ice or a hot Epsom soak are great healers, too. If you choose to ice an injured foot, we recommend leaving your ice pack in place for about twenty minutes then removing it; after twenty minutes off, you can put the ice pack back in place, then continue the on-and-off rotation as needed.

As for the Epsom soak, Epsom salts are actually a form of magnesium sulfate, which is a mineral that can be absorbed through the skin and provides numerous benefits including pain relief, reduced inflammation and improved circulation. Just fill a small foot tub with warm water up to your ankles and add one cup of Epsom salts; soak your feet for 10-15 minutes, then dry them off and prop them up!

Learn More About Happy, Healthy Feet

For more insight regarding how to care for your feet, check out “Tips for Healthy Feet” from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Then take a moment to consider whether it’s time for you to visit the podiatric specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery

stretch to stay injury-free

Stretch to Stay Injury-Free While Getting Active

Spring abounds! So it’s time to get back outdoors, where you can get active and vary that winter exercise routine—whether you’re participating in sports, biking or running or hiking a trail, the possibilities are endless. But while you’re trekking about the wild outside, make sure you’re aware of potential risks for injury.

For insight, we turn to Joe Goodwin, PT, OCS, CFMT, a physical therapist at Methodist Hospital for Surgery, who sheds light on the best ways to avoid sport or exercise-related injuries.

Save the Static, Start with Dynamic

You’ve probably been told before to stretch before working out. “Not so,” says Goodwin.

“Stretching prior to sports may actually be harmful. Multiple studies have shown that static stretching before physical activity actually increases the risk of injury.” Static stretching is simply stretching individual muscles while the rest of your body is still.

The alternative? Dynamic warm-up routines. Dynamic stretching is “active” stretching that focuses on several muscle groups at once and simultaneously works to warm up the arms, legs and back. The result is a nice stretch and gentle rise in heart rate as blood flow increases.

But static stretching still has its place. Static stretches after a game or workout help maintain normal range of motion in the joints and maximize the overall muscle performance. Because tight muscles have a limited range and produce less force, stretching after athletics—when muscles are warmed up—produces the best outcome and minimizes the risk of injury.

You’ll Regret A Neglected Stretch

If you neglect stretching altogether, you’ll probably experience decreased range of motion in your joints and muscular force, causing other muscle groups to work harder.

“Causing a muscle group to work harder puts excess strain on an area of the body that cannot handle it, which can result in injury.” And injury can be a minor muscle pulls or major tears in the muscles and ligaments, which will require lengthy recovery periods.

Overall, Goodwin suggests that you warm up by performing your planned activity on a lighter scale. For example, if you’re going to play soccer, go for a light jog or pass and kick the ball for 5-10 minutes, and then move to a dynamic warm up that loosens the joints. When you’re ready to wrap it up, don’t forget the static stretches to loosen and lengthen all of your major muscle groups.

Troublesome joints killing your outdoor game? The expert physical therapists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery can help you get back to peak performance.


Methodist Hospital for Surgery Welcomes New President

In October 2014, Methodist Hospital for Surgery proudly welcomed Dan Gideon, FACHE, as its new president who has since been working to implement new programs and enhance current offerings. With almost 30 years of experience leading and managing hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, Gideon is well-equipped to guide Methodist Hospital for Surgery toward continued success, which is ultimately expressed in quality outcomes and patient satisfaction.

“Becoming President of Methodist Hospital for Surgery is an incredible opportunity,” Gideon said. “In this role, I’m able to act as a leading influence in one of the nation’s most respected surgical facilities, and I trust that my team and I can find additional opportunities for its success.”

In the course of his 27-year career, Gideon has held the titles of chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, and has worked with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, to include hospitals and hospital management companies. Prior to joining Methodist Hospital for Surgery, he served as a group vice president for Nueterra and, during that time, was responsible for the overall operations of hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the Texas area.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery is one of the nation’s leading establishments for a variety of surgeries and is most noted for spinal and orthopedic procedures. In recognition of their excellent performance, the hospital has received the following awards: Healthgrades® Patient Safety Excellent AwardTM, Top 10% in the Nation for Public Safety, America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Spine SurgeryTM, Spine Surgery Excellence Award, Joint Replacement Excellence AwardTM, Top 10% in the Nation for Joint Replacement, Five-Star Recipient for Total Knee Replacement (2013, 2014), Five-Star Recipient for Back Surgery, Five-Star Recipient for Spinal Fusion Surgery (2013, 2014).

“This hospital has an incredible reputation, and it’s one I intend to reinforce and help expand,” said Gideon. “With advanced tools and equipment in the hands of award-winning surgeons and physicians, we have everything needed to continue performing as one of the country’s best hospitals.”


How Joint Wellness Classes Are Empowering Patients

For most people who are nervous about the idea of surgery, it is the fear of the unknown that concerns them most. No one likes to enter a situation with unanswered questions, but the feeling is seriously compounded when you add things like anesthesia and recovery to the equation.

To help ease surgery-related fears, Methodist Hospital for Surgery has developed a joint wellness class called Improving Your Moving. This free class is available to all Methodist Hospital for Surgery patients undergoing total hip or knee replacement and is taught by the hospital’s joint and spine coordinator, Candace Callegan, RN.

Total joint replacement is a unique surgery in that it is generally not an emergency; this means patients have time to plan, prepare and voice their concerns, which means they’ll know exactly what to expect going into surgery. In this one-day class, patients will learn numerous surgery-related topics, including how to prepare the home, what patients can expect on arrival and after discharge, what medications to take and avoid and how to manage pain.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery has been offering this class to patients for nearly three years, and the response has been tremendous. Most patients leave the class with a sense of relief, knowing what they can expect in surgery, and many have responded saying everything happened in just the way she said it would.

“By eliminating the fear of the unknown and getting all their questions answered, patients are better prepared,” explains Callegan. “Because they know what to expect, they can play an active role in their recovery, which leads to better outcomes.”

Dan Gideon, president of Methodist Hospital for Surgery, adds, “The overall patient experience is enhanced when the patient population is well informed because it reduces anxiety for both the patient and their family. With less energy given to worry, patients are better able to put their energy toward recovery.”

Patients are also encouraged to bring a friend or family member to class as their “coach.” By attending class alongside the patient, the “coach” is armed with the same knowledge and can help the patient in preparing for surgery and during recovery as well.

As a destination medical center for orthopedic surgery, Methodist Hospital for Surgery has a commitment to provide patients with the best possible medical care. The joint wellness class demonstrates this commitment by providing patients with information that empowers them and leads to an overall positive surgical experience.

Learn more and get details for the next Joint Wellness Class at