albuquerque, new mexico, orthopaedic doctors

New Surgical Strategy Offers Hope for Repairing Spinal Injuries

Article Found on MedicalNewsToday

Surgery to reconnect sensory neurons to the spinal cord after a traumatic spinal injury works because offshoots from the spinal cord complete the spinal circuit.

Scientists in the UK and Sweden previously developed a new surgical technique to reconnect sensory neurons to the spinal cord after traumatic spinal injuries. Now, they have gained new insight into how the technique works at a cellular level by recreating it in rats with implications for designing new therapies for injuries where the spinal cord itself is severed. Read more

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How Do Broken Bones Heal?

Article By Yella Hewings-Martin, PhD | Found on MedicalNewsToday

A fall, followed by a crack – many people are no stranger to this. Broken bones are painful, but the majority heal very well. The secret lies in stem cells and bone’s natural ability to renew itself.

Many people think of bones as being solid, rigid, and structural. Bone is, of course, key to keeping our bodies upright, but it is also a highly dynamic and active organ.

Old bone is constantly being replaced by new bone in a finely tuned interplay of the cells present. This mechanism of daily maintenance comes in handy when we are faced with a broken bone.

It allows stem cells to first produce cartilage and then create new bone to heal the break, all of which is facilitated by a finely tuned sequence of events. Read more

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Exercise in Early Life Has Long-Lasting Benefits

Article Found on Science Daily

The researchers, from the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, found that bone retains a “memory” of exercise’s effects long after the exercise is ceased, and this bone memory continues to change the way the body metabolises a high-fat diet, and published these results in Frontiers in Physiology.

The research team compared the bone health and metabolism of rats across different diet and exercise conditions, zeroing in on messenger molecules that signal the activity of genes in bone marrow. Rats were either given a high-fat diet and a wheel for extra exercise in their cage, a high-fat diet but no wheel, or a regular diet and no wheel. In the rats given a high-fat diet and an exercise wheel, the early extra physical activity caused inflammation-linked genes to be turned down. Read more

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13 Causes of Leg Cramps–and How To Stop Them

Article by Jenna Birch | Found on Health.com

What are leg cramps?

If you haven’t already, you will probably experience leg cramps at some point in your life. They can hit at the worst possible moments; whether you’re lying in bed at night or taking a run on the treadmill, that sharp stabbing pain can feel totally debilitating. If leg cramps, also called charley horses, persist, they can become even more irritating, perhaps knocking you off your typical exercise or sleep routine.

leg cramp is a sharp, sudden contraction or tightening of the muscle in the calf, which usually lasts a few seconds to a few minutes. If a cramp does hit, you can ease it in the moment by stretching the muscle gently. To find a long-term solution to leg cramps, however, you might need to take a closer look at their many potential causes.

To keep leg cramps at bay, make sure you’re nourishing your body and getting enough rest. You’ll also want to rule out any underlying issues that could be contributing to leg cramping, such as peripheral artery disease or thyroid issues. See a doctor when cramps prevent you from exercising, or if they seem to happen spontaneously without a trigger.

Here, experts weigh in on the major reasons you might be experiencing leg cramps, so you can keep those muscles free of charley horses for good.

Dehydration

One of the classic causes of leg cramps is dehydration. “Athletes and avid exercisers deal with cramps all the time,” says Mark D. Peterson, PhD, research assistant professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medical School, “especially during the summer months, in the heat without enough liquid.” The reason dehydration causes cramping is largely theoretical, says Todd J. Sontag, DO, family physician with Orlando Health Physician Associates. It may be that fluid depletion causes nerve endings to become sensitized, “triggering contractions in the space around the nerve and increasing pressure on motor nerve endings,” he says. This depletion is exacerbated by hot conditions or exercising, since you lose more fluid through sweat.

Mineral deficiency

It’s not just water that you sweat out. Lost electrolytes can also contribute to leg cramping. If you’re low in certain electrolytes and other minerals, that imbalance can trigger spontaneous cramping. An imbalance in sodium, calcium, magnesium, or potassium could all lead to leg cramping, says Gerardo Miranda-Comas, MD, associate program director of the sports medicine fellowship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Sports drinks can help reduce cramps thanks to their sodium, as can eating wisely. Bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, yogurt, and nuts are rich in those muscle-friendly minerals and may ward off the deficiencies that could cause leg cramps.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy increases a woman’s risk for leg cramps, especially during the second and third trimesters. “This is most likely because the odds of magnesium and potassium deficiency are higher during pregnancy,” Peterson says. If you’re pregnant and experiencing leg cramps, stay hydrated and consider taking a magnesium supplement–with your doctor’s approval.

Exercise intensity

When you’re trying to kick your routine up a notch–increasing your biking mileage, starting to swim for triathlon training–your muscles aren’t automatically used to the new intensity and movement. “Whenever cramps are induced by starting or restarting an exercise, that’s usually an indication of ‘too much, too soon,'” Dr. Miranda-Comas explains. “Your muscles don’t act and respond the same when you jog and sprint, for instance, so any increase in workout volume or intensity can trigger cramps.”

Fatigue

You may be more prone to leg cramps when you’re already overtired. You might be more lax in your diet or forget to hydrate effectively, or, if your body hasn’t had enough time to properly recover from your last bout of exercise, your muscles might already be in rough shape. “Physiologically, when the muscle is fatigued, it’s not as synchronized in using nutrients,” Dr. Miranda-Comas says. In other words, a tired muscle loses more nutrients than it uses, so it’s not functioning at its peak. Nighttime or nocturnal leg cramps, which affect more than half of adults, can also be triggered by tiredness. “Although there is no one definitive cause [of nighttime leg cramps], they are likely associated with muscle fatigue and nerve dysfunction,” Dr. Sontag explains. “There’s also new research to suggest athletes that underwent higher-than-normal-intensity exercise had an increase in the incidence of nocturnal leg cramps.”

Sitting or standing

Muscles were made to move, contract, and rest, so if you’re doing anything out of the ordinary–sitting at a conference all day, standing in line at an amusement park–you might experience some leg cramping. Standing for a prolonged period of time can understandably contribute to muscle fatigue, which in turn can cause cramping, Dr. Sontag says. But too much sitting isn’t necessarily better. Prolonged sitting “may predispose the muscles to malfunction,” he explains, as the muscle fibers may become hyperactive. When the muscle is “on” and can’t relax, you end up getting a cramp. If you get leg cramps from standing, make sure to take a seat before your muscles feel too tired. And if you cramp from sitting for long periods of time, try to spend at least a couple of minutes walking around per hour that you’re seated.

Medications

If there’s no obvious cause of your leg cramps, then you might want to take a look at any recent additions to your medication list, Dr. Sontag says. Diuretics, a class of medications used to lower blood pressure, may trigger cramps because they deplete the body of fluid and salts, he explains. Other medications that may cause leg cramps include osteoporosis drugs like raloxifene and teriparatide; intravenous iron sucrose (used to treat anemia); asthma medications like albuterol; conjugated estrogens (used to treat menopause symptoms); and pain meds like naproxen and pregabalin. Commonly prescribed statins are also associated with muscle cramps in general, he adds. Talk to your doctor if you started taking a new medication at the onset of your leg cramps; Dr. Sontag says he is usually able to find an alternative medication for his patients.

Peripheral artery disease

If your leg cramps seem spontaneous and not exercise-related, it’s important to see your doctor to rule out underlying concerns. Some, for instance, “those that affect how the body moves electrolytes,” Dr. Miranda-Comas says, can cause leg cramps. Others, like peripheral artery disease, when cholesterol clogs blood vessels in the legs, affect blood flow. PAD can trigger cramps since there may not be enough blood getting to the legs.

Multiple sclerosis

Leg cramps can also be a symptom of the nervous system disorder multiple sclerosis. Some people with MS experience spasticity, which can include a range of involuntary muscle spasms and twitches, as well as leg cramps. Spasticity might feel like a mild tightness or tingling in the muscles to some people or more severe cramping and pain to others.

Left untreated, spasticity can cause frozen or immobilized joints, so talk to your doctor if you have

Osteoarthritis

Much like overexcited nerves can cause overuse-related leg cramps, nerves that malfunction for other reasons can lead to cramping too. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is usually categorized by stiff and achy joints. But people with the painful condition may also experience muscle spasms and leg cramps. These leg cramps are usually linked to osteoarthritis of the spine, which, when severe, could lead to pinched nerves or other nerve damage.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Too-high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes can lead to damage to the nerves in the legs, feet, arms, and hands called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This nerve damage often leads to feelings of numbness or tingling, but it can also produce muscle twitching and full-blown leg cramps when the nerves in the legs aren’t functioning properly. Diabetes treatment can help prevent any further nerve damage, but a doctor might recommend pain medication or anticonvulsant drugs to tamp down the leg cramps.

Hypothyroidism

Thyroid conditions may also contribute to leg cramps, Dr. Sontag says. People with hypothyroidismproduce too little thyroid hormone, and overtime that deficiency can damage the nerves that send signals from your brain and spine to your arms and legs. Some people with underactive thyroids will feel tingling or numbness in their muscles, while others might experience leg cramps.

Always check with a doctor if you have unresolved leg cramps, especially with adequate nutrition, hydration, and stretching.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Hip Exercises

Hip, Hip, Hooray! Keep Your Hips Healthy

Article | Featured on Experience Life

Strong, mobile hip joints are crucial for health, agility and performance. But if you sit too much, your hips are bound to suffer. Here’s how to keep them happy and fit for a lifetime.

People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Are at Increased Risk of Joint Damage in the Neck

People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Are at Increased Risk of Joint Damage in the Neck

Yet the condition called cervical myelopathy can progress with few symptoms.

Article By Maureen Donohue | Featured on US News

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you’re well-acquainted with its ability to wreak extensive joint damage and destruction. This erosive process is typically all but impossible to ignore, causing the joints to become painful, swollen, tender and warm to the touch. If left untreated or if there is poor response to treatment, the erosion can lead to disabling and even crippling joint deformation.

RA damages the joints by producing inflammation of the synovium, the membrane that lines the joints. Chronic inflammation of the synovium causes fluid to accumulate in the joints, irritating the bones and causing the supporting ligaments to stretch and lose their elasticity and strength.
Read more

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Late Teen Years are Key Period for Bone Growth

Article Found on MedicalNewsToday

The late adolescent years are an important period for gaining bone mineral, even after a teenager attains his or her adult height. Scientists analyzing a racially diverse, multicenter sample from a large, federally funded national study say their findings reinforce the importance of diet and physical activities during the late teen years, as a foundation for lifelong health.

“We often think of a child’s growth largely with respect to height, but overall bone development is also important,” said lead author Shana E. McCormack, MD, a pediatric researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “This study shows that roughly 10 percent of bone mass continues to accumulate after a teenager reaches his or her adult height.” Read more

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ACL Surgery Often Successful Over Long Term

Article Found on WebMD | By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

People who undergo knee surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament(ACL) can expect to stay active and maintain a high quality of life, researchers report.

Activity levels may decline over time, but a new study found that those who had the knee operation could usually still play sports 10 years later.

“An active patient may view an ACL injury as devastating, but our research adds to short- and long-term studies that show a good prognosis for return to pre-injury quality of life,” said the study’s corresponding author, Dr. Kurt Spindler. Read more

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One Minute of Running Per Day Associated With Better Bone Health in Women

Article Found on Science Daily

A single minute of exercise each day is linked to better bone health in women, new research shows.

Scientists from the University of Exeter and the University of Leicester found those who did “brief bursts” of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity equivalent to a medium-paced run for pre-menopausal women, or a slow jog for post-menopausal women, had better bone health.

Using data from UK Biobank, the researchers found that women who on average did 60-120 seconds of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity per day had 4% better bone health than those who did less than a minute. Read more

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Many Parents in the Dark About Concussions, Research Shows

Article Found on ScienceDaily

Despite the large volume of information about sports related concussions on the Internet, many parents and guardians of young athletes have a limited understanding of concussions, according to a study co-authored by a faculty member of UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

In the study, which was published in May in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Research, Cynthia Trowbridge, an associate professor of kinesiology and athletic trainer, and co-author Sheetal J. Patel of Stanford University, found that a significant number of caregivers have a limited understanding of concussions and their impact on a child’s future. Read more