Caring for Yourself at Home if You Think You Have COVID-19

Caring for Yourself at Home if You Think You Have COVID-19

Article Featured on CDC.gov

10 things you can do to manage your health at home

If you have possible or confirmed COVID-19:

  1. Stay home from work, school, and away from other public places. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  2. Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider immediately.
  3. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  4. If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19.
  5. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have COVID-19.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

  1. Cover your cough and sneezes.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  3. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you need to be around other people in or outside of the home, wear a facemask.
  4. Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, towels, and bedding
  5. Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.

For any additional questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider or state or local health department.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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.

Manage Anxiety & Stress During the COVID-19 Crisis

Manage Anxiety & Stress During the COVID-19 Crisis

Article Featured on CDC.gov

Managing Stress and Coping with Anxiety

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and  the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call

  • 911
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSAexternal icon) website.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Things you can do to support yourself

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Reduce stress in yourself and others

Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful..

When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.

Learn more about taking care of your emotional health.

For parents

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

There are many things you can do to support your child

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Learn more about helping children cope.

For responders

Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:

  • Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
  • Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
  • Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
  • Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
  • Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.

Learn more tips for taking care of yourself during emergency response.

For people who have been released from quarantine

Being separated from others if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings include :

  • Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine
  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious
  • Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine
  • Other emotional or mental health changes

Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has been released from quarantine. You can help your child cope.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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.

How does COVID-19 Spread?

How does COVID-19 Spread?

Article Featured on OSHA.gov

Although the ongoing outbreak likely resulted originally from people who were exposed to infected animals, COVID-19, like other coronaviruses, can spread between people. Infected people can spread COVID-19 through their respiratory secretions, especially when they cough or sneeze.

According to the CDC, spread from person-to-person is most likely among close contacts (about 6 feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unclear if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Given what has occurred previously with respiratory diseases such as MERS and SARS that are caused by other coronaviruses, it is likely that some person-to-person spread will continue to occur.

There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19, and investigations are ongoing.

Workers Who May Have Exposure Risk

Despite the low risk of exposure in most job sectors, some workers in the United States may have exposure infectious people, including travelers who contracted COVID-19 abroad. Workers with increased exposure risk include those involved in:

  • Healthcare (including pre-hospital and medical transport workers, healthcare providers, clinical laboratory personnel, and support staff).
  • Deathcare (including coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors).
  • Airline operations.
  • Waste management.
  • Travel to areas, including parts of China, where the virus is spreading.
Identifying Potential Sources of Exposure

OSHA standards, including those for personal protective equipment (PPE, 29 CFR 1910.132) and respiratory protection (29 CFR 1910.134), require employers to assess the hazards to which their workers may be exposed.

In assessing potential hazards, employers should consider whether or not their workers may encounter someone infected with COVID-19 in the course of their duties. Employers should also determine if workers could be exposed to environments (e.g., worksites) or materials (e.g., laboratory samples, waste) contaminated with the virus.

Depending on the work setting, employers may also rely on identification of sick individuals who have signs, symptoms, and/or a history of travel to COVID-19-affected areas that indicate potential infection with the virus, in order to help identify exposure risks for workers and implement appropriate control measures.

The Control and Prevention page provides guidance for controlling exposures among workers with risk.

Additional Information

The CDC provides information about risk assessment for COVID-19.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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.

Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) and Children

Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) and Children

Article Featured on CDC.gov

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q:  What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

A: Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can learn more about who is most at risk for health problems if they have COVID-19 infection on CDC’s current Risk Assessment page.

Q: How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?

You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 at Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus and at Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities. Additional information on how COVID-19 is spread is available at How COVID-19 Spreads.

Q: Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?

A:  No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.

Q: Should children wear masks?

A: No. If your child is healthy, there is no need for them to wear a facemask. Only people who have symptoms of illness or who are providing care to those who are ill should wear masks.

See information for Pediatric Healthcare Providers
See information on COVID-19 and pregnancy and neonates.
See CDC guidance related to COVID-19 and breastfeeding.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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.

Coronavirus Impacting Blood Supply, Urgent Shortage: Donors Needed

America’s blood supply, already limited, has been dramatically affected by the novel coronavirus epidemic. As part of recommended social distancing, many frequent or casual blood donors have curtailed their normal activities, including blood donation. Yet the need for blood products remains constant. As a result, blood supplies are rapidly running out.

“The American Red Cross is urging hospitals to reduce blood use in an effort to maintain suitable reserves for those patients who could need a blood transfusion, such as those with cancer, sickle cell disease, undergoing emergent surgery, trauma victims or post-partum women,” said Marisa Marques, M.D., director of Transfusion Services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We are urging citizens to donate at this time of tremendous need.”

In the wake of COVID-19 responses, Vitalant is urging groups to continue organizing blood drives and individuals to continue donating blood, unless local public health officials specifically direct otherwise. Blood drives at schools, churches, community groups and religious institutions—which represent more than 60% of the nation’s blood supply—are events critical to health care in our country, and if canceled, could jeopardize patient care.

Vitalant—the second largest blood provider in the country—is working with other blood banks to avoid a critical failure of the blood supply. In parts of China and in the United States, the blood supply is at the “lowest levels” and is in “danger of collapse” as groups have canceled blood drives and individuals have stopped donating blood.

Organizations—schools, businesses, religious institutions—should follow the guidance of public health officials, rather than determining policies on their own. And if they are open (if classes are in session, if employees are working on site, if religious services are being conducted), they should continue to host blood drives. As part of the COVID-19 response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed guidance for “mass gatherings”—but those “mass gatherings” do not include blood drives.

If you are in the Albuquerque or Rio Rancho area and you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 please consider donating blood at the following locations:

Vitalant Albuquerque Location

Vitalant Rio Rancho Location

Sources:

uab.edu
vitalant.com

ACL Tears: Not Just For Athletes

ACL Tears: Not Just For Athletes

Article Featured on OSMSGB

With so many high-profile, professional athletes overcoming ACL tears, it’s becoming well-known that this is one of the most common sports-related injuries. However, what may be less understood is that ACL tears don’t just affect professional or competitive athletes.

Understanding ACL Tears

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments that helps ensure stability in the knee and proper movement. The main causes of an ACL tear include:

  • Pivoting or changing direction quickly
  • Making a sudden stop
  • Landing from a jump incorrectly

For these reasons, it makes sense that football, basketball and soccer are sports that see this injury a lot. But when you think about everyday life, many activities also involve these movements:

  • Running after and playing with your kids
  • Trying a new cardio-fitness class
  • Jumping on a trampoline

Plus, as we age, changes in the ACL, previous knee injuries and reduced strength can also increase the risk for a tear from something as simple as stepping in a hole.

For a professional or competitive athlete, the loud pop, sudden instability and immediate swelling of an ACL tear could be a season-ending injury. But what does it mean for a moderately active adult?

Sandy’s Story

Sandy Fragale has been the administrator at Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists of Green Bay (OSMS) for 15 years, so she is familiar with ACL tears. However, when she was at a trampoline park in November 2015 with family and friends, her ACL was the last thing on her mind.

Until, she suddenly went down.

“As soon as I landed and fell, I knew I injured something,” she says. “It felt like my skin tore.”

Sandy needed help to get off the trampoline, but she walked out to the car by herself. The next day, she saw an orthopedic physician at OSMS. During her exam, as the doctor was easily able to push her knee back and forth, it was pretty clear that Sandy had torn her ACL. And an MRI confirmed it.

The next step – deciding if surgery was the best treatment option.

“Surgical reconstruction is determined by a number of factors, including a patient’s past, current and desired activity level,” says Dr. Thomas Sullivan, an orthopedic surgeon at OSMS. “With an ACL tear, surgery doesn’t have to happen immediately, so patients can schedule it to fit into their lives. In fact, we won’t perform the surgery until all the swelling has disappeared, which typically takes a couple weeks.”

While Sandy is no longer a competitive athlete, she is still a very active person. That’s one reason why she chose to have surgery.

“I didn’t want to be limited long-term in the activities I could do, like skiing or playing beach volleyball on vacation,” Sandy says. “And I knew not fixing it could lead to an earlier development of arthritis.”

Since Sandy’s initial injury happened right around Thanksgiving, she decided to wait and have her surgery in January to avoid taking time off of work during the busy end-of-year or missing out on holiday fun with her family.

Sandy’s post-surgery results:

  • Within three days, she was off pain medications.
  • Her leg was immediately weight-bearing.
  • She went back to work in just one week.
  • Now, eight-weeks post-surgery, she has no pain, full range of motion in her knee and is able to use the elliptical, treadmill, bike and lift weights.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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.

Causes of foot pain all runners need to know

Causes of foot pain all runners need to know

Article Featured on OSMS

A total ankle replacement, also called total ankle arthroplasty, is a surgical treatment option for patients suffering from ankle pain, typically due to arthritis or injury. If this pain is impacting a patient’s quality of life or keeping them from walking comfortably, they might benefit from a total ankle arthroplasty. While lesser known than a total hip, knee or shoulder replacement, total ankle replacements are gaining popularity.

Read more

Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries

Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries

Article Featured on UCFS Health

Foot and ankle injuries are common in sports, especially running, tennis and soccer. But sports enthusiasts can decrease the risk of injury by taking some precautions.

Warm up prior to any sports activity

Lightly stretch or better yet, do a slow jog for two to three minutes to warm up the muscles. Don’t force the stretch with a “bouncing motion.”

Condition your muscles for the sport

The amount of time spent on the activity should be increased gradually over a period of weeks to build both muscle strength and mobility. Cross training by participating in different activities can help build the muscles.

Choose athletic shoes specifically for your foot type

People whose feet pronate or who have low arches should choose shoes that provide support in both the front of the shoe and under the arch. The heel and heel counter (back of the shoe) should be very stable. Those with a stiffer foot or high arches should choose shoes with more cushion and a softer platform. Use sport-specific shoes. Cross training shoes are an overall good choice; however, it is best to use shoes designed for the sport.

Replace athletic shoes when the tread wears out or the heels wear down

People who run regularly should replace shoes every six months, more frequently if an avid runner.

Avoid running or stepping on uneven surfaces

Try to be careful on rocky terrain or hills with loose gravel. Holes, tree stumps and roots are problems if you are trail running. If you have problems with the lower legs, a dirt road is softer than asphalt, which is softer than concrete. Try to pick a good surface if possible. However, if you’re racing, be sure to train on the surface you’ll eventually run on.

Be careful running too many hills

Running uphill is a great workout, but make sure you gradually build this up to avoid injuries. Be careful when running downhill too fast, which can often lead to more injuries than running uphills!

Prevent recurrent injuries

Athletes who have experienced ankle injuries previously may benefit from using a brace or tape to prevent recurrent ankle injuries.

Listen to your body

If you experience foot and ankle pain during a sport, stop the activity or modify the activity until the pain subsides. Also, if you have been injured, you should go through a period of rehabilitation and training before returning to the sport to prevent recurrent injuries.

Running and Tennis Injuries

Running and tennis injuries include ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Ankle sprains, a partial or complete tear of any of the ligaments responsible for supporting and stabilizing the ankle joint, usually result from landing on an uneven surface and having the foot turn awkwardly.

Injury to the Achilles tendon, the strongest and largest tendon that connects the back of the calf muscle to the heel bone, occurs from overuse and is usually an acute inflammation or a partial tear. If the tendon is weak, it can rupture with the right force.

It is also common for the plantar fascia, the tough tissue that maintains the arch of the foot and runs from the heel to the toes, to become inflamed, resulting in heel or arch pain.

Runners also may experience injury to the tendons or ligaments located on the outside and inside of the ankle and stress fractures of the foot bones. In running, any one incident may not be enough to fracture the foot; however, over time, repetition of abnormal forces or stress can cause the bone to weaken or break. Five to 15 percent of all running injuries are stress fractures. Of those injuries, 49 percent occurred in those who ran between 25 miles to 44 miles per week.

Soccer Injuries

Unlike foot and ankle injuries in tennis and running, which are usually overuse injuries, soccer injuries often result from trauma such as a direct blow to the lower leg. Because soccer is a contact sport, collision injuries from striking another player are common, accounting for 30 percent of all soccer injuries.

Ankle injuries in soccer account for 20 to 30 percent of all soccer injuries—the most common being ankle sprains. Soccer players also may experience turf toe, a sprain that results from stubbing the toe while running or improperly planting one’s cleats.

Treatment

Treatment for these injuries varies depending on the severity of the injury. Most strains and sprains can be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Moderate to severe cases, however, may require some form of immobilization such as a brace or a cast. Certain injuries that don’t heal within the expected time frame may require surgery.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for foot and ankle injuries, especially if it is causing you to limp or there is swelling. Prompt and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation ensures the best possible recovery.

6 Types of Knee Exercises and Which Ones to Avoid

6 Types of Knee Exercises and Which Ones to Avoid

Article Featured on Medical News Today

The knee is the largest joint in the body. People use it heavily every day as they walk, run, climb, or jump. As a result, it is also very prone to injury and pain. When these occur, a doctor may recommend exercises to help a person strengthen the muscles around the knee.

People of all ages may experience knee pain. According to one article, a type of knee pain called patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner’s knee, is the most common orthopedic condition in sports medicine. In addition to being common in athletic people, knee pain can also be a problem for people who have arthritis.

While it may be tempting to avoid exercise when knee pain occurs, this is not always the appropriate solution. Certain types of exercise can help alleviate existing knee pain and prevent future pain or injury by providing the knee with extra support.

Benefits of knee strengthening exercises

The Arthritis Foundation state that exercise may be the most effective way to treat osteoarthritis without surgery, while the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons note that strong and flexible muscles can keep knees healthy and prevent injury.

Knee strengthening exercises do not affect the knee joint directly, but they strengthen the muscles surrounding it. Strong muscles in the legs can help provide support for the knees. This support may alleviate pressure and strain on these joints, which can relieve pain and help a person be more active.

The following exercises can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. If a person experiences pain during these exercises, they should stop doing them and speak to a doctor. Anyone with severe knee pain should consult a doctor before trying to exercise.

It is best to warm up with light exercise before starting any knee strengthening exercises. Examples of gentle exercise include walking, cycling, and using an elliptical machine, all of which put minimal stress on the knees. This activity will help increase blood flow to the muscles and allow them to be more flexible.

1. Leg lifts

Muscles involved: Quadriceps (front of the thigh) and abdominal (stomach) muscles.

  1. Lie down on the floor with the back flat. Use a yoga mat, folded blanket, or exercise mat for comfort on a hard floor.
  2. Keep the left leg straight and bend the right leg slightly at the knee, bringing the foot closer to the body.
  3. Pull the abdominal muscles inward by imagining the belly button pulling down toward the floor. Doing this should bring the lower back down against the floor and help provide extra support during the exercise. Place a hand beneath the lower back to make sure that there is no space between the small of the back and the floor. If there is space for the hand, gently push the lower back down on top of the hand.
  4. Slowly lift the left leg without bending the knee. Keep the toes pointed toward the ceiling and stop when the leg is about 12 inches off the floor. It should not be higher than the bent knee on the right leg.
  5. Hold the left leg up for 5 seconds.
  6. Slowly lower the leg back down to the floor. Do not put it down too quickly or let it drop.
  7. Repeat two more times with the same leg.
  8. Switch sides and repeat.

What not to do

  • Do not let the back arch during the exercise.
  • Do not jerk or bounce the leg or lift it above the knee on the bent leg.
  • People who have osteoporosis or a back compression fracture should not perform this exercise.

2. Standing hamstring curls

Muscles involved: Hamstrings (back of the thigh) and gluteal (buttock) muscles.

  1. Stand straight with the knees only 1–2 inches apart. Hold on to a stable chair, the countertop, or another object for balance.
  2. Slowly bend one knee behind the body, lifting the heel off the floor while keeping the thighs aligned. Continue to lift the heel in a smooth motion until the knee bend reaches a 90-degree angle. Keep the straight leg slightly bent to avoid locking it.
  3. Hold the bent leg up for 5 seconds and then slowly lower it to the floor.
  4. Repeat two more times with the same leg.
  5. Switch sides and repeat.

What not to do

  • Do not point the toes or flex the foot on the lifted leg. Allow the foot to remain in a neutral, flat position.

3. Hamstring curls on a weight bench

Muscles involved: Hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

This exercise is a variation of the standing hamstring curl. A person can try this version if they have access to a weight bench that is purpose-built for this exercise. It may be more challenging than the standing hamstring curl, depending on how much weight a person uses.

  1. Lie face down on the bench with the knees close together. Grip the handles for stability.
  2. Tuck the feet under the weight. The weight should sit just above the heels.
  3. Slowly bend both knees, using the force of the legs to raise the weight up. Continue to lift the weight in a smooth motion until the knees bend at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Hold the weight up for 5 seconds and then slowly lower it back down.
  5. Perform up to 15 repetitions (reps).

What not to do

  • When first attempting this exercise, do not use a heavy weight. Beginners should use the lowest weight and work their way up to heavier weights as they build strength.

4. Step exercises

Muscles involved: Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

  1. Use a large, sturdy stool or exercise platform no taller than 6 inches.
  2. Step up onto the stool with the right foot and allow the left foot to follow behind. The left foot should not be on the stool but should hang behind it.
  3. Keep the body weight on the right foot and hold for up to 5 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower the left foot down and then follow it with the right foot.
  5. Switch legs, stepping up with the left foot first.
  6. Repeat.

What not to do:

  • Do not lock the knees during this exercise. The knees should remain slightly bent.
  • Do not allow any part of the stepping foot to hang off the stool or platform.
  • People who have issues with balance should not perform this exercise.

5. Chair dips

Muscles involved: Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

  1. Use two high-backed, stable chairs, placing one on either side of the body with the chair backs next to the arms. Place a hand on the back of each chair for balance.
  2. Bend both legs at the knee, being careful not to let the knees extend past the toes.
  3. Extend the right leg out in front of the body in a slow kicking motion. Focus on keeping the weight balanced on the left foot.
  4. Bring the right leg down slightly, holding it just a few inches off the floor for 5 seconds while continuing to balance on the left leg.
  5. Slowly lower the right leg completely to the floor.
  6. Stand up straight on both feet.
  7. Switch sides and repeat.

What not to do:

  • Do not bring the leg up more than 45 degrees off the floor.
  • Do not lean backward when lifting the leg. Keep the back and upper body straight.

6. Wall squats

Muscles involved: Quadriceps and gluteal muscles.

  1. Stand with the head, shoulders, back, and hips flat against a wall.
  2. Step both feet out about 24 inches away from the wall, while keeping the back and shoulders against it. Keep the feet no more than hip width apart.
  3. Slide the back down the wall slowly until the body is just above a normal sitting position.
  4. Hold for 5 seconds and then slide back up.
  5. Repeat.

What not to do:

  • Do not squat too low. The knees should not go over the toes.
  • Do not use fast, jerky movements. Perform the exercise slowly and smoothly.

Post-exercise stretching

After exercising any muscle group, it is essential to stretch the muscles. Stretching helps improve flexibility and reduce pain and injury.

Quadricep stretch

  1. Hold on to the back of a chair or put one hand on a wall for balance.
  2. Lift one foot behind the body and grab the ankle with the hand.
  3. Keep the back straight and the knees close together.
  4. Pull the heel close to the buttocks without forcing it or causing pain.
  5. Hold for up to 30 seconds and then slowly lower the leg.
  6. Switch sides and repeat.

Toe touches

There are many different ways to stretch the hamstrings in the back of the legs. One is through traditional toe touching.

  • With the feet close together, slowly bend over at the hips and extend the arms downward. Keep the legs straight but do not lock the knees.
  • Reach the fingers to the top of the toes and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Initially, it may not be possible to reach the toes. In this case, try to get the fingers as close as possible to the toes without causing pain.

What not to do:

  • Do not use a bouncing motion. Hold the body still.

Standing hamstring stretch

A standing hamstring stretch is also an effective way to stretch the backs of the legs, and it is less strenuous for the lower back than toe touches.

  1. Stand up straight with the feet no more than shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend at the hips slightly and extend the right leg out a few inches in front of the body. Allow the left leg to bend slightly.
  3. While keeping the back straight, slowly bring the chest downward.
  4. Bend down as far as possible without causing pain. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly bring the leg back toward the body and stand up straight.
  6. Repeat with the other leg.

Summary

Exercise is a noninvasive and healthful way to help with minor knee pain due to overuse, arthritis, or other causes. Knee strengthening exercises are an effective way to help prevent injury and keep the legs strong. Stretching can also help keep the muscles flexible, which can prevent or alleviate pain.

People who have health conditions should speak with a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

5 Expert Tips for Preventing Winter Sports Accidents

5 Expert Tips for Preventing Winter Sports Accidents

BY KAYLA MCKISKI | Article Featured on US News

Hitting the slopes or the skating rink as the winter of 2020 winds down? Don’t let an accident or injury spoil your fun.

“Winter sports and recreational activities have great health and cardiovascular benefits,” said Dr. Joseph Bosco, vice president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). “However, it’s important not to underestimate the risks that cold weather can bring.”

He noted that hospitals and health care clinics see a surge of bone and joint injuries during the winter months and many could be prevented with the right preparation.

Sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures and more traumatic injuries can happen to anyone. Here, Bosco and the AAOS offer suggestions on how to protect yourself:

  • Be prepared: Before you tackle a winter sport, make sure your muscles are warmed up and in good condition. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more prone to injury. Make sure to have water and other supplies on standby.
  • Wear appropriate gear: Well-fitting protective equipment like goggles, helmets, gloves and padding is crucial. Your clothes should be layered, light, loose and wind-resistant. Footwear should be warm, provide ankle support and keep your feet dry.
  • Follow the rules: If you’re unsure of the rules of your sport, it’s time to take a lesson with a qualified instructor, especially with sports like skiing and snowboarding. Knowing how to fall correctly and safely can drastically reduce your risk of injury.
  • Keep an eye on the weather: Warnings about storms and extremely low temperatures are red flags. If you’re experiencing hypothermia or frostbite, seek immediate shelter and medical attention.
  • Use common sense: Always have a buddy when participating in an outdoor sport or activity. If you feel pain or fatigue, don’t push yourself and stop the activity.

“Don’t let winter sports injuries freeze your fun,” Bosco said in an AAOS news release. “By keeping in good physical condition, staying alert and stopping when you’re tired or in pain, you can enjoy the best of winter and reduce your risk of injury.”


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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 orthopaedic 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.