Is Age A Consideration for Joint Replacement?
Is Age A Consideration for Joint Replacement?

Many variables go into the decision to undergo joint replacement surgery – the severity of your condition, your choice of surgeons, the risks involved, the prosthetic you need, recovery time, etc. But the number one question often on the minds of potential joint replacement patients is “Am I too old – or too young – for this surgery?”

Whether you have sustained knee, hip, or shoulder damage as the result of an accident, a sports injury, or osteoarthritis, surgery may be an effective option regardless of your age. Most people who have joint replacement are in the 50-80 age group, but orthopedic surgeons evaluate their patients individually. In some cases, the level of damage can warrant surgery over other less invasive methods.

Nevertheless, there are several important age-related things to consider before undergoing joint replacement surgery. For example:

·       Osteoarthritis gets worse with age. If left untreated, your joint pain will make it increasingly difficult to get work done or perform normal daily tasks.  Also, you’ll be at risk of developing other debilitating conditions.

·       A knee prosthesis won’t last forever. With proper care for your joints, it can last over 20 years. So, if you have surgery later in life, you can expect your replacement to serve you well for the rest of your days. However, if you have the surgery at a relatively young age, you may need another replacement – and surgical procedure – down the road. While longevity does depend upon the materials used and the activity level of the patient, it’s something to consider.

·       Despite an elderly patient’s understandable fear of risks or complications, various studies show that joint replacement patients 75 and over overwhelmingly believe they have benefitted from their surgeries.


In one study, patients age 75-90 recovering from knee replacement on average were walking in less than two weeks and back to doing light housework within two months. In another study, hip replacement surgery results for patients in their 90s were found to be comparable to those of younger patients. Although the older patients needed to stay longer in the hospital, their infection rates after surgery were no higher than those of the younger patients.

  • Your overall health – rather than your age – makes an elective surgery risker. That’s why your doctor will insist that you undergo a complete physical examination prior to surgery. If you have an existing condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or anemia, you may be restricted from going forward with the surgery. Young or old, being in good physical health is an important factor in how successful the outcome will be. For some people where excess weight puts a strain on the knees, joint replacement may be put off until a weight loss goal is met.

A lot needs to be taken into consideration, besides age, when deciding whether you are a suitable candidate for joint replacement surgery. That’s where the expertise of an orthopedic specialist can prove to be invaluable.

If you are concerned about joint pain or are considering replacement surgery, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of our highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many non-invasive treatment options for diagnosing and treating bone-related pain, and we will work with you every step of the way to improve your wellbeing.


Preventing Wear and Tear Injuries
Preventing Wear and Tear Injuries

When you hear the term “wear and tear,” the first thing you probably think of is a car, an old pair of shoes – anything that gets damaged naturally as a result of normal use and aging. But your body can also sustain a wear and tear injury that is caused by the stress of repetitive motions, leading to a chronic musculoskeletal disorder, such as:

·       Rotator cuff syndrome

·       Bursitis

·       Carpal tunnel syndrome

·       Epicondylitis

·       Tendonitis

These are all the result of excessive wear and tear on specific muscles and joints and their symptoms range from minor muscle weakness to severe stiffness and chronic pain.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent wear and tear injuries before they happen:

·       Strengthen your muscles to prevent injuries. Resistance training makes muscles stronger so that they can withstand greater forces and therefore helps prevent injuries. In fact, a Swedish study found that pre-season strength training for the hamstring muscles helped to prevent injuries to those muscles for certain athletes. The stronger your muscles and tendons are around a joint, the less stress placed upon the bones and cartilage.

·       Modify your training program. You should always warm up before exercising, stop exercising when you feel pain, and don’t exercise intensely when your muscles feel heavy or sore. This gradual approach is necessary because your muscles are made of millions of fibers. When you start exercising, contracting a muscle, you use only a small percentage of the muscle fibers. As you continue exercising, you do in fact tear the muscles a bit, but with proper recovery they rebuild stronger – hence the idea of building muscle.

·       Walk, don’t run. Many wear and tear injuries—particularly to the knees – are caused by running.  That’s because when you run, one foot is always off the ground, so each foot strikes the ground with a force equal to three times your body weight. The faster you run, the greater the force of each foot strike. Whereas, when you walk, you always have one foot on the ground, so the force of a walking foot strike almost never exceeds your body weight. If you must run, shorten your stride when you start to feel tired to decrease the force of your foot striking the ground. 

·       Be sure to stretch. Regular stretching exercises helps your body maintain flexibility, mobility, and core strength, which can prevent excessive stress on parts of your body that are susceptible to wear and tear injuries over time. Stretching slow and easy can also give you a good feel for your muscle strength and flexibility, helping you avoid injury.

·       Get plenty of rest. Rest periods help prevent damage from repetitive motion activities, while restorative sleep is not only essential for worn out muscles, but also for your overall health. With proper nutrition, hydration, and rest, you can start a cycle of recovering stronger and healthier each day.

If you are concerned about your musculoskeletal health or are experiencing any symptoms of a wear and tear injury, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can request an appointment online to be examined by one of our highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many non-invasive treatment options for diagnosing and treating bone-related pain, and we will work with you every step of the way to improve your wellbeing.


Bone Health 101
 Bone Health 101

How healthy are your bones? It’s a fair question, considering that an estimated 10 million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis – and many of them don’t even know it. There can be a lot of things to look forward to as you get older, such as retirement or spending time with loved ones, but it’s doubtful that anybody looks forward to conditions such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.

While osteoarthritis is the typical wear and tear of the cartilage and bone around different joints in the body, osteoporosis is an entirely different condition. In the case of osteoporosis, hormonal changes or vitamin deficiency causes the bones to lose tissue and mass, increasing the chance of fracture. It’s important to understand such conditions, because an easily broken or fractured bone can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Besides, recovering from a broken bone or fracture is no picnic – especially when you’re older.

The encouraging news is that bone loss is preventable. Here are several simple strategies for maintaining strong and disease-free bones well into your golden years:

·       Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D – A diet rich in calcium can help prevent osteoporosis. In addition to eating dairy products like milk, yogurt and hard cheeses, wild-caught fish like salmon and sardines are packed with the nutrient.

In terms of calcium supplements, here’s a good way to calculate how much you should take: Subtract the amount of calcium in your diet from 1,200 mg. Do not take more than 600 mg at a time. Also, you’ll need at least 600 units of vitamin D to promote absorption. This is often overlooked, but what’s the point of taking supplements if the body doesn’t absorb them properly?

·       Exercise regularly – Weight-bearing exercises provide good stress on your bones and stimulate regrowth, while high-impact workouts (such as jogging) and low-impact exercises (like elliptical machines) strengthen bones as well. Resistance exercises – including weight-lifting and swimming – are also recommended.

·       Refrain from tobacco and alcohol use – Numerous research studies have shown that smoking contributes to weak bones. Similarly, alcohol has been found to interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium, while having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk of developing osteoporosis. If you have trouble quitting smoking, ask your doctor about a nicotine patch. Also, limit your alcohol consumption to one drink a day if you’re a woman, and two drinks a day if you’re a man.


·       Avoid certain medications – The long-term use of corticosteroids has been linked to bone damage. In addition, aromatase inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, certain anti-seizure medications, and proton pump inhibitors (heartburn medications) might increase the risk of osteoporosis. If you are taken any of these, consult with your doctor about possible alternatives.


·       Get screened for bone disease early and often – Women 65 and over and men 70 and over should have a bone density test as part of an annual checkup. Recent guidelines call for all postmenopausal women with risk factors for bone disease to be screened, no matter their age. At the very least, consult your doctor to determine whether you are at risk for osteoporosis.

If you are concerned about your bone health or are experiencing any symptoms of a bone disorder, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of our highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons.

At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many non-invasive treatment options for diagnosing and treating bone-related pain, and we will work with you every step of the way to improve your wellbeing. Contact Tucson Orthopaedic Institute today, to be seen at one of our area locations.



Elbow pain is often the result of strains, sprains, stress fractures, or joint inflammation. But if you’re also feeling a tingling, numbness, or weakness in your adjoining forearm and hand, it could be caused by ulnar nerve entrapment, or to put it in layman’s terms – a pinched nerve.

This happens when there’s too much pressure placed against a nerve by a bone, tendon, muscles, or cartilage. For example, if you’ve ever impacted the “funny bone” in your elbow, you felt a temporary tingling down to your fingers because the ulnar nerve was compressed.

The ulnar nerve can also be irritated if you lean on your elbow for a long period of time or if you sleep with your elbows bent. That’s because whenever you bend or place pressure on your elbow, you force the nerve to stretch around the bones in the joint. Fluid buildup in the elbow caused by bursitis can also entrap the nerve. Likewise, your risk of getting ulnar nerve entrapment is higher if you have arthritis of the elbow, or if your elbow has been fractured, dislocated, or repeatedly injured.

Everyone experiences a pinched nerve now and then, but if it’s a chronic condition that goes untreated, it could result in permanent damage. The muscles controlled by the ulnar nerve may start to get smaller and shorter, a condition that may or may not be reversed. Which is why you should promptly see an orthopedist If you begin to have severe pain, weakness, or tingling in your arm or hand, or if you have mild to moderate discomfort lasting at least six weeks.

To diagnose the problem, the doctor will first review your medical history and lifestyle for clues, such as whether you play contact sports or are required to do heavy lifting on the job. Then comes a physical exam of your arm to determine where the nerve crosses the bone or slides out of its proper position when you bend your elbow. Also, the strength and feeling of your fingers and hands may be tested.

Other diagnostic measures may include an X-ray to check for bone spurs or arthritis that may be placing pressuring on your nerve, or a nerve conduction study. With the latter, your ulnar nerve is stimulated in various places to see where the nerve may be compressed and to diagnose any muscle wasting.

If you are diagnosed with ulnar nerve entrapment, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment depending on the severity of the problem.

Nonsurgical options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce pain and inflammation; a splint or brace to keep your elbow straight; an elbow pad to help reduce pressure on the joint; occupational and physical therapy to improve arm and hand strength and flexibility; or nerve-gliding exercise.

Only if these options fail to reduce your symptoms or there is muscle damage will surgery be recommended. Options include:

·        Ulnar nerve anterior transposition, in which the ulnar nerve is moved so it no longer stretches over the bony parts of the elbow joint;

·        Medial epicondylectomy, which removes the bump on the inside of the elbow joint, thus taking pressure off the ulnar nerve; and

·        Cubital tunnel release, which removes a portion of the compressed tube through which the nerve passes in the elbow.

If you are experiencing symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of our highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many non-invasive treatment options for diagnosing and treating elbow pain, and we will work with you every step of the way until your pain subsides. Request an appointment at one of our Tucson area locations.

Why Wearing the Right Shoes Affects Your Whole Body
Why Wearing the Right Shoes Affects Your Whole Body


The right pair of shoes can make a positive fashion statement. But did you know that the wrong pair of shoes can be hazardous to your health?

A poorly designed shoe – or one that doesn’t fit you properly – can cause myriad health problems throughout your body not to mention the damage it can inflict on your feet.

For example, wearing high heels over a long period of time can cause lower back pain due to postural changes and possible lumbar intervertebral disc compression.

Meanwhile, shoes that don’t provide adequate support can lead to all sorts of joint problems including arthritis and knee pain. That’s because the knees are forced to bend more to accommodate reduced shock absorption as the heels of your feet hit the ground while walking. Also, your front thigh muscles will have to work harder.

In addition, ill-fitting shoes have been linked to impaired walking, balance issues and falls. Also, foot constriction within shoes can cause paresthesia (a pins-and-needles sensation) or temporary numbness. In fact, shoes that don’t fit well can cause foot damage almost from the moment you put them on.

Some of the more common conditions traced to improper footwear include:

·       Corns – These are plugs of hard, dead skin that occur over a bony projection, like a joint, that are caused by prolonged pressure to the area. Corns can be soft or hard and if left untreated can become firmly attached to deeper soft tissues, which make them hard to completely remove.

·       Toenail Problems – Wearing shoes that are too tight places pressure on the sides of the toes, which can push the skin into the nail, resulting in an ingrown toenail. It can also lead to a fungal infection, causing discoloration and brittleness of the nail.

·       Collapsed (or Fallen) Arches – This happens when your Achilles tendon and the rear muscles of the leg are tight while you’re walking. This strains the ligaments that support the arch, leading eventually to a lowering of the arches with consequential pain the arch and heel area. Wearing shoes that have no heel deprives you of the support you might need if you have tight calf muscles or Achilles tendon.

·       Athlete’s Foot This condition stems from a fungal species on the damp and sweaty areas of the foot, particularly between toes and under the inner arch. It causes intense itching, inflammation and flaking of the skin. It can be contracted while walking barefoot but is often the result of tight-fitting shoes that cramp the toes near each other.

Starting Off On the Right Foot With the Right Shoe

The whole purpose of wearing shoes – besides making you look fabulous – is to protect your feet, enable you to walk, run or climb, and provide comfort when you’re on your feet for long periods of time. That being the case, you should take measures to ensure you’re wearing the right footwear at all times:

Ø  Make sure there’s enough room in the front of your shoes. You should be able to wiggle your toes freely.

Ø  Wear shoes that have some sort of fastener, allowing you to adjust the fit of your shoe as necessary.

Ø  Buy shoes that are made of natural materials for flexibility, duration and comfort. Also opt for shoes that have a slight heel for stability and to avoid any tightness in your Achilles tendon.

Ø  Wear shoes that are firm in the midsole – the area between your heel and your toes. They should also have cushioning inside for your comfort and to reduce the shock of impact as you’re walking.

Ø  Consider changing into specialized shoes if you plan on walking for long periods of time. A good example is when commuters wear sneakers en route to their jobs, then change into more suitable footwear at the office.

If you are experiencing pain in any of your muscles or joints, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of their highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many noninvasive treatment options for joint pain, and we will work with you every step of the way until your pain subsides.

Pre and Post-Operative Physical Therapy
Pre and Post-Operative Physical Therapy

If you’re planning to undergo orthopedic surgery, you may be focused on having physical therapy (PT) after the procedure to aid in your recovery. However, studies show that having physical therapy before as well as after surgery could be of greater benefit to you.

In one such study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers monitored patients who received both preoperative and postoperative physical therapy compared to patients who had the usual postoperative care. They found that those who had preoperative and postoperative physical therapy had significantly better outcomes than those who only had postoperative physical therapy. Not only that, but their superior outcomes lasted longer.

In other words, patients who have preoperative physical therapy have a better chance of healing more quickly and getting their lives fully back to normal. To understand why, consider these overviews of preoperative and postoperative rehabilitation:

Preoperative Physical Therapy

While the goals of a comprehensive postoperative rehabilitation program are to promote healing, reduce pain, restore joint mobility, flexibility and strength, a physical therapy program prior to surgery has other important objectives. These include:

Ø  Mentally preparing you for surgery

Ø  Reducing your pain and inflammation

Ø  Restoring your range of motion

Ø  Improving your muscular control of the injured joint

Ø  Normalizing your movement patterns before your surgery

Ø  Improving your overall fitness and well-being

Ø  Providing you with a good understanding of the exercises you will be performing after your surgery

Postoperative Physical Therapy

Usually, some form of physical therapy is necessary after orthopedic surgery of the knee, hip, shoulder, wrist, hand, neck, foot, ankle, or spine to ensure rapid recovery. It can begin anywhere from a few hours after surgery to a few days later, depending on the extent of the surgery. But as previously noted, the prime objective is to promote optimal healing, help restore your strength and range of motion, and prevent re-injury during the recovery process.

To that end, your physical therapist will first conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the goals that need to be set to:

·       Minimize the adverse effects of surgery, such as pain and swelling;

·       Restore normal movement, flexibility and function; and

·       Establish functional goals to resume normal activities.

Your therapist will then design an exercise program tailored to your specific needs and abilities, and often implemented in two stages.

The first phase comes right after surgery when the affected area (e.g. leg, arm) may be immobilized until the pain and swelling subside.

That’s followed by the second phase in which a series of progressively challenging exercises, the purpose of which is to restore your range of motion, strength, and stability – to return you to your pre-injury activity level.

Postoperative rehabilitation treatments may include:

·       Pain reduction efforts such as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation

·       Flexibility exercises

·       Exercises aimed at strengthening your muscles

·       Posture, balance, and coordination training

·       Gait (walking) analysis and training

·       Manual therapy techniques

·       Self-care training

·       Instructions on home exercise

If you’re preparing for orthopedic surgery that will require postoperative physical therapy and you want to learn more about the benefits of preoperative physical therapy, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of their highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons and discuss your physical therapy options.


Reducing Swelling in Elbow Bursitis
Reducing Swelling in Elbow Bursitis

If the painful swelling of olecranon (elbow) bursitis is putting you out of commission, it may interest you to know that your flare-up can be relieved with a little self-care.

In fact, orthopedic doctors recommend that you first take charge of your elbow bursitis by eliminating activities or positions that aggravate the elbow bursa – a fluid-filled, pouchlike cavity that reduces friction between tendon and bone – and by following the RICE formula for reducing inflammation.

RICE stands for:

Rest and activity modification. This involves avoiding activities that can aggravate and inflame your elbow, as well as avoiding putting any direct pressure on the joint.

Ice. By applying a cold compress to your swollen elbow for at least 20 minutes, twice or three times per day, you can help decrease the swelling and alleviate symptoms.

Compression. You can help control the swelling by wrapping an elastic bandage around the affected joint.

Elevation. Raising and keeping your elbow at or above the level of your heart can help reduce blood flow to that area, which, in turn, will reduce inflammation.

Other Ways To Reduce the Pain and Swelling of Elbow Bursitis

Besides following the RICE method, there are other treatment options that can be employed with the help and guidance of an orthopedic physician. These include:

·       The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescribed Cox-2 inhibitors can reduce the swelling of elbow bursitis, as well as relieving pain.

·       Aspiration. Your orthopedic doctor can use a needle and syringe to immediately relieve pressure associated with the fluid buildup in the bursa that causes swelling in the elbow.

·       Corticosteroid injections. This powerful anti-inflammatory medication is usually effective in relieving pain and swelling when injected directly into the inflamed elbow. However, these injections come with potential side effects including the risk of infection, which is why they are usually reserved for cases of elbow bursitis that don’t respond to other treatment.

·       Antibiotics. If the fluid drawn from the elbow during aspiration is tested and found to be septic, you’ll need antibiotics to treat the infection. Oral antibiotics usually do the trick, but more severe cases of septic bursitis may require hospitalization and the intravenous delivery of antibiotics.

·       Bursectomy. In rare cases of chronic or septic elbow bursitis, surgery may be necessary. This involves removing the bursa without affecting any part of the elbow joint.

If you are experiencing the pain and swelling of chronic elbow bursitis, don’t let it have a negative impact on your quality of life. Instead, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of their highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons.

At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many noninvasive treatment options for diagnosing and treating elbow and other joint pain, and we will work with you every step of the way until your pain subsides.


What is Plantar Fasciitis?
What is Plantar Fasciitis?

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Picture this: You wake up one morning, start to move around only to feel a stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain might diminish after a while, only to return later. What’s that all about?

It’s a condition called plantar fasciitis, a chronic inflammation of the ligament stretching the length of the sole of your foot, to the heel.

Usually, it’s caused by a repetitive strain injury and is common to runners, people who are overweight, and those who wear shoes with inadequate arch support. However, plantar fasciitis can also be caused by a disease, such as reactive arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis (AS) – an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints.

Since plantar fasciitis causes pain and tenderness on the bottom of your foot toward the heel, it can make walking difficult, particularly when barefoot or when walking on hard surfaces. It also can make your foot feel stiff and sensitive, especially in the morning, or after long periods of sitting.

How Do You Know If You Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is easy for your doctor to diagnose during a physical examination. Aside from having localized tenderness along the sole of your foot at the inside arch of the heel (along the inflamed tissue, or plantar fascia), your foot may show signs of swelling. An X-ray or ultrasound can reveal whether a heel spur is also present and whether there may be other causes of your heel pain, including a fracture or tumor.  

How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?

The first step in treating plantar fasciitis is taking measures to decrease the inflammation. Both the pain and inflammation can be reduced with local ice massage. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or cortisone injections.

Next, physical therapy, including stretching exercises, is often recommended to prevent plantar fasciitis in the future. If you’re a runner, you can reduce the irritation of inflamed tissues from plantar fasciitis by wearing running shoes with soft, cushioned soles. Otherwise, wearing optimal footwear or custom orthotic shoe inserts can be useful in decreasing strain on the plantar fascia.

These measures usually cure plantar fasciitis, but the condition can evolve into plantar fasciosis, which involves acute or chronic stretching, tearing and degeneration of the fascia in the attachment area. In that case, surgery may be required. Among the treatments being utilized are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, injection-based prolotherapy, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), and micro-debridement, which uses radiofrequency energy to break down scar tissue.

If you are experiencing plantar fasciitis or any chronic pain in your muscles or joints, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at any of seven Arizona locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of our highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many noninvasive treatment options for diagnosing and treating pain, and we will work with you every step of the way until your pain subsides.



The term “physical therapy” may conjure images of a trained specialist helping you regain your mobility after a sports or work injury, or after providing post-surgery rehabilitation.

But did you know that a physical therapist (PT) is equipped to help treat a wider variety of physical and mental problems?

Let’s take a look at some of these lesser known ways PTs can help you:

Ø  They can retrain your brain. Following a concussion, stroke, or other type of traumatic brain injury, it can be difficult to walk, exercise, or do any activity that was previously easy. However, physical therapy can be used to teach damaged motor pathways in your brain how to function. Essentially, it helps rebuild the connections between your brain and muscles. A physical therapist with a specialty certification in neurology can provide this kind of rehabilitative therapy.


Ø  They can help restore your equilibrium (balance). If you’re experiencing benign proximal positional vertigo (BPPV), a PT who subspecializes in treating vestibular disorders can guide you through a series of head, neck, and body movements known as the Canalith Repositioning Procedure, or Epley maneuver, to clear your inner ear system of a buildup of calcium carbonate crystal that interferes with normal function.


Ø  They can help you recover from a heart attack. A PT can help you strengthen your heart muscles with basic exercise prescribed carefully to ensure that you don’t push your body too far. This particular regimen reduces risk factors for future heart disease, while improving how your heart heals.


Ø  They can help you breathe a lot easier. If you’re suffering from a chronic lung disease like emphysema, it can make breathing difficult and lead to other problems, such as muscle loss. Using aerobic exercise, a physical therapist can enable you to optimize your breathing patterns and oxygen intake, thereby building muscle, improving your breathing, and clearing your lungs.

Ø  They can reduce your head, jaw, and neck pain. Bad posture and excessive stress can exacerbate jaw and neck pain, as well as tension headaches. A physical therapist can use manual therapy to loosen muscles and tissue, and then postural exercises to treat and prevent these problems.


Ø  They can ease your aching back. A PT can help put an end to low back pain with a combination of postural exercises and active therapy. He or she can lead you through exercises where you bend forwards or backwards to counterbalance your typical posture. Then, a core stability program can help you engage your supporting core muscles more fully.



Ø  They can even help solve your urinating problems. A physical therapist can help you with stress incontinence. This is caused by weak pelvic muscles and can be remedied with pelvic floor exercises that strengthen the muscles and allow you to gain bladder control.


Contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations to find out if physical therapy is right for your condition. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of their highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, physical therapy is an integral part of recovery, helping strengthen the mind and body for the long journey of life.


The Best Exercises For Rotator Cuff Pain
The Best Exercises For Rotator Cuff Pain

Ask any athlete or avid sports fan and they’ll tell you that shoulder injuries are among the worst you can sustain. Not only are they extremely painful, but they are slow to heal and can limit your activity. That’s particularly true of rotator cuff pain. The pain and loss of mobility from a rotator cuff injury can be daunting, but following the proper protocol for exercise and rest is important for the best pain relief and optimal recovery.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. It keeps the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. When the rotator cuff is injured, it causes a dull ache in the shoulder, which often gets worse when you try to sleep on the side of the injury, or exacerbate the injury further with continued activity.

Rotator cuff injuries usually occur when people repeatedly perform overhead motions at work or while playing sports. Repetitive, overhead motions wear down the rotator cuff muscles. That’s why it’s a common injury among baseball and tennis players, as well as painters and carpenters. It can also be the result of a traumatic injury, such as falling onto your arm.

The most common rotator cuff injuries are:

  • Impingement – This occurs when a rotator cuff muscle swells and cramps the space between the arm and shoulder bones, causing pinching.
  • Tear – This occurs when a rotator cuff tendon or muscle is torn.

In any case, the risk of sustaining a rotator cuff tear increases as we age, and the wear on our bodies accumulates. Surgery is an option, but for many people dealing with rotator cuff pain, physical therapy may be a better way to recover.

First, try the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – immediately following an injury, to reduce pain and swelling. Once the swelling has diminished and your arm is no longer painful to move, there are certain exercises that can help you heal. These include:

  • The Doorway Stretch: Warm up you muscles by standing in an open doorway and spreading your arms out to each side.
  • Grip the sides of the doorway with each hand at or below shoulder height, and lean forward through the doorway until you feel a light stretch.
  • Keep your back straight as you lean and shift your weight onto your toes. You should feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder. Do not overstretch.
  • Side-lying external rotation: Lie down on the side opposite your injured arm.
  • Bend the elbow of your injured arm to 90 degrees and rest the elbow on your side. Your forearm should rest across your abdomen.
  • Hold a light dumbbell in the injured side’s hand, keeping your elbow against your side, slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling. Stop rotating your arm if you feel strain. Hold the dumbbell up for a few seconds before returning to the start position with your arm down. Repeat three sets of 10 up to three times per day. Increase reps to 20 when a set of 10 becomes easy.
  • High-to-low rows: Attach a resistance band to something sturdy at or above shoulder height. Be sure it is secure, so it doesn’t come lose when you pull on it. Get down on one knee so the knee opposite your injured arm is raised. Your body and lowered knee should be aligned. Rest your other hand on your raised knee. Holding the band securely with your arm outstretched, pull your elbow toward your body. Keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down as you pull. Your body should not move or twist with your arm. Return to start and repeat three sets of 10.
  • Reverse fly: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and bend forward slightly at the waist. With a light weight in each hand, extend your arms and raise them away from your body. Do not lock your elbow. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do so. Do not raise your arms above shoulder height. Return to start and repeat three sets of 10.
  • Lawn mower pull: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place one end of a resistance band under the foot opposite your injured arm. Hold the other end with the injured arm, so the band goes diagonally across your body. Keeping your other hand on your hip and without locking your knees, bend slightly at the waist so the hand holding the band is parallel to the opposite knee. As if starting a lawn mower in slow motion, straighten upright while pulling your elbow across the body to your outside ribs. Keep your shoulders relaxed and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you stand. Repeat three sets of 10.

When You Should See a Doctor

These exercises can help build strength and flexibility after a minor rotator cuff injury. However, consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of a more severe injury, including intense pain or a deep ache, swelling, difficulty raising your arm, or difficulty sleeping on your arm more than a few days after your injury.

If you are experiencing chronic pain in your shoulder, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at one of their several area locations. You can schedule an appointment online to be examined by one of their highly qualified, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, there are many non-invasive treatment options for diagnosing and treating shoulder pain, and we will work with you every step of the way until your pain subsides. With several area locations, you can request an appointment online for the office closest to you.



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Tucson Orthopaedic Institute - East Office
5301 E. Grant Road
Tucson, Arizona 85712
Phone: (520) 784-6200
Fax: (520) 784-6187
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm
Tucson Orthopaedic Institute - Northwest Office
6320 N. La Cholla Blvd., Suite 200
Tucson, Arizona 85741
Phone: (520) 382-8200
Fax: (520) 297-3505
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm
Tucson Orthopaedic Institute - Oro Valley Office
1521 E. Tangerine Road, Suite 101
Oro Valley, Arizona 85755
Phone: (520) 544-9700
Fax: (520) 618-6060
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm