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Resting Is As Important As Working Out

You often hear about the importance of getting a good workout to keep your body in shape, whether it’s stretching, strengthening, or aerobic activity. But equally important is the body’s need for rest following an intense workout. Without rest, your body’s ability to replenish itself is strained.

That’s because your muscles have endured a series of movements that provoke metabolic action throughout your entire system. For example, lactic acid can build up and muscles can be contracted as a result of a good workout. Your body then needs to work itself out in the form of proper rest.

Consequences of No Rest

Not observing proper rest days between workouts can alter your physiology and work against your fitness efforts, such as by weakening your immune system, or affecting your sleep patterns.

Without proper sleep, the body will not perform anywhere near its best – not to mention the dangers of training with weights or exercising outdoors in a tired state. You run the risk of injury if your body hasn’t had a chance to recoup itself from consecutive workouts. 

On the other hand, intense workouts can leave the body in a constant state of wakefulness. The way to check this is with your at-rest heart rate. If it is constantly elevated, as it would be during a workout, then some rest is long overdue.

Better Performance With Rest

Any gains you make in your fitness level will remain up until about two weeks, so there’s no need to worry about taking a day or two off from your weekly workout routine. 

Taking a day off from the gym is critical to enjoying any gains you make. This is also the reason why people work out targeted groups of muscles on alternate days. Each group can rest and heal before going through another workout.

Rest days from a workout routine properly allow your body to sleep better at night, because the resting state keeps your heart rate level. From a psychological standpoint, resting days also provide balance so you don’t feel a sense of constant pressure to perform – which could lead to burnout and derail all of your exercise efforts in the long run.

Alternative Exercises for Rest Days

In case you’re someone who must be constantly in motion and the idea of a rest day does not appeal, you can pursue an alternative method of exercise like yoga. Doing something completely different helps you not fall into a rut, and your body will thank you for the alternate type of “rest” it gets from your usual workout routine. The benefit of this is greater flexibility for both your mind and body.  

Orthopedic Care in Colorado Springs

The team at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence has decades of experience treating world-class athletes, and we can create a workout plan to help you reach your personal best.

Our physical therapists, doctors, and medical professionals aim to help you feel better and prevent overuse injuries. Call us at (719) 623-1050 to make an appointment, or request an appointment online.

What is Trigger Finger?

Being able to bend your fingers is a movement so natural to everyday use, we can take it for granted. If or when your fingers or thumb catch or lock when bent, it can be a painful condition known as trigger finger.

Ordinarily, the tendons and muscles in your hand and arms bend and straighten your fingers and thumbs. The tendon itself usually glides through the tissue (or sheath) that covers it thanks to the synovium, a lubricating membrane surrounding the joint.

But if the tendon becomes inflamed and swollen, prolonged irritation of the tendon sheath will produce scarring and thickening that inevitably impedes the tendon’s motion. As a result, bending your finger or thumb can tug the inflamed tendon through a narrower sheath, which make it snap or pop.

Repeated movement or the forceful use of the finger or thumb is usually what causes trigger finger. Although it can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes, or by grasping something firmly for a long period of time.

That’s why industrial workers, musicians, and farm hands often suffer from trigger finger – because they repeat finger and thumb movements often. The condition is more common among women than men, and occurs most often in people who are between 40 and 60 years old.

How Do You Know You Have Trigger Finger?

One of the most obvious symptoms of trigger finger is when you experience soreness at the base of the finger or thumb. There’s also a painful clicking or snapping sound when you bend or straighten the affected finger. The catching sensation associated with trigger finger tends to get worse after you rest the finger or thumb. The finger or thumb may lock in a bent or straight position as the condition worsens and may need to be gently straightened out with your other hand.

In some cases, the finger may be swollen and there could be a bump over the joint in the palm of the hand. Also, the finger may be stiff and painful or locked in a bent position. Of course, your doctor can examine your hand and fingers and diagnose trigger finger without a lab test or X-ray.

In terms of treating trigger finger, the first step requires resting your finger or thumb. To keep the joint from moving, your doctor may put a splint on your hand.

If your symptoms persist, your doctor may address the inflammation by prescribing drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen. Another option is injecting a steroid into the tendon sheath. Or, if your trigger finger doesn’t improve, your doctor may recommend surgery.

The recovery time from trigger finger will depend on the severity of the condition and the choice of treatment.  Splinting, for example, could last up to six weeks. However, most patients recover within a few weeks provided they rest the finger or thumb and they take anti-inflammatory medication.

The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs regularly treats injuries to bones and joints, providing the best of care. If you’ve feeling pain in your hands and suspect it may be trigger finger or another condition, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition and explain your treatment options. Call us at (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.

What is Swan Neck?

The fingers are made up of bones called phalanges. The phalanges in each joint are separated by two joints called interphalangeal joints (IP joint). The two joints are the distal IP joint (DIP joint), meaning further away, and the proximal IP joint (PIP joint), meaning the middle or closer in. These IP joints of the fingers are like hinge joints, allowing us to have mobility with our hands, including straightening and bending. 

The tendons allow each of our finger joints to be able to flex and straighten completely. These are called extensor tendons. The extensor tendons come from the muscles that arise from the backside of the bones located in the forearm. These muscles travel toward the hand, where they eventually connect to the extensor tendons before crossing over the back of the wrist joint.

Then, the extensor tendons become what is called the extensor hood. The extensor hood becomes flat in order to cover the top of the finger. The extensor hood sends out branches of ligaments (tough bands of tissue) to connect the bones in the middle and end of the finger. When the extensor muscles contract, they tug on the extensor tendon, allowing the joints to work together, so that the finger can straighten and bend.

Finger position and movement of the hand occur from the balanced actions of many important structures, that work cohesively when everything is normal. Ligaments support the finger joints, muscles hold and give our fingers the ability to move, while tendons help control the motion of each finger. Any injury or condition can disturb the balance and inner workings of all these parts, altering functionality and the alignment and structure of the hand and fingers. The result may be a condition call swan neck.

What is Swan Neck?

Swan neck is a deformity, in simple terms, a crooked finger. The PIP joint (the joint in the middle of the main knuckle and DIP joint), includes the strongest ligament called the volar plate. These ligaments connect on the palm side of the joint. As the ligament tightens when the finger is straight, the PIP joint is protected from bending back too far, or hyperextending. Swan neck deformity occurs when the PIP joint in the finger becomes hyperextended and the DIP joint at the end of the finger is flexed, causing a crooked finger.

Swan neck symptoms include inflammation from injury, or conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), causing pain and swelling of the PIP joint. This imbalance causes the finger to look like a swan’s neck, bent and abnormally crooked.

Your doctor will physically examine your finger, and sometimes order an X-ray to check your joints and look at the alignment, to fully diagnosis the problem. Treatment for swan neck deformity can be nonsurgical or surgical, depending upon the severity of the deformity. The approach your doctor chooses will also depend on whether the proximal IP joint is flexible or stiff.

 While the term deformity connotes a visual disturbance, remember that it can also affect mobility and day-to-day function, so getting treatment is important! To learn more about swan neck deformity and how to treat it, call the orthopedic surgeons at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.