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Finding the Best Orthopedic Surgeon in Colorado Springs

Finding the best orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs is often based on a variety of factors. An orthopedic injury or chronic condition can be more than just painful – it can seriously affect your ability to perform routine activities, including those you enjoy. That’s why it’s important to entrust your orthopedic care to only the best orthopedic surgeon.

But how do you go about vetting the best orthopedist? Simple. By focusing on the surgeon’s:

Technical Ability and Track Record of Success

You might want to start by asking your primary care doctor who they would use to handle their surgery if they were in your situation. You can also get recommendations from friends and family who have had experience with orthopedic specialists. Once you arrange a consultation, ask the prospective orthopedist how many procedures they have done in the past year, what were the outcomes, and what, if any, were the complications.

Level of Training

Find out where the orthopedist received their medical degree. Inquire as to where they may have received additional fellowship training, which involves another year of training beyond a routine orthopedic residency. Does the surgeon sub-specialize in a specific area? The more advanced the training, the better it reflects on the surgeon’s technical skills.

Hospital Affiliations

To get the best orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs you need to know what hospitals they work with. This is where you will undergo your surgery, so you’ll want to evaluate the quality of care at these facilities. It matters, not just because of the convenience of the hospital’s location, but also because it’s a well-known fact that patients who undergo treatment at top-quality hospitals have fewer complications and higher survival and success rates.

Rapport With You

Trust between patient and doctor is important, but so is compatibility, especially when it comes to communicating with one another. In fact, it can affect the success of your treatment. That’s because undergoing an orthopedic procedure is often the start of a long-term relationship. For example, following a joint replacement, you will probably need to see the surgeon for follow-up visits for years to come. If that’s the case, you’ll want to feel comfortable with your choice of specialist and able to maintain a friendly and beneficial relationship.

Do Your Research

In your search for the best orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs, you can also check out online reviews and satisfaction surveys, as long as you realize that these are limited to a small segment of the doctor’s clientele and may not address your specific medical needs. It’s better to ask your primary care physician for a referral list, then research each doctor’s credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com.

As a practical matter, you should also choose an orthopedic surgeon who not only meets the desired criteria, but also participates in your insurance plan. That way, you’ll receive the best care while paying the least amount out-of-pocket.

Best Orthopedic Surgeons in Colorado Springs

For world-class orthopedic surgeons in Colorado Springs, it’s worth your while to check out the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence.

Our physicians are board-certified and fellowship-trained, with experience treating a variety of injuries and chronic orthopedic conditions.

Call us at (719) 623-1050 or schedule an appointment today.

Technology in Sports

Technology has made its way into nearly every aspect of a person’s life – even for athletes. Wearable technology like Fitbit is the new trend in tracking and enhancing nearly every aspect of health and fitness. 

While wearable technology helps athletes push their limits, technological breakthroughs in medicine have gone even further. This revolutionary technology helps athletes enjoy enhanced muscle mass, faster healing, and better treatment of injuries.

Recording and Tracking Sports Performance

Various trackers that measure heart and breathing rates, hydration and oxygen levels, core temperature, and caloric intake have brought fitness to the cutting edge of science. In fact, the NFL has developed sensors in players’ shoulder pads that record data on the force and impact of tackles made and received.

Other sensors can test for signs of injury by deciphering whether a player favors one side of their body. This information gives trainers a real-life glimpse into a player’s overall condition.

Trainers can also gather a complete picture of a player’s diet, workouts, fitness level, and injuries. The trainers can then utilize this data to customize workout regimens and injury rehabilitation programs for the player.

Genomics and Types of Recommended Activities 

A genetic sample of an athlete’s DNA can be tested for markers regarding nutritional requirements and predisposition to certain types of injuries. Certain companies are now relying on DNA to help determine whether a player should alter their workout, whether they are more prone to a certain type of injury, and to anticipate nutritional demands.

Customized workouts and nutritional plans based upon an athlete’s own genetics is now possible thanks to modern technology in sports.

Technology to Prevent Injuries

Almost 10,000 elite athletes playing for over 500 teams in 35 sports in 35 countries are now wearing technology that records over 100 metrics, thereby giving a trainer or coach an overall picture of the player’s health at a glimpse. This includes warnings when a player is overexerted and needs to rest.

It is now commonplace for professional athletes to wear some type of technology to measure performance and prevent injury. The implemented data has been a lifesaver for some teams that were once the most-injured in their leagues but have become among the least-injured in their leagues.

If Your Child Plays Sports

Many of these devices are too costly for a parent to buy for their children. However, some teams have recently begun embracing the use of technology to prevent injuries and better provide metrics for its athletes. 

With more and more youths getting involved in sports, the number of injuries will increase due to the sheer numbers of kids participating. However, it’s best to understand your child’s training regimen and see what types of technology that are being implemented.

Orthopedists in Colorado Springs

If you or your child has been injured and you want the absolute best chance of a complete recovery, see our sports physicians at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence.

Call us today at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to helping you get back in the game.

Overuse Injuries – How Can You Prevent Them?

There are two basic types of injuries: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries happen as a result of a single, often blunt-force trauma to the body.

Overuse injuries are injuries that gradually develop over time. This occurs from doing a repetitive motion until some joint or body part begins to suffer the inability to perform a certain motion without pain.

How Do Overuse Injuries Happen? 

Overuse injuries develop gradually, especially from using improper form to do something. While many athletes assume that any injury is an acute injury, an overuse injury may be noticed suddenly but is actually caused by performing an activity over and over. 

The cumulative result of training errors, improper form or technique, and simply repeating a motion over and over will cause overuse injuries. These injuries can cause just as much or more damage than an acute injury. 

Several factors contribute to overuse injuries, including the following:

  • A lack of muscle strength or endurance
  • Having poor core stability, resulting in straining 
  • Inflexibility or poor stretching, leading to staggered movements
  • Poor technique that causes another body part to compensate
  • Errors in training, whether the issue is with form, equipment, or technique
  • Any activity that results in cumulative trauma

Avoiding Overuse Injuries

The best way to avoid an overuse injury is by starting out with proper form from the very beginning. Consider having a personal trainer give you advice and feedback before launching into a sport.

Form is crucial, and certain sports pose a greater risk caused by bad form. In weight-lifting, for example, form is critical – and because a person is pushing greater weight, using poor form will definitely cause a joint to wear out. 

Stages of Repetitive-Motion Injury

There exist roughly four stages of an overuse type of injury: 

  • First stage: Discomfort during warm-up
  • Second stage: Discomfort that disappears during warm-up, but reappears at the conclusion of the activity
  • Third stage: Discomfort that worsens during the activity
  • Fourth stage: Constant pain or discomfort 

Before an overuse injury worsens, see a doctor and stop performing the activity that is causing pain. The physician will likely explain alternative methods of performing the same task.

Experienced Orthopedic Physicians in Colorado

Overuse injuries do not happen overnight – they take time to develop. Anything that brings pain which did not in the past is cause to seek medical attention.

Pushing on through the pain might significantly damage the joint or eventually require surgical intervention, whereas the injury may have been treated with therapy if addressed sooner.

The doctors at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence have decades of experience treating all sorts of injuries on all levels of athletes. Call us today at (719) 623-1050 or schedule an appointment now. Don’t neglect the warning signs in your body – listen to them so you can prevent a simple problem from becoming a complex issue.

The Difference Between Orthopedic Urgent Care and Regular Urgent Care

You’ve just sustained an orthopedic injury. You need medical attention, but the injury probably doesn’t warrant a trip to the emergency room. So, where do you go – to the nearest urgent care facility or an orthopedic urgent care center?

You may not think it matters much. But knowing where to receive the appropriate care following an orthopedic injury can make all the difference in the world.  That’s because there are distinct differences between a regular urgent care and orthopedic urgent care. Making the right decision can enable you to receive prompt and accurate treatment, possible diagnostic imaging, that will hopefully lead to a faster recovery. 

Orthopedic Urgent Care vs. Regular Urgent CareTypically, an urgent care center is located in a retail space and often refers its walk-in patients to another appropriate community health care provider – such as an imaging center or an orthopedic specialist – for many orthopedic injuries, from broken bones to sprained ankles.

Orthopedic urgent care centers, on the other hand, tend to be located within larger orthopedic or medical facilities in which they serve as an entrée to an orthopedic practice.  In fact, some hospitals provide ortho urgent care in addition to conventional care centers as a gateway to hospital services.

While it is true that both types of urgent care facilities treat orthopedic injuries, only orthopedic urgent care centers are designed exclusively for treating both acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries. You are not waiting in line with or behind someone suffering from the flu or a stomach ailment, for example.

Many minor breaks and sprains can be treated at an urgent care clinic as long as the break isn’t an open fracture – where bone is protruding through the skin – or there isn’t any other deformity.

Conversely, an orthopedic urgent care offers prompt specified care for all types of orthopedic injuries. Whereas a physician at an urgent care center will patch you up and may refer you to an orthopedic specialist for continued care, a specialist at an orthopedic urgent care center will examine you, provide a diagnosis, treatment, and continued care all under one roof.

Bottom line: Orthopedic urgent care providers are specially-trained in bone, muscle, and joint injuries. They deliver same-day treatment, on-site X-rays, and should it be necessary, follow-up care with an orthopedic specialist.  An urgent care provider will refer you to an orthopedic specialist anyway, so you might as well cut out the middle man and receive seamless specialized care from the start.

The Right Choice for Orthopedic Injury

Of course, if you have a major, life-threatening musculoskeletal injury that occurs after hours, you should go to the nearest emergency room for treatment. Otherwise, you’ll receive specified care with less waiting time and cost than an emergency room visit, by heading straight to an orthopedic urgent care center.

The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs caters to both the world’s elite athletes and all those who need the best care. If you sustain an injury to your bones or joints, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition and explain your treatment options. Call us at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Can Scoliosis Occur Later in Life?

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves to the left or right. It can be slight or severe, and there may or may not be a defined reason for developing the condition. Most of the time, scoliosis develops around the time of puberty. Adolescent girls get scoliosis more than boys, and children more than adults. In rare cases, scoliosis can also develop during adulthood.

Your spine has natural curves, like an S, that gently support your body and its movement. When a person has scoliosis, a sideways curvature is present. Some of the symptoms of scoliosis include pain, tingling in the extremities, and noticeable abnormalities in posture (like uneven shoulders or stooping). Nobody knows why people develop scoliosis, but there is some evidence of hereditary factors. 

There are two types of scoliosis, idiopathic and degenerative. Idiopathic scoliosis usually develops in and is diagnosed in young adolescents. Idiopathic scoliosis may not be diagnosed until adulthood, either because there may have been no symptoms for many years, or the curvature has become more pronounced.

Degenerative scoliosis is more likely to occur in adults. Just like many orthopedic conditions faced by older adults, degenerative scoliosis is preceded by wearing down of the cartilage between the bones of the spine. The spinal bones collapse against each other and can deviate to the side. Osteoarthritis of the spine results in scoliosis for some people. Some patients will also have osteoporosis also add the possible complication of a fracture due to the pressure on the spinal curvature. But just as idiopathic scoliosis may not cause any symptoms or discomfort, the same is true for degenerative scoliosis. There is no need for treatment if it is not causing the patient any issues with pain or mobility. Of course, a patient is unlikely to seek treatment and be diagnosed if there are no troubling symptoms.

Some possible reasons for the increase in cases of adult scoliosis are that people are living longer, and more active lives. Wear and tear of the cartilage in the back happens more quickly when there is more movement, such as from running, playing sports, or just walking. People also are more likely to seek out help for back pain than they may have been in the past. As the field of orthopedic medicine develops and specialists are more widely available, people increasingly know where to go with their back pain and they have more trust in orthopedic physicians who can help.

The severity of scoliosis is measured in degrees that the spine moves away from the center. If the curve is less than 40 degrees, most of the time conservative methods of treatment are effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms and preventing further curvature. Conservative treatments may include medication, physical therapy, or braces to provide stability and decrease pain. Surgical correction is a possible treatment for severe cases of scoliosis. Spinal surgery carries a significant risk of complications, so it is not normally considered unless there is severe pain or deformity. Each case is unique, so the surgery is performed with the goal of preventing further pain and damage in addition to correcting the abnormalities. 

Patients in the Colorado Springs area who have sports injuries or any orthopedic injury trust the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence to provide the best care. If you have an orthopedic injury or condition, call (719) 623-1050 for an appointment today.

What is Nursemaid Elbow Syndrome?

For a lot of children, one of their favorite games they used to play with your parents was having them hold onto both of their hands or arms, and as they’d count to three, they would lift and swing you up high up into the air over and over as if you were flying. We think of little kids as having pretty resilient bones, but this fun and warmhearted scenario doesn’t always end up favorably.

Did you know that for little children, this game can lead to an injury? But, it is not just this game, but any scenario when the arms are being held onto or yanked in general.

While many parents and caregivers may enjoy taking a child’s hands and wrists and swinging them as they walk in-between, doing so can result in injury. This common childhood injury is known as nursemaid’s elbow syndrome, or radial head subluxation (RHS).

Nursemaid’s elbow syndrome can be a very common injury to young children. When we are young, our bones and ligaments are not fully developed yet. As we develop into adults, our bones form and grow with us. In other words, our ligaments tighten and become thicker, bones enlarge and harden. Therefore, when we do get older the risk of getting injuries such as nursemaid’s elbow decreases.

However, kids are often rough and active, obviously making them prone to injuries such as sprains and broken bones, commonly to the arms. Children are also susceptible to having bones slip out of place.

Like the name implies, in many cases children are under the care of some sort of caregiver or a babysitter of some sort, like a nurse does in a hospital. When this scenario of the caregiver picking up the child the wrong way occurs, it results in nursemaid’s elbow, or pulled elbow, an accidental injury that occurs when the bones in the elbow partially pop out and dislocate. What happens is that one side of the elbow separates from the other side, and part of the ligament that wraps around the bone slips off and gets stuck between the bones.

Many parents and caregivers are unaware that swinging a child by the wrists or hands can really harm and injure their child.  It is important that parents and caregivers know the danger of swinging a child by the wrists or hands. Bones are fragile and can break when there is too much force. Even though it is an accident from having fun and playing around, if not careful, more severe complications can occur.

You should discourage anybody jerking or yanking a child’s arm. Pulling or grabbing a child by the hand or wrist can cause dislocation.  It doesn’t take much force for a child’s elbow to be pulled out of place, and it just takes a little miscalculation to cause a child a lot of pain.

Nursemaid’s elbow syndrome is painful but can be fixed with treatment. In most cases, an orthopedic doctor will gently move the bones back into normal position, by performing a procedure known as reduction. A joint reduction can be quite painful, albeit quick, and then the healing process can take place.

The doctor will hold the child’s wrist or forearm with the palm of the hand facing upwards. While putting pressure near the top of the radius bone, one of the bones in the forearm other than the ulna, the doctor will slowly bend the elbow in an attempt to pop or click the elbow joint back into place. Once the bones are put back into place, the pain and discomfort subside. If the injury is more severe, surgery may be required.

To learn more about nursemaid’s elbow syndrome, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment with our orthopedic surgeons, 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.

Recovering from Hip Dislocation

A hip dislocation is a serious and painful injury. It is usually the result of some very strong trauma, as in the case of an automobile accident or a fall. When the smooth end of the femur, or thigh bone, is pushed out of the socket formed by the pelvis, the hip joint is said to be dislocated. Emergency treatment is necessary for this injury, and a healthy recovery is vital towards returning mobility and preventing chronic pain. 

It is possible for your doctor to realign the hip joint by hand, but because of the amount of force necessary to drive the joint out of place, there is usually at least one other injury involved. 90% of hip dislocations are posterior, where the femur is pushed behind the socket of the pelvis and 10% are anterior, where the femur is pushed forward from the pelvis. 

Often, a hip dislocation is accompanied by a fracture, either to the extremities or to part of the pelvis from the force that dislodges the femur. In this case, surgery may be necessary to correct the position of the hip and repair the fractured bone at the same time. That kind of fracture sometimes occurs when the knees impact an automobile’s dashboard when there is an accident. Safety belts and airbags are meant to help protect car riders from this type of injury.

The smooth covering of cartilage on the femur is also likely to suffer some damage from a hip dislocation. Nerves and ligaments that attach the parts of the hip and make it possible for movement are damaged and torn when the hip is dislocated, too. Regaining full ability to move without pain takes time. Recovering from a hip dislocation involves rest, medication to control swelling and pain, and will often benefit from physical therapy. You may use crutches or a cane to help balance during your recovery, and there may be some permanent nerve damage or arthritis that develops as a result of the injury. 

Hip dislocation requires emergency care from an orthopedic expert. The Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs cares for anybody in need of orthopedic care, from the victim of an auto accident to the world’s elite athletes. If you have an urgent orthopedic injury, call (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.

How Choosing an Orthopedic Urgent Care can Save You Time

Orthopedic injuries can happen at any time, but there is a good chance of having an accident that results in a broken bone, sprain, or strain over the weekend. Weekend warriors out there playing sports or participating in other outdoor activities run the risk of getting hurt. If you get injured over the weekend or even in the evening, choosing an orthopedic urgent care could save you valuable time in getting the treatment you need. 

When you go to an orthopedic urgent care center, you will be seen by either an orthopedic surgeon or a physician assistant (PA), who has had extensive training in diagnosing and treating orthopedic injuries. He or she would also have assisted in many surgeries, and have experience in determining which injuries need the care of an orthopedic surgeon. 

If you go to the ER, chances are you will get an X-ray and splint with instructions to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible. If you go to an orthopedic urgent care, in addition to getting to see an orthopedic PA, you can be seen by a surgeon much faster most of the time. Some facilities are able to schedule surgery right away at their affiliated outpatient center.

Here are some of the injuries that can be treated efficiently at an orthopedic urgent care:

  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Sprains and strains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Sports injuries
  • Foot or ankle injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Hand or wrist injuries

If you live in the Colorado Springs area, arrange to see the orthopedic experts at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence. From professional sports medicine including the US Olympic team, to treatment of osteoarthritis, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons provide the best possible care. Call (719) 623-1050 for a priority appointment with a skilled and experienced orthopedic provider.

Does Your Joint Replacement Have a Warranty?

One of the most common questions patients tend to ask their orthopedic surgeons, is about how long their joint replacement will last. Will it last a certain number of years, or is there a designated warranty that comes with the joint replacement, whether hip, knee, shoulder, etc.?  While you might think this type of question would be easy to answer, your orthopedic surgeon will tell you it’s not that simple.

This question is actually quite complicated to answer for orthopedic surgeons. Everyone’s anatomy is unique and built differently. In the past, surgeons used to say after joint replacement surgery, that a patient’s artificial joints would last about 10 to 15 years. However, with modern materials and updated surgical techniques, current studies and evidence-based research show that approximately 96 percent of today’s modern joint replacements, especially knee replacements, will still be functioning past the 15-year mark.

Your joint replacement does not necessarily have a warranty, per se, as each patient is unique in both their anatomy and their level of physical activity. Sometimes a patient is notified by their surgeon that they will require revision surgery. This means that the patient will need to undergo a second surgery to fix their problem. The failure of a joint replacement can occur for variety of different reasons.  These include infection, trauma, loosening of the implant, degeneration (wearing out), or poor positioning of the original implant.

For patients who are suffering from debilitating chronic pain due to degenerative diseases such as arthritis, people who are candidates for joint replacement often suffer from severe joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, muscle weakness, and limited mobility. Therefore, undergoing joint replacement surgery can help relieve their pain, improve their mobility, and most importantly, improve their quality of life immensely.

With a drastic improvement in surgical techniques, high-quality care and materials, such as metal, ceramic, and plastic, the new artificial joint is attached the bone, allowing the bone to grow into the implant. Physical therapy will be recommended afterwards by your surgeon, as rehabilitation will dramatically increase mobility, help with balance, and decrease the recovery time, giving the patient a higher quality of life in the end.

At Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, we utilize the most advanced surgical methods available today, including minimally invasive procedures whenever possible.

To learn how you can make your joint replacement last, and if you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.