Muscle Strains

Muscle strains, or pulled muscles, is a very common form of injury in the United States. It is typically self diagnosed and self treated, but it is still important to know how to help your muscle heal after it is injured.

What is a muscle strain? A muscle strain is when your muscle stretches or tears past the point that it is supposed to be in. The muscle fibers in the muscle can tear, causing excessive pain to the effected area.

What causes strained muscles? Muscle strains can happen anytime, from exercising to walking. If the muscle is fatigued, not warmed up properly before exercise, or too cold, and it is strained or pulled too quickly, it will cause a strain.

What are the symptoms of a muscle strain? Symptoms include:

  • Pain and soreness to the injured muscle area
  • Limited ability to move muscle; stiffness and weakness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Possible muscle spasms

The pain is typically instantaneous, and will continue until the muscle is healed.

How to care for a muscle strain? It is important to make sure and take it easy on the muscle that is affected. Using a heating pad and cold compress can help the swelling go down. R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is a good process to go through to make sure you are covering all of the bases of getting the muscle feeling better;

  • Resting the strained muscle for a couple of days before using it for physical activities helps the muscle heal faster. After a couple of days of rest, start to slowly use and stretch the affected muscle to avoid stiffness and weakness.
  • Icing the affected muscle will help the swelling stay down. After a couple of days, start using a heating pad on the affected area to help bring the blood flow back to the muscle.
  • Compressing the affected muscle will also reduce swelling. Avoid wrapping the area too tightly, so it does not reduce blood flow to the muscle.
  • Elevating the strained muscle above the level of your heart will help the swelling stay down, and it will help the blood flow as well.

If the affected area continues to cause pain or discomfort for longer than a week, has no blood flow, or the ability to move/walk is lost, it is very important that you visit a doctor immediately. Leaving the muscle like that for an extended period of time can cause serious damage. Healing the strained muscle may take a couple of days, but it is best to make sure it is back to good shape before trying to overuse the injured muscle. If you have any other questions on how to care for a strained muscle, consult with your doctor before attempting anything that may further harm the muscle.

Benefits of Exercising to the Musculoskeletal System

Orthopedic surgeons focus on surgeries that involve the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is important to keep healthy, as well as any other system in the body, to help prevent injuries and become stronger.

What is the musculoskeletal system? It is a system in the body that provides form, stability, support, and movement to the body. It is the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, and other connective tissue that binds tissues and organs together.

How does exercising help the musculoskeletal system? Exercising benefits the musculoskeletal system by maintaining good muscle mass, muscle strength to help prevent injuries, bone strength, and flexibility/range of motion. This helps by enhancing balance, joint stability, good posture, reducing osteoporosis, and reducing risk of fractures.

What exercises specifically help the musculoskeletal system? Some examples of this would be planks, sit-ups, push-ups, body weight squats, lunges, and lifting weights. To also help out with the musculoskeletal system, it’s important to make sure the exercises done include all the major muscles groups like arms, shoulders, legs, back, buttocks, and abdomen.

While exercising, it is very important to make sure that you do not over-strain the muscle groups that you are working on. Over-straining them can lead to serious damage to the musculoskeletal system. If you are unsure of what exercises to do or start doing, you can consult with your doctor to see what they suggest to get you started.

ConforMis Total Knee Replacement

There are many different types of knee replacements that are available with total knee replacement surgeries, but there are not as many as unique as the ConforMis knee.

What is it? The ConforMis is a type of knee replacement that is crafted specifically to your knee. A CT scan is done of the knee before surgery, and the replacement is crafted out of cobalt chromium molybdenum, a standard metal used in orthopedic implants, based on the imaging to make it more specific to you.

How is it any better from other knee replacements? With the ConforMis knee, it is specifically crafted to fit your knee. With other knee replacements, they are made in bulk as a “generic” knee. They don’t always fit correctly on the knee, whereas the ConforMis knee is crafted to fit the knee similar to the original knee.

The plus side of the ConforMis knee:

  • Less bone is removed during surgery
  • Less bleeding occurs after surgery
  • Less pain after surgery
  • Recovery time is faster
  • Range of motion is better
  • Kinematics of the knee closely resemble a normal knee more than other “generic” knees on the market
  • High satisfaction rate with patients that have the ConforMis knee
  • “Resurfaces” the original knee, as opposed to replacing it


The ConforMis knee is currently the only patient specific total knee replacement in the United States. Not everyone is able to get this type of total knee replacement, for instance, if the knee has severe deformities, severe bone loss, severe loss of motion, or severe ligamentous instability, the surgeon may recommend a more “generic” knee that they choose best to work with. It is important to discuss with your surgeon on what the best options are for you.


To learn more about the ConforMis knee, visit:



Coping with a Concussion

Concussions are very painful and may result in brain damage. Here are a few tips to help you cope with a concussion and make a speedy recovery:

Rest your brain. In the early stages of recovery get plenty of sleep at night, and rest during the day. Reduce the demands you make of your brain.  If you are reading, watching TV, checking e-mails or worrying you are not resting your brain. Use Sleep Hygiene techniques if you are having trouble sleeping.

Reduce physical and mental demands. Physical and mental demands can make your symptoms worse and slow your recovery. Avoid activities that are physically demanding or require a lot of concentration. Avoid activities that could lead to a second concussion. It is best to avoid jarring movements such as running, jumping on trampolines, riding roller coasters or other high-speed rides that can make your symptoms worse. 

Use strategies for your thinking problems. Consult with family members or close friends when making important decisions. Avoid using the computer for long periods of time early in the recovery process. 

Take care of your basic needs. Make time for careful grooming and hygiene daily. Take care of your appearance and clothing. Eat three nutritious meals a day. DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST. Avoid/limit caffeine, salt, sugar, and junk food. Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Say no to drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and other drugs will slow your recovery and put you at risk of further injury. Take only those drugs that your doctor has approved. Do not drink alcohol until your doctor says you are well enough.

Get help for pain and headaches. If you have headaches or body pain you will not be able to sleep and are more likely to be irritable. Review medication and other treatment options with your doctor. 

Be especially careful if you are dizzy and have poor balance. Be very careful to avoid falls or hits to the head. Take special care in your actions and movements. Move slowly and constantly be aware of your surroundings. Do not climb stepladders or work from heights. 

Pay attention to your mood and level of stress. Stress, irritability, sadness and anxiety are common and normal reactions to having to cope with your symptoms and the changes in your lifestyle. Find ways to relax. Keep a positive and optimistic outlook. Feel confident in the healing process, know that  you are improving, focus on your strengths, have realistic expectations, look for opportunities in your current situation, and set short term goals. Maintain social connections with friends, but keep it low key initially. 

Resume exercise and sports gradually. Avoid any strenuous exercise or activity in the first few days or weeks following your concussion. Once your symptoms settle down start with light aerobic exercises, such as walking. Gradually increase frequency, then duration, and finally intensity of exercise. If your symptoms get worse, then reduce the intensity and duration. Get your doctors consent before returning to intensive exercise or competitive sports. 

Resume work and school gradually. Plan for success. Start by slowly building your cognitive and physical endurance. Just like resuming exercise, it is important that you return to work or school in a graduated way and start with activities that are within your abilities.  Slowly increase the duration and frequency that you work/study. You may initially need modified work duties or a reduced course load. Working a shorter day, working fewer days and taking frequent rest breaks during the day may be necessary. Getting permission for additional time to write an exam may be possible. Talk with your doctor about the requirements of your work/studies, the modifications you need and when you can return to work school. Keep your employer aware of what is going on. Meet with the advisor for students with disabilities in the counseling department at your college / university to plan for your needs. Make sure you have a good quality, properly fitted hard hat (if required) and follow the safety procedures mandated on work sites

Prevent a 2nd, 3rd………..or 4th concussion. As you are healing, take care to avoid having another concussion. At all times be smart about the risks you take and adopt an attitude of prevention. 

To learn more about how to improve your concussion recovery visit:



“Coping with symptoms and getting better.” Coping with symptoms and getting better | Brainstreams.Ca, 2012, brainstreams.ca/learn/injured-brain/concussion/coping-symptoms-and-getting-better. Accessed 2 Sept. 2017.

Dr. Larsen Now Performing Robotic Assisted Unicompartmental Knee Replacements

Dr. Larsen is now using mako technology to perform robotic assisted unicompartmental knee replacement. This technique will help patients salvage the healthy bones in their knee while replacing the diseased bones.


What It Is

Mako can be used for partial knee replacement, which is a procedure designed to relieve the pain caused by joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis in one or two compartments of the knee. By selectively targeting the part of the knee damaged by OA, the surgeon can replace the diseased part of the knee while helping to spare the healthy bone and ligaments surrounding it. The Mako technology provides the surgeon with a patient-specific 3-D model to pre-plan the partial knee replacement. During surgery, the surgeon guides the Mako robotic-arm based on the patient-specific plan. This allows the surgeon to remove only the diseased bone, preserving healthy bone and soft tissue, and assists the surgeon in positioning the implant based on the patient’s anatomy.

How It Works

The procedure begins with a CT scan of the patient’s joint that is used to generate a 3-D virtual model of their unique anatomy. This virtual model is loaded into the Mako system software and is used to create a personalized pre-operative plan. In the operating room, the surgeon will use Mako to assist in performing the surgery based on the patient’s personalized pre-operative plan. The Mako system also allows the surgeon to make adjustments to the plan during surgery as needed. When the surgeon prepares the bone for the implant, the Mako system guides the surgeon within the pre-defined area and helps prevent the surgeon from moving outside the planned boundaries. This helps provide more accurate placement and alignment of the patient’s implant.


“Mako Partial Knee Replacement.” Mako Partial Knee Replacement | Stryker, patients.stryker.com/knee-replacement/procedures/mako-robotic-arm-assisted. Accessed 18 Aug. 2017.

Interview with John W. Jaureguito

John W. Jaureguito, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Fremont, Calif. since 1995, where he owns Fremont Orthopedic & Rehabilitative Medicine (FORM, www.formortho.com) with two other physicians. Jaureguito earned his bachelor’s degree at University of Notre Dame, where he studied science (preprofessional) and graduated Cum Laude in 1985. He earned his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1989. Dr. Jaureguito completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at University of New Mexico Medical Center (1989-91) and University of Chicago Medical Center (1991-94). Lastly, he completed a fellowship in orthopedic sports medicine under Lonnie Paulos, MD, at Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Salt Lake City (1994-95).

John W. Jaureguito, MD, Orthopedic Surgery was interviewed by Juliet Farmer about what his life is like as an Orthopedic Surgeon. Included in this post are a few of his responses.

Why did you decide to specialize in orthopedics? 
I was exposed to orthopedics as a junior in high school and then subsequently as a senior in high school. I had a severe knee injury requiring surgery. I have always been a sports oriented person and orthopedics allowed me to stay involved with athletes through my practice.

If you had to do it over again, would you still become an orthopedist? Why or why not? What would you have done instead? 
If I had to do it over again, I may not have become a physician. If I had become a physician, I would absolutely be an orthopedic surgeon. I believe that orthopedics is by far and away the best suited specialty to my personality, my work habits and talents.

Has being an orthopedist met your expectations and why? 
Being an orthopedic surgeon has absolutely met my expectations. It is an excellent specialty. It allows for both uses of your cognitive abilities as well as your physical abilities. The combination of interaction with patients, both in the office as well as being able to treat them in the operating room, is very gratifying. Indeed, there is immediate gratification with surgery that you can see both at the time of the surgery as well as radiographically in postop visits. From a standpoint of the patient’s perspective, a great deal of what we do changes the patient’s life significantly for the better and they are very grateful for this, and this is satisfying as an orthopedic surgeon.

What do you like most about being an orthopedist? 

My favorite part of being an orthopedic surgeon is definitely the surgical procedures that I get to perform and the benefit that my patients get from these surgical procedures.

What do you like least about being an orthopedist? 
Probably the one thing that is very specific to orthopedic surgery is that it is a surgical subspecialty and therefore produces a great deal of pain for patients. Unfortunately, therefore, I have to interact with a number of patients who are drug seeking and this is something that I greatly dislike. Something that I dislike that is more general towards medicine is the struggle fighting insurance carriers every step of the way in the treatment of patients.

Describe a typical day at work. 
I have two typical days at work; those that are surgical and those that are nonsurgical. My nonsurgical days begin usually around 5 a.m., getting up and getting ready for work. I will see patients typically starting at 7 a.m. and see patients until around 4 to 4:30 p.m. I do not take a lunch. I eat in between patients and therefore I’m seeing patients for roughly nine to 10 hours straight. This makes for a relatively difficult day. My other days are surgical days. These days typically are similar in length beginning at 7 a.m. routinely and finishing usually around 4 to 5 p.m. On occasion, there are emergent surgeries that need to be done in the evening, but this is less common. There are days where I will work half day in the office and half day in the operating room, but these are less common.

On average, how many hours a week do you work? How many hours do you sleep per night? How many weeks of vacation do you take? 
On average, I work approximately 50 hours a week, sometimes up to 60 hours a week. I rarely work less than 40 hours a week. I sleep seven to eight hours a night. I particularly make an effort to get at least eight hours of sleep on evenings before big surgery days. As far as vacation is concerned, I typically take about two to three weeks of vacation a year.

Where do you see orthopedics in 10 years? 
Orthopedics remains a very technology dependent profession and orthopedics will stagnate if the technology slows. Should major cuts in health care funding be undertaken by the current administration or future administrations, then I believe orthopedics will suffer to a certain extent. On the other hand, in the next decade, the baby boomer population will continue to age and this is going to result in a great deal of volume of patients for orthopedic surgeons to care for.

Do you have any final piece of advice for students interested in pursuing orthopedics as a career? 
I think that orthopedic surgery is an excellent career choice, but any career choice in medicine is daunting and a huge sacrifice. I always speak about the “lost decade,” which is the time following college until you get out of your training. For an orthopedic surgeon, there are four years of medical school, five years of residency and typically one year of fellowship training. This is a total of 10 years, hence the “lost decade.” During this time, you are working huge numbers of hours and you put your life on hold. During this time, other people outside of medicine are finding out who they really are, enjoying life, meeting their spouse, getting married, buying their first home, starting a family, and a lot of these are things that you put off in medicine. I think that someone who is interested in going into medicine and orthopedics should think long and hard whether this sacrifice is worth it because when you get out, it does not get any easier, particularly in the early parts of a career. To be a good physician and a good orthopedic surgeon, one has to be very dedicated to their practice and to their patients.

To view the full list of questions visit: https://www.studentdoctor.net/2013/03/20-questions-john-w-jaureguito-md/


Farmer, Juliet. “20 Questions: John W. Jaureguito, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery.” Student Doctor Network. N.p., 17 Mar. 2013. Web. 07 July 2017.

Developing Good Sleeping Habits

Sleep is extremely important. Sometimes we realize how important sleep is, and this causes us to not be able to fall asleep. Stress is a big cause of sleep deprivation. The following are 7 tips for developing good sleeping habits:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound/deep sleep, or remain asleep.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  4. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up.
  7. Avoid electronics late at night. Put away all electronics at least 30 minutes before your established bedtime. This will help your eyes prepare for sleep.


“Healthy Sleep Tips.” National Sleep Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2017. <https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips>.

5 Ways to Manage Stress

We are constantly bombarded by stressors, such as work deadlines, traffic, and family obligations. We rarely get a break long enough to relax and relieve the stress. The over-activation of our stress hormones have been linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, lower immunity, depression, anxiety, and more. Here are 5 ways to manage stress:

  1. Eat well. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, eating whole, real foods restores balance and reduces the effects of stress on your body. Replacing harmful substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars, with clean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats helps regulate your hormone levels, including stress hormones. The gut and brain are constantly sending signals to each other, so by keeping your microbiota (the bacteria in your gut) healthy, your brain feels less stressed.
  2. Exercise by Shaking and Dancing. The quickest way to relieve stress is to release endorphins through exercise. An easy way to do this is through shaking and dancing, a form of expressive meditation that loosens your joints as well as clears the mind. Don’t feel the need to follow any specific dance moves, just do whatever feels good for you in the moment. Dance for about 5 minutes, or until you feel satisfied.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep and stress tend to cause a vicious cycle – if you’re stressed, then you can’t sleep, which makes you ill-prepared to handle the stressors of the next day, leading to more stress. To relieve stress before bed, try some relaxation techniques and disconnect from technology as much as possible an hour before bedtime. Set a bedtime reminder alarm to to ensure the proper amount of rest (7-8 hours).
  4. Guided Imagery. Positive, relaxing images can be an effective tool for relieving stress. Search for images of beautiful scenery, or take a trip to the mountains yourself if you have the time.
  5. Breathe. We do it all day, every day, and yet we often forget the healing powers of deep breathing. By slowing down your heart rate and lowering blood pressure, breathing deeply relieves stress.

The most important thing to do when trying to manage stress is to slow down. When we try to get everything done at once, we end up causing ourselves more stress. Slow Down, breathe, and take your time.


Mwekali-Tsering, Amberjae. “5 Ways to Relieve Stress.” The CEnter Blog. N.p., 7 July 2015. Web. 6 June 2017. <https://cmbm.org/blog/5-ways-relieve-stress/>.

Why a Balanced Diet is Important

A balanced diet is important because your organs and tissues need proper nutrition to work effectively. Without good nutrition, your body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue, and poor performance. Children with a poor diet run the risk of growth and developmental problems and poor academic performance.

A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. In order to get the proper nutrition from your diet, you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins.

The source of your daily calories is just as important as the number of calories you consume. You should limit your consumption of “empty calories.” The USDA defines empty calories as calories that come from sugars and solid fats, such as butter and shortening.nAccording to the USDA, Americans consume empty calories most often in: bacon, sausages, cakes, cheese, cookies, doughnuts, energy drinks, fruit drinks, ice cream, pizza, sports drinks, and sodas

The best way to achieve a well balanced diet is to plan ahead! Meal planning takes time and effort, but will certainly yield results. You are more likely to avoid purchasing junk foods when you meal plan. Plan meals that contain servings of fruit and/or vegetables in every meal. When planning your meals for the day, make sure to include at least 50g of protein. If you are trying to build muscle, eat as many grams of protein as you weigh in pounds. Most importantly, stay hydrated with lots of water. Avoid sugary drinks, especially when exerting energy.


Krans, Brian. “Balanced Diet.” Healthline. Healthline Media, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 18 May 2017. <http://www.healthline.com/health/balanced-diet#calories2>.

Popular Sports Medicine Careers

There are many career opportunities in Sports Medicine. The following are just a few:

  • Sports Medicine Physician: Sports Medicine Physicians are trained to address issues associated with nutrition, sports psychology and substance abuse and may also counsel athletes on injury prevention. 
  • Physical Therapist: Physical therapists offer services to those in chronic pain or immobilized from injury or disease.
  • Nurse: Nurses are an integral part of disease prevention, health promotion, and recovery from illness. Nurses may practice independently or as a member of a health care team. 
  • Orthopedic Surgeon: Using both surgical and nonsurgical procedures (like braces), orthopedics treat skeletal trauma, sports injuries, and other disorders.
  • Kinesiotherapist: A kinesiotherapist designs and monitors rehabilitation programs for diseased or injured patients seeking to regain muscle strength and function. These professionals know not only anatomy but the physiology of the human body as a whole. Kinesiotherapists must choose the right exercises for strength building while not causing further damage to the patient. 
  • Exercise Physiologist: Exercise physiologists administer exercise tests, design individualized exercises, and customize exercise programs for athletes, those with chronic diseases, or people who are just interested in sports. 

To learn about the qualifications for these positions, and more details of what the career is, visit: 




“Sports Medicine Degrees.” Colleges & Degrees – Your Local College Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

“What Does a Sports Medicine Doctor Do?” Study.com. Study.com, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.