Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury: Symptoms and Treatment

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are some of the most common injuries of the knee. And now that summer is just around the corner, orthopaedic surgeons will be seeing more and more ACL issues in adults and children.

The anterior cruciate ligament is the ligament in the knee that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. Tears of this ligament can require surgery if severe enough. If you think you have torn your ACL, it is imperative that you seek medical attention from a physician such as an orthopaedic surgeon.

An anterior cruciate ligament injury can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you think you might be suffering from and ACL injury, check the following list of symptoms:

  • Severe pain in the knee that often results in loss of movement and activity.
  • A popping sensation in the knee that often produces an audible sound.
  • Swelling that sets in within a few hours of sustaining the injury.
  • Feeling of instability when trying to put weight on the knee.
  • Decrease in range of motion.
  • Feeling of warmth when touching the knee joint.

Treatment for knee injuries varies greatly from one person to another. Depending on the severity of your tear, a surgeon might recommend surgery to repair the ligament. However, in some milder cases, rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.) might allow the injury to heal without surgical intervention.

Reconstruction of the ACL through surgery, has a high success rate. The purpose of this surgery is to restore stability of the knee joint and to restore overall function of the ligament. In many cases, athletes will be able to return to sports after surgery and physical therapy.

If you think you have torn your anterior cruciate ligament, make sure to see your doctor or surgeon for proper evaluation. Waiting too long without evaluation could lead to further pain and injury.

Labrum Repair Surgery: Treatment for Shoulder Injury

Labrum repair is a surgical approach to address a tear in the shoulder. A labral tear of the shoulder involves a piece of fibrocartilage. This tissue connects to the edge of the shoulder socket and helps keep the joint secure.

Some symptoms of a labral tear include:

  • A feeling of locking or popping in the shoulder joint
  • Pain when lifting items above your head
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Feeling of instability or sensation that the shoulder could pop out of socket
  • Overall weakness in the shoulder

If you are suffering from a labral tear, non-surgical treatment may be sufficient. An orthopaedic surgeon may first recommend rest and anti-inflamatory medications to address the issue. However, if this course of action is unsuccessful, a larbum repair surgery could be the next step.

A tear in the labrum can be the result of an acute injury or gradual wear and tear. Whatever the cause, getting back your range of motion, without pain and discomfort, is the primary goal.

Athletes such as cheerleaders, often suffer from labral tears due to repetitive stress on the shoulder joint. Read what one patient had to say about her experience with labrum repair surgery:

“As a competitive cheerleader, the demands my body experiences are great. I needed a labrum repair in both of my shoulders and Dr. Rabenold could not have been a better choice. He explained everything he did and got me back to competing ahead of schedule! I couldn’t be more thankful for his skill and the time he took with my family and I.”  — ANNA

If you think you might have a labral tear, make an appointment to see an orthopaedic surgeon. Getting the appropriate diagnosis is the first step in treating this injury.

Labrum repair surgery has a high success rate. Seeking out an orthopaedic surgeon that is fellowship trained in shoulder surgery is an important consideration to make. A shoulder and elbow specialist will have focused experience in this type of surgery.

Ten Questions to Ask Your Orthopaedic Surgeon Before Surgery

Are you looking for a great orthopaedic surgeon? Do you have an injury or issue that requires surgery? Whether you are just starting the process of finding the right orthopaedic surgeon or have found one that you like, there are several questions you might want to consider asking prior to having surgery.

No matter how minor or major your procedure seems, surgery is a big deal. Aside from the procedure itself, there are several factors to think about before taking the leap. When you meet with an orthopaedic surgeon, be sure to write down the questions you want to ask. Do not go into your surgery with unanswered questions or uncertainty.

Here are the top ten questions you should consider asking your orthopaedic surgeon before surgery:

  1. What insurance do you take? Even the top orthopaedic surgeon in your area isn’t going to be a perfect fit for you if they do not take your insurance plan. Some procedures can cost thousands of dollars. You need to be certain of your benefits and the coverage you have before settling with an orthopaedic surgeon.
  2. What will recovery look like? Depending on the type of surgery you are preparing to have, recovery can vary significantly. Do not make assumptions or rely strictly on internet searches to understand what your recovery will look like. Each individual is different. Factors like gender, age, weight and physical health can drastically impact the way your body heals. Ask your surgeon what you can expect starting on day one all the way through until you are fully recovered.
  3. What are your credentials? Information about a surgeon’s credentials should be readily available from their website. Some things to consider are researching the difference between a medical doctor (M.D.) and a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.).
  4. What is the success rate for this procedure? Don’t be afraid to ask about your surgeon’s past experience with your type of case. You want to make sure that your expectations are realistic.
  5. What is your experience with this specific type of surgery? Ask how many cases he or she has treated with this procedure. It is important that you feel comfortable with their experience level.
  6. What hospital or surgery center will you perform my surgery? Location might not seem like a big issue for some people. However, the facility itself can vary quite a bit. Is it close to your house? Will a surgery at a hospital mean a great risk of infection? Is there a greater likelihood of a delay at a hospital?
  7. Do you use any advanced technologies or innovative approaches to my specific condition? Simply knowing the number of cases treated is not enough to decide if this is the right surgeon for you. If a surgeon is using an old technique or approach as opposed to a newer, more innovative method, you might want to reconsider.
  8. Are there alternatives to surgery to treat my condition or issue? Orthopaedic surgeons do more than just operate. There are many non-surgical interventions to treat certain issues. Be sure to explore alternatives before making a final decision on your surgeon.
  9. What possible complications could arise from treatment? Be sure to ask the orthopaedic surgeon about both best case scenarios and any side effects or problems that could result.
  10. Are you fellowship trained in my specific area of need? Some orthopaedic surgeons complete residency and continue on to a fellowship program to further specialize in an area of expertise such as shoulder and elbow or foot and ankle. Some patients prefer to work with a surgeon that has received extra training with their condition or injury.

There are several other things to consider when looking for an orthopaedic surgeon. Click here to learn more.

Cheerleading Injuries: Prevention and Safety for Athletes

There is no better time to address the severity of cheerleading injuries than National Cheerleading Safety Month. From minor sprains to severe breaks and head injuries, cheerleading can be a very dangerous sport. If you or your loved one participates in cheerleading, there are a number of facts you need to consider to ensure a safe season.

Identifying an injury sustained during a cheerleading activity as soon as possible will increase the chances of a full recovery. Trying to participate after sustaining an injury can lead to a more severe issue if left untreated. Always consult a physician such as an orthopaedic surgeon to ensure that prompt, appropriate treatment is provided.

Common cheerleading injuries include:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Foot and ankle fractures
  • Neck and back strains including stress fractures of the back and general lower back pain
  • Sprains of the knee
  • Wrist fractures or sprains
  • Elbow pain caused by tendonitis
  • Pitcher’s elbow involving chips of bone flaking off in the elbow joint resulting from bones hitting each other
  • Fractures of the hand
  • Head injuries including concussions
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tears
  • Jumper’s knee or patellofemoral syndrome
  • Muscle strains including hip and groin strains

As you can see, the list of cheerleading injuries is very extensive. Some injuries are fairly minor while others could sideline an athlete for an entire season. Obviously, some injuries are unavoidable while others can be completely prevented. The best line of defense against sustaining a cheerleading injury is proper training and techniques.

Preventing cheerleading injuries:

  • Never attempt a new skill without proper instruction and support.
  • Always practice on safe surfaces with adequate padding and free from equipment.
  • Stretch and hydrate before and after practices and events.
  • Be sure to wear braces or other protective gear if you have a previous injury.
  • Wear proper footwear to provide adequate stability.
  • Use spotters when performing stunts.
  • Be sure to have a sports physical to be certain you are in good health before starting a new season.



Orthopaedic Surgeons vs. Podiatrists: What is the difference?

Orthopaedic surgeons and podiatrists can both threat issues of the foot and ankle. However, there are some major differences between these two types of medical professionals. If you are searching for the best foot and ankle care, it is important that you understand how orthopaedic surgeons and podiatrists differ from one another.

Orthopaedic Surgeons

An orthopaedic surgeon is a Doctor of Medicine that has graduated from Medical School. Board-certified orthpaedic surgeons have completed a minimum of 13 years of formal education. Many orthopaedic surgeons, such as foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons, have completed additional fellowship training in a specific area.

Educational training includes:

  • Four years of undergraduate study at a college or university
  • Four years of study in a school of medicine
  • Five years of residency at a major medical institution
  • One year of specialized training at an accredited fellowship program (for specialized orthopaedic surgeons).


A podiatrist, also know as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), treats conditions of the foot and ankle. They have specialized training in this area of care only, not other muskuloskelatal or medical conditions.

Educational training includes:

  • Four years of undergraduate study at a college or university
  • Four years of education at a podiatry school; not Medical School
  • Variable duration of residency following podiatric school

Podiatrists treat a variety of issues including calluses, ingrown toenails, fallen arches, heel spurs as well as some common foot and ankle injuries.

As medical doctors, orthopaedic surgeons with a specialization in foot and ankle, have a global understanding of the entire body. Beyond an expertise in issues of the foot and ankle, an orthopaedic surgeon has specialized knowledge of general medical health. In addition to an understanding of tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones and joints, an orthopaedic surgeon can anticipate how other medical conditions might impact treatment of a foot and ankle issue.

You are the only person that can make the right decision about your medical care. Having the best information to guide that decision will help ensure the proper treatment. You are the best advocate for your own health and well being. Make sure you are doing research not only to find the right type of medical professional, but also to pick the specific person to provide your care. Beyond education and training, it is important to consider good references, the right insurance coverage and most innovative techniques.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery Recovery: What to Expect

Recovery from shoulder replacement surgery is a very important aspect of treatment. Your orthopaedic surgeon takes great care to ensure a successful surgery. Further, as the patient, it is your job to participate actively in your recovery process.

If you are considering a total shoulder replacement surgery, you will likely be researching many aspects of the procedure. You will take your time to pick out a skilled, experienced orthopaedic surgeon. But beyond the actual procedure, it is essential to understand what the weeks and months following your procedure will look like.

Timeline for recovery

Each patient is very unique in terms of their injury and overall health. Factors such as age, nutrition, physical activity level and daily routine will impact your recovery process. Therefore, please consult with your orthopaedic surgeon about a more personalized breakdown of recovery from shoulder replacement surgery. The following timeline is a general summary of what to expect during your recovery.

Day of surgery

  • You will begin an antibiotic to prevent infection.
  • Arm will likely be numb for the rest of the day as a side effect of anesthesia, providing good pain relief initially.
  • You will move from surgery to a recovery room for a few hours and then to a hospital room.
  • You will begin using ice or a cooling device to reduce swelling.

First week of recovery

  • You will possibly have bruising in your arm and hand.
  • You will most likely be discharged 1-2 days following surgery. Some patients may even be released the same day if surgery is at an outpatient center.
  • You will be prescribed physical therapy exercises to begin at some point during the first two weeks. Be sure to do these as directed.
  • Arrange to have someone like a friend or family member assist you with tasks around the house. Bathing, getting dressed and doing basic chores at home will be very difficult for the first week.
  • Manage your pain symptoms only as directed by your physician.

Second through fifth week of recovery

  • Staples will be removed between 10-14 days post-surgery, if you have them. This will take place in a follow-up visit with your doctor.
  • Avoid getting your wound area wet until it has fully sealed.
  • Avoid using your healing arm to lift anything  over a few pounds. Check with your physician about specific weight limitations.
  • Your arm will still be in a sling for support but you will be able to start doing household tasks.
  • You will be unable to drive, unless cleared early by your doctor.

Week six of recovery

  • You will likely feel pain during activities or while your arm is at rest. Consult with your doctor about your specific pain level and best plan for managing pain.
  • Continue with physical therapy exercises.
  • Listen to your body and avoid doing any activities that increase pain in your healing arm.
  • You will likely be able to drive.

Three months post-surgery

  • You will likely be back to doing normal activities including a moderate workout routine, as cleared by your doctor.
  • Your pain will be very minimal.
  • Your range of motion will be greatly improved.

Six months post-surgery

  • You will likely be pain free.
  • You will likely be back to your full range of motion.
  • Avoid certain strenuous activities such as pushing or lifting heavy objects, contact sports and vigorous throwing.

Orthopaedic Surgeon: Definition, Training and Specialization

What is an orthopaedic surgeon? If you are suffering from a medical condition involving bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles or joints, this is an important question. Beyond visiting a primary care physician, a trip to a board certified orthopaedic surgeon could make all the difference in healing successfully.

Definition of an Orthopaedic Surgeon

An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician trained in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and conditions of the musculoskeletal system. These conditions often involve injuries of the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.


All orthopaedic surgeons have completed a four-year degree at a college or university as well as a four-year medical degree. Further, orthopaedic surgeons have completed a residency program, commonly a five-year stretch of concentrated study in orthopaedics. Beyond residency, many orthopaedic surgeons complete one additional year of specialized training in an area such as shoulder and elbow or foot and ankle.

The rigorous educational requirements for orthopaedic surgeons provide the basis for their practice. However, beyond this process is a very important step of completing board certification.

Board Certification

Becoming board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery is very involved. The process includes a peer-review process as well as completing both oral and written examinations demonstrating a mastery of orthopaedic knowledge. If you are seeking an orthopaedic surgeon, finding one that is board certified is a wise choice to ensure the best care.

Orthopaedic Surgeon Specializations

If you have a specific injury or condition, it can be beneficial to narrow your surgeon search to a specialized doctor. Here are some of the common types of specialized orthopaedic surgeons:

If you are in need of an orthopaedic surgeon, the best thing you can do is research your options. Consult your primary care physician for a referral and ask around to trusted friends or family for recommendations. Be sure to check with your insurance company to understand your options.



Preventing falls and injuries in snow and icy weather

Winter is here and it is prime time for slips and falls that lead to serious injuries. Don’t land yourself in the emergency room or doctor’s office after taking a spill on the ice or snow. You can prevent injuries like a hip fracture, broken leg, shoulder dislocation or sprained ankle by following some simple tips.

Ways to prevents falls and spills in winter weather:

  • Check the ground for patches of ice or snow before walking from one point to another.
  • Take small steps and avoid running or walking quickly.
  • Allow extra time whether walking to the mail box or just out to your car.
  • When possible, use hand rails or hold on to something steady while navigating the ice or a snowy path.
  • Avoid carrying things to allow for better balance with your arms.
  • Select proper footwear with good traction. If possible, wear snow boots.
  • Clear sidewalks of snow and ice when possible and add a melting aide to help prevent refreezing of surfaces.
  • When coming in from outside, be sure to remove shoes or clean them thoroughly before walking on hard surfaces. Falls can happen easily indoors if your shoes are wet from the ice and snow outside.
  • Avoid walking outside on slippery walkways in the dark. It is very difficult to identify dangerous areas in the dark.
  • If possible, avoid going outside  in icy conditions if you have trouble walking or are unsteady on your feet.

It is impossible to prevent all falls and slips. But being prepared and focused when walking on snowy and icy surfaces will certainly decrease the likelihood of dangerous falls during the cold months. Being aware of your surroundings is key in avoiding slips and falls this winter season. If you do suffer a fracture, sprain or dislocation,  from a fall, be sure to visit a good orthopaedic surgeon. Prompt treatment of these injuries will ensure the best recovery.

Holiday Travel: Stretches and Exercise for Health

Are you traveling this holiday season? Whether you are strapping in the car for a long road trip or racking up frequent flyer miles on an airplane, November and December are prime months for holiday travel. But don’t let your travel plans interfere with your physical health.

It is easy to get out of a normal exercise routine when you are traveling. You might not have access to a gym or the desire to put in a hard work out. However, this is the best time to make sure you are taking care of your body. Stretching and moderate exercise are great ways to not let the indulgence of the season add numbers on the scale. Don’t let holiday travel interfere with your health this season.

Stretching is not only great for circulation and mobility. It is also important to prevent bodily issues such as back pain and blood clots while sitting for extended periods of time during holiday travel. Here are some easy stretches to do while traveling:

  1. Twist while seated. Gently twist your torso while inhaling and exhaling.
  2. Walk. This may seem simple but even walking down the aisle of an airplane or getting out for a brief stroll at a rest stop is great. This can help blood flow and stretches out your limbs.
  3. Neck stretch. Slowly tilting your head from left to right allows you to stretch the muscles in your neck.
  4. Toe touch. Without locking your knees, simply reach your finger tips down toward the floor. This stretches not only your legs but also your back.
  5. Side stretch. While standing, reach your arms over head and gently tilt from right to left at the waist.
  6. Upper body stretch. Reach your arm across your body while sitting. Use your opposite hand to gently press your outstretched arm to your chest. Switch arms and repeat.

Beyond stretching, there are a number of simple exercises you can do while traveling away from home:

  1. Jogging or walking. Setting out for a walk or a jog is an easy, free way to get your heart rate up. Using an application such as Map My Run can help you track your distance and calories.
  2. Yoga. Incorporating yoga moves into your day is a great way to decrease stress and tone your body. Apps like Fit Star Yoga and Daily Yoga are easy to use from your phone or other electronic device.
  3. Pack your gym. Packing along items like a jump rope, tension bands or small hand weights can amp up your personal exercise session.
  4. Run the stairs.
  5. Class pass. Many gyms around the country offer a class pass that you can purchase and use for classes at other gyms. This can be a cost-effective way to stay in your gym routine while traveling.
  6. Fitness trainer apps like Sworkit, 7 minute workout and Workout Trainer: personal fitness coach are great ways to get a detailed workout routine that you can do anywhere.

Rather than let holiday travel be an excuse to skip a workout, use it as a reason to try something new. Take advantage of time away from the normal stress of home and work to explore new types of exercise.

Happy Holidays!

Friday night football: Common injuries and prevention

The shift from summer to fall signifies a number of changes. The weather shifts, the leaves begin to turn and weekends become filled with a variety of fall sports. Football is one of the most popular sports of the season. Whether enjoying this activity as an athlete or a parent of a player, there are several things to consider before launching into a busy football season.

There are a number of common injuries sustained by football players during any given game. Despite wearing pads, helmets and supportive footwear, each and every play can result in a serious injury.

Here are the most common football injuries:

Knee Injuries

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears and strains
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) tears and strains
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) tears and strains
  • Meniscus tears
  • Patellar fractures
  • Knee dislocations

Head Injuries

  • Concussions caused by single or repeated trauma to the head
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative disease

Overuse Injuries

  • Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper’s knee
  • Back pain
  • Rotator cuff strains or tears

Shoulder Injuries

  • Shoulder dislocations
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Shoulder tendinitis

Foot and Ankle Injuries

  • Sprained ankles
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Heel contusions
  • Tendonitis
  • Ankle fractures

It is no secret that football can be a very dangerous sport. Prevention is key for avoiding a football injury this season. Addressing any injuries, as soon as they occur on the football field, is the best way to avoid serious issues. Consult a board certified orthopaedic surgeon for a full assessment and treatment options.

Make sure to stay hydrated while playing football or any sport. Choose proper fitting gear that is in good condition while practicing and playing in all football games. Using faulty pads can result in an unnecessary injury. Never play football without a helmet and report any pain or injury to your coaching staff.

Always warm-up before hitting the football field. Many strains and tears can be prevented if you are taking simple precautions such as stretching and warming up appropriately.