March 2017 is Cheerleading Safety Month!

March 2017 is Cheerleading Safety Month! Safety is a big concern in all sports and cheerleading is no exception. Because it combines both stunting and gymnastics, there are many opportunities for accidents if the proper precautions aren’t taken. While we often think of them as being nothing more than entertainment on the sidelines, cheerleaders serve a vital role, and the stunts they pull are demanding both mentally and physically. Cheerleading Safety Month comes each year to raise awareness that safety is vital to the health and performance of our team’s biggest supporters.

Basic Cheer Safety:
* Remove all jewelry
* Wear athletic shoes
* Keep your hair tied back
* Always have supervision
* Practice on safe surfaces such as mats and padded floors
* Have an emergency plan

In order to stay out of harm’s way and still perform spectacular stunts, there are a few basic guidelines that must be followed:
* Get proper instruction
* Always use a spotter
* Follow proper progression
* Practice proper technique
* Don’t push it
* Focus
* Warm up
* Communicate
* Don’t ignore injuries
* Stay in shape

Of course, cheerleading safety should be practiced any time cheerleading is being performed, but March – Cheerleading Safety Month – provides the perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on cheerleading safety.

March often marks the winding down of basketball season and with it most school cheerleading will also come to an end. Soon, tryouts for the next season will take place, giving coaches the opportunity to implement their safety programs for a new team.

There are four groups directly responsible for the safety of the cheerleader – the administration, the coaches, the cheerleaders themselves, and the cheerleaders’ parents. Each can use this month to focus on cheerleading safety and enhance safety in their programs.

Administrators, are you involved in your cheer program? Make sure you have selected a qualified coach to supervise the team and give them sufficient support. At a minimum, the coach should complete the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators safety course. Coaches should also take advantage of any other training available, such as training provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations or the US All Star Federation. They should be encouraged to attend camps, clinics and coaching conferences in order to further their knowledge of skill techniques. As an administrator, you should make sure your program has adequate practice facilities and matting and that the coach is following the safety rules.

Coaches, are you fully aware of your responsibilities with regard to safety? You should make sure your cheerleaders are using proper skill progressions. Don’t pressure your cheerleaders to try skills they are not ready to attempt. You or someone at practice, such as a coach’s assistant, should be CPR certified and trained in basic first aid. Make sure that you are following recognized safety rules and practices (AACCA, NFHS or USASF) outlined for your program. Develop and practice an emergency plan in the event a serious injury occurs.

Cheerleaders, you too have a responsibility for your own safety. If you feel scared about a particular stunt or tumbling skill, voice your concerns to your coach or parent. Take stunting very seriously, and stay focused on the skill and your part in it until it is safely completed. Practice good health and fitness habits so you can perform to the best of your ability. Remember, others are relying on you to be at your best during every performance.

Parents, use your voice! Know the safety rules, and If you find that standard practices aren’t being employed, bring it to the attention of the coach. If that doesn’t resolve the matter, do not hesitate to take your concerns to the administration. Ultimately, if you feel that your child’s safety is being compromised, take the difficult step of removing them from the program.

Cheerleading can be a safe and healthy activity when it is properly supervised. Let’s use this month of awareness to make sure we are all doing our part!

History of Cheerleading Safety Month
As the basketball season winds down to a close, Cheerleading tryout season often starts, and a bunch of intrepid new group comes to pick up the pom-pom and start down the demanding path of becoming a cheerleader. With the Administrators, Coaches, the Cheerleaders Parents, and Cheerleaders all working together, an education on how to perform at their very best while being safe in their efforts can be passed on and absorbed.
Cheerleading has been around for a long time, since the late 1800’s in fact, and believe it or not back then it was an all-male sport. From 1877-1923, it was the men that led the cheers, that helped to support their team, and in 1898 the idea of organized teams entered the scene. It wasn’t until 1923 that there women actually entered the field of cheerleading, and it took until 1940 for them to actually be recognized in things like student pamphlets and newspapers.
In 1987 the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches & Administrators was formed, and it wasn’t long after that that the important of safety education among Cheerleaders and those who trained them became obvious. This was the first seeds of National Cheerleading Safety Month coming to pass.

How To Celebrate Cheerleading Safety Month
There are a number of great ways to celebrate Cheerleading Safety Month, starting with being an active advocate for safety in your local cheerleading squad. This is a special opportunity for parents and administrators, a chance to make certain that your children or team is observing all the necessary safety practices to ensure they have a great, and safe, time.
You can also make contact with the National Cheer Safety Foundation to register as an official Cheer Safety Ambassador with their organization. This allows you to report injuries in cheerleading, build an emergency plan, and generally be a great asset to your team, your children, and their safety.

 

For more information on orthopedic sports medicine call 602-277-6211!

#cheersafe#Results#Recovery#Relief#Gameon#Sportsmedicine#Injuryprevention

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

Cubital tunnel syndrome, also known as ulnar neuropathy, is caused by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve, which passes close to the skin’s surface in the area of the elbow commonly referred to as the “funny bone”.  Cubital tunnel syndrome is not as well known as it’s relative (carpal tunnel syndrome) however it also can cause severe pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the hands and arms.

You’re more likely to develop cubital tunnel syndrome if you:

  • Repeatedly lean on your elbow, especially on a hard surface
  • Bend your elbow for sustained periods, such as while talking on a cell phone or sleeping with your hand crooked under your pillow

There are five different sites in this region that can cause compression of the nerve in the Cubital Tunnel. As the nerve becomes compressed or entrapped, it produces pain, discomfort, numbness, and decreased hand strength.

Most people are familiar with the odd sensations felt when accidentally bumping this area, as brief numbness, tingling and shooting pain occur. Similar symptoms are experienced in Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, but they are experienced on a chronic level. Symptoms are most intense along the ulnar (inside) aspect of the forearm, often extending down into the ring and small fingers.

Early symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include:

  • Pain and numbness in the elbow
  • Tingling, especially in the ring and little fingers

More severe symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include:

  • Weakness affecting the ring and little fingers
  • Decreased ability to pinch the thumb and little finger
  • Decreased overall hand grip
  • Muscle wasting in the hand
  • Claw-like deformity of the hand

Treatments for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and Radial Tunnel Syndrome:

Cubital tunnel syndrome often can be managed conservatively, especially if electromyography reveals that there is minimal pressure on the ulnar nerve.

Mild cases of cubital tunnel syndrome often respond to physical therapies such as:

  • Avoidance of undue pressure on the elbow during daily activities
  • Wearing a protective elbow pad over the “funny bone” during daily activities
  • Wearing a splint during sleep to prevent over-bending of the elbow

In cases where splinting doesn’t help or nerve compression is more severe, about 85% of patients respond to some form of surgery to release pressure on the ulnar nerve. These include surgeries that:

  • Result in simple decompression of the ulnar nerve
  • Shift the nerve to the front of the elbow
  • Move the nerve under a layer of fat, under the muscle, or within the muscle
  • Trim the bump of the inner portion of the elbow — the medial epicondyle — under which the ulnar nerve passes

If you exhibit symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, the Physicians and staff here at TOCA are here to help! Nerve testing may be prescribed to determine your level of compression . Your physician may also prescribe arm therapy to help alleviate the pain and improve function. Based on the severity of the condition, splinting, specific exercises, modalities, and other treatments can be initiated to assist in gliding the ulnar nerve and reducing compression to the area. More severe cases may require surgery to reduce pressure on the affected nerve.

For more information or to schedule an appointment call 602-277-6211.

#Recovery #Results #Relief #TOCA

Hand Fractures

Hand Fractures: Fractures of the hand can occur in either the small bones of the fingers (phalanges) or the long bones (metacarpals). They can result from a twisting injury, a fall, a crush injury, or direct contact in sports.

Symptoms: (Signs and symptoms of a broken bone in the hand include) 
* Swelling
* Tenderness
* Deformity
* Inability to move the finger
* Shortened finger
* Finger crosses over its neighbor when making a partial fist
* Depressed knuckle (A depressed knuckle is often seen in a “boxer’s fracture.” This is a fracture of the fifth metacarpal, the long bone below the little finger.)

Diagnosis: A physical examination is done to check the position of the fingers and the condition of the skin. The examination may include some range of motion tests and an assessment of feeling in the fingers. This will ensure that there is no damage to the nerves. X-rays identify the location and extent of the fracture.

Treatment
Nonsurgical Treatment: Most of the time, the bones can be realigned by manipulating them without surgery. A cast, splint or fracture-brace is applied to immobilize the bones and hold them in place. The cast will probably extend from the fingertips down past the wrist almost to the elbow. This ensures that the bones remain fixed in place.

A second set of X-rays will probably be needed about a week later. These X-rays are used to ensure that the bones have remained in the proper position.

The cast will be worn for three to six weeks. Gentle hand exercises can probably be started after three weeks. Afterward, the finger may be slightly shorter, but this should not affect the ability to use the hand and fingers.

Surgical Treatment: Some hand fractures require surgery to stabilize and align the bones. These fractures usually break through the skin or result from a crushing accident. An Orthopedic Surgeon can implant wires, screws, or plates in the broken bone to hold the pieces of the fractured bone in place.

If the bone changes position while healing, the finger may lose some function. After the bone has healed, the surgeon may remove the implants or may leave them in place. The physician may want to examine the hand periodically to ensure that the joint doesn’t tighten (contract) during healing.

Joint stiffness may be experienced because of the long immobilization period. Exercises can help restore strength and range of motion. A physical therapist may be able to help with this.

If you are experiencing hand or wrist pain, the specialized Orthopedic Physicians at TOCA are here to help. To learn more call 602-277-6211 or visit our website at: www.tocamd.com

#Recovery #Results #Relief

Finger, Hand, and Wrist Problems, Non-injury:

Everyone has had a minor problem with a finger, hand, or wrist. Most of the time our body movements do not cause problems, but it’s not surprising that symptoms occur from everyday wear and tear or from overuse. Finger, hand, or wrist problems can also be caused by injuries or the natural process of aging.

Your fingers, hands, or wrists may burn, sting, or hurt, or feel tired, sore, stiff, numb, hot, or cold. Maybe you can’t move them as well as usual, or they are swollen. Perhaps your hands have turned a different color, such as red, pale, or blue. A lump or bump might have appeared on your wrist, palm, or fingers. Home treatment is often all that is needed to relieve your symptoms.

Finger, hand, or wrist problems may be caused by an injury. If you think an injury caused your problem, see the topic Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries. But there are many other causes of finger, hand, or wrist problems.

* Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist. The symptoms include tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain of the fingers and hand.
Tendon pain is actually a symptom of tendinosis, a series of very small tears (microtears) in the tissue in or around the tendon. In addition to pain and tenderness, common symptoms of tendon injury include decreased strength and movement in the affected area.

* De Quervain’s disease can occur in the hand and wrist when tendons and the tendon covering (sheath) on the thumb side of the wrist swell and become inflamed.

* Repetitive motion syndrome is a term used to describe symptoms such as pain, swelling, or tenderness that occur from repeating the same motion over and over.

* Writer’s cramps develop with repeated hand or finger motion, such as writing or typing.

* Trigger finger or trigger thumb occurs when the flexor tendon and its sheath in a finger or thumb thicken or swell.

Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening of tissue beneath the skin in the palm of the hand or hands and occasionally the soles of the feet. The thickened skin and tendons (palmar fascia) may eventually limit movement or cause the fingers to bend so that they can’t be straightened.

* Ganglion cysts are small sacs (cysts) filled with clear, jellylike fluid that often appear as bumps on the hands and wrists but can also develop on feet, ankles, knees, or shoulders.

If you are experiencing finger, hand, and wrist problems contact the experienced staff at TOCA! For more information call 602-277-6211 or visit our website at www.tocamd.com!

‪#‎Recovery‬ ‪#‎Results‬ ‪#‎Relief‬

In honor of National Hand Therapy Week Meet TOCA’s Hand Therapy Manager Gretchen Bachman!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]Gretchen is the Hand Therapy Manager at TOCA. Hand Therapists, through advanced study and experience, specialize in treating disorders of the entire upper extremity. All hand therapists at TOCA are Certified Hand Therapists, certified by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission. Hand Therapists help bridge the gap between medical management with a physician and facilitate patients return to their daily work, leisure and life activities.

Gretchen graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from Saginaw Valley State University in her home state of Michigan. She became a practicing occupational therapist in 1998, then in 2001 went on to earn her Master’s in Business Administration in Health Care Management. In 2007 she completed her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy in a Hand Therapy cohort. She has been working with TOCA since 2010.


Gretchen has peer reviewed publications in the Journal of Hand Therapy and wrote a chapter on fracture management and dislocations of the upper extremity in the book, Advanced Concepts of Hand Pathology and Surgery: Application to Hand Therapy Practice. She has presented nationally and internationally on the topics of fracture management, digital replantation, rheumatoid arthritis, custom splinting/orthosis fabrication, and various topics related to evidenced based practice.

Nationally, Gretchen has served on the Board of Directors for both the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) and American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS). She has been intimately involved on various committees, task forces, and special projects within these associations. Gretchen has also served on the Editorial Board for HAND, the official peer-reviewed journal for the AAHS.

g2
Internationally, Gretchen has served on the Education Committee for the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy (IFSHT) since 2008. She has also served as the IFSHT Special Events Chair for the 2010 International Meeting when hosted in Orlando, FL.

Gretchen was granted an award through the IFSHT in 2009 and organized a multi-discipline educational conference related to disorders of the upper extremity in Lima, Peru. The Peruvian therapist who hosted this conference won a subsequent award and grant from the IFSHT to travel to the USA, contributing to further educational outreach brought back to her home therapy community in Lima.

Gretchen is passionate about a non-profit organization called the Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation. She has been supporting and traveling on medical mission trips with this organization since 2005. The GHHF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality and availability of health care in Guatemala through education, surgery, and therapy.

There is a Venn diagram of 3 primary areas of service: Direct patient care, education, and community outreach. Direct service care primarily specializes in the treatment of congenital and pediatric hand injuries.

Direct patient Care: Following a mandatory screening day, where upwards of 200 children are evaluated to determine their best treatment plan: surgery, therapy, or other intervention. Due to GHHF’s unique infrastructure GHHF is able to monitor children year after year to insure they receive the best possible consistent care. Depending on the severity and length of each case, surgical patients are provided with both in and

outpatient care with costs covered 100% by GHHF.

Education: Each mission, a two day educational conference is organized annually, an

d integrates the Guatemalan provider community. GHHF has a unique relationship with the Guatemala Hand Associations, and they are a trusted teaching source and a vital American group providing cutting- edge hand education to both the surgical and therapy communities to over 2,200 doctors, therapists, and students to date.

g3
Community Outreach: The heartbreaking reality and reasons why we meet so many children with serious hand conditions and injuries of the people in this nation cannot be ignored and disregarded. GHHF is committed to addressing the sources behind the problems seen. GHHF has teamed up with the village of Chichoy Alto, in the region of Patzun, Chimaltenango, to improve sanitation, health, education, and the overall quality of life for these 120 families. Community members of Chichoy Alto are required to collaborate and provide a portion of the labor necessary to implement these improvements. Within this community, GHHF has sponsored and constructed 55+ latrines, sponsored and constructed 21 efficient ONIL stoves, distributing crucial fertilizer needed to replenish Chichoy Alto’s barely existent crops, distributed emergency maize to families struggling with malnutrition, helped dig hillside trenches to lay piping to supply fresh water throughout the village, purchased school supplies to the 100+ elementary aged children, and have sponsored many children to attend high school and education beyond.

g4In her free time, Gretchen enjoys traveling; camping, reading, and watching her son grow. She enjoys volunteering at his elementary school, and she and her family all recently started volunteering with the Special Olympics, another organization Gretchen has supported for a long time.

‪#‎HandTherapy‬ ‪#‎Recovery‬ ‪#‎Results‬ ‪#‎Relief‬ ‪#‎Communityoutreach‬‪#‎Patientcare‬ ‪#‎GuatemalaHealingHandsFoundation‬

TOCA
602-277-6211

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

This Week Is National Hand Therapy Week!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]Hand Therapy Week is an integrated national program established by ASHT. Throughout the week, ASHT members sponsor and organize events in their communities in an effort to raise awareness among various audiences, celebrate the benefits of hand therapy and educate the public. Hand Therapy Week is held each year during the first full week of June.

At TOCA we ❤︎ our Hand Therapists, their talent, dedication and commitment to quality patient care! Thank you: Gretchen Bachman, Connie Johnson, Stephen Desjardins, Leonie Chin-Duncan, Debbie Rhoads and Lani McEvers!

The TOCA Upper Extremity and Hand Physical Therapists of Arizona (Certified Hand Therapists) provide services that improve function, increase motion, relieve pain, increase independence in activities of daily living, increase strength and dexterity for return to home, sports or work.

TOCA’s Hand Therapists work with individuals of all ages with a variety of injuries or conditions. Their areas of expertise involve evaluation, treatment and custom splinting of the shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.

Hand Therapy is a type of rehabilitation performed by an occupational or physical therapist on patients with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. Such therapy is performed by a provider with a high degree of specialization that requires continuing education, and often advanced certification. This enables the hand therapist to work with patients to hasten their return to a productive lifestyle.

To Contact the TOCA Hand Therapy Department Directly Call: 602-512-8504!

‪#‎Recovery‬ ‪#‎Results‬ ‪#‎Relife‬ ‪#‎Handtherapy‬

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Congratulations to Hand Therapist Manager Gretchen Bachman, OTD, OTR/L, MBA, CHT!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Gretchen has been accepted as an Adjunct Faculty Member of the Board at Northern Arizona University College of Health & Human Services.

Learn more about Gretchen on our Hand Therapy page »[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Dr. Haber on Upper Extremity Injury

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Sports injuries occur often to children and adults. “Jammed fingers” may just be a ligament sprain on one of the sides of a finger joint, and these will heal over time similarly to a sprained ankle. Frequently however, the “jammed finger” may be a broken or a fractured phalanx. And yes, those two words do mean the same thing. If the fracture is in to the joint (intra-articular), then the magnitude of injury is escalated. The repair of these fractures frequently requires surgery, and the first 7- 10 days is the best window for maximizing the final outcome. The take home message is that these “jammed fingers” mandate an X-ray early in the course of injury. If it is just a sprain, a brief course of therapy overseen by a Hand Surgeon will return your athlete to sports in the best manner.

Wrist injuries are somewhat similar. There is a small bone on the thumb side of the wrist called the scaphoid or the navicular bone. It frequently is injured when an athlete falls on an out-stretched wrist. There will be swelling and limited, painful wrist motion. Unfortunately, this fracture does NOT show up on many wrist X-rays. Your Hand Surgeon is well aware of this, and a special radio graphic study should be performed. You may ask why a small fracture that is not easily found on X-ray is even worrisome? Well, the scaphoid has a very poor capacity to heal due to its weak blood supply. A simple non-displaced fracture evolves into a gap in the bone as areas near the fracture line absorb bone. One end of the bone may become avascular, the healing potential and return to full motion, may be lost. The answer is to find these fractures early and get them healed, which will not happen with continued use. These injuries are career changing if unfound.

The answer for finger and wrist injuries is an early visit with a Hand Specialist.

To visit a Hand Specialist at TOCA call: 602-277-6211

Learn more about Dr. Haber »

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Meet Dr. Joseph Haber

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o-LJHkGe_Y” align=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1465251006123{margin-bottom: 1.5em !important;}”][vc_column_text]Dr. Haber is an expert in the treatment of all hand and wrist conditions. He has Certificate of Added Qualification in Hand Surgery and is Board Certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

He serves as a hand surgery consultant for Arizona State University athletes, Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. Dr. Haber has special interest in golf related hand and wrist conditions. He has been an investigator for an international study for collagenase injection for Dupuytren’s Disease. He treats all severities of arthritis, nerve compressions and repetitive hand disorders.

Dr. Haber has presented his research and has been published in leading medical journals.

Learn more about Dr. Haber »[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]