Prepare before you play: Prevent summertime injuries before they happen
Special to The Union
Dr. Ron James
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Northern California Orthopaedic Associates
Undergraduate: Stanford University
Medical Degree: Stanford University
Internship and Residency: UC Davis
Joint Reconstruction Fellowship: UC San Diego
This week marks the first official week of summer and for many, that means a return to outdoor activities. If you’ve spent the last several months on the sidelines, though, one local orthopedic surgeon urges you to ease into it.
“For adults who are middle aged to older, we spend much of the year paying attention to our loved ones, our children, our jobs,” explains Ron James, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Northern California Orthopaedic Associates. “But then summertime rolls around and we want to go out and do the things we enjoy. And while we may be mentally ready – we are not always physically ready.”
Dr. James says he summertime brings with it a typical type of injury.
“We see tendon tears, muscle pulls, falls, cramps,” he says. “All due to the fact that our bodies have become decrepit over the winter.”
Some sports and activities tend to be more problematic than others. Dr. James says road cycling, mountain biking and hiking can lead to injury without proper preparation.
“Road cycling is actually a bit more concerning to me than mountain biking, just because the speed is faster, you are traveling on asphalt and there are cars around you. The hiking injuries we see tend to happen on longer hikes where someone may be dehydrated or out of shape and they slip and fall.”
Dr. James says there is one surprising activity that causes frequent and, for some, catastrophic injuries.
“Believe it or not – roller skating,” Dr. James says. “I think a generation or two ago, we all learned to roller skate as kids, but young adults today never learned that skill. And the wheels on roller skates are such that they can lead to nasty, out of control falls. Those injuries tend to be pretty serious.”
Of course, Dr. James doesn’t want to discourage anyone from pursuing an activity that they enjoy and that gives them a good workout. He just encourages a little preparation.
“Get your body ready before you try a new activity or one you haven’t done in a while,” he says. “Your body needs a little low intensity exercise to prepare it. Try a stationary bike, some pilates, stretching and light weightlifting. All of these things work your tendons and muscles and help to prevent injury.”
And if you are currently inactive but would like add a little exercise to your routine, Dr. James says the water is the perfect place to start.
“The best thing you can do is get in the water – even if you can’t swim,” says Dr. James. “Just walking in the water is good for your body – it adds natural resistance to every motion, without straining any joints or tendons.”
For anyone already dealing with aches and pains related to their summertime activities, there are a few warnings signs which Dr. James says should not be ignored:
— If you hear a pop and it is difficult to move
— If the bone or joint is deformed in any way
— If the pain isn’t subsiding within several days
— If you can’t get comfortable
— If the pain wakes you up at night
If any of these signs are present, Dr. James encourages you to see your doctor.
“For most pulls or strains, the best course of action is simply ice, elevation and rest,” Dr. James says. “The discomfort should get better each day.”
If you do find yourself in need of orthopedic care, Dr. James is now seeing patients at his Grass Valley office, right across the street from Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
“For years, we have seen patients from Grass Valley in our Sacramento office,” explains Dr. James.
“Now, I am able to not only see them in an office here in their community, but they can also have their surgery done right here at SNMH.”
Dr. James says SNMH is a wonderful facility, both for patients and physicians.
“I’ve operated at all the major hospitals in Northern California – including Stanford – and this hospital is right up there. The operating rooms are spacious and very well-maintained and the staff is skilled and compassionate. It’s a great place to work and also to be a patient.”
Dr. James will provide the full range of orthopedic services at SNMH, including hip and knee replacements; shoulder repairs; arthroscopic procedures; and basic sports medicine.
To learn more about Dr. James’ practice in Grass Valley, call 916-512-6262.
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