UMEM Educational Pearls - Orthopedics

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Phalanx Fractures

Keywords: Rotation, Fracture, Phalanx (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/18/2019 by Michael Bond, MD
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

Remember to evaluate for any rotational deformity when evaluating patients with a phalanx fracture.

The easiest way to do this is to have the patient flex all their fingers. They should all point to the scaphoid. If a finger deviates or overlaps another finger there is a rotational deformity.  One should also make sure that all the nailbeds align.

This video shows how to evaluate for rotation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhp25UVn7RQ

Even if the finger is reduced otherwise, persistent rotational deformities should be referred to a hand surgeon for consideration of corrective surgery.

 


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Treat hyperthermia with a TACO

Keywords: Hyperthermia, cold water immersion (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/11/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

The TACO method (tarp assisted cooling with oscillation)

Cold water immersion (CWI) remains the standard for cooling in exercise induced hyperthermia

A low cost alternative is modified cold water immersion.

Sometimes, monetary reasons and location venue prevent the feasibility of CWI

Benefits: fast, cheap, portable

Portable – Allows for on site location at area of collapse

Cheap: Equipment required – 3 providers, 1 tarp, 20 gallons of water and 10 gallons of ice

Fast: Average time to set up – 3.4 minutes

The TACO method – fast effective reduction in core temperatures

              May be up to 75% as effective as CWI

             

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxjP0-_RIdc

 

 

 

 

 

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Laboratory testing for Spinal Epidural Abscess

CBC

The CBC is poorly sensitive/specific

The WBC count may be nml or elevated

Left shift and bandemia may or may not be present

ESR and CRP

Sensitive but not specific

Elevated in >80% with vertebral osteomyelitis.

  • Sensitive for spinal infection, but not extremely specific.

 

  • ESR
    • ESR was elevated in 94-100% of patients with SEA vs. only 33% of non-SEA patients
  • CRP
    • Less useful for acute diagnosis since CRP levels rise faster and return to baseline faster than ESR
      • Elevated CRP seen in 87% of patients with SEA as well as in 50% of patients with spine pain not due to a SEA
    • Better used as a marker of response to treatment.

 

 

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES)

Keywords: back pain, back emergency (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/9/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES)

 

A recent pearl discussed CES. This is a very challenging diagnosis to make, especially on initial presentation

The 5 “classic” characteristic features are

  •  Bilateral radiculopathy
  • Saddle anesthesia
  • Altered bladder function
  • Loss of anal tone
  • Sexual dysfunction

Not all symptoms will be present in a given patient and there is no sign/symptom combination that either reliably diagnoses or excludes CES.

To illustrate how difficult this diagnosis is to make, a study looked at the predictive abilities of Neurosurgical residents.

Positive MRI for CES was accurately predicted by senior neurosurgical residents in approximately 50% of patients suspected of CES based on history and physical findings. As clinical certainty only becomes apparent with the classic symptoms (which are generally late findings) waiting to initiate MRI will delay decompressive surgery and can lead to worsened functional outcomes. This leads to increased MRI demand with more negative MRIs. Not surprisingly, only ~20% of MRI scans for suspected CES are positive.

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Muscle relaxants and back pain

Keywords: low back pain, analgesia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/23/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

In patients with lower back pain, there is good evidence that muscle relaxants reduce pain as compared to placebo and that different types are equally effective. However, the high incidence of significant side effects such as dizziness and sedation limits their use. Muscle relaxants may be beneficial in an every bedtime capacity thereby limiting side effects.

If cyclobenzaprine is used during daytime hours, a lower dose schedule may work as well as a higher dose with somewhat less somnolence (5 mg three times a day vs 10 mg three times a day. In general, muscle relaxants should only be used when patients cannot tolerate NSAIDs but can tolerate the side effect profile.

We commonly add muscle relaxants to NSAIDs hoping for a larger analgesic effect. However, combination therapy does not appear to be better than monotherapy. 

Adding cyclobenzaprine to high-dose ibuprofen does not seem to provide additional pain relief in the first 48 hours in ED patients with acute myofascial strain. Among an ED population with acute non radicular low back pain, a randomized trial found that adding cyclobenzaprine/other muscle relaxants to Naproxen did not improve functional outcomes or pain at one week or 3 months compared to naproxen alone.

Take home: Consider the limited usefulness use of muscle relaxants in ED patients with back pain


 

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Spurling’s maneuver and modified Spurling’s maneuver aka neck compression test.

This maneuver is highly specific for the presence of cervical root compression

Can be used to reproduce radicular pain/symptoms.

Perform this maneuver with caution as it should not be performed in patients who have potential cervical spine instability.

Keeping the patient’s head in a neutral position pressing down on the top of the head. If this fails to reproduce the patient's pain, the test is repeated with the head extended, rotated and tilted to the affected side (the modified Spurling’s maneuver).

Reproduction of symptoms (limb pain or paresthesias) beyond the shoulder is considered positive. Neck pain alone is nonspecific and constitutes a negative test.

The test has a high specificity (0.89 to 1.00) but low sensitivity (0.38 to 0.97).

            Meaning a positive test is helpful but a negative test does not rule out radicular pain.

This test should be used in conjunction with a thorough history and physical examination (strength, sensation and reflex testing)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17QWqbXjSpc

 

 

 

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Anesthestic Pearls

Keywords: anesthetic, orthopedics, wound (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/19/2019 by Michael Bond, MD
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

When caring for a patient with a laceration we often do lcoal infiltration prior to suturing but remember the benefits of regional nerve blocks

Benefits of Regional Nerve Blocks

  • Less Painful
  • Prevents distortion of the wound which can help with cosmetic closure
  • Allows for a greater area to be anesthesized with less anesthetic use (prevents toxic levels)
  • Can allow for longer anesthetic time

Quick reminder of properities of common anesthetic

Anesthetic Onset of Action Duration of Action Max Dose 
No Epi
Max Dose
With Epi
Lidocaine Seconds 1 hr  4mg/kg 7mg/kg
Bupivicaine Seconds + > 6 hrs  2mg/kg 3mg/kg

Final reminder:  There is no evidence that epinephrine causes necrosis and it can be used safely in digital blocks. Duration of action is max 90 minutes. Even individuals that have injected themselves with EpiPens into their hands have not had any long term sequelue or necrosis seen. Vast majority required no treatment at all.

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Epidemiology of Alpine Skiing Injuries

Keywords: Skiing, gamekeeper (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/12/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Epidemiology of Alpine Skiing Injuries

 

Mean age of injury 30.3 (range 24 to 35.4 years)

Populations at greatest risk are children and adolescents and possibly adults over 50 (increased risk of tibial plateau fractures)

Sex: Males> females

              Knee injuries, esp to ACL, are higher among females

              Fractures greater in males

Injury location greatest at lower extremity (primarily to knee)

              Primarily sprains to MCL and ACL (increasing incidence)

14% occur to upper extremity and primarily involve the thumb and shoulder

              Skiers thumb – FOOSH with thumb Abducted gripping pole

              Pole is implicated as this injury is rare among snowboarders

The pole acts as a lever to amplify the forced Abduction of the thumb as the outstretched hand hits the ground.

Let go before you hit the ground!!

13% occur to head and neck

The number of all type injuries has decreased over time with advances in equipment and helmet use

Proportion of skiers wearing a helmet exceeds 80%        

However, the number of traumatic fatalities has remained constant

              Accidents involving fatalities exceed the protective capacity of helmets

              Helmets likely decrease risk of mild and moderate head injury

 

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Concussion headaches

Keywords: head injury, medication (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/8/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Retrospective chart review at a headache clinic seeing adolescent concussion patients

70.1% met criteria for probable medication-overuse headache

Once culprit over the counter medications (NSAIDs, acetaminophen) were discontinued,

68.5% of patients reported return to their preinjury headache status

 

Take home:  Excessive use of OTC analgesics post concussion may contribute to chronic post-traumatic headaches

If you suspect medication overuse, consider analgesic detoxification

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Pediatric Concussion 2

Keywords: head injury, sports medicine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/10/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

In which age groups should children with Sport Related Concussion be managed differently from adults?

  • Not adequately addressed in literature.
  • Consider 5-12 years old vs 13 and over for child vs. adult testing

 

Are there targeted subgroups who would benefit from closer outpatient and specialty follow-up?

 

Predictors of Prolonged Recovery in Children
 

  • Female sex
  • physician diagnosis of migraine
  • Prior concussion with symptoms lasting longer than 1 weeks
  • Multiple concussions
  • ADHD/LD/Mood disorders
  • Acute headache
  • Age 13 or older
    • Teenage and high school years represents the greatest age period for prolonged recovery
  • Prior
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Fatigue
  • Answering questions slowly
  • 4 or more errors on BESS testing

 

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Pediatric Concussion

Keywords: head injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/27/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Concussion Management in Children

What are the predictors of prolonged recovery of concussion in children?

Female sex, age greater than 13, prior physician diagnosis of migraine, prior concussion with symptoms lasting longer than 1 week, history of multiple concussions, headache, sensitivity to noise, dizziness, fatigue, answering questions slowly and four or more errors on tandem stance testing.

Age:  As compared to younger children, adolescents have a greater number of and more severe postconcussive symptoms. They take longer to recover and return to school and sport.

Subjects: Math tends to pose greater problems followed by reading/language, arts, sciences and social studies.

Computer testing:  The widespread use of computer neuropsychological testing is not recommended in children and adolescents. This is due to issues with reliability over time and insufficient evidence of both diagnostic and prognostic value. When used, reference to normative data should be done with caution. Testing should also NOT be used in isolation in concussion diagnosis and management.

 

 

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Concussion question parents will ask you

Keywords: Concussion, return to play, school, head injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/13/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

You have successfully diagnosed a concussion, explained everything to the parents, closed the encounter, reached for the doorknob and….

“What about school?”

 

An athlete should not return to play until they have successfully returned to school

Several studies have demonstrated that intense cognitive stimulation and intense intellectual stimulation result in worsening symptoms

                -school work, TV, videogames, texting

Attempt to limit cognitive activity to the point where it begins to reproduce or worsen symptoms!

Step 1: 24 to 48 hours of rest

Step 2: Daily at home activities that do not increase symptoms. Starting with 5 – 10 minutes and gradually build up to a goal of tolerating 30 minutes of cognitive activity without worsening symptoms.

                Home work, reading assignments, other cognitive activities

Step 3: Attempt Return to school (will not be completely symptoms free!) with either part time, partial days, or with extended breaks. Goal of tolerating an entire school day without symptoms.

Most students recover fully within 4 weeks and adjustments can then be discontinued. Others with ongoing symptoms may require ongoing academic modifications (extra time for tests, papers, etc).

Suggested examples of adjustments:  Shortened days, 15 minute break for every 30 minutes of instruction, providing class notes, tutoring, decreasing course expectations, decreasing exposure to classes which exacerbate symptoms, no computer work, untimed tests and quizzes, lunch in a quiet place.

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Medial Elbow Instability

Keywords: thrower, insability (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/23/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

25yo baseball pitcher presents with medial elbow pain. He felt a painful “pop” and could not continue to throw (due to loss of speed and control). Mild paresethesias in 4th and 5th digits.

 

What physical examination maneuvers can you do at the bedside to assist in the diagnosis?

               Exam opposite elbow first to establish baseline and to assist patient relaxation and understanding.

Flexing elbow to 20 to 30 degrees unlocks the olecranon

  1. Valgus stress test – flex elbow with forearm/hand supinated. Apply valgus stress test and note for laxity/firm endpoint.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXQxH0UTn-8

  1. Milking maneuver – Here the valgus stress is created by pulling on the patient’s thumb with the forearm supinated and elbow flexed to 90°. Note instability, pain, or apprehension.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sa9goJ4afs

or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwigwaZxBXE

  1. Moving valgus stress test – Similar to the milking maneuver, the valgus stress test is applied while the elbow is ranged through full flexion and extension. Note instability, pain, or apprehension in mid range (between 70 and 120 degrees)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnkkHpG3Dqg

 


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Froment's Sign

Keywords: Ulnar nerve (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/9/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Froment’s Sign

Tests for motor weakness of the Ulnar nerve

Patient asked to hold piece of paper in both hands, grasping with the thumb and radial side of index finger of both hands

Examiner then pulls on the paper

Test is positive if patient flexes the thumb IP join in an attempt to hold onto paper

 

https://handlab.com/resources/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/June-2013-No25.jpg

 


Exertional Heat Stroke (EHS)

With football preseason starting across the country, it is important to review this topic

EHS is a medical emergency resulting from progressive failure of normal thermoregulation

EHS has a high mortality

               -2nd most common cause of death in football players

History and Exam

Hyperthermia/Core temperature greater than 40°C (104°F)

Initial profuse sweating with eventual cessation of sweating with hot, dry skin

CNS dysfunction – disorientation, confusion, dizziness, inappropriate behavior, difficulties maintaining balance, seizures, coma

Other: Tachycardia/hyperventilation, fatigue, vomiting, headache

Multi-organ involvement: CNS, cardiac damage, renal failure, hepatic necrosis, muscle (rhabdomyolysis), GI (ischemic colitis), heme (DIC), ARDS

The single most important thing you can do on the field is recognize this entity. Early recognition leads to earlier initiation of treatment which is life saving.

Rapid cooling is key. This is often stated but what this means is whole body immersion in ice water. This should be available and ready for all summer practices.

The temperature needs to be lowered to below 39°C (102°F)

Also consider a cooling blanket, fanning, ice to body

DO NOT put them on ambo without initiating cooling!!!

Sustaining heat injury predisposes to subsequent heat related injury

 


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Keywords: Muscle pain, exercise (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/28/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), aka “muscle fever”

Muscle pain and weakness following unfamiliar exercise

Occurs after high force, novel (unaccustomed) eccentric muscle contractions

               Occasionally isometric in an extended position

Eccentric exercise – controlled elongation

Slowly lowering yourself to start position doing pullups for example

Time of onset

Begins 6 to 12 Hours after exercise, Peaks 2-3days post and resolves in 5-7 days

               Speed of onset and severity are often related

How do you know if you have it?

Much like the flu, you know it when you have it. The simple act of getting out of a car, sitting down or walking down stairs is excruciatingly painful.

Cause:

Exact cause is unknown. Thought to be due to sarcolemma damage leading to intra cellular calcium release and activation of proteolytic enzymes. Creatine kinase leaks from muscle cells into plasma attracting inflammatory cells.

Treatment:

Best treatment is prevention: Repeated bout effect – a bout of eccentric or isometric exercise can prevent DOMS from the same exercise for 4-12 weeks.

               Stretching before exercise has not been shown to be effective prevention

Other modalities: rest, ice, heat, massage, electrical stimulation

Take home:

Eccentric exercises or novel activities should be introduced progressively over a period of 1 or 2 weeks at the beginning of the sporting season or the start of a new, novel exercise routine. For example, not starting the Insanity day one workout without “pretraining.” This will reduce the level of physical impairment and/or training disruption and lead to gains with much less pain.

 


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Stingers and Burners

Keywords: Cervical spine, neuropraxia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/11/2022)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Stingers and Burners

Also known as transient brachial plexus neuropraxia, “dead arm syndrome,” or brachial plexopathy. Symptoms such as pain, burning, and/or paresthesias in a single upper limb, lasting seconds to minutes.

Usually involves more than one dermatome

May be associated with weakness.

               -Common in collision sports that involve tackling, such as football.

               -Most common C-spine injury in American Football.  

               -More than 50% of college football players sustain a stinger each year

-Having 1 stinger increases the risk of having another 3 fold

Mechansims: C5, C6 (deltoid,biceps) most commonly involved

-Traction injury due to forcible lateral neck flexion away with downward displacement of arm

-Nerve root compression during combined neck extension and lateral neck flexion

-Direct trauma to the brachial plexus in the supraclavicular fossa

Physical Exam:

-Examine muscle strength in the deltoid, biceps, and infraspinatus muscles

-Check sensation and reflexes in upper extremities

-Check C-spine range of motion and perform Spurling’s Test

Imaging:

Consider MRI for symptoms lasting more than 24 hours, bilateral symptoms or for recurrent stingers

Return to play guidelines vary:

-No neurologic symptoms

-Can return to play in same game if symptoms resolve within 15 minutes and no prior stingers that season.

-If 2nd stinger in that season, do NOT return to play in the same game

-if 3rd stinger in a season, consider imaging before return to play and consider sitting out the remainder of the season.

 


ED visits for acute gout increased almost 27% between 2006 & 2014, a 26.8% increase

Presentation: Acute severe pain, swelling, redness, warmth.

Pain peaks between 12 to 24 hours and onset more likely at night

Quiet, calm period between flares vs other arthritic disorders

Signs of inflammation can extend beyond the joint

Normal to low serum urate values have been noted in 12 to 43% of patients with gout flares 

Accurate time for assessment of serum urate is greater than 2 weeks after flare subsides

Most hyperuricemic individuals never experience a clinical event resulting from urate crystal deposition.

Gout flares may occasionally coexist with another type of joint disease (septic joint, psedugout),

A clinical decision rule has shown to be more accurate than clinical diagnosis (17 versus 36%)

*Male sex (2 points)

*Previous patient-reported arthritis flare (2 points)

*Onset within one day (0.5 points)

*Joint redness (1 point)

*First metatarsal phalangeal joint involvement (2.5 points)

*Hypertension or at least one cardiovascular disease (1.5 points)

*Serum urate level greater than 5.88 mg/dL (3.5 points)

 Scoring for low (≤4 points), intermediate (>4 to <8 points), and high (≥8 points) probability of gout identified groups with a prevalence of gout of 2.2, 31.2, and 82.5 percent, respectively.

Consider supplementing your clinical decision with this in the future

 

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Concussion Management

Posted: 6/2/2018 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 6/17/2018) (Updated: 6/17/2018)
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

Bottom Line:

Less than 1/2 of patients presenting to EDs and being diagnosed with concussion receive mild traumatic brain injury educational materials, and less than 1/2 of patients have seen a clinician for follow up by 3 months after injury.

In order to improve long term outcomes in patients with concusions please remember to provide the patient with approriate discharge instrucitons and strict instructions to follow up on their injury.

Full details of the article in JAMA can be found at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2681571

 

 


Syndesmotic sprain aka a “high ankle sprain”

Ankle injuries make up almost 30% of the injuries in professional football

High ankle injuries make up between 16 and 25% of these injuries in the NFL (lateral most common)

               10% in general population

In comparison to lateral ankle sprains, high ankle sprains result in significantly more missed games, missed practices and required a longer duration of treatment

Anatomy: The syndesmosis comprises several ligaments and the interosseous membrane

Mechanism: External foot rotation with simultaneous rotation of the tibia and fibula.

               Can lead to a Maisonneuve fracture

Injuries 4x more likely in game setting than practice

A positive proximal squeeze test significantly predicts missed games and practices compared to those without.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThiW_9m7cFM

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