Tanner’s PAWS and Arnot Health – Combination of Care

In our recent ad campaign for Orthopedic Care, we’re featuring two representatives of a local animal rescue organization called Tanner’s PAWS. Sue Allen is a substitute school teacher and a volunteer for Tanner’s PAWS; Cotton is a beautiful lab mix who successfully made it through the organization to find his new family. Check out the two in action together:

Tanner’s PAWS is a grassroots organization that began in 2012 to help rehabilitate lost and unwanted dogs by fostering them instead of using a shelter. Through a website and social media presence, volunteers try to locate the families of these lost dogs or find a permanent place for them to live. Although they have a small shelter in Corning for emergency situations, foster families throughout the region are responsible for providing temporary care and connecting the pets with a “forever home.”

Sue Preset is the Board Treasurer for Tanner’s PAWS and has been with the organization since its inception. She said there was a need for this in our region because shelters can sometimes misrepresent the true character of a dog. According to Sue, “sometimes it’s the shelter environment itself that can have a negative impact because confined spaces and incessant barking can be stressful.” She said that by providing foster care for the animals, their true colors shine through.

Cotton was an unwanted dog who was originally kept in a very small kennel with limited access to the outdoors and exercise. During the search for a better home, Cotton acted in our commercial for Orthopedic Care. The organization has since reported that he is living with a family that has two small children and is enjoying all the care and exercise he can handle.

Our other actress, Sue Allen, was a candidate for double-knee replacement surgery at the time of filming. In the hands of our Orthopedic team at Arnot Health, Sue underwent an operation in September 2014 on both knees simultaneously. By working with our physical therapists, she is now back to work as a substitute teacher, able to walk her own dogs, and attending her grandkids’ ball games.

Anyone looking to volunteer, adopt a pet, or provide a foster home for the dogs at Tanner’s PAWS may fill out an application on the Tanner’s PAWS website. Donations may also be made through the site in the form of money or any of the items on the organization’s wish list. “You’ll get tired,” said Sue Preset, “but you know if you can save just one dog, it’s all worth it.”

Visit our landing page for more information about Orthopedic Care at Arnot Health.

Flat Feet May Develop Over Time

Over time, the physical stress of our everyday lives can begin to take a toll on our feet. When you begin to notice a change in the shape of your foot, your shoes not fitting properly or striking the ground on the sole, or your arch in getting increasingly closer to the ground when standing, you might be on your way to developing flat feet. This condition, referred to as adult acquired flat feet, is a condition that can cause pain in your feet, pain and swelling of the ankles and/or knees, and generally make normal mobility a painful activity. In addition, standing on your ‘tippy-toes’ can become difficult or nearly impossible and you may develop signs of arthritis.

What’s Happening in There?
When developing flat feet, you can certainly notice the outward signs of a lowered arch, shoe issues, and the physical pain. What is actually happening inside your body is that your tendons are beginning to stretch out, leading to strain and collapse. After this occurs, your ligaments become overworked and can follow in the same downward progression, furthering the condition and weakening the structure of the entire foot.

Possible Causes:
There is no specific set of circumstances that will absolutely lead you to developing flat feet in your adult life, however, there are a few conditions that may increase your risk:

  • Decreased or low activity level
  • Overweight
  • Previous injury
  • Genetic pre-disposition

In my practice, I am noticing a higher ratio of women to men presenting with this condition and typically seeing patients in their 40’s through 60’s.

Diagnosis and Treatment:
When a patient presents with the signs and symptoms of adult acquired flat feet, the first step is diagnosis and identifying how severe the condition is. This can be done with a thorough physical exam, which then may be followed by an x-ray, MRI, and/or CAT scan. If the condition is identified early, treatment may include physical therapy, orthotic inserts or shoes. They may also advise you to wear a brace which can range from soft to ridged or hard depending on the level of support needed.

If the condition has progressed, more aggressive treatment may be necessary, including surgery. Surgery can also vary in severity and may include cleaning up tendons, transferring a tendon, and/or breaking and fusing bones to return your foot to it’s proper structural state.

Recovery:
If the condition is identified early or the damage is not severe, with the proper orthotics and dedication to physical therapy, you may see improvement within a few weeks. Once surgery is involved, the recovery time becomes much more drawn out including up to eight weeks in a cast or a boot followed by months of physical therapy.

Adult acquired flat feet can threaten the ease and comfort of staying active. Mobility and physical activity are key components to a healthy lifestyle, and we want to help you stay active. If you notice any of the symptoms or you aren’t feeling as comfortable on your feet as you once were, don’t hesitate to call us, and together we’ll get that spring back in your step!

Dr. Beth Dollinger, orthopedic surgeon for Arnot Health, writes a blog series to help answer frequently-asked questions, offer perspective on newsworthy events, and essentially give patients a hand in their own healthcare. If you’d like more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.

Walking Program Participants “Step It Up” at the Arnot Mall

Last night, members of the Arnot Health “Step It Up” walking program met at the Arnot Mall for a mid-point check in. “Step It Up,” which began with a kick-off event on April 7, is a free 6-week community walking program designed to improve overall health through a focus on improved nutrition and increased activity.

More than 20 participants showed up for the mid-program event, which began with a stretch and warm-up routine in the community room at the mall. The group then dispersed in several directions so that each member walked a full lap around the interior of the mall; the estimated distance was over a half mile.

Once they returned, Nykole Parks, Community Health Services Coordinator for Arnot Health, asked about their progress so far and gave some tips to keep participants motivated during the second half of the “Step It Up!” program.

On May 19, a program End Event will celebrate the overall progress of each member. Health screenings that were initiated in the opening event will be performed again to track participant progress.

“Step It Up!” is sponsored by Arnot Health, Chemung County Health Department, Elmira-Chemung Transportation Council, and Creating Health Places to Live, Work and Play. For more information, or to find out how you can be a part of this program next time it’s offered, visit www.arnothealth.org/weight-loss-and-healthy-habits-step-it-up-program.

DSC_0585 DSC_0584 DSC_0576 DSC_0568 Arnot Health Step It Up Walking Program at the Arnot Mall

Is Your Clothing Bad For Your Health?

For most of us, picking an outfit for the day is driven by a few factors including where we plan on going (work, the grocery store, hiking, etc.), what is seasonably appropriate, and to a varying degree, what looks good. When we are getting dressed or picking out clothes at the store, we are typically thinking thinks like, “Is this flattering? Is it appropriate for work/school/etc.? Does it match my new shoes? Does it match anything I have in my closet?” One question that isn’t typically top of mind (but might be the most important) is, “Is this bad for my health?” If that question wouldn’t even occur to you to ask, than the rest of this article may just be great information for you …

How Can Your Clothes be Bad for You?

In general, wearing cloths isn’t particularly bad for you. In fact, I would venture that wearing them on a daily basis probably keeps you out of trouble. However, there are a few things we should be cognizant of when we’re picking out our attire. Here are just a few examples:

Bowties, Neckties, and Shirt Collars:
Make sure you are measuring correctly for your shirt collar size and wearing your ties loose enough to feel comfortable. If they are too small or tight, you may be causing a decrease in blood flow to your head, causing tingling and numbness, in addition to, well, less blood flowing to the brain. According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, wearing your shirt collar too tight can even increase intraocular pressure, possibly leading to glaucoma. How many men could possibly be walking around with their collars and ties to tight? According to some studies, it’s as high as 70%!

Skinny Jeans:
We’ve all seen them, and a vast majority of us may even have a pair or two. However, if you do have them, check for these signs that they are a little too tight: tingling in the thigh, numbness, or the feeling that your foot is no longer under you. If you have any of these symptoms when you’re sporting your trendy trousers, it may be time to take them off and opt for a looser-fitting style.

Tight Belts & Tight-Waisted Pants:
Belts and the waistband of your pants are designed to keep your britches on, not change your shape. Wearing your belt cinched too tight a waistband a few sizes to snug can cause a myriad of problems including acid reflux, indigestion, bowl discomfort, and can even cause temporary nerve damage.

Compression Wear/Shape Wear:
Shape wear (Spanx, etc.) are designed to smooth you out, not shrink you down. Wearing a garment of this nature is not inherently bad, you just have to make sure it’s the right size. Much like a tight belt, shape wear can cause increased acid reflux and indigestion. In addition, wearing restrictive clothing can limit your lung capacity and ability to breathe. If you are uncomfortable, lightheaded, or you’re experiencing trouble breathing, it’s too tight.

Finding clothes that fit could be better for your health

So the next time you open those closet doors and decide on an outfit, make sure you add one additional question to your list … “Is this a healthy choice?” Wearing clothes should be a comfortable experience. If something doesn’t feel right, choose another option. Don’t sacrifice your health for fashion.

If you’d like more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.

What is ‘Skier’s Thumb’ and how does it happen?

‘Skier’s Thumb’ refers to a specific injury to the hand that occurs, primarily, when a significant force is applied pulling the thumb backwards and away from the palm. This causes injury to the ulnar collateral ligament which connects your thumb and hand as well as provides the tension and stability of your thumb. Skier’s Thumb is often seen as a result of a skiing accident, hence the name, when someone falls with their poles still in hand. When this happens, the poles can either snag and pull back on the thumb, or, the hands can hit the ground with the poles underneath, popping the thumb in the air. Another common ‘off-the-slopes’ cause includes car accident injuries when the driver has their thumb(s) wrapped around the steering wheel, puling the thumb back on forceful impact.

So, what are the symptoms?

  • Pain and swelling of the thumb and hand
  • Weakness and instability of the thumb
  • Inability to ‘pinch’ something or hold objects between the thumb and forefinger

If you are exhibiting the above symptoms, it’s best to visit your physician for an x-ray.

How is Skier’s Thumb Treated?
The treatment of Skiers Thumb can vary depending on the severity and extent of the damage. If the ulnar collateral ligament is torn or completely separated from the bone, extensive treatment is most likely necessary including:

  • Brace or casting for 3-4 weeks
  • Surgical mending or reattachment followed by a brace or cast
  • After the above, physical or occupational therapy will be necessary for an additional 4-6 weeks to improve/restore range of motion and flexibility.

While Skier’s Thumb can, and does, occur in other situations, it’s best to let go of your poles if you’re heading for a spill on the slopes to minimize your risk of this type of injury.

Fun Fact: Years ago, this condition was often referred to as ‘Gamekeepers Thumb’ as it was seen in game farmers caused by the repetitive motion of wringing a birds neck between the thumb and forefinger. We’re really not too upset with the name change.

Skier's Thumb Injury

If you’d like more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.

Why is it important to walk after knee or hip surgery?

If you are undergoing a knee or hip replacement procedure, we want you to be aware of the entire process, including what to expect before, during, and after your surgical procedure. Patients are often shocked to hear their physician ask, just hours post-surgery, for them to get out of bed and take a walk. This, I assure you, is for a very good reason, and that reason is the prevention of blood clots.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), or the formation of a blood clot, is a serious post-surgery complication. Blood clots can form in the lower extremities due to excess swelling, debris in the veins, and immobilization- basically all things that occur with hip or knee replacement surgery. Blood clots can block the flow of blood to the immediate and surrounding areas causing local damage or, they can dislodge travelling to other parts of the body including the heart or lungs causing very serious complications including heart attack, stroke, or death.

How Does this Effect You and Your Post-Surgery Experience?
Following your hip or knee replacement surgery, ensuring that blood continue to flow properly returning it quickly and effectively back to the heart is essential in the prevention of blood clots. You can expect your physician to take one or more of the following steps to reduce your risk including:

  • Mechanical prophylaxis: a pneumatic pump to compress the foot and/or leg aiding in blood return
  • Chemical prophylaxis: Xarelto, Aspirin, etc. to thin the blood
  • Getting you out of bed, on your feet, and walking

Understanding Your Risk:
While anyone can develop a post-surgery blood clot, there are certain risk factors which may increase the possibility of developing a clot such as:

  • Advanced age
  • Varicose veins
  • Smoking
  • Estrogen therapy
  • Cancer
  • Factor 5 deficiency
  • Genetic predisposition

It may seem counter intuitive, or even downright cruel, to get you on your feet following these particular procedures, however, we assure you it is for your benefit. Blood clots are a very real, and very serious, post-surgical risk. Once you develop a blood clot, you are more likely to develop them again in the future; taking proper measures to prevent them now can have an impact on your present and future health. Your healthcare team is committed to your safety, and that means getting you moving as soon as possible post-surgery.

DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis is the formation of a post-surgery blood clot

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), or the formation of a blood clot, is a serious post-surgery complication.

Heart Month at Arnot Health: Stress Relief and Support

Throughout the month of February, we’ve been sharing important heart health tips from the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, an advanced support team that provides high-quality, compassionate care in state-of-the-art facilities. This final week, we’re talking about the negative effects of stress and how to find relief.

Dealing with stress is part of growing older; it’s a side effect of life that many of us find unavoidable. However, life itself does not have to be all about dealing with stress. We may not be able to get rid of it altogether, but we can learn strategies on how to deal with it in a positive way.

According to Maureen Tuite, Clinical Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, stress becomes dangerous when we search for unhealthy coping mechanisms. “Some people choose alcohol, cigarettes, or over-eating as ways to distract themselves from life’s troubles,” she said, “but these distractions only cause more health problems.” Maureen says weight gain and rising blood pressure can result in increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. She also said that sleeplessness is one of the most common signs of stress on our bodies.

One positive way to cope with hardships is by being physically active. Some people prefer the solitude of walking or running while others choose to engage in healthy competition by joining area sports leagues. Swimming, golfing, skiing, bowling, and tennis are all ways to engage friends and deal with stress positively. Prayer and meditation are also common activities for rest and relaxation after a long day.

The Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute recently launched two support groups for patients dealing with heart disease, which can help ease the mental anguish that commonly accompanies – and even enhances – the effects of the disease.

“Heart to Heart” is an open forum that provides a safe, peer-to-peer support environment. Members listen, share their experiences and discuss lifestyle changes, recovery and treatment. The group meets every six weeks through December 14 in the Heart & Vascular Institute Conference Room.

“Mended Hearts” is a program that assists patients and caregivers from diagnosis through the journey of recovery with social, emotional and practical support. Meetings include special guest speakers on a variety of topics. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month in the Heart & Vascular Institute Conference Room.

As Heart Month comes to a close, the Heart and Vascular Institute is always available for educational programs, free screenings, counseling, and cardiac rehab. Follow Arnot Health on Facebook for updates on these programs and more, or call the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at (607) 737-4442 for more information.