Ankle Sprain? Do THIS to Fully Heal and Avoid “Weak Ankles”

College students seem to have more than their fair share of ankle sprains, likely courtesy of ridiculously competitive intramural sports, spike heels on uneven parking lots, rainy/icy days coupled with oversleeping-induced-rushing to class, and oh yes, alcohol-induced wobbling. And don’t get me started about electric scooters…At any rate, the vast majority (~85%) of injured ankles are sprains, and one sprained ankle often leads to a cycle of other injuries, from repeat sprains and “weak ankles” to knee or hip issues. Let’s talk about what to expect and and what you can do to avoid this pathway.

First things first- … Read more

Painful Ankles…to X-Ray or NOT?

This month I am talking a bit about bone fractures and x-rays. As we try to “do no harm” in medicine, leading physician groups have been taking a closer look at procedures that have become automatic, and determine whether or not they are medically necessary- do they IMPROVE outcomes? One such procedure involves imaging ankle injuries. Both clinicians and patients often expect that a painful joint needs an x-ray as part of a thorough evaluation. When SHOULD we order an x-ray for a painful ankle? Current evidence suggests the answer to that question- at least for adults- lies in the … Read more

College Student Health Quiz – Answer 8

College Student Health Quiz

8. I sprained my ankle-which symptoms mean I might need an x-ray?

ANSWER: A. You can’t bear weight enough to walk three steps

Doctors use the Ottawa Rules to help decide if a fracture is likely (and therefore whether or not to get an x-ray.) There are three basic parts:

  1. Could you bear weight enough to walk four steps right after the injury?
  2. Can you bear weight enough to walk four steps now?
  3. Is there tenderness to touch on the inside or outside back (posterior) portion of your ankle bones (along the bones)?

A YES to any ONE of these … Read more

Wait, Is It Broken?

“I can move it, so it’s clearly not broken…” Maybe, maybe not! In primary care settings, the majority of fractures that we treat are diagnosed days after they occur (sometimes weeks), ignored because of this myth. Wrist fractures are particularly notorious for late diagnosis, because there is rarely dramatic bruising, deformity, or swelling. Finger, foot, and ankle fractures often display more impressive dark bruising and swelling, but even with these injuries, the affected area can most frequently still be moved voluntarily (albeit with significant discomfort). Muscles, ligaments and tendons MOVE the bones…and they can move broken bones as well as … Read more

Starting to Exercise? Time for SOLE Searching!

If your New Year’s Resolutions include an exercise program, START by taking a close look at the BOTTOM of your shoes. If they look like mine in the picture above, get thee to a shoe store before you get moving with your walking/jogging/running plan. Note the smooth areas (not to mention the circular area trying to be an actual hole)- that means I have completely lost the tread and traction in that area.

Are new, good quality running shoes necessary? YES. After two decades of private practice (and seeing hurt knees, hips and ankles that might have been prevented … Read more

Summer Travel First Aid Kit

Packing up for your summer vacation? If you are driving, may I suggest you prioritize finding a small space (maybe under the passenger seat as above) to stash a first aid kit? If you already keep one in your car (hello, fellow soccer/dance/volleyball moms!) then let this be your reminder to pull that kit out of your car, CHECK EXPIRATION DATES, and replenish all your used up supplies.

What’s in my kit? Although I will confess my kit is over-stocked with “extras”, here is my basic essentials Top Ten First Aid Kit List:

  1. Ibuprofen (trade name Advil/Motrin)- for headaches, muscle
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Out with the OLD, In with the NEW (AKA Healthy New Year’s Resolution #1)

Happy 2016! Hard to believe we are nearly half way through January as I look at my home STILL filled with Christmas decorations. Many of us tackle the new year with a cleaning or de-cluttering frenzy after we pack up the holiday decor. In fact, it can be overwhelming as we survey overflowing closets, desks and kids rooms…wishing for that magic wand to neatly organize our lives. I once read an organization plan that suggested a better chance of success if you tackled ONE specific area and thoroughly completed it before you moved on- whether that was one drawer of … Read more

College First Aid Kit

Happy Fall 2015! I disappeared for the summer, as I finished writing the second edition of my first book (Seductive Delusions), as well as a series of medical articles for Livestrong.org. Since all of my patients are current college students, I thought I would share a series of posts about common health issues for otherwise healthy young adults. Pictured above is my favorite personalized gift for graduating high school seniors- a first aid kit, complete with my instructions for “when and how to use what” to feel better.

Let’s start with one very basic item that is … Read more

A Doctor’s Travel First Aid Kit

Packing up for your summer vacation? If you are driving and have the luxury of a bit of extra space, you may want to consider packing a first aid kit to take with your family. If you already keep one in your car (hello, fellow soccer/dance/volleyball moms!) then let this be your reminder to pull that kit out of your car, CHECK EXPIRATION DATES, and replenish all your used up supplies.

What’s in my kit? A handful of medicines have earned their way into my ever-ready first aid kit. Here is my top 10 list:

  1. Ibuprofen- for headaches, muscle aches,
Read more