Active seniors try to stay off disabled list - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Active seniors try to stay off disabled list

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Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:00 am | Updated: 1:37 pm, Tue Apr 17, 2012.

Dislocated shoulders, sprained ankles and torn ligaments are a few of the sports-related injuries that sideline athletes.

Local doctors and physical therapists are treating everyone from high school athletes to seniors. With new technology and better treatment, they’re getting people back out to play much faster.

“It’s our goal to get them back to their pre-injury level of function again,” said Dr. John Brown, an orthopedic surgeon with the Center for Orthopedic Research and Education. “In a motivated individual with the proper treatment, we can get them back up running again.”

Brown, a founding member of CORE Institute, which has offices in Sun City West and Sun City, said he’s seen a number of injuries from people of all ages.

Torn anterior cruciate ligaments, also known as ACLs, are often discovered in teenage athletes, particularly football and basketball players. Older adults and seniors suffer the most from rotated cuffs and shoulder tears, Brown said.

Achilles tendon ruptures are another sports-related injury doctors have often treated in a number of patients.

Tennis elbow is another common injury, often seen in pickleball players in retirement communities and comes from a tight repetitive grip.

Once someone is injured during a sport, Brown said it is important for the individual to consult with a physician to determine whether to proceed with surgery or move into physical therapy.

“Surgery is always recommended if the sports injury is really going to cause harm to the joint,” Brown said.

With new technology and treatment, he said there are plenty of options.

“The field of sports medicine is dynamic and new and evolving techniques are coming forward every day,” said Brown. “Doctors are developing new types of components to heal tissues faster, recreating scaffolding to normal surfaces and making medication for injured cartilages.”

After surgery, physical therapy is the next step.

Eric Percy-Fine of Banner Del E. Webb Outpatient Physical Therapy said he’s worked with patients of all ages.

“I’ve had retired professionals, high school and college athletes, but the injuries are all usually the same or similar,” said Percy-Fine. “The key to treatment is to make sure to treat the whole limb or body with as much motion as possible along with control, balance and strength.”

Percy-Fine said he focuses on activities to maintain endurance after the surgery or injuries.

“It’s important to get them back on the field, court or whatever sport that they might be playing,” he said.

For years, Percy-Fine worked in the Glendale area near a number of high schools and a community college. He recently moved to Sun City West to help with the retirement population, along with the growing number of children and young adults in the Surprise area.

He said he’s noticed more shoulder and tennis injuries over the years.

“So many people are active in sports, that’s important for everyone to be careful, but if an injury occurs you should use judgment, then consult a doctor,” he said.

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