What To Know About Victor Oladipo’s Quad Injury

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo suffered a torn quadriceps tendon in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the NBA season, the team announced Thursday. Surgery will be required to repair the tendon.

Dr. Adam Yanke, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, and head team physician for the Windy City Bulls answers three questions about the injury and expected recovery.


Q: What exactly is a ruptured quadriceps tendon?

A: The quadriceps tendon attaches the entire quad muscle to the kneecap or the patella and allows you to straighten your leg. This tendon can commonly have inflammation in it that causes pain but it can occasionally also rupture. This injury is more common in individuals over 50 years of age but can happen in younger, athletic patients as well. Typically this happens from the tendon being overloaded but can also be due to some underlying tendon disease that weakens the tissue before injury.

Q: How do you repair a torn quadriceps tendon?

A: There are multiple ways to fix a quadriceps tendon tear with regards to specific surgical technique. Regardless of the specifics, they all involve an open approach to directly visualize the tendon. Once you can see the tear directly sutures are placed through the tendon and they are either brought through drill tunnels or anchors in the patella to perform the repair. Typically the soft tissue adjacent to the tendon called the retinaculum is also torn and this requires repair as well.

Q: What is the rehab and recovery process?

A: The recovery after quadriceps tendon repair typically involves a period of immobilization in a brace for 4-6 weeks. After this time, we work aggressively on range of motion try to eliminate any stiffness. There is always a balance between healing and motion and it is important to have both be successful for return to play. Some patients do get back to full activity without pain or restrictions, however there is a subset that still have discomfort in that area or have issues with building up muscle strength. In general its a successful procedure with good outcomes but can take up to 6 months for complete recovery.


Dr. Adam Yanke’s clinical interests include advanced arthroscopy, shoulderImage replacement, and a special focus on patellofemoral dysfunction and cartilage restoration. Dr. Yanke is a team physician for the Chicago Bulls, Windy City Bulls, Chicago White Sox and DePaul Blue Demons.

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Lifelong Athlete Back to Full Speed After Shoulder Surgery

Hinsdale resident John Blacketor rigorously maintained the lifestyle of an athlete after graduating from college, playing hockey, tennis, golf and football; running; lifting; skiing; and more. He wasn’t interested in slowing down.

“I played hockey throughout high school and continued in men’s leagues after college, up until I was 48,” Blacketor explained. “I was a goaltender, which is always a position that carries a high risk of injury.”

Eventually, shoulder, knee, and ongoing groin injuries—paired with late weeknight games—forced Blacketor into hockey “retirement.”

While playing baseball and softball, he developed right shoulder issues and eventually was limited to playing the infield. Determined to stay active but relieve stress on his shoulder, he focused on skiing and running. He remained active and generally pain-free.  However, shoulder pain became a serious problem after a skiing accident, which compelled him to finally seek medical advice. He underwent several months of physical therapy, which helped his mobility, but not his pain.

Finding the Right Specialist

Needing more advice, he consulted Midwest Orthopedics at Rush sports medicine specialist and surgeon, Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph, who referred him to Dr. Gregory Nicholson, a shoulder specialist at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush.

Dr. Nicholson performed a history and physical examination of the shoulder and upper extremity. He ordered an MRI for Blacketor which showed he had a torn rotator cuff, cartilage damage and bone spurs (also known as “osteophytes”). To offer some relief, Nicholson gave Blacketor a cortisone shot but shortly thereafter, the pain returned.

Dr. Nicholson discussed surgery to address the necessary shoulder repairs. Blacketor agreed. “I didn’t want to go through this pain off and on,” Blacketor explains. “So, I said, ‘why don’t we cut to the chase and get this fixed?’ and Dr. Nicholson agreed.”

Dr. Nicholson performed surgery arthroscopically to repair his torn rotator cuff, address the cartilage damage and remove the bone spurs. This is a minimally invasive procedure performed through small incisions called portals. There is less soft tissue damage, and less pain and swelling post-surgery. Blacketor experienced this first hand as his recovery progressed ahead of schedule. He needed pain medication for just a couple days and completed physical therapy in less than eight weeks. Today, he has full range of motion with no pain and is back playing golf.

Back in Action

The park across the street from Blacketor’s house has a tennis court which frequently causes tennis balls to stray into his yard. Prior to surgery, Blacketor says “I would walk out, pick up a half dozen tennis balls, and throw them back into the courts underhanded.” Post-surgery he is tossing them back over the fence overhanded.

He recommends Dr. Nicholson to anyone with shoulder pain. What he liked best about him is his “straightforward attitude” coupled with his excellent surgical skills.


If you would like to discuss your shoulder or elbow pain with Dr. Gregory Nicholson, call to schedule an appointment at 877-MD-BONES or visit www.rushortho.com/appointments.

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Tips to Avoid Snow-Related Injuries

man shoveling snow

By Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

The simple act of shoveling can cause serious injury if you aren’t careful.  In fact, an estimated 11,500 people visit the ER each year due to snow shoveling alone. If you are fit, you are at a reduced risk, but not entirely safe. Here are three of the most common potential health risks from snow removal and how to prevent them this weekend and throughout the winter:

Heart Attack

They call it ‘heart attack snow’ for a reason. Shoveling accounts for an estimated 100 deaths per year, most due to heart attacks.  That’s because shoveling or pushing a snow blower can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate. The cold air triggers constriction of the blood vessels and decreases oxygen to the heart.


Those at risk of a heart attack during cold outdoor activities include:

  • Those with a prior heart attack
  • Those with known heart disease
  • Those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Smokers
  • Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle

Follow these tips to protect your heart: 

  • Don’t shovel right after you wake up. Wait at least 30 minutes.
  • Don’t drink coffee before or after shoveling.
  • Warm up your muscles with simple exercises before starting.
  • Work slowly and in small 15 minute increments.
  • Push the snow instead of lifting and tossing.
  • Opt for a snow blower or ask for shoveling assistance.
  • If you experience chest discomfort, shortness of breath or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach could be signs of a heart attack. Seek a doctor immediately.

Back Strain

Snow shoveling is the leading cause of back and neck injuries during the snowy winter months. To protect yours, keep these tips in mind before attacking the snow:

  • Choose an ergonomic shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length will minimize painful bending
  • Use a small, lightweight, plastic shovel to help reduce the weight that you are moving
  • stretch your low back and hamstrings (the large muscles in the back of the thigh) with some gentle stretching exercises.
  • Always face towards the snow pile and have your shoulders and hips squarely facing it.
  • Bend at the hips, not the low back.
  • Bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles, keeping your back straight.
  • Stop immediately if you begin to tire or feel any pain in your back or neck.

Finger Injuries from Snow Blowers

Since 2003, roughly 9,000 people have lost at least one finger to improper use of a snow blower. The most common cause is by unclogging the snow while the machine is still running.  Please follow these safety tips:

  • Use safety devices that typically come with a snow blower
  • Make sure the blades completely stop before clearing the clogged snow
  • Use an object, like a broom handle, to remove the snow

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Injuries Impacting Professional Dancers

Injury-Prevention Tips from Joffrey Dancers Help Recreational Athletes

Injury-Prevention Tips from Joffrey Dancers Help Recreational Athletes

Professional dancers, like professional athletes, are subject to injury because of the constant stress they put on their bodies. And while these dancers and athletes have dedicated medical teams to attend to their needs, recreational athletes can learn from their experience.

“Dancers in a lot of ways are similar to everyday athletes who want to stay in shape and have fun,” says Simon Lee, MD, foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and medical director for The Joffrey Ballet.

Just like dancers, recreational athletes can experience stress fractures, sprained ankles, tendinitis and knee issues. To prevent such injuries, it’s important to start with a good warm-up.

“I don’t think people realize how much time dancers spend warming up and stretching,” Lee says. “Recreational athletes are pressed for time and want to compress their athletic activity, but that’s the way injuries occur. The older we get the more important it is to get warmed up and stretch.”

Joanna Wozniak, a full member of the Joffrey since 2003, can rattle off a list of aches, pains and injuries she has suffered because of her physically demanding profession. To prevent injuries, Wozniak, like the other Joffrey dancers, starts with a daily 90-minute class of classical ballet exercises to warm up the body.

“Every movement is important to work every different muscle system, just like every brick is important for the foundation in a house,” she says. The class is followed by six hours of rehearsal, during which dancers learn the movements of new choreography and eventually start running through the whole dance.

In addition to dancing, Wozniak is on the move in other ways. She goes for walks, rides her bike, runs to build stamina, takes Pilates classes to strengthen her core muscles and practices Bikram yoga and other forms of yoga for stretching.

“It’s good to practice different forms of exercise because they use different muscles,” Wozniak says. “It’s like rotating the tires on a car because it slows down wear and tear.”

Cross-training with other sports and strengthening core muscles is critically important for recreational athletes, Lee says. He recommends adding cycling or swimming to help maintain body balance, strength and flexibility.

“Running is probably one of the worst activities to do consistently every day,” Lee says, “because it only works certain parts of your lower body in one direction — straight — and causes a lot of issues, such as overuse in the ankles and knees that are mainly strengthened on the anterior and posterior sides.”

“So many of us are constantly getting hurt and in pain that it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is a normal ache or pain and what needs more care and attention,” Wozniak says.

Wozniak takes care of some problems on her own by stretching, staying hydrated and using hot compresses or ice. But when her arm started turning purple and swelling, it was time to consult with Rush doctors. She was quickly diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which restricts normal blood flow to the arm. In her case, the condition was caused by overuse of her arms. She had surgery to have a rib removed in order to alleviate the problem.

Whether you’re a professional dancer or a recreational athlete, ongoing aches and pains are worth a consultation with a medical professional. “We have a knowledge of physiology and anatomy so we know what can be problematic and what can be ignored or pushed through,” Lee says.

Wozniak, who is 33 and has been dancing since age 7, is so passionate about dancing that she is motivated to do what it takes to maintain and improve the quality of her performance, but recreational athletes may not always be predisposed to work out consistently.

To improve the fun factor of staying fit, Lee suggests recreational athletes participate in a group sport such as flag football or a pick-up basketball league. “When you work out together there is the camaraderie of teammates working to achieve a goal,” he says.

Wozniak finds that camaraderie at the Joffrey. “We all care a lot about each other and support each other,” she says. “We’re like a family.”

Wozniak recently performed in a dance called “Body of Your Dreams” that spoofed the notion that quick fixes can help you effortlessly achieve the ideal physique. “I think people can get caught up in the trap of the importance of the perfect body image,” she says, “but you have to put things in perspective and find happiness and fulfillment in other ways.” And working out safely and preventing injury can help achieve that goal.

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