Four Questions to Ask For a Sports Related Injury

runner injured knee

If you have a sports injury, it’s a good idea to see a sports medicine specialist. Here are key questions to ask before you decide where to be treated.


Q: Do I need a sport medicine specialist?

A: “A sports medicine specialist is a physician who is specially trained to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate people with injuries of the knee, shoulder, back, wrist, ankle, and more,” explains Kathy Weber, MD, sports medicine specialist. “At Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, our sports medicine specialists are also experts at treating concussions, improving performance, and preventing future injuries. We will get you back to your peak performance as quickly as possible.”

Q: Do I need to be an “athlete” to see one?

A: “You absolutely do not need to be an ‘athlete’ to see a sports medicine specialist,” explains Nikhil Verma, MD, sports medicine surgeon. “At Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, while we do treat athletes – from junior high to the pros; we also treat recreational sports enthusiasts, like runners, golfers, and tennis players; plus a lot of people who get physically injured at work or during everyday life. No one can return you to full function like we can.”

Q: What options do they provide?

A: “No sports medicine group in the region offers you more options than Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.” says Julie Bruene, MD, sports medicine specialist. “We have physical therapists, pain management specialists and physiatrists who are experts at helping to relieve pain, build strength and improve performance. And if surgery is needed, we are pioneers at minimally invasive surgery.”

Q: How experienced are they?

A: “Even if you’re not an athlete, you want a sport medicine specialist who has seen it all,” explains Gregory Nicholson, MD, sports medicine surgeon. “We are team physicians at many area high schools, colleges and pro teams, including the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Bulls. And the orthopedic program at Rush is ranked 4th in the nation and #1 in Illinois and Indiana by U.S. News & World Report. So, if you have a sports or physical injury of any kind, put the experts on your side.”


Don’t let knee pain, shoulder pain or hip pain keep you from doing the activities you enjoy. Our top ranked doctors are experts in treating these injuries. Our doctors provide care to patients and athletes from across the globe who are seeking expertise in areas such as hip preservation, cartilage restoration, shoulder and knee reconstruction.

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Youth Pitching Study: The Effect of a Strengthening Program

Image result for core strengthening exercises

WHAT IS THE STUDY?

This study is examining the effect of a 6-week hip and core strengthening program on shoulder and elbow motion during pitching. Participants are 13-18 years old who pitch in at least one game per week on average during the season. Players will either be assigned to the control group or the strengthening program group. In the strengthening group, players will be taught a hip and core strengthening program and will be expected to complete it daily for 6 weeks. In the control group, players will continue to train as they were before enrolling in the study.

WHY HIP AND CORE STRENGTHENING?

The forces generated by the hip muscles during throwing are vital to the initiation and transfer of power to the arm. Electromyography (EMG) has shown that the legs and trunk provide rotational momentum for the arm and create over 50% of the total force and kinetic energy in a tennis serve. Other studies have shown that as a game progresses, players first show fatigue in their hip and core muscles and then lose their correct pitching form. In order to keep the same speed of their pitch while tired, players often use poor form and place themselves at risk for injury. We hope that using this conditioning program will strengthen the hip and core muscles and allow pitchers to continue pitching with proper form, therefore decreasing injuries.

WHAT WILL THE PLAYER BE EXPECTED TO DO?

When the player and parents decide to participate, the player will have baseline measurements taken, including hip range of motion, hip strength and the single leg squat test. Next, players will pitch while there are 1-inch markers attached to their arms and legs, which help us track body movements. If assigned to the strengthening group, players will be instructed on the proper completion of 10 exercises and will be instructed to do these daily before their regular practice sessions for 6 weeks. The program takes 10-15 minutes to complete. Players will also fill out a weekly compliance log of how often they do the exercises. The same tests will be repeated after the player has finished the 6 week program and then again after 6 months.

WHERE WILL THE TESTING TAKE PLACE?

The testing will take place at the new Rush University Medical Center Sports Training Facility in Oak Brook, IL.  If you believe you or your patients might qualify for one of our clinical trials or wish to be evaluated, please contact our research administrator, Kavita Ahuja, MD at (312) 563-2214 or kavita.ahuja@rushortho.com.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND BENEFITS?

There is minimal risk associated with participating. Risks include injury from pitching, muscle soreness or discomfort associated with completing the hip and core strengthening program. Potential benefits include improvement in the players’ pitching mechanics and/or velocity. However, that result cannot be guaranteed.

Research Graphic

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Research on GelrinC for the treatment of Articular Cartilage Defects in the Knee

This study evaluates the effectiveness of GelrinC in the treatment of cartilage damage in the knee. GelrinC is a synthetic material called PEG-DA combined with a natural protein called fibrinogen. Together, these materials form an implant which is inserted into the “hole” in your cartilage. As time goes on, new tissue forms around the implant and the implant gradually degrades so that eventually only the new tissue remains. This study hopes to find that the new tissue closely resembles your natural cartilage tissue, like the hole was never there in the first place.

Some patients with holes in their cartilage undergo a procedure called a microfracture, which stimulates the bone marrow within your knee bones to start the healing process. In this study, patients will have a microfracture procedure done with the additional implantation of the GelrinC. We will compare the results of the patients who received GelrinC to previous patients who only had the microfracture procedure. In an earlier clinical research study, GelrinC was shown to be safe for use and showed improvement in pain levels after surgery, symptoms and ability to do day to day activities.

Patients participating in the study answer questionnaires about their symptoms and functionality. Patients also undergo 4 MRI scans to evaluate how the knee is healing over the course of 5 years. There are 10 post-operative visits patients attend: 7 times within the first two years and then yearly at 3, 4 and 5 years.

NeoCart tissue implant for the treatment of articular cartilage injuries in the knee

This is a company-sponsored Phase 3, randomized research study evaluating an investigational treatment called NeoCart®, a tissue implant made from a patient’s own cells, aimed at repairing certain knee cartilage injuries. The study will look at damage to the knee’s hyaline articular cartilage, the smooth, white tissue that covers the ends of bones where they come together to form joints. Damage to this cartilage may be caused by an injury or repetitive motion.

It is a common problem that results in pain and symptoms, such as swelling, locking of the knee and loss of knee function. Damaged hyaline cartilage has limited capacity to repair or restore itself. Left untreated, the damage may progressively worsen and may lead to chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis. The purpose of this study is to learn about the safety and potential efficacy of the investigational cartilage tissue implant, NeoCart®, compared to microfracture, the current standard of care surgery for articular cartilage defects of the knee.

Patients who are between 18 and 59 years old and who have symptoms of pain in one knee may be candidates for this study will be screened for study recruitment. Accepted patients will have a two out of three chance of being treated with NeoCart® and a one out of three chance of receiving the microfracture procedure. Patients in each group will know their treatment group, have a specific rehabilitation program, and be evaluated periodically for three years after treatment.

The study sponsor is Histogenics, Corp. For more information, text knee1 to 87888, call (773)257-7057 or visit www.NeoCartImplant.com.

Read more about Clinical Trials and Ongoing Research Efforts under the direction of Dr. Brian Cole and the Cartilage Restoration Center Research Team at Rush.

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College Player Back in Action after Overuse Injury

By Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

baseball player with baseball

Baseball is a huge part of life for Millikin University sophomore Ben Jacobs. And he doesn’t take his ability to play at the college level for granted.

Just a few years ago while playing in a high school summer travel league, Ben was afraid his plans for a college baseball career might be derailed. He felt a tingling sensation in his arm and pain with throwing. What he didn’t know was that he was developing a type of throwing overuse injury.

When the feeling in Ben’s arm changed from tingling to pain, he knew he had to see a specialist. Ben’s father had been a patient at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, so they sought help right away from that group. They were introduced to Dr. Gregory Nicholson, an expert in shoulder and elbow surgery.

Dr. Nicholson diagnosed Ben with ulnar neuritis (also known as cubital tunnel syndrome), an inflammation of the ulnar nerve, which passes behind the medial epicondyle of the elbow down through the forearm and into the hand. The ulnar nerve is more commonly thought of as the “funny bone” nerve and inflammation can cause numbness or weakness in the hand.

Because of the position of the nerve, it is stretched when the elbow is bent. Thus, with the throwing motion it can become inflamed. In some cases, a splint or brace that keeps the elbow straight can be enough to relieve the pressure on the ulnar nerve. In Ben’s case, Dr. Nicholson recommended surgery to decompress the nerve and relieve Ben’s symptoms.

“Ulnar nerve decompression and transposition (moving the nerve to the front of the bend of the elbow) is a low-risk, outpatient procedure with a relatively high success rate. If patients are diligent with their physical therapy and follow the course of treatment, most regain full function,” Dr. Nicholson explains.

Ben and his family agreed to the surgery and he completed it while still in high school. During the procedure, Dr. Nicholson made an incision along the inside of Ben’s elbow. Once the nerve was fully explored, decompressed and moved slightly, Ben’s connective tissue and skin were closed with small stitches.

The surgery was successful and Ben soared through his physical therapy. Now, a few years post-surgery, Ben says he “feels 100 percent,” and has had no pain recurrence.

However, in order to avoid another overuse injury, he has changed positions from pitcher to catcher.

“To err on the side of caution, I decided to primarily play catcher. That way, I’m not putting too much strain on my arm, but can still be involved in every pitch.”

To commemorate his positive outcome, Ben had a “smile” face tattooed over his surgery scar as a reminder to persevere and stay positive.


“At first my arm felt a bit strange after surgery and it took me awhile to adjust. But now I’m lifting weights and throwing with no problem and I feel stronger than ever.”


To schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicholson to discuss your shoulder or elbow pain or condition, call 877-MD-BONES.

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