Contact: Hazel Valdez
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Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle Speaker Series on Orthopedic Health and Information Topics Continues through December 2013

Seattle, WA – During the last quarter of 2013, the physicians of Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle (OSS) have been speaking to the community and the greater Seattle population, on orthopedic topics including Joint Replacement, Relief from Hand and Wrist Pain, and Relief from Foot and Ankle Pain at the Swedish Ballard Hospital campus.

Dr. Ruhlman of OSS will be rounding out the Speaker Series with his topic, Relief from Your Hand and Wrist Pain on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at the Swedish Ballard Hospital campus from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Dr. Ruhlman will discuss treatments for different types of fractures; ways to treat arthritis in the wrist, thumbs and fingers; and how to prevent and treat carpal tunnel syndrome and other overuse conditions. Dr. Ruhlman trained as an Orthopedic Surgeon locally at the University of Washington and spent additional time at Harvard training in the complex disorders affecting the Hand, Shoulder and Elbow. “By using what I have learned, I strive to give you the top orthopedic care by not only achieving superior technical results, but to spend the time necessary to help you understand your injury and so we can work towards your specific goals and needs,” states Dr. Ruhlman.

To find out more and register for this class, visit:

Physicians at OSS perform highly specialized procedures for orthopedic surgery and general orthopedic care for adults and children. Each one of their eight physicians strives to be a leader in orthopedic medicine. They have extensive training and experience in general orthopedics, trauma, fracture care, total joint replacement, sports medicine, non-surgical treatment and overuse conditions. Treatment of injuries is performed in a relaxed setting, with an expert surgeon, as well as state-of-the art equipment. OSS is also the only orthopedic center in the state of Washington that offers Sonocur, a non-surgical treatment for tendonitis. Their comprehensive orthopedic approach provides patients with the ability to continue their active lifestyles as well as peace of mind.

Orthopedic Injuries of Celebrities

On Sundays while reading the sports page or perusing through the Internet, you come across articles regarding athletes who have been injured during a sporting event, but did ever stop to think about the entertainment industry? Well, if you think about it, there are quite a few injuries that occur while on stage, or even in their off time while they were horseback riding. We compiled a list of orthopedic injuries in both the sports and entertainment genres to note that sometimes, unexpected injuries can occur, even to famous sports and entertainment legends.

Pink – During her Funhouse Tour in 2009, the famous singer-songwriter separated her shoulder while on a trapeze.

Jennifer Grey – She had back surgery in 2012 to repair a ruptured disc in her back while performing on Dancing with the Stars season finale.

Liza Minnelli – Years of dancing caught up with her and had knee replacement surgery in 2010.

Bono – U2 singer Bono underwent emergency back surgery in May 2012. His injury – Severe compression of the sciatic nerve and a serious tear in the ligament and a herniated disc.

Dana Torres – Olympic Medal Swimmer had undergone a cutting-edge procedure on her knee to repair severe arthritis in 2010.

Phil Collins – He had surgery to repair a dislocated neck vertebrae in April 2009.

Soledad O’Brien – She injured herself on a horseback riding excursion and tore out her knee and had reconstructive surgery.

Big Boi – The Rapper hurt himself in a performance at the Summer Camp Fest in Chillicothe, IL. He jumped and landed badly and had torn a patella tendon.

Peyton Manning – During the 2011 NFL season, he had neck surgery.

Lance Armstrong – He had a cycling accident in 2009 with a clavicle fracture.

Tom Brady – In the 2008 NFL season had an ACL tear.

Joe Paterno – Former football coach of Penn state had a tibial plateau fracture.

Floyd Landis – The cyclist had surgery for his hip osteonecrosis.

Frankie Hejduk – MLS player had an ACL tear repaired.

Ronald Reagan – Former President of the United States had work done for his hip fracture.

Donovan McNabb
– During the 2005 NFL season, he had work done to repair his sports hernia.

Drew Brees – In the 2005 NFL season he had a shoulder dislocation.

Gwyneth Paltrow – She had broken her knee and it was discovered that she had osteopenia, a pre-cursor to osteoporosis.

Kobe Bryant – Basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers underwent surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon back in April 2013.

Misty May-Treanor – Olympian and volleyball superstar underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon back in October 2008 when she injured herself while rehearsing a dance routine for the television series Dancing With The Stars.

Dr. Reed notes, “Even celebrities have orthopedic ailments. From sprains, to fractures, to arthritis no one is immune. At Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle we treat all orthopedic conditions, from the everyman to the celebrity.”

Rotator Cuff Tears and Repairs

Rotator Cuff Tears and Repairs

In the world of orthopedic surgery, there are few body parts as notorious as the rotator cuff. It’s one of those medical terms that has become a household name, and usually comes with a wince and a sympathetic nod when we hear it. Most people know of someone, a friend or family member, who has injured this particular part of the shoulder. We also see it in the sports news quite often.

In fact, now that football season is in full swing, we may hear more about Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett who was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear earlier this year. He played through the injury last season and plans to do it again this year, although he will likely need surgery in the off-season.

The rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles and tendons that surround the head of the shoulder. Their job is not so much to move the arm through space, but to provide dynamic stability to the shoulder. This means that as the larger muscles of the chest and shoulder create arm movement, the smaller rotator cuff muscles pull the upper arm into the shoulder socket. This design allows the ligaments of the shoulder to be relatively loose so that we can enjoy a vast degree of mobility, being able to reach in a near three hundred and sixty degree range of motion.

Tearing of the rotator cuff can happen in two ways. An acute tear happens suddenly, such as when you fall on an outstretched hand, or lifting a heavy object. There is generally the sudden onset of pain and a corresponding loss of function of the arm, to varying degrees.Tears can also happen slowly over time. As we age, the tendons of the rotator cuff become weaker and gradually fray. This is particularly so with the supraspinatous tendon, located on the top of the shoulder blade.

This muscle and tendon tends to get pinched between the shoulder blade and the arm bone, especially if theother rotator cuff muscles are weak. The supraspinatous also has poor blood supply, sotears often do not heal on their own, making surgical repair necessary to restore function.-1

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include pain with movement of the shoulder and tenderness to touch. Inability to lift even household objects out to the side or overhead is also typical. Sometimes a person will not be able to actively lift the arm overhead due to abnormal movement within the joint itself.

Another indicator is a prior history of shoulder tendonitis or bursitis as this would point to excessive stress on the rotator cuff over time.

Treatment can be conservative for some tears, including physical therapy to improve shoulder mobility and progressively strengthen the cuff muscles. However, the majority of tears will likely require surgery if function of the shoulder is to be restored. Rotator cuff surgery has come a long ways in recent years, with many surgeries being arthroscopic.

This is a minimally invasive technique where the surgeon inserts a camera and surgical tools through small incisions in the shoulder. The instruments are only about a centimeter in diameter and can burrow through layers of muscle on top of the rotator cuff, whereas in past years these muscles had to be cut, making for longer recovery times.

During thesurgery, the torn rotator cuff tendon will be sutured together. The surgeon will also clean away any bone spurs that may have contributed to a degenerative tear.

If the tear is complex or involves additional procedures such as tendon transfers due to excessive degeneration of the rotator cuff tendon, then the surgeon may need to open the shoulder with a slightly longer incision. It involves more cutting of shoulder musculature and may slightly lengthen recovery time; however, from time to time it is necessary.

Fortunately, most repairs will not require this technique.Recovery is generally a four to six month process, involving four phases:

  • Phase 1 (protection): Lasting from day one to four weeks, this stage of healing involves protecting the surgery. You will be required to wear a sling during most parts of the day. Gentle mobility exercises may be prescribed.
  • Phase 2 (passive motion): Lasting until the sixth week, you will be prescribed physical therapy and begin moving the shoulder with assistance within a prescribed range of motion.
  • Phase 3 (active motion): From weeks six through twelve, the focus will be on moving the arm and shoulder on your own, increasing the active range of motion.
  • Phase 4 (strengthening): You should have improved mobility at this time, allowing you to focus on building full strength and function of the arm.

Undergoing a rotator cuff repair can be a lengthy process. The amount of time that you will be required to be away from work will vary depending on the physical demands of your job. This will all be discussed in depth during pre-operative visits so that you may plan accordingly.

However, if surgery is recommended, you should not delay for long, as the torn tissue becomes weak and shortened over time, making a successful repair more difficult.If you are experiencing persistent shoulder pain, please feel free to contact my office to arrange a consultation.