Physician Blog: Warm Up Your Physical Activity During Winter - Genesis Health System

Published on December 15, 2016

Warm Up Your Physical Activity During Winter

By Jose Armendariz, MD, Sports Medicine Specialist

Sports Medicine Specialty at Genesis

From cauliflower ear and concussions to sprains and strains, winter sports can bring a variety of health challenges for competitive athletes or the “weekend warriors” who want to become more active.

To address these needs, Genesis Health Group recently welcomed sports medicine specialist Jose Armendariz, MD, to the Bettendorf HealthPlex. Dr. Armendariz is trained in primary care sports medicine and answered some questions about this specialty:

1. Tell us a little about what a sports medicine specialist does?

Jose Armendariz, MD

Jose Armendariz, MD

Many people don’t realize that about 90% of all sports injuries are non-surgical. As a sports medicine specialist, I can treat many conditions that don’t require surgery; guide referrals to physical and occupational therapies; and if necessary, expedite referrals to an orthopedic surgeon.

2. What are some common problems you treat?

Some musculoskeletal problems and treatments include:

  • Ankle sprains, muscle strains, knee and shoulder injuries
  • Overuse injuries like tendonitis and stress fractures
  • Medical and injection therapies for osteoarthritis
  • Non-surgical fracture care, such as splints, casts, and braces
  • Injections for joint pain
  • Orthobiologics (This rapidly growing field uses substances that are naturally found in your body to heal broken bones and injured muscles, tendons and ligaments)

I also have received additional training in the non-musculoskeletal aspects of sports medicine. This can include:

  • Concussion and other head injuries
  • Helping athletes with chronic or acute illness like infectious mononucleosis, asthma or diabetes
  • Nutrition, supplements, ergogenic aids and performance issues
  • Injury prevention and “return to play” decisions when athletes have been sick or injured
  • Recommendations for safe strength training and conditioning exercises
  • Exercise prescriptions for patients who want to increase their fitness
  • Sports, Camp, and MMA physicals

3. What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when they are injured or experience pain while exercising?

Sports MedicineThe most common mistake is simply not listening to your body. We have all heard “pain is weakness leaving the body,” “no pain no gain,” and other adages.

Types of pain you'll want to address include:

  1. Pain that is moderate intensity and does not improve with rest, ice, analgesics
  2. Pain that modifies your normal activity
  3. And pain that does not allow you to enjoy your activity

If the pain persists after you have backed off on your activity, iced it, and/or taken Tylenol/NSAID (as directed), seek advice or evaluation from a health care specialist.

4. Wrestling is a big winter sport in our area. What can be done to treat and prevent cauliflower ear and infections?

Auricular hematoma, or cauliflower ear, is an injury caused by friction or trauma to the ear most commonly seen in contact sports, such as wrestling, boxing, rugby, and martial arts. If it is not promptly diagnosed, it can lead to a permanent deformation of the ear.

Prevention involves education on proper fitting headgear and use of headgear during practice.

Treatment involves aspiration of the fluid to prevent further complications, the application of a compression splint that is used for 4-5 days, and a short course of antibiotics.

As far as infections are concerned, bacterial (e.g. MRSA, impetigo), viral (e.g. mononucleosis, herpes gladiatorum), fungal (e.g. ringworm) can all delay training or competition in wrestlers. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is very important to minimize any delay in return to play.

5. The New Year is almost here and many of us will resolve to exercise more. Any recommendations for those who haven’t exercised in a while?

I would recommend pacing yourself. Whether you are a conditioned athlete or just want to be a healthier you, it is important to incorporate three things into your workout after you have set a goal for fitness:

  1. Cardio: Think of this as your energy gas tank which includes your heart and lungs
  2. Core exercises: Our spine is a series of blocks that must be supported by the surrounding muscles
  3. Weight training: This will give you the power to do the work you want to accomplish

Adding the right amount of the three ingredients to achieve your fitness goal will ensure you are safe. Whether it is work, chores around the house, or recreational sports, exercising with a plan will help with the New Year’s resolution.

6. Tell us a little bit about your background? What interested you about Sports Medicine?

I was raised in Oklahoma and spent eight years in the U.S. Army. My wife and I have just moved back to the Quad Cities from Wisconsin. With regards to Sports Medicine, I enjoy the challenge of combining science and medicine to help individuals and athletes return to the activities they like

7. Does someone need a referral to see you?

At this time, self-referrals are accepted.

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