Artificial Body Parts

Patient Forms

Please fill out these forms and bring them with you when you come for your appointment.

Online Resources

The following sites are recommended for additional information regarding orthopaedic problems.

Watch out for the Heat

I’m sure that our cool weather – unusually prolonged into May this year – had many of you wondering if we were ever going to see the sun and warmth of summer. Well, our weather has finally turned and people of all ages will be getting more active in the heat, and those of you who are active year –round will also be exposed to the heat as our temperatures climb. While I wrote a column on heat injuries a couple of seasons ago, it seems appropriate to revisit some of the dangers associated with exercising in the heat once again.

First of all, we are all at risk – not just athletes. We can all understand the risks taken by runners or by August footballers, but heat illness and injury can affect those who work outdoors – from construction workers to home-owners doing yard work, from families at reunions in the park to dads enjoying a round of golf. And sadly, it can affect the elderly at home if they have no air conditioning.

Importantly, heat-related illnesses are preventable. We all need to understand the causes so we can work on prevention, and we need to know the signs of heat injury so we can treat it quickly and reduce its severity.

Our bodies get rid of excess heat by sweating, but in sweating we lose more than heat: we lose necessary body fluids and salts. If we don’t replace these fluids, our bodies dry out (dehydration), and we lose the ability to cool ourselves down. If we can’t keep ourselves cool, we can literally cook ourselves.

Many factors hinder perspiration and heat release: high humidity, dark or heavy clothing, football pads and helmets, direct exposure to sun, high body fat, alcohol consumption (alcohol drags fluid out of the body and leaves you less fluid to regulate heat) and youth. Children are less able than adults to regulate heat. Young athletes returning to play after a period of time off for injury are also at increased risk because of a likely loss of some degree of conditioning.

The early signs of heat injury include heat cramps, which surface as painful cramping in the stomach, arm and leg muscles. Treatment involves stopping the exercise, gently stretching the muscles and drinking a cool electrolyte solution low in sugar (e.g., a sports drink). Signs of worsening heat illness include weakness, headache, dizziness, fainting, unconsciousness and rising body temperature.

Treatment of early heat illness is really very simple: move the person to a cool shaded area, loosen or remove tight clothing, give fluids by mouth if the patient is awake, apply ice or cold wet towels to the face, chest or armpits, and use a fan if available. If the patient is unconscious, it is truly an emergent situation, and you need to call 911.

The key to prevention is maintaining hydration before, during, and after exercise. Replace your fluids whether you feel thirsty or not. Keeping in mind that a bottle of water you buy at the store or from a vending machine is typically 20 oz., a good recommendation is to drink 24 oz. of noncaffeinated fluid two hours before exercise, then an additional 8 oz. of water or sports drink right before exercise. During strenuous exercise break every 20 minutes and drink an additional 8 oz. Wear light-colored clothing, use sunscreen, and if possible schedule outdoor activity during cooler times of the day such as early in the morning or after sunset. Also follow carefully both your weight and the color of your urine. If your weight is down say 2 lbs. or more since the start of your last exercise session, or if your urine color is darker than light yellow, you have likely not replenished your fluid loss and are at risk.

Hope this helps you enjoy the summer a little more. See you next month.

< Back to News & Resources