Orthopedics Tree Emblem Thomas J. Parr, M.D., F.A.C.S.
  Orthopedic Surgery, Total Joint Replacement,
Sports Medicine, and Children's Orthopedics
(281) 491-7111
 
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** Links to Dr. Parr's Ft. Bend Independent Articles **

 

ATHLETES & SPORTS MEDICINE
Heart disease in high school athletes    24.AUG.11
         " High school and college sports are gearing up for the new school year. It’s an exciting time, with pageantry, tradition, and excitement. But there is a cost. Each year, about 90 young athletes will die on the field or court from unsuspected heart disease. These tragic and unexpected events receive wide publicity, and understandably cause concern for parents of teenagers involved in high intensity sports. The leading cause of death in athletes under the age of 35 is a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
         "In this condition, the walls of the heart are abnormally enlarged and can lead to sudden fatal arrhythmias. This is a disease that runs in families, affecting African Americans more than most other ethnicities. Doctors can confirm this diagnosis with an echocardiogram (ultrasound), but there is no “cure” for this condition. Pacemakers can help the patient lead a normal life, but cannot guarantee safe participation in high intensity sports."

Risks of bare-foot running    15.JUN.11
         "Because of a recent book, “Born to Run,” many runners have decided to try barefoot or Vibram FiveFingers (the barely-there-foot gloves) running. Interestingly, the promoters of barefoot running claim that barefoot running will reduce running injuries. These claims are not supported by well developed medical research, however... In the past year, I personally have seen two marathon runners who decided to try the new 'foot gloves' and developed stress fractures during their run, keeping them from being able to finish. I also am seeing many foot injuries due to attempts at barefoot running. Other orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists are reporting similar experiences. Stress fractures of the bones in the feet are becoming a common problem with barefoot running. That is because our feet are accustomed to running in the protection of well constructed, appropriately cushioned shoes."

Warning signs of golf injury    01.JUN.11
         "Golf is a marvelous sport, praised and cursed in the same breath by just about all of its most ardent followers. Because it is a repetitive motion sport, ignoring early warning signs of discomfort or pain is not a good idea. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong. If not diagnosed and treated early, a more serious problem is likely to develop which might take you away from the sport for a prolonged period of time."

Stress fractures in women’s high impact sports    04.MAY.11
         "For several decades now, many women’s coaches and sports medicine physicians have known that certain women’s sports skills should be trained in different ways to accommodate physiological characteristics in women. .... Stress fractures are most commonly located in the bones of the lower extremity, especially around the pelvis, leg, and foot. For both men and women athletes, this type of injury results from high-level repetitive trauma or overuse, but even minimal stresses can cause fractures in weakened bone. ...This study, from Harvard Medical School and Boston Children¹s Hospital, demonstrated a statistically higher risk of stress fractures in adolescents who participated in 3 distinct sports: running, basketball, and cheerleading/gymnastics at a high-impact level."

Legislating safety in youth sports    06.APR.11
         "Sometimes government tries to fix real problems, but comes up with solutions which create more problems. Take the Arkansas Legislature for example. Earlier this year, a bill was proposed to make it illegal for organized youth sports for children under the age of 11 to hold practices or games any time the heat index was 85 degrees or greater. That effectively would have outlawed outdoor sports for about 6 months out of the year. "

Common exercise mistakes    23.MAR.11
         "Over time, it is easy to fall into sloppy or ineffective exercise habits. Instead of getting into shape, you can get frustrated, bored, or hurt. Let me explain. You should not try to do an exercise program because it is what someone else is doing or try to achieve too much too soon. Your choices for your exercise routine need to fit your current physical condition, your personality, and your lifestyle. Otherwise, you will become discouraged, find too many excuses to skip it, and ultimately quit. "

Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome    06.OCT.10
         "Over the years, I have had a number of highly trained athletes who gradually started having unexplained, painful cramping of the lower arm or lower leg during exercise. Other symptoms included numbness or tingling, burning, weakness and a sensation of tightness in the limb. A coach might think the athlete is malingering, especially since the pain goes away shortly after stopping the exercise. To an average observer, the complaint of pain also does not seem to be consistent with the degree of exercise being done at the time."

Cheerleading: A sport or not?    28.JUL.10
         "A Federal District Judge in Connecticut recently ruled that cheerleading is not a sport. Reaction to this seems to depend upon one's personal experience. Cheerleading has always been an athletic activity. I entered West Point with great upper body strength from lifting my high school cheerleading partner many times a day, five or six days a week, during my high school senior year; yet during my last year as a West Point cadet, we Rabble Rousers (cheerleaders) were really only responsible for Corps 'spirit.' "

The diabetic athlete    30.SEP.09
         "It is often thought that diabetic patients cannot be athletes, but this is not true. Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and three-time USA Olympian Swimmer Gary Hall, Jr. are only two of many well known athletes who have not let their diabetes take them away from their sports."

“Energy” drinks are not sports drinks    19.AUG.09
         "Do you know the difference between a “sports drink” and an “energy drink”? The two are very different. One can be good for you under certain circumstances and one is not - not under any circumstances."

New standards for sports head injury (Part 2)    05.AUG.09
         "Until 2006, some believed that neck resistance training might help protect the brain in collision and contact sports. Kinesiologists at Temple University studied this, and found that it did not help. Resistance training is fine. Just don’t do it thinking it will make any difference in the potential for Traumatic Brain Injury."

New standards set for sports head injury (Part 1)    29.JUL.09
         " 'Getting your bell rung' is a common way to explain that an athlete has sustained a head injury playing a collision or contact sport. All traditional contact sports, as well as individual sports, including gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, ice skating, extreme biking, and skateboarding, carry the risk of a head injury."

Off Season Conditioning   10.JUN.09
         "It is much easier to get back into shape for your fall sports if you never let yourself get too out-of-shape this summer. You also will be reducing your chances of getting injured next season and not being able to play at all."

Athletes and pre-season training   25.FEB.09
         "Spring is approaching, and the billboards and yard signs are now appearing around town notifying parents it is time to sign up for a variety of organized youth sports teams again."

CHILDREN'S ORTHOPEDICS
Specializing in sports in early age causes more serious injuries 
  26.OCT.11
         "For some years now, pediatricians and orthopedic surgeons have noticed a growing trend for children to start specializing in one sport at a much earlier age than before. The reason we are have taken note of this reality is because we are seeing more serious injuries at earlier ages. It is enough of a problem that it warrants discussion."

Jumping on a trampoline risky   09.MAR.11
         "From time to time, friends and patients will ask me for advice about buying a trampoline for their children to play on in the back yard. My answer has always been to strongly discourage such a purchase. ... Unless you want to risk the possibility that your child or a neighbor’s child could become paralyzed, you should regard a trampoline as being as dangerous as diving into shallow water. ... So, if you currently have a trampoline or are going to buy one, you and your insurance agent need to discuss what is covered in your home owners liability policy. Many policies today have a ‘trampoline exclusion'.""

Vitamin D: From rickets to osteoporosis
   15.DEC.10
         "How many times have you heard -- or said yourself -- “You need to drink your milk?” There are some things Mothers just know....Seeing a potential increase in rickets for exclusively breastfed infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reviewed its position on the supplemental Vitamin D, and in October, 2008, the AAP doubled its recommendation to 400 mg a day for breastfed infants."

Taking care of active kids   22.SEP.10
         "You want your children to be active kids. It helps them establish healthy lifestyles. It encourages them to try new things and to develop self-confidence. But sometimes, active kids do try things which don’t always work out too well, and they can end up with a broken bone. While this is a normal part of childhood, for first-time fracture parents, it can be quite unnerving. Knowing in advance about what to do when a child does break a bone will help you overcome those first minutes of anxiety and will reassure your son or daughter that he or she will be OK again soon."

Backpacks: Health issue, not fashion statement    25.AUG.10
         "Teaching youngsters to shop the sales for back-to-school clothing is a great idea, but not such a good idea for the backpack. While your sons or daughters will be looking at the backpack as a fashion statement, parents need to look at it with an entirely different set of eyes. In January, 2010, the medical professional journal, 'Spine,' reported on a recent MRI study regarding the effects school backpacks have on healthy children's spines. 'This is the first upright MRI study to document reduced disc height and greater lumbar asymmetry for common backpack loads in children.' The conclusion supported what has been suspected by pediatricians and orthopedic surgeons for a long time: 'Backpack loads are responsible for a significant amount of back pain in children, which in part, may be due to changes in lumbar disc height or curvature.' "

Genetic brittle bone disease [Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI)]   03.FEB.10
         "When most people think about fragile bones, they tend to think of osteoporosis and older ladies whose hips can break with an unexpected step, causing them to fall. Because of bone density testing and new osteoporosis medications, this once feared orthopedic condition is now able to be treated rather successfully. There is another fragile bone disease that you may not be familiar with."

Improve water safety; encourage swimming   27.MAY.09
         " Summer is here. The kids are out of school, and the days are heating up. Time to enjoy the water -- pools, water parks, lakes, and the Gulf. Unfortunately, this is also a time that both emergency rescue workers and news reporters dread. Every summer, we have a few tragic drownings in the Greater Houston Area."

Children need vitamin D   21.JAN.09
         "Their grandparents were sent out the door in the morning, and came in only for lunch, before going back outside to play until suppertime. No sunscreen. Today’s youngsters aren’t exposed to such “neglect.” They get to stay inside in air-conditioned comfort, watch Sponge Bob Square Pants, and play with their Playstation 2."

Health: Early childhood habits die hard   26.NOV.08
         "As a parent, you are teaching your young children a lifetime of healthy or unhealthy habits each day of their lives. Exercise habits start very early and affect a person’s health throughout his or her life."

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT & RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS
What if you were being “eaten up” from the inside out?    20.JUN.12
         "If you knew you had a disease that was “eating up” all your body’s vital organs from the inside out, and ultimately would lead to your own unpleasant death, wouldn’t you want to do something about it? Unfortunately, far too many Americans are ignoring this problem, both as individual patients, as well as within whole families. The problem is obesity, a major contributor to Type 2 diabetes. More specifically, the excessive number of fat cells in the body starts a destructive chemical chain reaction affecting essentially all the organs. The greater the number of fat cells (meaning the more overweight you are), the greater the danger."

Sitting too much is a “weighty” problem    23.MAY.12
         "Oops! We seem to have made a mistake. As a society, we have placed great value on being as efficient as possible, and working long hours. We organize our desks and arrange our lives to avoid as much unnecessary movement as possible, and we work hard to create the illusion that we are irreplaceable. And we think of this as good. However, research is beginning to show that efficiency and diligence are actually bad for our personal long-term health."

Tricks to keep healthy eating during holidays    07.DEC.11   By JOANNIE PARR
         "Whether it is attending a number of holiday parties or having guests into your home for dinner, the holidays are always hard on diets and dieters. By planning ahead, there are some relatively easy tricks you can use to help you keep from sabotaging your recent weight loss successes. If you know you are going to be at a party where tempting foods and drinks will be served, develop a game plan before you go."

Your goal: Move one column left    13.JUL.11   By JOANNIE & THOMAS J. PARR, M.D.
         "As much as we Texans like to brag about being at the top, being listed as one of the most obese states in America is not much of an accomplishment. We have gone from being the 16th fattest state in 1995 to being the 12th fattest state in 2010. We are going in the wrong direction, folks! "
         [See Height/Weight Chart related to this article]

Weight loss: It’s a journey; Enjoy the ride   08.FEB.11    By ASHLEY DONNELL, PA_C
         "It’s February. Have you already failed at your attempts to keep your New Year’s resolutions -- especially if they pertained to weight loss, eating right, and exercising more? Hey, we’re Americans! We want the quick solution. We want the ‘Easy’ button. We don’t actually want to change our life-style, even though we know that’s the only answer."

Easily lose 50 or more lbs in 2011!   12.JAN.11    
         "How common is it to hear “I need to lose 30 pounds in the next 6 weeks before... (you fill in the blank)... my daughter’s wedding, my high school reunion, my trip to Hawaii?” The problem with these types of short term goals is that they do not change lifestyle habits. They actually generate a boomerang effect because there is no lifestyle change. In the end, more weight will be regained than was originally lost."

Pedometer, light tool for exercise and weight loss   23.JUN.10
         "A few weeks ago, we joined about 30 of my West Point classmates on a mini-reunion cruise. Cruising is a great way to travel, to visit with friends, and to relax. But it is a hard way to control weight! I knew I would be in the ship’s gym every day, and my wife -- that same lady who told me years ago that she wasn’t an athlete when I married her and she wasn’t going to become one now -- showed up with a pedometer."

MEDICAL ECONOMICS & BUSINESS
Texas doctors will be “lean and mean” to stay in “business”    04.JUL.12       
                                    By JOANNIE PARR & THOMAS PARR, M.D.
         "Our current healthcare system is so broken that it has been gradually imploding on itself for the past several years. The recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act (ie: the ACA or Obamacare) is probably going to accelerate this process. Unfortunately, neither the system that existed before, nor the system President Obama and the Democrats put into law, is going to be the solution to our current healthcare mess."

Free healthcare is a myth   07.MAR.12
         "There is no such thing as free healthcare. Someone must always pick up the bill. ... So who is paying for America’s health care today? America’s doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. They are the ones being forced by your Federal elected officials to underwrite your personal healthcare costs. After 14 years of the SGR, your doctors are no longer able to continue under such an economically absurd system."

Ending Medicare “as we know it”   20.APR.11    By JOANNIE PARR
         "But the real truth is that Medicare as we know it, will no longer exist simply because it is economically unsustainable. ... Do you like the railroads? The railroad industry was the first industry in America to be put under Federal price controls, thanks to President Grover Cleveland in 1887. The Wright Brothers were still children, and the only other form of transportation involved a horse. One can only imagine what kind of railroad system America would have today if the industry had been able to operate independent of Federal price controls."

Boomerang children’s privacy rights   20.APR.11
         "Boomerang children (the ones you send off to college and then come back) combined with ObamaCare have created a new and conflicting situation when it comes to adult children’s health care. As of January 1, 2011, adult children under the age of 26 are now being added back to parents’ health insurance policies, even if they have not moved back into the house. They have not converted back into “minor child” status, however...By law, a child becomes a legal adult on his or her 18th birthday, and yet, turning 18 does not make a child be economically independent. Also by law, all adults have very specific privacy rights."

SHOULDERS
Shoulder injuries: Empowering the patient    08.APR.09
         "How many people do you know who complain about their shoulder hurting? Many will say they have a rotator cuff tear. That is a rather common term most people have heard of and it does convey that something has been hurt in the shoulder region."

Students are now the teachers   25.MAR.09
         "If you have ever had a shoulder dislocate, you knew it immediately. An initial shoulder dislocation is usually a traumatic injury, commonly affecting young men and women while competing in contact sports, gymnastics, volleyball, swimming, and cheerleading."

ELBOW, WRIST, HAND, & FINGERS
Does knuckle cracking lead to Osteoarthritis?    11.SEP.11
         "Show of hands.... how many of you pop your knuckles? How many of you have heard your moms say “Don’t do that. It’ll give you fat knuckles and cause arthritis in your fingers when you get old”? The knuckles in your hands are not the only joints which can be routinely (or even habitually) popped. Patients can do the same to the joints of their wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and back, knees, ankles, and toes, and most will tell you it makes the joint feel better. So why?"

Healthcare: Finger injuries    05.MAY.10
         "You are playing ball and the ball hits dead on the end of your finger. Perhaps you are cleaning out the garage, and your finger gets crushed, perhaps even in the garage door itself. Maybe you are working in the kitchen when a knife slips, cutting your finger deeply. Most people will correctly apply immediate first aid, including ice and elevation. Unfortunately, too many stop at that point, without seeking professional medical treatment."


LEGS & KNEES
Consistent exercise key for strong knees   05.OCT.11
         "I hear it every day: 'I quit running because it ‘tore up’ my knee', or 'My friends told me to stop running because it is bad for my knee.' Yet, I tell my patients to keep moving, because it is the best thing for their joints. This public misconception perhaps comes from the reality that osteoarthritis, or 'wear and tear arthritis', begins with damage to the joint cartilage. But it is important to understand what joint cartilage is and how it works."

Treating painful knee problems
   21.APR.10
         "Knees take a lot of use and abuse during our lifetimes, and yet, until they start hurting enough to alter our daily habits, we tend to take our knees pretty much for granted. Osteoarthritis (including cartilage damage), meniscus tears, and ligament injuries are your primary knee concerns. All three can usually be handled initially with conservative care. It is only a rare exception, and always involving extreme trauma, where these diagnoses should require immediate or urgent surgery."

Shin Splints: Pain in the lower leg   16.DEC.09
         "You’ve heard the term 'shin splints.' You may have even used it to describe your own lower leg pain. But did you know that 'shin splints' really is a catch-all term to describe three different painful conditions of the lower leg?"


FEET & ANKLES

But, I look good in these shoes — II   11.JAN.12
         "Considering the history of pointed toe and high heel shoes, as discussed in the last article and as applied to today’s culture, there is no doubt women are not going to suddenly move to “sensible” shoes -- the ones ladies in my office call “ugly” -- no matter how badly their feet hurt. My problem as their orthopedic surgeon, then, is to try to find ways to help them be more aware about what their shoes are doing to their feet and ankles as they make selections in footwear."

But, I Look Good in these Shoes   21.JAN.11
         "According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), Americans are spending in excess of $2 billion a year to have foot surgery, and about $3.5 billion if you include the costs of recovery and being off work. While genetics can provide a predisposition towards developing foot problems, the real culprit is women’s shoes. As the AAOS points out, 'Improperly-fitting shoes, which can cause bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, and other disabling foot problems, are a huge public health risk in the U.S....One in six persons or 43.1 million people in the U.S. have foot problems. Thirty-six percent regard their foot problems as serious enough to warrant medical attention.' "

Why do my feet hurt?   14.JAN.09
         "The foot is really a very complex part of the human body, with its numerous different and interdependent parts. If you have been careful about your shoes and how they are fitting your feet, but your feet still hurt, there could be some other explanations ."

Walking all over with ‘friendly’ shoes   07.JAN.09
         "Each one has at least 26 different bones and 33 separate joints, all held together by 107 ligaments, 20 muscles, and many tendons and nerves. It also has about 125,000 sweat glands, responsible for sweating about one pint of water from your body in a normal day."

EXERCISE, SAFETY, & IMPROVED OVERALL HEALTH
The diet soda syndrome: Healthy diet is an antidote   18.APR.12
       "Once again, I am able to report that the U.S., with only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, is Number One in soft drink consumption in the world. Normally, one would be proud of international dominance, but this is not really a good thing. According to the National Soft Drink Association, Americans consume over 600 12-ounce servings per person per year. That’s over 3 quarts of soft drinks per person per month, or over 15 quarts per year."

Leisure activities and depression    20.JUN.12
         "An article published this month in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reported the results of a 10 year study in men from age 20 to 87 years of age who recorded their levels of leisure time activity and various measurements of depression. ... Both the moderate (sweating not necessarily involved) and high activity groups had more than 50 percent reduction in depressive symptoms over the 10 years. Even those who were only minimally active during their leisure time had a 24 percent reduction in depressive symptoms.Interestingly, this seems to apply only to leisure time activities. Those with physically active jobs or who walked a lot at work, but who did not exercise during their leisure time had depressive symptoms similar to those who were sedentary."

Seniors ‘aging in place’    08.FEB.12
         "Remaining active and independent is very important to America’s seniors. This also means seniors intend to ‘age in place.’ They want to remain in their homes and in their communities. The Journal of Housing for the Elderly has reported approximately '70 percent of seniors spend the rest of their life in the place where they celebrated their 65th birthday.' While various studies give slightly different data, the National Safety Council has estimated that 54 percent of all fatal falls for America’s seniors are falls which occurred at home. Many non-fatal injuries due to falls can cause the patient to lose at least one level of mobility, meaning if you were using a cane, you now will be having to use a walker or a wheel chair. If you have been living at home, you may even have to move into an assisted living facility."

Seniors face risk of falling    25.JAN.12
         "According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older will fall. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable.” The American Geriatrics Society now regards falling to be as serious a potential health problem for people over the age of 65 as are heart attacks and strokes."

Getting your driver license renewed at 98 — Listen to the expert   21.SEP.11
         "George, is my hero. George was born the year the brassiere was invented. As a Second Lieutenant, he was introduced to his wife by a First Lieutenant, named Westmoreland (as in General William Westmoreland). At age 98, George still lives independently in his own home. His mind is still impressively sharp, and his body has not failed him. Young people love to be with George, and he loves to be with them. George still safely drives himself where he wants to go, and his current goal is to become West Point’s oldest living grad."

A “magic pill” for seniors   18.MAY.11
         "Perhaps the two things seniors fear most are the loss of their mental abilities and loss of their physical independence. In 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León searched Florida for the Fountain of Youth. Today, too many of our seniors are looking for a “magic pill.” Lucky for you, I actually have a “magic pill” for you. The bad news is I cannot write a prescription for you to take to the drug store."

Hot summer nights   08.JUL.09
         "Summer is definitely here. The daily highs in recent weeks have been reaching or exceeding 100 degrees, with the humidity also being quite high. The lows are not falling below the mid 70s and even then not until just before sunrise. This means that if you want to walk or ride your bike, it is very tempting to do so in the cooler night air -- when drivers are already contending with reduced visibility."

Keeping resolutions without money   31.DEC.08
         "We do it every year. We promise ourselves we’ll spend more time with family and friends, get into better physical shape, and lose some weight. We also start to look at all those bills which arrive at our doors along with the holiday mail. Fortunately for us, we can keep those New Year’s Resolutions at little or no cost."

Seeking the fountain of youth   24.DEC.08
         "As we age, moving further and further away from our youth, the more we seek that elusive ‘Fountain of Youth.’ A recent study at Stanford University School of Medicine has confirmed that regular lifetime exercise habit is as close to those ‘magical waters’ as we can have."

Weekend warriors   17.DEC.08
         "Do you work hard all week and reward yourself by playing hard on the weekend? Does your brain still remember how great it was to be 20, but your body no longer responds the same way? Those few extra pounds you’ve put on since your younger days probably aren’t helping either. The problem is now you have jobs and responsibilities which consume your time during the week. The only time you have to do the things you love is on the weekend or days off work. You have become a Weekend Warrior."

Exercise a must for young adults   10.DEC.08
         "Over the last few weeks, I’ve been telling you about the need to get kids moving. Not only can sports be fun, but they also can create a lifetime of healthy habits. This week, we’re growing up just a bit. As kids stop being kids and become young adults, lots of things change. These changes lead to new habits, both good and bad."

Physical fitness of teenagers   03.DEC.08
         "Old habits are hard to break. That’s true even if the habits are good habits. Last week, we talked about developing a healthy exercise routine in young children. It is important to continue that habit into adolescence as well. But, it’s during the teenage years when physical fitness patterns diverge into two separate paths: the recreational athlete, and the competitive athlete."


GENERAL ORTHOPEDICS
There are no ‘minor’ surgeries, just minor surgeons   09.NOV.11
         "Many times, my Physician’s Assistant and I have patients complaining that we are asking them to get laboratory and EKG studies prior to surgery, even for some “minor” surgical procedures. There is a reason we ask for the studies. In surgery, we talk about how there are “no minor surgeries--just minor surgeons,” meaning that surgeons who think what they are doing is minor are just wrong. We make our decisions to obtain preoperative studies based on our patients’ health and social history, not just his or her age. The lab tests we order have a specific purpose and are tailored to each patient’s needs."

Common arthritis medicine and heart disease   10.AUG.11
         "One of our greatest challenges in medicine is balancing the potential benefits and the known--and unknown--risks of treatment. To quote the title of one of the Philadelphia group Circa Survive’s songs: “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison is the Dose.” As an orthopedic surgeon, I see folks with arthritis just about every day, and my job is to help them with their pain. A few are young, affected by one of the autoimmune diseases or trauma, but most are much older. Our older patients often have other diseases, such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease. Many with advanced arthritis have already had a heart attack."

Hot summer may aggravate orthopedic injuries   09.JUN.10
         "Last summer, the Pacific El Nino helped protect us from the extremely hot temperatures and Gulf Hurricanes that normally grace the Houston area. Unfortunately, many weather experts believe we could have higher than normal temperatures along the Texas Gulf coast this summer. Over the last 23 years, I have noticed a correlation between extremely hot summer conditions and an increase in orthopedic injuries the following fall. The reason is simple."

Set reasonable goals to ‘lose it’   17.FEB.10
         "Have you noticed all the magazines in the grocery checkout lines that mention personal fitness or weight loss on their covers? Their headlines sound so very positive! Sadly, when you look inside, the pictures don’t even begin to look like you! They are always of young, agile bodies without an ounce of fat demonstrating exercises in positions that most of us could not possibly get into without hurting ourselves. It’s enough to discourage the most committed of us."

Osteoporosis supplements   04.FEB.09
         "OK, it’s just 6 bucks a month or so for me. But when I am multiplied by the 20 million people in the United States who have osteoarthritis, suddenly what all of us together spend on glucosamine and chondroitin supplements amounts to almost $900 million a year!"

GENERAL MEDICINE
Post traumatic stress disorder   06.JUN.12
         "When we hear about Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we tend to think in regards to our troops; however PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced or witnessed an extremely frightening event. For example, the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center reported in 2000 that about one-third of all rape victims will subsequently develop PTSD."

Heat stroke: Drinking water first line of defense   16.MAY.12
         "A July, 2011 Bloomberg News headline read: “Heatstroke Deaths Quadruple as Japan Shuns Air Conditioners to Save Power”. The turning off of air conditioning was in response to the power problems cause by the earthquake and tsunami in March, 2011, which destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. In the U.S., we have an ongoing problem of heat stroke injuries and death, especially involving outside labor, people and animals left in cars or other closed spaces, our unattended elderly, and in athletes during training or competition. Sadly, these injuries and deaths are preventable. "

Pick your Primary Care Physician now    9.MAY.12    By JOANNIE PARR
         "The question is becoming very common: What’s going to happen to healthcare? At the moment, no one knows; but many are quite concerned about their future ability to have the kind of healthcare they want, especially those who are Medicare age or who are approaching Medicare age."

Abuse of pain medication on the rise    4.APR.12    
         "It’s official: Americans have a very low tolerance for discomfort, and this is not good news. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we Americans are the world’s largest consumer of painkillers, devouring 99 percent of the world¹s hydrocodone, (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab are common brand names) and 71 percent of the world’s oxycodone (popularly known as OxyContin, Percodan, and Percocet). Keep in mind that we comprise only 4.6 percent of the world’s population."

Study restores virtues of regular coffee    23.NOV.11    
         "Feeling down and out? Life not treating you well? Relief is at your fingertips! Just sit down and have another cup of Joe. At least, that is what some researchers involved in the Nurses’ Health Study seem to be recommending in a recent article in ''The Archives of Internal Medicine.' ... Those who reported drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day during this time had a 20 percent lower chance of developing depression than those women who reported drinking one cup or less of coffee per week."

After hours? Call your doctor anyway    29.JUN.11       By JOANNIE PARR
         "My strongest recommendation is this: put each of your doctors’ phone numbers in your cell phone and on your emergency contact list by your telephone at home. Next, contact each office and ask the person who answers the telephone if your doctor prefers you to call him or her directly after hours for conditions which are considered routine for that medical speciality. In most physician offices, either a physician, a physician assistant, or nurse practitioner will be on call after hours to answer patient phone calls and, if necessary, to meet you at the office. "

A primer on 9-1-1    23.FEB.11       By JOANNIE PARR & THOMAS PARR, M.D.
         "It is important to understand that because the 9-1-1 EMS phone number is supposed to be called for very serious medical conditions, the patient may well be taken to the closest hospital which is capable of handling his or her problem. This provides the most immediate medical care available and allows the EMS unit to get back into service as rapidly as possible, ready to respond to the next incoming 9-1-1 EMS call."

Overuse of CT scans adds to cost   9.SEPT.10
         "American medicine benefits greatly by our ability to use some impressive, modern technology. We can treat conditions with precision that has the potential to limit side effects that were unavoidable in previous days. We can diagnose diseases sooner, giving us the power to intervene early and save lives. In earlier days, we physicians had to find out what was going on in the abdomen during an illness or following trauma by performing 'exploratory surgery.' Let me assure you that no one wants his or her surgeon using a knife to 'look around' as part of a blind search for problems."

Vitamin D: From rickets to osteoporosis   15.DEC.10
         "How many times have you heard -- or said yourself -- “You need to drink your milk?” There are some things Mothers just know. A proper balance between Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) and calcium is critical in managing or preventing a number of diseases from rickets to osteoporosis, and may also help prevent cancers, heart conditions, diabetes, neuropsychological conditions, and balance (related to falls). At this point, however, medical science is still working to define what that precise relationship is."

Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis   01.DEC.10
         "Do your fingers, your hips, or your knees hurt enough to affect what you do? Is it just one joint or a number of joints? This might be arthritis. There are two major kinds of arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis. In both cases, early diagnosis and treatment is important to your long-term ability to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle."

Overuse of CT scans adds to cost   9.SEPT.10
         "American medicine benefits greatly by our ability to use some impressive, modern technology. We can treat conditions with precision that has the potential to limit side effects that were unavoidable in previous days. We can diagnose diseases sooner, giving us the power to intervene early and save lives. In earlier days, we physicians had to find out what was going on in the abdomen during an illness or following trauma by performing 'exploratory surgery.' Let me assure you that no one wants his or her surgeon using a knife to 'look around' as part of a blind search for problems. "

All you want to know about mountain sickness   19.MAY.10
         "Our Fort Bend summers are hot and humid, and we love taking vacations to “cool places,” such as to the mountains. For those of us who live somewhere between about 50 feet and 90 feet above sea level, understanding how to adjust to the high altitudes of the mountains can make a difference in a good trip or a bad one."

How to find a good doctor   17.MAR.10   By JOANNIE PARR & THOMAS PARR, M.D.
         "Living in the Greater Houston area provides you with a very large selection of highly qualified physicians, both primary care and specialists. In a very good way, this is a nice problem to have, but it also can be overwhelming when you are looking for a doctor for you or a member of your family."

Obesity stabilizes, but still high   20.JAN.10
         "In general, generalities are not useful. But, in general, America is suffering from television and internet and fast food disease. And it is getting worse. Only a generation ago, children were free to be out in their neighborhoods playing with other children without constant parent supervision. They routinely walked or rode their bikes to school, to parks, and to the stores."

Kick the habit, quit smoking   06.JAN.10
         "When recovering from an injury or surgical procedure, patients want to return to normal as quickly as possible. Some factors that change the speed of healing are beyond one’s control, such as genetics or general health at the time of the injury or surgery. However, other factors are completely within your control, including nutrition, following your rehabilitation program, and smoking. Healing and good blood supply are inseparable."

Problems with antibiotic abuse   18.NOV.09
         "One of the world’s growing health problems is the ongoing problem of bacterial infections becoming resistant to antibiotics. This problem has greatly increased in recent years. There are a number of reasons for this. In the United States where antibiotic medications are tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), antibiotic resistance occurs because of misuse of medications."

Seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines   04.NOV.09
         "This time each year, we have discussions across the country about whether or not to take the annual flu shot. There are those who will stand in a line for a long time to get a flu shot, and there are those who refuse to get it, even if it is given free in their place of work. This year, we have two very different flu vaccines, and it will take both to give an individual a reasonable degree of protection."

Importance of keeping a current medication list   21.OCT.09
         "Do you have a list in your billfold or purse stating ALL the medications you are currently taking? Do you always remember to tell your doctor about both the medications which are prescribed by a physician AND about all the over-the-counter and herbal medications you take? Do you remember to include vitamins? Both your physicians and pharmacists need to be aware of all the drugs you take at all times."

Keeping diabetes under control   16.SEP.09
         "If there is any one disease Americans can control to make a big difference in their long term well-being, while reducing their personal health costs, it is diabetes."

How to take control of your own health care   24.JUN.09
         "Our current health care system is definitely confusing. The health insurance industry actually has 51 different regulatory bodies -- one for each state, for individuals who buy their own health insurance, and one in the U.S. Dept. of Labor for employer-provided health insurance. Then there are a variety of federal health systems: Medicare, federal employee, active duty and retiree Military, and the VA. Add to that the various health programs which are a combination of federal and state, such as Medicaid,and you are looking at a rather bewildering mess even to the most knowledgeable of us."

Medicine in Mexico   13.MAY.09
         "During the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk in the news, at work among coworkers, on cell phones between friends, and even among strangers standing in line at the post office about the potentially serious flu which originated in Mexico. In time, epidemiologists will learn the sources and related factors permitting the rapid spread of the H1N1 (“swine”) flu. Meanwhile, Mexico’s medical system is being taxed, and I’m concerned that Mexican physicians and other Mexican health care workers are not receiving the credit they are due in their efforts to fight this outbreak."

Swine flu, pandemic or paranoia   29.APR.09
         "If you’ve been watching the news in the past week, you’ve heard a lot of talk about a new strain of swine flu. Before you go run out to stock up on surgical masks, remember that there is a big difference between news hype on television and any valid scientific reasons for alarm in our communities."

Food for thought   22.APR.09
         "Even young folks can walk in to a room and realize they don’t remember why they went in there. Even the young and beautiful can have trouble remembering where they put their keys. But those of us in the older set always have just a little nagging worry when things like this happen that, perhaps, just maybe, we are ‘Losing It.’"

Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage   11.FEB.09
         "Did you know there are different kinds of Medicare? Did you know that even though you have a Medicare card in your wallet, it is possible to no longer be covered by the government’s Medicare plan?"

Shingles, not a tile, but a vaccine   28.JAN.09   By JOANNIE PARR
         "When did you last search the web about something medical? People do it all the time.....like somehow the web is going to be their best source for medical information. Well, it is at least immediate, if not completely off base. If you search for information about 'shingles,' you are going to get more information about repairing your roof than sound, scientific medical advice."

 

** Other Useful Links **

HOSPITAL
Houston Orthopedic & Spine Hospital

HAND SURGEON
Charlotte Alexander, MD

MEDICAL SCHOOLS
UT Health Science Center Medical School (Houston, TX)
UT Southwestern Medical School (Dallas, TX)

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS)
Texas Orthopaedic Association (TOA)
American College of Surgeons (ACS)
Texas Medical Association (TMA)
Harris County Medical Society (HCMS)
Physician Hospitals of America (PHA)

SPORTS AND COACHING
SoccerROM (Soccer Coaches' Complete Resource)
First Colony Little League

MILITARY
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
San Antonio Military Medical Center
(was Brooke Army Medical Center), San Antonio, TX

14090 Southwest Freeway #130    Sugar Land TX 77478    Phone: 281-491-7111

For after-hours orthopedic emergencies, Dr. Parr prefers you call him directly at 281-491-7111 or 713-954-1343. He may be able to help you get treatment faster and save you an expensive ER bill.


© Copyright 2009-2013 Thomas J. Parr, M.D., P.A.